A Culinary Tour of Spain & Morocco: Sherry, Spice and Everything Nice

A 12 day trip to Morocco & Spain 
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Indulge in the culinary experience of a lifetime during your customizable gastronomy itinerary through Spain and Morocco. Traverse the undulating hills of La Rioja Valley to sample celebrated wines from the source, and then delight in the flavors of authentic Spanish cheese while touring an Andalusian dairy farm. Relish the array of aromas that emanate from the spice market in a traditional Moroccan Medina, and then savor the fluffy texture of traditional fresh bread made with your own hands. From enticing seaside tastes to refined rustic aesthetics, you will sample your way through the variety and evolution of Spain and Morocco’s culinary culture. 

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Most tours are customized for private travel.

General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

San Sebastian, Madrid, La Rioja Wine Region, Cordoba, Seville, Rabat, Fes, Casablanca, Marrakech

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: San Sebastian – Arrive in Stunning San Sebastian with a Welcome Dinner

Pristine beaches and cobblestone streets add to the allure of San Sebastian. The Bay of Concha arches into a crescent with the waters of the Urumea River feeding into the Cantabrian Sea. Old Town overflows with popular bars that serve the celebrated pintxos, small plates similar to tapas. The 19th-century buildings decorate the neighborhood of Area Romantica where boutique shops provide illustrious window displays along the shaded walkways. Surfers take to the water along Playa de Gros, and welcoming beach umbrellas add a refreshing cool to the hot sands along Playa de Ondarreta. Your flight will land at San Sebastian Airport, where your private transfer will greet you upon your arrival, and your enjoyment of it all will begin.

The sea breeze carries through the cobbled lanes of Old Town to bring a briny and seductive aroma to the air. Restaurants line the historical streets and soon fill with aromas of simmering onions and octopus grilled over an open flame. The city offers a remarkable number of Michelin Star restaurants that draw inspiration from the culture of pintxos and the flavors of the region. Settle into the comforts of your hotel and stroll along the warm and grainy sands that sweep across La Concha to view the turquoise water that splashes at the shoreline. In the evening, you will make your way to the marvelous dining room at Arzak, consistently rated in the world’s top 50 restaurants since 2006. The aroma of smoked vegetables drifts from neighboring tables and fades beneath the decadent fragrance of chocolate truffles.  

What’s Included: accommodation, airport transfer, tour

Day 2: San Sebastian – Enjoy a Private Basque Cooking Class and Culinary Tour

The waves of the Cantabrian Sea lap against the coastline and bring a peaceful soundtrack to the morning. The scent of fresh coffee mixed with an equal amount of milk drifts out of the corner cafes. Surfers return to the waters, and the sounds of sizzling sausage emanate from the kitchens across the city. Your guide will greet you after breakfast and lead you along the cobbled lanes of Old Town as the fish market near Plaza de la Constitución bustle with activity to present their daily catch of marlin, oysters, and pink prawns.

The 16th-century San Vicente Church shimmers with Gothic allure with an interior that is decorated with an intricately carved series of panels that depict Biblical themes situated behind the altar. Your guide is also a private chef keen to introduce you to the specific flavors found in Basque cuisine. Traverse the stalls along the new San Martin Market, which replaced the 19th-century market in 2005 and produce vendors fill their sections with zesty oranges and lemon as butchers offer samples of Iberico ham. After shopping, you will enter a private kitchen to learn how to make various dishes, including Bacalao pil pil, a dish that uses the traditional staples of Basque cuisine: salted cod, garlic, and olive oil.

What's Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 3: Madrid – Visit La Rioja Wine Region en route to Spain’s Capital of Madrid

The aroma of fresh bread overtakes the scent of the sea as the windows in Zabala Kafetak display enticing pastries that are stuffed with jam, fresh berries, and creamy cheese. Crispy churros rolled in cinnamon and sugar are the perfect accompaniment to your decadent cup of coffee, so you may decide to try several items to begin your day. Your private transfer will meet you at your hotel and escort you away from the rolling waves of the Cantabrian Sea and the cobbled lanes of Old Town for the verdant vines of the La Rioja wine region. Vines have grown in the region for more than two millennia since the Phoenicians arrived in the Iberian Peninsula.

