Take a vibrant tour through Spain, Portugal and Morocco

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


Start
Madrid, Spain
Finish
Marrakech, Morocco
Countries
Morocco, Portugal, Spain
Style
Original
Theme
Explorer
Code
ZMSH
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why we love this trip

  • The Art Walk in Madrid is every art lover's dream. In one small stretch you can browse the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, the Reina Sofia and the Prado, one of the world's most celebrated galleries

  • Wander around Salamanca's Plaza Mayor at night, lit up to reveal its intricate architecture

  • Sample the culinary delights and contrasts of Spain, Portugal and Morocco – three countries that are celebrated around the world for their cuisine

  • Make the most of your time in Lisbon. This city has so many sights on offer; beautiful museums, monuments and parks, as well as its famous trams, bars and restaurants.

  • The Algarve in Portugal is the perfect middle point of the trip. Buy some fresh local produce in the morning market to enjoy while soaking up the sun on gorgeous beaches. In the evening enjoy a sunset over the Atlantic Ocean from our accommodations roof top terrace.

  • Back in Spain you will be introduced to the southern style of life with flamenco, tapas and siestas.

  • Feel adventurous as you cross the strait of Gibraltar between Spain and Morocco, leaving Europe behind for Africa.

  • Land softly in Chefchaouen, our first stop in Morocco. Wake up to the call for prayer, enjoy local fresh produce breakfast and head out to explore this beautiful blue mountain village on foot.

  • Relive a glorious medieval past in Fes city. While many tourists get lost in the labyrinthine streets of the medina, you'll have a local guide to show you the way

  • Where else would you find drummers, dancers, fortune tellers, jugglers and old medicine men in one place? Marrakech is the perfect place to share a final group meal and stock up on treasures in the city's colourful souqs

Is this trip right for you?

  • There are couple of sections on this trip when you will travel by train. Train travel is a fast way to traverse long distances, allowing you to avoid traffic jams and arrive right into the city centre. Trains are comfortable and some of them are decked out with air-conditioning, toilets and a snack bar (or vending machine). Please note that you'll have to carry your own luggage on and off the train, so make sure it doesn’t exceed our weight and size recommendations. You can find this information in the 'What to Take' section of the trip notes.

  • As there are potholes and cobblestones in many European cities, it's recommended that you leave any wheelie bags or cases at home and bring a backpack instead.

  • Summer temperatures can be extreme in many of the regions visited (over 40°C), which can be uncomfortable. It’s important to use sun protection, wear layers to combat the heat and drink plenty of water. Please carefully consider the time of the year you wish to travel and your suitability to that season.

  • As accommodation on this trip is twin-share, single travellers will share a room with another traveller of the same sex. If you’d prefer not to share, a single room supplement is available at an additional charge. Please ask your travel consultant for more details. Also, hotels in Europe often don't have double beds, but rather two single beds that can be pushed together. BY some standart, European hotels rooms are considered rather small.

  • Non-muslims will not be able to visit a single mosque in Morocco during this trip. However the recommended dress code does apply; please ensure you cover your legs, shoulders and chest and show the appropriate respect. It's a good idea to bring a light scarf to cover your skin as needed.

  • Be aware that cats are very common in Morocco. Especially in the mountain village of Chefchaouen. Bring antihistamines if necessary.

  • In 2017, Ramadan will take place from 27 May to 24 June. This is the holiest month of the year for Muslims around the world. Many festivals are marked as Islamic Holidays, which may cause some disturbance to your travels around this time. Some regular services may not be available or open during the daytime, such as restaurants or coffee bars. Please consider your travel arrangements carefully.

