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Al-Andalus was a Muslim state that ignited Europe for centuries. It's now more commonly known as Spain. Discover the romance and intrigue for yourself on an 8-day tour that offers expert guidance but leaves plenty of free time to unravel the mysteries on your own. You'll explore Madrid's museums, walk Toledo's streets and embrace Andalucia's Moorish spirit in converted mosques, Seville's cathedral and the Alhambra of Granada. From gypsy culture to flamenco passion, encounter a culture a thousand years in the making.
Day 1 Madrid
Arrive at any time. As your fellow travellers are arriving throughout the day, there are no planned activities, so check-in to the hotel (check-in time is approx. 3pm) and enjoy the city. In the evening meet your fellow group members to go over the details of your trip. Check the notice boards or ask at reception for the exact location of this group meeting. After the meeting, you have the chance to head out for a meal at a local restaurant with the group (optional).Please make every effort to arrive on time for this important welcome meeting. If you are delayed and will arrive late, please contact the hotel or inform us - contact numbers are provided in these notes. Your Tour Leader will then leave you a message at the front desk informing you of where and when to meet up.Madrid, the grande dame of European cities, has it all — history, architecture, museums, galleries, beautiful parks and a wild nightlife. The capital's most exciting street is the Gran Vía, but be sure to visit the Plaza Mayor –the true heart of Madrid. Enjoy a coffee in one of the plaza’s many cafes and watch the world go by. A trip to the Museo del Prado, one of the greatest art galleries in the world, is a definite highlight. The main emphasis of the museum is 15th to 19th century Spanish, Flemish and Italian art. There is plenty of Goya and you'll find a wealth of paintings by Diego Velázquez. For a more modern take and one of the best art history lessons you'll ever get, check out the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, a private assembly of paintings from Titian to Picasso.The beautiful Real Jardin Botánico, near the Prado, is a good spot to recover from an art overdose. To see what style the kings and queens lived in, visit the Palacio Real, where you'll get a chance to see some of the most elaborately decorated and furnished rooms. The epicenter of Madrid's nightlife is Plaza del Dos de Mayo, in the area known as Malasaña – head here after hours to have a taste of Sangria and dance to the latest music.The Escorial, a magnificent palace and mausoleum constructed by Felipe II is also a major tourist attraction within the capital area. The building’s magnificent style is a worthy monument to the power and wealth that was Spain during the 16th century. The Escorial also became a great center for learning and has an outstanding library.
Day 2 Toledo/Madrid (1B)
This morning we visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Toledo. Return at your leisure to Madrid with option to visit Museums, or take in a Flemenco show or Bull fight.Estimated Travel Time: 1 hour each way by bus
Day 3 Cordoba (1B)
This morning we travel to Cordoba by high speed train. After some time to settle in, we undertake a visit to Cordoba's most famous monument, it's extraordinary Mosque. Built in 785 by the Moors, in the 16th century a Christian cathedral was built right in the middle of the mosque. Afterwards, we will stroll Cordoba's historic medieval Jewish quarter, full of narrow winding lanes and traditional houses.Cordoba’s gastronomy features a cuisine steeped in Roman, Moorish, Christian and Jewish traditions. Why not head out tonight and sample some such as the thick, hearty stew called "caldereta de cordero" or cool off with "ajo blanco," a hearty white gazpacho soup.Estimated Travel Time: 2 hours by high speed train
Days 4-5 Granada (2B)
Travel to the Andaluz city of Granada and take an orientation walk, including a guided visit of the Alhambra, one of the greatest accomplishments of Islamic art and architecture, and the highlight of the trip for most visitors. Free time to explore with the option to take a bike tour or visit the cathedral.During the Muslim rule of Spain, Granada was one of the region’s most regal cities. The greatest Muslim legacy in Europe, the Alhambra, is located in Granada. The Alhambra has captured the imagination of visitors for years, and much has been recorded about the history and purpose of this area. But no amount of reading or study can truly prepare you for your first visit—it is simply breathtaking. The Alhambra is divided into three sections: the Alcazaba, the Palacio Nazaries and Generalife. The Alcazaba is the Alhambra's Muslim 11th century wing, offering spectacular views of the city from the tops of its towers. The Palacio Nazaries is the center of the Alhambra, and is most famous for its detailed works and gardens. The Generalife was the summer palace of the sultans. We include a full guided visit of the Alhambra to help you make the most of this truly memorable experience.Granada though has so much more to offer than the Alhambra, magnificent though this is. Take a wander through the whitewashed historic quarter of the Albaicin, with its narrow lanes and fantastic views back to the Alhambra - this is a great place to go for sunset. And don't miss Granada's nightlife, with trendy tapas bars and a lively music scene.Estimated Travel Time: 2.5 hours by bus
Days 6 Ronda (1B)
Today we will explore the town of Ronda, on the El Tajo gorge. We will cross the Puente Nuevo and down into the gorge itself for incredible views. Free afternoon for exploring the many attractions of the town with option to go hiking, canoeing or caving.Estimated Travel Time - Granada to Ronda: 2.5 hours by train
