Charming Cities of Andalucia by First Class Rail
Prices from £1,375 per person
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Situated in southern Spain, fabulous Andalucia is a treasure trove of cultural, architectural and natural beauty. Experience the fabulously diverse cities of Seville, Granada and Cordoba on this wonderful 11 night / 12 day tour of Andalucia. Your journey takes you to sunny Seville, capital of flamenco and home to the heavenly Alcazar, before you continue to Granada, set against the dramatic setting of the Alhambra with the stunning backdrop of the Sierra Nevada. Your tour also takes in medieval Cordoba, with its magnificent Mezquita and charming bodegas.
Having travelled via the dynamic French city of Marseille, you return via Avignon, one of the jewels of Provence, before your journey home to London on daytime trains.
11 night / 12 day holiday by First Class rail on daytime trains, from £1,375 per person (based on two people sharing)
Day 1 – London to Marseille
Your holiday begins as you enter the beautifully restored London St. Pancras International Station; take the time to admire the stunning glass roof. Then sit back, relax and watch the countryside glide past as you travel by Eurostar through France and onto Marseille at speeds of up to 186mph. Enjoy the light meal and drinks served on board in your Standard Premier service (Eurostar’s 1st class for leisure travellers). On arrival make your own way on foot or by taxi to your overnight hotel, the stylish, highly-rated Grand Hotel Beauvau (4 star), a charming and smart hotel located in the heart of Marseille just off the fabulous Vieux Port.
Day 2 – Marseille to Seville via Madrid
Today you bid farewell to Marseille as you return to the station and take the train into Spain, bound for Madrid. Here you change trains and continue to the fabulous city of Seville. Bathed in sunshine for much of the year, Seville is a lively, energetic city home to a myriad of historical layers and magnificent cultural landmarks. Your base for the next three nights is the welcoming, highly-rated Hotel Becquer (4 star).
Days 3 & 4 – At leisure in Seville
With two full days to explore Seville, you will want to make the most of the many and varied options available to you in this delightful city. Why not climb the Giralda (bell tower) and gaze down on the buzzing city beneath, taking in the barrios and the Seville of Bizet’s Carmen across the River Guadalquivir? Explore the elaborate Arabic designs and outrageous rococo ornamentation that make up the Mudejár Spanish mélange of Seville’s Royal Palace, or Alcázar, and be sure to visit the delightful gardens too. Then head for the awe-inspiring gothic cathedral which took a whole century to build, and is the final resting place of noted explorer Christopher Columbus. You could also stroll through the characterful courtyards and narrow alleys of the ancient Jewish quarter of Santa Cruz, and round off your evenings at one of Seville’s wonderful tapas bars.
Day 5 – Eastwards across Andalucia to Granada
Today after breakfast make your way back to Seville’s Santa Justa station. Here you join the regional train (Standard Class) for the journey eastwards to the Moorish-influenced city of Granada where you arrive in the afternoon in time for a short siesta.
Make your own way to your hotel for the next three nights, the stylish and highly-rated Suites Gran Via 44 (4 star). This evening why not head to one of Granada’s wonderful tapas bars and delight in the intoxicating atmosphere and taste some of the flavours of Spain? Or you may wish to take an early evening stroll through the meandering streets of the Albaycin, to see the view of the Alhambra Palace, which is most wonderful at sunset, when it takes on a warm, slightly reddish tone. Night-time views are also impressive, with the Alhambra completely illuminated. Musicians and vendors add to the liveliness of the scene.
Days 6 & 7 – Granada and the Alhambra Palace
You have two full days in Granada so why not start early to enjoy the spectacular view of the sun coming up over the Alhambra Palace? If you set off early you can make the most of your time to visit the stunning Moorish palace and its luscious gardens. Perhaps one of the most photographed sites in Andalucia, the Alhambra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will also have time to explore some of the interesting quarters of Granada during your stay, or you may even want to take a trip to visit some of the beautiful pueblos blancos (white villages) in the surrounding Alpujarras area or head into the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Day 8 – Granada to Cordoba
Today you bid farewell to Granada, as you return to the station and take the regional service (Standard Class) to Antequera. Here you change trains and continue (in Standard Class) to nearby Cordoba. On arrival in Cordoba make your own way to your hotel for the next three nights, the comfortable and attractive Las Casas de la Juderia (4 star). This afternoon you might like to visit the palace of the Christian Kings, the Alcazar, with its luxuriant gardens of courtyards, fountains and water terraces, combined with colourful flowers, palm trees and orange groves.
Days 9 & 10 – Exploring Cordoba
You have two full days to explore the compact city of Cordoba. Among many highlights is the world’s 3rd largest mosque, the Mezquita, a mystical, beautiful building, with simply stunning interiors, including a ‘forest’ of more than eight hundred red and white striped columns and arches. Take time to explore Cordoba’s countless plazas and courtyards hidden along narrow streets.
Day 11 – Cordoba to Avignon
Today you leave Cordoba and take the high-speed rail service north to Madrid. In the Spanish capital you change trains and continue on the TGV service into France, skirting the French Mediterranean coast before arriving in pretty Avignon. On arrival into Avignon make your own way to the centrally located Hotel de l’Horloge (4 star), where you spend tonight.
Day 12 – Homeward bound
After breakfast at the hotel, perhaps take the chance to visit the fascinating walled town of Avignon and admire its UNESCO-listed core. Then make your way to Avignon TGV station, where you join the Eurostar service travelling directly to London. Sit back and relax as your high-speed train whisks you virtually the entire length of France and across the Kent countryside. Take time to reflect on the magnificent sights, sounds and tastes you have enjoyed on your holiday before your arrival into London St. Pancras station, for the final stage of your journey home.