ENCOUNTER HISTORIC AUTHENTIC SPAIN
Step inside an extraordinary stay-experience within a historic Spanish Parador. Paradores of Spain celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2019, with their origins’ dating back to 1910, when the Spanish Government decided to commission the Marquis Benigno de la Vega-Inclán with the project of creating a country-wide hotel program, non-existent in Spain at that time, whose chosen establishments would provide accommodations for tourists seeking a uniquely historic ambiance infused with charm and local culture. The Paradores of Spain are state-owned luxury lodgings situated within unique locations set amongst incredible scenery, that have also served as a backdrop in several beloved films, and all possess a rich history allowing guests to enjoy the flavorful cuisine within their restaurants and delve into the genuine culture of their regions. Encounter real Spain inside these historic castles, monastic monasteries, beautiful palaces, divine convents and stately manors, that offer travelers a firsthand glimpse into the history of the area where you are staying.
Explore the best of Southern Spain with the convenience and comfort of a rental car. Self-drive between the luxurious properties on this curated recommended itinerary. Start out from Madrid where the adventure begins and self-drive to the UNESCO World Heritage city of Toledo; stay within a manor house converted into a luxury Parador hotel, boasting panoramic views of the city and an authentic restaurant serving Machengo cuisine. Venture onward along the scenic road to Granada, one of the most beloved and highly visited beautiful cities of Spain, known for its fabulous food & tapas. While here, visit the extraordinary architectural gem of Andalusia – Alhambra Palace and its famed sprawling gardens – considered one of the world’s most significant Islamic architectural structures which also features artistic influences of the Spanish Renaissance. The next stretch leads up into the mountaintop historic city of Ronda, one of the oldest regions of Spain. Luxuriate in the comfortable surroundings provided by Parador de Ronda, majestically set on the edge of the town’s most impressive gorge, El Tajo. Mere steps away from the Puente Nuevo Bridge, guests can walk across the ravine on this impressive stone structure to marvel at nature’s beauty. Then journey onward to charming Carmona, located only half-an-hour from the picturesque city of Seville, and experience an authentic Flamenco show while indulging in traditional tapas and hearty Spanish cuisine. Finish up with a fabulous finale in Merida, amicably referred to as the “Spanish Rome” due to its ancient Roman monuments including an amphitheater where gladiator events were held.
DEFINE YOUR PARADORES ADVENTURE
Travel with your own small-group on this Adventure with your family and friends.
Choose your desired dates of travel and escape into Spanish Paradores each evening – the most authentic historic accommodations of Spain.
Journey on a curated 7-night Historic Paradores Itinerary that encompasses self-driving along this extraordinary scenic route. Roam at your own pace with your provided rental car between the luxurious properties on this curated recommended itinerary. Begin in Toledo, then Granada, Ronda, Carmona-Seville and ending in Merida.
Gain rare access to unique historic accommodations within the boutique roster of the Spanish Paradores, which include delightful regional experiences.
Experience and taste authentic Spanish cuisine embedded within your Paradore’s stay at their expertly managed onsite dining establishments, along with tasting the regional dishes.
Immerse yourself in the arts, music, culture and wines of Spain with guided sightseeing excursions included.
Discover the authentic side of Spain on a once-in-a-lifetime private Adventure while slumbering within its extraordinary Paradores, that will have you reminiscing for years to come!
WHAT IS A “MY PRIVATE ADVENTURE”?
The “My Private Adventure Program” is perfect for those who prefer to travel to a desired destination while being within a familiar camaraderie of their own family and friends. Members can choose their ideal personal travel dates and incorporate tailored experiences based on their unique interests, while deciding how much day-to-day structure works best for their group. Featured inclusive “just for your special group” amenities and pricing, along with in-destination expert tour guides, private driver ground transportation services, including 4-5 star accommodations throughout the Spanish Paradores roster of historic properties.
A minimum group size of 2-4 (OR) maximum 6-8 people
All Photos Courtesy of © Paradores de Turismo S.M.E., S.A.
