Andalusian Alcoves – A Southern Spain Train Expedition

Experience the best of Spain’s cultural delights on this enchanting luxury train journey. Highlights include one of the nation’s first universities, the palace of Granada, and a feast of Mudejar Spanish architecture.

The highlight of Seville is Plaza Espana, a massive semicircular building with tiled alcoves representing the provinces.

Arab Baths

The Moors’ invasion of Spain wasn’t just a military conquest; it was also a cultural infusion. As the Moors settled into the towns and cities of Al-Andalus, Muslim, Christian, and Jewish traditions blended together and intermingled to create a rich tapestry of artistic expression. One such expression is Flamenco — the complex fusion of song, dance, and guitar music that tells the story of the soul of Andalusia.

During the height of Moorish rule, the city of Granada was home to a magnificent hammam called “Banos Arabes” (Arab Baths). Today, the bathhouse remains virtually unchanged and offers a real-life glimpse into the past. The bathhouse is comprised of separate cold, warm, and hot rooms, all decorated with intricate tiling and intricate horseshoe arches. The ambiance of the hammam is both serene and luxurious, offering guests a sensory experience that connects them to the echoes of a magnificent past.

The history of the hammam can be traced back thousands of years to the Romans and Greeks, who developed the concept of communal bathing as a social ritual. The Islamic baths evolved from these ancient models, with hammams serving a combination of practical and spiritual purposes. In addition to hygienic and health benefits, hammams were vibrant social centers, where men and women gathered for relaxation and conversation. Gossip was exchanged, business deals were brokered, and friendships were nurtured in these sanctuaries of wellness.

Today, the hammam is experiencing something of a renaissance. Inspired by the ancient designs of the Moors, many modern hammams offer a wide range of spa treatments, from traditional massage to aromatherapy. The soothing ambiance of the hammam, combined with the healing power of the water, makes for an experience that is both restorative and rejuvenating.

Traveling on the luxury train Al Andalus, passengers will have the unique opportunity to visit a number of these enchanting Arab Baths throughout our journey across Spain. Each hammam provides a sensory and cultural immersion that is truly once-in-a-lifetime. Whether you are relaxing in the luxurious lounge, bar or restaurant carriages that make up our fleet of cars, a trip aboard Al Andalus is sure to be a journey you will never forget.

Moorish Legacy

The Moors left behind a tapestry of influences that continues to shape the architecture, culture, and identity of Andalusia. From the cobbled streets of Seville to the palatial palaces of Granada, their legacy is evident throughout this beautiful region. One of the most significant legacies is the Arab Baths, or “Banos Arabes.” Located in the heart of Granada, Hammam Al Andalus is a testament to the Moorish legacy and a true gem for visitors to experience. It is one of the best preserved Moorish bathhouses and offers a unique glimpse into the life of a bygone era.

From the first step through the ornate gates, it is easy to feel transported back in time. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming, with a combination of different sized pools (cold, warm, and hot), beautiful tile work, and stunning architecture that is both functional and artistic. The walls are covered with beautiful grills of wrought iron surrounded by watermelon and terra cotta tones, adobe ceilings, and comfortable seating alcoves.

Once inside the bathhouse, you will see the distinct Mudejar design that was popular during the Moorish rule. This style was embraced by the Christians who added to and enhanced its main features and the result is simply spectacular. The intricate designs on the ceilings are simply amazing and it is easy to spend a good amount of time just admiring them.

After a refreshing shower and a dip in the pool, you will be guided through the different rooms to discover how each area was used during the Moorish rule. You will also get a chance to take a look at the oldest bullring in Spain and learn about the history of this interesting town that is divided by an impressive gorge. Once you are ready, you will head back to the train for dinner and your journey to Cordoba.

The night aboard the train is always magical, but on this trip you will be treated to a performance by an esteemed Flamenco dancer and a singer that will leave you in awe. It is a true once-in-a-lifetime experience that is sure to create wonderful memories.


The Moorish era left behind more than just a remarkable architectural legacy. Culturally, Al-Andalus (or “Islamic Spain”) contributed significantly to humanity in the fields of agronomy, art, architecture and science. Its impact also extends far beyond the borders of Spain. It has permeated the whole of northern Europe and even North Africa to some extent, influencing daily life in the form of food, language, topographical names and more.

In the cities and towns of Andalusia, the cultural legacy is alive and well. For example, Cordoba’s La Mezquita, which was originally a mosque and later converted into a cathedral, is one of the most striking examples of Moorish architecture. Its soaring columns are crafted from granite, marble and jasper. The building is adorned with elaborate gilded carvings and contains 865 prayer alcoves.

Another enduring cultural treasure is Flamenco, the complex fusion of song, dance and guitar music that tells the story of the Andalusian soul. Although debated over its origins, the style is generally thought to have evolved during the Moorish era. It was adapted over time by Christians, Jews and Gypsies, creating a richly expressive language that conveys pain, love and passion.

The cuisine of Andalusia is influenced by its proximity to the sea and vast agricultural lands. The omnipresence of water in Huelva’s coastal areas makes seafood a popular choice in the region, with dishes like white shrimp; prawns; murex; cuttlefish; and ortiguillas (sea anemones in batter).

A visit to Andalusia is not complete without trying some traditional tapas. Some of the most popular include calamari and patatas bravas, which are fried in olive oil from the Andalusian provinces of Jaen, Cordoba, Seville, Granada and Malaga. In addition, Andalusia is home to the savory Iberian black pork ham known as jamón de bellota. This cured meat is high in Omega-3s and is considered healthy and delicious.


From the Moorish influence on architecture and culture to its cuisine, Andalusia is a diverse region with many facets. Its gastronomy reflects the different civilizations that ruled over the area including Roman, Arab and Hapsburg influences. The cuisine features a combination of dishes from these cultures and is marked by the abundance of local produce.

Olive oil is a key ingredient and the provinces of Jaén, Cordoba, Seville and Granada are all large producers. Fried foods are a mainstay, with many dishes dredged in flour a la Andaluza (flour that uses only the pure white, ground form of the chickpea especially for use in batters). The foods are then fried in a large quantity of olive oil. The cuisine also includes many seafood dishes. These include prawns from the Bay of Cadiz; mussels, clams and oysters from the Costa del Sol; murex, a shellfish found in San Fernando; and “bocas de la Isla”, a dish of sea anemones dredged in a batter and served with fried potatoes and salad.

Spanish bean soup (also known as garbanzo beans) is a staple dish throughout the country, but it is particularly tasty in Andalusia. Andalucians love to add in meat and other spices, making it spicier than most other versions of the recipe.

Desserts are heavily influenced by Arabic medieval Andalucian cuisine, and include pestinos (deep-fried pastry bathed in honey), amarguillo [es] (a form of almond macaroon from Medina Sidonia) and polvorones (almond cookies from Estepa). Torrija is another popular dessert, with its distinctive glazed topping.

The Alhambra is one of the most iconic buildings of Andalusia, and a must-see when visiting this region. It was the last surviving palace of the Moorish rulers in Granada, who held out against the Christian Reconquista for 781 years.

Experience the enchanting world of Andalusia aboard the luxurious Al Andalus train. The train offers an exclusive way to discover UNESCO World Heritage cities and explore the region in exquisite comfort. The luxury train is equipped with beautifully-renovated lounge carriages and suites, combining Belle Epoque elegance with 21st century comforts.

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