  • On Day 13, you'll head out on a day tour around the amazing medieval Medina of Fes. While you'll be on your feet for at least five to six hours, this is one of the highlights of Morocco and well worth any weariness at the end of the long day.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2017 to 31 December 2017. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2018 - 31 December 2018

Welcome to Madrid, Spain. The sassy central capital is known for its elegant boulevards and expansive, manicured parks, but it also pulsates with energy, and is without doubt a vibrant city. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at either 6 or 7pm, depending on common area availability. Please double check with reception to confirm the time and place. After the meeting we will head out for an optional group dinner for you to get to know your fellow travellers. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance, passport details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please have these on hand. If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive at the hotel by early evening, you may wish to arrive early. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). As there's very limited time for sightseeing in Madrid, we recommend arriving a few days early to explore. 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, then discover modern Spanish masters, including Picasso and Dali, in the Museo Reina Sofia. Finish at the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, which displays eight centuries of European painting. After the welcome meeting, perhaps get into the mind of a Madrileño with some tapas and Rioja.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Abono Paseo del Arte (3 museum combo voucher) - EUR27
  • Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza - EUR12
  • Museo del Prado - EUR15
  • Real Jardín Botánico - EUR4
  • Museo Reina Sofia - EUR8
  • Royal Palace-Madrid - EUR10
  • Madrid Tapas Adventure - Urban Adventure - EUR82
  • Markets of Madrid - Urban Adventure - EUR47
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Say farewell to Madrid this morning and head north-west by public transport to the historical university town of Salamanca (approximately 3 hours). Situated amongst beautiful pastures and rolling green hills on Spain's northern plateau, the rose-hued medieval town of Salamanca is great to explore on foot. Your leader will take you on an orientation walk on arrival, where you can explore the central Plaza Mayor and discover the beautiful Renaissance and baroque architecture of the historic stone buildings that the city is known for. Plaza Mayor is a true centre of local life, perhaps the most perfect city square in Spain. Not only is it architecturally unique, but it also thrives with activity as locals meet and take coffee, tapas or cocktails on the square. The rest of your afternoon and evening is then free. You can admire the intricate detail of the Casa de Las Conchas, or ‘House of the Shells’, see the contrasting Old and New Cathedrals, and climb to the top to get a view across the terracotta-coloured rooftops. Thanks to the large student population the town has a vibrant nightlife, so maybe soak up the buzzing vibe tonight.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Cathedrals rooftop - EUR5
  • Art Nouveau & Art Deco Museum - EUR4
  • Unamuno House Museum - EUR4
  • New Cathedral- free during mass - Free
  • Old Cathedral - EUR5
  • University of Salamanca - EUR10
  • Casa de Las Conchas - Free
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Head further west by private bus today and cross the border into Portugal to the laidback city of Coimbra (approximately 4 hours). Coimbra will be your base for next two nights. Sitting dignified on the banks of the River Mondego, Coimbra was once the capital of the county, and its royal heritage can be felt in its ancient streets and buildings. On arrival, your leader will escort you on a walk to help you orientate yourself in the maze of alleyways of this riverfront city. Half the fun of Coimbra is wandering and exploring, so use your free time getting to know the city. Coimbra features typical white stone buildings with several excellent examples of colourful azulejos tiling. Some of the historical structures were originally built in the 12th century (like the Cathedral Sé Velha), and you can find some of the Portugal's best examples of Romanesque churches and elegant museums here. The University of Coimbra – the oldest in Portugal – and the famous baroque library, the Biblioteca Joanina, with its 18th-century bell tower, are highlights.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Enjoy a free day of exploration in Coimbra before witnessing a traditional Fado performance. Fado songs must follow a particular structure, and though this traditional music can really be about anything, it popularly features mournful tunes with lyrics about the sea or the life of the poor. In Coimbra, male university students would often serenade their sweethearts with this music, with songs here tending to be literary translations or follow themes students can relate to. In your free time, perhaps head out into the countryside in search of ancient Roman ruins, which takes around 30 minutes by bus. The ruins of Conimbriga are rich in well-preserved mosaics and offer a great insight into ancient Roman life. There are several options to return, including a three kilometre walk through the countryside to the unspoiled rural town of Condeixa (optional). If you have time, you can take a short boat tour to take in the view of Coimbra from a different angle.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Fado performance
Optional Activities
  • Boat tour - EUR7
  • Cathedrals - EUR3
  • Conimbriga ruins - EUR5
  • Portugal Dos Pequenitos - EUR11
  • University of Coimbra - EUR9
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today, jump on a bus through the countryside of central Portugal to Lisbon (approximately 3.5 hours). As one of Europe's most pleasant and affordable capital cities, Lisbon combines the best elements of Portuguese life, offering fantastic architecture, a multicultural population, delicious seafood and non-stop nightlife. On arrival to the city, head out on an orientation walk of Lisbon, city located on the banks of the Tagus (Tejo) River. Much of Lisbon’s character and charm lies in its beautiful renovated buildings, grand boulevards and impressive castles and churches. On the orientation walk of this truly one of Europe’s great cities, you will visit the medieval citadel in the city centre of Lisbon. The Citadel of Sao Jorge Castle dates back to Moorish times and sits on the highest point of the Old Town. Look down on a city swarming with endless angular white houses and buildings with distinct red terracotta rooftops. From the citadel, this makes a contrasting panorama when viewed against the deep blue of the sky and ocean. Your afternoon and evening is then free, so perhaps head to the grand Naval Museum for an insight into the history of Portuguese navigation. You can roam through the charming narrow streets of local neighbourhoods and see local life play out. Maybe simply sit back in one of many outdoors restaurants and cafes – watching the life go by is definitely one of the best ways to relax in Lisbon. Barrio Alto is the place to head to check out the nightlife.
Accommodation
  • Pension (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lisbon Citadel
Optional Activities
  • National Art Museum - EUR6
  • Folk Art Museum - EUR3
  • Gulbenkian Museum - EUR10
  • Puppet Museum - EUR5
  • Lisbon Sunset Fado & Tapas - EUR62
  • Lisbon Walk - EUR41
  • Naval Museum - EUR5
  • Fado Show with Dinner - EUR50
  • Oceanarium - EUR17
