Wine, enjoyed in moderation, is a healthy food which enriches life.

 

Spain Wine Tour

Wine, Cuisine, History and Culture

CLICK HERE FOR A TRIP to SICILY 

Toledo, Andalusia and Jerez

13 Days - September 2018 IN PLANNING

All-Inclusive accompanied tour to Southern Spain including Toledo, Cordoba, Granada, Jerez and Seville.

Below you will see details on the trip to Spain in 2016. Another trip is planned for September 2018 which will follow a similar plan. If you are considering joining this planned tour then send an email to be added to the trip priority list to receive updates as planning progresses and to have priority booking once the trip is announced.

Register | Price | Itinerary

In the late 8th century a muslim army from North Africa invaded Southern Spain. The occupied area, known as Al-Andalus, is today called Andalusia.

Over the next 600 or so years the invaders integrated with the indigenous population of christians and jews to create a region that had a profound impact on European civilization.

 

It was a centre of learning and education whose influence was felt in Oxford, Paris and northern Italy. Arab mathematics, architecture, medicine and literature from this period are embedded in our culture today.

Today you can still see the remains of the arab presence in the mediaeval cities of Toledo, Cordoba, Granada, Seville and Jerez.

Andalusian cuisine is quite unique and though most of the region is not yet famous for its wine production, there are some great wines being produced here, so it deserves more attention from wine lovers.

The gypsy culture of the region is experienced at the many flamenco venues and the wine bars of Granada, Cordoba and Seville are great places in the world to experience tapas.

For the unitiated, tapas are small plates of food, usually costing 3-4 Euros, but sometimes provided free with a wine purchase. You order as many as you want and when you want, so it easy to bar hop if you wish to try some different wines and food selection.

In late September each year, as the grape harvest comes to a conclusion, it is still hot during the day and pleasantly warm in the evening for dining outside.

 

 

The area is certainly a wine-drinkers paradise with a great selection of inexpensive wine widely available in the bars and restaurants of its cities. Wine is generally served by knowlegeable people with many available by the glass and often matched to specially created dishes.

 

The plan is that the group will meet at Madrid airport and will soon be in Toledo for a two-night stay to see the city, the El Greco museum and to visit one winery in the area as well as some time for recovering from transatlantic travel.

We next head south for Cordoba stopping at a winery for lunch on the way. There will be a guided tour of Cordoba including the famous cathedral built around a mosque. The patios in the ancient Jewish quarter will also be seen.

After a two-night stay we head for Granada stopping for lunch on the way in Montilla. We stay in the middle of the old city with many tapas bars close-by and will visit the magnificent Alhambra Palace as well as three wineries in the area.

After three nights in Granada we head westwards to Jerez, the home of sherry wines. Three bodega visits will be arranged with dinner and lunch with winery hosts.

 

 

 

The final two nights of the trip will be in Seville, the capital of the region, with a winery visit plus a guided tour of the cathedral and the ancient city centre.

There will be many opportunities for individual exploration as is usual on these trips.

 

Top

 

Register

If you are interested in joining this tour....

Email: Steve Thurlow steve@stevethurlow.com

Price

The price for the all-inclusive 13 day trip in 2016 was $4695 per person. Single supplement on request.

A non-refundable deposit of C$500 per guest is required to secure a place on this tour. Final payment for the trip is required 120 days prior to departure. Guests are advised to take trip cancellation insurance, which we are happy to provide. Please request a quotation when registering for the trip.

The trip price assumes double occupancy in twin/double rooms and includes all land transportation, hotels, breakfasts, visits and tastings, and 14 meals with wines all led by Steve Thurlow.

Guests are required to make their own travel arrangements to Madrid and home from Seville. There are many ways of flying to Spain from North America. Air Canada currently flies direct to Madrid, so flights can be booked using Aeroplan points which may be of interest to some.

Top

2016 Itinerary

(Included meals: B= Breakfast L= Lunch D= Dinner)

Day 1: Madrid

The group meets at Madrid airport at the Airport Hilton Hotel at 10:30 a.m. This will allow time for those arriving that morning at 7:55 on Air Canada 836 from Toronto to join the group. Since we do not visit the city of Madrid during the trip, some may wish to arrive in Spain early and spend a few days there before the trip starts or stop there on the way home.

It is about a one hour drive to Toledo, so we will soon be checking into our hotel. The Parador Hotel Toledo sits on a hill and looks down on the ancient city across the river.

This is the view from the pool deck and the bar. So sit back, relax and take it in.

 

 

 

 

There are no activities planned this afternoon to allow time for recovery from the trip from Canada.

There will be a group dinner at the hotel. (D)

Day 2: Toledo

After breakfast we leave to visit the Osborne winery which is about an hour's drive to the west of Toledo for a tour, tasting and lunch.

On the return to Toledo, the bus will drop those that wish in the town centre to visit this world heritage city on foot. The El Greco museum (which is open until 19:30) is well worth a visit, as is the cathedral and the alcazar.