The classic landscape swells with greenery that spreads to the rugged foothills and banks of the Ebro River. Collectively, the vineyards around the region encompass more than 152,000 acres. Your guide will lead you along the sub-region of Rioja Alavesa, which is known for producing fuller body wines. You will soon reach a family-run winery first established in the early 20th century, and the family distributes wines across Spain and other European countries, allowing your sampling of the cultivated flavors on the property to delight and surprise you.

The manor has an Old World charm with a façade of thick, textured brick. Farmers tend to the vines beyond the towering cypress trees, and the grapes grow along the ridges and valley floors with harvesters that clip the dangling grapes by hand. You will touch your fingers to the waxy and plump grapes and then taste a single grape to feel how the struggle has made their flavors more intense. In the tasting room, your guide will pour you a sample of the Crianza, and you will find aromas of orange peel and red berries drifting upwards from the bright ruby hue.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 4: Madrid – Relish a Guided Monuments Tour and Visit to San Miguel Market

The capital city has an ambiance and movement of its own, and the streets bustle beneath the shady trees early as the day begins. Cafes open their doors to the aroma of fresh coffee and delicate pastries stuffed with citrus-zested cream. The shops along Gran Via display chic and elegant contemporary styles in the Beaux-Arts buildings. Your guide will greet you after breakfast and lead you on an engaging tour of Madrid, beginning in the 17th-century Plaza Mayor. Archways support the base of the encircling palaces that are adorned with welcoming arcades.

The plaza once offered the public dramatic performances and tournaments that put one knight against another, and the arched entrances lead to the main streets of Calle Mayor and Calle de Toledo. You will continue to the Grand Basilica of San Francisco before reaching the San Miguel Market, where the wrought-iron frame was constructed in the early 1900s to protect the vendors of the market from the natural elements. Produce stalls have pyramids of lemons and iridescent strawberries as more than 30 different vendors provide freshly prepared tapas that fuse tradition with international flavors, ranging from macaroons to olives infused with garlic.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 5: Seville – Delight in Cordoba with a Traditional Lunch en route to Seville

The doors of a popular cafe open in the morning to welcome patrons as it has since the 1880s. Artists, intellectuals, and writers continue to sit at the tables and sip cortado while watching passersby along the Paseo de Recoletos. Your private transfer will meet you at your hotel after breakfast and escort you south towards the region of Andalusia with a stop in the city of Cordoba. The city has preserved its 10th-century prominence in the architecture and artistry embodied in La Mezquita, one of the greatest examples of Moorish architecture found on the European continent. The edifice was erected in the 8th century and remains a masterpiece of Islamic design.

The scent of fresh, zesty oranges fills the Patio of Oranges, the plaza that leads to the entrance. Palm trees shade the square where ritual ablutions were once performed before visitors to the mosque were allowed inside. More than 850 columns decorate the prayer hall that supports the endless rows of red and white striped archways made of jasper and marble. Geometric patterns and Arabic script adorn the Mihrab, a beautiful marble figure that marks the direction of Mecca. Before leaving Cordoba, your guide will introduce you to a local taverna that is filled with the scent of reduced wine and stewing meat. Delight in the rich flavors of traditional Salmorejo, a cold, creamy sauce made from bread, tomato, and garlic.

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

Day 6: Seville – Tour Seville and Revel in a Day of Sherry and Cheese Tastings

The whitewashed homes of the historical Jewish Quarter burst with the bright hues of color found along the door and window frames. The narrow cobbled lanes lead to the staggering figure of the Basilica’s Giralda bell tower, which stands more than 340 feet tall and was originally a minaret connected to the city’s remarkable mosque. Your guide will take you on a private tour of the city’s stunning monuments before bringing you outside of Seville for a gastronomical look at the sherry vineyards and cheese producers found in the Andalucian countryside. Many locals of the region enjoy sipping a dry sherry to accompany the savory flavors of cured ham or aged cheese.

