Across the Strait of Gibraltar: 12-Day Spain, Gibraltar & Morocco Itinerary

A 12 day trip to Morocco & Spain 
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The Strait of Gibraltar separates and connects the unique cultures and intertwined histories of Spain and Morocco. Moorish palaces continue to guard grand Cathedrals as spice shops fill the air of antique cities with intoxicating aromas. Tavernas serve tapas near blossoming orange trees, and zellige tiles glisten with bright colors. Roads connect Imperial cities that date back to Roman times and the Spanish royal palace features elements of Baroque mastery. Discover, experience, and luxuriate amongst the cities and landscapes across the Strait of Gibraltar during your customizable itinerary of Spain and Morocco. 

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Most tours are customized for private travel.

General Information

Photos
spain madrid puerta de alcala gate
UK gibraltar rock at sunrise
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Madrid, Seville, Cordoba, Granada, Marbella, Ronda, Gibraltar, Tangier, Chefchaouen, Fes, Rabat, Meknes, Volubilis, Casablanca, Marrakech 

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Madrid – Arrive in Madrid for a Half-Day Tour of Spain’s Capital City

The splendor of Madrid shines around the clock from the grandeur of the Royal Palace to the charm of the cosmopolitan boutique shops that line the Grand Via within the elegant frame of Beaux-Arts buildings. Cafes fill the Plaza Mayor and decorate the arched colonnades that lead to the main street of Calle Toledo. The façade of the Prado Museum promises collections along the interior galleries as majestic as the marvels of the exterior architecture. Your flight will land at Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas Airport, and your private transfer will greet you upon your arrival and escort you to your gorgeous hotel at the heart of the bustling capital city.

Settle in and then meet your guide in the lobby of your hotel to venture out into the streets of the fascinating city to view the blend of historical grace and contemporary culture. The Basilica de San Francisco El Grande was erected in La Latina neighborhood in the 18th century, and the neoclassical design accentuates the beautiful dome that reaches a height of nearly 200 feet above the city streets. The nave has a circular shape with chapels that guard 12 marble statues of the apostles, and frescoes crafted with different artistic styles decorate the chapels, with the most well-known filling Capilla de San Bernardino. The renowned Spanish master Goya painted the central fresco as a young artist, inserting himself into the scene.

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

Day 2: Madrid – Enjoy the Bustling Streets and Regal Monuments of Madrid

The sunlight will wash over the greenery in El Retiro Park where Madrileños, the people of Madrid, jog, stroll or even sneak a kiss amidst the endless rows of greenery. At breakfast, the aroma of fresh pastries stuffed with citrus cream fills the dining room and is accompanied by the scent of coffee mixed with equal amounts of steamed milk. Your guide will greet you in the lobby of your hotel and then lead you to the entrance of the Royal Palace. The stunning estate overtakes nearly 1.5 million-square-feet and exudes sovereign grace and grandeur as the family coat of arms adorns the Prince’s Gate between two figures that represent Visigoth kings.

You will enter into the Grand Stairwell and feel very slight inside the gorgeous room. The staircase was carved from a single block of marble, and as you ascend the stairs, you will look up to find an ethereal fresco that is decorating the ceiling so as to give people the feeling that they were entering the heavens as they walked to the stately apartments. Crimson velvet drapes cover the walls of the Throne Room beneath the vibrant allegorical depictions that adorn the ceiling as depicted by celebrated artist Tiepolo. 18th-century elegance emanates from the more than 2,800 palatial rooms, 50 of which are on display.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 3: Seville – Explore the Historical Architecture of Cordoba en route to Seville

The remains of the Moorish military outpost continue at Calle Cuesta de la Vega. One section of the original fortress was erected in the 9th-century under the reign of Emir Mohamed I. Nearby, the scent of delicious coffee drifts through the doors of Sobrino de Botin, the oldest restaurant in the world, first opened in 1725. The chefs work in the morning to prepare traditional dishes for lunch service. Your private transfer will greet you at your hotel and lead you away from the capital city bound for the marvels of Seville. You will stop in Cordoba along the way to view the breathtaking Moorish architecture of the Mezquita.

Over a millennium ago, Cordoba acted as the capital of Islamic Spain and created a safe space for architecture, art, and thought as embodied in the preserved grounds of the 8th-century structure. The aroma of oranges fills the city and emanates from the Patio de los Naranjos. Palm and cypress trees shade the fountains along the blossoming oranges that lead to the entrance archway. Built in the 14th-century, the bell tower reaches a height of more than 175 feet tall and was originally the mosque’s minaret.

The interior features the vaults and arches typical of Moorish design. The interior will draw your attention with more than 850 columns that support the jasper and marble archways that are adorned with red and white stripes. The gallery creates a dramatic horizontal sense of space and feels like a dense forest of columns and curves. Your introduction to Seville will arrive in the form of a flamenco dinner show. The theater will fill with the sound of the rhythmic guitar as the first dancer arrives on stage accompanied by the aroma of rosewater. She will dance across the stage wit loud steps and stomps, adding to the sounds of the music to imitate the beat of an excited heart.

