Bicycling and Walking Vacations Call a VBT Tour Consultant: (800) 245-3868

Spain: Under the Andalusian Sky

Ebikes Available on this TourTwirling flamenco dancers, the aroma of tapas, ruby red sherry, and bullfighting bravado—this is quintessential Spain.

  • 10 Days
  • Activity Level: Easy / Moderate
  • Daily Mileage: 18 - 45 mi
  • Daily Biking: 2 - 5 hr
  • Small Groups: 22
  • Biking Activity
  • Ideal for energetic beginners to more experienced riders.
  • Airfare Packages Available

Ebikes Available on this Tour

E-Bikes Available

Limited quantities —
first come, first served.

Why You'll Love This Tour

Overview

Spain: Under the Andalusian Sky​

From checkered fields of olive and orange groves through valleys framed by snowy peaks and ancient villages clinging to rocky hillsides, Andalucia is a cyclist’s dream. The route explores this ancient Andaluz-Arab landscape dotted with Roman ruins, Moorish architecture, and Gothic cathedrals. Relaxing stops at wine taverns and organic farms fortify the body and mind. Our historic hotels include a medieval monastery that once hosted Christopher Columbus. Siestas or fiestas—the choice is yours.

Cultural Highlights

  • Cycle along the Guadalquiver River for a Spanish picnic hosted by a local family
  • Explore beautiful Cordoba on a guided tour, including a visit to the Mezquita
  • Bike the Ruta del Vino Wine Road through olive groves and vineyards
  • Ride the Via Verde rails-to-trails path through an incredible nature reserve
  • Stay overnight in the San Francisco Monastery that hosted Christopher Columbus and drink fresh orange juice from 500-year old trees (when in season)
  • Enjoy delicious cuisine: tapas, sherry, the best olive oils, goat cheese and sangria!
  • Follow the bike path to Luque Castle, through peaceful farm country
  • Gather for a delightful picnic lunch at a genuine cortijo, renowned for its olive oil
  • Pedal through idyllic Zuheros, the perfect blend of Arab-Andaluz style
  • Cycle downhill toward Spain’s highest mountain range to enchanting Granada
  • Free time for siestas, people watching in cafés, Arab baths, and great shopping
  • Explore Spain’s #1 site – Alhambra Palace for an included visit of the Palace and Generalife Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

What to Expect

This tour offers a combination of easy terrain mixed with moderate hills and is ideal for beginning and experienced cyclists. Our VBT van support shuttle is always available for those who need assistance.

Average Daily Mileage: 18 – 45 miles
Average Cycling Time: 2 – 5 hours

Climate Information

Average High/Low Temperature (°F) – Seville
Mar 70º/47º  Apr  73º/50º  May  80º/56º  Jun  88º/62º  Sep 90º/64º  Oct 78º/56º  Nov 68º/49º

Average Precipitation (in.) – Seville
Mar 1.5  Apr 2   May 1.5  Jun .5  Sep  1  Oct 2  Nov 3

What’s Included:

Ebikes Available on this Tour

E-Bikes Available on this tour.

Limited quantities — first come, first served. Learn more.

Bicycle Vacation Only – without Air

  • 6 nights in 3-, 4- and 5- star hotels
  • 13 meals – 6 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 4 dinners

Bicycle Vacation Plus International Airfare Package

  • Roundtrip international airfare
  • 6 nights in 3-, 4-, and 5-star hotels
  • PLUS: 1 extra night in Palma del Rio and 1 extra night in Granada in 3- and 4- star hotels
  • 15 meals — 8 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 4 dinners
  • All overseas transfers
  • AND the option to add our Low-Cost Trip Extensions:
    Pre-trip: Seville – 2 nights for only $395*
    Post-trip: Barcelona – 3 nights for only $745-1,345*

Both Vacations Include

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Air Package Plus Single Supplement: $545 (2018: $445) | Land Only Single Supplement: $445 (2018: $345)

Please note: Web Special savings cannot be combined with any other offer. Standard Terms & Conditions apply when purchasing this trip. Prices include all airline surcharges and Government taxes and fees. Ask our Tour Consultants for details. Every effort has been made to produce this information accurately. We reserve the right to correct errors. Prices are based on preferences selected above, including meals and sightseeing as specified in What’s Included. All prices are subject to change. Departure dates and prices shown may be updated several times daily, and apply to new bookings only.

