Private Tour of Madrid & Andalusia
Spain : Madrid & Andalusia
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Spain’s enormous central capital, Madrid, lies on the River Manzanares and is a city of contrasts. Historical monuments like the impressive Royal Palace stand in stark contrast to state-of-the-art skyscrapers; masterpieces by Picasso, Dali and Velazquez adorn the walls of the city’s world-class galleries alongside contemporary modern works; local chefs display a passion for Spanish food at traditional eateries while chic fusion restaurants operate next door. Madrid’s real attraction lies in the seductive lifestyle of its hedonistic inhabitants; indulging in tapas, hunting for treasures at the El Rastro flea market or partying the night away in one of the many lively nightclubs. Make sure to soak up the vibrant street life of the grand, historic Plaza Mayor, Madrid's central square, and spend a leisurely afternoon on the landscaped lawns at the Parque del Buen Retiro.
Perched majestically on a hill above the plains of Castilla-La Mancha, overlooking the Tagus River, Toledo is an ancient city in central Spain’s province of the same name. Once dubbed the ‘city of the three cultures’ due to its successive Islamic, Hebrew and Christian occupants, the city now boasts an incredible legacy in the form of churches, palaces, fortresses, mosques, synagogues and traditional houses heaped into a cobble-stoned spiral. Beyond the impressive medieval walls, the maze of pedestrian streets is lined with artisan shops exhibiting pieces of jaw-dropping, masterful craft work, most notably glass pieces created using traditional glass blowing (which visitors can try themselves). The city is a prime culinary destination, as well as being home to a prolific number of museums, galleries and entertainment venues.
Idyllically located on the north bank of the Guadalquivir River in southern Spain’s Andalucia region, Cordoba was once known for the peaceful and prosperous coexistence of its three religious cultures: Islamic, Jewish, and Christian. Today it is smaller and quieter than its more touristy neighbours, Granada and Seville, resulting in a charming destination that remains an extraordinary cultural crossroads and offers a rich tapestry of art and history. Make sure to explore the lively modern city around the Plaza de las Tendillas, meander along the whitewashed streets of the old Jewish quarter for a glimpse of the quaint blossom–filled patios, and visit the world-famous multi-arched Mezquita (known as one of the world's greatest Islamic buildings). A fantastic array of vibrant bars and restaurants offer world-class cuisine and beautiful views of the river.
Resting on the plains of the Guadalquivir River in the Andalucian province of Seville, the eponymous city is a feast for the senses. Famous for its Flamenco music and dancing, celebratory attitude, tasty oranges and its rich Moorish heritage, Seville has reputation for charisma. At the heart of the old city stand three of the primary attractions: the Giralda tower, the Cathedral and the Alcazar. The neighbouring medieval Jewish quarter is a wonderful, whitewashed tangle of alleys, bougainvillaea and jacaranda trees, while on the other side of the river Triana is home to sailors, bullfighters, and flamenco artists. Seville travel is about exploring the way of life in these culture-rich neighbourhoods, eating at famed gelaterias, sipping late-night sangrias and, of course, savouring the bitter flavour of the famous Seville oranges.
The small historical city of Granada lies tucked in a crook of the snow-capped Sierra Nevada, with the River Darro flowing through its centre, in southern Spain’s Andalucia region. The world-renowned and extraordinarily well-preserved Moorish Alhambra, with its mysterious, reddish-gold, fortressed palaces and exotic gardens, presides over the city. On an adjacent hill, the Albaicin quarter consists of a warren of narrow, cobbled alleyways strewn with whitewashed houses, tiny hidden squares adorned with orange trees and fountains, traditional bars serving free tapas, and a growing number of gourmet restaurants. The third hill, Sacromonte, once a Gypsy enclave, is packed with fascinating cave dwellings hosting nightly flamenco dance performances. The city centre has a more elegant, contemporary feel with its upmarket boutiques, art nouveau flower stalls and large decorative fountains.