Sketches of Southern Spain

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MAY 8-20, 2015 $4,445
Ronda, Carmona, Almagro, Madrid
Activity Level: Moderate Activity Hide This
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Sketches of Southern Spain

MAY 8-20, 2015
Ronda, Carmona, Almagro, Madrid

Begin your adventure in the storied land of Andalucía, a region whose timeless allure is a sensory experience. Marvel at the blue sky that stretches from Mediterranean beaches to the craggy heights of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Feel the cool shade of cobbled lanes that twist amid whitewashed Moorish hill towns. Hear the rapid click of castanets and the flip of a Flamenco dancer’s frilled skirt. Taste zesty cuisine seasoned with rich olive oil, and drink sweet, sun-ripened sherry. Best of all, this unique travel experience also takes you to the Castile-La Mancha region, immortalized in Cervantes’ beloved tale of “Don Quixote,” and the vibrant city of Madrid, Spain’s sunny capital. During the program, experience the charm of Valdepeñas, one of Spain’s picturesque wine towns, and see the ecclesiastical architecture in Toledo.

Cost: $4,445
AHI Travel
Activity Level: Moderate Activity
COVID-19 Information:
  • Your exclusive Small-Group experience is limited to 28 travelers to maximize your travel experience.
  • A uniquely designed itinerary provides exceptional opportunities to experience the history and culture of the Andalucían and Castile-La Mancha regions, in addition to Madrid.
  • Visit a renowned wine cellar in Valdepeñas, Castile-La Mancha.
  • Explore the sights and sounds of Ronda, one of Andalucía’s historic white villages.
  • Discover the viticultural and equestrian heritage of Jerez.
  • Travel to Seville, home of the Alcázar palace and the Plaza de España.
  • Admire Córdoba’s Mezquita, an architectural masterpiece.



Day One | May 8.
Depart your gateway city for Málaga, Spain, aboard scheduled jet service.

Day Two | May 9. Málaga & Ronda
Arrive at Málaga-Costa del Sol Airport. Transfer to Ronda, where you will check in to the Parador de Ronda. In the evening, join your fellow travelers for a welcome reception and dinner at the parador.

Day Three | May 10. Ronda
Educational Focus: Andalucía and its Bullfighting Traditions. The city of Ronda has been influential in the history of “la corrida,” bullfighting. Learn about the Ronda school of bullfighting, a style developed in Ronda by the Romero family in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Excursion: Ronda. Get to know Ronda during a stroll through the city. Visit Spain’s oldest bullfighting ring and its museum. Step into the Iglesia de Santa María la Mayor, a church commissioned by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1485. The church, which was built on the site of a mosque, wasn’t completed until the 17th century, so the architecture combines Gothic, Renaissance and baroque elements as well as vestiges of its Moorish history. Visit the Casa de San Juan Bosco, an early 20th century palace. This home is known for its Moorish-influenced courtyard and gardens.
Local Flavor: Take a break at a bodega, a traditional wine cellar, for lunch and a wine tasting.
Educational Focus: The Moors in Spain. The Moors occupied much of Spain for nearly eight centuries, and from the arts and sciences to language, they had a profound influence on the development of Spain. Even the name “Andalucía” comes from the Arabic word “Al-Andalus.”
Local Flavor: Enjoy delicious seasonal and regional cuisine each evening during your stay in the paradors. Using the best local produce, the paradors’ restaurants create famous local specialties and other Spanish dishes.

Day Four | May 11. Granada
Excursion: Granada. Take a scenic drive to Granada to see the Alhambra, the city’s renowned Moorish fortress and palace complex. The Alhambra, which was built in the 13th and 14th centuries, overlooks the city. Admire the fountains, pools, courtyards and arch-lined walkways The interiors feature exquisite carvings and tiles. With some restoration, the elegant architecture and design have successfully withstood the Reconquest, subsequent wars, an earthquake and the general passage of time.
Local Flavor: Savor a delicious lunch at the restaurant of the historic Parador de Granada, a former 15th-century convent is located within the walls of the Alhambra.
Independent Exploration: Spend some time at leisure exploring the city of Granada.

Day Five | May 12. Jerez & Carmona
Depart Ronda for the town of Carmona and the Parador de Carmona.
Excursion: Jerez. Visit the town of Jerez en route to Carmona. Jerez is the home of the Real Escuela Andaluza del Arte Ecuestre, the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art. Watch an elegant performance by these specially trained, majestic animals and their riders.
Local Flavor: Jerez also is famous for sherry production. Learn about the history and characteristics of sherry before a tasting and lunch.

Day Six | May 13. Carmona
Excursion: Carmona. The history of the city of Carmona stretches far into the past. Like many Spanish cities, it was settled by Phoenicians, Romans and Moors. Take a walk within the city wall and admire its Mudejar and Renaissance churches. See the Alcázar de la Puerta de Sevilla, the Moorish fortress that protects the city’s Roman Seville Gate, and the City Hall, a former convent dating from 1621.
Independent Exploration: The afternoon is at leisure.

Day Seven | May 14. Seville
Excursion: Seville. Discover Seville, a city immortalized in works by Mozart, Bizet and Rossini. Seville is home to some of Spain’s greatest architecture. The Moors conquered Seville in 712. The Alcázar, built in the 10th century, was the palace of the local Muslim leader. In the 13th century, after the Spanish recaptured the city, it became a royal residence, which it still is today. The magnificent cathedral is the world’s largest Gothic building. The Barrio de Santa Cruz is a picturesque warren of medieval lanes, bougainvillea and fountains.
Local Flavor: Enjoy leisure time for lunch and exploring on your own in Seville.

