In the Footsteps of the Moors: Portugal, Spain, Morocco Tour

A 12 day trip to Morocco, Portugal & Spain 
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The Moors left their mark on history through the architectural and cultural influences left on the Mediterranean that connect the splendors of the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa. Discover radiant palaces and labyrinthine antique cities, vibrant markets and beautiful gardens during your time spent in Portugal, Spain, and Morocco as you follow in the footsteps of the Moors. From the powerful walls of the Kasbahs to the shimmering tiles of traditional madrasas, trickling courtyard fountains to the stoic waters of the Strait of Gibraltar, you will bask in the beauty, prestige, and wonder that encompasses more than a millennium as you travel through Portugal, Spain, and Morocco. 

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General Information

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Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Lisbon, Évora, Seville, Granada, Cordoba, Gibraltar, Chefchaouen, Tangier, Fes, Marrakech, Casablanca, Rabat

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Lisbon – Arrive in Lisbon, the Charming and Elegant Capital of Portugal

Lisbon is a city of eclectic culture, elegant palaces and preserved whitewashed homes that overlook the beginning of the River Tagus. A series of hills roll from east to west and lead to the sapphire waters of the Atlantic Ocean as monuments pay homage to the seafaring culture that is embodied in the Padrao dos Descobrimentos, a statue erected to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of Henry the Navigator. The towering edifice represents a ship as it sails the Tagus River to reach the open and unexplored waters of the world and is adorned with the prominent figures of Vasco de Gama and Ferdinand Magellan.

Your flight will land at Lisbon Portela Airport, and your private transfer will greet you upon your arrival. A hint of the nearby seaside will drift through the air amidst the aromas of fresh coffee that emanate from the bustling cafes. The orange-tiled rooftops of the Alfama stand out beneath the golden hues of the crenulated walls along Saint George’s Castle as you begin to appreciate the views. You will settle into the comforts of your hotel before dinner, and then find the soothing, national music of Fado the perfect match for the aromas of sautéing garlic, onions, and lemon-zested prawns over your meal.

What’s Included: accommodation, airport transfer

Day 2: Lisbon – Relish a Full Day Private Tour of Lisbon’s Lavish and Unique Past

In the morning, the aroma of fresh coffee and caramelized pastries stuffed with cream will fill the serene courtyard of the Royal Café. The funiculars around town connect the upper suburbs with the cobbled streets along the main roads of the city, and the sunlight washes over the polished tiles of 18th-century palaces for an extra layer of beauty added to the cityscape. Your guide will greet you after breakfast keen to introduce you to the splendors of the city responsible for connecting Western Europe with the greater world.

Belem Tower embodies the wealth provided by the Age of Discovery. The tower was erected in the early 16th century as a guard to Lisbon’s harbor before the river shifted over the centuries. The Manueline style incorporates intricate motifs within the stone, including depictions of figures such as St. Vincent and captivating rhinoceroses. Mosaics decorate the grounds of the city’s main boulevard that connects Praça dos Restauradores to Praça do Marques de Pombal. Boutique shops with lavish window displays line the Liberdade Boulevard, along with the shading oak and sycamore trees. The buildings offer the beauty of contemporary architecture from the late 18th and early 19th centuries against the fascinating mosaics along the walkways. Locals enjoy the outdoor cafes, and the 19th-century Casa deo Alentejo hides a Moorish courtyard.  

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 3: Seville – Visit the Captivating City of Évora en route to Seville, Spain

The Moorish influence on the neighborhood of Mouraria is tangible in the form of the remaining medieval walls. The returning Christian monarchs of Portugal relegated the Moors and Jewish citizens of the city to the neighborhood, and crafted a multi-cultural atmosphere that has survived nearly a millennium. After breakfast, your private transfer will greet you at your hotel and escort you over the border to reach Seville, Spain. Before reaching the enchanting Andalusian city, you will stop in the World Heritage city of Évora, where the streets nestle against the sunbaked landscape of the Alentejo province hide more than 2,000 years of history.

Romans brought Évora to prominence as the Moors created an atmosphere that celebrated both knowledge and art. Cafes wrap around the Praça do Giraldo as patrons enjoy the drifting sunlight and rejuvenating cups of coffee accented with sugar. Wrought-iron balconies adorn the historical homes that frame the 16th-century fountain. Boutique shops now stand between the archways of the Roman aqueduct and reach heights of 85 feet. You will soon reach the Largo da Porta de Moura, a picturesque plaza named for the Moorish gateway that once acted as the entrance to the city. The Renaissance fountain at the heart of the square glints with a unique marble sphere and imitates the texture of a globe.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 4: Seville – Enjoy a Full Day Tour of Enchanting Seville and a Flamenco Show

The scent of oranges drifts through the streets of Seville in the light of the morning. The cobbled streets shine with golden hues against the whitewashed homes of the old Jewish quarter. Flower boxes decorate the windowsills amongst bright colors that adorn the doorframes. At breakfast, you will find the aromas of cortado, a hot drink with equal parts coffee and milk to balance the acidity of the freshly brewed espresso. Your guide will greet you in the hotel lobby eager to lead you through the marvels of Seville that begin in the Plaza del Triunfo, and you will be able to see the great walls of the Alcazar rising above the cityscape.

