Take a vibrant tour through Spain, Portugal and Morocco

Enjoy a first-hand experience of Spanish, Portuguese and Moroccan lifestyles. Travelling from Madrid to Marrakech, immerse yourself in the history of each destination, exploring ancient cultures through art, design, language and religion, meeting charismatic locals along the way. From fine Spanish cuisine and awesome shopping in Madrid to idyllic Algarve beaches and Islamic architecture in Morocco, this tour has been designed to pique your curiosity and allow a discovery of the mysteries concealed within each region. Experience a collision of old and new, European and African, and be dazzled by the vibrancy of this corner of the world.

Start
Madrid, Spain
Finish
Marrakech, Morocco
Countries
Morocco,
Portugal,
Spain
Themes
Explorer
Code
ZMSH
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 12
Carbon offset
214kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • The Art Walk in Madrid is every art lover's dream. In one small stretch you can browse the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, the Reina Sofia and the Prado, one of the world's most celebrated galleries
  • Wander around Salamanca's Plaza Mayor at night, lit up to reveal its intricate architecture
  • Sample the culinary delights and contrasts of Spain, Portugal and Morocco – three countries that are celebrated around the world for their cuisine
  • The Algarve in Portugal is the perfect middle point of the trip. Soak up the sun on the coast's gorgeous beaches, walk across rocky cliff tops, explore remote coves and enjoy a sunset over the Atlantic Ocean
  • Relive a glorious medieval past in Fes city. While many tourists get lost in the labyrinthine streets of the medina, you'll have a local guide to show you the way
  • Where else would you find drummers, dancers, snake charmers, fortune tellers, jugglers and old medicine men in one place? Marrakech is the perfect place to share a final group meal and stock up on treasures in the city's colourful souqs

Itinerary

Welcome to Madrid, Spain. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 7 pm. Please check with the hotel reception where and when it will take place, or check the reception notice boards. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. If you arrive into Madrid early, while away the hours on the Paseo del Arte (Art Walk) for a panoramic perspective of western art history.

Notes: If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive at the hotel by early evening, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). As there's limited time for sightseeing in Madrid on this trip, we recommend you arrive a few days early to see the sights. Madrid offers a remarkable blend of sights, sounds and experiences. Soak up the culture, be wowed by the architecture and swoon over the exceptional food. If you're an art buff, don't miss the Paseo del Arte, or Art Walk. Start with 12th-19th century European art at the Museo del Prado, discover modern Spanish masters including Picasso and Dali in the Museo Reina Sofia and finish with the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. Take a break in the 18th-century oasis of the Real Jardin Botanico.
Say farewell to Madrid this morning and head north-west by bus to the historical university town of Salamanca (approximately 3.5 hours).

Situated amongst beautiful pastures and rolling green hills on Spain's northern plateau, the rose-hued medieval town of Salamanca is great to explore on foot. Your leader will take you on an orientation walk on arrival, where you can explore the central Plaza Mayor and discover the historic stone buildings that the city is known for. Plaza Mayor is a true centre of local life. Not only is it architecturally unique, but it thrives with activity as locals meet and take coffee, tapas or cocktails on the square.

The rest of your afternoon and evening is then free to do as you wish.
Head further west by bus today and cross the border into Portugal to the laidback city of Coimbra, which should take around five hours. Coimbra will be our base for next two nights.

On arrival, your leader will escort you on a walk to help you orientate yourself in the maze of alleyways of this riverfront city, that used to be Portugal’s capital back in time. Half the fun of Coimbra is wandering and exploring, so use your free time getting to know the city. Coimbra features typical white stone with several excellent examples of colourful azulejos tiling. Some of the historical buildings were originally built in the 12th century (cathedral Sé Velha), and you can find some of the Portugal's best examples of Romanesque churches and elegant museums here. Famous baroque library, the Biblioteca Joanina, and its 18th-century bell tower are highlights.
Enjoy a free day of exploration in Coimbra today, before witnessing a traditional Fado performance in the splendour of a lovely old chapel (held daily in the centre of the old town). Commonly regarded as a form of song that can really be about anything, but must follow a certain structure, Fado is in popular belief a song mixed from mournful tunes and lyrics, often about the sea or the life of the poor.