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

Day 4: Seville – Traverse the Lanes and Marvels of Seville on a Full Day Tour

The aromas of Seville remind you of Cordoba as the rich citrus notes emanate from the Patio of Oranges that flanks the Cathedral. In the morning, the scent of coffee will drift from the corner cafes, accompanied by buttery pastries stuffed with jam. After breakfast, your guide will greet you at your hotel eager to lead you on a full day tour of the charismatic Andalusian city beginning at the Plaza de España. Fountains trickle into the tiny canal that circles the early 20th-century plaza as the brick and tile imitate the elegance of historical architecture found throughout the city.

You will be delighted as locals and visitors alike row boats along the canal and stroll through the blossoming roses and shady trees of the neighboring Maria Luisa Park. Continue through the narrow lanes of the old Jewish quarter as the aroma of sautéed onions and fried potatoes drifts through the open windows amongst sounds of the nearby soccer game. The whitewashed walls frame the colorful doors and windows add pops of color to the walkways. The maze-like design eventually opens to Plaza del Triunfo, crowned by the lavish façade of the Seville Cathedral. The Giralda bell tower was originally erected as a minaret and stands 390 feet tall and casts a long, slender shadow over the plaza.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 5: Granada – Transfer to Labyrinthine Granada to Visit the Stunning Alhambra

Today your private transfer will escort you out of Seville to travel to the labyrinthine streets of Granada. The snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada Mountains border the city to the south with the grounds of the Alhambra Palace crowning Sabikah Hill as it overlooks the heart of the old city. The Tower of Justice was built in the 14th century and brings insight into the original architecture of the estate, as the gate acted as the entryway to the palace. Shady rows of cypress trees lead to the succession of keyhole arches in the pale-stone monolith.

The central palace complex embodies the pinnacle of palatial design. The Dome of the Two Sisters features floral adornments of pinecones and acorns. Calligraphy at eye level adds an extra layer of beauty in lyricism and a swirling aesthetic. Look up to find a honeycombed ceiling with more than 5,000 tiny cells filling the niches of the dome, similar to the way stalactites decorate caves. After exploring the palace, you can venture into the celebrated tavernas of the city for a taste of local life. Visit a series of tapas restaurants on a tour beginning at Casa Torcuato near the Mirador San Nicolas, and then enjoy a view of the Alhambra amongst the aromas of zesty gazpacho.

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

Day 6: Marbella – Enjoy a Half-Day Tour of Ronda and the Beaches of Marbella

The familiar aroma of oranges fills the morning air in Seville as the sunlight washes over the whitewashed walls of the Jewish quarter. You will venture out of the city to the quiet town of Ronda, which overlooks the sheer cliffs of the El Tajo Gorge. The precipices drop more than 420 feet into the ravine below as whitewashed homes adorn the old Moorish neighborhood with the New Bridge that leads to the relatively modern homes. The bridge is a misnomer as the structure was erected in the 18th-century, and archways support the steep edifice with solid walls that reach nearly 320 feet to the ravine floor.

The views are magnificent, and the integrity of the bridge provides another layer of beauty to the seasoned town. Antique pillars and vaulted ceilings fill the main gallery of the 13th-century Moorish baths located near the old bridge on the edges of the city. After touring the serene views and preserved architecture of Ronda, you can continue to Marbella, a town that glitters against the golden beaches and sapphire waters of the Mediterranean Sea. In the evening, you can make your way to a restaurant that serves traditional Andalusian cuisine and offers a tranquil atmosphere amongst the 16th-century walls of the town castle. The aroma of paella drifts through the dining room and offers an array of bright colors to accompany the delicious flavors to come.

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

Day 7: Chefchaouen – Delight in a Half-Day Visit to Gibraltar and Ferry to Morocco

In the morning, you can hear the waves of the Mediterranean splashing against the beaches as the breeze rustles the leaves of the shading palm trees. After an early breakfast, you will venture to the renowned southern edges of the Iberian Peninsula at Gibraltar. The Spanish ambiance disappears as you cross the border and is replaced by fish and chips shops and English boutiques. The British have claimed the territory since the early 18th century, and the Rock of Gibraltar ascends from the sea to connect to Spain by just a narrow isthmus. Its peak stands at a more than 1,375 feet above sea level and is crowned with steep steps that lead to the summit.

Barbary macaques, the only monkey native to Europe, linger along the walkways and make their homes in the forest in the Gibraltar Nature Reserve. The aroma of the sea blends with the pine scent that drifts from the forest. Your guide will lead you into St. Michael’s Cave, which stands at nearly 900 feet above sea level. The stalactites inside the cave remind you of the crenulated craftsmanship of the Alhambra as stalagmites rise out of the gallery like decorative pillars. Five passageways connect to the Upper Hall and offer views to the stunning drops that reach depths of up to 145 feet.

