A guided approach to the origin of Islam in Iberia: Al-Andalus. A story of unity vs division and dispersion, the Golden Age of Islam in Europe, it's height and downfall. We start out this tour at Madrid, the capital of modern Spain, moving straight into our historical narration by staying at Toledo, Medieval capital of Iberia, 'mosaic' and 'bridge' between the three main cultures & religious traditions in Al-Andalus. After Toledo, we move south along the 'Route of Don Quixote', through Castilla La Mancha, to Andalusia while receiving an introductory summary of the history of Iberia, its origins, population and religious diversity, in Christian Spain before. As we move into Andalusia, we will also be shifting in time, to Al-Andalus. The tour will also present the deeper roots of Iberian tradition and the Moorish-Morris fusion into our modern time through the very words of reading our Spanish top literature master Miguel de Cervantes.
DAY 1. ARRIVAL TO MADRID INTRODUCTION TOUR
Our suggestion towards your first evening in Madrid is to enjoy a leisurely evening walk introducing, the Royal Palace square, Opera Square, Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol and free time by Gran Via of Madrid, before dinner nearby to your hotel in the city centre of Madrid.
DAY 2. MADRID HIGHLIGHTS TOUR
Starting out from Plaza de España as a reference, we invite you to discover some of the main ancient gates to the Medina of Maŷrīṭ, from Atocha to Prado Avenue, the Arts district, Castellana Street through Madrid's centre to Puerta de Alcalá and Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas until Real Madrid Football Club Stadium, Santiago Bernabeu. There is a range of shopping areas in the centre of Madrid, Serrano Street, by Plaza de Colón contains some of the most prestigious window shopping brands in the world. Shopping and leisure at your own choice, there is a range of optional activities we coffer provide through our 'City Guided Tours & Activity' section, as our favourite plans in Madrid.
DAY 3. FROM MADRID TO CÓRDOBA, VIA TOLEDO, ANCIENT CAPITAL OF IBERIA
This morning we start travelling South to Toledo, Capital of the Visigothic Kingdom in Iberia (pre-Muslim Spain). Welcome to the 'medina' or ancient town of Toledo. We will say goodbye to Toledo taking our last romantic looks at the city of Toledo, capital of former Castille, a flagstone in Spanish history and culture. Then we continue further South along the 'Route of Don Quixote', through Castilla La Mancha to Andalusia to reach Córdoba, the Umayyad Capital of Al-Andalus, by mid-afternoon. We will stop before reaching Cordoba at a roadside stop made for Muslim travellers, offering a generous and varied 3-course buffet meal and the prayer & resting facilities. In the afternoon we shall have our guided visit of the Umayyad Mosque of Cordoba. After we continue to Medinat Al-Zahra, the Caliph's court city palace's archaeological site, research and exhibition centre. After lunch, free time is given for any extra activities, rest, or shopping! There are three active mosques in Cordoba worth visiting and a marvellous opportunity to meet some local Muslims while touring around town.
Welcome Tour of the Historical Medina in Cordoba
The Ummayad Capital of Al-AndalusOur introductory walk in the most ancient areas of the medina of Cordoba is the quickest way to dig into the roots and essence of the city, before a more formal monumental approach which you may take later - including the Ummayad Mosque.
DAY 4. FROM CORDOBA TO SEVILLA, CAPITAL OF ANDALUSIA TODAY
Leaving the Umayyad Capital, our destination will be Seville, the Andalusian Capital of Almohad Empire (al-Muwaḥḥidūn). Today Seville triumphs as the capital of Andalusia. Seville is a city where we can witness the fusion of the Iberian paradox. Our guided visits in Seville's historical centre include the Alkasr Royal Palaces & Gardens, Cathedral of Seville which preserves the ablution courtyard & minaret from the ancient Almohad mosque. Our walk continues along the old Medina and city walls, Parque de Maria Luisa and Plaza de España.
After the visits, lunch & 'free time' at the afternoon. We suggest you enjoy walks or rides along the riverside until reach to 'Torre del Oro' and also by pedestrian city centre.
DAY 5. LET´S TO GRANADA, THE LAST MUSLIM KINGDOM OF ALANDALUS
In the next day, we will continue to Granada for an active program covering the fifth day of this trip.Upon arrival to Granada, we will check in to the accommodation chosen within the city centre or historical town. We have to visit two things in Granada, The Alhambra palace and the city.The guided visit to the Alhambra palatial town includes the Nasrid Palaces, Alkasaba fortress, Generalife summer palace & gardens, and the old medina of the Alhambra.
Includes:Tickets of monuments, yet not guaranteed until the booking confirmation is duly reached. Guide: Your guide will provide a historical account with insight into the different areas of the government city and Palaces of Alhambra. At the end of the tour you will have free choice to visit the fortress or ‘Alkasbah’ structure, and then to head down to town centre, at 10 minutes walking through the forest.In the visit of the city, we shall go to Albayzín Mosque at the Mirador de San Nicolás, most famous viewing point of Granada and the Alhambra palace, and walk down through the Albaicín exploring the wonderful alleys of the Medina of Granada. After a lunch break, we will walk down to the city centre visiting the 'souq' streets and the most historical points, and then you will have the afternoon free to make your own plans for shopping or extra optional activities in Granada. You may enjoy free time in the modern town which is a fusion of Souq markets, old alleyways, riverside and the active modern city appeals.
- *The order of the visits can be changed according to the visiting hour of the Alhambra
DAY 6. TRANSFER: GRANADA TO VALENCIA
Valencia introduction Tour will start at the Plaza de la Virgen, located in the centre of the city. From there you will visit some of the most important corners of the city such as the Palace of the Generalitat, the beautiful Cathedral of Santa María and the Turia Fountain. The next stop will be the famous bell tower of the Cathedral of Valencia, known as "El Miguelete"; In front of this emblematic tower, you will discover the stories and legends that surround this building. Then, you will dress 'La Lonja De La Seda', declared a World Heritage Site, and you will learn the importance that Valencia had for the trade of this precious fabric.
Crossing a single street, you will pass from the fifteenth century to the twentieth century, as you will reach the legendary Central Market of Valencia, located opposite the fish market. Built in 1914, it is one of the best examples of the Valencian modernist style and by entering the market you can learn about this artistic movement native to Valencia.
Then we have to visit the City of Arts and Sciences is located at the end of the old bed of the Turia River, a river that became a garden in the 1980s, after the river was diverted by the great flood of Valencia in 1957 It is, today, one of the biggest tourist attractions in the city of Valencia. In 2007, he was one of the winners of the contest 12 Treasures of Spain. It is currently one of the most important and spectacular modern art constructions in the world.
DAY 7. FROM VALENCIA TO BARCELONA
We shall continue our visits in Barcelona. In the morning we will visit the Montjuic, and from there to the ‘Sagrada Familia’, then we will walk in Barcelona’s City Central area of Plaza de Catalunya, through Ramblas street where shall take our lunch. In the afternoon we will visit take a City Tour from Plaza de España to Francesc Macia and From Diagonal Street to Paseo de Gracia, & Mercato Boqueria, leading up to the seafront Port Vell and La Barceloneta area where we will conclude our day.
DAY 8. DEPARTURE TRANSFER IN BARCELONA
The program on our final morning in Barcelona will depend upon your flight departure time. Departure is scheduled from Barcelona International Airport. BCN→ taxi/bus transfer Program on our final morning in Barcelona will depend upon your flight departure time.*Note: Please seek our advice upon extension plans, optional leisure activities, visits or available excursions to add on to this tour.