There are many restaurants and tapas bars so it is easy to find a bite to eat. The bus will return late in the evening to bring the wanderers home.

It is a short taxi ride to the city for those that want to travel independently to Toledo. (B,L)

 

Day 3: Valdepenas and Cordoba

After breakfast we checkout and head south enroute to Cordoba. We will stop for lunch plus a tour and tasting at the Navarro Lopez winery which is about two hours from Toledo.

It is only another two hours to Cordoba after we leave the winery, so by late afternoon we will be checking in to the NH Amistad Hotel in the historic Jewish Quarter and just around the corner from the Alcazar.

From here you are in the middle of the ancient city with its narrow pedestrian alleyways, numerous bars and restaurants with many offering flamenco music and dancing.

The early part of the evening is free to explore the city on foot, soak up the atmosphere and take a glass of wine with a small tapas.

There will be time to move on and find another place maybe with music to enjoy with the next glass and small bite. It will soon be time to meet at the Royal Stables at 9pm for the Passion and Spirit of the Andalusian Equestrian Show.

The Royal Stables are close to the hotel. (B,L)

Day 4: Cordoba

After breakfast we leave the hotel on foot for a guided tour of the city that will include the famous cathedral built around a mosque, the jewish quarter with its walled private patios and the alcazar quarter.

 

 

Once the tour is complete, the balance of the day will be free for individual exploration and shopping and to grab a bite to eat for lunch.    

We meet in the evening at the Taverna Puerto Sevilla for a group dinner with some of the local wines. (B,D)

Day 5: Montilla and Granada

After a two-night stay we checkout and head for Granada stopping for lunch on the way in Montilla at the Alvear winery that was founded in 1729.

 
 
 

 

 

They have some wines that are over 200 years old that are used in current blends.

After a tour of the ancient cellars and tasting some of their wines we will take lunch before heading on our way to Granada about 1.5 hours drive to the southeast.

We will stay at the NH Victoria Hotel in the midst of the old city of Granada with many tapas bars close-by.    

 

 

 

From most of the city, the Alhambra Palace can be seen high on a hill that overlooks the city centre.

The evening is free for settling into our new surroundings and exploring the city, its bars and restaurants. (B,L)

Day 6: Granada

After breakfast we leave to visit the nearby wine region in the hills to the northeast of the city less than an hour's drive. Our first stop is Pago de Almares for a brief tour and tasting.

We then move to the nearby Munana winery for a tasting of their wines. Since it will now be time for lunch we will stop in the village of Purullena for a typical country lunch with local wines at Meson la Taverna.

 

After lunch we return to Granada. The balance of the afternoon is free.

Our guide to the city, Antonio, has arranged a gypsy flamenco experience in the hills above the city this evening. Music, dancing and typical Andalusian cuisine with local wines will be enjoyed by all.

He will meet us at our hotel early evening and explain the history of the city and guide us to some parts that are off the normal tourist path. (B,L,D)

Day 7: Granada

We meet Antonio again this morning as we leave the hotel in our bus to visit the Alhambra Palace after breakfast.

His tour of this magnificent jewel will take about three hours.

 

 

At the end of the tour we remain in the palace grounds to have lunch at the Parador hotel. It is a haven of peace after the crowds we will surely have encountered during the palace tour.

After lunch the adventurous can stroll back to the city on foot, however the bus will be there for those that have had enough adventure for the day.

We are free until late afternoon when we leave by bus to visit Hacienda Señorío de Nevada. This is a hotel and restaurant situated inside a winery in the mountains to the south of Granada.

Chema Concustell, their talented enologist, has put this new winery on the map. His wines are some of the finest in the area and the food at the restaurant is superb when matched with his wines.

After dinner we return to the hotel for our last night in Granada. (B,L,D)

Day 8: Granada to Jerez

After breakfast we checkout of the hotel and head westwards to Jerez, the home of sherry wines, for the next three nights.

The route is very picturesque through the mountains of southern Spain. After an hour we leave the autovia and head towards the national park of the Sierra de Grazelema.

We will stop for a coffee and refreshment at Los Chopos in the village of Campillos before the drive over the mountains.

They are dotted with hilltop villages, like Olvera, with almost all the houses painted white and often with enormous churches perched on a summit.

 

 

We will soon be at Huerta de Albala, a large modern winery specializing in syrah to the north of Cadiz. We should arrive soon after noon for a tour, tasting and lunch.

 

In less than an hour after we leave the winery we should be at our hotel in the centre of Jerez.

Asta Regia is a new hotel constructed inside several old buildings at the heart of Jerez. It will be our base for the next three nights.

 

We are close to the Cathedral and Alcazar in the historical centre of the city.

   

The evening is free to explore the city, its bars and restaurants. (B,L)

 

 

Day 9: Jerez

After breakfast we leave to drive to the coast about 30 minutes to the south to visit the vineyards of Emilio Lustau, one of the top producers of sherry wines and also one of the largest.

