Caliphs and Knights: Cordoba & Segura

Highlights

  • Relive the 13th century in Andalusia, in the town of Baeza and the Crusader villages of Hornos and Segura
  • Cordoba city, with the unique mosque cathedral, the castle with its magnificent water gardens, the hammam of the Caliphs, the picturesque Jewish quarter and the famous patios.
  • Mountain walks in two magnificent Andalusian natural parks
  • Friendly, family run hotels, bars and restaurants with delicious local dishes
  • Visit Zuheros, one of the most beautiful 'white villages'
  • Madinat al-Zahra, city-palace of the Caliphs

Tour description provided by World Expeditions

This inspiring walking tour takes you back to the Middle Ages, where you can relive the 13th Century in Andalusia. Explore the inspiring ruins of Madinat al-Zahra, the city-palace of the Caliphs, the town of Baeza, the Crusader villages of Hornos and Segura and the picturesque villages of eastern Andalusia, dominated by the castles of the knights of Santiago.A central focus of the tour is in Cordoba city, with its unique mosque cathedral, the castle with its magnificent water gardens, the Caliphal baths, the picturesque Jewish quarter and the patios. Discover on foot the landscapes of two superb Natural Parks, the Subbética Cordobesa and the Sierras of Cazorla and Segura — the biggest in Spain (2140 km2) and one of Europe's largest. Little known outside Spain, this is an idyllic area for both walkers and naturalists, with its great variety of flora and fauna and interesting landscapes including impressive gorges and forested limestone crags.

What's included

  • 7 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 1 afternoon snack, 6 dinners (does not include drinks) - breakfasts are continental inclusive of bread or toast with butter and jam or fresh tomato and olive oil, juice and tea or coffee. lunch will be either an individual picnic or communal buffet-picnic, or a set menu, starting with salad, gazpacho, hors d'oeuvres, soup, rice or pasta, followed by either a chicken, egg, red meat or fish dish and finishing with a dessert of fruit, crême caramel, etc. dinner will usually be a set 3 course-meal; there will also be the opportunity to try 'raciones' (nothing to do with being rationed!): a choice of giant 'tapas' to pick from, 'andalusian style' (no formal courses or dessert). the evening meal of day 6 and the lunch of day 7 are not included. please note in spain dinners are generally served between 8.00pm – 9.30pm.
  • 7 nights in small family-run 2 star hotels on a twin share basis with ensuite facilities
  • Transfer to and from malaga – transfers are at/before 2.30pm on day 1 and the earliest you will arrive in malaga on day 8 is 10:30am
  • Experienced walking guide
  • Luggage transfer and internal transfers where specified

Itinerary

Day 1 Transfer from Málaga to Hornos
From Malaga, a 4 hour transfer (with a stop for an afternoon snack) brings you to Hornos, in the Sierra de Cazorla-Segura Natural Park. You will need to book a plane arriving at Malaga airport before 1:30pm, or a coach/train arriving before 2:30pm, to take this transfer. Throughout this trip, we are reminded that this is the world's largest olive oil producing area. The fortified village of Hornos is perched in a real "eagle's nest" site above the Tranco lake. The hotel proprietor, Mari-Carmen, is one of the best cooks we know, with a vast repertoire of local dishes!
Day 2 Walk of the Rio Madera (4hrs); optional short walk (1hr) in Hornos Valley
The Rio Madera (wood river) with numerous spring flowers, enormous pine trees and calares (eroded limestone plateaux with spectacular forest-clad cliffs). Lunch will be a picnic. In the afternoon we walk on the narrow path which dominates the Rio Hornos (optional).
Day 3 The Yelmo, with panoramic views and the Tranco Lake ancient salt pans (5hrs)
Two walks showing very different aspects of the immediate vicinity of Hornos. In the morning we climb up through the rosemary and pine forest to the Yelmo ridge where there are magnificent views of the Sierra de Segura. We have lunch in Hornos, then make the descent to the edge of the Tranco lake, which we follow before returning via the inland salt-pans. These salt-pans, until about 70 years ago, provided salt to the area.
Day 4 The Trujala walk (4.5hrs) and visit to Segura de la Sierra village
Walking amid the olive groves, pine woods and hamlets of the Trujala. Lunch and visit to the quaint village of Segura de la Sierra, with its Moorish walls and Mudejar castle of the Knights of Santiago.
Day 5 The Parque Cinegetico & the Rio Borosa gorge (4hrs), visit Baeza, transfer to Zuheros
The Parque Cinegetico, one of the best places for spotting big game animals, and the Rio Borosa gorges, including the famous plank walkway through the narrowest part. Picnic lunch by the side of the River Guadalquivir - here only a small trout stream. Then an afternoon visit to the historically important town of Baeza, now a UNESCO World Heritage site for its Renaissance architecture. Arrival at Zuheros in the Subbetica Cordobesa Natural Park, widely considered to be one of the most beautiful of the Andalusian white villages, for our last three nights.
Day 6 Walk of the Bailon gorge (5hrs)
From Zuheros, we climb up by a traditional footpath to the high plains of La Nava, where we shall probably see horses, goats and sheep grazing, and vultures circling overhead. Magnificent views of the olive groves of the Campiña in the distance on a clear day. We cross La Nava to a small waterfall which marks the start of the Bailon stream, where we have a picnic lunch. The we follow the Bailon as it gradually cuts its way into the limestone, forming an impressive gorge by which we return to Zuheros.
Day 7 Visit to Cordoba city and its main monuments, as well as Madinat al-Zahra
An early arrival in Cordoba so that we can visit the mosque-cathedral, the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos (castle and gardens), the Caliphal baths, the Juderia (former Jewish quarter) and one or more of the famous patios, recently declared 'UNESCO World Heritage'. Some free time for shopping and lunch. Then visit to the fabulous ruins of Madinat al-Zahra, the ephemeral city-palace of the Caliphs. Tapas evening dinner in Zuheros.
Day 8 Transfer to Málaga, trip concludes
Transfer to Málaga where we shall arrive at 10:30am at the earliest.