Paris to Marrakech Trip Notes

Travel to France, Spain, Portugal and Morocco on a trip from Paris to Marrakech. Visit Bordeaux, Madrid, Lisbon, the Algarve and Fes on this overland adventure.

    • 29
    • AMSBC
    • 4.69 out of 5
    • Total price tool tip
      USD $4,970
      CAD $5,035
      AUD $5,195
      EUR €3,640
      GBP £3,130
      NZD $6,195
      ZAR R43,135
      CHF FR4,485
      *
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    • Explorer
    • Original
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Print Version
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2014
Paris to Marrakech
Trip code: AMSBC
Validity: 01 Jan 2014 to 31 Dec 2014
Table of Contents
StyleImportant notesFinish point instructions
ThemesGroup sizeEmergency contact
MapYour fellow travellersEmergency funds
ItinerarySingle travellersVisas
Also available to purchaseAccommodationIssues on your trip
We also recommendMeals introductionWhat to take
Itinerary disclaimerMealsHealth
Culture shock rating TransportSafety
Physical ratingGroup leaderTravel insurance
Included activitiesJoining point Responsible Travel
Optional activitiesJoining point descriptionA couple of rules
Money ExchangeJoining point instructionsThe Intrepid Foundation
Spending moneyArrival complicationsCarbon offset
TippingFinish point Feedback
Departure taxFinish point description
To save you money and the hassle of booking multiple trips, this journey is a combination of some of our most popular adventures so your leader and the composition of your group may change.
Style
Original
  • Original trips are classic Intrepid adventures. With a mix of included activities and free time, they offer plenty of opportunities to explore at your own pace and take part in activities that really get beneath the skin of a destination. While the occasional meal may be included, you'll have the freedom to seek out your own culinary adventures. Accommodation is generally budget or tourist class (2-3 star), but you're as likely to find yourself as a guest of a local family as staying in a hotel or camping. Transport will vary as well. Depending on the destination and the itinerary you could find yourself travelling on anything from a camel to a train or a private safari vehicle. It's all part of the adventure! Original travellers have a desire to make the most of their travel time and really get to know a place, its people and cultures.
Themes
Explorer
Map
Paris to Marrakech
Itinerary
Day 1 Paris
Bonjour! Welcome to France.
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1.
You can arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned until this important meeting; please check with the hotel reception where and when it will take place, or check the reception notice boards. 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). 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.
Rich in museums, art galleries, monuments, fashion and fabulous food, Paris offers a wealth of major sights and hidden treasures to discover.
As there is limited time for sightseeing in Paris we recommend you make arrangements to arrive a few days early to see the highlights of this beautiful city.
Optional Activities
  • Eiffel Tower - EUR14
  • Louvre Museum - EUR10
  • Musee d'Orsay - EUR9
  • Palace of Versailles - EUR15
  • Palace of Versailles gardens - Free
  • Paradis Latin cabaret show - EUR60
  • Arc de Triomphe - EUR10
  • Catacombs - EUR8
  • Centre Pompidou - EUR13
  • Napoleon's tomb - EUR9
  • Notre Dame towers - EUR8
  • Picasso Museum - EUR6
  • Rodin Museum - EUR9
  • Sainte Chapelle & Conciergerie - EUR8
  • Da Vinci Code walking tour - EUR20
  • Fat Tires bike tour - EUR28
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 2-3 Tours
Travel by train to Tours in the Loire Valley (approx 3 hrs).
Located between the Loire and Cher rivers, Tours is acclaimed as a 'town of art and history'. It's easy to see why as you explore the narrow streets, the outdoor cafes and bars in the main square, and the Rue Colbert and Rue Grand Marche, lined with gorgeous half-timbered houses.
Bicycles are a great way to explore the gentle countryside of the Loire and its magnificent historic chateaux. Enjoy a day's cycling and tour the Chateau Villandry with its beautiful 16th-century ornamental garden. The trip is a mostly flat 36 km. Please note that you'll need appropriate footwear (no flip-flops) to cycle in.