In your free time, perhaps head out into the countryside in search of ancient Roman ruins, which takes around 30 minutes by bus. The ruins of Conimbriga are rich in mosaics and a great insight into ancient Roman life. There are several options to return, including a three kilometre walk through the countryside to the unspoiled rural town of Condeixa (optional). If you have time, you can take a short boat tour to take in the view of Coimbra from a different angle.
Today, jump on a train for around three and a half hours through the countryside of central Portugal to Lisbon. As one of Europe's most pleasant and affordable capital cities, Lisbon combines the best elements of Portuguese life, offering fantastic architecture, a multicultural population, delicious seafood and non-stop nightlife.

On arrival to the city, head out on an orientation walk of Lisbon to find your feet. Your afternoon and evening is then free, so perhaps head to the grand Naval Museum for an insight into the history of Portuguese navigation or just simply enjoy yourself sitting back in one of many outdoors restaurants and cafes. Watching the life go by is certainly a good way to relax in Lisbon.
Today we explore the treasures of Lisbon, located on the banks of the Tagus (Tejo) River and truly one of Europe’s great cities. Much of Lisbon’s character and charm lies in its beautiful renovated buildings, grand boulevards and impressive castles and churches. Head out this morning on an included visit to the medieval citadel in the city centre of Lisbon. The city swarms with endless angular white houses and buildings with distinct red terracotta rooftops. From the citadel, this makes a contrasting panorama when viewed against the deep blue of the sky and ocean.

In your free time, perhaps take a day trip into the mountainous region of Sintra, just 45 mins away by train. This area offers great walking, stunning cliff-top palaces and unique Moorish architecture.
Take a long bus journey of around five hours today to the southern coastline of Portugal, the Algarve. Known for its fertile plains, rich with orange and olive groves, fig trees, almonds and maize fields, this region is perfect to explore on foot. Our base is Olhao, the Algarve’s biggest fishing port, with an active waterfront and bustling lanes in its old quarters.

Check in to your accommodation on arrival and then use your free time getting to know the area's long, picturesque beaches. In the evening, perhaps try Olhao’s famous fish restaurants.
This morning, venture out on an included beach excursion with the rest of the group. Sandy beach islands can be reached by boats used by local people on daily basis to provide goods for those who live away from the coastline. While on the excursion, visit some of the Algarve's lesser known areas with great walking paths and golden sandy beaches. Soak up the laid back atmosphere before getting back to Olhao. With a historical old town and ideal location for stunning sunsets, the town offers a more relaxed pace of life. Perhaps use your free time in the evening trying some true Portuguese fare.
Leave Portugal for the hills of Andalucia today, travelling by bus to the traditional and historic town of Jerez de la Frontera (approximately seven hours). With its ancient Alcazar (Moorish fortress), eclectic cathedral and huge selection of high quality tapas bars, Jerez is an undiscovered jewel in the heart of Andalucia. The name ‘Jerez’ is derived from Arabic and has now become synonymous with the English word ‘sherry’, the city’s most famous export. Jerez is equally famous for its fine horses as well as Flamenco music and dance.

Once settled into your accommodation, enjoy a bodega tour and sample some of the sherries on offer. The rest of your evening is then free to do as you wish.
Today will be a long day of travel, as you leave Spain behind and head to Morocco. Travel by bus to the port town of Algeciras, which should take around three hours. Here you'll find spectacular views of the Rock of Gibraltar, before boarding a ferry to cross the straits to the city of Tangier (approximately 1.5 hours). After leaving the ferry jump on a bus for around three hours to Chefchaouen, which is in the centre of a mountainous agricultural region. There won't be too much time to explore Chefchaouen today, so perhaps settle into your hotel and relax before your walking tour tomorrow.
Meet your local guide early in the day to explore the maze of streets in the beautiful blue and whitewashed Chefchaouen.

Chefchaouen, or otherwise a ‘blue city’ is arguably one of the prettiest places in Morocco. Set against a wide valley and surrounded by the stunning Rif Mountains, Chefchaouen may take you by surprise. Its medina has been lovingly cared for with striking blue and whitewashed houses, red-tiled roofs and artistic doorways. Much of Chefchaouen was recreated by Andalusian refugees escaping the Reconquistia, so you might feel like you're still in the hills of Spain while exploring its streets. Learn about general life in a small Moroccan community, visit a communal bakery, watch local women do their laundry and walk up to a former church for a great view over the town that's nestled between two mountain peaks. As a popular shopping destination for handicrafts, carpets, blankets or woolen garments, you may also see the artisans at work. Possibly relax after your walking tour in a traditional Moroccan hammam.
.
Say farewell to Chefchaouen today and take a public bus for around five hours to Fes.

