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...
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.
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.
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 with loud steps and stomps, adding to the sounds of the music to imitate the beat of an excited heart.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Stroll through the grounds of the Alhambra Palace in Granada on a private tour that highlights the grace, grandeur, and artistry found in the historical architecture
- Wander through the quintessential Moorish Medina in Marrakech to experience the vivacious spices and vibrant daily life enriched with history
- Discover the stunning architectural techniques that captivate visitors at the Mezquita in Cordoba, Spain
- Traverse the Imperial past along the winding and narrow lanes of the city of Meknes during a private guided tour
- Sample the stunning and traditional flavors of a paella beside the 16th-century walls of the city castle at Marbella
- Let the splendor of Madrid’s Royal Palace inspire you as you explore the frescoes and galleries crafted by 18th-century Western European Masters
- Delight in the blue and white colors and relaxed ambiance of Chefchaouen for a unique and welcoming perspective of Morocco
- Enjoy the enchanting rhythms and rapid movements of flamenco during a dinner performance in Seville
- Relish the charming historical ambiance and dramatic panoramas of Ronda
- Visit the stunning Rock of Gibraltar on a half-day tour of the edges of the Iberian Peninsula, home to St. Michael’s Cave and Europe’s only native monkey
From the capital grandeur of Madrid to the whitewashed walls of Andalusia, the labyrinthine lanes of Marrakech’s Medina to the blue painted house of Chefchaouen, your 12-day itinerary to Spain and Morocco features the unique cultures of individual cities and the charms of preserved history. Your flight will land in Madrid, where your private transfer will greet you upon arrival at Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas Airport. Once inside the city center, you can settle into the comforts of your hotel with the remainder of the day at your leisure. Wake the next morning, and your private guide will greet you at your hotel and lead you through the Royal Palace and Imperial monuments of the bustling city.
Make your way by private transfer to Seville the following day with a stop in Cordoba to tour the Mezquita and the historic quarter. In the evening, enjoy dinner at a flamenco show for an introduction to Andalusian refinement. The next day, enjoy a guided tour of Seville and through the famous Cathedral and along the narrow lanes that lead to the open air of Plaza de España. Travel to Granada the following day to tour the Alhambra palace before indulging in the flavors of the city with a tapas tour. Next, traverse the streets and panoramas of Ronda that overlook the El Tajo Gorge, and then arrive on the magnificent coast of Marbella with a superb paella dinner in view of the 16th-century castle.
The next day, you will visit the fascinating Rock of Gibraltar to explore the caves, mountain summit, and British town before crossing by ferry into Morocco. Your private transfer will meet you in Tangiers and escort you to Chefchaouen for the evening. Wake the next morning for a half-day tour of the blue city of Chefchaouen before traveling to the Imperial city of Fes. Relish a full day tour of the Medina, royal palace, and madrasas of Fes the next day, and see the contemporary life of the city in a historical context.
Travel next to Marrakech along the Imperial road that connects the Roman ruins of Volubilis, the former capital of Meknes, and the contemporary capital of Rabat. You can also stop in Casablanca to visit the Hassan II Mosque before reaching Marrakech. The next morning, your guide will greet you at your hotel and lead you on an in-depth tour of the city’s majesty, from the Saadian tombs to the Bahia Palace, and the endless life that bursts from Jamaa el Fna Square in the form of music, storytellers, and snake charmers. Conclude as your private transfer will meet you at your hotel and escort you to Marrakesh Menara Airport with plenty of time to check in for your flight home.
$2,779 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
Reviews of Zicasso's Referral Service
4.81 stars based on 95 reviews
Reviewed By Romana C.
Reviewed By April W.
Reviewed By Ruth B.
Reviewed By Laurie J.
Reviewed By Carol C.
Reviewed By Carolyn L.
Get Weekly Inspiration and Expert Advice on Travel
during the COVID and post-COVID era