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  • The Hidden Charms of Andalucia

    Coastline near Vejer de la Frontera

    View from Hotel V...

    Parador de Ronda

    Parador de Ronda

    Parador de Ronda

    Vejer de la Frontera

    Hotel V...

    Hotel V...

    Duque de Najera

    Duque de Najera

    Rota Beach

    Hacienda de San Rafael

    Hacienda de San Rafael

    Hacienda de San Rafael

    Hacienda de San Rafael

    The Hidden Charms of Andalucia

    Fly-drive – 9 nights/ 10 days
    Enjoy a nine-night fly-drive tour of four charming Andalucian destinations, which allows you to explore the region at your leisure, uncovering the treasures of the local culture as you go. Stay in a historic Parador beside the breath-taking natural beauty of Ronda, in a chic converted 17th Century building in Vejer de la Frontera, in an idyllic seaside resort overlooking the Bay of Cadiz in Rota, and finally in a country estate amidst the verdant landscape just outside Seville.

    Begin your luxury tour of one of Spain’s most iconic regions with your arrival into Malaga. After collecting your hire car, leave this cosmopolitan town behind as you venture into the rural landscape of inland Andalucia. Stay for two nights in a historic Parador hotel beside the breath-taking natural beauty of Ronda and the dramatic El Tajo gorge. Then, move on past turquoise lakes and the rolling hills of National Parks to a chic converted 17th Century building in Vejer de la Frontera, another of Andalucia’s Pueblos Blancos. Spend two nights at Hotel V…, exploring the cities nearby, and enjoying the beaches of the Costa de la Luz. Travel past the home of sherry, Jerez, to the Duque de Najera, an idyllic seaside resort overlooking the Bay of Cadiz in Rota. Finally, spend three nights the Hacienda de San Rafael country estate amidst the verdant landscape just outside the historic and cultural city of Seville. After exploring the natural and historic hidden charms of Andalucia, drive back to Malaga for your return flight to the UK.
    Click here to download a pdf with details about this touring holiday.

    Prices start at £1,860 per person.

    What’s included:
    • Scheduled flights with British Airways, from London Gatwick to Málaga return. Flights from other UK airports can be arranged.
    • Group C car hire for eight days
    • 2 nights bed and breakfast in a standard double room at the Parador de Ronda in Ronda
    • 2 nights bed and breakfast in a standard double room at Hotel V... in Vejer de la Frontera
    • 2 nights bed and breakfast in a standard double room at the Duque de Najera in Rota
    • 3 nights bed and breakfast at the Hacienda de San Rafael near Seville

    Click the tabs above to view our suggested day-by-day touring itinerary and to find out more about the hotels featured.
    Click here to find out more about how our touring holidays work.

    Hidden Charms of Andalucia

    Day-by-Day Itinerary

    DAY ONE: Arrive in Malaga and drive northwest to Ronda

    Begin your touring holiday by flying into Malaga airport, collecting a hire-car and driving approximately one and a half hours’ west to your first destination, Ronda, where you will spend two nights. Situated on the edge of the dramatic El Tajo gorge, which separates the old town from the new, the Parador de Ronda is the former Town Hall of this mountaintop town. Bedrooms and terraces have magnificent views out across the gorge, the Andalucian countryside, and the Puente Nuevo, a bridge of incredible stature.

    DAY TWO: Ronda
    On your second day, explore the captivating town of Ronda, appreciating the glorious scenery that comes with its situation. Perhaps visit the bullfighting museum on the Plaza del Toros, the art museum in the 16th Century cloistered convent, the water gardens of the Palacio Mondragón, the famous atmospheric Arabic Baths, or the tree-lined Plaza Duquesa de Parcent. Outside the town, you may wish to follow the rocky trail of the Guadalevin River, or hike over the Sierra de la Nieves Mountains, or bask in the beauty of the Zahara-El Gastor Reservoir. Its turquoise water is lined with surreal green rolling hills. This first stop on the tour, in one of Spain’s famous Pueblos Blancos, is a pocket of natural and historic beauty that cannot be missed when in Andalucia.

    DAY THREE: Drive west past lakes and countryside to Vejer de la Frontera

    Your second stop on this tour of Andalucia is situated on the other side of two National Parks, which makes for a beautiful scenic drive on day three. Vejer de la Frontera is another of Andalucia’s Pueblo Blancos, comprised of white-washed houses, cobbled streets, and spectacular views of both countryside and sea. Spend two nights at Hotel V..., a boutique hotel set within a 17th Century residence that occupies an elevated position with unrivalled views of the town.

    DAY FOUR: Vejer
    Begin your day with the understated charms of Vejer de la Frontera, following the old-world castle wall, and seeking out such gems as the Arco de Segur and the Iglesia del Divino Salvador. If time permits, you may wish to venture further out into the Cadiz region. Within easy reach of your hotel are the golden beaches of the Costa de la Luz and the peninsula of Gibraltar with its famous monkeys. To see more of Andalucian towns, the city of Cadiz, oldest in Europe, is close by. The white-fronted Cadiz Cathedral blends neoclassical, rococo, and baroque architectural elements, with a grand and radiant effect. Cadiz also offers beautiful golden beaches, castles, and a Roman theatre. For more specialist cultural experiences, Jerez de la Frontera is the home of sherry, and has numerous sherry bodegas open for tasting sessions. It is also the home of the Royal School of Equestrian Art.