Your day is free once you arrive, so perhaps get your bearings of the most complete medieval city in the Arab world. The adventurous may want to try a camel burger for dinner at a local restaurant in the medina. In the evening why not head off to enjoy a dinner of Moroccan specialities like harira (chickpea soup) and chicken-stuffed pastilla with couscous. You may also head to the Palais Jamai for a drink. Watching the sunset over the Medina while a dozen prayer calls vie for attention is an experience you'll likely remember for a long time.
Today take a guided walk around Fes. Discover the labyrinth of the Medina, known locally as Fes el Bali, a living monument to an ancient past and still very much alive with craftsmen, markets, tanneries and mosques. Medieval Fes was one of the world's great centres of education and culture: both Islamic and Jewish. Its religious institutions and its libraries are legendary. Its mosques are of great renown. And it was to Fes that many of the Muslims (and Jews) expelled from Spain by Ferdinand and Isabella came in 1492. Look out for the Medersa Bou Inania, one of the city's most beautiful buildings which has recently been restored and is now open to tourists. You'll also visit the famous tannery, known for the iconic view overlooking its dye pits, and a ceramic factory where you can see potters working in the traditional way. After the tour, the afternoon is free to get lost in the city's maze of streets and alleys, take a photo outside the Royal Palace or visit the nearby hills for incredible views.

Please note that today’s experience will include shopping in carefully selected places. As the receipt of commissions or kickbacks in exchange for recommending particular shops, services or activities is ingrained in the culture of the Moroccan tourism industry, Intrepid has established a centralised system of receiving and distributing payments from these recommended suppliers. For more information, please refer to ‘Important Notes’ section or talk to your Tour leader on the ground.
Travel by train this morning to Marrakech, which will take around eight hours. Be enticed by the alluring scents and brilliant colours of the spice markets, the sounds of the musicians, the rich folds of carpets, delectable foods, acrobats and perfumed gardens.On arrival, head out on an included tour to see the Koutoubia Mosque and its minaret - famous throughout the world as one of the greatest minarets and the 'sister' to the Giralda in Seville. Please note it is impossible for non-Muslims to enter the minaret, and we will only visit its beautiful surroundings. If you have time, explore the ruins of Palais Badi and comb the spectacular Djemaa el-Fna bazaar. Perhaps head out for a final dinner with the group in the evening.

Notes: As there's not much time spent in Marrakech, we recommend booking an extra few nights accommodation so you can fully explore this amazing city. Our reservations team will be happy to help (subject to availability).
Your Madrid to Marrakech adventure ends this morning. There are no activities planned for the final day and you're able to depart the accommodation at any time.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
8 breakfasts
Transport
Bus, Ferry, Metro, Private vehicle, Public bus, Taxi, Train
Accommodation
Hotel (12 nights), Pension (2 nights)
Included activities
  • Orientation walk
  • Fado performance
  • Orientation Walk
  • Citadel
  • Algarve beach excursion
  • Bodega tour and sherry tasting
  • Walking tour with local guide
  • Guided walking tour Fes
  • Koutoubia Mosque and minaret

Dates

There are currently no departures for this trip.

{{departure_day.departure_date | date:'EEE d MMMM yyyy'}} {{departure_day.arrival_date | date:'EEE d MMMM yyyy'}}

Style: {{departure.style}}

Boat/Ship: {{departure.vehicle_name}}
On sale Hot deal Departure guaranteed On request
{{product.currency_code}} {{room.base_price | noFractionCurrency:product.currency_symbol}}
{{product.currency_code}} {{room.discount_price | noFractionCurrency:product.currency_symbol}}
Fully booked Bookings closed

Total price per person {{room.room_type | lowercase}}
Includes {{departure.kitty_currency_code}} {{departure.kitty | noFractionCurrency:departure.kitty_currency_symbol}} kitty
Includes {{extra.extras_code}} {{extra.extras_symbol}}{{extra.extras_value}} in local payments Single supplement available from {{product.currency_code}} {{departure.single_supp | noFractionCurrency:product.currency_symbol}}

Contact us to arrange an alternative departure for you

Book {{departure.places_left}} spaces left! space left!


Important notes

A single supplement is available on this trip. Please see trip notes for details.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View trip notes

Reviews

Our Madrid to Marrakech trips score an average of 4.75 out of 5 based on 69 reviews in the last year.

Madrid to Marrakech , April 2016

Madrid to Marrakech , April 2016

Was this page helpful?