Southern Spain holds two impossibly romantic cities: Granada, with the extraordinary Alhambra Palace, and passionate Sevilla, home of flamenco and bullfighting. Linking these cultural capitals, we’ve created a hiking journey that weaves through the tranquil pueblos blancos (whitewashed village) of Andalucia, with their fascinating Iberian, Roman, and Moorish heritage. We begin with hikes among the intriguing hamlets of the Alpujarras foothills, each with its own cobbled square and ancient Moorish irrigation channels, and our westward arc brings us to atmospheric Grazalema, surrounded by the cork oak forests of the Sierra de Grazalema. All along the way, we’ll savor the unique pace of life in Spanish mountain villages and sample delightful Andalucian specialties, including famed jamón ibérico and tangy sheep cheeses, a regional specialty.
This was a great adventure. Loved the idea that we had two nights in each place, which make packing and unpacking quite easy. Good choices of hotels...more food then we could ever eat! Great blend of hikes and cultural stops (pre-historic cave, city tours, even the horse and carriage ride.)
— Bruce W., Essex, CT
Granada / Las Alpujarras / Poqueira Gorge / La Taha de Pitres
Explore the Moorish fortress palace of the Alhambra, an unforgettable city unto itself, then head to Las Alpujarras to hike between flat-roofed Moorish-style villages set amid terraced almond, orange, and olive groves. Water works its magic everywhere in these villages—the sounds of bubbling springs and fountains fill the air. Our hike through the Poqueira Gorge brings you past ancient chestnut trees and isolated cortijos (farmhouses) with their herds of sheep and goats, with marvelous views of snowy Mt. Mulhacen as a backdrop. Another hike brings us through La Taha de Pitres, seven linked villages that offer a wonderful glimpse of hidden Spain. While based in the charming village of Capileira, we'll enjoy a private flamenco performance.
Our hotel in Ronda, the Parador de Ronda, is set right over the river gorge. Our explorations include the arched colonnades of Spain’s very first bullring, a visit to a ganaderia (bull ranch) that belongs to a professional matador, and a hike to the troglodyte village of Sentinil de la Bodegas. While we’re in Ronda, you can try some typical local Rondeño cuisine, such as rabo de toro (oxtail stew).
Sierra de Grazalema
Sierra de Grazalema National Park shelters majestic cork oak and fir trees along with a dozen of Spain’s traditional villages. One special hike brings you from the whitewashed village of Benaojan, hidden among high peaks, through the canyon of the Río Guadiaro to the hamlet of Jimera de Libar.
In elegant Sevilla, city of artists, poets, jasmine-scented gardens, you'll explore the sublime Alcazar, a World Heritage palace complex dating back to Moorish times, and enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride through the Parque de Maria Luisa, one of Europe’s loveliest city parks, with its palms, orange trees, ponds, and pavilions, and the Plaza de Espana—an elegant and romantic way to see these sites in style! Depart on Day 9.