ItineraryExpand AllCollapse All
DAY 1 – SELF-DRIVE FROM MADRID TO TOLEDO
WELCOME TO TOLEDO
Pick up your rental car at Madrid Airport or city center for your short drive (45-min) to the historic UNESCO World Heritage city of Toledo. Upon arrival, check-in at the Parador de Toledo. Take a stroll this walled city with ancient stone gateways, and narrow cobblestone lanes, far too narrow for cars. It’s the ideal place to discover the traces left behind by three cultures: Muslim, Jewish, and Christian. Enjoy a coffee or glass of wine on a terrace café along the banks of the Tagus, sample tapas in the bars of the Santa Teresa quarter or relax within your beautiful accommodations. Overnight at Parador de Toledo. (Meals on your own this day)
DAY 2 – TOLEDO EXPLORATION
OLD TOLEDO WALKING TOUR & CITY SIGHTS
Today after the buffet breakfast, meet your local guide for your private walking tour. Some of the attractions include the Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes, an imposing 15th-century Franciscan monastery and church that was founded in the heart of the Jewish quarter by the Catholic monarchs Isabel and Fernando. The highlight is the amazing two-level cloister, complete with elaborate arches and gargoyles that surround a lush garden with orange trees and roses. Sinagoga del Tránsito; This magnificent synagogue was built in 1355 and now houses the Museo Sefardi. The main prayer hall has been restored, and the numerous exhibits provide an insight into the history of Jewish culture in Spain. Right at the top of the town on a hill overlooking the city, you’ll find Toledo’s Alcazar. Built before the 3rd century, it’s one of the oldest buildings in the city, and has been a fortress, a palace and, now, holds the magnificent Army Museum. You cannot visit Toledo without going to the El Greco Museum, in what used to be his home. One of Spain’s most famous painters, El Greco is a native son. Rooms are set up in the style when El Greco lived here, as well as an excellent collection of his paintings. At Saint Mary’s Cathedral, you will see an impressive example of medieval Gothic architecture. The highlight of all, however, is the sacristía (sacristy), which contains a gallery with paintings by such masters as El Greco, Zurbarán, Caravaggio, Titian, Raphael and Velázquez. Overnight at Parador de Toledo. (Breakfast included this day)
DAY 3 – SELF-DRIVE FROM TOLEDO TO GRANADA
ARRIVAL INTO GRANADA & EVENING FREE
After breakfast, depart Toledo by car and make your way towards Andalusia, with a convenient stop in the charming town of Jaén (khah-AYN). As you near the city, the imposing Santa Catalina castle will be looming on the horizon. Order some tapas for lunch, and you’ll most likely get a dish of preserved olives. After all, you’re in the epicenter of olive country; and in fact, Jaén accounts for a third of Spain’s olive oil production. After arriving in historic Granada, check-in to your Parador. You may want to explore a few neighborhoods like the vibrant Albacin or Albayzin quarter. It’s the perfect way to work up an appetite for dinner, as generally restaurants will not be open until 8:30pm. Overnight at Parador de Granada. (Breakfast included this day in Toledo)
Driving Distance today: Toledo to Granada 3-1/2 hrs
DAY 4 – GRANADA EXPLORATION
ALHAMBRA PALACE & GARDENS EXCURSION
After breakfast, meet your local guide for your private tour of the Alhambra Palace and the Generalife Gardens. Tour all the must-visit Alhambra highlights like Alcazaba Fortress, the Nasrid Palaces and Generalife Gardens, while learning about its Moorish history. In the afternoon, there’s still time to explore on your own. The La Cartuja Monastery, the11th Century Arab bath house (perhaps one of the best preserved in Spain), and the Parque de las Ciencias (Science Park), are just some of the city’s infinite treasures. If you wander up the hill in the Sacromonte quarter in the evening, you’ll have the opportunity to see a zambra (gypsy dance) in one of the famous caves. Overnight at Parador de Granada. (Breakfast included this day)
DAY 5 – SELF-DRIVE FROM GRANADA TO RONDA
ARRIVAL INTO RONDA & EXPLORE
After breakfast this morning, drive along the scenic journey onward to Ronda, with ample time for a stop in Antequera. This traditional Andalusian town has two claims to fame. The first consists of three fine prehistoric dolmens barely outside the town itself. The second is the Torcal de Antequera, a mountain top covered with huge and wonderfully shaped limestone, formed millions of years ago when the whole area was underwater. Arrive into Ronda early enough to begin exploring this picturesque town, after you check-in to your Parador. The Parador de Ronda is situated in a spectacular spot in the heart of the city, beside Ronda’s emblematic Puente Nuevo (New Bridge). The New Bridge is an incredible piece of work 320 ft in height, and immortalized in Ernest Hemingway’s book “For whom the Bell Tolls”. It was built using ashlar quarried at the bottom of the Tagus Gorge and designed to connect the city’s old town with the modern Mercadillo quarter. Overnight at Parador de Ronda. (Breakfast included this day)
