Depart the U.S.
and travel to Spain.
The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight
itinerary and airline tickets.
Day 2 - Arrive in Seville
Upon arrival at the Seville
Airport (San Pablo Airport),
meet your driver outside the customs area in your arrival terminal. The driver
will be holding a VBT sign. Then transfer by private car or van (approximately
20 minutes) to your Seville
The rest of the day is free to settle in, explore the city
and begin your Spain
vacation. Choose a Seville
restaurant for dinner on your own.
Please note: If you arrive early, your hotel room may not be
available until 2 p.m. You may store your luggage with the Reception Desk.
There are plenty of things to do in Seville. After enjoying a wonderful buffet
breakfast at the hotel, spend the rest of the day on your own exploring the
capital of Andalusia. Note its unique blend of
Roman, Arab and Christian art and culture as you tour Seville. The very heart of the old town is
the Barrio de Santa Cruz.
With its cobblestone streets and small squares surrounded by white houses, it
exudes a distinctly Moorish flavor. This delightful maze is dominated by the
massive Cathedral of Seville, famed for its famous La Giralda bell tower, a
UNESCO World Heritage Site. Another of the barrio's
famous local marvels is the Alcazar of Seville, the city's old Moorish Palace.
It was developed over the centuries into a unique building with vaulted rooms,
patios and a beautiful garden decorated with fountains and high palms. Other
sights not to be missed during your stay include the beautiful Plaza de España,
the Torre dell'Oro and one of Spain's
biggest Plaza de Toros (bull-fighting rings), a symbol of Spanish culture and
tradition. At night, be sure to indulge in tapas,
a meal of bite-sized local delicacies that has made Seville famous to food-lovers around the
Our splendid Seville
hotel, Las Casas de la Judería, is located just a few steps from the walls of
the Alcazar. It consists of beautifully restored, ancient, private homes from
the 17th and 18th centuries, all including charming patios, gardens and spring
fountains. It's a perfect place from which to discover this beautiful, lively
city! VBT provides you with City Information in your Final Travel Booklet that
includes information and recommendations on what to see and do in Seville during your stay.
Madrid to Seville travel arrangements – Due to Iberia
Airline’s limited flight service to Seville on Saturdays, some guests may fly
from Madrid to the town of Jerez and then transfer by vehicle to our Seville hotel.
This will avoid long layovers in Madrid’s airport and allow you more time in
Seville. Travel from Madrid on all other days of the week will be
directly into Seville. Please refer to your air itinerary to determine
which location will be your final destination.
For guests flying
into Jerez: Upon arrival at the Jerez Airport, meet your driver outside the
customs area in your arrival terminal. The driver will be holding a VBT sign.
Then transfer by private car or van (approximately 60 minutes) to your Seville
Day 3 - Meet Trip Leaders / Warm-up ride / Welcome reception
VBT No-Air Package guests: Meet your VBT Trip Leaders and
the rest of the group at our Seville Hotel (Las Casas de la Judería, Plaza
Santa Maria la Blanca, 3 phone +34 95 4415150) at 12:00 p.m. Please plan to
have or buy some lunch before meeting your Trip Leaders, who will be wearing
VBT staff garments. If your arrival at the hotel is scheduled later than 12:00 p.m.,
or if you are delayed, you must take a taxi at your own expense (approximately
100 euros/$150 USD) to Monasterio de San Francisco in Palma del Rio, about 80
km from Seville). Please contact Hotel Las Casas de la Judería in Seville if you experience
any travel delays or changes, and the staff will pass your message on to your
VBT Trip Leaders.
VBT Air Package guests & Pre-trip Extension guests: Meet
your VBT Trip Leaders at the Seville
hotel at 12:00 p.m. Please plan to have or buy some lunch before meeting your
Trip Leaders, who will be wearing VBT staff garments. From Seville
we transfer by private motor coach (approximately 1 hour) to Palma del Rio.
Our hotel in Palma del Rio is Monasterio de San Francisco. As the name suggests, it was a
Franciscan convent built in 1492 by the VII Señor de Palma's orders. About 20 years
ago it was turned into a charming hotel, which preserves the simplicity and
tranquility of a monastery. The European discovery of America is part of the
building's history, since the Franciscan monks based here founded American
missions, took their language and customs to the New World, introduced the
famous orange groves in California, and opened the Mission de Palma del Rio in
San Diego. Columbus spent time here before setting out for his journey, as the
monastery was a strategic and powerful centro
de conocimiento, or center of learning and culture, during his time. The
cities of San Francisco, Los
Angeles and San Diego
all owe their names to the monasteries and holy places in this area. Today
guests can still drink the orange juice from the garden's 65 orange trees, some
of which are five centuries old.
