Andalusia Road Less Travelled
Immortalized in operas and vividly depicted in 19th Century artworks, Andalusia is perhaps the true essence of Spain as a whole. Sun-drenched medieval cities, guitar-wielding troubadours, storied bullfighters and alluring Flamenco and perhaps some dose of sherry sums up Andalusia in a nutshell.
Experience the mesmerizing white-washed villages of Andalusia
Savour exquisite wine and gastronomy
Experience the charm and allure of the countryside
Stay in charming and intimate boutique hotels
DAY 1: ARRIVE JEREZ / CADIZ / VEJER DE LA FRONTERA
Arrive at Jerez Airport where you will be met as we begin our journey of Andalusia in the Province of Cadiz starting with the charming city of Jerez - home to the Andalusian equestrian culture, an important hub of the "Sherry Triangle" and the original home of Spanish flamenco. With your guide, enjoy an introduction to the city's multicultural roots from ancient Phoenician and Roman rule to the later Christian and Moorish eras. One of the most important buildings is the 11th Century Moorish palace - Alcazar of Jerez de la Frontera and the impressive 17th Century Jerez Cathedral built in a mix of Gothic, Baroque and Neoclassical style. Thereafter, a quintessential visit to Bodegas Lustau - the most highly-awarded sherry winery in Andalusia where you will enjoy a tour of the cellars, learning about the high quality production of its sherries, brandies and vinegars followed by a tasting of its premium sherries. Nearing lunch, enjoy a visit to a traditional "tabanco", an Andalusian tavern serving homely and traditional tapas and sherry wines with an unique trait of pouring the wine straight from the ageing barrels.
The second half of the day, a short drive arrives us at Cadiz, the oldest city in Western Europe with over 3,000 years of history that has witnessed invasions by the Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines, Visigoths and the Muslims throughout its existence. Enjoy an informative orientation of the city including a visit of the 13th Century medieval quarter of Barrio del Populo, renowned for being the setting point for Christopher Colombus' second journey to the "New World". Finally, a pleasant drive arrives us at the immensely-beautiful surroundings of Casa La Siesta in the outskirts of Vejer de la Frontera where we will stay for the night.
Overnight: Casa La Siesta, Vejer de la Frontera
Meals: Lunch & Dinner
DAY 2: VEJER DE LA FRONTERA / (PUEBLO BLANCOS OF COSTA DEL SOL) / MALAGA
Enjoy a relaxing but sensational day as we begin a visit to the town of Vejer de la Frontera, declared a Historical Site and awarded the National Prize for the Beautification of Andalusian Towns. Its Moorish heritage is evident in the popular architecture and design of neighbourhoods like the Judería. It is perched on top of a beautiful hill overlooking the River Barbate. The town takes pride in its historic legacy from past civilizations such as the Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Romans. The town of Vejer has always been walled and some of its towers are still well preserved (the Mayorazgo Tower, the San Juan Tower and the Corredera Tower), and its four medieval town gates are perfectly integrated in the town, namely the Segur Arch Gate, the Puerta de la Villa, the Sancho IV and the Puerta Cerrada. The Castle (11th - 16th Centuries) stands at the highest part of the old town and can be reached through a beautiful horseshoe arch. It combines elements of Muslim and Christian architecture. Next, we head to the dramatic hill-perched white city of Casares, named after Julius Caesar, with some of the most dramatic scenes in Andalusia where we enjoy a walk through its quaint, cobbled streets, visiting the ruins of the Moorish castle as well as the birthplace of Blas Infante, Andalusia's founding father.
Continuing our journey along the Costa del Sol, we arrive at yet another "pueblo blanco" village, Mijas Pueblo, nestled in a privileged location with the backdrop of the mountains, yet close to the shimmering Alboran Sea. Enjoy a walk through the impeccable alleys and flower-filled patios for one of the most romantic scenes in Spain before finally, a short drive away arrives us into the city of Malaga - birthplace of Pablo Picasso where we check in at the stunning Gran Hotel Miramar.
Overnight: Gran Hotel Miramar, Malaga
DAY 3: MALAGA (EXCURSION TO CARMINITO DEL REY)
A day of epic proportions as we begin the day following in the path of kings as we make a walk one of the most incredible landscapes in all of Spain on the Carminito del Rey. Encompassing a rocky plateau 200m above sea level, the Gaitanes Gorge contains the one and only “King’s Walkway”, in El Chorro Natural Park which provides the perfect setting for exciting hiking experiences in unbelievable landscapes. Return to Malaga later as you have time to unwind and stroll the city dominated by sites such as the Roman Theater, the Malaga Cathedral and the inspiring Alcazaba Fortress.
