Take a vibrant tour through Spain, Portugal and Morocco

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

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


Highlights

  • Enjoy fine art, cuisine and historical monuments in Madrid
  • Visit Spain's thriving student city, Salamanca
  • Savour spicy treats in Portugal
  • Enjoy views across Lisbon from atop a citadel
  • Soak up the sun on Algarve beaches
  • Sip sherry on a bodega tour in Jerez
  • Wander the color-drenched streets of Chefchaouen
  • Explore a medieval medina in the city of Fes
  • Bargain hard in a Marrakech souq

Itinerary

Welcome to Madrid, Spain. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Please check with the hotel reception where and when it will take place, or check the reception notice boards. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. If you arrive into Madrid early, while away the hours on the Paseo del Arte (Art Walk) for a panoramic perspective of western art history.

Notes: If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive at the hotel by early evening, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). As there's limited time for sightseeing in Madrid, it's recommended that you make arrangements to arrive a few days early to see the highlights of the city and its surrounds.
Say farewell to Madrid this morning and head north-west by bus to the historical university town of Salamanca (approximately 3.5 hours). Situated amongst beautiful pastures and rolling green hills on Spain's northern plateau, the rose-hued medieval town of Salamanca is great to explore on foot. Your leader will take you on an orientation walk on arrival, where you can explore the central Plaza Mayor and discover the historic stone buildings that the city is known for. Plaza Mayor is a true centre of local life. Not only is it architecturally unique, but it thrives with activity as locals meet and take coffee, tapas or cocktails on the square. The rest of your afternoon and evening is then free to do as you wish.
Head further west by bus today and cross the border into Portugal to the laidback city of Coimbra, which should take around five hours. On arrival, your leader will escort you on a walk to help you orientate yourself in the maze of alleyways. Half the fun of Coimbra is wandering and exploring, so use your free time getting to know the city. Coimbra features typical white stone with several excellent examples of colourful azulejos tiling. Some of the historical buildings were originally built in the 12th century, and you can find some of the Portugal's best examples of Romanesque churches and elegant museums here.
Enjoy a free day of exploration in Coimbra today, before witnessing a traditional Fado performance in the splendour of a lovely old chapel (held daily in the centre of the old town). In your free time, perhaps head out into the countryside in search of ancient Roman ruins, which takes around 30 minutes by bus. The ruins of Conimbriga are rich in mosaics and a great insight into ancient Roman life. There are several options to return, including a three kilometre walk through the countryside to the unspoiled rural town of Condeixa (optional). If you have time, you can take a short boat tour to take in the view of Coimbra from a different angle.
Today, jump on a train for around three and a half hours through the countryside of central Portugal to Lisbon. As one of Europe's most pleasant and affordable capital cities, Lisbon combines the best elements of Portuguese life, offering fantastic architecture, a multicultural population, delicious seafood and non-stop nightlife. On arrival to the city, head out on an orientation walk of Lisbon to find your feet. Your afternoon and evening is then free, so perhaps head to the grand Naval Museum for an insight into the history of Portuguese navigation.
Head out this morning on an included visit to the medieval citadel in the city centre of Lisbon. The city swarms with endless angular white houses and buildings with distinct red terracotta rooftops. From the citadel, this makes a contrasting panorama when viewed against the deep blue of the sky and ocean. In your free time, perhaps take a day trip into the mountainous region of Sintra, just 45 mins away by train. This area offers great walking, stunning cliff-top palaces and unique Moorish architecture.
Take a long bus journey of around five hours today to the southern coastline of Portugal, the Algarve. Known for its fertile plains, rich with orange and olive groves, fig trees, almonds and maize fields, this region is perfect to explore on foot. Check in to your accommodation on arrival and then use your free time getting to know the area's long, picturesque beaches.
This morning, venture out on an included beach excursion with the rest of the group. Visit some of the Algarve's lesser known areas with great walking paths and golden sandy beaches. With a historical old town and ideal location for stunning sunsets, your base in Olhao offers a more relaxed pace of life. Perhaps use your free time in the evening trying some true Portuguese fare.
Leave Portugal for the hills of Andalucia today, travelling by bus to the traditional and historic town of Jerez (approximately seven hours). With its ancient Alcazar (Moorish fortress), eclectic cathedral and huge selection of high quality tapas bars, Jerez is an undiscovered jewel in the heart of Andalucia. Its most famous export is sherry, with the drink deriving its name from the town. Once settled into your accommodation, enjoy a bodega tour and sample some of the sherries on offer. The rest of your evening is then free to do as you wish.
Today will be a long day of travel, as you leave Spain behind and head to Morocco. Travel by bus to the port town of Algeciras, which should take around three hours. Here you'll find spectacular views of the Rock of Gibraltar, before boarding a ferry to cross the straits to the city of Tangier (approximately 1.5 hours). After leaving the ferry jump on a bus for around three hours to Chefchaouen, which is in the centre of a mountainous agricultural region. There won't be too much time to explore Chefchaouen today, so perhaps settle into your hotel and relax before your walking tour tomorrow.
Meet your local guide early in the day to explore the maze of streets in the beautiful blue and whitewashed Chefchaouen. Learn about general life in a small Moroccan community, visit a communal bakery, watch local women do their laundry and walk up to a former church for a great view over the town that's nestled between two mountain peaks. As a popular shopping destination for handicrafts, carpets, blankets or woolen garments, you may also see the artisans at work. Possibly relax after your walking tour in a traditional Moroccan hammam.
Say farewell to Chefchaouen today and take a public bus for around five hours to Fes. Your day is free once you arrive, so perhaps get your bearings of the most complete medieval city in the Arab world. The adventurous may want to try a camel burger for dinner at a local restaurant in the medina.
Today take a guided walk around Fes. Discover the labyrinth of the Medina, a living monument to an ancient past and still very much 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. After the tour, the afternoon is free to get lost in the city's maze of streets and alleys, take a photo outside the Royal Palace or visit the nearby hills for incredible views.
Travel by train this morning to Marrakech, which will take around eight hours. Be enticed by the alluring scents and brilliant colours of the spice markets, the sounds of the musicians, the rich folds of carpets, delectable foods, acrobats and perfumed gardens.On arrival, head out on an included tour to see the Koutoubia Mosque and its minaret - famous throughout the world as one of the greatest minarets and the 'sister' to the Giralda in Seville. If you have time, explore the ruins of Palais Badi and comb the spectacular Djemaa el-Fna bazaar. Perhaps head out for a final dinner with the group in the evening.

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

Inclusions

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

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 Madrid to Marrakech trips score an average of 4.76 out of 5 based on 66 reviews in the last year.

Madrid to Marrakech , September 2015

Madrid to Marrakech , September 2015