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Andalucia Walking, Painting, Horse Riding
and Bird Watching Holidays

Experience the best of Andalucia hosted by the hospitable Arbuthnott family at their country villa, La Almuna.  Based in Andalucia for many years this charming family has captured the best of their surroundings and offer an amazing variety of weekly stays and house parties.  Whether your interest be walking, painting, history, bird watching or simply a week of relaxing while savouring the best of Spanish cuisine, this small group atmosphere is ideal for those who want a relaxing holiday while exploring the beautiful local surrounds.
Villa Almuna is an Andalucian farm house set in over 500 acres of olive groves and meadows.  It has 7 generous double bedrooms with en suite bathrooms and 3 extra bedrooms for larger groups in the annexe. Home cooked meals are prepared from home grown and locally sourced ingredients.  The Villa Almuna has an outside swimming pool and tennis court.

A holiday at Almuna

This is a holiday devised by the Arbuthnotts to which you are invited to join as a single person, a couple or with a few friends.  The maximum number is 14 and throughout the week you will be looked after by the family.

These holidays are organised walking, walking, tennis, bridge, golf, bird watching, historical talks, wine tasting, cooking demos and excursions to fine cities and villages, Atlantic whales, bull farms and more.

However there is always the option on each day to opt out and find a quiet corner to read a book, lie by the pool or even hire our little car and peel off for the day.

Painting in Andalucia

This area is made for the artist's paintbrush. Landscapes in perfect soft light, dazzling white villages with terracotta roofs, tumbled down farmhouses caught in dappled shade, gnarled ancient cork oaks and precarious castles perched on craggy hill tops.

In 2015 we have two painting Holidays based at Almuña with very talented, sympathetic and encouraging art teachers. They teach in all mediums to the complete beginner as well as the more experienced painter. The size of the party allows the teacher to give a lot of individual attention so each "student".

The teaching is in the morning. There are early evening sessions set aside for further help, demos and critique. There will be painting excursions to scenic locations included in a daily programme of activities such as walking and golf for the non-painter who is equally welcome.


A horse riding journey through Andalucia

The journey starts at the impressive cliff top city of Arcos de la Frontera and takes us along remote paths once used by smugglers over craggy sierras and through forgotten valleys to the Moorish fortified city of Ronda.

This is a trail ride staying along the way with the horses in charming hotels, farms and private homes.

Accomodation en route: The first 2 nights are at an 18th Century fortified olive mill converted into a splendid residence. 1 night in a simple but comfortable village hotel at Algar, 2 nights at Almuña, 1 night at a converted flour mill and the final night in Ronda.

The Northern Morocco Walking Holiday

This is a classic walking holiday combined with the exploration of Roman and medieval Moroccan cities and ruins lead by Hughie Arbuthnott and accompanied by Berber guides.

After arrival at Malaga airport you are transported across the straits of Gibraltar by ferry into North Africa and into the Rif Mountains where, for the next 3 days, we walk with mule support amongst remote, wild and indescribably beautiful mountain country through ancient Berber villages and terraced hillsides.

The journey continues to the imperial city of Fez following the footsteps of the Merinides, who supported the Moorish kings of Granada in the 14th century and on to the Roman ruins of Volubilis through Moulay Idriss ending the holiday in Rabat and fly out of Casablanca

Walking Grade: 3                       Overall walking distance: 45 miles
Arrival Airport: Málaga               Departure Airport:  Casablanca
Accommodation en route:  Elegant Riads, a charming mountain gite and boutique hotels
Longest Walking Day: 12 miles  Going under foot:  Cobbled streets & mountainous terrain
Option to walk less:  Yes - there are plenty of options to walk shorter distances


The Arcos Camino Walking Holiday

The walking journey starts at Arcos and finishes 6 days later at Almuña. We walk in massive limestone sierra and open farmland lunching with a local family en route to the remote village of Algar. We team up with Roque and his mules who accompany us through dramatic sandstone country alongside gushing streams choked with rhododendrons and arbutus into the interior of a forest of huge cork oaks, out of sight and sound of modern life.

