This was our second tour with Amber which was just as great as our first in Tuscany. So we can say that all the hotels were well thought out and usually located in the old districts of the cities that we visited. What makes each tour so interesting and exciting is first, Amber’s choice of our tour guide/ administrator, and in this case did Sean ever deliver the goods.Not only does he have the most extensive knowledge of his country, but he also adds a special spice by sharing his opinions which sometimes may be controversial but has the effect of always engaging the group. Often his knowledge surpasses the local guides in each city and would later add more interesting information, especially over a glass of beer and tapas, which was the case everywhere we went. The things we learnt while having a beer was fun, interesting and was instrumental in getting to know more about Spain and the people in our group. For us planning a paella meal for the group on the second day that we were together was pure genius because it was a fantastic way to break the ice (so to speak) and really start to get to interact with each other, including Sean who was the master of this ceremony and right in his element. Another great highlight was the visit to the farm raising bulls for the bullring and learning about this fascinating way of life for many Spaniards. The host made sure that we saw a demonstration up close, and we even were shown a few basic movements by the matador. Leaving for home was an emotional experience, as saying goodbye to our group seems so final. Part of us wants to stay with each other and yet we know it’s time to go back home.
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This was my second tour with Amber; the first to Sicily, and both were exceptionally informative, relaxed, and pleasurable. Amber tours are special, not merely because of the itinerary, but the selection of the tour guide/ coordinator/ administrator – the master of ceremonies — who is engaging, personable, and who has extensive knowledge of the culture, the flavors and history of his country. Most hotels are full of local charm and ambiance (with modern comforts) and are well located. Sean’s enthusiasm and knowledge often surpasses the local guides in each city, adding interesting bits of information about the intersecting cultures sprinkled with humor and a bit of chauvinism. Beyond the multiple jaw-dropping monuments of past civilizations, and gorges carved by nature, highlights included the communal preparation of the paella meal, which encouraged the group to interact with each other, a first-rate flamenco performance, a visit to a olive mill press in a picturesque landscape where a memorable lunch was served, a visit to the Picasso Museum in Malaga, a visit to a horse breeding farm, and much more. Sean is exceptionally generous with his time, beyond the scheduled activities, ensuring that everyone in the group was engaged. This was especially welcome for a woman traveling alone.
Andalucia was my second trip with Amber Road Tours in a four month period which indicates my regard for this small boutique firm. Again, as in Sicily, the small group was both interesting and very compatible. The itinerary was perfect offering enough free time for independence and enough planned time with our remarkable guide Sean. The hotels were well centered and quite interesting…the included restaurants offered plentiful, good food. The sightseeing was interesting and gave a wonderful background to all we saw. Sean was remarkable. His knowledge and pride in his country created an exciting background to all we saw and experienced.
After two months walking the Camino, we were ready to relax, unwind and be pampered and that is exactly what Sean and Amber Roads delivered. The hotels where we stayed were not only central, they were spacious, luxurious and quiet. The bus was comfortable and spacious – no need for seat rotation, we all had great views. Our driver was friendly and punctual and actually extra helpful. Our guide Sean was just the best! What doesn’t he know about Spanish history and culture? His indepth knowledge, enriched our experience. Of course the Andalucia area is spectacular as well. We saw so many historical highlights both natural and man-made, which combined with Sean’s narratives, put the cultural aspects into context. The special lunches and dinners that were arranged, were well thought out and showcased the local cusine, the locations were spectacular and the food was sumptuous. The daily itinerary was busy, yet well balanced with free time. The local guides were excellent especially our guide in Ronda named Jesus who was funny but so professional. He gave us so many suggestions as to what to do in our free time, that our time wasn’t wasted. We had a great time and not only will we be returning to Spain, we will be returning to Amber Roads.
