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Al Andalus‬‬

7-day tailor-made rail journey from £3,880 pp incl. flights

Summary

Short description

Enjoy luxury fit for the region’s Moorish sultans as you explore Andalucia aboard the opulent Al Andalus train

About

Recommended for:
History & culture | Rail journey

On a weeklong loop from Seville, you’ll take in the near-ancient wonders of Al Andalus – Islamic Spain. Successive Moorish dynasties have left their mark on the region’s great cities, with imposing palace-forts and ornate mosque-cathedrals vying for your attention. In between, you’ll visit such millennia-old greats as Cádiz and Ronda; wrapped in sea and mountains respectively, their Moorish grandeur sits alongside Roman ruins and a Phoenician prehistory. There’s also the twin Renaissance delights of Úbeda and Baeza, whose competing aristocracy sought to outdo each other in successive architectural flourishes. You’ll take it all in on a luxurious rail journey aboard the Al Andalus, whose Belle Époque grandeur first hosted royalty. And, after enjoying indulgent dining, cocktail evenings and show cooking onboard, you’ll explore each destination with everything from guided tours to wine tastings and cultural performances.

Day by day itinerary

Day 1
UK/Seville/Jerez

Fly into Seville for a welcome lunch and tour of Andalucia’s fascinating capital. Whether it’s Moorish defences, Roman ruins or Christianity’s exuberance, it seems as if all the world has left its mark on this thousand-year-old city. Its Gothic cathedral proudly exhibits an Islamic minaret as a bell tower and the Alcázar is a great Moorish castle that cloaks a beautiful royal residence. You’ll also visit the General Archive of the Indies, a 16th-century merchants’ exchange that documents the rich history of the Spanish Empire.

You’ll then board the luxurious Al Andalus to make the journey to Jerez. First built for members of the British monarchy to travel between Calais and the French Riviera, cabins recall all the grandeur of the Belle Époque, featuring plush fabric sofas, gilded wood panelling and even hydromassage showers. The lounge carriages are equally regal, host to dances, cocktail evenings and live performances along with gourmet dining and show cooking.

Stay: Al Andalus, Andalucia & Extremadura (Deluxe)

Meals: L D

Day 2
Jerez

This morning you’ll be introduced to the region’s wealth of oenological delights, with a tasting visit to one of Jerez’s fabled wine cellars. Your cultural education will continue will continue with a visit to the region’s famous equestrian ballet. Set to traditional music, it’s simply titled ‘How the Andalucian Horses Dance’. You’ll then make a trip to Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Famed for its sherry and seafood, you’ll take your lunch overlooking the he salt marshes of Doñana National Park, a spectacular wetlands that’s home to over 300 species of birds. You’ll then return to spend the night among Jerez’s heady mix of Moorish fortresses, Baroque cathedrals and fashion-house palaces.

Stay: Al Andalus, Andalucia & Extremadura (Deluxe)

Meals: B L D

Day 3
Cádiz/Ronda

You’ll arrive, this morning, at Europe’s oldest continuously inhabited settlement – Cádiz. And it wears its rich past with pride, in a grand, neoclassical cathedral, Roman temple ruins, 18th-century forts and museums that house Phoenician sarcophagi. It’s all wrapped up in a stunning setting, jutting out into the Atlantic on a narrow promontory. After an in-depth tour, you’ll curve back inland aboard the Al Andalus to reach Ronda.

Stay: Al Andalus, Andalucia & Extremadura (Deluxe)

Meals: B L D

Day 4
Ronda/Granada

While Cádiz dates back three millennia, Ronda can also count itself among Spain’s oldest cities, having been established in a relatively sprightly 9th century BC. As such, it owes much of its charm to its Moorish past, with its La Ciudad old town filled with Islamic mosques and palaces. To complete the picture, throw in legendary bullrings, pretty Spanish plazas, great fortress walls and delicate churches. And, like its older cousin, it enjoys a spectacular backdrop. Swapping sea for mountain peaks, it’s dramatically perched on a great inland plateau fissured into a 100m-deep gorge. This is the beauty that has won praise from the Romantic likes of Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles. After your tour, you’ll continue east to overnight at Granada.

Stay: Al Andalus, Andalucia & Extremadura (Deluxe)

Meals: B L D

Day 5
Granada

From their stronghold in Granada the Nasrid dynasty once ruled over much of Andalucia. It’s a 300-year-long power grab that is immortalised in the emirate’s Alhambra. A UNESCO-listed wonder, this palace-fort’s stern walls hide a royal interior that forms one of the greatest examples of Islamic architecture’s fineries. Delicate arches are carved into detailed motifs, fountains trickle lazily and the rooms of the royal quarters are honeycombed into intricate lattices. And it sits among a dizzying collection of gilded basilicas, 16th-century monasteries and Renaissance palaces. You’ll take it all in on your city tour.

Stay: Al Andalus, Andalucia & Extremadura (Deluxe)

Meals: B L D

Day 6
Úbeda/Baeza/Córdoba

Disembarking at Linares, you’ll board a coach to tour its pair of nearby Renaissance gems. You’ll start with Úbeda whose 16th-century rulers – ever the showmen – sought to improve their courtly esteem with the ever-favoured Italian aesthetic. The result? Great chapels with façades of Greek gods, a town hall that’s more palace than place of work and a hospital that’s furnished with marble columns and frescoed staircases. Next-door Baeza was also suitably enamoured with the Italian Renaissance, its 16th-century aristocracy keen not to be outshone, of course. Its Gothic cathedral, itself borne from a demolished mosque, was beautified with classical flourishes and a series of handsome palaces, plazas and delightful chapels were quickly added. After your tour you’ll continue on to Córdoba.

Stay: Al Andalus, Andalucia & Extremadura (Deluxe)

Meals: B L D

Day 7
Córdoba/Seville/UK

Today you’ll return to Moorish Andalucia with a tour of Córdoba. Once the capital of Islamic Spain, it laid claim to the title of Western Europe’s largest and most culturally rich city. It’s all centred around the Mezquita. Ranking among the Islamic world’s finest architectural achievements, its silver-and-gold domes look down on thousands of marble columns and hundreds of chandeliers. But, as the region’s history goes, the Mezquita was to be converted into a 16th-century cathedral, adding grand Renaissance flourishes while retaining much of the building’s thousand-year-old charm. It’s a fitting metaphor for the rest of the city, with the likes of Moorish forts sitting alongside pretty 17th-century plazas and Renaissance palaces. You’ll then take lunch back on the train as you complete your loop to arrive back in Seville. On arrival, transfer to the airport for your flight home. 

Meals: B L

Map

Pricing

Any element of this itinerary can be adjusted to suit your needs. Just contact us to find out more.

Accommodation rating: Deluxe

7-day tailor-made rail journey from £3,880 incl. flights

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