After seeing where the grapes are grown, we will then taste some of their wines before arriving on the beach at Casa Bigote for lunch in Sanlucar de Barrameda.

It has the reputation of being one of the best seafood restaurants in the south of Spain.

 

 

We will enjoy our seafood lunch with the finos and manzanillas of Lustau.

If we are lucky we might catch a glimpse of horses racing on the beach in front of the restaurant.

    After lunch we return to the hotel. The rest of the afternoon is free.
 
That evening, we will visit the Lustau winery in the centre of the city for a tour of the ancient cellars and dinner with their wines that will show how food friendly and versatile sherry wines can be when matched correctly. (B,L,D)  

 

 

Day 10: Jerez

After breakfast this morning we will visit one of the smallest producers of wine in Jerez.

All the work is done by hand in the same traditional way as has been done for centuries. It takes only a few minutes to visit this small winery but we will linger longer over the tasting of their superb, quite unique, wines.

El Maestro Sierra is a glimpse back in time since little has changed in their time honoured production since the C19th.

 

Mid morning we leave this winery in order to visit the large modern winery of Williams and Humbert in the suburbs of Jerez.

During the visit to this vast property we will attend a short horse demonstration. We will taste their wines and take lunch in the winery.

After lunch, we return to the hotel and the afternoon is free for exploring the city centre.

That evening we leave to visit the Osborne bodega in El Puerto de Santa Maria for a tour, tasting and dinner. (B,L,D)

 

 

Day 11: Huelva and Seville

We checkout of the hotel after breakfast and leave to explore the Huelva region and the Sierra de Aracena which lies to the northeast of Seville.

We then head north into the hills in search of some very valuable black pigs.

During the trip we will have sampled jamon on several occasions. Today we will visit one of the most famous producers, Cinco Jotas, to see their free range pigs and discover how this very exclusive and expensive ham is produced.

Before we meet the pigs, we will have lunch in the picturesque town of Aracena.

 

 

After lunch we will go in search of the pigs.

They live in the woods close to Aracena eating a diet rich in acorns, and are allowed to roam freely. Each will travel on average 14km a day inside their large reserve.

 

So we are not guaranteed an encounter in person, but let's hope we get lucky and can find some with the help of our guide, Alberto.

 

 

 

They spend a relatively short life in beautiful surroundings before they are turned into jamon by Cinco Jotas in the the nearby town of Jabugo.

We leave the woods to visit the Cinco Jotas production facility in Jabugo and the adjoining museum where Alberto will explain how the ham is produced.

 

We will see rooms like this, full of jamon as far as the eye can see, silently curing.

 

At the end of the tour, with a glass of wine in hand, we will taste the produce that has been impeccably carved by an expert.

It will then be time to head to Seville for our last two nights of the tour.

 

 

 

Seville is the capital of the region and we will stay in the Melia Hotel in the centre of the city.

It is a short walk from most of the major attractions and has a splendid roof top pool.

The evening is free for visiting the city, and checking out the tapas bars and restaurants. (B,L)

 

 

 

Day 12: Seville

After breakfast our guide to the city, Jaime, will meet us at the hotel to show us his city. We will stroll though El Prado de San Sebastian on our way to the Jardines de Murillo.

The tour will include the cathedral and the alcazar quarter plus the jewish area.

 

 
 

 

The tour will take about 2.5 hours and will finish in the centre of the city at around noon.

The afternoon is free for getting a bite to eat, shopping and continuing with sightseeing.

That evening there will be a final group dinner in the hotel. (B,D)

 

Day 13: Seville

The group will disperse after breakfast in the hotel in Seville. (B)

Email Steve@SteveThurlow.com for more info.

Conditions

The above itineraries are as planned. However we reserve the right to make adjustments depending upon weather and other constraints, to substitute visits to alternative wineries and to arrange accommodation at hotels of similar standard in the towns mentioned.

Prices are for double occupancy in twin/double rooms (single supplement on request). Hotels are subject to availability.

The price for the tour covers luxury coach transportation, hotels and entrance fees and guide fees to all attractions described in the itinerary. Also included are breakfasts every day, winery visits and tastings, and 14 meals with wines.

Guests are responsible for their own transportation to the Hilton Hotel Madrid Airport and from the Seville Melia Hotel.

This price is correct at present but may change as a result of currency variations or other circumstances beyond our control. We accept credit card payments for the trip deposit but do not accept payment by credit card for the final trip payment unless special arrangements are made.

In accordance with the Ontario Industry Travel Act, below is the registered name, address and registration number of the provider of the travel services:

UNIGLOBE Enterprise Travel Ltd.
34 Britain Street, Suite 200
Toronto, Ontario
M5A 1R6

Agent: Steve Thurlow

TICO Registration Number: 1810380

Top