Sanlucar de Barrameda, your holiday base, is an interesting old port with a long history, set at the northern tip of the so-called ‘sherry triangle’, and home to the distinctive manzanilla wine. Apart from its beach and fishing port, it has a picturesque old quarter of pleasant pedestrian streets, thronging with reasonably-priced bars and restaurants. Across the Guadalquivir (the ‘Big River’) is the Donana National Park, a major wildlife haven. From Sanlucar, Columbus embarked on his third voyage to the New World, Pizzaro sailed for Peru, and 2019 sees the 500th anniversary of the start of Magellan’s unintended attempt to sail around the world. The area is the home of the majestic Andalucian thoroughbred horse, and a visit to the state-run stud farm near Jerez is included. There is also a trip into the unique landscapes of the ‘white villages’ of Andalucia, spectacularly set on the mountain hillsides. And all of this within the pleasant climate and the stunning ‘light’ which gives the ‘Costa de la Luz’ its name.
- 7 nights’ accommodation with daily buffet breakfast, three dinners and a tapas lunch – staying at the Hotel Guadalquivir, Sanlucar de Barrameda
- Sanlucar orientation walk and bodega visit
- Excursion to Grazalema and the White Villages of Andalucia
- Visits to an Andalusian Stud farm and Jerez
- Return flights and coach transfers
Costa de la Luz Itinerary
Flight to Seville or to Jerez and then to your centrally-situated hotel in Sanlucar de Barrameda (transfer time 80 minutes from Seville, 25 minutes from Jerez) for seven nights. Dinner is included on three nights. This means you have time to sample the delights of the myriad tapas bars and restaurants for which Sanlucar is famous.
Your hotel is ideally located, within 200-300m of the old pedestrian streets in the centre, 450m from the bus station (regular services to Jerez, Cadiz, Seville, Chipiona), and 1km from the castle and from the attractions of the maritime quarter. The maritime area of town, at the mouth of the river at Bajo de Guia (‘Pilots’ alighting place’), features a wide gastronomic range of fish and seafood restaurants.
Bajo de Guia is also the site of the ‘Ice Factory’ tourist office, with displays of the Donana National Park, and the starting point of a half-day boat trip into the Park. The Donana is one of the chief wetland nature areas of Europe, particularly important for ecologists and ornithologists (both for resident and migratory birdlife, and indeed for wildlife and ecology in general). Also nearby the hotel is the long, flat beach renowned for its August horse-racing events.
Days Two to Seven:
In Sanlucar with three included excursions.
The first is an orientation walk of the town, with a manzanilla bodega visit and tapas lunch.
The next excursion takes you to Jerez and the Cartuja National Stud Farm. Half an hour’s drive from Sanlucar lies the ‘Yeguada de la Cartuja’ just to the south of Jerez, the state-run Stud Farm for Jerezano horses. Its origins date back to the 15th century when Carthusian monks established a monastery there and later began to establish a bloodline for these magnificent white horses. As well as a tour the stud farm, you’ll see a show featuring the famous horses. In Jerez, you will have an orientation tour of the city that gave sherry to the world. As well as a fine Gothic cathedral there is an alcazar and atmospheric gypsy quarter. The Alcazar was once the residence of the Caliph of Seville and incorporates a mosque, later converted into a church. There are several big-name sherry houses including Gonzalez Byass, Domecq, Harvey, and Sandeman. 47 miles today.
The third excursion explores the White Villages of Andalucia, featuring Arcos de la Frontera and Grazalema. Driving inland, you arrive at Arcos de la Frontera, perched improbably on a crag overlooking the Guadalete River. After a stop, you continue to Grazalema, which gives its name to the whole Sierra and is the centre of the Natural Park – a UNESCO-listed biosphere. Although now best known for the walkers and sightseers who come to the park, as early as the 17th century, Grazalema became famous for its woollen blankets and clothing. You return by a different route, passing through Algodonales – frequented by many hang-gliders – and Villamartin before rejoining the main road at Arcos. 156 miles today.
Two optional excursions will also be available: to the Flamenco city of Seville, and to the maritime city of Cadiz and pretty Puerto de Santa Maria,
with the trip between them by boat.
Departure for the airport. Depending on your flight schedule, there may be time for some last-minute shopping and sightseeing en route.
Hotel Guadalquivir 4*, Sanlucar de Barrameda (seven nights)