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 tour Comments Leave a comment
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!
Andalucia takes you on a comprehensive tour of southern Spain with so many picturesque sights,history and experiences. These are some of them – Granada > that sensational panorama across to the Alhambra at our Welcome Dinner from Mirador San Nicolas as the sun sets > the sensual Flamenco evening which had us all on our feet clapping & cheering > the visit next day to that mystical Alhambra & Generalife. Cordoba > the awesome Meszquita Mosque/Cathedral > the open air rooftop dinner outside the city walls. Ronda > a pretty little town on the rock with panoramic vistas to the Sierras > the famous bull ring,the spiritual home of the art of bullfighting., and our meeting with Jesus, the most well turned out local guide we have ever seen, with his polished winklepicker shoes, a man proud of his town! The bull fighters – two intrepid members of our group who had a go at twirling the cape in a local bull farmer’s ring -sorry Bob & Harvey- the ‘bull’ was a 3 month old feisty heifer! Cadiz – the sunset into the Mediterranean from our hotel, but a city most underrated. And Seville > so much to see,do,sample!
Of course,there were the set dinners/lunches,tapas,beers & great red wine,the endless sampling of local pastries – all contrived by our passionate guide Sean Retana,who cajoled, assisted & challenged us to sample as much of Spain as possible > we will remember the 10.30am sherry tasting in Jerez! We’ll end with Sean’s favourite quip: ‘ If you don’t like we can go someplace else!’ Hopefully he will, next time we come to Spain!
Wanting an introduction to southern Spain we searched the internet and found Amber Road Tours. What a find! Just 20 participants – 1 Canadian, 7 Australians and 12 Americans – started in Granada and bussed around Andalucia, finishing in Seville. The pace of the tour was just right with no really early starts, no endless bus journeys, enough free time and, best of all, good local guides to support the endless knowledge, enthusiasm, wit and energy of tour leader Sean Retana Vallely. Whether in tiny mountainous Ronda, Moorish Cordoba, Mediterranean Cadiz or on a bull farm, olive plantation or sherry bodega, we learned, laughed, tasted and were encouraged on by Sean: “Come on I know you’re tired but…” As for food and drink, we feasted, sometimes separately, often together, on the best that the region has to offer. If we overindulged occasionally, whose fault was that? Would we do it all again? You bet!
We have always traveled independently until now, but Amber Roads matched or exceeded what I would have planned on my own. The hotels were charming and located in picturesque parts of the city so that we could walk to attractions and restaurants. The pace of the trip was relaxing – no really early mornings and plenty of free time – but we visited wonderful sights and had interesting excursions every day. Cocktails on the terrace in Ronda while watching the sunset was one of the high points of the trip. The local tour guides spoke good English and they were informative and amusing. However, the tour would not have been so enjoyable without our wonderful tour leader, Sean Rentana. He gave us lots of interesting bits of information about the history of towns and the derivations of Spanish words. Even when we had free time, he was always available with restaurant suggestions or to provide company if you wanted it. He is really special.
Congratulations again Amber Road Tours and Sean. I have recently completed my 4th tour, the second with Sean as the guide. As usual I thoroughly enjoyed discovering new places, people, culture and, of course, food with a knowledgeable and passionate guide. Each city was unique, which I had the opportunity to discover and appreciate. My favourite is Cádiz…or maybe Seville. The hotels were well located, and in particular our group enjoyed the atmosphere of the first hotel in Granada. The courtyard was a welcoming place to gather or relax. The usual mix of organised and free time worked well, as did the local tours at very popular sites. As a guide Sean is informative, entertaining, passionate, and quick to anticipate and resolve. And he knows when to interrupt the local guide with a tray of the local pastries! Once again, another fantastic trip.
The 2016 Andalucía Tour in March/April was one of the most stimulating and well planned tours that I have ever attended. The accommodations were excellent and the dining experience was superb. The meals and their venues were varied and delightful. I also appreciated the pace of the tour. Each of the planned excursions was different and designed to provide an appreciation of the unique history, architecture, and culture of the cities that we were visiting. At the same time, there was sufficient free time to relax and absorb the ambience of this beautiful region of Spain without the rush one often experiences with other tours. But, what made this tour so memorable and extraordinary was our tour guide, Sean Retana de Vallely. Articulate, passionate, knowledgeable and friendly, Sean made each city come alive with a recounting of its unique role in the history of Spain. His narrating of historical events was vivid and was coupled with an insight into the architecture and culture that distinguished that city from others. A true Renaissance man, Sean’s enthusiasm never lagged and his last discourse was as fresh and interesting as his first. In every aspect, the Andalucia tour was memorable and exceeded my high expectations. I highly recommend it!
Kudos to Amber for providing a first rate tour of Andalusia, expertly covering all the world famous sights while also creating uniquely indigenous experiences. Special praise for our gifted and attentive guide, Sean, whose knowledge of Spanish history and culture enriched and illuminated every activity.
One more time Amber Road provided us with a unique travel experience. We have enjoyed three trips to Italy over the last few years, but this time we chose to visit Southern Spain. There we found a delightful blend of cultures and geography. We visited the Atlantic coast and the Mediterranean coast. Then we journeyed to elevations that gave us an amazing view for miles in every direction. As always Amber Roads planning and our delightful guide, Sean provided fun and educational events like olive groves, sherry tasting, dancing, interacting with locals,……………I could go on and on! I must mention that Sean as a guide was outstanding, enthusiastic, patient and a veritable history book of his country. AMBER ROAD TOURS NEVER DISAPPOINTS!
