Travel from Marrakech to Barcelona and discover the highlights of Morocco and Spain

Travel through Morocco and Spain. From the splendidly chaotic medinas of Marrakech, through the ancient city of Seville, to the artistic streets of Barcelona, come and explore the great Moorish metropolises of Morocco and Spain. Step back in time as you wander down medieval alleyways and through crumbling Roman ruins. From spectacular sunsets to exotic spice-filled souqs - with a good dose of tapas and flamenco in between - discover age-old cultures and bright, new beginnings on this exotic adventure.

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


Highlights

  • Get swept up in Marrakech's Djemaa el-Fna
  • Admire Morocco's Moorish architecture in Casablanca
  • Discover the sights, smells and sounds of Fes
  • Visit the sacred pilgrimage village of Moulay Idriss
  • Get lost in Albayzin's maze of pathways
  • Soak up modern-day Spain in marvellous Madrid
  • Be awed by Gaudi's eccentricity in Barcelona

Itinerary

Salaam Aleikum! Welcome to Morocco. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting today at 6 pm, where you'll meet your fellow travellers and group leader. Please look for a note on the hotel reception boards in the lobby or ask reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, 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. After the meeting you have the option to join your leader on a jaunt to Djemaa el Fna, the square in the centre of the Medina. Huge crowds converge at night to see singers, drummers, dancers, snake charmers, fortune tellers, jugglers and even old medicine men and dentists come together in what has been called the 'greatest spectacle on earth'. An al fresco dinner at one of the many stalls is a real experience.

Consider arriving a few days early into Marrakech to explore this vibrant city. Wander through the maze of souqs in the Medina, each devoted to a different trade. Visit the Koutoubia Mosque and its famous minaret, which was the prototype for La Giralda in Seville, or discover the tropical gardens of the French painter Jacques Majorelle (now owned by Yves Saint Laurent). Perhaps check out the architecture of the Palais Bahia, the ruins of the Palais Badi or the recently uncovered Saadian tombs in the Medina.
Today take a three-hour train to Casablanca, where you'll have a free day to explore. Modelled after Marseille in France, this bustling port city is now the economic capital of Morocco. A pleasant way to spend the day is to wander the old medina and city walls, before jumping in a taxi to the Quartiers des Habous, the city's new medina. Perhaps enjoy a Moroccan coffee and practice your bargaining skills in the surrounding souqs. Casablanca is particularly famous for its Hassan II Mosque. Completed in 1993, the mosque was the late king's most ambitious project and his legacy to the city. Its 200 metre-high minaret is the tallest in the world. You can take a 45-minute guided tour of the mosque. Afterwards, a spot of people watching and a walk along the Corniche is a great way to finish the day.
Take an early morning one-hour train to Rabat. Rabat's history is long and colourful, having been host to Roman settlements, pirates and more recently the Moroccan parliament. The city's 12th-century Hassan Tower is part of an incomplete mosque once intended to be the largest in the world, before Sultan Yacub al-Mansour died and construction stopped. Store your luggage and spend a few hours strolling through Rabat's old quarter, before walking up to Kasbah des Oudaias to enjoy views over the Atlantic Ocean. Continue on to Fes by train (approximately three hours), where you'll spend the rest of the afternoon free to relax or explore.
Fes is the most complete medieval city in the Arab world. Today take a guided walking tour of the city with the group. Step back into the Middle Ages in the labyrinth of the Medina, which is alive with craftsmen, markets, tanneries 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 to tourists. You'll also visit the famous tannery, known for the iconic view overlooking its dye pits, and a ceramic factory where you can see potters working in the traditional way.
Transfer by taxi today to the nearby ruins of Volubilis. Volubilis was one of the Roman empire's most remote bases. When it was damaged by an earthquake in the 18th century, much of the marble was taken for construction in nearby Meknes. Enjoy a tour of the ancient hilltop city with a local guide.

