Tour of the Month
Andalusia Classic Cities
Andalusia, with its delightful climate, sandy beaches and culture-rich cities is one of Europe’s most loved holiday destinations.
Beyond the sun, sea, sand, and sangria are palaces and castles, museums, gardens and galleries waiting to be explored. All set among some of Spain’s most stunning scenery. Livingstone’s Travel World’s ‘Andalusia Classic Cities Tour’ starts from the contemporary metropolis of Malaga, onto the great cities of Granada, Cordoba, Seville, Ronda, and the whitewashed villages beyond.
The 9-day tour combines the historical riches of Andalusia with the modern-day comforts of luxury accommodation, private transport, exclusive tours, and the best of the region’s gastronomy. It’s no surprise then, that with all of the above (and below) in mind, we’ve chosen ‘Andalusia Classic Cities’ as our Spring 2021 Tour of the Month.
Andalusia is a large autonomous region of hills, rivers and farmland bordering Spain’s southern coast. It was under Moorish rule from the 8th-15th centuries, a legacy that shows in its architecture, including such landmarks as the Alcázar castle in Seville, the capital city, as well as Córdoba’s Mezquita Mosque-Cathedral and Granada’s Alhambra palace.
The Cities: Coast, Culture and Culinary Delights
So, perhaps you’re wondering what makes Andalusia’s cities worthy of their own tour in the first place? Allow us to summarise…
Let’s start with the palm-lined promenades of Estepona, a coastal town brimming with Pueblo charm and character. Then, of course, there’s the riverside capital of Seville and it’s 17th century artistic splendour. Not to mention Granada, with old districts shaped by the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, and Malaga, whose magnificent historical sites and bustling old quarters are often overlooked by those making a bee-line for the beach.
There’s Cordoba, too, an entire ancient city declared a World Heritage Site, and encompassing a diverse array of cultural, religious and historic influence. Modern Cordoba, with its chock-full annual calendar of cultural events, is as interesting as its whitewashed historic quarter. Ronda, too is rather fascinating, its old and new towns linked by a magnificent 18th-century bridge arching over a gaping river gorge. As is, perhaps more surprisingly, Marbella. Favoured by the rich-and-famous for its splendid beaches and luxury marina, it is also home to a charming old town filled with cobbled streets, artisan shops and an orange-tree-filled plaza. But there’s another coastal town, one lesser known to the masses, that is particularly popular among discerning travellers. Nerja…
…Once a sleepy fishing village, Nerja rests at the eastern tip of the Costa del Sol, flanked by the Sierra Almijara mountains. Here whitewashed houses are adorned with geraniums, spilling out onto the narrow winding streets; a beautiful sight favourably explored via horse-drawn carriage. Nerja is also home to the magnificent promenade known as the “Balcony of Europe”, with stunning views over the Mediterranean, and a network of caves housing pre-historic treasures, and a natural cavern that has been adapted into a stunning concert hall.
And last, but certainly not least, there’s Almeria. Recognised as one of Spain’s sunniest regions with a coastline of unspoiled beaches, Almeria encompasses many of Andalusia’s best qualities. Beaches, history, culture, mountain and coastal nature reserves, the biggest fortress ever built by the Arabs in Spain, and the best of Andalusian gastronomy.
Speaking of gastronomy, Andalusia does it so well. In fact, for foodies, it might just be the highlight of their tour. The region’s many cultural influences combine with its verdant countryside, to produce some of Spain’s finest wine and gastronomic delights. From locally sourced seafood to jamón serrano (ham from the Sierra), many Andalusian dishes and delicacies are a product of the land.
The Tour: Luxury Essence, Authentic Experience
Andalusia, as portrayed above, is truly a region of contrasts. When you delve just below the tourist image of the Costa del Sol, you find its history, culture and charm. And this 9-day tour does just that.
It starts with the essentials; direct return flights, private transfers, hand-picked accommodation and passionate, English-speaking guides. But it’s everything in between that makes this tour truly special… Take both daytime and evening walking tours through the historical and religious centres of Malaga, Granada, Seville, Ronda and Cordoba. Enjoy one of the most beautiful sunsets on earth from Mirador de San Nicolas square in the Albaycin quarter. Guided tours include the Alhambra Palace and Generalife gardens, as well as Alcazar, where you’ll also take a horse-drawn carriage to lunch. Evenings will be filled with scenic dinners, Flamenco shows, and even a traditional Spanish horse show. The itinerary includes many gastronomic experiences, such as tapas lunches and traditional dining, as well as plenty of free time to enjoy Andalusia at your leisure.
The Accommodation: Andalusian Excellence
Such busy days of course call for somewhere suitable to retire and relax. The hotels selected for this Andalusian adventure are a perfect mix of luxury, boutique and character. They’re set in prime locations throughout the tour, many boasting some of Andalusia’s finest cuisine. They offer the perfect surroundings to unwind, dine, and reflect on your culture-filled days with friends old and new. You’ll start at the Hotel Molina Lario in Malaga. Everything about this hotel is beautifully contemporary. From the stylish rooms filled with Mediterranean sunlight, to the restaurant serving exquisite “reinvented Mediterranean cuisine”. The only hint of history in this beautiful, modern hotel is Malaga’s magnificent cathedral, which can be seen in all its grandeur from the luxury of the rooftop pool.
Next, you’ll check in to the Eurostars Gran Via Hotel at Granada. Its beautiful renaissance façade is complimented by a luxury interior, where modern comfort meets classic elegance. The perfect setting to take in the panoramic views of Granada’s historic quarter, with the snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountains visible in the distance. You’ll then move to Las Casas de la Juderia, a boutique hotel in Cordoba, offering something a little different to the first two. Set within the heart of Cordoba’s Jewish quarter, this beautiful hotel is oozing Andalusian charm. Its stone patios and creamy walls are decorated by pink geraniums, its rooms awash with timeless elegance. This hotel, to its truest meaning, is “pretty”.
The penultimate hotel falls in the centre of Seville, a stone’s throw from its grand cathedral and Seville’s many other charms. Fontecruz Hotel is modern, but full of character. It’s trendy in a sense of an ‘Andalusian Shoreditch’, its pool and terrace buzzing with guests and non-guests alike, who are looking for great food, great views, refreshing cocktails and a truly relaxed vibe. Finally, we retire to Hotel San Gabriel at Ronda, a family home turned boutique hotel. Still family-run, this unique hotel is surrounded by the monuments and enchanting streets of San Gabriel, Ronda. Dating back to 1736, the hotel has been lovingly designed with the house’s history in mind. The result? Exquisitely decorated rooms with four-poster beds, mahogany accents and hints of open brickwork. The perfect place to end your Andalusian adventure.
The Andalusia Classic Cities Cultural Tour is available weekly from March thru October, with flights from selected UK airports. For further information and prices, please visit the tour page, or simply contact us via phone or email to register your interest.