Natural and monumental splendour following Muslim traces in the lands of Jaen, the Nasrid kingdom of Granada and the Caliphal Cordoba.
Days 1 and 2
Sunday and Monday.
The journey in search of the Andalusian legacy after seven centuries of Arab occupation begins in the province of Jaen, in the borderlands of the former kingdom of Granada. We start from Úbeda which, together with neighbouring Baeza, both declared World Heritage Sites, gather one of the most interesting Renaissance legacies in the country. In the Arab era, Úbeda gained importance and became a population centre. Abderramán II founded the town of Ubbadat al-Arab. In 852, it was walled and, during the 11th and 12th centuries, it was successively conquered by Almoravids and Almohads. However, Úbeda stands out above all for being the jewel of the Andalusian Renaissance, highlighting the Sacred Chapel of San Salvador and the hospital of Santiago, the palace of Las Cadenas and the church of Santa María de los Reales Alcázares. Apart from these buildings, it is interesting to visit the unique Synagogue of Water to learn first-hand how the Jewish communities that were settled in Úbeda lived. A rich heritage before which the traveller feels to be in an Italian city, but with the folklore, the ancient crafts, the cuisine and the joy of Andalusia.
Days 3 and 4
Tuesday and Wednesday.
On our way from Úbeda to Cazorla, great fields of olive trees will meet us. The Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park, declared a Biosphere Reserve, is like an oasis that breaks with the monotonous landscape surrounding this monoculture. Visiting places such as the Torre del Vinagre Interpretation Centre, the Iruela Castle or the Collado del Almendral Hunting Park is something you should not miss when visiting this beautiful mountain range. In Cazorla, within its attractive old town, it is interesting to visit the Museum of Arts and Customs of the Alto Guadalquivir in the Yedra Castle. In this hunting paradise, you must taste game dishes, authentic specialties from the Parador, which is a heaven of peace in the heart of nature. From there you can visit the source of the River Guadalquivir, find ancient yews and vulture colonies, enter the Cave of Water or the Roman remains of the nearby town of Peal de Becerro; and, of course, visit the town of Cazorla and its beautiful Castillo de la Yedra, which beautifies the landscape of clustered houses at the beginning of the great mountain range. Cazorla offers active tourism with routes and excursions on foot, horseback, by riding a bike or by driving an off-road vehicle; or even by rafting down through the river. It is located in the main olive oil-producing region and is the ideal place to get closer to and deepen this ancient culture and learn about the benefits of extra virgin olive oil, getting to know the Olive Tree and Olive Oil Interpretation Centre or going oil tourism by visiting a mill.
Plan your trip as our next stop is a two hour drive. Granada is like an oriental tale at the foot of the Sierra Nevada, the last stronghold of the Nasrids the loss of which was mourned by Boabdil, and the destination of the Al-Andalus routes. The Muslim period has provided Granada with a good part of its urban planning and also its great beauty among all towns on the planet. The Alhambra and the Generalife are a gift for the senses, and the water, the light, its gardens and the art take it to another level. And staying at the Parador is like a dream of “One Thousand and One Nights”, since it is located within the complex in an old convent built on a Nasrid palace, of which remains such as the Al Qubba and the Nasrid Hall are still preserved. However, Granada is also the beauty and charm of the old Arab Albaycín neighbourhood, formed by a network of white streets on a hill, with baroque churches and Arab cisterns. La Cartuja monastery, the Cathedral, the Arab baths or the Science Park are part of the infinite treasures of the city. It is also essential to go at least once to a zambra event in a cave in the Sacromonte neighborhood, to walk through the Carrera del Darro, to enjoy some tapas offered by the town’s lively bars for free, visit La Alcaicería -the souk with hundreds of shops- looking for handicrafts and souvenirs and to have some mint tea with pastries in one of the many tea shops.
Days 6 and 7
Friday and Saturday.
Our journey takes us, with recommended stops at places of interest such as Antequera or Lucena -the Pearl of Sepharad-, to Córdoba, the legendary city of the Caliphs that was a dream come true for Abd-al Rahman I, capital of the Omeya caliphate and centre of the wisdom of the West during such period. In this World Heritage Site, its Mosque - with its colossal prayer room with almost a thousand columns connected by horseshoe arches - is the most important monument in the entire Islamic West, and one of the most astonishing in the world. It is also worth noting the Synagogue, the walls, the Roman bridge, the royal stables... or such interesting museums as the Julio Romero de Torres Museum, the Archaeological Museum, the Bullfighting Museum or the Museum of Fine Arts. It is worth getting lost in the beautiful spots of one of the richest and most complex urban structures, with spaces full of charm and sensuality, and let yourself be surprised by the emblematic patios, with their colourful floral explosion. You cannot miss the fabulous and mysterious city that Abd-al Rahman III ordered to be built at the foot of Sierra Morena, the beautiful Medina Azahara, located just eight kilometres away and with a legendary name and history. And don't forget to have a great meal with Cordovan salmorejo and delicious oxtail stew.