Last Modified: 08 Oct 2014
Marrakech to Barcelona
Trip code: XMSO
Validity: 01 Jan 2014 to 31 Dec 2014
From the splendid chaos of Marrakech's medinas, to the ancient city of Seville and artistic streets of Barcelona, we explore the great Moorish metropolises of Morocco and Spain on this magnificent journey. Step back in time as you wander down medieval alleyways and through crumbling Roman ruins, witness spectacular sunsets and exotic spice-filled souqs then wash it all down with a good dose of tapas and flamenco. Discover age-old cultures and bright, new beginnings on this exotic adventure.
Table of Contents
- 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.
Day 1 Marrakech
Salaam Aleikum! Welcome to Morocco.
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.
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.
You have the option to join your leader in Djemaa el Fna, the amazing square in the centre of the Medina which transforms at night with huge crowds converging to see the singers, drummers, dancers, snake charmers, fortune tellers, storytellers, jugglers and even old medicine men and dentists, who together make up what has been dubbed the 'greatest spectacle on earth'. An al fresco dinner at one of the many stalls is a real life experience.
There's not much time to explore Marrakech on this itinerary but if you arrive early there's plenty to see and do.
Explore the amazing Medina and the seemingly endless mosaic of souqs. Each is devoted to a separate trade: pottery, woodwork, copper, leather, carpets and spices. A wander amongst them is a sensory delight.
The monuments of Marrakech are numerous and range from the well-known Koutoubia Mosque and its superb minaret - famous throughout the Islamic world and the 'sister' to the Giralda in far-away Seville, to the lesser-known tropical gardens of the French painter Jacques Majorelle (now owned by Yves Saint Laurent). There's the Palais Bahia, a superb example of Muslim architecture, and the ruins of the Palais Badi, reputedly one of the most beautiful palaces in the world in its time. The Saadian tombs are a recently uncovered gem of the Medina. All of the above can be a challenge to locate, but that's all part of the experience of exploring the phenomenal medinas of Morocco.
- Koutoubia Mosque and minaret
- Saadien Tombs - MAD10
- Palais Bahia - MAD10
- Palais Badi - MAD10
- Marjorelle Gardens - MAD60
- Medersa Ben Youssef - MAD40
- Museum of Marrakech - MAD40
- Hamam (public baths) - MAD250
- Photography Museum - MAD40
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 2 Casablanca
Travel by train to Casablanca (approx 3 hrs).
Modelled after Marseille in France, the bustling port city of Casablanca is now the undisputed economic capital of Morocco, with one of Africa's largest ports. The architectural style of the city is curious - famous for its art deco French-colonial buildings and Mauresque governmental institutions, an old medina and the phenomenal modern-day masterpiece, the Hassan II Mosque.
A pleasant way to spend the day exploring Casablanca is to wander the old medina and the city walls, then jump in a taxi to visit the Quartiers des Habous - the new medina full of shaded squares and narrow streets, lined with arcades that lead from one souk to another. This is a great place to enjoy a Moroccan coffee and maybe start improving your bargaining skills. Finish the day with a walk along the Corniche, watching the locals enjoy sunset football on the beach.
Take a guided tour of the Hassan II Mosque (approx 45 mins). This extraordinary monument was completed in 1993 after years of work by around 30,000 craftsmen and has now become one of the country's most recognisable images. The mosque was the late king's most ambitious project and his legacy to Casablanca. An $800 million construction, only the mosques of Mecca and Medina are bigger, while its 200m-high minaret is the tallest in the world.
- Villa des Arts - art gallery & museum - Free
- Jewish Museum - MAD20
- Guided tour of Hassan II Mosque - MAD120
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 3-4 Fes
Take an early morning train to Rabat (approx 1 hr).
Store your luggage and spend a few hours strolling through the city's old quarter, then walk up to Kasbah des Oudaias and enjoy the view over the Atlantic Ocean.
Rabat's history is long and colourful: Roman settlements, pirates, the unfinished but towering 12th-century Hassan Tower and more recently its position as the modern political capital.
Continue on to Fes by train (approx 3 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.
