Sevilla downtown

EXCURSION 1: SEVILLA DOWNTOWN

- Cathedral. Its crowning summit, the Giralda, one of Europe's most famous towers, was begun in the late 1100s by the Moors and was raised even higher by the Catholic monarchs in 1568.

- Palacio Arzobispal. This 16th-century building rests on 13th-century foundations, with a 17th-century baroque facade of great beauty.

- Convento de la Encarnación. Part of its architectural curiosity includes the widespread use of the lobed, horseshoe-shape arches and windows traditionally used in mosques.

- Reales Alcázar. The oldest royal seat in Spain was originally built for the Moorish caliphs in A.D. 712 as a fortress, then enlarged and embellished over the next thousand years by successive generations of Moors and, beginning in 1248, Christian rulers.

- Ayuntamiento & Calle Sierpes. Begun in 1527, and enlarged during the 19th century, this is the city's political showcase.

Sevilla Churches

EXCURSION 2: SEVILLA CHURCHES

- Iglesia de San José. This baroque chapel functioned as the seat of the carpenter's guild.

- Iglesia del Salvador. One of the grandest churches of Seville.

- Iglesia de la Anunciación. This church contains a cold, rather macabre-looking crypt (Panteón de Sevillanos Ilustres) where many of the city's governors and their families are buried.

- Iglesia de San Pedro. San Pedro is famous as the site where Spain's greatest painter, Velázquez, was baptized in 1599.

- Iglesia de Santa Catalina. This 14th-century Gothic-Mudéjar monument has endured many alterations and additions. Most significant of these is a simple Gothic portal that was moved into its present position in 1930 from another church.

- Convento de San Leandro. Although the building you see today was begun around 1580, it replaced a much older 13th-century church that was the first to be constructed in Seville after the Christian Reconquest in 1248.

Sevilla, Plaza España

EXCURSION 3: PLAZA ESPAÑA & METROPOL PARASOL

- Plaza España. This massive building is Seville's most impressive after the cathedral, for its sheer scale and grandeur. The Plaza was built as the centerpiece of the Expo 29, which took place in Maria Luisa park, as the Pabellon de Andalucia.

- The Metropol Parasol. Located at Plaza de la Encarnacion, the beautiful series of undulating parasols comprise the world's largest wooden structure.

Sentenil de las Bodegas

EXCURSION 4: SENTENIL DE LAS BODEGAS

Where most Andalusian towns were built on protective bluffs and pinnacles, Sentenil grew out of a network of caves in the cliffs above the rio Trejo. Its blinding-white houses seem to emerge from the rocks, and some have rock roofs and even olive groves on their roofs.

Ejica

EXCURSION 5: ECIJA

This town is the home to several magnificent baroque churches whose towers feature brilliantly colored tiles.

It's also home to splendid houses dating back to the 18th century, particularly distinctive for their flamboyant architecture displaying interesting shapes and patterns.

Jerez de la Frontera

EXCURSION 6: JEREZ DE LA FRONTERA

Wine tasting! There are over 40.000 hectares of vineyards in Andalucia, divided in four "Denominación de Origen" (Protected Designation of Origin) areas: Jerez, Sierras de Málaga, Montilla Moriles and Condado de Huelva. We will visit the area around Jerez, home to one of the most famous wines in the world: the Sherry.

First, in Jerez de la Frontera, we will visit the magnificent cathedral, the Moorish Alcazar and the typical narrow streets in the old town. We’ll also stop at the most famed winery in town: Gonzalez Byass, makers of the sublime Tío Pepe sherry and Lepanto brandy. Later, we will experience more wine tasting with some typical tapas while enjoying another typical Andalusian art: Flamenco dancing. Mouthwatering!

Cádiz

EXCURSION 7: CÁDIZ

Founded in 1104 BC, Cádiz is the most ancient city still standing in Western Europe. Located on a narrow spit of land surrounded by the sea, the city offers a wealth of attractive views and historical landmarks. The “Casco Antiguo” features various quarters such as La Viña, El Populo and Santa Maria. We will also visit its unusual cathedral, the magnificent theatre, the old municipal building, the eighteenth-century watchtower, the remains of the ancient city wall and an ancient Roman theatre...

Parque Nacional la Doñana

EXCURSION 8: PARQUE NACIONAL DE DOÑANA

The Parque Nacional de Doñana is one of Europe's most important wetland reserves and a major site for migrating birds.

The park as a whole comprises three distinct kinds of ecosystem: the marismas, the Mediterranean scrublands and the coastal mobile dunes with their beaches.

El Rocío

EXCURSION 9: EL ROCÍO

This is a strange outpost of the Wild West, with wide, sandy streets lined with houses complete with broad verandas and wooden rails for tying up horses.

It's famous for its annual romería, the Rocío Pilgrimage at Pentecost when it is overflowing with a seething mass of a million pilgrims with horses and decorated carts.

Italica

EXCURSION 10: ITALICA

Italica was the birthplace of three emperors and one of the earliest Roman settlements in Spain founded in 206 BC. It rose to considerable military importance in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD.

Throughout the Middle Ages, the ruins were used as a source of stone for Seville, but fortunately the amphitheater has survived.

Cordoba

EXCURSION 11: CORDOBA

Cordoba was founded by the Romans and due to its strategic importance as the highest navigable point of the Guadalquivir River, it became a port city of great importance. Cordoba's hour of greatest glory was when it became the capital of the Moorish kingdom of El-Andalus, and this was when work began on the Great Mosque, or "Mezquita", which – after several centuries of additions and enlargements – became one of the largest in all of Islam.

When the city was reconquered by the Christians in 1236, the new rulers of the city were so awed by its beauty that they left it standing, building their cathedral in the midst of its rows of arches and columns, and creating the extraordinary church-mosque we see today. Cordoba's treasures include the Alcazar, the Calahorra Fort, the ancient Jewish Synagogue and Cordoba's medieval quarter.

Carmona

EXCURSION 12: CARMONA

Located on a low hill overlooking a fertile plain, Carmona is a picturesque, small town with a magnificent 15th century tower built in imitation of Seville's Giralda.

Carmona was an important Roman city which, under the Moors was often governed by a brother of the Sevillan ruler.

Ronda

EXCURSION 13: RONDA

Ronda is famous worldwide for its dramatic escarpments and views, and for the deep El Tajo gorge that carries the rio Guadalevín through its centre.

Visitors make a beeline for the 18th century Puente Nuevo 'new' bridge, which straddles the 100m chasm below, for its unparalleled views out over the Serranía de Ronda mountains.

Arcos de la Frontera

EXCURSION 14: ARCOS DE LA FRONTERA

Declared a national historic-artistic monument in 1962 in recognition of its exceptional architecture and impressive location, the old town is a tangled labyrinth of cobbled streets that lead up to a sandstone castle, the Castillo de los Arcos.

As you’d expect from such a spectacular vantage point, there are exhilarating views over the town and the rolling plain below.

Matalascañas

EXCURSION 15: MATALASCAÑAS

Matalascañas is a popular resort, located in a beautiful area of extensive coastal dunes and sandy beaches.

West of Matalascañas is the large, newly protected area of sand dunes called Parque Dunar, which you can explore on foot or by bike.

Inside the park is the Museo Mundo Marino (Museum of Marine Life), with interesting displays about the dunes and sea life.

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