Seville - Orange delights & Flamenco sensations
Today, we will take you off the beaten path for the most unique experience for the 5 senses in the idyllic setting of a centuries-old Moorish courtyard of a private manor house surrounded by orange trees and the Guadalquivir river.
Your driver will take you to Portocarrero Palace, located in Palma del Rio, right in between the historic cities of Cordoba and Sevilla, by the riverbank of the Guadalquivir. You will enjoy a private guided tour of the Palace, courtyards, and gardens. This lovely visit will be completed with a tasting of delicious fresh orange juice from the orchards, accompanied by tea and pastries. Cristina Ybarra, the current owner has her main art studio inside the Palace and she is always pleased to show and share her artwork with those discerning travelers who are interested in painting.
Did you know that Spain is Europe’s largest orange producer with two main regions: Valencia and Andalucía? In general, oranges in their various forms, like another citrus, thrive in semitropical regions such as Florida and subtropical regions such as California and the Mediterranean. Spain produces a variety of oranges ranging from the bitter Seville oranges to the Valencia sweet clementine, navel, or avelina.
The rich history of the Portocarrero Palace goes back 2000 years to Roman times making this palace a real gem to be discovered. This 16th- century castle is surrounded by Almohad walls from the 12th century when the building was used as an Alcazar/fortress. Owned by just two families over the past 700 years with its current owners (the Ybarra family) having lived here for 6 generations. The Palace, declared a site of cultural interest, features Hispano-Arabic gardens complete with the original Arab irrigation system, a large citrus collection & possibly the oldest centenary orange orchard. In 2005, the Palace was chosen by Ridley Scott as a filming location for the "Kingdom of Heaven".
After this magical escape to paradise, it's off to the picturesque town of Carmona on the way to Sevilla where you will enjoy a delicious lunch at the Parador Hotel. The restaurant here offers the most spectacular views over the Guadalquivir valley and crops. After lunch, it’s off to Sevilla, which is just 30 min away.
Carmona, known as the “shining star of Andalucia” is a hidden gem sited on a low hill overlooking a fertile plain planted with fields of barley, wheat, and sunflowers. Carmona is a small picturesque town that has burst beyond its ancient walls. Founded by the Carthaginians in III-century BC probably on the site of a Turditani Iberian settlement, they named it Kar-Hammon (City of Ball-Hammon) after their great deity-the origin, via the Roman “Carmo”, of its present name. A major Roman town (from which era it preserves a fascinating subterranean necropolis), it was also an important taifa state in Moorish times. Following the Reconquista, Pedro the Cruel built a palace within its walls, which he used as a provincial royal residence (now hosting the well-known Parador of Carmona). The majority of Carmona’s monuments and churches lie inside the ancient walls, except for the remarkable Necropolis which is located on the west side of town, a 10 min walk from the old quarter.
Live the passion and drama of flamenco, sampling Seville's finest cuisine as you go. On this gastronomic and folkloric tour, you’ll discover (and taste!) why Seville is the true home of tapas, and experience the mysteries, the emotion, and the power of true flamenco!
Too many people visit Seville without really understanding how locals eat tapas or find where the best tapas are served. Or they see a flamenco show but never truly grasp the origins or meaning of this magical art form. On this evening tour, we’ll fill your bellies and minds – giving you the keys to eating tapas like a local and a rich, lasting flamenco experience. The evening begins as you dive into two of our favorite family-run taverns where your expert, English-speaking guide will serve up local delicacies and drinks and give you a crash course in eating tapas in Seville (an art form in its own right!).
Then, over plates of delicious acorn-fed Iberian ham and local wines, your guide will then lead you through a fascinating explanation of the roots and mysteries of flamenco – from its unclear origins to its current worldwide fame. And you’ll learn how Seville fits into this remarkable story. Then, we head for the show! Tucked in the city’s gorgeous Santa Cruz neighborhood, in a fabulous 15th-century building, you’ll experience the power, passion, and sheer drama of real flamenco. With your newfound knowledge about flamenco, you’ll be able to savor this spectacular performance with world-class dancers, powerful singing, and magical guitar playing.
After the performance, we’ll sit down for dinner at our final stop of the evening – a hidden family-run tapas bar that serves up incredible freshly cooked tapas, local wines, and, of course, dessert. It’s the perfect end to a magical evening in Seville!
Flamenco, an integral part of Andalusian culture, is a unique artistic expression that incorporates poetry, singing (cante), guitar playing (toque), dance (baile), polyrhythmic clapping (palmas), and snapping (pitos). Flamenco is a passionate and seductive art form, a mysterious and misunderstood culture that has been burning in Andalucía for nearly five hundred years, Today, Flamenco has thousands of aficionados worldwide, and in the fall of 2010, this art form was added to the list of UNESCO’s Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.