Proposed Itinerary: A seven night tour around Southern Spain.
From Seville to Doñana & Granada to Gibraltar.
Day 1: Arrival at your airport and transfer by AVE high-speed train to Seville, then on to our hotel for the next two nights at El Rocio, a magical place where you will feel like you have stepped back in time to the days of old Spain, at the heart of Donana National Park, a World Heritage Site. The streets of El Rocio are mainly sand covered and the village is adjacent to a lake that features many bird species and mammals including Red deer.
Day 2: Early morning drive for bird-watching and the chance to see Iberian Lynx (Lynx pardinus) in Donana. Lunch at one of the park's visitors centres. We will see the beautiful Azure-winged Magpies and many other birds. Following this we'll spend the afternoon at various bird hides and other areas of Donana, including the sand dunes at Matalscanas and the woodlands at Acebuche. Lynx are also possible at many locations around the park.
Day 3: To Seville, where we'll visit three World Heritage Sites, the fabulous Cathedral boasting the Giralda bell tower, from where we will have commanding views of the entire city, the Alcazar Royal Palace, a feast of Moorish architecture and design set in its expansive and luscious gardens and the Archivo de Indias. Then we will pass by the Plaza De Espana before boarding a boat to see the delights of the city from the Guadalquivir River. Next we drive on to the beautiful town of Ronda our base for the next two days. We will explore the old town with its many historical buildings. Then down into the one hundred and twenty metre gorge that divides Ronda old town from new.
Our minibus will bring us back up to the town.
Day 4: We will drive down through the foothills of the Sierra Grazalema and Sierra Bermeja mountains to Gibraltar. On arrival we will take a tour of 'The Rock' to visit the many caves and take in views of the Spanish coast. The famous Barbary macaques will no doubt take an interest in us so there will be plenty of opportunities to photograph them. In the afternoon we will sail out into the Bay of Gibraltar to look for Dolphins and hopefully Whales.
Then we take a short walk around the town with the chance for souvenir shopping before returning to Ronda.
Day 5: Travel to Antequera 'The Heart of Andalucia' where we will visit the El Torcal Nature Reserve to see the extremely unusual limestone rock formations, There is a visitors centre for those who wish to learn more about the geology on the site and after that we will look for some of the thirty different orchids that grow here and maybe have an opportunity to see Iberian Ibex (Capra pyrenaica) Then we will continue on to Granada where we will spend the next two nights.
Day 6: This whole day is dedicated to visiting another World Heritage Site, the Alhambra. A palace and fortress complex of quadrangles, built over many years and showing the best of early and late European Moorish architectural techniques. You will be free to wander at leisure around its extensive grounds and buildings. Described as 'a pearl set in emeralds' because of its location within a forested area. Successive Muslim leaders added newer and more elaborately designed elements throughout their reigns based on the principal of 'Paradise on Earth' I am sure that after spending a day here you will agree that many of them almost achieved their dreams.
Day 7: We head to Cordoba to visit the Old Town and the Mosque-Cathedral, the last of our World Heritage Sites. Noted for its arcaded hall featuring eight hundred and fifty six columns of marble, onyx, granite and jasper the Cathedral is considered the pinnacle of Moorish engineering. Leaving the city by AVE high-speed train and arriving at your hotel in Madrid in the evening.
Day 8: Early morning airport transfer for your flight home.