A1_BA_logo                 Iberia-Air-logo1

Itinerary & Map
2018
Or, Expand All Days
Day 1: Depart from home / Fly overnight to Seville

Depart from home and travel to Spain. The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary.

Day 2: Arrive in Seville / Transfer to Palma del Rio

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 (about 60 minutes) to your Palma del Rio hotel.

The rest of the day is free to settle in, explore the city, and begin your Spain vacation. Choose a local restaurant for dinner on your own.

Please note: If you arrive early, your hotel room may not be available until 2:00 p.m. If you are early, you may store your luggage at the reception desk.

Please note: 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 Palma del Rio hotel. This will avoid long layovers in Madrid’s airport and allow you more time in Palma del Rio. Travel from Madrid on all other days of the week will be directly into Palma del Rio. 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 (about 2 hours) to your Palma del Rio hotel.

Your hotel in Palma del Rio is Monasterio de San Francisco. As the name suggests, it was a Franciscan monastery built in 1492 by the VII Señor de Palma’s orders. About 20 years ago, it was turned into a charming hotel that 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 (when in season) from the garden’s 65 orange trees, some of which are five centuries old.

VBT provides you with City Information that includes information and recommendations on what to see and do in Palma del Rio during your stay.

Hotel: Monasterio de San Francisco

Day 3: VBT Bicycle Vacation begins / Warm-up ride / Welcome reception

VBT Bicycle Vacation Only guests: Meet your VBT Trip Leaders and the rest of the group at our Palma del Rio Hotel (Monasterio de San Francisco, Avenida Pio XII 35, phone +34 957 710183) at 10:00 a.m. Please ask at the hotel’s reception desk for the exact location of today’s meeting with your Trip Leaders. If your arrival at the hotel is scheduled later than 10:00 a.m. or if you are delayed, please contact the Monasterio de San Francisco hotel, 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 Palma del Rio hotel at 10:00 a.m. Please ask at the hotel’s reception desk for the exact location of today’s meeting with your Trip Leaders.

This morning, your Trip Leaders will host an informative tour overview as well as a safety and bike-fitting session, followed by a warm-up ride in the surroundings of Palma del Rio. You will be riding on the fertile lowland of the Guadalquivir River. Please be dressed in your biking garments when meeting the leaders as your warm-up ride immediately follows the safety talk and bike-fitting.

After the warm-up ride, you will have time for lunch on your own at the hotel or one of Palma del Rio’s restaurants. Spend the remainder of the afternoon relaxing by the quiet swimming pool, strolling through the vegetable gardens, or exploring the town’s sites. Ambitious riders may opt for an afternoon ride.

Tonight, gather with your Trip Leaders and travel mates for a welcome reception, including tapas and sangria, two of Andalusia’s regional specialties. You’ll learn about the history of Spain and Andalusia before dinner is served.

Hotel: Monasterio de San Francisco
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 8 or 25 miles (13 or 40 km)

Day 4: Home-hosted picnic lunch with local family

En route to Cordoba today, you’ll ride up to the foothills of the Sierra Morena Mountain Range and the Parque Natural de Horanchuelos. Following the Guadalquivir River you will make your way into the Campina Cordobesa –Cordoban countrysideAlong the way, you’ll stop for a picnic lunch at a cortijo – typical Andalusian farm house, to meet a local family, the owners of a very large estate of 1,300 acres.

Later in the afternoon, you’ll arrive at your 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.

Your hotel is a few steps from the Mezquita in the Judería—the 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 fountains. The property was carefully restored in 2009.

Spend the rest of the evening at your leisure enjoying all the amenities of your hotel or venture out and explore the historic sites of Cordoba. Dinner is on your own this evening.

Hotel: Casas de la Judería
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 20, 30, or 41 miles (32, 48, or 66 km)

Day 5: Explore Cordoba

After breakfast, meet your local guide and set out to discover what makes Cordoba such an enlightening city. Start by visiting a nearby synagogue, and then continue to the Mezquita.