Next make the short journey to the sacred pilgrimage village of Moulay Idriss. Perhaps explore the town's small medina, where the faithful pay homage to Morocco's founding father of Islam at an 8th-century mausoleum. At sunset see great views over the plains of Volubilis below. Your accommodation for the night is in a guesthouse/homestay with a local family. Bathroom facilities are shared and you may be sharing a room with two or three others.
Take a five-hour train north to Tangier. Once a hotspot for artists, secret agents and millionaires, Tangier has been going through something of a renaissance of late. The city's medina and kasbah are well worth exploring, as are the cafes and patisseries around the Place de la France in the Ville Nouvelle. Perhaps visit the American Legation Museum, the former palace of Dar el-Makhzen or the Caves of Hercules. 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.
Today take a one-hour ferry aross the Strait of Gibraltar and land in Europe at Tarifa. From here travel by bus to the vibrant Spanish city of Seville. Now the capital of Andalucia, Seville was one of the first conquests of the Moors. After the Christian reconquest, it became thought of as the portal to the 'New World'. Seville is famous for its oranges, tapas and flamenco, all three of which are ingrained in the fabric of the city and its proud people.
Today is a free day to discover Seville. Checking out the world's largest Gothic cathedral is a must. You can also the climb the cathedral's adjoining Moorish tower, known as La Giralda. While you might have to line up, it's well worth it for the views over the city. Visit the magnificent Alcazaar, a complex of palaces used by Moorish and Christian rulers through the ages. Wander through the fragrant gardens and examine the Moorish and Mudejar architecture. If you feel like an injection of culture, explore Seville's Museum of Fine Arts or the Archeological Museum, or head to the Real Maestranza Bullring for insight into the Spanish tradition of bull fighting. As Seville is the tapas capital of Spain, be sure to sample some of the tasty treats on offer in one of the city's many tapas bars. In the evening, catch a local flamenco performance with the group (included). Charged with emotion and drama, this is a real highlight.
Take a two-and-a-half hour train to Granada today. Located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Granada is packed with Moorish architecture, great tapas bars and natural beauty. Take a walk around the old Arab quarter of the Albaicin, a labyrinth of crooked alleys, fountains, plazas and whitewashed houses. If you're feeling energetic, climb the steep streets up to the Mirador de San Nicolas for sunset views over the famous Alhambra. If you have time, perhaps check out the historic Renaissance Catedral and Capilla Real, or get geeky at the city's extensive Science Park.
The focus of today will be a visit to Granada's impressive Alhambra Palace. An entrance ticket is included in the trip, though you will need to pay a little extra to visit the gardens. Audio guides in multiple languages are available on the day for EUR 4. The Alhambra was first built by the Moors as a fortress during the Muslim rule of Spain. A walk through the compound's luxurious rooms and gardens gives you an idea of the decadent lifestyle of the Moorish kings. The Alhambra is made up of three parts: the Alcazaba, the 11th-century Muslim wing which features spectacular views from its towers; the Palacio Nazaries, the centre of the complex; and Generalife, the summer palace of the sultans. Enjoy an included group picnic for lunch while overlooking the Alhambra. Feast on locally sourced organic foods such as sheep's milk cheese, chorizo, chocolate and fruit.

Note: If you would like to take an in-depth guided tour of the Alhambra or enter the gardens and palace at nighttime, we strongly recommend you book tickets in advance. You can reserve these online at alhambra-tickets.es. To collect your tickets you will need to present the credit card that was used to make the booking. A maximum of 10 tickets may be bought for the same day on the same card. Please book any tickets for your second day in Granada only.
Depart Granada and travel by local bus to Madrid (approximately four-and-a-half hours). Spain's stylish capital boasts world-class restaurants, art galleries, shopping and nightlife. Spend the next two nights here to soak it all in.
Spend a day discovering Madrid in your own time. Perhaps while away the hours along the Paseo del Arte, or Art Walk, for an expansive history of Western art. Start with the Museo del Prado, home to one of the world's finest collections of European art from the 12th to 19th centuries. Discover modern Spanish masters, including Picasso and Dali, in the Museo Reina Sofia's 20th century collection. Finish at the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, which displays eight centuries of European painting. Take a break in the Real Jardin Botanico, a garden wonderland dating from the 18th century.
Today take the train to Barcelona. This cosmopolitan city has outstanding offerings in the way of art, architecture, shopping, dining and nightlife. In the afternoon, there are plenty of options to keep you busy. Wander the labyrinthine streets of the old Gothic Quarter and navigate your way through the throngs of tourists along La Rambla, Barcelona's famous tree-lined boulevard. Perhaps pay a visit to the Picasso Museum, the National Art Museum of Catalonia or the Museum of City History to brush up on your local knowledge. Take the funicular to the top of Montjuic or Tibidabo for panoramic views of Barcelona and the harbour. In the evening, feast on delicious tapas in the funky neighbourhood of El Born.
Today you are free to partake in some of the optional activities on offer in Barcelona. The city is famous for its architecture, from its impressive gothic main cathedral to the houses, concert halls, palaces and basilicas designed in the unique Catalan Modernista style. The master of this movement was Antonio Gaudi, who's eccentric creations are dotted all over the city. A visit to Gaudi's masterpiece, the modern cathedral of La Segrada Familia, is a must, even if it's just to see the outside. Gaudi worked on this hugely ambitious project for decades until his death, and it remains in constant construction. Perhaps check out the Neo-Gothic mansion of Guell Palace or the wave-inspired structure of Casa Batlo. For more insight into the artist himself, head to the Gaudi House Museum inside Parc Guell, which is home to more colourful sculptures including a long mosaic-covered bench overlooking the city. For something a little different, perhaps have a poke around the Old Santa Creu Hospital (entry is free).
Today your adventure comes to an end. There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
12 breakfasts, 1 lunch
Transport
Bus, Ferry, Metro, Private vehicle, Public bus, Taxi, Train
Accommodation
Guesthouse (1 night), Hotel (13 nights)
Included activities
  • Alhambra entrance
  • Entrance and guided tour Volubilis
  • Flamenco performance
  • Guided walking tour Fes
  • Picnic Lunch

Dates

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Important notes

A Single Supplement is available on this trip. Please see trip notes for details.

Trip notes

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

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Reviews

Our Marrakech to Barcelona trips score an average of 4.38 out of 5 based on 16 reviews in the last year.

Marrakech to Barcelona , October 2015

Marrakech to Barcelona , September 2015