    DAY FIVE: Drive north to Rota for your next two nights

    Leave Vejer de la Frontera on your fifth day and drive north around the Bay of Cadiz to Rota, a beautiful, traditional town that has as yet evaded commercial tourism. Spend the next two nights at the Duque de Najera, a peach-coloured property that curves around the corner of the town, creating its own oasis between civilisation and the sea.

    DAY SIX: Rota
    Spend your sixth day exploring this traditionally Spanish seaside town and its historic, almost mediaeval, centre. Wander down the streets, past the harbor, churches, and palaces before relaxing on one of the many excellent golden beaches that border the town. Less than a minute from the hotel is one particular stretch of golden sand, lined with a tiled promenade that is very quintessentially Spanish, which curves around the Puerto Astaroth. For a taste of local life, pay a visit to the town’s fish market at Pesquero Astaroth, the most famous in the region, or dip in and out of the quaint shops. You may wish to use today to visit Cadiz, if you did not get the chance in Vejer de la Frontera. One of the greatest pleasures of Rota may come with sitting in a small café or bar, watching the laid-back Spanish world go by, whilst sampling some tapas and sipping either a coffee or a local gin or wine. In the evenings, dine on the blend of Arabic and Spanish cuisine left behind after Moorish rule.

    DAYS SEVEN: From Rota, head towards Seville, just outside of which sits your final hotel
    Your final stay on this touring holiday is near the great city of Seville. The Hacienda de San Rafael sits just over an hour’s drive north of Rota, and has the leafy appearance of an idyllic rural retreat.

    This colourful country estate is the perfect base from which to explore the bustling town of Seville, home to the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, with an iconic bell tower and several Moorish towers, including La Giralda. The historic Triana quarter is also worth taking the time to visit, as you observe the change in Roman, Islamic, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque architecture. The best Seville sights may well be the Alcazar de Seville, which blends Moorish design with Renaissance in a series of serene courtyards lined with elaborate keyhole archways, and the grand Plaza de Espana. This landmark square is popular because of the vast oval of water that surrounds the centerpiece, and the traditional ceramic tiles. Perhaps visit the horse-drawn carriages of the romantic Maria Luisa Park, which is dotted with ponds and small pavilions. Otherwise, lay back and enjoy the luxury facilities of your hotel, with the sensational backdrop of the Bay of Cadiz.

    DAY TEN: Return to Malaga for your flight home
    After nine nights in Spain, return to Malaga for your flight back to the UK, perhaps leaving enough time to promenade along one of Malaga’s beautiful beaches.

    Driving times for this touring holiday:
    Malaga to Ronda: 1 hour 25 minutes
    Ronda to Vejer de la Frontera: 2 hours 5 minutes
    Vejer de la Frontera to Rota: 1 hour
    Rota to Seville: 1 hour
    Seville to Malaga: 2 hours 20 minutes

    Click the 'Hotel Information' tab to find out more about the hotels featured in this touring itinerary.

    Hidden Charms of Andalucia 3 17 Mar 16

    Hotel Information

    These are the luxury historic hotels that are featured in this Andalucian touring holiday. Alternative hotels are available in some destinations – please contact us for full details.

    Parador de Ronda

    On the very edge of the city, the four-star Parador de Ronda enjoys a spectacularly dramatic location on a promontory that gives way to the ravine of River Tagus. With the city’s bullring to one side and the iconic Puente Nuevo on the other, this is a setting of cultural significance as well as extreme natural beauty. The structure itself – a former town hall building – shows a multitude of architectural influences, but from its entrance off Plaza Espana, its origins are no surprise. There is a formality about this side of the property, yet breach this façade and towards the rear of the property you will find architecture with a more contemporary Mediterranean style. Amid manicured lawns, gently sloped orange roofing and an ivy-clad façade mean that, despite the hotel’s size and location, it by no means sacrifices a sense of Spanish charm. Away from the bustle of the plaza, the grounds beside the ravine’s sheer edge are your own private corner of Ronda, where exquisite views accompany poolside relaxation. A leisurely ease continues to reverberate through the hotel; elegant and sophisticated, the interiors are furnished with antique furniture beside modern tapestries and contemporary fixtures. This is also true of guestrooms which, no matter where the room is located, guarantee superb views in all directions. The dining room promises a hearty menu of meats, game and seafood, which is informed by the cuisines of the Mediterranean and the mountains of Cadiz, but for light snacks and beverages the café with its terrace is an excellent venue.
    Find out more here.