Originally built as a temple, lighthouse, and warehouse, the Mezquita (literally, “mosque”), was once the second-largest mosque in the world and was later consecrated as a Christian church after Cordoba was captured by the Spanish in the 12th century. Today, it is considered one of the world’s greatest examples of Moorish architecture. Around the Mezquita, you’ll 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 La Judería. Cordoba is also an excellent place to shop for pottery, silver work, abanicos (fans), cotton and leather goods, embroidered mantillas (shawls), and wooden crafts. Those interested in bullfighting may also visit the Bullfighting Museum.

Take time on your own this afternoon to further explore the many sites and shops of Cordoba. You might want to enjoy an ancient local tradition: an Arab bath in one of the nearby hammams. 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 front of the Mezquita or in many of the  restaurants in La Judería (the Jewish district), where you can also taste such local specialties such as ragout of lamb,  Caldereta de Cordero, or sausages such as Morcilla, Cana de Lomo, and Salchicon de Pozo Blanco. Salmorejo and Flamenquines are the most famous Cordovan dishes. Arab influences can be found in the sweet Alfajores and Pestiños with almonds and honey.

Hotel: Casas de la Judería – Cordoba
Meals: B
Daily Options: Non-Biking Day

Day 6: Ruta del Vino / La Via Verde / Wine & cooking demonstration

After breakfast, 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 many excellent white wines and olive oils, which are exported all over the world. Begin biking from Espejo, to the region of lagares and bodegas (where wine is produced and aged) that sell local wines, olive oils, and other local products. 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 lunchtime, stop at beautiful bodegas of the area and taste locally produced wines with our meal.

Then, ride toward the Subbética mountain range, where you will have the option of riding on the Via Verde, a bike path built on a former railway line. You may follow this trail to your hotel for the next two nights. Avid cyclists looking for some hills can opt for a more challenging route.

In the afternoon, arrive at the Hacienda Minerva. Dating to the end of the 19th century, it was found in ruins, restored and turned into a hotel. The old machinery of the olive-oil mill still serves as part of the décor. Enjoy time to relax by the pool, book a massage or indulge in the hotel’s Arab baths (at additional cost – please ask your leaders to assist in booking massages and the Arab baths in advance of your arrival to the hotel).  Later, meet up with the rest of your group to learn the story behind the property, which also includes a library and a cozy taverna bar. Later, learn how to make one of Andalusia’s popular dishes. Dinner will be served in the dining room of the hotel, once the pressing room of the oil mill.

Hotel: Hacienda Minerva
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 12, 20, or 34 miles (20, 33, or 55 km)

Day 7: Explore Zuheros / Organic picnic Lunch / Olive-oil tasting

Today, you’ll follow the bike path to Luque, passing peaceful farms, olive groves, and lovely views of the surrounding hillsides. As you pedal along the gently rolling path, keep your eyes open for local wildlife, such as goats, rabbits, and a variety of birds, including two of the many protected species of this area: the peregrine falcon, symbol of the Natural Park of La Sierra Subbética, and the griffon vulture.  Alternatively, you may cycle on a nearby paved road to Luque for additional mileage and a more moderate ride.

Near Luque, you’ll stop at a cortijo for a picnic lunch made from local ingredients freshly picked in the garden of your host, Balbino. This cortijo, simply known as “El Cortijillo” is famous for its prize-winning organic olive oil, which is obtained from the organic olives cultivated by farmers of this region.

After lunch, retrace your way to Hacienda Minerva 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, olive oil production, and castle with spectacular views. Here you can enjoy the scenery, take in views of the castle, and wander through its picturesque little streets.

From Zuheros you can opt for the easy bike path via Verde to the hotel or continue on a more challenging scenic route for additional mileage.

Back at the hotel; enjoy some time to relax before your small group gathers to learn about the olive-oil industry and why it is the main business in the area. You will have a better understanding of how olive oil is produced and what it takes to make an extra-virgin olive oil.

Hotel: Hacienda Minerva
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 13, 19, 21, 27, or 42 miles (21, 31, 34, 44, or 67 km)

Day 8: Transfer to Granada

After breakfast, you will start your journey toward the enchanting city of Granada and, historically, the land of ever-changing borders between Christians and the Andalusi Kingdom. Start your morning ride in a small town called Benalúa de las Villas, where you embark on a gradual descent through a valley with the impressive Sierra Nevada mountain range as its background. Rolling through towns that were heavily fortified in the Middle Ages, prior to the final conquest of Granada in 1492, you will pass the town of Colomera, enjoying views of its castle and towering church. As you continue on the Ruta de las Fortalezas, you will also find traces of Roman influence, including a bridge dating back 2,000 years. As you pass through little mountain villages, you will be able to enjoy lunch in one the cafes at your leisure. Leaving the mountain valley behind you, enter Granada´s main valley, La Vega, and finish your ride under the shade of cottonwood trees.

