Day 1 JARDÍN DE LA CONCEPCIÓN, MÁLAGA
Remarkable Botanical Garden in Malaga. Among the fnest in Spain, the gardens were originally
designed in the 1850s by Amalia Loring, granddaughter of the British consul and only purchased in
1990 by Málaga city council, since when they have been converted into the present tropical gardens.
Beneath the thirty species of soaring palms, waving pines and lofty eucalyptus, you'll fnd yellowfowering
acacia, violet-blooming jacaranda and all kinds of exotic shrubs and grasses.
There are trees of all shapes and continents, such as the Australian banyan, giant sequoias and a variety of bamboos, all to be seen on any one of the fve guided itineraries.
Day 2 CASA DEL REY MORO and PALACIO DE MONDRAGON, RONDA
La Casa del Rey Moro is a mansion dated from
the 18th century and bui l t on Moorish
foundations. Local legend says that this was the
palace of the Moorish emir Badis, an Arabian
Bluebeard, who was reputed to drink his wine
from the skulls of the victims he had beheaded.
From the house a remarkable underground
stairway (The Mina) descends to the river at the
foot of the Tajo. The gardens were designed in
1912 by Forestier and offer excellent views of the
Tajo gorge and the surrounding mountains.
El Palacio de Mondragon is one of the most important palace of Ronda, dated from the 14th century. Probably the royal palace of the Morish kings, following the Reconquista it was much altered in order to accommodate FErnando and Isabel. Inside, three of the patios preserve original stuccowork and mosaics and there is a magnifcent carved wood ceiling.
Day 3 THE ROYAL ALCAZAR GARDENS, THE CATHEDRAL AND CASA PILATOS, SEVILLA
The fortifed palace is a mix of Christian and Moorish styles and was the favoured residence of the
Spanish kings for about four centuries after the Reconquista. The gardens are a spacious and tranquil
haven flled with birdsong and the cries of resident peacocks. You will fnd one garden after another,
including: Jardin de la Danza, Jardin de Troya, Jardin de la Galera and Jardin de las fores. They
contain fountains, eucalyptus, palm lemon and orange trees and another incredible area contains the
19th century English style and a 500 year old magnolia tree brought by Columbus from the New World.
After the reconquest of Seville by Fernando III in 1248, the Almohad mosque was almost entirely demolished and the largest Gothic church in the world, Sevilla's cathedral, was extraordinarily completed in just over a century (1402-1506). Inside the enormous 19th century mausoleum of Christopher Columbus with some of the navigator's remains.
La Casa Pilatos is the fnest Sevilla's mansion. It was built by the Marqués de Tarifa on his return from a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 1519 as an imitation of the house of Pontius Pilate, supposedly seen by the duke on this travels. In fact, it's a harmonious mixture of Mudejar, Gothic and Renaissance styles, featuring brilliant azulejos (tiles) and the best domestic patios in the city. After the Civil war the dukes of Medinaceli returned to live here and inaugurated a programme of restoration that has gradually brought the house back to its original splendour.
Day 4 PLAZA DE ESPAÑA AND MARIA LUISA PARK, SEVILLA
Designed by Anibal Gonzalez with theatrical towers,
sprinkling fountains, majestic stairways and masses of
brick and tile work, its famboyance would seem strange
in most Spanish cities but here it looks entirely natural.
The vast semicircular complex was designed as the
centerpiece of the Ibero American exhibition in 1929 and
was used for the Spanish exhibit of industry and crafts
and around the crescent are azulejo scenes and maps of
each of the provinces.
Most of the grounds of the Maria Luisa Park were donated to the city in 1893 by the princess Luisa Fernanda, duchess of Montpensier, for use as a public park. Starting in 1911, Forestier rearranged the gardens into their present shapes. In 1914 Anibal Gonzalez began construction for the Ibero American exhibition of 1929, which was held partly within the park which adjoins the Plaza de España. The park is a mix of 1920's Art Deco and mock Mudejar. It serves as a botanical garden where many plant species, native or exotic, are represented. Many birds make their home in the park, which is know for tis large population of doves. There are also many green parrots living in the center and ducks and swans in the fountains and lakes.