    Hotel V...
    Vejer de la Frontera
    Within one of Andalucia’s charming Pueblos Blancos, Hotel V… is a vision of simplicity in the whitewashed village of Vejer de la Frontera. From the most elevated position in the village, the hotel benefits from unrivalled views over orange-hued rooftops, across vast swathes of patchwork agricultural land to the glistening Gibraltar Strait. At this former 17th century Spanish residence, a true sense of history resonates among the minimalist architecture, yet its refurbishment before opening in 2008 saw new life breathed into its time-worn walls. The boutique offering of just 12 rooms and one suite aims not to spoil the quiet of the village, and it is apparent that style and comfort is prioritised at every turn. Time-old features sit beside contemporary installations, with Portuguese furniture in teak and rosewood adding a touch of romance. Each room holds the right measure of tradition to feel at home within the setting. Elsewhere, intimate courtyards are enclosed hideaways for two, while a fabulous rooftop terrace embraces the open air with expansive countryside views. The Jacuzzi here is an exclusive spot for a glass of champagne, while Ayurvedic spa treatments are available in the privacy of your room. The final touch is Annie B’s Spanish Kitchen, a well-established cooking school that offers day classes for all ages and abilities on Spanish cuisine, wine and sherry. Coastal and cultural attractions are within striking distance, making Hotel V… an alternative base for an authentic Andalucian holiday. Private parties are able to rent the hotel as a private residence.
    Find out more here.

    Duque de Najera
    The four star Duque de Najera hotel juts out into the waters of the Bay of Cadiz. This luxury hotel was built in a contemporary style, but with traditional features that give it the air of a traditional Spanish villa. The Duque de Najera and the town of Rota provide the perfect base for long beach holidays or work as part of a self-guided tour of Andalucia. The cities of Granada, Seville, Gibraltar, Ronda, Marbella, and Estepona are close by. The curved shape of the hotel building serves to separate its guests from the hubbub of the town, preserving an idyllic bubble of peace and tranquillity. Returning to this interesting town takes, however, just a minute’s walk. Inside the ochre-orange exterior, 92 rooms are decorated in soothing neutral colours that mimic the browns and blues of the beach, and serve to bring the revitalising properties of the sea inside. Sea view rooms have balconies on which you can enjoy the refreshing sea breeze, and in the hotel suites, these balconies are panoramic. The design of the hotel and the intense comfort of its facilities reflect the owner’s commitment to ‘Talasoplaya,’ the health, beauty, and wellness benefits of the sea, which he hopes will be passed on to each of his guests after their stay at this seafront hotel. The El Embarcadero Tapas Bar and Restaurant serves exquisite Mediterranean food a la carte, particularly seafood and fish. The dining room has recently been refurbished to high modern standards, and has a terrace overlooking the Bay of Cadiz on which you can combine this excellent food with equally excellent views. The Chill Out Dos Lunas is a terrace which overlooks Rota Beach and serves as the perfect atmospheric setting for relaxed after-dinner drinks. Spend your days enjoying the semi-circular pool and accompanying loungers, and the diverse culture of Rota: seeking out the architecture attributed to Tartessos, Roman, Arabic, and Christian settlers, and enjoying the castle, many churches, and the remains of the convent. The Duque de Najera and Rota’s position on the Bay of Cadiz means that, with the use of your hire car, you are at your leisure to explore this lovely part of Andalucia. Spend a few hours in Cadiz, enjoying its vast history, particularly the Cathedral and the Castle of San Sebastian, or travel further south to Gibraltar. Either upon arrival, or on your departure day, perhaps take the time to enjoy the sights of Seville. With so much on your doorstep, a stay at the Duque de Najera, long or short, is ideal for getting better acquainted with the culture, history, and natural beauty of Andalucia.
    Find out more here.

    Hacienda de San Rafael

    Las Cabezas de San Juan
    Situated on a former olive estate, the converted agricultural buildings of Hacienda de San Rafael at first appear modest upon approach via a long, dusty driveway surrounded by miles of fields. But when you breach the façade, the magic and charm of this authentic hacienda overwhelms. Step into the inner courtyard, where vibrant pink bougainvillea blossom lines the sun-bleached cobblestones and make way for special al fresco dinners. By evening this space is transformed by candle light into a romantic restaurant serving Mediterranean dishes comprising only local, seasonal produce – much taken fresh from the hotel’s own vegetable garden. The interiors of this 18th century property are cosy and rustic, with beamed ceilings overhead and age-old tiled floors underfoot. The main sitting room is warmed by a log fire and an eclectic arrangement of plush sofas and arm chairs embrace the style of the countrified location. Of the 18 guestrooms, the hacienda’s 11 deluxe rooms face the inner courtyard and consist of duplex spaces featuring wrought-iron spiral staircases. The design style is informal yet elegant thanks to the dominant use of dark wood to complement the pristine white walls. Each room extends onto a veranda where breakfast is served. Elsewhere, the three Casitas are much more spacious and refined, and have shared access to a private infinity pool. There are two other swimming pools scattered within Hacienda de San Rafael’s five-acre grounds, and other facilities include Lazy Buddah massage and yoga, a paddel tennis court, and private tours and treks are operated by the hotel.
    Find out more here.

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