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today is free for you to explore more of Lisbon, or maybe take a 45 minute train ride out to the mountainous region of Sintra, an absolute jewel of Portugal where you will see a beautiful Pena Palace. This area offers great walking, stunning cliff-top palaces and unique Moorish architecture. The 8th century Castle of the Moors looks down on the old town, and the views from the battlements across the Serra de Sintra mountain range are stunning.
Accommodation
  • Pension (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Palacio Nacional - Sintra - EUR10
  • Palacio da Pena - Sintra - EUR14
  • Sintra Day Trip - EUR10
  • Castelo dos Mouros - Entrance - EUR8
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Take a bus journey of around 4 hours today to the southern coastline of Portugal, the Algarve. Known for its fertile plains, rich with orange and olive groves, fig trees, almonds and maize fields, this region is perfect to explore. Your base is Olhao, the Algarve’s biggest fishing port. With active waterfront, Moorish buildings and bustling old quarters, the city has a mystical feel of Northern Africa. Upon arrival check in to our home for next two nights and use the rest of the day to discover Olhao; you can wander the city centre and get a great view of the town from rooftop terrace of our accommodation, perhaps try Olhao’s famous fish restaurants, or stroll along the coastal road Rua 5 de Outubro, the eastern Algarve’s food mile, filled with delicious and authentic local flavours.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today is free for you to enjoy as you please. If you feel like relaxing in Olhao for the day - do so! If you choose to head out to the nearby sandy islands, ask your leader to point you in a right direction to catch a small boat, used by locals on everyday basis to travel between the coast and the islands, and to carry all necessary supplies. Alternatively, stay on the mainland and use the area's great walking paths to access some of the Algarve's lesser-known spots. Head towards the Ria Formosa Nature Reserve, a beautiful landscape of canals, salt pans, lagoons and sand banks, separated from the Atlantic Ocean by a series of barrier islands. One of these is Ilha de Culatra, where you can wander along a series of boardwalks, leading away from the fishermen’s settlements, and cross over dunes and lagoons to beaches that are so long that they disappear into the haze of the horizon. Evenings are best spent watching breath-taking sunsets, and the best place to do so is Olhao’s old town, where you will also have a chance to try some true Portuguese fare.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Algarve beach excursion - EUR4
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Leave Portugal behind and return to Spain, travelling by bus to the charming city of Seville. If the legends are to be believed, Seville was founded by Hercules and its origins are linked with the Tartessian civilisation. To the Romans it was Hispalis and to the Moors Isbiliya. After the Christian reconquest, it became thought of as the portal to the 'New World', and is today is the largest city in southern Spain. Known for its important monuments and fascinating history, Seville is universally famous for its vitality and flamboyance – the city of Carmen, Don Juan and Figaro. Seville is also well-known for its oranges, tapas and flamenco, all three of which are ingrained in the fabric of the city and its proud people. Enjoy a short orientation walk around the main sites of Seville and discover the best tapas places in town on an included tapas crawl. Later on in the afternoon, travel onwards to Tarifa, where you will stay overnight before hopping over to Africa the next day.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Seville Tapas Crawl
Meals Included
  • Lunch
Today leave Spain behind and head to Morocco. Before doing so there will be a chance for an optional walk on the beach or Tarifa Castle visit. Ferry across the straits to the city of Tangier (approximately 1 hours). After leaving the ferry, journey by bus (around three hours) to arrive at a sleepy mountain town peppered with blue-washed buildings and ambient restaurants – Chefchaouen, which is in the centre of a mountainous agricultural region. There may not be much time to explore this rural retreat by the time you arrive today, but you might just have time to look over the architecture of the 15th-century Grand Mosque and the medina, the walled fortress of the Kasbah. Perhaps tuck into some popular local goats’ cheese or a tagine tonight, before settling into your hotel. Relax ahead of a walking tour tomorrow.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Tarifa Castle - EUR2
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Meet your local guide early in the day to explore the maze of streets in Chefchaouen. The ‘blue city’ is arguably one of the prettiest places in Morocco. Set against a wide valley and nestled between two peaks in the stunning Rif Mountains, Chefchaouen may take you by surprise. Its medina has been lovingly cared for with striking blue and whitewashed houses, red-tiled roofs and artistic doorways, and it's filled with handircrafts, while the main square has shops selling woven goods and small sweets. Much of Chefchaouen was recreated by Andalusian refugees escaping the Reconquistia. Learn about general life in a small Moroccan community, visit a communal bakery, watch local women do their laundry, and walk up to a former mosque for a great view over the town that's nestled between two mountain peaks. As a popular shopping destination for handicrafts, carpets, blankets or woolen garments, you may also see the artisans at work. Possibly relax after your walking tour in a traditional Moroccan hammam.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Chefchaouen - walking tour with local guide
Optional Activities
  • Hammam (public baths) - MAD150
  • Henna tattooing - MAD50
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Say farewell to Chefchaouen today and jump on a private minivan trip for around five hours to the spiritual and cultural heart of Morocco. Arrive in the city of Fes and step back in time at a medieval medina thick with exotic smells, tastes and sounds. Vibrant, noisy, fascinating and overwhelming – a visual and pungent feast for the senses – Fes is the mother of all medinas. Maybe fuel explorations of this imperial city with a glass of mint tea and some sweet Moroccan dates. Your day is free once you arrive, so perhaps get your bearings of the most complete medieval city in the Arab world. The adventurous may want to try some Moroccan specialities like a camel burger or harira (chickpea soup) and chicken-stuffed pastilla with couscous for dinner. Watching the sunset over the Medina while a dozen melodic prayer calls vie for attention is an experience you'll likely remember for a long time.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take a guided walking tour of the old city, known locally as Fes el Bali. Step back in time in to the labyrinth of the Medina, which is alive with craftsmen, markets, tanneries and mosques. Pass donkeys piled high with goods (this is one of the largest car-free urban zones in the world) and explore the specialty sections that divide the souks. Medieval Fes was one of the world's great centres of education and culture: both Islamic and Jewish. Its religious institutions and its libraries are legendary. Its mosques are of great renown. 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. Pass the Belghazi Museum, Medresse el Attarine and the splendid Funduk Nejjarine, a beautifully restored 18th century inn. You'll also see the famous tannery, known for the iconic view overlooking its dye pits, and a ceramics factory where you can see potters working in the traditional way. After the tour, the afternoon is free for you to enjoy as you please.

