Whilst providing an ecstatic injection of much needed Vitamin D, Andalucía promises a whole lot more than a Spanish sun trap. Expect intrigue, adventure and raw beauty.Comprising of eight unique provinces, Andalucía spans west to east from the Atlantic Ocean to the popular Costa del Sol on the Mediterranean Sea. Famed for its indulgent climate and coastal appeal, the region can’t deny its fair share of sun, sea and sand, but what is often neglected to mention is the region’s immense variety. Andalucía refuses to be written off as just another Spanish tanning spot, and we implore you to discover the unique fingerprint of its enigmatic interior.Andalucía is poised at the southern-most tip of the Iberian Peninsula, and enacts a gateway between the European and African continents. As a cultural crossroad, the region harbours a myriad of influences that speak of the layers of civilisation that have roamed and inhabited the land, from the Romans to the Moors. Roam the countryside, awash with lush Mediterranean vegetation; enjoy the visual delights of aromatic rosemary shrubs, olive orchards, the delicate pink and white buds of Almond trees, and the bold glow of the native citrus fruits. This rich plunder is sure to find its way to the dinner table, including the region’s indulgent ‘liquid gold’ olive oil, a staple of Mediterranean diet.Don’t miss Córdoba, a World Heritage Site and former centre of Muslim control during Andalucía’s colonisation by the Islamic Empire. At Córdoba’s heart is the astounding Mezquita de Córdoba, a mediaeval mosque-turned-Catholic cathedral, with its endless Moorish arches, columns and glinting tiles of vibrant hues. Other highlights include the fascinating Jewish quarter and Roman ruins galore.Next is Granada, where Islamic rule endured the longest and the magical Alhambra remains as a monument to this legacy. A 9th century palace fortress, it guards over the city from an elevated crag amongst vast, aromatic gardens. To the west, on the peaceful plains of River Guadalquivir, Seville quietly awaits discovery along with its three World Heritage Sites: the Alcázar palace, the gothic Cathedral and the General Archive of the Indies. Even experience the heady atmosphere of the vast baroque bullfighting arena of Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza. But if this isn't to your taste, make sure to witness one Andalucían tradition in situ: the seductive art of flamenco. There’s no better tonic to enliven your holiday – and we dare you to participate. Alluring, passionate and cathartic, it’s easy to understand how this gypsy tradition has become one of the most familiar emblems of Spanish culture.From Columbus’ Huelva to the deserts of Almeria, from the rocky Sierra Morena down to the cultural anomaly that is Gibraltar, scratch the surface of Andalucía’s sun and sea appeal and be surprised by the depth and diversity you discover.Below is a Spanish rail holiday that allows visitors to experience the best that Andalucia has to offer.Find out more about luxury holidays to AndalucíaRail holiday to Madrid and AndalucíaBegin your rail holiday by flying into Madrid, where you spend your first night. From here, travel by train to and between three of Andalucia’s great cities: Seville, Cordoba and Granada. These cities are home to medieval Islamic architecture, tapas, bullfighting and flamenco. Train travel between the cities is fast and comfortable allowing you to make the most of your time and enjoy the view in the process. We include a number of excursions in your rail holiday to help you get the best out of your visit to this exciting region.Day oneFly from London to Madrid, where you spend one night. You have most of the day to explore the city with its many attractive plaza and museums. Day twoLeaving Madrid at 9am, travel in first class by Altaria train in Granada, nestled at the edge of the mountains of the Sierra Nevada, at around 1.30pm. Spend two nights in Granada.Granada is one of Spain’s most fascinating cities. The Sierra Nevada and its wooded slopes form the backdrop. The Alhambra is the key attraction – it started as a 9th century fortress and over successive centuries was changed and added to with palaces, mosques and churches. It is now a UNESCO world heritage site.Day threeA shared tour of the Alhambra is included, this includes visits to the Royal Palaces, Gardens and Carlos V’s Palace. You have the rest of the day at leisure to explore Granada.An Authentic Andalusian Flamenco show is included.Day fourLeaving Granada at 9am and take the train to Cordoba arriving just over two hours later.Cordoba is set on the Guadalquivir River at the heart of rural Andalucia. The city has beautiful winding lanes, many historical attractions, restaurants and nightlife. From mid-April to mid-June the city is full of flowers.Day fiveA shared tour is included to Cordoba's mosque – the largest Islamic structure in Western Europe and a UNESCO protected site. The remainder of the day is at leisure to explore Cordoba.A romantic “Caliphal” dinner is included - served in the intimate ambiance of the Senzone restaurant. Starters: an exclusive selection of Tapas. Main Course: a tasting menu of typical Andalusian dishes. Dessert, coffee and mineral water included. Wine and other alcoholic beverages are not included.Day sixTravel by high speed train from Cordoba, leaving mid-morning and arriving into Seville 45 minutes later. Spend two nights in Seville, the capital of Andalucia and Spain’s fourth largest city. The centre is formed of a maze of narrow lanes and hidden plazas. Key attractions of Seville are its art and architecture which includes Roman, Islamic, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque influences. Flamenco is very important in this city.Day sevenA two and a half hour shared guided tour of Seville is included. This visits the main sights of the Barrio de Santa Cruz. The remainder of the day is at leisure to explore Seville.A introductory presentation on Iberian ham and ham cutting is included.Day eightFly from Seville back to London (other airports are also possible).Alternatively, it is possible to return to the UK by train – please ask for details.Prices from £1,300 per person based on two sharing a double or twin room.Find out more about this rail holiday.
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