After settling into your rooms, join your Trip Leaders for a
safety and bike-fitting session, followed by a warm-up ride in the surroundings
of Palma del Rio. We will be riding on the
fertile lowland of the Guadalquivir
Tonight, we gather for a welcome reception, including tapas
and sangria, two of Andalusia's regional
specialties. We'll learn about the history of the neighborhood before dinner is
Day 4 - Cycle through the Spanish Vega
After breakfast this morning we set out for a bike ride
starting from the green hills of the Sierra de Hornachuelos, a natural park
full of water that feeds the rural and fertile Spanish vega, or vast plain. Our route along a well-paved road leads us
through little white villages like La Puebla
de los Infantes and Peñaflor. In Peñaflor we stop at a local taverna to enjoy local specialties. In
the afternoon, opt for a shuttle back to the hotel or continue on a winding
route along the Bembezar
Back at our Monasterio, relax beside the quiet swimming
pool, or take a peaceful stroll through the vegetable gardens. Our Trip Leaders
conduct a short Spanish class to help familiarize you with the local language.
Tonight we walk to dinner to a simple local peña, where cantaores occasionally play and sing Flamenco. This authentic
Spanish restaurant features black-and-white pictures of Flamenco singers, a
fireplace and tasty food like Jamón
Ibérico – a regional cured ham cut in thin slices by expert hands.
Day 5 - Home-hosted picnic lunch with local family
En route to Cordoba
today we learn the differences between the typical farms scattered along our
route: fincas, huertas, cortijos and haciendas. We stop along the way for a
picnic lunch at a cortijo to meet a
local family, the owners of a very large estate of 530 hectares (1,300 acres).
Later in the afternoon, we arrive at our beautiful and
centrally located 4-star Cordoba
hotel. In the 11th century this was the largest and most cosmopolitan city in Europe. A developed system for running water and street
lights existed, along with vast libraries where Arabic, Latin and Greek
manuscripts were translated. Jews, Muslims and Christians all coexisted in this
cultural crossroads. Exceptional monuments like the Mezquita of Cordoba are a
good representation of the blend of these different cultures. Famous sons of Cordoba include the
philosophers Seneca (Roman), Averroes (Arabian) and Maimonides (Jewish). Cordoba has been
inscribed in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1984.
Our hotel is a few steps from the Mezquita in the Judería – charming
Jewish district and the very heart of Cordoba. It consists of ancient, private
homes from the 17th and 18th centuries, with lovely patios and spring
fountains. The property was carefully restored in 2009.
Spend the rest of the evening at your leisure enjoying all
the amenities of your hotel. Dinner is on your own this evening.
Day 6 - Explore Cordoba / Hammam bath and massage
After breakfast we meet our local guide, Imma. With her we
discover what makes Cordoba
such an enlightening city. We start by visiting a nearby synagogue, and then
continue to the Mezquita.
Mezquita is the Spanish word for "mosque." This
Roman Catholic cathedral was originally built to be a temple, lighthouse and
warehouse. It later became the second-largest mosque in the world, and is
considered to be one of the most accomplished monuments of the Umayyad dynasty
of Cordoba. It
was consecrated as a Christian church after Cordoba was captured by the Spanish in the
12th century. Around the Mezquita we will see the Alcazar de los Reyes
Cristianos and the Archiepiscopal Palais, the Roman
Bridge with its 16 arches spanning the
Guadalquivir River, and the Jewish synagogue built in
1315 in the charming Jewish quarter, La Judería. Cordoba is also an excellent place to shop
for pottery, abanijos (fans), cotton
and leather goods, embroidered mantillas
(shawls) and wooden crafts. For those interested in bullfighting, you may also
wish to visit the Bullfighting
Take time on your own before meeting our Trip Leaders later
in the afternoon to gather for an ancient local tradition: an Arab bath. The hammam
near the cathedral of Cordoba is a magical
place, and one of the highlights of traveling in Spain. Immerse yourself in its
luxurious waters, followed by a relaxing massage with essential oils.