Descending into the labyrinthine alleyways of the Medina is like taking a giant step back to the Middle Ages. Preserved by the French for its historical value, this preservation also led to the decline of the city's importance, as both government and financial centres were set up elsewhere in the country. With the Jewish population moving away in 1956, and too many rural poor moving in for it to handle, this ancient centre of learning is only a shell of what it used to be. Still, it remains a fascinating living museum where getting lost is half the fun.
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.
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 5 Moulay Idriss
Transfer by taxi through the rural countryside to the nearby Roman ruins of Volubilis.
Volubilis was one of the Roman empire's most remote bases, which remained affluent until the 8th century. The main structures remained intact until they were damaged by an earthquake in the 18th century, after which much of the marble was taken for construction in nearby Meknes.
A local guide will take us on a walk back in time as we explore this ancient hilltop city.
Make the short journey to the sacred pilgrimage village of Moulay Idriss.
The small medina of ancient Moulay Idriss is a pleasure to explore as the faithful gather to pay homage to the founding father of Islam in Morocco at the 8th-century mausoleum. This charming town is superb come sunset with views over the plains of Volubilis below.
Our accommodation is a guesthouse/homestay where a local family will take delight in providing the hospitality. Bathroom facilities are shared and rooming may be triple or quad share.
- Entrance and guided tour Volubilis
Guesthouse (1 nt)
Day 6 Tangier
Travel north by train to Tangier (approx 5 hrs).
Once an obligatory stop for artists, secret agents and millionaires, Tangier has been going through something of a renaissance of late. The medina and kasbah are well worth exploring, as are the cafes and patisseries around Place de la France in the Ville Nouvelle. The recently reconstructed beach promenade is lined with great restaurants and trendy clubs, where you can unwind and take in the charms of the city.
- American Legation Museum - Free
- Museum Dar El Mekhzen - MAD20
- The Caves of Hercules - MAD25
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 7-8 Seville
Cross the Straits of Gibraltar by ferry and land in Europe at Tarifa. (Approx 1hr)
Travel on by bus to Seville.
Seville is one of the most vibrant cities in Spain.
Now the capital of Andalucia, Seville was one of the first conquests of the Moors. After the fall of the Cordoba Caliphate in the 11th century, under whose direction it previously lay, it became the most powerful city in 'Al Andalus'. Near the centre of the city is the evocative 'Giralda', an architectural masterpiece dating from the 12th century. Originally built as a minaret for the central Mosque in Seville, this Mosque was later destroyed, and it is now the bell-tower for the enormous cathedral. Close by is the magnificent 'Alcazar', a complex of palaces dating back from Roman times and later used by both Moorish and Christian rulers. It has fine examples of Moorish and 'Mudejar' architecture, rivalling Granada's 'Alhambra', and some lovely gardens. After the Christian re-conquest Seville became famed as the gateway to the 'New World'. Christopher Columbus negotiated here with Queen Isabella to fund his epic voyage to the Americas, bringing her back untold riches and making Seville one of the wealthiest cities in Europe.
Seville is renowned for its oranges, tapas and flamenco - all three are ingrained in the fabric of the city and its proud people.
Explore the world's largest Gothic cathedral. You can also the climb the cathedral's adjoining 76-metre Moorish tower, known as La Giralda, well worth it for the excellent views of the city and surrounding area (be prepared for a line-up).
Visit the Alcazar - a magnificent palace dating from Moorish times.
Catch a glimpse of true, local flamenco - filled with emotion and drama, it's a real highlight.
Seville is the tapas capital of Spain, so jump in and try some of the many tasty treats on offer in the evenings.
- Alcazar - EUR13
- Catedral and Giralda Tower - EUR8
- Museum of Fine Arts - EUR2
- Casa de Pilatos - EUR8
- Archeological Museum - EUR2
- Art and Popular Customs Museum - EUR2
- Real Maestranza Bullring - EUR4
- Santa Paula Convent - EUR2
- Indias Archive - Free
- Andalusian Contemporary Art Centre - EUR2
- Torre del Oro - EUR2
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 9-10 Granada
Travel by train to Granada (approx 2.5 hrs).