This was our third Amber Road Tour and our first of Spain and it did not disappoint. As usual with a terrific guide Sean, we had a wonderful experience in a beautiful part of Spain. Like other AR tours we stayed in small, boutique hotels in the heart of each city. We were shuttled around in a large comfortable bus with an experienced and talented driver. A lot of our time was spent eating and drinking which I think is the best part but certainly not to be outdone by the outstanding attractions and cultural icons of Spain. Amber Road has a winning formula for mixing tourist attractions/food/hotels/free time so that there is something for everyone. Sean goes out of his way to make sure everyone is comfortable and happy. Can’t think of anything negative about this or any AR tour that we have experienced. They just get it perfect!
This was our fourth tour with Amber Road and the memories still linger. Let your imagination take you back a few centuries. Andalucia embodies the classic image of Spain from flamenco dancing and bullfighting to lively nightlife and ancient architecture. Our tour guide Sean’s singular background and easy conversation made our days with him a pleasure. He was passionate about his country, very knowledgeable and gave us an insight into Spanish life, history and traditions. The hotels were charming and in excellent locations. The tour provided a perfect balance of planned events and time on your own. The awe-inspiring visits to the Alhambra Palace in Alhambra and the Mezquita in Cordoba were spectacular, but so were the stunning Tajo Gorge in Ronda, the white town of Setenil de las Bodegas, beautiful seacoast city of Cadiz, and the Alcazar and Plaza de Espana in lovely Seville. We packed so much on our trip – flamenco, sherry tasting, bull farm, paella class, olive oil mill, an equestrian school, and delicious meals and wine with a great group of travelers. Thank you for creating such an inspired itinerary, which most people don’t get to experience. Hemingway was enchanted with this region and you too will fall under its spell.
We had travelled to Spain in 2014 with Amber Roads on their first Central Spain tour, so we had no hesitation in joining their tour to Andalucía. They did not disappoint. The itinerary took us to amazing spaces and the scenery and places we visited just got better each day – the Alhambra in Granada was everything we had heard that it was, the Mezquita in Cordoba was incredible, the gorge in Ronda was breathtaking and then when you thought you had seen it all we arrived in Sevilla. It was a wonderful trip with so many beautiful things to see and a variety of interesting experiences like the Bravo Bull farm. Sean, again was a wonderful guide and worked very hard to ensure that everyone had a great experience. Bravo AR. Sicily is looking good….
Does all of Andalusia smell of orange blossoms? It seemed so to us. We were expecting to be overwhelmed by the Alhambra, the Mesquita, the Alcazar and Cathedral of Seville; but the beauty of the gardens and courtyards was a surprise. Sean was a joy. His enthusiasm and love of his country was contagious; his knowledge of history profound. He managed to watch over all of us and added special and unique experiences. The hotels were unique and very special. The setting of the dinner our first night overlooking the Alhambra at night was spectacular, as was the view of the gorge from the terrace at Ronda. The itinerary was very thoughtful and the planning wonderful as always. Thank you for a wonderful experience.
The trip exceeded my expectations. I am a 1st time traveler with Amber Road and was looking for a small group tour of Andalusia. I had done sizable research on the area about six years ago focusing on the Moorish influences in architecture and gardens. So, at the last possible time, I was able to sign up for the Amber Road trip. The area is a wealth of layering of history. The guide, Sean is excellent about specifics of the region and his animation and love of Andalusia is apparent. I appreciate Sean’s pointing out urban planning and garden design for me. The group meals were wonderful, a treat of Iberian food, wine, tapas, and more. Also, the staff person, Lisa, is terrific. The trip was a good time!
Fabulous Tour – Andalucia was more than I could have ever anticipated. Each of the towns and villages we explored was unique, and each with it’s own degree of Roman, Moorish, Jewish and Christian influence. The blend was a phenomenal array of enjoyable culture, cuisine, sites, monuments … and shopping. From Flamenco to Sherry Bodegos to Andalucian horses, the history and sense of discovery was all there to be absorbed and appreciated. The quality of the local tour guides was excellent. Our Tour Director, Sean, was exceptional, brilliant and so knowledgeable, which added considerably to the overall experience of Southern Spain. Sean took care of everyone’s needs and made sure each of us could maximize all that the Tour had to offer. Accommodations met or exceeded expectations, and were perfectly located to take advantage of exploring the towns’ old quarters. Granada, Cordoba, Cadiz and Sevilla were amazing — the Cathedrals, churches, Royal Palaces, plazas and gardens. But Ronda had a certain unexplainable appeal for me. Bravo to Sean and Amber Road Tours! I never thought any tour would match the Sicily tour; Andalucia ranks right up there with the best.