Included Activities
  • Chateaux Villandry & Gardens
  • Cycling tour
Optional Activities
  • Cathedrale St-Gatien - Free
  • Hot air balloon - EUR250
  • Musee des Beaux-Arts - EUR4
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 4-5 Dordogne Region
Journey south by train to the small medieval town of Sarlat in the Dordogne region (approx 6 hrs), known for its rich cuisine, prehistoric history and relaxed pace of life.
Time seems to have stood still in Sarat-la-Caneda with a slow winding river and a town so impeccably preserved that it still resembles its charming 14th-century self.
Ensure to indulge in some of the many tasty local delicacies at a streetside cafe. Ask for a 'degustation' of truffles, Confit de Canard or a host of other seasonal specialities.
Paddle kayaks on the Dordogne River (approx 15km) and take in sights such as the Chateau de Beynac.
Included Activities
  • Kayaking, Sarlat
Optional Activities
  • La Roque-Gageac Troglodyte Fort - EUR5
  • Canoeing/Kayaking - EUR20
  • Gabarre tour - EUR8
  • Domme Caves - EUR8
  • Bike hire per day - EUR20
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 6-7 Bordeaux
Travel by train to Bordeaux (approx 3 hrs).
The capital of the Gascony region, Bordeaux was once an important port and trading centre dating back to pre-Roman times. However, most of the architecture visible today dates from the 18th century, considered the golden age of Bordeaux. In fact, so harmonious and successful was the large-scale remodelling of Bordeaux in the 18th century that it was later used as the model for Baron Hausmann's architectural transformation of Paris in the Napoleonic era. Wandering round the graceful, carefully-planned streets is a delight.
Included Activities
  • Wine tasting Bordeaux
Optional Activities
  • Musee des Beaux-Arts - Free
  • Pey Berland Tower - Cathedale St Andre - EUR5
  • CAPC Musee d'Art Contemporain - Free
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 8-9 Pyrenees
Head for the French Pyrenees and the spa town of Bagneres de Luchon by train and bus (approx 6 hrs).
The French Pyrenees stretch from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean and form a natural 450 km long barrier between the Iberian Peninsula and the rest of Europe. As well as their spectacular natural beauty, the Pyrenees are also famous for their thermal springs, where curistes (those seeking a cure) have been coming for hundreds of years. Luchon is one such spa town, and a great base for exploring the surrounding trails.
Located at the foot of the Pyrenees in a gorgeous valley, Luchon is a spa town with celebrated thermal springs and wonderful hikes up into the mountains.
Take to the hills for a day of hiking in the Pyrenees. Be prepared for some steep ascents, climbing up through the forest to a fantastic viewpoint of the mountain peaks (weather permitting). The scenery is truly alpine and absolutely breathtaking - don't forget your camera! Please note that you'll need appropriate footwear (sturdy trainers or light hiking boots) for this.
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 10-11 San Sebastian
Travel using a private transfer to San Sebastian (approx 5 hrs).
With its great beaches and vibrant old city, San Sebastian is a fantastic place to stroll along the promenade, shop and consume tapas to your heart's content, or just soak up the sun.
For a different perspective of the most central beach, La Concha, why not climb or catch a cable car to Monte Igueldo.
If you crave more culture, there's plenty of time to catch a local bus (approx 1 hr) down the road to Bilbao to visit the world-famous and architecturally awesome Guggenheim Museum.
Optional Activities
  • Aquarium - EUR10
  • Catedral del Buen Pastor - Free
  • Guggenheim Museum - EUR10
  • Monte Igueldo cable car - EUR3
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 12-13 Segovia
Travel by train and bus to the remarkable walled town of Segovia in the heart of mountainous Castile (approx 5.5 hrs).
With its stunning backdrop of mountains, twisting alleyways, the highest concentration of Romanesque churches in the world and delicious local cuisine, Segovia is atmospheric, photogenic and memorable.
Take a sightseeing walk of the World Heritage-listed old town, taking in the breathtaking and romantic Alcazar castle, an inspiration to Walt Disney, and where Queen Isabel met with Columbus before he set sail on the epic journey that lead to the discovery of the Americas.
With the largest and best preserved Roman aqueduct of its kind anywhere in the world and a towering 16th century cathedral, there's plenty of history to discover during free time in Segovia. For something different, there are two rivers bordering the medieval walls, and an extensive green belt park with miles of shaded walks.
