Camino with a Difference Tour CM 2017

Thursday 15 June – Thursday 29 June (15 days/16 nights*)
From Granada to Santander, Spain
2,950 Euros p/p twin share, 500 Euros single supplement

Mozarabe: Some houses in Granada

Camino Mozarabe: Some of Granada’s white houses

Our tour commences in the province of Andalucia in southern Spain. We explore the three medieval jewels of this fascinating region: Granada, Cordoba and Seville. Several side trips are included to: a) the captivating white washed mountain villages of the Alpujarras; b) dramatically sited Ronda situated high above the El Tajo gorge; and c) coastal Cadiz, reputed to be the oldest city in Europe. Travelling north beside the historic Via de la Plata through rugged Extremadura (birthplace of some of Spain’s most famous conquistadores) we visit Roman archeological sites in Merida and Caceres. Our onward journey takes us to Salamanca with its pioneering university; the strategic walled frontier city of Zamora; and Oviedo, cultural capital of Asturias. From here we visit the snow capped Picos de Europa and some of the prettiest towns along Spain’s north coast. Tour ends in Santillana del Mar and includes transport to Santander airport.

*N.B. The tour commences in Granada on the morning of Thursday 15 June. The tour price also includes accommodation in Granada on the night of Wednesday 14 June. Any additional accommodation provided pre or post tour will be costed separately.

Mozarabe: Views of Granada

Camino Mozarabe: Views of Granada

Day 1: Granada (Thursday 15 June)
Participants meet after breakfast to discuss tour logistics and are given an overview of the most significant historic events associated with this southern region. A short walk through the city centre provides a good introduction to the main sites that can be visited later at leisure. We take a guided tour of the Alhambra (#) an exquisite Islamic red fortress dating from the late 9th century that overlooks the city and visit the Palace of Carlos V with its beautiful Generalife Gardens. There’s plenty of free time to pursue personal interests. A group dinner and the melodious sound of Spanish guitar cap off a perfect day!
Accommodation: Granada. Meals: B. D.

Day 2: Granada (Friday 16 June)
Next morning we take a stroll through the charming cobbled alleyways and flower bedecked plazas of the Albaicin. Here one can experience the city’s Moorish ancestry at close hand. We visit the old Jewish and Arab quarters and from the top of the hillside are rewarded with a magical view from the Mirador de San Nicolas. In the afternoon there is free time to visit museums and art galleries, seek a bargain or simply enjoy the local hospitality and cuisine.
Accommodation: Granada. Meals: B.

Camino Mozarabe: A pathway through the white-washed houses in the Alpujarra

Camino Mozarabe: A pathway through the white-washed houses in the Alpujarra

Day 3: Las Alpujarras (Saturday 17 June)
Today our bus takes us on a day trip to explore some of the most the distinctive Moorish white villages of Las Alpujarras. We travel on the southern side of the snow-capped Sierra Nevada to Pampaneira, Bubion, Capileira and Trevelez. There’s a chance here to join in a vigorous (or leisurely!) mountain walk or simply to wander and soak up the atmosphere. On return to Granada there is time for some last minute sightseeing.
Accommodation: Granada. Meals: B.

Day 4: Ronda – Seville (Sunday 18 June)
After breakfast we leave Granada and head towards Seville, the quintessential Andalusian city. En route we visit the spectacular and strategically located town of Ronda. There’s time to walk beside the precipitous high cliffs that made this Islamic town impregnable to the invading Christian forces. Late afternoon we arrive at our destination beside the Rio Guadalquivir. Seville was once an important Roman port and capital of the Islamic kingdom. The city now boasts a rich cultural heritage including extraordinary architecture, fiery flamenco music and dance and fine art. Before dinner we take a stroll through Barrio Santa Cruz, the medieval Jewish quarter.
Accommodation: Seville. Meals: B.

Day 5: Seville (Monday 19 June)
This morning we take a guided tour of the much-celebrated Alcazar (#) that from the 11th century was home to numerous Muslim and Christian rulers. Within this intriguing complex we visit the Palacio of Don Pedro with its tranquil gardens. A visit to the magnificent Gothic Catholic Cathedral built on the site of a former mosque and the adjoining original Islamic minaret called La Giralda are highly recommended. After a siesta we head to Plaza de Espana with its magnificent architecture and colourful display of tiles that represent key events in the life of each Spanish region. A quiet stroll in the nearby, shady Parque Maria Luisa might appeal after such an active day.
Accommodation: Seville. Meals: B.