Our Amber Road Tour of Andalucia was a delightful revelation of the cultural roots, important history, fascinating traditions, remarkable monuments, marvelous foods, striking landscapes and welcoming people of the region. The balance between tour time and our own time was just about perfect. We didn’t feel overwhelmed by all the knowledge we were soaking up but had the opportunity to explore on our own if we wished. Our guide Sean, made the tour exceptionally comfortable, meaningful, and enjoyable. He was not only a font of valuable historical and cultural information, but went the extra kilometer to make certain we were taken care of, if we wanted, during our “free” time.
This was our second trip with Amber Road. We found the first trip through Sicily everything that Amber Road promised. This one was the same and also exceeded our expectations. The hotels were of a high standard, some with superb views and others with interesting quirks. The included dinners featured extensive menus with five or more courses of typical regional food. The balance between time on guided tours and free time was good as it did not leave us feeling exhausted at being talked at as well as leaving time to explore on our own. In summary, a most enjoyable 12 days which left us with the intention to travel with Amber Road again.
The Andalucía Tour was our fourth with Amber Road Tours and we were delighted with it. The trip was wonderful from start to finish with historic and lovely boutique hotels in central locations, amazing sites in every city and town, unique experiences at off-the-beaten track places like the olive oil mill, horse show, and bull farm. Our experience was especially enriched by Sean’s passion for Spain, his sense of humor, and his enjoyment in sharing his deep knowledge of Spain’s history, architecture, culture, customs, and cuisine with us. Among the many things that stand out in our memory are the welcome dinner overlooking the moonlit Alhambra, the paella cooking class, the gardens and parks everywhere, the Mezquita in Córdoba, the view of the gorge from the hotel in Ronda, the fish markets in Málaga and Cádiz, and the bull farm which felt like a movie set. Group meals were carefully planned to introduce us to delicious local wines and typical dishes. All in all a perfect trip!
The Andalucia tour was fantastic and exceeded my expectations! All aspects were very good: the sites, the cultural experiences, Sean the guide, and the other tour members. Really enjoyed the little bull fighting demo (and guest participation!) and lunch at the bull farm. We could not have had a better guide than Sean – a very knowledgeable and passionate individual with a great sense of humour. Enjoyed the unplanned tapas session outside the Cadiz market! All in all definitely going to look at some other Amber Road tours!
This was my first Amber Road Tour and I suspect it won’t be my last. I was impressed by the well crafted itinerary: a thoughtful balance of group activities and free time. I especially enjoyed the expert tour guides, the Moorish palaces, the Andalusian horses (my favourite) and the Flamenco dancers. What an interesting bunch of people in our group too. I felt very comfortable as a single person on this tour.
Sean is so proud of his heritage and knowledgeable about Spanish history and culture. He went out of his way to resolve any glitches that came along. Value for money it was a winner.
I enjoyed the varied countrysides, the hotels (especially the one in Ronda on the edge of a precipice), the small/exquisite stained glass windows tucked away in inaccessible spaces that were hardly noticeable in several churches and cathedrals, the Flamenco dancers, the Spanish horse show, the bull farm and the “bull fights” with the female calf! Most of all, I appreciated Sean, who provided not only details about cities and monuments, but also shared the soul of Spain with us, through his insights.
I thoroughly enjoyed our tour and appreciate Amber Road’s ability to provide excellent quality by attending to all the parts that contribute to making their tours top rate. The generous assistance of Lisa Sample with our plans before and after the tour is something I have only experienced with Amber Road Tours. Their itineraries seem to be the right mix of everything. They attract people on their tours who contribute to making it such a pleasant experience. Of course, Sean is the one who made the magic happen. I am grateful for his ability to make all we learned and saw real and come alive, adding depth by being the person he is.