Included Activities
  • Alcazar
Optional Activities
  • Casa de los Picos - Free
  • City walls - EUR2
  • Esteban Vicente Museum - EUR2
  • Segovia Fortress - EUR4
  • Segovia Museum - EUR1
  • Zuloaga Museum - EUR1
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 14-15 Madrid
Journey by train to Madrid (approx 1 hr).
With incredible restaurants, art galleries, shopping and nightlife on offer, Madrid is a truly world-class city that exudes confidence and style through every pore.
While away hours on the Paseo del Arte, or Art Walk, for a panoramic perspective of Western art history. Start with the Museo del Prado, one of the world's finest collections of European art from the 12th-19th centuries and an unmissable stop on any art tour. Discover modern Spanish masters, including Picasso and Dali, in the Museo Reina Sofia's 20th century collection. Finish with the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, which spans eight centuries of European painting.
As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and you're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers.
Optional Activities
  • Abono Paseo del Arte (3 museum combo voucher) - EUR18
  • Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza - EUR8
  • Museo del Prado - EUR14
  • Real Jardín Botánico - EUR2
  • Museo Reina Sofia - EUR6
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 16 Salamanca
Head north-west by bus to the historical university town of Salamanca (approx 3.5 hrs).
Situated amongst beautiful pastures and rolling green hills on Spain's northern plateau, the rose-hued medieval town of Salamanca is a hidden gem. Its citizens speak the 'purest' Spanish in Spain - Castilian. This is why Salamanca is so popular with people from all over the world who want to learn the language. Salamanca is a real university city - Spanish students are everywhere and you can travel practically everywhere by foot.
Your leader will take you on a sightseeing walk 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 beautiful, but it buzzes with activity as locals meet and take coffee, tapas or cocktails on the square.
Inspect some of the unique architecture, such as the distinctly decorated Casa de las Conchas (House of the Shells).
Salamanca is known for its many festivals and generally holds at least one every month of the year. They are big celebrators of music and entertainment, showing off traditional costume and fiestas in honour of ancient leaders of the city. Ask your leader about festivals taking place or research it in preparation for your trip so you don't miss out on the excitement!
Optional Activities
  • Cathedrals rooftop - EUR4
  • Art Nouveau & Art Deco Museum - EUR3
  • Bullfighting Museum - EUR3
  • Unamuno House Museum - EUR2
  • Old Cathedral - EUR4
  • University of Salamanca - EUR4
  • Casa de Las Conchas - Free
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 17-18 Coimbra
Head further west by bus and cross the border into Portugal to the laidback city of Coimbra (approx 5 hrs).
A beautiful and ancient town, 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, and you can find some of the best examples of Romanesque churches and elegant museums in Portugal.
Your leader will escort you on a walk to help you orientate yourself in the maze of alleyways. Half the fun of Coimbra is just to wander and explore.
The region produces a major red wine that is distinctly known for its smooth texture, deep colour and rich brownish tone as it ages. Rose is among one of the most popular types of wine enjoyed alongside a platter of traditional yellow sausage - alheira - garnished with varieties of goats cheese. It is common for the culture to include piri piri (small fiery chillies) in traditional dishes, as well as cinnamon, vanilla and saffron, for intense flavours.
Experience the local tradition of fado - soulful, beautiful music that tells mournful tales of unrequited love or sailors lost at sea. Coimbra Fado is unique in that you'll also hear amusing student's tales about the struggles of academic life and the tyranny of their tutors, as well as serenades to be sung from underneath a lover's window. Performances are held daily in a lovely old chapel in the heart of the old town.
Kick back and relax on a short boat tour to take in the view of Coimbra from a different angle.
Head out into the countryside in search of ancient Roman ruins (approx 30 mins return by bus). The ruins of Conimbriga, from which the town of Coimbra got its name, are rich in mosaics and a great insight into ancient Roman life. Spend as little or as much time here as you like, as there are several options to return - including a walk through the countryside to the unspoilt rural town of Condeixa (approx 3 km).
There's also plenty of time to visit the university, one of the oldest in the world and situated in a former palace. With its ancient library, beautiful throne room turned assembly hall, and even student prison cells, there are many interesting tales and legends to be discovered here.