Day Eight | May 15. Almagro
Excursion: Córdoba. Journey to Córdoba to explore La Mezquita, the mosque built by Abd al-Rahman, founder of the Umayyad dynasty. Built on the site of a Roman temple-turned-church, the Great Mosque of Córdoba is Spain’s finest example of Moorish architecture. Completed in the 10th century after two centuries of work, La Mezquita eventually became a church once again in the 13th century after being recaptured by the Spanish. Its most magnificent feature is the hall with 856 columns made from marble, granite, jasper and onyx and connected by double-arched red-and-white striped arches. Afterward, take a stroll through the Jewish quarter, a picturesque neighborhood with winding narrow streets and whitewashed houses with colorful flowerboxes. Continue to Alamagro, and check in to the Parador de Almagro.

Day Nine | May 16. Valdepeñas
Excursion and Local Flavor: Valdepeñas. Venture out of Andalucía to the town of Valdepeñas in the Castile-La Mancha autonomous community to a winery in this world famous wine region. Sample the wines of the vineyard and enjoy a lunch featuring local specialties.
Independent Exploration: The afternoon is at leisure in Almagro.

Day Ten | May 17. Madrid
Travel to Madrid via Toledo.
Excursion: Toledo. See the intricately carved façade of Toledo’s Holy Church Cathedral, which was completed in the 14th century after 200 years of work. Continue to the Church of Santo Tomé to see El Greco’s masterpiece, “The Burial of Count Orgaz,” before visiting El Tránsito Synagogue and the 15th-century San Juan de los Reyes monastery. Continue to Madrid, and check in to the Hotel

Day Eleven | May 18. Madrid
Excursion: Madrid. Spend a full day exploring the Spanish capital. See the lavish royal palace before visiting the Plaza Mayor, the cosmopolitan Gran Vía, Plaza España and Las Ventas, perhaps Spain’s most beautiful bullring. During your tour, enjoy a guided visit to the Prado Museum.

Day Twelve | May 19. Madrid
Independent Exploration: Spend the day exploring Madrid on your own. In the evening, join your fellow travelers for a farewell reception and dinner.

Day Thirteen | May 20.
Transfer to the airport for the return flight to your gateway city.


Parador de Ronda 
Located near the town center, this parador has breathtaking views of Ronda’s 400-foot-deep gorge, the Puente Nuevo bridge and the valley beyond. It occupies Ronda’s former town hall, built in 1761. The hotel’s restaurant specializes in Andalusian dishes. The hotel offers complimentary WiFi.


Parador de Carmona
Imagine staying in a Moorish fortress-cum-palace of a Christian king, and you have the Parador de Carmona. With sweeping views of the River Corbones’ fertile plain, this 14th-century citadel is stunning. Furnished with tapestries, antiques and Sevillian tiles, it offers a huge outdoor pool and one of Spain’s best parador restaurants.


Parador de Almagro 
Just five minutes from the town square and surrounded by outstanding historic landmarks, this parador occupies a 16th-century Franciscan convent. Far from austere, the hotel features beautiful galleries and woodwork, 14 interior courtyards, a swimming pool and a restaurant serving Manchegan cuisine, including famous Almagro-style aubergines. The hotel offers complimentary WiFi.


Hotel Wellington 
Located in Madrid’s stately Salamanca neighborhood close to Retiro Park, chic boutiques and the Prado museum, the sophisticated Wellington Hotel is a quiet retreat in cosmopolitan Madrid. The hotel offers guests state-of-the-art fitness and business centers, restaurants serving different cuisines – from Basque to Japanese – and an outdoor pool and Jacuzzi. The hotel offers complimentary WiFi.


Pricing: $4,445

Special Pricing Available: $4,195*

*Special Price valid if booked by 10/1/2014.
VAT is an additional $395 per person

Book this Tour

How to Book

Download the tour Reservation Form here. This tour is booked quickly, so sign up early to reserve space.

Enclose a check or provide credit card information for $600 per person, per tour, as a deposit for the selected tour. Make check payable to AHI Travel. Deposits are provisional and fully refundable pending your acceptance of final brochure terms.

Mail completed reservation form and your deposit to:
UCLA Alumni Association
Attn: Alumni Travel
James West Alumni Center
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1397

A brochure will be mailed to you as soon as it is available.

Terms & Conditions

Written cancellations from time of booking up to 90 days prior to departure will be assessed a minimum administrative fee of approximately $250; within 90 days of departure, refunds vary according to the policies of each tour operator. Please read the cancellation clauses contained within the brochure for this tour carefully.

CST 2028271-20

Travel Insurance

We strongly recommend you purchase travel insurance to cover the possibility of trip cancellation or interruption, emergency medical evacuation, medical expenses and baggage loss incurred while traveling. All confirmed passengers will receive travel insurance information in your confirmation packet. It’s one of our many membership benefits! For information about travel insurance, visit Coverage for pre-existing medical conditions, terrorist incidents and travel supplier financial insolvencies will be provided if the insurance is purchased within 15 days of your trip deposit. Please read the insurance brochure carefully.