Tailormade tour The hidden charms of Andalusia tour Spain

9 nights/10 days

Ronda • Vejer de la Fontera • Rota • Seville

Enjoy a nine-night fly-drive tour of four charming Andalusian destinations, which allows you to explore the region at your leisure, uncovering the treasures of the local culture as you go. Stay in a historic Parador beside the breath-taking natural beauty of Ronda, in a chic converted 17th Century building in Vejer de la Frontera, (both pueblos blancos), in a charming seaside resort overlooking the Bay of Cadiz in Rota, and finally in a country estate amidst the verdant landscape just outside Seville.

Holiday price guide

Available year-round subject to the opening period of the hotels, from about £1,860 per person.

Luxury fly-drive touring holiday exploring the hidden charms of Andalusia, taking in the white villages, a charming coastal town and on a country estate near Seville

This 9-night luxury fly-drive touring holiday of Andalusia uncovers the authentic charm of this southerly region of Spain as you visit the lands and the coast away from the costas and also experience life on a country estate near Seville. You fly into Malaga, gateway to the southern coast of Andalusia, collect your hire-car, and leave this cosmopolitan town behind as you venture into the rural landscape of inland Andalusia. You are heading for one of the most famous of the ‘white villages’, the pueblos blancos, Ronda. The architecture of these white villages is stunning: low, white-washed houses, adorned with shutters and wrought-iron balconies, pots of flowers and shady alleys. You have two nights in Ronda. Then, move on past turquoise lakes and the rolling hills of National Parks to Vejer de la Frontera, another of Andalusia’s pueblos blancos. Spend two nights here, exploring the countryside, and enjoying the beaches of the Costa de la Luz. You can travel to Cape Trafalgar and Cadiz, visit Jerez and enjoy a sherry tasting in one of the many bodegas. Then, you have two nights on the coast in little-known Rota, a natural, Spanish seaside town with a long, sandy beach. Finally, spend three nights on a charming country estate amidst the verdant landscape just outside the historic and cultural city of Seville. After exploring the perhaps surprising natural and historic hidden charms of Andalusia, drive back to Malaga for your flight home.

Highlights

Ronda • Pueblos blancos • Vejer de la Fontera • Cape Trafalgar • Cadiz • Jerez • Spanish riding school • Sherry bodegas • Rota • Seville • Alcazar

Day by day

Begin your touring holiday by flying into Malaga airport, collecting a hire-car and driving approximately one and a half hours’ west to your first destination, Ronda, where you will spend two nights. Situated on the edge of the dramatic El Tajo gorge, which separates the old town from the new, the Parador de Ronda is the former Town Hall of this mountaintop town. Bedrooms and terraces have magnificent views out across the gorge, the Andalusian countryside, and the Puente Nuevo, a bridge of incredible stature.

On your second day, explore the captivating town of Ronda, appreciating the glorious scenery that comes with its situation. Perhaps visit the bullfighting museum on the Plaza del Toros, the art museum in the 16th Century cloistered convent, the water gardens of the Palacio Mondragón, the famous atmospheric Arabic Baths, or the tree-lined Plaza Duquesa de Parcent. Outside the town, you may wish to follow the rocky trail of the Guadalevin River, or hike over the Sierra de la Nieves Mountains, or bask in the beauty of the Zahara-El Gastor Reservoir. Its turquoise water is lined with surreal green rolling hills. This first stop on the tour, in one of Spain’s famous pueblos blancos, is a pocket of natural and historic beauty that cannot be missed when in Andalusia.

Your second stop on this tour of Andalusia is situated on the other side of two National Parks, which makes for a beautiful scenic drive on day three. Vejer de la Frontera is another of Andalusia’s Pueblos Blancos, comprised of white-washed houses, cobbled streets, and spectacular views of both countryside and sea. Spend two nights at Hotel V..., a boutique hotel set within a 17th Century residence that occupies an elevated position with unrivalled views of the town.

Begin your day with the understated charms of Vejer de la Frontera, following the old-world castle wall, and seeking out such gems as the Arco de Segur and the Iglesia del Divino Salvador. If time permits, you may wish to venture further out into the Cadiz region. Within easy reach of your hotel are the golden beaches of the Costa de la Luz and the peninsula of Gibraltar with its famous monkeys.