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

Day 8: Fes – Discover the Beauty of the Blue City before Transferring to Fes

The blue hues of Chefchaouen blanket the perch beneath the peaks of the Rif Mountains against the whitewashed homes that resembling a snow-capped peak. Accents of powder blue stand out along the mosques and the distinct neighborhoods across the mountain village. The aroma of semolina pancakes drizzled with honey fills the dining room at breakfast. You will make your way through the Medina with your guide to experience the mixture of Moroccan and Andalusian influence found around the red-tiled rooftops and narrow lanes that are lined with bright blue buildings. Refreshing hills draped in greenery frame the restored Kasbah at Plaza Uta el-Hammam.

The renovated walls circle a charming garden that leads to the Ethnographic Museum. The forecourt provides panoramas of the old city and draws the eyes of local artists eager to capture the beauty of both historical and contemporary lifestyles. Goats graze on the upper terraces over the town, and aromatic herbs accompany the bounty of spices in the market of the Medina. After discovering the charms of the Blue City, your private transfer will escort you to Fes, where you will easily settle into the comforts of your luxurious Moroccan riad.

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

Day 9: Fes – Relish the History and Culture of Imperial Fes on a Full Day Tour

At breakfast, you can sip a cup of rejuvenating mint tea with a teaspoon of honey to accentuate the sweet and spiced mixture. Your guide will greet you in your hotel lobby alongside the soothing sounds of the nearby trickling fountain. Fes was founded in the 8th century and continues to carry on rich traditions established during the height of the Imperial families. The twisting lanes of the Medina lead to vibrant spice stalls that bring the radiant colors of turmeric, ginger, and cayenne as shoe vendors display their vibrant slippers along the walls.

Merchants sell brass lamps that bring both the stained glass and other distinctive Moroccan styles that will draw you in the open door to their shop. Your guide will lead you to the unique galleries found inside the Nejjarine Museum of Wooden Arts and Crafts. The restored boardinghouse once offered rooms to traveling merchants as their caravans would park below with vendors filling the courtyard. Artifacts now adorn the plaza and offer insight into the lifestyle of crafters and merchants throughout the long history of Fes. Wooden prayer beads offset the rich iron from the Berber locks, and you can stroll along the Rue des Merinides to pass the distinguished wooden and wrought iron balconies that are decorated with stucco work.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 10: Marrakech – Revel in a Full Day Tour of Meknes, Volubilis, and Rabat

The spice market in the Medina returns the vibrant colors to the narrow lanes, along with the remarkable aromas of sesame, paprika, and black pepper. Your guide will greet you at your hotel after breakfast and escort you towards Marrakech, a city that embodies the captivating culture of Morocco’s Imperial past. Stop along the way to visit cities of the country’s Imperial past en route, from the Roman ruins of Volubilis to the palm-lined streets of Rabat. The narrow streets and grand façades of Meknes also provide an enchanting ambiance of one of Morocco’s four Imperial cities.

The main gate, known as Bab al-Monsour, was erected in the 18th-century and provides a stunning example of the classic gateways of historical North Africa. Keyhole arches pronounce the entrance to dramatic effect beneath zellige tiles. The 12th-century Grand Mosque shimmers with an electric green-tiled roof at the heart of Old Town. The historical city walls continue to wrap around the Medina, which adds to the labyrinthine effect as craft shops open their doors along the souk, filling the air with the scent of leather, spices, and the shimmer of captivating textiles. The zenith of the regal city remains intact in the neighborhood referred to as The Imperial City.

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

Day 11: Marrakech – Tour Marrakech’s Captivating Culture and Past in the Medina

The city of Marrakech was founded in the 11th century and retains much of its charms preserved in both the culture and architecture scattered around the Medina. In the morning, the sweet aroma of fresh berries accompanies the tart flavor of yogurt as tea shops around the Medina fill with the scent of mint leaves and slowly roasted coffee beans. Your guide will meet you after breakfast eager to lead you through a tour of the city.

The minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque reaches a height of nearly 255 feet, and towers above Jamaa el Fna Square. In the morning, the call to prayer echoes like poetry from the speakers along the minaret, in a tradition that dates back to the 12th century. Make your way next to the Bahia Palace, which was erected in the 19th century as the mosaics that adorn the walls of the courtyard and gardens continue to provide a countryside escape within the confines city life. The fountain at the heart of the courtyard once filled with water, allowing the refreshing breeze to carry the moisture over the tiled-floor to cool the palace grounds. The Whitewashed pillars stand out from fringing blue frames as classic columns support the hanging lanterns and ornate woodwork that lines the walls and arches. 

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 12: Marrakech – Depart for Home

The morning light shines off of the brass plates and candlesticks on display in the souk. Overhangs protect the vendors from the bright lights of day as colorful textiles and garments dangle from the rafters. Old men take to the cafes in the Medina to play dominoes, sip tea, and chat. At breakfast, you will have come to relish the aroma of mint tea as soft, fresh breads and orange jams wait for you at your table. Storytellers return to the tiled grounds of Jamaa el Fna Square and enchant children of all ages with the tales of noble knights and cunning damsels. Snake charmers perform alongside the returning bustle of the plaza beneath the rooftop cafes. After one last morning to take it all in, your private transfer will meet you at your hotel and escort you to Marrakesh Menara Airport for your flight home.

What’s Included: airpot transfer, breakfast

Price

Starting Price 

$2,785
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.