Overnight: Gran Hotel Miramar, Malaga
DAY 4: MALAGA / SETENIL DE LAS BODEGAS / RONDA / EL GASTOR
We leave Malaga today for a scenic drive into the heartlands of Andalusia. Our first stop today is Setenil de las Bodegas, quite possibly the most unique of the Pueblos Blancos, due to its dwellings built into rock cliffs. Have some time to explore the town before we continue to Ronda, a stunning cliff-side city in the province of Malaga first settled by the early Celts in the 6th Century BC. We visit the Plaza de Espana and see the Church of the Holy Spirit. Thereafter, visit the impressive Plaza de Toros bullfighting ring – the birthplace of modern bullfighting. It is also here that American pop star, Madonna filmed her music video, ‘Take a Bow’. We will also visit the Banos Arabes, designed by the Romans and one of the best-preserved purification chamber later used by the Moors. Admire the El Tajo River Gorge and Puente Nuevo Bridge – capturing the iconic setting that intrigues travellers from all over the world to Ronda. Finally, we drive to the village of El Gastor where we will arrive at the beautiful environments of Finca La Donaira.
Overnight: Finca La Donaira, El Gastor
Meals: Breakfast & Dinner
DAY 5: EL GASTOR (HEART OF THE SIERRA DE GRAZALEMA)
Each day gets better and better and today is no different. Begin the day with a drive into the heart of the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park, designated a UNESCO biosphere for its amazing ecological nature with rugged limestone landscapes of cliffs, gullies, caves and gorges. Within this stunning eco paradise are some of the most incredibly-stunning villages. Our first visit is the white village of Zahara de la Sierra with one of the most iconic scenes of the heartlands of Andalusia with its castle perched on a rocky peak above the beautiful Zahara-El Gastor Reservoir. In Spring (late March - early April), this is also one of the most beautiful cherry blossom spots in all of Spain. We will visit a local family-run olive mill that has used traditional methods to press the local olives since 1755. Get an insight into the origins of the olives and learn about the production from the harvest to the bottling in a pleasant and picturesque environment. Thereafter, we visit another white village in the form of Ubrique, tucked neatly in the Serrania de Ronda mountains where we enjoy a wonderful stroll through its heart. An unmistakable claim to fame for this picturesque village is its high quality leather where production factories produce leather supply for the likes of Loewe, Louis Vuitton and Gucci. Not far away later, we head to the village of Grazalema surrounded by incredible limestone peaks, providing one of the most unique village settings in Europe. Among the whitewashed buildings, we enjoy a delightful Michelin star lunch at Restaurant Cadiz El Chico run by Chef Pepe Rojas and his daughters, renowned for their slow-roasting lamb. From here, we return to Finca La Donaira where you can relax and enjoy the therapeutic environment designed to rejuvenate.
Overnight: Finca La Donaira, El Gastor
Meals: Breakfast, Michelin Lunch & Dinner
DAY 6: EL GASTOR / ARCOS DE LA FRONTERA / SEVILLE
We leave Finca La Donaira today where a short drive arrives us at the workshop of legendary flamenco guitar-maker Valeriano Bernal, an exclusive Beyond X Boundaries experience. Working with his wife, Catalina and their two children, Rafael and Paula, the Bernal family produces about 150 guitars a year in painstakingly hand-made tradition. This is the opportunity of a lifetime to understand the often ignored guitars in the world of flamenco and serenade and we will gain insights into the Bernal guitars that is revered by the best flamenco players. On our way to Seville, we will stop in the village of Arcos de la Frontera. Declared a historic site, monumental treasures include the 15th Century Los Duques Castle, the Matrera Gateway and the remains of the walled town, with its palaces and manor houses, the Santa María Basilica and the San Pedro Church, As we arrive into Seville, our journey ends on an unforgettable note saying our farewells. Consider extending your trip to the Province of Huelva where we can organize a visit to the origins of the revered Jamon Iberico.
Casa La Siesta brings together atmospheric, traditional ‘cortijo’ premises and chic interiors in one beautiful boutique hotel in Cadiz province. With eight stylish guest rooms and a small but impeccably trained team who pride themselves on anticipating each guest’s every whim, it’s a secluded and private hideaway that oozes understated luxury.
The Gran Hotel Miramar Resort and Spa is located in the La Caleta area, between Paseo de Reding avenue and the sea front, just five minutes from the city`s top museums, including the Picasso, Carmen Thyssen, Centre Pompidou and Hermitage. With the principal entrance facing the Mediterranean Sea, it offers marvelous views over the Bay of Malaga.
Awarded the "Best Luxury Eco Hotel" of 2018, Finca La Donaira is a beautiful farmhouse rural retreat hidden in a conservation area that offers a sustainable concept living combining exclusive Lusitano horse bred and raised in the farm for equestrian pursuits and 100% organic produce that goes directly from farm to table.