Day 6: Seville FREE DAY (Tuesday 20 June)
There is so much to see in Seville and it is likely that group members will have a variety of individual interests. Therefore we have allowed a full day for everyone to pursue their own agenda. Advice will be provided about sightseeing options. This includes walking through the traditional districts of Triana and La Macarena, visiting museums or the Achivo de Indias, or perhaps taking a tour of the historic tobacco factory or bullring. Tonight we are entertained at a Flamenco show followed by a Group Dinner.
Accommodation: Seville. Meals: B. D.

Mozarabe: Paza de España, Seville

Camino Mozarabe: Paza de España, Seville

Day 7: Cordoba (Wednesday 21 June)
Today we set off early on a day trip to Cordoba, former seat of the Islamic Caliphate. On the way we visit the once glorious 10th C. palace of the Caliph Abd al Rahman III. On arrival in Cordoba we take a tour of the 8th C. Mosque, the Mesquita (#) in the centre of which we find a 16th C. Catholic Cathedral. Its intricate Islamic architecture, comprising 850 granite, jasper and marble columns is truly awe-inspiring. In the afternoon there is an option to visit the magnificent palace-fortress of the Christian monarchs called the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos, the fascinating Museo Archeologico with pre-Islamic artefacts or to explore the historic Jewish Quarter with its 14th century Synagogue.
Accommodation: Seville. Meals: B.

Day 8: (Thursday 22 June)
For those looking for something different we take a daytrip to the coast to visit Cadiz said to be Europe’s oldest city and once occupied by Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans and Moors. On arrival participants can wander at leisure beside the attractive waterfront, explore museums and other places of interest in the old town. On the way back to Seville we stop in Jerez, the sherry capital of Spain, to sample local produce at one of the many bodegas (#). A closer half-day alternative that might appeal to some is to visit the archaeological site of the former Roman settlement of Italica, birthplace of the Emperor Trajan.
Accommodation: Seville. Meals: B.

Mozarabe: A courtyard in La Mezquita, Cordoba

Camino Mozarabe: A courtyard in La Mezquita, Cordoba

Day 9: Merida – Caceres (Friday 23 June)
Today we commence our 800km journey (spread over five days!) beside the historic 1st Century Roman road known as Via de la Plata. In the Middle Ages this route facilitated the Arab invasion northward and the subsequent passage of the re-conquering Christian troops. Mid morning we arrive in the small UNESCO World Heritage city of Merida with its well-preserved Roman amphitheatre, Puente Romano and Templo de Diana. Over the next few hours we explore this well-preserved archaeological site (#). Late afternoon we transfer to the neighbouring city of Caceres whose origins date to 25,000 B.C. In the evening there is time to stroll the atmospheric streets and to enjoy the hospitality at a lively bar in the central plaza, watching the world go.
Accommodation: Caceres. Meals: B.

Day 10: Caceres – Salamanca (Saturday 24 June)
In the morning we visit the historic sights of Caceres (#) which boasts a mix of Roman, Moorish, Gothic and Italian Renaissance architecture. We observe the countless minarets still standing from Muslim times and learn about the Golden Age of Jewish Culture. This 15th C. Renaissance town boasts many stately homes and palaces and was once home to wealthy merchants and aristocracy. In the afternoon we transfer to the UNESCO World Heritage city of Salamanca, site of the third oldest European university (founded 1134 A.D.) in continuous operation.
Accommodation: Salamanca. Meals: B.

Day 11: Salamanca – FREE DAY (Sunday 25 June)
With plenty to see in the historic centre of this magnificent golden sandstone city participants are today free to follow their own personal interests. High on the list of sites to see are the Cathedral Vieja and the adjoining Cathedral Nueva; the façade, courtyards and library of the University; and lively Plaza Mayor where students from all over the world display their artistic endeavours and one can enjoy the ambience over a glass of vino with tapas.
Accommodation: Salamanca. Meals: B.