Day 7 Seville (1B)
This morning we will head to Seville, one of the most colourful and exciting cities in Spain. We spend our time here with the option to explore the Muslim monuments, parks and gardens at our leisure, getting a taste of Seville's energetic pulse with a chance to see some unique flamenco and savour some tapas at the city's many bars and cafés.After your CEO has taken you on a short orientation walk to get your bearings, you will have time to take in all this great city has to offer. Be sure to explore the wonderful interiors and gardens of the Alcázar, a magnificent palace dating from Moorish times. During Seville’s warm summer nights (until mid-September) you can enjoy a series of concerts in the beautiful setting of the Reales Alcazares. The true heart of Seville lies in the Santa Cruz quarter a charming area with its winding alleys, picturesque lime-washed houses,flowery patios and small squares. Seville is home to the world’s largest gothic cathedral. The climb to the adjoining tower, known as La Giralda, is well worth the effort for the great views of the city. The 76m Giralda was constructed by the Moors as a mosque between 1184 and 1197; after the reconquest Christians fitted the minaret with its bell tower in 1568.Other attractions include the Parque de María Luisa, which has a maze of paths, garden beds, pretty little patios, fountains and shaded lawns, the Museo Arqueológico and the Casa de Pilates.Estimated Travel Time - Ronda to Seville: 2.5 hours by bus
Day 8 Seville (1B)
Depart at any time.
Exploring the ancient Moorish city of Toledo, Capturing the perfect sunset photo of the Alhambra in Granada, Walking along spectacular El Tajo Gorge in Ronda, Visiting the magnificent Mezquita in Cordoba, Losing yourself in the colourful alleyways of Seville.
Eating is a big part of traveling. Travelling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your CEO will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. The above information applies to G Adventures group trips. For Independent trips please check the itinerary for details of meals included. For all trips please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.
Local bus, train, walking
Local bus, train, walking
Comfort hotels (7 nts)
It is important to note that accommodations in Europe tend to be quite different to other areas of the world you may have travelled in. Buildings and rooms are generally old and may not have been renovated or maintained to the highest standard. Downtown hotels in Europe were not built to be hotels, but rich owners houses, which have been changed into hotels. Therefore unusual room sizes are common as large rooms have been partitioned in the past, resulting in rather "thin" walls. Reception areas, rooms and bathrooms tend to be very small as they were often added into an existing room, and may have a hand nozzle rather than a conventional shower head. On this trip you can expect to stay in small family-run hotels or pensions (with the exception of the start and finish hotels, which are often larger city hotels), which will vary a little in standard and facilities: some may not have elevators, air-conditioning or English-speaking staff, but most importantly all are locally-run, with some traditional character, and in excellent central locations to give you maximum time for exploring the sights. You can expect to find clean, safe, simple accommodation in convenient locations.Staff can occasionally demonstrate less than perfect customer service. As accommodation is in short supply, especially during the summer months, hotels can charge a premium and there is sometimes little motivation to improve facilities.
Trip of a lifetime, amazing service and a great adventure!
The trip was great! Our CEO was especially wonderful. The trip was fast-paced and challenging both physically and emotionally but was one of the best experiences of my life. Well done G-Adventures!
I prefer to travel independently whenever possible, but there are certain spots in the world where an organized, group tour works better due to concerns such as local transportation or safety. Recently, I was able to get a bit of time away from my client and did not have time to plan an individual journey. I elected to visit a spot or two that would work best on a tour. After scouring sites for potential trip(s) that would fit into the time I had available, I chose two handled by G Adventures (a company that I did not know previously due to my choice to usually travel independently). One trip was to Jordan (Explore Jordan tour) and the other was to India (Golden Triangle tour). I was highly pleased with the Explore Jordan tour, but disappointed by the Golden Triangle tour. As I sit here and write this review and ask myself the reason, I can say that it was the difference was primarily because of the tour guide (or CEO, as G Adventures calls them).
The Explore Jordan tour guide exhibited strong leadership, was well being organized and professional, and he handled changing situations very well. It was Ramadan during the time of my trip which means that hours and conditions varied, often with no advance notice, and he was able to successfully navigate the rough landscape to the pleasure of the tour participants. He also was presented with a couple of unique "challenges" that almost seemed like plants to see how a tour guide could handle them. I am pleased to say that the CEO succeeded with flying colors. Since I am not a veteran of many organized group tours, I admit that I took his accomplishments a bit for granted.
