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Biking Vacation Spain: Under the Andalusian Sky​

Activity Level: Easy / Moderate  |  Daily Mileage: 18 – 45 mi  |  Daily Biking: 2 – 5 hr
Air package plus
10 days from only
$3445
Price includes roundtrip airfare.
Land only
7 days from only
$2395
Pre-trip Extension:
Seville · 2 nights $245*

Post-trip Extension:
Barcelona · 3 nights $545*
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Detailed Itinerary

Please note: For those traveling in 2015, your itinerary may vary slightly from what is presented below. 

Day 1 - Depart U.S. / Fly overnight to Seville

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 hotel.  

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 2:00 pm. 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 world.

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.
 
Note regarding 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 hotel.

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 pm. 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 pm, 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 pm. 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 River.

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 served.

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 Canal.

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 Museum.

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 soaps.

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 Sites.

VBT No-Air Package guests:  All luggage will be transferred to the hotel in Granada 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 45 minutes). 

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 expense.
 

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