Included Activities
  • Fado performance
Optional Activities
  • Boat tour - EUR6
  • Conimbriga ruins - EUR5
  • Portugal Dos Pequenitos - EUR4
  • University of Coimbra - EUR5
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 19-20 Lisbon
Take a train through the countryside of central Portugal to Lisbon (approx 3.5 hrs).
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.
Included is an orientation/sightseeing walk led by your group leader.
Visit the medieval Citadel in the city centre. Lisbon is a city swarming with endless angular white houses and buildings with distinct red terracotta rooftops. From the citadel, this makes a sharply contrasting panorama when viewed against the deep blue of the sky and ocean.
Lisbon has a number of remarkable museums of modern and ancient art, such as Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, National Museum of Contemporary Art, National Coach Museum, and Carmo Archaeological Museum. However, Lisbon isn't all history and culture - Bairro Alto is the centre of the city's nightlife with various bars and restaurants where fado, traditional Portuguese music, can be enjoyed.
Try some braised squid or hot pickled pork at a local restaurant for an authentic native taste. For those not as daring, go for a green bean dish or a delicious bread-based dessert instead.
Take a day trip into the mountainous region of Sintra, just 45 mins away by train. This starkly beautiful area offers great walking, stunning cliff-top palaces and unique Moorish architecture.
Included Activities
  • Citadel
Optional Activities
  • National Art Museum - EUR3
  • Fado House - EUR2
  • Folk Art Museum - EUR3
  • Gulbenkian Museum - EUR3
  • Puppet Museum - EUR2
  • Naval Museum - EUR3
  • Oceanarium - EUR10
Accommodation
Pension (2 nts)
Days 21-22 The Algarve
The southern coastline of Portugal is known for its fertile plains, rich with orange and olive groves, fig trees, almonds and maize fields. Long beaches and hidden coves await us as we journey by bus to the Algarve (approx 5 hrs).
With a historical old town and stunning sunsets, our base in Olhao offers a more relaxed pace of life.
Visit some of the Algarve's lesser known areas with beautiful walking paths and golden sandy beaches.
Included Activities
  • Algarve beach excursion
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 23 Jerez
Leave Portugal for the hills of Andalucia, travelling by bus to the traditional and historic town of Jerez (approx 7 hrs).
With its ancient Alcazar (Moorish fortress), beautiful eclectic cathedral and huge selection of high quality tapas bars, Jerez is an undiscovered jewel in the heart of Andalucia. Its most famous export is sherry, with the drink deriving its name from the town.
Enjoy a bodega tour and sample the sherries on offer.
Included Activities
  • Bodega tour and sherry tasting
Optional Activities
  • Moorish baths - EUR1
  • Alcazar - EUR3
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 24-25 Chefchaouen
Travel by bus to the port town of Algeciras (approx 3 hrs), with its spectacular view of the Rock of Gibraltar.
Board a ferry and cross the straits to the chaotic and buzzing city of Tangier (approx 1.5 hrs).
Travel by bus to Chefchaouen, which is in the centre of a mountainous agricultural region (approx 3 hrs).
Chefchaouen lies beneath two mountain tops, known as Ech-Chaoua - 'the horns'. Chefchaouen means 'look at the horns'. It's among Morocco's most attractive towns and it's easy to appreciate the idyllic surroundings offered by this tranquil town. With its blue and white houses and evocative atmosphere, this is a wonderful place to chill out.
We will meet our local guide to explore the maze of streets in the beautiful blue and whitewashed Chefchaouen. Learn about general life in a small Moroccan community, have a look at a communal bakery, watch local women do their laundry and walk up to a former church from where we have a beautiful view over the town nestled between two mountain peaks. A popular shopping destination for handicrafts, carpets, blankets or woolen garments, you may also see the artisans at work.
Ease into the relaxed pace of life in this rural retreat. Take a stroll through the ancient medina, go hiking in the Rif mountains or simply sit at a cafe and enjoy the pleasure of time passing by. If you're feeling peckish, the goats' cheese on offer is a popular treat enjoyed by many visitors.