Thank you, Amber Road Tours for an exceptional Andalucia experience. What a trip! Spain has left a mark and we will go back to see more of the country and go with your tour company again. Sean, our tour manager, is a big asset to the company and we came back with fond memories of a beautiful country especially with his vast historical knowledge, passion and love for every aspect of all the places we visited. The surprise treats of food that he brought to us during the tours when we were in the different places made the tour special and personal. Sean and our driver, Eduardo, were very patient and kind to all of us in our group of different personalities, taking us on surprise side trips so that we would not miss out on an experience. Thank you for your hard work in making our trip to Andalucia such a memorable and special one.
This was our 4th tour with AR. We are very pleased with the tour. Sean did a fine job in leading us. He added value by being spontaneous and taking advantage of opportunities that occurred along the way, such as the Feria at Cadiz, instead of the customary tour of a sherry bodega and a stop at the Carthusian Monastery. Sean would add nice touches, such as buying cookies, sherry at the equestrian show etc. He has a vast knowledge of Spanish history and a gift for explaining things. He was very responsive to questions and had a remarkable enthusiasm and sense of humor. Sean was always positive and never displayed any impatience.
As with other Amber Road tours, this one of April/May 2016 in Andalucía is for those who want to have very knowledgeable guides, and traveling companions who are both interested and interesting. We saw not only the major architectural monuments and museums I might have visited on my own but also things I would have missed, such as the breathtaking performance of the Royal Andalucian School of Equestrian Art in Jérez. As expected, hotels and meals were excellent. Our tour director, Sean, seemed to know everything about the history and art of Andalucía and was attentive to our every need (including extras such as bringing sweets for us during guided tours.) He also asked our fine bus driver, Eduardo, to make several fascinating unscheduled stops, such as those at a Roman excavation outside Ronda and a Carthusian monastery on the way to Jérez and Sevilla. Sean worked so hard that he should have been exhausted but instead was always cheerful and energetic. I highly recommend this tour!
This tour was exceptional and I loved every minute. The itinerary was amazingly well crafted and paced, and Sean is a marvelous and energetic tour leader. I definitely plan to take more Amber Road tours in the coming years. Many thanks, Lisa, for all of your help and patience during the planning process.
Our guide Sean was simply outstanding. His knowledge of his country and his concern for our well being was impressive. Perhaps the best guide we have ever had on our numerous tours. Overall, we enjoyed the Tour and were very favorably impressed with Spain. Thanks for helping us make wonderful memories!
This tour was our 7th with Amber Road so that in itself is a great indication of how we feel about this company and how they deliver the perfect European travel experience. They have developed the small group tour process to ensure that they provide an intimate and in-depth experience of each region they travel. Andalucia was no exception. The region is like nowhere else in Europe with a great mixture of history, cultures, religions, food and architecture all presented to the traveller with excellent tour & local guides with knowledge and passion. Our tour manager, Sean, was exceptional and always available to help when required. The group was the usual mix of nationalities all with a like mind to immerse themselves in the local life, cuisine & wines. Thoroughly enjoyable as usual.
This was our 3rd tour with Amber Road and nothing disappointed us. There is nothing we can fault with this tour company. We have read the comments of our fellow travelers regarding this tour and hardly feel we can add to their superlatives. We fully endorse their glowing comments. Apart from value for money, we wanted to highlight just a few things which truly impressed us about this tour and, indeed, the previous 2 tours we have done with Amber. So we have narrowed it down to variety of experiences from day to day and amazingly great local food and wine. Great guides too. On this trip our tour manager Sean was knowledgeable, passionate and generous in every way!
Our first trip with Amber Road will definitely not be our last!
The Andalucía tour included all the regional highlights as well as Cadiz and Seville. The mixture of Christian and Moorish architecture and culture was enthralling. Congratulations to Lisa for booking us into well positioned, good quality hotels which reflected their location. We felt that the itinerary was a perfect balance for us – some culture/sight seeing, some fun (eg flamenco), some free time each day and of course plenty of eating and drinking. The Paella making was an early activity that contributed very positively to our group “ice breaking” and subsequent good time with a delightful friendly group of people. The spontaneous visits to patisseries and tapas bars were very enjoyable – expertly organised by our Tour Manager Sean. In fact Sean’s contribution to the success of our trip cannot be underestimated in any way. Always ready to help, inform, innovate and entertain and highly valued by all of us. Thank you once again to Sean and Lisa and we hope to meet some of our Andalucia group on future Amber Road tours.
Our recent tour of Andalucia was our second trip with Amber Roads and it did not disappoint. Our group was fun-loving, interesting and interested. Coming from a relatively young country, we were awe-struck by the preservation of the beautiful monuments. We learned a great deal about the Spanish way of life and the history of Spain from the excellent guides along the way. Our tour manager was enthusiastic and very passionate about his country.
The itinerary, the programme was varied and enjoyable and we felt that we had a great sense of the province and that we had ample time to explore. The guides, they were fantastic, informative, humourous, engaging (favourites Jesus -Ronda, Luis- Cordoba, Angeles-Sevilla, Daniel-Granada). Accommodations, the venues were varied, they were well-situated and provided easy access to restaurants and other sites. The tour manager, Sean was fun, very honest about the Spanish way of life. His knowledge of Spanish history was amazing. He also showed great initiative, as an example, we were all thunderstruck by the millions of olive groves that we passed and on our way through the \”White Villages\”, he arranged for a delightful tour of an Aciete de Oliva, run by the same family for many generations. Besides the jaw-dropping beauty of the Al Hambra and the Mezquita, we also enjoyed stumbling upon a religious procession in Malaga; the bull breeding farm near Sevilla; sharing tapas with the group.