Notes: Today’s experience will include shopping in carefully selected places. As the receipt of commissions or kickbacks in exchange for recommending particular shops, services or activities is ingrained in the culture of the Moroccan tourism industry, Intrepid has established a centralised system of receiving and distributing payments from these recommended suppliers. For more information, please refer to ‘Important Notes’ section or talk to your Tour leader on the ground.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Guided walking tour Fes
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel by train this morning to Marrakech (approximately 8 hours). Head out with the group for a quick visit to the main square, Djema El Fna before dinner. The square is filled with a hive of activity. Henna-painters, performers and storytellers share the square with a street food bazaar, packed with stalls loaded with Moroccan delicacies. From a distance you will see the Koutoubia Mosque and its minaret – famous throughout the world as one of the greatest minarets and the 'sister' to the Giralda in Seville. Please note it is not possible for non-Muslims to enter the minaret. If you have time the following day, explore the ruins of Palais Badi, once one of the most beautiful palaces in the world, or comb the spectacular bazaar, where every step to a new souq brings a new smell, a new sight or a new gift to buy. 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. Perhaps end your adventure with dinner in the unique great square of Djemma el Fna, when night falls.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Saadian Tombs - MAD10
  • Palais Badi - MAD10
  • Marrakech - Palais Bahia - MAD10
  • Henna tattooing - MAD50
  • Hamam (public baths) - MAD250
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Your Madrid to Marrakech adventure ends this morning. There are no activities planned for the final day and you're able to depart the accommodation at any time. As there's not much time spent in Marrakech, we recommend booking an extra few nights accommodation so you can fully explore this amazing city. Our reservations team will be happy to help (subject to availability).
Optional Activities
  • Urban Adventures - A Taste Of Marrakech - MAD509
  • Urban Adventures - Tajine cooking class - MAD546
  • Cascades d'Ouzoud day tour - MAD2207
  • Hammam & Massage in a luxury spa - MAD750
  • Ourika Valley day tour - MAD1817
  • Oukaimeden day tour - MAD1882
  • Asni & Ouirgane with lunch - MAD1806
  • Heart of the Atlas Mountains cycling day tour - MAD900
  • Urban Adventures - Medina, Palace and Tombs half day tour - MAD325
  • Quad Biking the Rock Desert & Palmgrove - MAD752
  • Quad biking Barrage Lalla Takerkoust - MAD1650
  • Palmery cycling tour - MAD350
  • Magical Marrakech City Cycling Tour - MAD350
  • Imlil & Aroumd day tour - MAD1817
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