Leave Vejer de la Frontera on your fifth day and perhaps drive south to the sea at Cape Trafalgar with its famous light-house and then take a coastal road to the city of Cadiz. The white-fronted Cadiz Cathedral blends neoclassical, rococo, and baroque architectural elements, with a grand and radiant effect. Cadiz also offers beautiful golden beaches, castles, and a Roman theatre. Your destination for the next two nights is the seaside town of Rota. Rota is a beautiful, traditional town that has as yet evaded commercial tourism. Spend the next two nights at the Duque de Najera, a peach-coloured hotel in the old town not far from the sea.

Spend your sixth day exploring this traditionally Spanish seaside town and its historic, almost mediaeval, centre. Wander down the streets, past the harbour, churches, and palaces before relaxing on one of the many excellent golden beaches that border the town. Less than a minute from the hotel is a stretch of golden sand, lined with a tiled promenade that is quintessentially Spanish, which curves around the Puerto Astaroth. For a taste of local life, pay a visit to the town’s fish market at Pesquero Astaroth, the most famous in the region, or dip in and out of the quaint shops. Not far from Rota is Jerez de la Frontera, the home of sherry, where there are numerous sherry bodegas open for tasting sessions. It is also the home of the Royal School of Equestrian Art. One of the greatest pleasures of Rota may come with sitting in a small café or bar, watching the laid-back Spanish world go by, whilst sampling some tapas and sipping either a coffee or a local gin or wine. In the evenings, dine on the blend of Arabic and Spanish cuisine left behind after Moorish rule.

Your final stay on this touring holiday is near the great city of Seville. The Hacienda de San Rafael sits just over an hour’s drive north of Rota and has the leafy appearance of an idyllic rural retreat. This is an ideal point from which to explore the nearby cultural city of Seville but also to experience life on an Andalusian hacienda. You stay here for two nights.

This colourful country estate is the perfect base from which to explore the bustling town of Seville, home to the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, with an iconic bell tower and several Moorish towers, including La Giralda. The historic Triana quarter is also worth taking the time to visit, as you observe the change in Roman, Islamic, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque architecture. The best Seville sights may well be the Alcazar de Seville, which blends Moorish design with Renaissance in a series of serene courtyards lined with elaborate keyhole archways, and the grand Plaza de Espana. This landmark square is popular because of the vast oval of water that surrounds the centrepiece, and the traditional ceramic tiles. Perhaps visit the horse-drawn carriages of the romantic Maria Luisa Park, which is dotted with ponds and small pavilions.

Holiday price guide Prices from £1,860 per person based on two people sharing a double or twin room.

Holiday Code SNFD12

Luxury fly-drive touring holiday exploring the hidden charms of Andalusia, taking in the white villages, a charming coastal town and on a country estate near Seville

Begin your touring holiday by flying into Malaga airport, collecting a hire-car and driving approximately one and a half hours’ west to your first destination, Ronda, where you will spend two nights. Situated on the edge of the dramatic El Tajo gorge, which separates the old town from the new, the Parador de Ronda is the former Town Hall of this mountaintop town. Bedrooms and terraces have magnificent views out across the gorge, the Andalusian countryside, and the Puente Nuevo, a bridge of incredible stature.

On your second day, explore the captivating town of Ronda, appreciating the glorious scenery that comes with its situation. Perhaps visit the bullfighting museum on the Plaza del Toros, the art museum in the 16th Century cloistered convent, the water gardens of the Palacio Mondragón, the famous atmospheric Arabic Baths, or the tree-lined Plaza Duquesa de Parcent. Outside the town, you may wish to follow the rocky trail of the Guadalevin River, or hike over the Sierra de la Nieves Mountains, or bask in the beauty of the Zahara-El Gastor Reservoir. Its turquoise water is lined with surreal green rolling hills. This first stop on the tour, in one of Spain’s famous pueblos blancos, is a pocket of natural and historic beauty that cannot be missed when in Andalusia.

Your second stop on this tour of Andalusia is situated on the other side of two National Parks, which makes for a beautiful scenic drive on day three. Vejer de la Frontera is another of Andalusia’s Pueblos Blancos, comprised of white-washed houses, cobbled streets, and spectacular views of both countryside and sea. Spend two nights at Hotel V..., a boutique hotel set within a 17th Century residence that occupies an elevated position with unrivalled views of the town.

Begin your day with the understated charms of Vejer de la Frontera, following the old-world castle wall, and seeking out such gems as the Arco de Segur and the Iglesia del Divino Salvador. If time permits, you may wish to venture further out into the Cadiz region. Within easy reach of your hotel are the golden beaches of the Costa de la Luz and the peninsula of Gibraltar with its famous monkeys.

