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
Destinations
Morocco, Portugal, Spain
Style
Original
Theme
Explorer
Code
ZMSH
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

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

  • Fado is an emotional form of Portuguese music which often expresses the hard realities of the daily life, balancing both resignation and hopefulness. Enjoy unforgettable Fado performance in Coimbra.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • Please note that the European part of the trip will be led by a European leader, while the Moroccan part will be led by one of our experienced local Moroccan leaders. The changeover will take place upon arrival at the port of Tangier in Morocco from where the European leader will return to Spain.

  • On this trip there is limited time in Madrid and in Marrakech at the start and end of the trip respectively. If you would like to explore these amazing cities in depth we recommend you book additional nights before and/or after the trip. Your booking agent will be happy to book additional services for you (subject to availability).

  • Summer temperatures can be extreme in Spain, Portugal and Morocco (over 40°C), so it’s important to use sun protection, wear breathable layers to combat the heat and drink plenty of water. Many hotels in Europe have fans, not air-conditioning. In contrast, this trip also has departures during the winter months (mid-October to mid-March). This is the perfect time to see the highlights of Spain, Portugal and Morocco without any of the crowds, however the weather during this time of year is unpredictable, and possibly cold and rainy. 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 and Morocco often don't have double beds, but rather two single beds that can be pushed together and, by some standards, are considered rather small. We have sourced our accommodation very carefully and picked the best possible hotels in line with the Intrepid style of travel, but please note that service and accommodation in Morocco may be different to western standards.

  • Please note that in Morocco non-muslims are barred from visiting the inside of mosques. However the recommended dress code still 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.

  • In 2020, Ramadan will take place from 23 April through until 22 May. This is the holiest month of the year for Muslims in Morocco and around the world. Ramadan may cause some disruption and limitations to this trip 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 the other hand, Ramadan can also be a rewarding time to visit Morocco.

