Seville, Carmona, Portocarrero and Córdoba
After breakfast, meet your local art historian guide in the lobby of the hotel for a private guided visit to Ma Luisa Park and the spectacular Plaza de España. After your tour, it’s a private transfer to the picturesque town of Carmona (approx. 30 mins drive).
Carmona, known as the “shining star of Andalusia” is a hidden gem sited on a low hill overlooking a fertile plain. A major Roman town, it was also an important Taifa state in Moorish times. Following the Reconquista, Pedro the Cruel built a palace within its walls, which he used as a provincial royal residence (now hosting the well known Parador of Carmona).You will enjoy a delicious lunch at the Parador Hotel. The restaurant here offers the most spectacular views over the Guadalquivir valley and crops.
After lunch, your driver and tour guide will then take you to Portocarrero Palace (approx. 45 mins), located in Palma del Rio, which is between the historic cities of Cordoba and Seville. You’ll enjoy a private guided tour of approx 1.5hr of the Palace, courtyards, and gardens. The rich history of the palace goes back 2000 years to Roman times, making it a real gem to be discovered. This 16th-century castle is surrounded by Almohad walls from the 12th-century, when the building was used as an Alcazar/fortress. Owned by just two families over the past 700 years with its current owners (Ybarra family) having lived here for 6 generations. The Palace, declared a site of cultural interest, features Hispano-Arabic gardens complete with the original Arab irrigation system, a large citrus collection and possibly the oldest centenary orange orchard. In 2005, the Palace was chosen by Ridley Scott as a filming location for the “Kingdom of Heaven”. The emblematic and historic building, which houses the Royal Stables, was founded in 1570 by King Felipe II, a great horse lover with the dream of making a pure Spanish thoroughbred.
This lovely visit will be completed with a tasting of delicious fresh orange juice from the orchards, accompanied by tea and pastries. Cristina Ybarra, the current owner, has her main art studio inside the palace and she is always pleased to show and share her artwork with those discerning travellers who are interested in painting. It’s then on to your hotel in Córdoba (approx. 1hr).
Córdoba was an important Roman city and a major Islamic centre in the Middle Ages. It’s best known for La Mezquita, an immense mosque dating from 784 A.D., featuring a columned prayer hall and older Byzantine mosaics. After it became a Catholic church in 1236, a Renaissance-style nave was added in the 17th century. Tonight you’ll enjoy a marvellous equestrian exhibition in which pure bred Spanish horses are the main protagonists. The stage; an emblematic and magical historical building, once the birthplace of the Andalusian Horse and now an unparalleled setting for this enchanting 1-hour equestrian show. The Royal Stables are located next to the Royal Alcázar and just a 5 mins walk from your hotel. After the show, you can go and have dinner independently at one of the local restaurants in the nearby authentic “San Basilio” district.
Meals included: breakfast & lunch
Hotel in Cordoba