Included Activities
  • Walking tour with local guide
Optional Activities
  • Hamam (public baths) - MAD100
  • Henna tattooing - MAD50
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 26-27 Fes
Take a public bus to Fes (approx 5 hrs).
Fes is the most complete medieval city in the Arab world. The most ancient of Morocco's imperial cities, it exists suspended in time.
Take a guided walk to discover the treasures of the Medina, a living monument to an ancient past and still very much alive with the many craftsmen, markets, tanneries, ceramics and mosques. Look out for the Medersa Bou Inania, one of the city's most beautiful buildings which has recently been restored and is now open for visits.
We'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.
Consider a visit to the Palais Jamai for an evening drink. Watching the sun set over the huge medina whilst hundreds of prayer calls vie for attention is an experience you are likely to remember forever.
Included Activities
  • Guided walking tour Fes
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 28-29 Marrakech
Travel by train to Marrakech (approx 8 hrs).
Marrakech is a feast for the senses. 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.
See the Koutoubia Mosque and its superb minaret - famous throughout the world as one of the greatest minarets and the 'sister' to the Giralda in Seville.
Go to the Palais Bahia, a superb example of Muslim architecture.
Explore the ruins of the Palais Badi, reputedly one of the most beautiful palaces in the world in its time.
Visit the Saadian tombs - a recently uncovered gem of the Medina.
All of the above can be a challenge to locate, but that is all a part of the experience of exploring the phenomenal medinas of Morocco! As we only have a short time here in Marrakech, if you really want to explore this fascinating city we suggest you stay for a few extra nights.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
Optional Activities
  • Saadien Tombs - MAD10
  • Koutoubia Mosque and minaret - Free
  • Palais Badi - MAD10
  • Henna tattooing - MAD50
  • Hamam (public baths) - MAD250
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Also available to purchase
For many of our trips we have other services or experiences that are also available to purchase to extend your trip or to make your holiday a little easier. Below is a list of other travel products you can purchase in conjunction with this trip.
  • AMSBC Single Supplement (AMSBC)
We also recommend
If this trip is not quite right for you, cast your eye over these alternatives:
  • Paris to Madrid (AMSF)
  • Madrid to Marrakech (ZMSH)
  • Rome to Marrakech (ZMSXC)
Itinerary disclaimer
Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
Culture shock rating

At times local life here will be familiar to that of back home, and at times very different. Services are available most of the time, English may not be the native language, and there may be some cultural differences.
Physical rating

Some easy physical activities included in your trip. No physical preparation is required to make the most of the journey.
Included activities
Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
Optional activities
A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are for entrance only and don't include transport costs to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Optional activities aren't necessarily endorsed or recommended by Intrepid nor included in price of this trip. If you do any optional activities, you do so at your own risk and it must be clearly understood that your participation is your own decision and doesn't form part of your contract with Intrepid. You may be required to sign/complete a waiver form or a receipt for some optional activities.
BOOKING MUSEUMS AND ATTRACTIONS IN ADVANCE:
To avoid disappointment we have outlined (where applicable) some important information on some of the major museums and attractions in Europe. Some of our groups have experienced long lines of up to four hours to visit some of the major sights, while some sights are so popular they are booked out completely months in advance, making it impossible for you or your leader to arrange a visit while you are on the trip. Please note that many museums and attractions in Europe are closed on Mondays or Tuesdays. We recommend you carefully consider which sites and museums you are going to want to visit and that you do some research and make your reservations in advance where possible. If applicable we've given you information in the day-to-day itinerary which outlines which day of the trip is a suitable time to make your reservations, as well as any other information that may help with planning your visit.
Money Exchange
The Euro (EUR) is the official currency in France. The most convenient and cheapest way to acquire money is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) or Bancomat as they are often referred to. Check with your bank in advance concerning the suitability of your account / card overseas and any international fees that will be applied. ATMs are available at Ajaccio and Corte but it is best to bring some Euros in cash with you
When leaving home don't forget your PIN and make sure you know the telephone number for cancelling your card if it is stolen. Keep this in a safe place.
Credit cards are not always accepted in stores and restaurants. While travelling we recommend you carry some cash to pay for restaurant bills and other services. Change can be difficult to obtain so throughout the day, try to gain as many small denominations as you can.