The immense Cathedral crowns the plaza with the Giralda Tower soaring nearly 400 feet above the cobblestones. The Cathedral was originally erected in the 12th century as a mosque, and Gothic character defines the church, along with its title as one of the largest Cathedrals in the world. Orange trees grow in the Patio of Orange Trees that lead to the main entrance, and the interior fills with the aroma of ritual spices across the remarkable five-aisled nave. Your guide will take you to the tomb of Christopher Columbus, which celebrates the figure as a hero of Spain and Spanish culture. In the evening, you will witness the passionate movements of flamenco dancing during a mesmerizing performance that captures the spirit of Seville perfectly.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 5: Granada – Traverse the Marvelous City of Cordoba before reaching Granada

The walls of the great Alcazar glimmer in the sunlight of the morning.  The 10th-century palace continues to inspire visitors with the lavish decoration and manicured gardens that overflow with reflective pools, trickling fountains, and blossoming roses. Your private transfer will greet you at your hotel after breakfast and lead you to the city of Cordoba en route to Granada. The city has Roman roots and grew to power around the navigable waters of the Guadalquivir River. The Roman Bridge continues to lead into the heart of the historical city that is decorated with 16 arches that were renovated under the Moorish kings. In spring and summer, the patios of the city blossom with gorgeous greenery and flowering azaleas contrast with the whitewashed walls of the old homes near the Alcazar.

Your guide will take you around the city and finish with the grandeur of the Mezquita, a mosque erected in the 8th century that was converted to a Cathedral around the 16th-century. The air will be ripe with citrus zest emanating from the Patio of Oranges as orange trees continue to bloom. Pillars support jasper and marble archways that are decorated with red and white stripes as the extensive gallery resembles a House of Mirrors with the seemingly endless rows of arches and pillars. The refined details offer a sense of serenity within the original house of prayer.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 6: Granada – Delight in the Splendor of the Alhambra and the Flavors of Tapas

Granada has an enchanting spirit that is connected to its gypsy roots. The Sierra Nevada Mountains border the southern edges with snow-capped peaks and the famous Alhambra Palace fills the summit of Sabika Hill and overlooks the meandering cobbled lanes of the medieval cityscape. At breakfast, you can sip a hot cup of sweetened cortado, accentuated by the crunchy, cinnamon and sugar dusted texture of churros. Your guide will greet you after breakfast and lead you to the plateau of Sabika Hill and the entrance of the Alhambra. The masterpiece of Islamic architecture was first erected in the 13th century under the reign of the Nasrid Dynasty, and the towers and ramparts remain from the original fortress.

A narrow stairway leads to the top of the Watch Tower and offers remarkable views of the mountains, streets, and rooftops of Granada. Inside the palace, you can traverse the polished galleries that lead to the open courtyards full of trickling fountains. The Court of Myrtles contains a reflective pool that shimmers with sapphire hues that mirror the trimmed hedges, golden walls, and lattice archways. Soaring stalactite domes adorn the Hall of Kings as 15th-century paintings depict life in court alongside portraits of rulers for a unique view into the daily culture and style of the past.  

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 7: Chefchaouen – Explore Gibraltar and Continue by Ferry to Morocco

In the morning, the aroma of cinnamon and sugar will fill the dining room accompanied by the rich scent of fresh coffee. Your guide will greet you in the lobby after an early breakfast and escort you to the southern edges of the Iberian Peninsula at Gibraltar. The Spanish culture disappears beneath a veneer of British-themed shops as English replaces Spanish. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee disappears beneath the scent of steeping black tea as it blends with the sea breeze. The British have controlled Gibraltar since the early 19th-century, evident in the fish and chips shops of town and quaint stores with a quiet village atmosphere.

The famous Rock of Gibraltar towers over the edge of the European continent at a height of nearly 1,400 feet above sea level. From the top of the granite dome, visitors can view the shores of North Africa situated across the Strait of Gibraltar. Barbary macaques relax in the shade of the trees along the Gibraltar Nature Reserve. You can visit the remnants of the Moorish Castle first erected in the 8th century. The gatehouse and tower, along with fragments of the battlements, stand out from the trees that overlook the high-rises of the port.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 8: Fes – Enjoy a Half-Day Tour of the Blue City before Transferring to Fes

Chefchaouen is often referred to as Morocco’s “Secret City” due to its relaxed ambiance, bright colors, and enchanting location tucked beneath the shade of the Rif Mountains. The blue hues of the exterior walls around the Medina accentuate the bright sapphire colors of the sea. Whitewashed homes and red-tiled roofs around the Medina reflect the influence of Moorish inhabitants ousted from Spain five centuries ago. Goats graze on the grassland that borders the city in the hills as the aromas of ginger and turmeric sweep through the cobbled lanes of the Medina. You can spend time visiting the Grand Mosque to view the unique octagonal minaret.