Accommodation en route: The first 2 nights are at an 18th century fortified olive mill converted into a splendid residence. 2 nights in a simple but comfortable Village hotel at Algar and the final 3 nights at Almuña.
Walking Grade: 2                         Overall walking distance: 50 miles
Longest walking day: 12 miles     Options to walk less: yes - plenty
Going under foot: Mainly good but muddy in parts if wet, some pitted fields and a rocky downhill section on day 2


The Berber Camino Walking Holiday

This walking journey starts at Almuña through rolling country over the Moorish frontier into the largest private estate in Europe via the citadel of Castellar de la Frontera. Then to the Straits and along the wild unspoilt Atlantic coast walking bare footed on golden sands. 

This walking journey has much historical content with explanations of the period of Moorish rule which in this corner of Spain spanned from 711 to 1492.

Accommodation en route: 2 nights at Almuña, 2 nights at the 18th century convent and hunting lodge of the Dukes of Medinaceli, 1 night Algeciras and 2 nights near Tarifa.

Walking Grade: 1 & 2                             Overall walking distance: 65 miles
Longest Walking day: 12 miles               Going under foot: mainly good but some pitted fields
Options to walk less: yes - plenty


The Botanical Ramble

Ramble through wild flowers spectacular in abundance, variety and colour with the delightful and highly knowledgeable botanist Christopher Melluish. With Christopher the walking is in a very gentle fashion with time to identify and photograph flowers, butterflies and insects. Each day you set out to visit different habitats from limestone sierras to meadows and the botanically fascinating Rock of Gibraltar. From time to time Hugh will also lead longer walks for the more robust walker.

4 nights are at Almuña before we go to Seville and the surrounding area to visit some exceptional formal gardens with one night in Cortijo Barranco, a large stately farmhouse built it 1754 and 2 nights at Cortijo Torre de la Reina now a hotel and still the home of our goof friend Don Jose Maria Medina


Bird Watching in Andalucia

Andalucia is home to some of the richest bird life in the Northern Hemisphere and a staging post for thousands of migratory birds.

Keith Cowieson is a lifelong bird watcher who has been fortunate enough during his long career in the RAF to indulge his passion from the Arctic to the Falklands and from Canada to Afghanistan. He has led RAF Ornithological Society expeditions to Svalbard, Artic Norway and the highlands of Scotland. He is now the Director of the independent charity, Songbird Survival.
5 nights are at Almuña and 2 nights in the palace of the Dukes of Medina Sidonia in Sanlucar de Barrameda.

At Marlborough's Summer School Robin established a Bird Watch Course.  He was a Choral Scholar in the 60's at Christ's College Cambridge and for 21 years he has been Director of Music at Marlborough College.  He has a passion for bird watching and the art of bird recognition as much by sight as by sound, something that had great appeal to a trained musician. He has been Bird Recorder for the Oxford Ornithological Society and lecturer on the R.S.P.B. circuit.
5 nights are at Almuña and 2 nights in a Riad in the Portuguese colonial Atlantic town of Asilah

A short Bridge Course and holiday at La Almuna

Three bridge courses in the comfort and incredible setting of Almuña under the expert tuition of Jack Stocken who started with the Andrew Robson Bridge Club and now teaches in Yorkshire.  Each holiday includes a 4 day course followed by a further optional 4 days of unsupervised bridge, organised golf, walking and other excursions.

There will be separate tables for intermediate players and for beginners who are patiently and gently nurtured.  The Bridge programme will have a mixture of teaching and supervised play - all played in a fun and friendly environment. The standard of Bridge for both trips will be for players of an intermediate standard as well as beginners.

During the morning session there will be tuition using Compass Cards (set deals) and a fun topic tailored to the group. In the pre-dinner session there will be supervised play and after-dinner Bridge, in summer under the stars, is always a popular option for the energetic!

Non-Bridge playing husbands, wives and partners are welcome provided that they are sharing a room with a Bridge player! 

Return transfers from Malaga Airport to La Almuna Vila
Accommodation at La Almuna Villa
Other accommodation as specified
Pre lunch, dinner and after dinner drinks at La Almuna
Breakfasts, lunches and dinners
Selection of local wine with meals at La Almuna
Painting and Bridge instructions on relevant weeks
Transportation on all excursions
Transport to and from the tour start point in Spain
Golfing green fees

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