Driving Distance today: Granada to Ronda 2-hr drive
DAY 6 – SELF-DRIVE FROM RONDA TO CARMONA
EXPLORE RONDA & FLAMENCO IN SEVILLE
After breakfast, meet your local guide for your private walking tour. Immerse yourself in Spanish tradition during this 2-hour walking tour of Ronda, the birthplace of modern bullfighting. See some of the city’s most famous landmarks, including Mondragon Palace and the stunning Nuestra Señora de la Paz church, and walk across the famous New Bridge. Then visit the bullring of the Royal Cavalry of Ronda for a look at a central tenet of Spanish culture. One of the oldest bullrings in Spain, known for its rich history and stunning architecture, it remains an important symbol for the city of Ronda. After the tour, and less than 2 hours away, you’ll arrive at the Parador de Carmona, voted as one of the top ten paradors to visit in Spain. This castle hotel started out life in 14th century Spain, and witnessed events such as the Catholic Kings expulsion of the Moors. Seville is only a 30-minute drive from Carmona, making it convenient to tour the capital city of Andalusia. Seville is home to some of the most spectacular sights in Spain, including the Giralda, the bell tower of the cathedral, Torre del Oro (Golden Tower), Triana neighborhood and Reales Alcázares palace complex. This evening enjoy a deliciously authentic tapas dinner at El Patio Sevillano, while taking in a lively traditional Flamenco show. Overnight at Parador de Carmona. (Breakfast included this day; Flamenco Show & Dinner included this evening)
Driving Distance today: Ronda to Carmona-Seville (2-hr drive)
DAY 7 – SELF-DRIVE FROM CARMONA TO MERIDA
EXPLORE MERIDA & EVENING FREE
After breakfast, depart Carmona for the short journey by car to Mérida. Known by some as the “Spanish Rome”, Mérida is home to more ancient Roman monuments than any other Spanish city. Located in the heart of the city, your Parador offers the opportunity to discover a wealth of heritage without having to worry about driving. It’s only five minutes from the Roman amphitheater; the jewel of Mérida’s monuments, with an incredible stage that still hosts performances. The amphitheater, where gladiatorial games were held, the Roman circus, one of the grandest and best preserved in the Empire and the Los Milagros Aqueduct are other must-sees. Overnight at Parador de Merida. (Breakfast included this day)
Driving Distance today: Carmona-Seville to Merida (2-hr drive)
DAY 8 – DEPART MERIDA / JOURNEY ENDS
RELAXING MORNING & DEPARTURE
This morning relax and enjoy a leisurely breakfast. Depart Merida at the time you desire, returning your rental car where needed. Depending on your onward destination location, rental car can be returned to a major city location such as Madrid ( 3-hr drive).
- Rental Car of your choice for 8 days (choose the size and type of car you desire)
- 7 nights 4-star accommodations in historic Paradores- in room categories of your choice – 2 Nights Toledo, 2 Nights Granada, 1 Night Ronda, 1 Night Carmona-Seville, 1 Night Merida
- Gourmet Breakfasts Daily within your Paradores
- Private Toledo Walking Tour with Cathedral & Synagogue visits
- Private Ronda Walking Tour with Bullring visit
- Entrance to Alhambra Palace with guided tour & Walking Tour in Granada
- Authentic Flamenco Show with tapas dinner in Seville
What’s Not Included
- International Airfare – guests can arrange own flights or inquire with our team
- Gratuities for local guides while on included sightseeing excursions
- Meals not mentioned in the above inclusions
- Porterage/luggage handling tips as desired
- Optional other tours not mentioned in the above inclusions
Passport & Visa Requirements
- Please check with the U.S. Department of Travel for updates on Spain requirements as they are subject to change.
SEASONALITY FOR PRICING IS BASED ON NUMBER OF GUESTS TRAVELING
DEPOSITS & FINAL PAYMENTS
A Deposit is required to book & confirm the Adventure Journey
Final payments are required 60-days prior to your departure
Deposits & Final Payments are non-refundable for all My Private Adventures
TERMS & CONDITIONS
Adventure packages are 100% non-refundable after final payment. THIRDHOME strongly recommends the purchase of travel insurance.
Travel insurance can be quoted based on number of people traveling and total cost of your Private Adventure – please inquire. Click here to view the THIRDHOME Adventures Terms and Conditions.