Leave Vejer de la Frontera on your fifth day and perhaps drive south to the sea at Cape Trafalgar with its famous light-house and then take a coastal road to the city of Cadiz. The white-fronted Cadiz Cathedral blends neoclassical, rococo, and baroque architectural elements, with a grand and radiant effect. Cadiz also offers beautiful golden beaches, castles, and a Roman theatre. Your destination for the next two nights is the seaside town of Rota. Rota is a beautiful, traditional town that has as yet evaded commercial tourism. Spend the next two nights at the Duque de Najera, a peach-coloured hotel in the old town not far from the sea.

Spend your sixth day exploring this traditionally Spanish seaside town and its historic, almost mediaeval, centre. Wander down the streets, past the harbour, churches, and palaces before relaxing on one of the many excellent golden beaches that border the town. Less than a minute from the hotel is a stretch of golden sand, lined with a tiled promenade that is quintessentially Spanish, which curves around the Puerto Astaroth. For a taste of local life, pay a visit to the town’s fish market at Pesquero Astaroth, the most famous in the region, or dip in and out of the quaint shops. Not far from Rota is Jerez de la Frontera, the home of sherry, where there are numerous sherry bodegas open for tasting sessions. It is also the home of the Royal School of Equestrian Art. One of the greatest pleasures of Rota may come with sitting in a small café or bar, watching the laid-back Spanish world go by, whilst sampling some tapas and sipping either a coffee or a local gin or wine. In the evenings, dine on the blend of Arabic and Spanish cuisine left behind after Moorish rule.

Your final stay on this touring holiday is near the great city of Seville. The Hacienda de San Rafael sits just over an hour’s drive north of Rota and has the leafy appearance of an idyllic rural retreat. This is an ideal point from which to explore the nearby cultural city of Seville but also to experience life on an Andalusian hacienda. You stay here for two nights.

This colourful country estate is the perfect base from which to explore the bustling town of Seville, home to the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, with an iconic bell tower and several Moorish towers, including La Giralda. The historic Triana quarter is also worth taking the time to visit, as you observe the change in Roman, Islamic, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque architecture. The best Seville sights may well be the Alcazar de Seville, which blends Moorish design with Renaissance in a series of serene courtyards lined with elaborate keyhole archways, and the grand Plaza de Espana. This landmark square is popular because of the vast oval of water that surrounds the centrepiece, and the traditional ceramic tiles. Perhaps visit the horse-drawn carriages of the romantic Maria Luisa Park, which is dotted with ponds and small pavilions.

Holiday price guide Prices from £1,860 per person based on two people sharing a double or twin room.

Holiday Code SNFD12

Our prices include ● Scheduled flights with British Airways, from London to Malaga return. Flights from other UK airports can be arranged.
● Hire of a Group C car for ten days
● 2 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Standard double room at the Parador de Ronda in Ronda
● 2 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Standard double room at Hotel V... in Vejer de la Frontera
● 2 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Standard double room at the Duque de Najera in Rota
● 3 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Standard double at the Hacienda de San Rafael near Seville
● Concierge service and Expressions Holidays regional helpful hints

Our prices do not include ● Early check-in or late check-out at any hotels (although we can arrange this on request at additional cost)
● Any other services not mentioned above, such as transfers and meals except breakfast at hotels
● Personal holiday insurance. This is essential and cover should be in place from when you book the holiday.
● Local tourist tax, usually between Euros 1 and 3 per person per night, and payable locally to the hotel

Additional information Driving times for this touring holiday
Malaga to Ronda 1 hour 25 minutes
Ronda to Vejer de la Frontera 2 hours 5 minutes
Vejer de la Frontera to Rota 1 hour
Rota to Seville 1 hour
Seville to Malaga 2 hours 20 minutes

Luxury fly-drive touring holiday exploring the hidden charms of Andalusia, taking in the white villages, a charming coastal town and on a country estate near Seville

About Andalusia

An Expressions tailor-made holiday to Andalusia offers the chance to explore a holiday destination famed for its indulgent climate and coastal appeal. The region cannot deny its fair share of sun, sea and sand, but what is often neglected to mention is the region's immense variety. Comprising of eight unique provinces, Andalusia spans west to east from the wetlands and the Atlantic Ocean to the deserts and the popular Costa del Sol on the Mediterranean Sea. Poised at the southern-most tip of the Iberian Peninsula, Andalusia acts as a gateway between the European and African continents, harbouring a myriad of influences that speak of the layers of civilisation that have roamed and inhabited the land. From the vibrant cities to the tiny white-washed villages, from vast sierras to the extensive coastline, Andalusia is a region of contrasts which promises an authentic luxury holiday.