A rooftop café offers a gorgeous view of the red-tiled roofs and tower that lead to the mountains on the horizon. The enchantment of the city allows you to wander through the winding lanes and serene ambiance at your preferred pace as you take in the keyhole-arched doors and the fortress walls of the historical Kasbah. The Ethnographic Museum offers insight into the history of the city through artifacts such as pottery and musical instruments. In the afternoon, the aroma of mint tea blends with the scent of freshly baked bread as your private transfer will meet you and escort you to the Imperial city of Fes.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 9: Fes – Discover the Imperial Charm and Preserved History of Fes

In the morning, you will find the aromas of mint tea and honey a perfect start to your morning as the call to prayer echoes through the lanes of Medina before the sounds of the souk return to the city. The aromas of cayenne and sesame emanate from the spice stands as the shuffle of crafting drifts out of the stalls of leatherworkers. Your guide will greet you in the hotel eager to introduce you to the madrasas, the royal palace, and daily life of the former Imperial city that keeps its traditions that date back to the 8th century.

The Blue Gate known as Bab Bou Jeloud shimmers in the sunlight with a crenulated crown that is bordered by the city walls. The zeillige tiles wrap around the triptych keyhole arches, as the Madrasa of Al Attarin was erected in the 14th-century and marvelous tiles and woodwork still adorn the central courtyard and interior galleries. Arabic script turns the walls into poetry in motion, using the elegant swirls of the text as artwork. You can hear the fountain trickling at the heart of the courtyard amongst the latticework that accentuates the archways.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 10: Marrakech – Explore Regal Rabat and Cosmopolitan Casablanca

As the morning rises, you will set out on the road towards Marrakech with your private transfer escorting you first to Rabat, Morocco’s capital city. Palm trees line the boulevards of the newer neighborhoods designed during the French colonial era, and the beach evokes a sense of calm ambiance and escape from the weekly grind of the capital city. The old walls continue to encircle the Medina, and the Kasbah stands elevated above the old neighborhoods of old Rabat, in its original guarding stance.

The keyhole archways, familiar to you now from your time in Spain, decorate the historic 12th-century gate known as Bab Oudaia and give the figure a more ceremonial intention. The gate leads to the narrow streets that are bordered by whitewashed homes erected by refugees from Andalusia, Spain. The plaza of Plateforme du Semaphore offers a view to the winding riverbanks that lead to the Atlantic as the gardens beside the Palace Museum display traditional art and culture in the lush designs accentuated by the 20th-century French architecture. Manicured shrubs open to blossoming flowers and orange and lemon trees fill the air with a zesty citrus. Bananas dangle from soaring trees and fountains trickle to provide a tranquil oasis for visitors.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 11: Marrakech – Enjoy the Lively Culture and the Exciting History on a Half-Day Tour

In the morning, the aroma of mint tea fills the dining room of your riad. A breeze blows through the courtyard and carries mist from the trickling fountain to create a refreshingly cool mist in the breeze. Your guide will greet you in the lobby ready to lead you through the maze of Marrakech’s Medina for an in-depth tour of culture and history as embodied in the preserved architecture. Snake charmers perform in Jamaa el Fna Square, and storytellers enchant children and adults alike with marvelous tales of knights, sultans, and maidens.

The morning prayers had echoed through the streets to begin the day from the top of the minaret connected to the Koutoubia Mosque. The 12th-century edifice remains a beautiful ornamental example of Moorish design with lavish arches and layered filigree. The souks erupt with life, from the colorful slippers and textiles hanging on the walls to the beautiful aromatics of ginger and coriander that drift out of the spice stalls. You will arrive at the Medersa Ben Youssef to wander amongst the 14th-century grounds of the theological school, embellished with a reflective pool in the courtyard that mirrors the lavish décor of the encircling edifice.  

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 12: Marrakech – Depart for Home

At breakfast, you can linger in the pleasant aromas of semolina pancakes and mint tea as fresh jams made with mint and orange accompany the large, round bread that was baked earlier that morning. The soul of the city returns with the light, emanating from the open stalls in the souk and the cafes in which old men play dominoes, sip tea, and engage in rowdy conversation. You will have traveled along the shadow of the Moors and discovered the length and depth of their reach, and soon your private transfer will greet you in the lobby. As your flight ascends from Menara Marrakech Airport, you will take with you the commitment to elegance, artistry, and knowledge the Moors cultivated while transcending the Strait of Gibraltar.

What’s Included: airport transfer, breakfast

Price

Starting Price 

$2,655
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.