Day 12: Oviedo (Monday 26 June)
Departing Salamanca we travel northwards along the route of the ancient Roman road. In an hour or so we arrive in the former strategic frontier town of Zamora. The ruins of the 9th C. city walls are still highly visible. We spend several hours wandering through the historic centre where we can appreciate the splendour of its 12th C. Cathedral with its supurb Mudejar carved pulpit; and the city’s many Romanesque churches and grand palaces with their ornate facades. In the afternoon we transfer to Oviedo, the cultural and commercial capital of the province of Asturias.
Accommodation: Oviedo. Meals: B.

Camino Mozarabe: Sunset in Cordoba

Camino Mozarabe: Sunset in Cordoba

Day 13: Oviedo – FREE DAY (Tuesday 27 June)
From its foundation (761 A.D.) Oviedo has played an important role in this former Kingdom, one of the few enclaves not invaded by the Moors. Today the city is a treasure trove of Spanish religious architecture, museums, historic church buildings and fascinating modern street art. To help orient ourselves we take a walking tour around the old town centre. We pass through the stately Plaza Alfonso II and arrive at the flamboyant Gothic Cathedral with its Royal tombstones and restored 9th C. chapel. There is plenty of free time to visit places of particular interest such as the Museo of Belle Artes or to view the prehistoric, Roman, Visigoth and Romanesque collections held in the Archaeological museum. This evening we visit a sideria to sample the local produce for which this region is so famous, including a variety of cheeses and Iberian Ham. Capturing video footage of traditional cider pouring is certainly worthwhile!
Accommodation: Oviedo. Meals: B.

Day 14: Day trip to Picos de Europa (Wednesday 28 June)
Today we visit historic and scenic locations in the Picos de Europa, including some highly situated glacial lakes. This area is popular with hikers and those who enjoy stunning highland vistas. We travel by bus to the important historic village of Covadonga. Here in the 8th century, Iberian Christians led by a Visigoth nobleman named Pelayo won an important battle over Muslim invaders from north Africa. This marked the start of the Reconquista that led to the unification of Spain at the end of the 15th C. We take an underground funicular railway to Bulnes (#) one of the remotest villages in Spain. Those keen to take a mountain walk can do so while others can enjoy the beauty of the environment from a lower vantage point. As we travel back to Oviedo there’s a chance to discuss who has taken the best photos!
Accommodation: Oviedo. Meals: B.

Day 15: Santillana del Mar (Thursday 29 June)
On this, our final day together, we head first to the lively port town of Llanes on the Costa Verde. We stretch our legs with a stroll along the seaside esplanade and have morning coffee in a former 17th C. convent in the historic centre. Back on the bus we travel onwards through rural landscapes and past abandoned coastal monasteries to the picturesque medieval fishing village of San Vicente de la Barquera. The town is situated beside a tidal estuary that is crossed by a 28 arch bridge and overlooked by a 13th C. church and 8th C. castle. After lunch and time to enjoy the town’s peaceful ambience we continue eastward. We are rewarded by a feast of magnificent vistas! On our right our final view of the snow-capped Picos de Europa and on our left the rugged coast beside the Cantabrian Sea. On this final night together we stay in the picture perfect town of Santillana del Mar (30 mins from Santander airport) and share a Final Group Dinner.
Accommodation: Santillana del Mar. Meals: B, D.

Tour ends with breakfast, Friday 30 June.

What costs are covered?

  • Services of two tour guides (one Australian and one Spanish speaker)
  • Accommodation in 3+ star hotels including continental breakfast daily
  • Sightseeing and daytrips as per the itinerary
  • Entrance fees to selected historic sites (marked #)
  • Transfers during the tour including transport of one medium sized piece of luggage
  • Three (3) group dinners (Days 1,6 and 15)
  • Tips and Gratuities throughout except at meals not included in the itinerary.

What is not included in the cost?

  • International air flights and taxes
  • Visas (not required for Australian passport holders)
  • Airport transfers, taxes and excess baggage
  • Meals other than those specified in the itinerary
  • Personal expenses eg. Laundry, telephone calls
  • Travel Insurance: Unlimited medical, additional and evacuation insurance is compulsory.

Itinerary prepared by Travel Enriched Pty. Ltd.
This itinerary should be read in conjunction with the Travel Enriched Pty. Ltd. Booking Conditions.

For all bookings and further information contact:

Diane McDonald
Mobile: Australia +61 (0) 404 417 485