8 breakfasts, 1 lunch

Transport

Train, Ferry, Metro, Private vehicle, Public bus, Taxi

Accommodation

Hotel (10 nights), Pension (2 nights), Guesthouse (2 nights)

Included activities

  • Fado performance
  • Lisbon Citadel
  • Seville Tapas Crawl
  • Chefchaouen - walking tour with local guide
  • Guided walking tour Fes

Dates & availability

Trip search is unavailable.

There are currently no scheduled departures on our Madrid to Marrakech trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

Jump to a departure month
Travel lightly with Intrepid. We’ve offset the main sources of carbon emissions from this trip on your behalf, including transport, accommodation & waste. Read more

Important notes

A single supplement is available on this trip with exception of day 9 in Tarifa. Please ask your travel consultant for more details.

COMMISSION
The receipt of commissions or kickbacks in exchange for recommending particular shops, services or activities is ingrained in the culture of the Moroccan tourism industry. In an effort to best control and monitor shopping and activities with an aim for the best experience possible, Intrepid has established a system of carefully selected shopping experiences and activities based on positive feedbacks from our previous travellers. On occasion these will be as part of included walking tours or outside of included activities in free time. Please note that if you feel that you do not wish to join in on these shopping experiences we assure you there is no obligation and if you indicate your desire to not partake your group leader will help to facilitate a suitable alternative during this time.
Intrepid have set up a centralised system of receiving payments from these recommended suppliers, of which are then distributed towards local Responsible Travel projects (such as 'say no to plastic' cotton bags for our travellers and drinking water refilling stations), traveller information packs, and leader bonuses. Further details of these arrangements can be provided by your group leader on request.
While Intrepid endeavors to ensure that these suppliers and services maintain reasonable levels of quality, please note recommended suppliers are chosen based on past travellers feedback and experiences and Intrepid cannot explicitly guarantee the quality of the product. A priority in establishing this fund is that the experience of you our traveller is not compromised in any way. Please let us know via the feedback after your trip if we are successfully meeting this objective.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides 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.

Reviews

Our Madrid to Marrakech trips score an average of 4.69 out of 5 based on 114 reviews in the last year.

Madrid to Marrakech, July 2017

Melanie Ober

Madrid to Marrakech, June 2017

Amanda Howden