Day 4 ALCAZAR GARDENS, PALACIO DE VIANA and MOSQUE, CORDOBA
The Moorish style gardens in the Alcazar fortress are one of the fories of Córdboa today with lots of arbours and shady corners, the gardens are dotted with helfy chunks of Roman columns and the masonry testifying to the city's importance in the Roman era. From the tower's belvedere there are great views over the town and river while the interior of the Alcazar features 15th century royal baths and some fen Roman mosaics discovered in the city.
The Palacio de Viana is a 17th century house built on the site of two Roman houses and was seat of the marquises of Viana. The palace boasts truly delightful gardens and thirteen interconnected patios. The Renaissance gateway welcomes you to a reception patio with a central fountain and cobbled paving. Jasmines and Bougainvillea are rampant here and are an appetizer for what is on offer further inside the maze o patios. At the centre is a green area of 1.200 m2 containing roses, arums and gorgeous lilies where you will be overwhelmed by the grandeur of this beautiful place.
The Mosque and the Patio de los Naranjos: as in Moorish times, the Mosque is approached through this classic Islamic ablutions court with fountains for ritual purifcation before prayer, which still preserves its orange trees. Originally, all nineteen naves of the mosque were open to this court, allowing the rows of interior columns to appear as an extension of the trees. The mood of the building has been distorted a little, from the open and vigorous simplicity of the mosque, to the mysterious half light of a cathedral.
Day 5 MORATALLA AND PORTOCARRERO, CORDOBA
The Moratalla gardens were created in around 1910-1915 on an Andalusian estate belonging to the
Marquis of Viana to turn it into a recreational residence and a base for big game hunting. The gardens
were designed by J. C. N. Forestier and integrate the French style with the Neo-Sevillian style he created. A great avenue between the façade of the Palace and the ornamental iron gate at the entrance develops into seven terraces of slightly sunken lawn. On the terraces there are various whimsical motifs like fountains, benches and tables, serpentines etc, made of brick and tile. The rest of the garden area is in a more intimate, slightly romantic style, shady and wooded.
The Portocarrero Palace is the perfect combination between a medieval Moorish fortress and a Renaissance palace with beautiful Arabian and Mudejar gardens inside. This architectural gem has been recently restored by its current owner and brights of magnifcence in the heart of Andalusia, between the province of Cordoba and Sevilla.
Day 6 PRIEGO DE CÓRDOBA
It is considered the most baroque of the
Andalucia white towns. It's beautiful
houses, palaces and gardens bring to this
picturesque little town a delicate beauty
that can't be missed. Here you will visit
three public gardens of special interest:
Paseo de Colombia, Recreo de Castilla,
and la Fuente del Rey, all of them Baroque
style and considered historic monuments.
This tranquil town is located in the heart of the Subbet ica mountains and i ts surrounded by olive groves. This area is a major olive oil zone which produces some of the Spain's fnest oils.
Day 7 THE ALHAMBRA AND THE GENERALIFE GARDENS, GRANADA
The Alhambra is one of the most sensual architectural creations in the world and the greatest treasure
of Moorish Spain.
The Generalife is the image of how the paradise is described in the Koran (“shaded, leafy garden refreshed by running water where the fortunate ones may take their rest under tall canopies”). The grounds are beautifully designed with waterfalls, courtyards and smaller secret gardns, which remain deeply evocative: the Patio de la Sultana, a dark and secretive walled garden of scupted junipers where the Sultana Zoraya was suspected of meeting her lover Hamet, chief of the unfortunate Abencerrajes. The trunk of the 700 year old cypress tree is where legend says their trysts took place and where the girly fate of the Abencerraje clan was sealed. Nearby is the inspired fight of fantasy of the Escalera del agua, a staircase with water fowing down its stone balustrades.
Day 8 CARMEN DE LOS MARTIRES, GRANADA
The enchanting Carmen de los
Mártires is a turn of 20th century
house set in a delightfully
tranquil garden flled with palms,
cypresses and tinkling
fountains. Throughout the
garden you'll come across
grottoes, statues and follies as well as peacocks and black swans paddling around an artifcial lake. A wonderful oasis that will keep your breathe away.