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8 days AVIS car (Group B subcompact manual transmission) with unlimited mileage, CDW & tax (deductible paid locally, car must be pick up or dropped at an Avis location in Spain)
Jaen: Sunday (one night stay)
The Almoravids added Jaén to their empire in 1091, and the Almohads captured it in 1148. Before losing ourselves in the lovely streets of the city, we come to the Parador, Sta. Catalina Castle, built by the great al-Ahmar. Its 820 meters offers a fascinating panoramic view, making it possible to understand the town’s importance for controlling access to Granada during the Nazarid era. Highlights in the town include the Arab baths in the Magdalena Quarter, built by Ali, and located on the same site as Villardompardo Palace. Other sights for you to discover are the cathedral and other churches, including San Juan, San Ildefonso and la Magdalena, and palaces such as Condestable, Quesada-Ulloa, Velez and Vilches.
Ubeda: Monday (one night stay)
It was during the Arab period that Úbeda became a population center, when Abderrahman II founded the city of Ubbadat al-Arab. In 852 the town was walled, and during the 11th and 12th centuries, it was conquered first by Almoravids and subsequently by Almohads. But Úbeda, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, is noteworthy above all for being home to the best of the Andalusian renaissance, with buildings such as the Holy Chapel of San Salvador and Santiago Hospital, Cadenas Palace and Santa María de los Reales Alcázares Church.
Cazorla: Tuesday & Wednesday (two nights stay)
Along our journey from Ubeda to Cazorla seas of olive trees come out to greet us. The Muslims were well aware of the possibilities of this green gold for their increasingly refined cuisine. In Cazorla you can truly immerse yourself in nature at the Cazorla, Segura y las Villas Nature Reserve, with spots such as the Torre del Vinagre Interpretive Center, Iruela Castle and Collado del Almendral Game Park. This extremely beautiful natural area will surprise you during any season of the year with its lovely scenery. In the enticing old quarter of Cazorla, highlights for visitors include Yedra Castle and the Museum of Arts and Traditions of the Upper Guadalquivir (Museo Artes y Costumbres del Alto Guadalquivir).
Granada: Thursday (one night stay)
Granada seems like something out of a Middle Eastern fairy tale. Set at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the city was the last redoubt of the Nazarids, and the end of the road for the routes of Al-Ándalus. Granada owes a great deal of its layout, and also the fact that it is one of the loveliest cities on the planet, to its Muslim period. The Alhambra is a gift for the senses. Water, light, gardens and art all find their greatest expression here. Granada is also the beauty of the Albaycín, the streets that made up the trading center of Granada’s medina. Yet the rounded body of the cathedral, the palace of Carlos V, and the Gothic, Renaissance and baroque style buildings which proliferate in her streets also betray other aspects of Granada, a city on which the blending of cultures has left its mark.
Cordoba: Friday & Saturday (two nights stay)
Córdoba was the realization of the dream of the caliphs, capital of the Omeya Caliphate and center of learning in the Muslim West during this period. In the city and its surrounding area we can discover all the splendor of this culture in monuments and sites such as the mosque/cathedral and Medina Azahara. Also of note are the synagogue, city walls, Roman bridge and royal stables. Interesting museums include the Julio Romero de Torres Museum, Archeological Museum, Bullfighting Museum (Museo Taurino) and Fine Arts Museum. Wandering through the lovely streets of Córdoba is a pleasure for all the senses. The city offers one of the most complex and richest town plans on the route, spaces filled with enchantment and sensuality.
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