You might be advised to take some of your money as travellers' cheques from a major financial institute. Travellers' cheques have security advantages, however please be aware that the exchange rates may not be favourable and that it is becoming more and more difficult to change travellers' cheques in most countries. Be particularly aware that after hours money exchanges and hotel receptions carry high commissions- sometimes up to 20%.
For money safety we recommend that you carry your cash and credit cards in a secure money belt or pouch concealed under your clothes.
MOROCCO
The official currency of Morocco is Dirham (MAD).
Moroccan Dirhams cannot be purchased outside of Morocco, but it is easy to get cash on arrival.
The most convenient and cheapest way to acquire money is by Automated Teller Machine (ATM). Check with your bank for information on international fees. There are now ATMs (which accept both Visa and MasterCard) throughout all Moroccan cities.
There are few problems changing money. There are many banks, all operating with equal exchange rates, and without commission. Cash in EUR, GBP and USD dollars are favoured for exchange. Please note that Australian Dollars (AUD) are not accepted in Morocco.
Travellers' cheques are not recommended in Morocco. While some banks and 5 star hotels will change travellers' cheques this is rare and the process is very time consuming, and commissions can be high (up to 10%).
For money safety we recommend that you carry your cash and credit cards in a secure money belt or pouch concealed under your clothing.
Spending money
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
Tipping
If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations.
The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up to the nearest €1. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill.
Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest €2-€3 per day for local guides.
Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, however we suggest €1-€2 per day for drivers.
Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline €2-€4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
In total, we recommend you budget approx €5-€10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.
Over the years we have found that many of our travellers find the need for tipping to be both tiresome and embarrassing, especially if they don't have the correct small change. To overcome this, we have established a tipping kitty system. At your group meeting, your tour leader may discuss the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members.
If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations.
The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - leave the loose change. More up-market restaurants we suggest 5% to 10% of your bill.
Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest MAD20-30 per person per day for local guides.
Drivers: You may have a range of private drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group however MAD10 per person per day is generally appropriate.
Your Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline MAD30 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
Over the years we have found that many of our travellers find the need for tipping to be both tiresome and embarrassing, especially if they don't have the correct small change. To overcome this, we have established a tipping kitty system. At your group meeting, your tour leader may discuss the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members.
Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult
Departure tax
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
Important notes
CLIMATE:
Please note that as a desert country, Morocco can have extreme weather.
Winter (approx November to March) can be very cold. Particularly in the mountains or near the desert, night temperatures can drop to 5 degrees Celsius or less. Even in the hot months out in the desert it can get cold at night. It is recommended to bring a good sleeping bag, thermals, scarf, gloves and a warm jacket for travel in winter. Some of our guesthouses / hotels are unable to supply heating as this would be a major financial and environmental strain. It is also a case of energy supply and timing provisions, which is limited in some places. Please be prepared for cold showers.
Summer (approx May to September) can be very hot everywhere we travel, which means that it can be quite uncomfortable for those not used to the heat. Not all our hotels have air-conditioning, and in those that do, it's not always functioning. A hat is essential.
RAMADAN, EID UL-FITR and EID UL ADHA FESTIVAL 2014:
In 2014 the important month of Ramadan will be in progress from the 28th June through till the 27th July, and the Eid ul-Fitr festival will be held directly at its conclusion for 3-4 days. Ramadan is a festival of sacrifice where the devout refrain from eating or drinking during daylight hours. During Ramadan business hours are shortened, including opening hours at some tourist attractions. Alcohol is not permitted during daylight hours and many restaurants will be closed. While you should expect some delays and inconveniences during this period, the month is a fantastic opportunity to travel in a Muslim country and witness this unique period, particularly the nightly celebrations when the sun sets and the fast is broken. Please note that although the Eid ul-Fitr festival can also be a fascinating time to travel it is a period of National holiday. Most government offices and businesses will be closed and some tourist site opening hours may be effected.
Eid ul Adha occurs approximately 2 months after Edi ul- Fitr, in early October 2014.