Itinerary

Welcome to Madrid! 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 7 pm, depending on common area availability. After the meeting we will head out for an optional group dinner where you can get to know your fellow travellers. As there's limited time for sightseeing in Madrid, consider flying in 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 your meeting, perhaps get into the mind of a Madrileno with some tapas and Rioja.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Madrid - Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza - EUR12
  • Madrid - Museo del Prado - EUR15
  • Madrid - Real Jardín Botánico - EUR6
  • Madrid - Museo Reina Sofia - EUR10
  • Madrid - Royal Palace - EUR11
  • Madrid - Tapas Urban Adventure - EUR82
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance and emergency contact details at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time for the meeting, 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).
Say farewell to Madrid this morning and head north-west by public transport to the historical university town of Salamanca (approximately 3 hours). Situated among 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 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
  • Salamanca - Art Nouveau & Art Deco Museum - EUR4
  • Salamanca - Unamuno House Museum - EUR4
  • Salamanca - New Cathedral - EUR5
  • Salamanca - Old Cathedral - EUR5
  • Salamanca - University of Salamanca - EUR10
  • Salamanca - 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 Se 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
  • Coimbra - Evening Fado Performance
Optional Activities
  • Coimbra - Mondego River Boat Trip - EUR7
  • Coimbra - Cathedrals - EUR3
  • Coimbra - Conimbriga Ruins - EUR5
  • Coimbra - Portugal Dos Pequenitos - EUR11
  • Coimbra - University of Coimbra - EUR12
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. Visit the medieval citadel in the city centre, the Citadel of Sao Jorge Castle, which 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. Your afternoon and evening is free, so perhaps head to the grand Naval Museum for an insight into the history of Portuguese navigation. Or maybe you'd prefer to roam through charming narrow streets of local neighbourhoods and see local life play out. If you want to sample some Portugese nightlife, Barrio Alto is the place to head this evening. 
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lisbon - Citadel
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
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Sintra - Palacio Nacional - EUR10
  • Sintra - Palacio da Pena - EUR14
  • Sintra - Day Trip - EUR10
  • Sintra - Castelo dos Mouros - EUR8
  • Lisbon - Experience Lisbon Walk Urban Adventure - EUR45
  • Lisbon - Naval Museum - EUR5
  • Lisbon - Oceanarium - EUR17
  • Lisbon - Fado Show with Dinner - EUR50
  • Lisbon - Sunset Fado & Tapas Urban Adventure - EUR70
  • Lisbon - Gulbenkian Museum - EUR10
  • Lisbon - Folk Art Museum - EUR3
  • Lisbon - National Art Museum - EUR6
  • Lisbon - Puppet Museum - EUR5
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take a bus journey of around five hours today to the southern coastline of Portugal, the Algarve. Known for 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 an active waterfront, Moorish buildings and bustling old quarters, the city has a Northern African feel. Upon arrival check-in to your home for the next two nights and use the rest of the day to discover Olhao. You may wish to wander the city centre or perhaps try Olhao’s famous fish restaurants along the waterfront on Avenida 5 de Outubro, the eastern Algarve’s food mile, filled with delicious and authentic local flavours.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Olhao is separated from the Atlantic Ocean by a series of barrier islands, creating a beautiful landscape of canals, salt pans, lagoons and sand banks. Today board a local passenger boat and head out to one of these islands, 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. Return to Olhao in the afternoon (or earlier if you wish), and enjoy the rest of your day relaxing in Olhao. Perhaps use the area's great walking paths to access some of the Algarve's lesser-known spots, or maybe head towards the Ria Formosa Nature Reserve for some bird watching, or catch some fish on a fishing trip. Evenings are best spent watching breathtaking sunsets, and the best place to do so is Olhao’s Old Town.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Algarve - Culatra Island Day Trip by Boat
Optional Activities
  • Algarve - Birdwatching Tour - EUR35
  • Algarve - Marine Wildlife Watching Tour - EUR45
  • Algarve - Boat Trip Rio Formosa - EUR30
  • Algarve - Fishing Trip - EUR40
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 it was 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. Seville is famous for its vitality and flamboyance as 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 sights, then enjoy some limited free time to discover as you wish. Later, travel onwards to Tarifa, where you will stay overnight before hopping over to Africa tomorrow.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Seville - Real Alcazar - EUR14
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning get up early for an optional visit to Tarifa Castle or to take a stroll on the beach. Then leave Europe behind and head to Africa. The ferry across the straits of Gibraltar to the port of Tangier takes approximately 1 hour. After leaving the ferry, you'll be picked up by our Moroccan crew, and journey 3 hours to 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 tajine tonight, before settling into your hotel.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Tarifa - Castle - EUR4
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Please have your passport handy as today you'll head over to Morocco. Please note that your leader will change upon arrival into the port of Tangier. After an introduction your European leader will return to Spain, while your Moroccan leader will take care of you on the Moroccan part of the trip.
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
  • Chefchaouen - Hammam (public baths) - MAD150
  • Chefchaouen - Henna Tattoo - 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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Fes - Medina guided walking tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
You'll be on your feet for at least five to six hours today to explore the unique medina of Fes. This is one of the highlights of Morocco and well worth any weariness at the end of the long day. We highly recommend you wear appropriate footwear. Today’s experience will also include some visits to carefully selected shops. 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 the ‘Important Notes’ section or talk to your Tour leader on the ground.
Travel by train this morning to Marrakech (approximately 8 hours). Head out with the group for a quick visit to the main square, Djemaa 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. 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 brave dinner in the unique great square of Djemaa el Fna, when night falls.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Marrakech - Saadian Tombs - MAD70
  • Marrakech - Palais Badi - MAD70
  • Marrakech - Palais Bahia - MAD70
  • Marrakech - Hamam (public baths) - MAD250
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Today's train ride will be approximately 8 hours. Moroccan trains are quite comfortable (we travel in first class), so sit back, relax, watch the scenery roll by or read a good book.
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 long as you abide by the hotel's internal check-out rules. 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
  • Marrakech - A Taste Of Marrakech: Inside the Medina Urban Adventure - MAD605
  • Marrakech - Tajine Cookery Class Urban Adventure - MAD640
  • Marrakech - Cascades d'Ouzoud Day Tour - MAD2207
  • Marrakech - Luxury Spa Hammam & Massage - MAD750
  • Marrakech - Ourika Valley Day Tour - MAD1817
  • Marrakech - Oukaimeden Day Tour - MAD1882
  • Marrakech - Asni & Ouirgane Day Trip with Lunch - MAD1806
  • Marrakech - Heart of the Atlas Mountains Cycling Day Tour - MAD2000
  • Marrakech - Medina, Palaces & Tombs Urban Adventure - MAD630
  • Marrakech - Palmery Cycling Tour - MAD350
  • Marrakech - Magical Marrakech City Cycling Tour - MAD350
  • Marrakech - Imlil & Aroumd Day Tour - MAD1817
  • Essaouira - Food & Culture Urban Adventure - MAD1554
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

10 breakfasts

Transport

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

Accommodation

Hotel (14 nights)

Included activities

  • Coimbra - Evening Fado Performance
  • Lisbon - Citadel
  • Algarve - Culatra Island Day Trip by Boat
  • Chefchaouen - Walking Tour with Local Guide
  • Fes - Medina guided walking tour

Dates & availability

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Important notes

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
A Single Supplement is bookable on this trip, subject to availability at the time of booking. The price of the single supplement does not include the following nights, where a single room does not form part of the package. In this case you will be matched up with another traveller of the same gender. If a single room becomes available at check-in for these nights, there may be the option for you to upgrade to a single room and pay the surcharge locally for that night:
- Day 9 Tarifa
Please also note that due to the small properties we use in Europe there is only a limited amount of single supplements available per trip departure. If you would like to book a single supplement and enquire about availability please speak to your booking agent.

PASSPORT DETAILS
In order for our local operator to be able to buy ferry tickets we need your passport details. Please advise these at least 6 weeks prior to the trip's departure.

ITINERARY
On this trip there is limited time in Madrid and in Marrakech at the start and end of the trip respectively. If you would like to explore these amazing cities in depth we recommend you book additional nights before and/or after the trip. Your booking agent will be happy to book additional services for you (subject to availability).

RAMADAN
In 2021, Ramadan will take place from 13 April to 12 May. Travelling in Morocco during this holy month can be a rewarding cultural experience. However, some regular services may not be available during the daytime, such as restaurants or coffee bars, and occasionally travel can be disrupted by events. Your local leader will adjust the itinerary accordingly, but please consider your travel arrangements carefully before booking travel for this period.

SHOPPING & 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 feedback 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, 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

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