Located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Granada is packed full of superb architecture, great tapas bars, natural beauty and the impressive Alhambra.
Take a walk around the Albaicin, the old Arab quarter, a labyrinth of crooked streets with alleyways, fountains, plazas, whitewashed houses and villas. If you are feeling energetic continue on and watch the spectacular sunset from the most famous viewpoint in Granada - the Mirador de San Nicolas, located at the top of Albaicin's steep streets.
Explore the Alhambra Palace, which was first built by the Moors as a fortress. Its instantly recognisable exterior hides richly decorated rooms and luxurious gardens with bubbling fountains, and a walk through the compound gives us an idea of the decadent lifestyle the Moorish kings used to enjoyed.
Granada was one of the region's most important cities during the Muslim rule of Spain and the Alhambra is a very good example of this period. The Alhambra is made up of three parts: the Alcazaba, the 11th-century Muslim wing where you can get spectacular aerial views from the tops of its towers; the Palacio Nazaries, the centre of the complex; and Generalife, the summer palace of the sultans.
Audio guides are available on the day for EUR4 (in many languages including English).
For those wanting a more in-depth experience, specific guided tours as well as night-time entries to the gardens and palace, we strongly recommend you book tickets in advance online at this site: www.alhambra-tickets.es
To collect your tickets you will need to present the credit card that was used to make the booking. Only a maximum of 10 tickets may be bought for the same day on the same card. Please book for our second day in Granada only.
Enjoy a picnic of some of the region's finest llocal foods sourced from small organic producers. This might include some of the delicious sheep cheese, chorizo, chocolate or fruit from the region all enjoyed while overlooking the Alhambra.
- Picnic Lunch
- Alhambra entrance
- Alhambra Gardens - EUR6
- Science Park Planetarium - EUR2
- Science Park - EUR5
- Renaissance Catedral and Capilla Real - EUR3
- Jose Guerrero Centre - Free
- Mirador de San Nicolas - Free
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 11-12 Madrid
Travel by public bus to Madrid (4.5 hrs).
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.
Take a break in the oasis of Real Jardin Botanico, a botanical wonderland dating from the 18th century.
Or consider a day trip to the highly recommended Segovia or Toledo.
- Real Jardín Botánico - EUR2
- Museo Reina Sofia - EUR8
- Museo del Prado - EUR14
- Abono Paseo del Arte (3 museum combo voucher) - EUR18
- Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza - EUR10
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 13-15 Barcelona
Travel by train to Barcelona.
Spain's cosmopolitan second city, Barcelona offers ground-breaking art and architecture, stylish shopping, superb dining and non-stop nightlife.
Visit the labyrinthine streets of the old Gothic Quarter, the Picasso Museum, wander the Rambla - the tree-lined pedestrian boulevard, or take the funicular to the top of Montjuic or Tibidabo for panoramic views of Barcelona and the harbour. Gaudi's bizarre La Sagrada Familia Cathedral is possibly the most iconic landmark in this city rich with famous sights.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
- Guell Palace - EUR10
- La Sagrada Familia - Barcelona - EUR15
- Cathedral visit - EUR6
- Andean-Amazonian Ethnographic Museum - Free
- Casa Batllo - EUR18
- Old Santa Creu Hospital - Free
- Picasso Museum - EUR9
- National Art Museum of Catalonia - EUR8
- Museum of City History - EUR7
- Museum of Gaudi - EUR6
Hotel (2 nts)
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.
- Marrakech to Barcelona - Single Supplement (XMSO)
We also recommend
If this trip is not quite right for you, cast your eye over these alternatives:
- Spain, Portugal & Morocco (ZMSQC)
- Mount Toubkal Trek (XMXO)
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.
Expect some culture shock. You'll be exposed to signs of poverty and access to services may be sporadic. The food will be quite different to home and English speakers harder to find. Respecting the local culture will make it easier to fit in and really experience the location.
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.
Some easy physical activities included in your trip. No physical preparation is required to make the most of the journey.
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.
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 approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination.
Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
The receipt of commissions or kickbacks in exchange for recommending particular shops or services is ingrained in the culture of the tourism industry. Rather than turning a blind eye to this unavoidable issue in some areas, Intrepid has established a centralised fund whereby contributions from recommended suppliers are collected and distributed back into the business. Intrepid aim to provide the best value trips in the market, and this fund assists in keeping operating costs and trip prices low to you.
A priority in establishing this fund is that the experience of our traveller - you - is not compromised in any way. Please let us know via the feedback form completed after your trip if we are successfully meeting this objective.
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.
The Euro (EUR) is the official currency in the following destinations: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain. All other European countries still have their own national currencies.
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.
You can obtain local currencies easily at airports and major train stations, but be sure to bring some extra emergency cash in a major currency that can be exchanged if the ATMs are not functioning.
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 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.
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.
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
PRICES IN MOROCCO:
Morocco is often misjudged as being an inexpensive destination. With tourism booming, the influx of cheap flights from Europe, prices for some items are becoming more equivalent to prices you would be used to at home. Eating in local restaurants, road side stalls and from markets can be inexpensive, but for nights out at tourist friendly restaurants you can expect to pay much more. With drinks, tipping and of course - shopping, it can all add up. Budgets are a personal choice but please bear in mind that you should not expect Morocco to be a budget destination.
In Morocco some services and products are not a fixed price which means that your bartering skills will be tested from hiring taxis to buying a souvenir in the Medina. This can be challenging for travellers who have not experienced this before. Ask your leaders for advice when you arrive however the best approach is to smile and have fun as this is an entrenched part of Moroccan culture.
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
RAMADAN, EID UL-FITR and EID UL ADHA FESTIVAL 2013:
In 2013 the important month of Ramadan will be in progress fromTuesday 9th July and will continue for 30 days until Wednesday 7th of August 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 mid October 2013.
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.
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
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 includes all night of this tour.
Hotel (13 nts), Guesthouse (1 nt)
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.
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.
Some of our guesthouses/hotels are unable to supply heating as this would be a major financial and environmental strain. It's also a case of energy supply and timing provisions, which is limited in some places. Please be prepared for cold showers, which are a pleasure for most of the year. Air-conditioning systems (if available) don't always function.
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.
6 Breakfasts, 1 Lunch
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.
There are some basic breakfasts included on this trip which may simply include bread/toast or pastries, butter, jam, coffee/tea/juice (or similar.). However, there are generally opportunities to stop for a beverage or a snack along the way.
Vegetarians should be aware that a meat and fish diet is the norm some areas of Spain. Most vegetarians have not experienced problems, however please be prepared to be flexible.
Mealtimes in Spain are later than in many other countries; dinner is usually taken between 21:00 and 21.30.
Train, Taxi, Ferry, Bus, Private vehicle, Public bus, Metro
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.
Hotel Le Caspien
12, rue Loubnane
Phone: 212 52442 2282
Joining 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.
Joining point instructions
Marrakech Menara Airport is approx. 5km from the city centre. Petite taxis (small cars which are light brown in colour) are readily available from the airport. Negotiate the fare before getting in and aim to pay no more than 100MAD (150MAD at night)
Pre booked arrival transfer from the 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.
Check-in time at our joining point hotel is 2pm. Early check-in is not guaranteed, however if you arrive early, luggage storage can be arranged. Speak to the hotel reception on arrival. Please note that luggage storage in our hotels is at your own risk and generally these areas are not locked or completely secure. Bring your own luggage lock.
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the Joining Instructions section above for who to contact.
If you have pre-booked an airport transfer (where available) and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the starting point hotel, again following the Joining Instructions in these trip notes. Should this occur, please apply to your travel agent for a refund of the transfer cost on your return.
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.
If you have any issues locating your driver please contact Desert Evasions: +212 (0) 6599 70989/ +212 (0) 6612 43106 or PEAK Adventure Travel’s Office on +212 (0) 66192 2693
Finish point description
Hotel Catalonia Roma is just minutes from Barcelona Sants AVE train and metro stations and close to the Barcelona fairgrounds. The city centre can be reached in 10 minutes from the nearby Metro or bus stops.
