Day 2 SUBBETICA NATURAL PARK (RUTE, IZNAJAR and PRIEGO)
RUTE is a whitewashed town sited picturesquely on a
hill overlooked by the hazy Sierra de Rute behind.
Beyond a ruined Moorish castle and a Baroque
church, Rute has few more monuments and is
famous for producing aniseed liqueurs (Anís), Christmas cakes (mantecado) and chocolate.
The Association for the Defence of the Donkey (ADEBO) is a non proft organization with a unique Reserve of Donkeys at the outskirts of the town. Since 1988, one of its main goals is to protect the pure Spanish race which is in extreme danger of extinction.
IZNAJAR is another picturesque small village or Moorish origin, situated on top of a huge rocky outcropping overlooking “El Pantano de Iznajar”, the largest lake in the whole of Andalucia, which is frequented throughout the warm season as a beach.
PRIEGO is the capital of the Subbetica region and one of the Andalucía's little known Baroque wonders. The northern approach presents a dramatic view of the whitewashed buildings of its old quarter (Barrio de la Villa), laid out along the edge of a natural gorge (Balcón del Adarve) of impressive height which has guaranteed the safety of Priego throughout history. Priego is also in the centre of a major olive oil zone that produces some of the Spain's fnest oils which have been internationally awarded and given their own denominational label.
Day 3 SUBBETICA NATURAL PARK (ZUHEROS)
Nestling in a gorge backed by steep rock cliffs, ZUHEROS another stunning Subbética village. A cluster of white
houses tumbles down the hill below a romantic Moorish castle built on and into the rock.
On the edge of a small square, the archeological museum displays fascinating fnds from the Cueva de los Murciélagos (bats cave). This cave is located in the hills above the village and was frst explored in 1938. Nearby Zuheros, there are many scenic walking and cycling routes such as the old olive oil railway trail (Via Verde), with dramatic views over the whole Subbetica landscape.
Day 4 MONTILLA-MORILES
MONTILLA is the center of this Denomination of Origin
wine zone. The winemaking history of this area dates
back to the Romans and the Moors and it's quite possibly
the oldest in Andalucia.
The landscape here is dry and the soil is a blinding white Albariza (white marl composed of clay, calcium and marine fossils). Its excellent moisture retention is very signifcant as this area is hotter than almost anywhere else in Spain.
The main white grape variety of this area is the worldwide known Pedro Ximenez. With a delicate skin and high sugar content, the wines that are made from it, reach up to 14 and 16% alcohol, leaving behind plenty of residual sugar. They are then matured using the solera system and classifed into the following styles: Joven(young and fruity), Fino (dry and nutty), Amontillado (gradually oxidated), Oloroso (richer and heavier) and Pedro Ximénez (sweet and thick, honoring the actual grape name)
Day 5 CÓRDOBA
Cordoba is a mid-sized city of 350,000 people. A great cultural reference point in Europe, this ancient city has been declared a World Heritage Site and contains a mixture of the diverse cultures that have settled it throughout history (muslim, jewish and christian). Very few places in the world can boast of having been the capital of a Roman province (Hispania Baetica), the capital of an Arab State (Al-Andalus) and a Caliphate. When the Muslims conquered the city in 711, Cordoba became the political, fnancial and economic centre of the Muslim Emirate of Al-Andalus. From 756, it is the capital of the independent Emirate of Cordoba, founded by the Umayyad prince Abd al-Rahman I. From 929, when the Emir Abd al-Rahaman III proclaims himself Caliph, Cordoba would be the capital of an independent Caliphate. The kingdom of Abd al-Rahman III was the most glorious period of the city history. Such splendor is palpable in the intellectual wealth of this city, that has seen the birth of fgures like Seneca, Averroes, and Maimonides. The historic quarter of Cordoba is a beautiful network of small streets, alleys, squares and whitewashed courtyards arranged around the Mezquita, which refects the city's prominent place in the Islamic world during medieval times.
Day 6 LOS PEDROCHES
Thirty two towns in Los Pedroches Valley (central
area of Sierra Morena mountains) are covered by
this Denomination of Origin. The valley takes its
name from the town of Pedroche, the oldest in the
area. The most characteristic element of the
landscape are the holm oak trees of the Dehesa
pastureland, where the ibérico pigs (the original
swine of Spain) are released to eat its beloved
acorns (bellota) from November till March. The
dehesa is one of the best preserved ecosystems in
Europe, where livestock breeds live side by side with
wild species (deer, wild boars, wild cats, imperial
eagles, black vultures...).
The Jamón Ibérico is considered as the fnest ham in the world and is greatly prized as a gourmet food. This ham is made only from the Iberian pigs breed in four different regions of Spain: Los Pedroches (Córdoba). Extremadura, Guijuelo (Salamanca) and Huelva.
At the border with Los Pedroches Valley, also within the Sierra Morena mountains, is located the Natural Park of Cardeña and Montoro. The dominant vegetation is the holm oak, wild olive trees, cork oaks and gall oaks. One of the areas of the park contains the only examples of Pyrenean oak woods left in Southern Spain. One of the most outstanding features of this reserve is its wide diversity of fauna
Day 7 MONTORO
On the way back to the airport, you will enjoy a scenic route with delightful stopovers including the charming small town of Montoro. Dramatically sited on an escarpment above a horseshoe bend in the Gualquivir river, the town is a labyrinth of narrow, white-walled streets. Montoro was declared as Historic-Artistic Site in 1969. In addition to its beautiful natural sourroundings, Montoro gathers several places of tourist interest, such as the bridge that crosses the river, the church of San Bartolomé (XV), the remains of its Moorish castle and the tower of Villaverde.