I gained an increased appreciation for our previous CEO after completing the Golden Triangle tour and seeing a tour guide who lacked the leadership capabilities of our previous one, seemed less than prepared, and took minimal interest in helping tour participants with the optional activities. The tour participants, who were veterans of organized group tours, spoke rather highly of G Adventures, so I do hope that preponderance of G Adventures tour guides are similar to my previous experience.
As far as other things on the trip, I found the Grand Palace Hotel to be lacking in consistent attentiveness of the staff. Some of the staff (mostly the younger staff members) were quite good, but others could not have cared less about the guests. Hotel Petra Moon was quite decent and the location was excellent. Ramada Dead Sea scheduled a rather loud and late event that was very much of a sound intrusion (read, no way of sleeping through it), but once I finally reached the manager on duty, I was able to get my room changed. The time spent at the Rahayeb Desert Camp was a highlight, but it is in the desert and there is not air conditioning in the tents (or anywhere else), which is just something of which to be aware. Due to Ramadan, we were not able to get into the National Museum in Amman, and the CEO was able to substitute a visit to Little Petra for us. I am very appreciative of this and would strongly encourage G Adventures to figure out how to make Little Petra a part of the regular itinerary. The time spent at the various locations was adequate, or at least as adequate as the number of days in the trip would allow. If I had it to do again, I would have figured out how to add a second day at Petra. But that is a me thing, and nothing against G Adventures. There was one shopping stop during the trip. I know that many organized tours have way too many "merchandise opportunities" so I am grateful that there was only the one stop, which was of a reasonable length and was at a location that helped the local people in Jordan. I am not much of a person for local foods, so I brought a good amount of things in my suitcase and kept myself fed well enough. While the taste of local cuisine is truly appreciated by most people on an organized tour, I did wish that there were a few more choices that would meet my palate.
If anyone is doing the Explore Jordan trip, I would encourage them to get into Amman a bit early so that they can add a tour of the so-called "Desert Castles." They are the main sites in Jordan (except Kerak Castle) that are not part of the Explore Jordan tour. It only takes about 6 hours to do, and is well worth it. The tour does not include the Roman Theater either, and it is also worth a look if time allows. But you will get a good view of the Roman Theater from above when the tour goes to the Citadel, so you will not feel cheated for not visiting it. Jordan exists in a tough neighborhood of the world, but I found the Jordanian people to be good folks and felt safe most of the time that I was there. As with anything today, you always need to be careful, but I would not avoid visiting Jordan because of the wars in a couple of its neighboring countries (but keep aware of events after I write this review, as things can change quickly). An upside for those visiting Jordan today is that, because of the state of that corner of the world, tourism numbers as very depressed. That means for someone visiting Jordan, there is not the crush of tourists that you would find elsewhere.
From start to finish the trip was excellent..The Tour operater G Adventures was fabulous..Our guide was the best ..He did everything for us..Will definitely book with you guys again
One of the best tours I ever had. Thank you,
Small group, great activities, mix of culture, history, fiesta, varied food, hotel was very nice, great breakfasts, good location in city center, When we changed planes in Mexico City we had to get luggage and go on sky train to get tickets on AeroMexico recheck luggage and had difficulty finding good directions to do this. It took quite a while and help from fellow tourists. Never had to do this in traveling all over the world.
I've been traveling with g adventures, but in this specific trip I had problem with my room/roommate. I had an 23 hr flight from San Francisco to Budapest. I arrived in Budapest at 1am. By that time all I wanted is to get to my bed and get some sleep. But for some reason there was another person sleeping in my bed when I got to my room. The CEO of g adventures said this 2 people can't room together already but they decided to do it anyway. So I was left with no bed. I had to wake the CEO and had him to talk to my roommate and get that person out of my bed. Then I have to ask for clean sheets which the hotel didn't have. So we had to get the some sheets. From where that guy is supposed to be sleeping and then I had to do my own bed.
By choosing G Adventures, the service and the hassle free is above exceptional.
G Adventures offered us a comprehensive tour that covered everything we wanted to see.
Excellent guide and good value.
My whole experience was beyond my expectation. Our tour guide made my experience to Japan most memorable. It was the best way to experience Japan in a small size group tour. Thanks for your constant dedication to each and everyone in the group. Thank you for the unforgetable experience, for answering our questions, accommodating our concerns, and for making us feel at home just by being around you. You are such a great guide and we are so greatful GAdventure chose you for our group.
It was a great trip! The tour director was very helpful. Though the accommodations could have a little bit better.
Certainly enjpyed this tour of G Adventures.
I am very thankful to the agent for helping me in deciding to go with G Adventures, my first time with them. Was a bit hesitant at first but the agent said G Adventures groups are smaller, and cost is less expensive. I went with her advice and am very happy with this decision. I had a blast in Peru and loved the entire experience with G adventures.
It's simple: You refer your friends, family, and anyone to us and when they book you will receive an American Express gift card worth up to $200 in the mail for simply referring.Read More