Rooms are clean, comfortable and practical with air conditioning and heating, a safe, free WiFi, a minibar, hair dryer, direct dial telephone and satellite TV.
The hotel also offers a restaurant, bar, elevator, 24hr front desk, laundry services, and a currency exchange facility.
Finish point instructions
If you are making your own way to the airport the hotel will be able to help book you an airport shuttle or taxi. Please ask at reception.
Pre booked transfer to the airport:
If you have pre booked a departure transfer, you will be collected from your hotel 3 hours prior to your flight.
Please re-confirm 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: Grup Limo at +34 687 838 887, or Hotelbeds on +34 660 409 789.
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 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
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 (in general, visa processing can take approximately 20 working days)
Switzerland: No - Not required
UK: No - Not required
USA: No - Not required
Those who do not require visas to visit Morocco as a tourist, are stamped in on arrival for 3 months.
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
What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes).
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. 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.
TRAVELLING ON LOCAL TRANSPORT:
It's important that your bags can be locked, as on local transport it may be necessary to store your luggage separately (and unattended) from the group. The smaller your bag the better for you and other passengers, for when it comes to travelling on local buses and trains it's often only the smaller bags that will fit into the storage areas. If your bag does not fit in these areas then often the only place to put it is on your bed or seat. To ensure maximum comfort, try to pack small and light.
Where Intrepid covers the cost of luggage storage for included day trips, we allow for one bag/backpack only, so it's advisable that you travel lightly and keep luggage to a limit of one item (plus your day pack). Extra luggage storage will be at your own expense.
Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please consider water purification techniques such as iodine or micropur and use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day.
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.
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:
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.
Some hotel balconies don't meet UK standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.
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!
Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts.
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.
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 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 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:
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:
Morocco can be considered a liberal Muslim country as many Moroccan women do not wear headscarves. However, Morocco is very conservative when compared with standards you may be accustomed to at home and you should dress accordingly. As a general guideline, shoulders, cleavage and knees should be covered at all times. Wearing shorts (men and women), low-cut tops, and showing midriff is not recommended as it will restrict your entry into buildings of a religious nature and family homes, and is considered disrespectful to the local culture. Long, light-coloured, lightweight sleeved shirts, trousers and skirts are respectful, cover your body, keep you cool in the heat and protect you from the harsh sun.
In Morocco we have built strong links with local communities, craftspeople, animal hospitals, artists, and the handicapped - all of which directly rely on the assistance of donations and products purchased by our travellers and other visitors. We offer Intrepid travellers an opportunity to interact with locals, to value their activities and crafts and help towards sustaining their livelihoods.
While on our trips in Morocco you'll have opportunity to meet plenty of local people. Depending on which trip you choose there's a chance to enjoy a meal in a local family's house in Ait Benhaddou, spend a night in a family guesthouse in the High Atlas Mountains or in the pilgrimage village of Moulay Idriss, or share a camp with a nomadic family in Dades Gorge. These experiences will give you a better understanding of the way of life for a rural Moroccan family. You'll also have some fun by learning how to make Morocco's most famous dish, couscous.
Wherever possible, we contract local Moroccan suppliers and assist them to improve the quality of their services. By booking this tour, you'll be helping us to support service providers, artists, small businesses, guesthouse owners and the disadvantaged in communities throughout Morocco.
We use local guides with wide experience and knowledge of cultural traditions and an ability to interpret the cultural heritage of the people in the places visited.
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:
Responsible Travel projects
Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in Morocco include:
* Project Handicapped Horizon has assisted with the rehabilitation, health and empowerment of more than 3,000 disabled people. With two major departments, one is dedicated to the design, building and fitting of prosthetic limbs and other orthotics, footwear and mobility aids. While the other focuses on training local artisans and selling their products.
Intrepid Travel also supports the following non-profit organisations:
* Kasbah Myriam is a carpet and embroidery workshop run by Franciscan nuns with the aim of providing sustainable employment and healthcare to local Berber women.
* The SPANA animal hospital in Marrakech cares for the health and welfare of donkeys, dogs and cats.
Carbon Offset C02-e 182.00 kgs per pax.
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.