Tonight, choose a restaurant for dinner on your own in Cordoba. You might visit
a flamenco house in the trendy Paseo Maritimo district, where you may taste the
special local cuisine, such as ragout of lamb, Cordero en Caldereta or sausages
like Morcilla, Cana de Lomo and Salchicon de Pozo Blanco. Arabian influences
can be found in the sweet Alfajores and Pestinos with almonds and honey.
Day 7 - Ruta del Vino / Cabra / Wine day
After breakfast, we leave Cordoba and shuttle to the Cordillera
Subbetica and the Ruta del Vino, or Wine
Road. This hilly region is covered with olive
trees and vineyards, and produces excellent white wines and olive oils, which
are exported all over the world. We begin biking from Aguilar de la Frontera to
Moriles, passing typical lagares and bodegas (where wine is aged but not
produced) that sell local wines and goat cheese. One of the most renowned wines
produced in this area is the Pedro-Ximénez sweet wine, particularly recommended
to complement local postres, or
desserts. At lunch time we stop at one of the oldest and most beautiful bodegas of the area and taste four
different wines with our meal.
In the afternoon in Lucena we get on the Via Verde de la
Subbetica, a well-kept bike path built on a former railway road. We will follow
this trail through the end of our trip. Avid cyclists looking for some hills
can opt for a more challenging route. We arrive at our hotel in the afternoon,
where you will have some time to relax by the pool before our cata de aceite or olive oil tasting,
followed by a tour of this historical property and ancient mill. The property
also includes a library and a warm taverna
bar. Dinner is served in the ancient oil press room.
Day 8 - Discover the white village
of Zuheros / Olive oil
day / Organic meal at private house
Today we follow the bike path to Luque, passing peaceful
farms, olive groves and lovely views of the surrounding hillsides. As we pedal
along our gently rolling path, keep your eyes open for local wildlife, such as
goats, storks and a variety of other birds.
Near Luque we stop at a casa
de campo for a picnic lunch made from local ingredients freshly picked in
the garden of our host, Balbino.
After lunch we retrace our way to Cabra on a scenic route,
passing through the quaint white village
of Zuheros. Built onto a
rocky promontory, Zuheros is considered one of the most beautiful white
villages of Spain.
It is also known for its cheese and olive oil production. In the village you
can purchase many local products made from aceite
(oil) and aceitunas (olives), such as
From Zuheros you can opt for the easy bike path via Verde to
the hotel, or continue on a more challenging, scenic route.
Back at our hotel enjoy a short cooking class with our
Spanish chef. Learn how to prepare one of Andalusia's
seasonal specialties! At dinner, enjoy the fruits of our labor, as well as many
other local specialties.
Day 9 - Transfer to Granada / Included guided visit of the Alhambra Palace
/ VBT No-Air Package ends
After breakfast you will transfer by private motor coach
(approximately 2 hours) to the Alhambra
Palace in Granada. You will arrive around 10:40 AM and
there meet our local guide who will take you to the Alhambra Palace for an
included visit of the Palace and Generalife Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage
VBT No-Air Package guests: All luggage will be transferred to the hotel
where air-package guests will stay overnight. You will have to collect your
luggage from the hotel and continue to your own destination. Important: In
order for you to join the included visit of the Alhambra,
your flight from Granada
should not be scheduled to depart earlier than 5:00 PM. If you decide not to join the included tour
of the Alhambra, please keep in mind that flight
departures from Granada airport prior to 2:00 PM
are not recommended; if your flight from Granada
is scheduled prior to 2:00 PM you must make transfer arrangements from the last
hotel at your own expense. Taxi cost to Granada
airport is approximately 200 euros/$300 USD (travel time approximately 1 hour
VBT Air Package and Post-Trip Extension guests: After visiting the Alhambra Palace,
the rest of the day is yours to explore. VBT provides you with City Information
in your Final Travel Booklet that includes information and recommendations on
what to see and do in Granada
during your stay.
Day 10 - Depart for U.S.
After breakfast* this morning you will transfer to the airport
for your departing flight **. Please ensure that you are ready in the hotel
reception area at the designated time.
*Please note: For guests with early-morning departures,
breakfast at the hotel may not be available. Please check with the Front Desk
to verify the times that breakfast is served.
**VBT recommends that you check your transfer time in your
“Transfer Reminder.” VBT transfer times and departure points are finalized in
advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. Transfer times are approximately 30 minutes
to Granada airport or 90 minutes to the Malaga airport. If you extend your stay beyond the scheduled
program dates, return transportation to the airport will be at your own