This evening, join your Trip Leaders for a festive farewell dinner, and sample some of the wonderful culinary delights of this region of Spain.

Hotel: Hotel NH Collection Granada Victoria
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 31 or 40 miles (50 or 65 km)

Day 9: Alhambra Palace / VBT Bicycle Vacation ends

After breakfast, you will meet your local guide and walk to the Alhambra Palace for an included visit of the Palace and Generalife Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

VBT Bicycle Vacation only guests:  Due to hotel check-out times, you will need to settle your hotel bill and check out prior to your included visit of the Alhambra Palace. After the completion of the Alhambra tour, you will return to the hotel, where you can collect your luggage and continue to your next destination. Your flight from Granada should not be scheduled to depart earlier than 3:00 p.m.

VBT Air Package and Post-Trip Extension guests: After your visit to the Alhambra Palace, the rest of the day is yours to explore. VBT provides you with City Information that includes information and recommendations on what to see and do in Granada during your stay.

Hotel: Hotel NH Collection Granada Victoria
Meals: B

Day 10: Depart for home

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 about 30 minutes to the 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 expense.

Meals: B

Spain: Under the Andalusian Sky Map

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2019
Or, Expand All Days
Day 1: Depart from home / Fly overnight to Seville

Depart from home and travel to Spain. The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary.

Day 2: Arrive in Seville / Transfer to Palma del Rio

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 (about 60 minutes) to your Palma del Rio hotel.

The rest of the day is free to settle in, explore the city, and begin your Spain vacation. Choose a local restaurant for dinner on your own.

Please note: If you arrive early, your hotel room may not be available until 2:00 p.m. If you are early, you may store your luggage at the reception desk.

Please note: 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 Palma del Rio hotel. This will avoid long layovers in Madrid’s airport and allow you more time in Palma del Rio. Travel from Madrid on all other days of the week will be directly into Palma del Rio. 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 (about 2 hours) to your Palma del Rio hotel.

Your hotel in Palma del Rio is Monasterio de San Francisco. As the name suggests, it was a Franciscan monastery built in 1492 by the VII Señor de Palma’s orders. About 20 years ago, it was turned into a charming hotel that 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 (when in season) from the garden’s 65 orange trees, some of which are five centuries old.

VBT provides you with City Information that includes information and recommendations on what to see and do in Palma del Rio during your stay.

Hotel: Monasterio de San Francisco

Day 3: VBT Bicycle Vacation begins / Warm-up ride / Welcome reception

VBT Bicycle Vacation Only guests: Meet your VBT Trip Leaders and the rest of the group at our Palma del Rio Hotel (Monasterio de San Francisco, Avenida Pio XII 35, phone +34 957 710183) at 10:00 a.m. Please ask at the hotel’s reception desk for the exact location of today’s meeting with your Trip Leaders. If your arrival at the hotel is scheduled later than 10:00 a.m. or if you are delayed, please contact the Monasterio de San Francisco hotel, 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 Palma del Rio hotel at 10:00 a.m. Please ask at the hotel’s reception desk for the exact location of today’s meeting with your Trip Leaders.

This morning, your Trip Leaders will host an informative tour overview as well as a safety and bike-fitting session, followed by a warm-up ride in the surroundings of Palma del Rio. You will be riding on the fertile lowland of the Guadalquivir River. Please be dressed in your biking garments when meeting the leaders as your warm-up ride immediately follows the safety talk and bike-fitting.

After the warm-up ride, you will have time for lunch on your own at the hotel or one of Palma del Rio’s restaurants. Spend the remainder of the afternoon relaxing by the quiet swimming pool, strolling through the vegetable gardens, or exploring the town’s sites. Ambitious riders may opt for an afternoon ride.

Tonight, gather with your Trip Leaders and travel mates for a welcome reception, including tapas and sangria, two of Andalusia’s regional specialties. You’ll learn about the histor