An excellent look at the Moorish culture, Christian rulers, amazing architecture and artwork, flamenco, sherry, bullfighting, Andalusian/Spanish horse and bull breeding. Foodies will marvel at the bounty of seafood and fish, not to mention the variety of inexpensive tapas, wines and beer available around every corner. The paella cooking class was loads of fun; Caleta Beach in Cadiz offered an opportunity to spend some relaxing beach time; climbing down to the bottom of the Tajo Gorge in Ronda was rather challenging; and mile after mile of some of the 70 million olive trees in Andalucia really helped explain the economy of the region. I so appreciate that we spent so little time on the bus during this trip. Fellow travelers and a knowledgeable, gentle and fun guide, Sean, who loves his country and delights in sharing it with others, made this trip stand as one of the best of the many tours we have taken. Sean was very giving of his time, often accompanying some of us for non-included meals and tapas. Included meals were varied, tasty and expansive. Try the tinto de verano — much better than sangria!
I absolutely loved this tour and the places that were visited. This was a wonderful introduction to both Spain and the Andalucia area. There are too many highlights to mention, but I will make an exception. Sean is a marvellous tour director and his love and passion for Spain is totally infectious.
Wonderful tour-Who would not love such a beautiful country with such magnificent architecture- great food and wine and love the tour guide with a wonderful sense of humor- passionate about Spain and of course a charming brogue when he speaks English -Sean is a pleasure to be with,
Our explorations of Andalucia under the leadership of Sean, our marvelously energetic, knowledgeable guide, were full of rewards. There is much more to that beautiful region than flamenco and paella, as our well-designed itinerary showed us. The traditional Feria in Seville is nothing like Carnaval in cosmopolitan Cadiz – but both are fascinating to learn about. One needs to visit the magical village of Ronda to appreciate its unique setting, and one finds another kind of enchantment in dining on a hillside in Granada with a view of the exquisite Alhambra shimmering in the moonlight. No point in going on and on about it; it would be a shame for anyone interested in Spain’s rich cultural heritage to pass on the chance to take this fine Amber Road tour.
Andalucia was my first Amber Road tour but I was so pleased that I am planning two more in 2018. Quite simply, Amber Road is a Class Act ! Our guide Sean was knowledgeable, fun, organized and kind to all. The hotels were in great locations and among the best in town. Included meals were at great restaurants. Perhaps even more fun were impromptu meals of tapas and beer/wine where the food just kept coming. I particularly like that Amber Road caters to English speaking non-Americans. The Aussies on our trip were fun and brought a different perspective on the world. I had worried that traveling alone might be a little depressing. I need not have worried. Sean made sure everyone felt included and had a great time
After 4 trips with Amber Road to Italy and Sicily we decided to expand our horizons and take an excursion to Andalucia Spain. There is much to see and do in this part of the world and thanks to Sean Rentana, our passionate and knowledgable guide, the experience was taken to another level. We were of course enthralled with the beauty and architecture of the region but will never forget our group’s trip to the bull farm – a once in a lifetime experience. As always, the trip was enhanced by getting to know our tour mates from around the world and the special bond that occurs when strangers come together through a shared interest in travel.
This was our second Amber Road Tour and as expected the second time was just as wonderful as the first. Sean is a fantastic tour manager: excellent at organizing details and very personable with the group. I especially appreciate his knowledge of and passion for the history and culture of Spain. I learned a great deal from Sean and also the excellent local guides where I gained new perspectives on Spain’s role in history as well as in the present. Thank you, Amber Road, for finding comfortable, beautiful and unique accommodations for us; for scheduling interesting events such as the olive oil factory visit, the sherry Bodega, the horse dressage and the bull farm. All of these connect contemporary Andalucia with its rich and diverse history. All meals provided were delicious. All meals on our own were a delectable adventure. I look forward to my next Amber Road Tour.
As expected, another fabulous tour from Amber Road. Excellent organisation, itinerary and guide all worked to ensure everything went smoothly. I was happy with the hotels and included meals, and liked the balance between time travelling, local tours and “down time”. I look forward to my next Amber Road tour – thank you!