SPANISH SIESTA:
Please note that shops, attractions, sights and businesses may be closed for up to 5 hours in the middle of the day for siesta time. This gives the locals time to escape the heat and spend time with their families, eat a large lunch or simply sleep through the most uncomfortable time of day. This means of course that people work later into the evening and dinner time can seem quite late: 9.30pm is not uncommon for family dinner time.
One of the great things about our trips is that we encourage every member of the group to spend time interacting with local people. In order to best be able to do this in Spain, we recommend that you try to do as the locals do - avoid the heat of the day, and stay out later at night.
Travelling in Morocco:
Morocco is a country which may be very different to anything you have experienced before. Heat, pollution, poverty and the crowds can result in initial culture shock but should be seen as an exciting new challenge. During our time here we have come to love this wonderfully different country but we know that we should always expect to encounter some difficulties along the way. In Morocco there are very different attitudes to time keeping, public cleanliness, privacy and service. If you are able to travel with a lot of patience and a sense of humour, then we know that you - like all of us - will be captivated by Morocco.
DEPARTURE FROM CASABLANCA:
For those flying out of Casablanca: Trains from Marrakech to Casablanca, depart on the hour every 2 hours between 5:00am and 9:00pm and cost EUR8 for 2nd class and EUR12 for 1st class. The trip is scheduled to take 3 hours & 10 minutes and is subject to frequent delays.
From Casablanca Voyageurs Station, trains run to the Casablanca airport every hour at 5 mins past the hour. First departure is at 5:00am and the last departure at 10:00pm. The trip takes 35 minutes.
Check the useful website (in French) for more information - www.oncf.ma
Alternatively, from Casablanca city the 25km taxi ride to the Casablanca airport costs MAD250 (EUR25).
Group size
Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
Your fellow travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit: www.intrepidtravel.com/meetup
Single travellers
Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
A Single Supplement is available on this trip, please ask your booking agent for more information.
The price of the Single Supplement doesn't include the following nights where single rooms may not be available. If a single room becomes available at check-in for these nights, there may be the option to upgrade to a single room and pay the surcharge locally for that night:
Days 10-11 San Sebastian
Accommodation
Hotel (26 nts), Pension (2 nts)
The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.
Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.
If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.
TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS
Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on different Intrepid trips than your own.
CHECK-IN TIME
Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.
PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
Meals introduction
While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
Meals
13 Breakfasts
Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.
EUR 955.00
Transport
Bus, Bicycle, Kayak, Metro, Private vehicle, Train, Public bus, Ferry, Taxi, Minibus
Group leader
All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.
Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
Joining point
Hotel Des Arts
2 Rue Godefroy Cavaignac
Paris
75011
FRANCE
Phone: 33 143797257
Fax: 33 143790660
Joining point description
Hotel des Arts is a small boutique-style property ideally located in the district of la Bastille.
Rooms offer a safe, free WiFi, direct dial telephone, satellite TV and a small en-suite bathroom.
The hotel also offers a 24hr front desk, elevator and luggage storage facilities.
Joining point instructions
Take the metro to Charonne, line 9. Take the rue de Charonne exit. Walk down the street with the green boulanger and red Brasserie L’ngenu on either corner. Walk 250 metres to Rue Godefroy Cavaignac on your right. Hotel des Arts is the first building on the right.
Pre booked arrival transfer from Charles de Gaulle Airport and Paris Orly Airport:
If you have pre booked an arrival transfer, the driver will be waiting for you in the arrivals hall, holding a board with your name on.
Arrival complications
EUROPE:
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
If you have pre-booked an airport transfer (where available) please follow the instructions under the "Joining point instructions" in order to find our driver. Should you have any problems locating your driver, please call the number for our transfer company which can be found below. Should you continue to experience any difficulties, please call the emergency number for our local operations team which is available on the 'Emergency Contact' section of these trip notes.
No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.
Paris
If you have any issues locating your driver please contact Fox transfers on +33 975 182 019 or hotel beds on +34 660 409 789
Finish point
Hotel Le Caspien
12, rue Loubnane
Marrakech
MOROCCO
Phone: 212 52442 2282
Finish point description
Centrally located in the Gueliz district 5mins walk from Avenue Mohammed V, the Caspien hotel has 40 rooms all with en-suite bathrooms, A/C, TV, telephones. The hotel has a small swimming pool and 2 restaurants.
www.lecaspien-hotel.com
Finish point instructions
Marrakech Menara Airport is approx. 5km from the city centre. Petite taxis (small cars which are light brown in colour) can easily be hailed from the street, or ask the hotel to assist. Negotiate the fare before getting in and aim to pay no more than 100MAD (150MAD at night).