Highlights of Andalusia

With 800km of coastline, there are plenty of beaches to choose from - facing the Atlantic are the long, sandy beaches of the Costa de la Luz, extending south from the Portuguese border to Tarifa; covering the area between Malaga and Gibraltar is the famous Costa del Sol, known for its numerous beach resorts which range from the cheap and cheerful to exclusive luxury; to the south of Granada is the Costa Tropical, a stretch of coast with sandy coves and a pleasant microclimate; and to the east is the more rugged Costa de Almeria. A number of luxury resorts and hotels are located along each of these coastlines. Surrounding Granada is the Sierra Nevada, a mountain range where the Spanish mainland's highest peak can be found and home to white-washed mountain villages. In the far east of Andalusia is the Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park, the largest protected area in Spain where you can find hiking trails, mountain villages and many wild animals. Further south is The Cabo de Gata Natural Park, a land and sea reserve near Almeria which is home to unspoilt scenery and an abundance of wildlife. In the west of the region is the Doñana National Park, an extensive area in the delta of the Guadalquivir River which includes marshland and sand dunes and is a breeding ground of the endangered Iberian Lynx. Thanks to the region's great variety in landscapes, culture and cuisine, a luxury holiday to Andalusia is sure to be a delightful experience.

Cultural highlights of Andalusia

Many of the Andalusia's cultural highlights can be found in the three Moorish cities of Cordoba, Granada and Seville, all of which are home to a number of excellent luxury hotels. Cordoba, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and former centre of Muslim control during Andalusia's colonisation by the Islamic Empire. At the city's heart is the astounding Mezquita de Cordoba, a mediaeval mosque turned Catholic cathedral with endless Moorish arches, columns and glinting tiles of vibrant hues. Other highlights include the fascinating Jewish quarter and Roman ruins galore. Nearer the coast is Granada, where Islamic rule endured the longest and the magical Alhambra remains as a monument to this legacy. A 9th century palace fortress, it guards over the city from an elevated crag amongst vast, aromatic gardens. To the west, on the peaceful plains of River Guadalquivir, Seville quietly awaits discovery along with its three World Heritage Sites: the Alcazar palace, the gothic Cathedral and the General Archive of the Indies. Other towns and cities of interest in Andalusia include Jerez de la Frontera, where you can visit the sherry bodegas which make the city famous and watch the dressage displays which are held at The Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art; Cadiz, the oldest city in Europe which is surrounded almost entirely by water; Ronda, a spectacular city which is split in half by a narrow gorge; Malaga, birthplace of Picasso and home to a Museum which displays a collection of his work; the small town of Baeza, where you can find stunning examples of Renaissance architecture; and Almeria, a coastal city which is dominated by the Alcazaba, the largest Moorish fortress in Spain. During your stay in Andalusia make sure to witness the seductive art of flamenco. Alluring, passionate and cathartic, it's easy to understand how this gypsy tradition has become one of the most familiar emblems of Spanish culture.

Festivals in Andalusia

There are a huge number of local festivals held in villages, towns and cities throughout Andalusia, many of which have a religious significance. 5 January: Three Kings parades, February: Shrove Tuesday Carnivals, February: Seville Tapas Fair, February to March: Jerez Flamenco Festival, March/April: Holy week celebrations, April to October: Seville Bullfighting season, April/May: Seville Spring Fair, April/May: Úbeda Classical Music Festival, Mid May: Jerez Horse Fair, June to July: Granada Music & Dance Festival, June - July: Cordoba Guitar Festival, August: Malaga Summer Fair, September: Ronda bullfighting festival, November: Granada Jazz Festival.

Gastronomy in Andalusia

Cuisine in Andalusia is diverse, varying throughout the region and combining Arabic flavours with more common Mediterranean ingredients such as seafood, olive oil and an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables. As the birthplace of tapas, Andalusia is an excellent place to try the snacks which are often served free with drinks in Granada. Other Andalusian specialities include Serrano ham from the Sierra Nevada and sherry from Jerez de la Frontera, as well as dishes such as ‘Ajo blanco’ (a white gazpacho), ‘Espetos de sardina’ (roasted sardines), ‘Huevos a la flamenca’ (baked eggs with vegetables) and ‘Fritura de pescado’ (mixed fried fish).

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