Jewels of Spain
Bookended by the Gothic cathedrals and tapas bars of Valencia to the north, and the ornate palaces and gardens of Granadas Alhambra to the south, this 15-day tour covers culture, cities and coast. As we travel through the provinces of Valencia, Murcia and Andalucia, we see the architectural landscape change from crumbling fortified cities to whitewashed Mediterranean towns – with a fill of Roman ruins, quaint mountain villages and plenty of golden beaches in between.
Day 1 – UK – Valencia/Alicante – Albir
Titans VIP door-to-door travel service collects you from home for your flight to Valencia or Alicante. On arrival, we transfer to our hotel in Albir.
Sun Palace Albir (4-star)
Days 2-4 – Albir
Located on a quiet stretch of the sun-washed Costa Blanca, the small town of Albir has classic Spanish wish you were here good looks. Over the next three days we head out on two included excursions, with plenty of free time to stroll down to the beach or relax. The first included excursion is to the Valencian village of Guadalest – a terracotta-roofed village that clings to the mountainside beneath a precariously perched white tower. A taste of traditional rural life, we explore cobbled streets, pretty squares and duck into artisan shops. The second included excursion takes us to Valencia, with a straw-coloured sweep of beach, modernist architecture and a historic quarter peppered with Roman, Arabic, Gothic and art nouveau buildings. Plus, a 7km green park that snakes through the city. Flanked by two city gates, our guided tour takes us to the old town and into a maze of narrow streets, museums and boutiques. We visit the Gothic Valencia Cathedral, UNESCO-listed Silk Exchange and art nouveau Mercado Colon – where wine bars and pinchos plates sit beneath the cathedral-esque arches and powder-green iron rafters.
Day 5 – Albir – Murcia – guilas
Today we leave the Costa Blanca and drive south to guilas in the province of Murcia. On the way we stop at the city of the same name. Built by the Moors in the 9th century, over 500 years of Islamic rule has left its architectural mark on the city. With an old town that rivals bigger Spanish cities but minus the crowds, we take a guided tour past Moorish, Gothic, Renaissance, and baroque buildings – including the citys elaborate centrepiece, the Cathedral of Murcia. After lunch in a local restaurant, we continue to our seafront hotel just outside guilas – an ancient Roman port known for its baths, 18th-century castle, and rocky seabed providing crystal-clear conditions for snorkellers and scuba divers.
Hotel Puerto Juan Montiel, guilas (4-star)
Days 6-10 – guilas
Striking the balance between city and beach (there are 36 on this stretch of coast, including a wide stretch of golden sand next to the hotel), over the following five days we explore with three included excursions. Our first is an orientation walk around guilas to get our bearings. The second takes us inland to Lorca – an ancient sun-faded city at the foot of the Sierra del Cao. A former frontier city that separated Muslim and Christian Spain, Lorcas past reads like a historical hymn sheet of Visigoth and Moor battlegrounds, Roman ruins, 9th-century castles, 15th-century synagogues and Renaissance cathedrals. Its little wonder Lorca is known as the City of 100 Coats of Arms. Another full-day excursion backtracks along the coast to Cartagena, a sandcastle-coloured ancient city wrapped around a deep blue harbour. Originally a Roman military port in the 3rd century BC, we visit the towns archaeological masterpiece – the Roman amphitheatre unearthed in 1988, and the Castillo de la Concepcin – a 12th-century Moorish fort built on the site of a Roman temple. Theres also an optional full-day trip to Caravaca de la Cruz – a historic city where convents, Catholic churches and religious relics grace the hillside. Designated by Pope John Paul II as one of only five Holy Cities in the world, its an important pilgrimage site for Christians.
Day 11 – guilas – Salobrea
Crossing over from Murcia into Andalucia, we start to see the architectural landscape change – with sand-coloured Moorish towns giving way to whitewashed Mediterranean villages. On our way to our hotel near Salobrea we stop at Mojcar – a white hilltop village dotted with pastel shutters and fuchsia bougainvillea, and Sorbas – a mountaintop town built on a flat plateau where stone houses hug the edge of a steep ravine. After lunch at a local restaurant in Sorbas, we continue to Salobrea. We stay a few miles away in a clifftop hotel with stunning views across the Mediterranean.
Hotel Salobrea, Salobrea (3-star)
Days 12-14 – Salobrea
The next three days are a mix of free time and included excursions. The first is an orientation walk of Salobrea. Known as the Jewel of the Costa Tropical, Salobrea stretches out in a sea of blinding white buildings and sugar cane plantations up to a weathered Moorish fort. Both the views and the steep streets of Salobrea are breathtaking. The second included trip is to the Lecrin Valley – an area of outstanding natural beauty home to quaint white hamlets, woven farmland and meandering blue rivers. The valley has over 300 species of wildflower and is especially beautiful in the spring, when the almond trees are in blossom and the distant peaks of the Sierra Nevada are still capped with snow. Our final excursion is to Granada. A stronghold of the Moorish empire at the foot of the snow and gravel marbled Sierra Nevada, the grip of the Spanish Moors is everywhere in the old city. Not least in its crowning glory, the UNESCO-listed Alhambra Palace – considered to be the finest example of Moorish architecture in Europe. We take a guided tour of the sprawling hilltop complex which houses palaces, gardens, viaducts and fortresses.
Hotel Salobrea, Salobrea (3-star)
Day 15 – Salobrea – Mlaga – UK
We transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK. Upon arrival, your Titan vehicle will be waiting for the journey home.
Salobrea – Mlaga – UK