Departure from Casablanca:
For those of you that are flying out of Casablanca: Trains from Marrakech to Casablanca, depart on the hour every 2 hours between 5:00am and 9:00pm and cost EUR8 for 2nd class and EUR12 for 1st class. The trip is scheduled to take 3 hours & 10 minutes and is subject to frequent delays.
From Casablanca Voyageurs Station, trains run to the Casablanca airport every hour at 5 mins past the hour. First departure is at 5:00am and the last departure at 10:00pm. The trip takes 35 minutes. Check the useful website (in French) for more information - www.oncf.ma
Alternatively, from Casablanca city the 25km taxi ride to the Casablanca airport costs MAD250 (EUR25)
Pre booked departure transfer to the airport:
If you have pre booked a departure transfer, you will be collected from your hotel 2 hours prior to your flight.
Please reconfirm your departure transfers with your tour leader.
In case of flight cancellations, changes or if you not find the driver please contact to the emergency phone numbers: Desert Evasions: +212 (0) 6599 70989/ +212 (0) 6612 43106 or PEAK Adventure Travel on +212 (0) 66192 2693.
Emergency contact
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Europe Office can be reached on Tel: +49 (0) 8677 918 66 57. For further contact details please use the following page:
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Morocco Office can be reached on Tel: +212 (0) 66192 2693. For further contact details please use the following page:
Emergency funds
Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
Visas
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
EUROPEAN COUNTRIES ON THIS TRIP (EXCLUDING RUSSIA, UKRAINE, TURKEY):
Australia: No - Not required
Belgium: No - Not required
Canada: No - Not required
Germany: No - Not required
Ireland: No - Not required
Netherlands: No - Not required
New Zealand: No - Not required
South Africa: Yes - in advance
Switzerland: No - Not required
UK: No - Not required
USA: No - Not required
Issues on your trip
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
What to take
EUROPE:
On this trip, you must pack as lightly as possible because you will be expected to carry your own bag and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we strongly recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps to accommodate the cobbled streets, uneven surfaces, stairs and steps you are lightly to encounter while carrying your luggage. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
CLIMATE & CLOTHING:
Please note that as a desert country, Morocco can have extreme weather. Summer (approx June to September) can be very hot everywhere we travel & winter (approx November to February) can be very cold. It's recommended to bring a good sleeping bag, thermals, scarf, gloves and a warm jacket for travel in winter.
Health
All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
Safety
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!
PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
Please note that the Madrid metro is particularly notorious for pickpockets, and travellers with backpacks or suitcases are indeed a target. Please ensure you are careful with your valuables on the metro.
SCAMS:
When walking through touristy areas of cities you may be approached by 'helpful' locals who want to show you where to go or take you to a local spice shop. They will either ask to be your local guide for the day or expect money when you arrive at your destination. Please note these people are not registered guides and will try and get as much money from you as they can. A friendly 'no thank you (or 'la Shukran') should suffice.
MOROCCAN TAGINES:
Moroccan ceramic tagines bought in the souks or other shops in Morocco may contain high levels of lead. We strongly recommend you have any tagine you buy in Morocco tested before cooking with it or buy for decorative purposes only.
Travel insurance
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
Responsible Travel
We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
When packing be aware that dress standards can be conservative in some parts of Africa. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means covering shoulders and no short shorts in culturally sensitive areas: Mosques, small villages, etc. We recommend a mixture of loose, lightweight clothing and warm clothing for the evenings. Topless sun bathing is unacceptable through out the whole of Africa.
A couple of rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
The Intrepid Foundation
Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
Carbon offset
Carbon Offset C02-e 351.00 kgs per pax.
Feedback
After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.
Remember that once you’ve left your feedback you’ll automatically be entered into our monthly draw for a US$500 (or equivalent in your local currency) travel voucher.