Venture down into the cellar of one of the best-known wineries known for producing the sweet wine. The air is damp and much cooler than the landscape beneath the warm Spanish sun, and the rows of casks provide a semi-sweet aroma that rises from the wood. Your guide will explain the difference between the finos, amontillados, and olorosos, with the former aging between for up to a decade. Amontillado has a darker color and richer flavor than Fino, with oloroso containing a heavier aroma and sweeter, more fortified flavor. Your guide will draw your tastings directly from the barrels to provide a unique experience that will help to contrast the flavors as they develop during the aging process. When you taste the amontillado, you may discover a pleasant fragrance with notes of citrus and a dry, mild sweetness.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 7: Rabat – Transfer to Casablanca with a Tour before Venturing to Rabat

The sunlight washes over the Gothic façade of the Seville Cathedral and returns the aroma of oranges to the cobbled lanes that surround the plaza. Your private transfer will greet you at your hotel and escort you to the Seville Airport for your flight to Casablanca, the largest city in Morocco. Palm trees line the main avenues and the Atlantic Ocean splashes beneath the seaside promenade of La Corniche. Your private transfer will collect you at Mohammed V International Airport upon your arrival and takes you to see the breathtaking architecture of the Hassan II Mosque as it overlooks the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.

The mosque was built in the early 1990s and is one of the largest mosques in the world. The prayer hall offers a unique subaquatic view of the Atlantic, accentuated by a triptych marble partition, carved dark wood furnishings, and a tile artwork with geometric shapes. You will continue outside of Casablanca to reach the beautiful capital of Morocco, Rabat, where the 11th-century walls of the Oudaias Kasbah continue to guard the city. The peaceful neighborhood has lanes framed by white and blue painted homes, inspired by the architecture of Andalusia as palm trees line the wide, elegant boulevards and narrow lanes meander through the Medina. 

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

Day 8: Fes – Visit Historical Volubilis en route to Fes for a Cooking Class

The aromas of mint tea and semolina pancakes overtake the hotel dining room at breakfast. The fountain in the courtyard trickles into a colorful pool for a very lovely start to your day. Your private transfer will greet you after breakfast and escort you to Imperial city of Meknes before reaching the Roman ruins of Volubilis. The city was established around the 3rd century BC and grew under Roman rule in the 1st century AD, with a circuit of walls that cover more than a mile and a half. Sporadic pillars and stone streets spread across the plains that lead to the rolling hills as a lone cypress tree rises against the edges of the House of Venus.

The structure features traditional mosaics that depict nymphs luring Hylas away from Hercules and the goddess Diana bathing. The tiles retain their vibrant hues against the faded stone of the surrounding ruins and will capture your attention. After some time to settle into the comforts of your riad in Fes, your guide will lead you through the markets of the Medina to shop for your cooking class and bring insight into the traditional flavors of Morocco. Narrow cobblestone lanes create a labyrinth in the heart of the Old City where spice stalls erupt with colors from pyramids of cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and saffron. The scent of sesame drifts between the stone houses and through the horseshoe doorways, and your eyes will struggle to take it all in.

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

Day 9: Fes – Traverse the Spice Markets and Stunning Cultural History of Fes

Donkey carts meander through the narrow lanes of the Medina in the morning as they pull produce and beams of wood. The morning sun will spread through the hidden niches of the Medina, returning the activity to the narrow lanes and the aromas of spices to the markets. At breakfast, you will delight in the steeping flavor of mint tea drizzled with honey and accompanied by an array of berries. Fountains trickle in hidden alleys across the city and minarets soar above the rooftops. Your guide will escort you through the streets of the Medina once again, this time to introduce you to the preserved history of Fes.

Leather workers work with their wares to produce purses, shoes, and belts while surrounding the great tannery pools. The mixture of depths and colors provide a rich contrast to the white walls of the encircling buildings and the tanners dip the leather into the dye, soaking the material until the leather absorbs the rich hues before being left to dry in the sun’s natural heat. Nearby, the Madrasa el-Attarine was erected in the 14th century and offers examples of architecture from the Marinid dynasty. The courtyard features intricate décor in the form of fine cedar woodcarvings and sensational zellige tiles as latticework decorates the keyhole arches. The rooftop provides a grand panorama over the Medina that leads to the green-tiled roof of the Quaraouiyine Mosque.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 10: Marrakech – Revel in a Scenic Ride to Meknes and Lunch in Casablanca

The vendors inside the Medina return to their stalls with keyhole doorways that frame the bright oranges and berries of the fruit stands. At breakfast, you will sip a strong and refreshing cup of coffee that has been accented with a small amount of sugar. Your private transfer will soon meet you in your hotel ready to escort you through the bustling Marrakech. Stop in the charming former Imperial city of Meknes, the capital of the Moulay dynasty in the 18th century. The green-tiled tower of the 12th-century Grand Mosque soars above the rooftops of the Medina, framed by the preserved ancient city walls.

Within the old city, your guide will lead you along the meandering lanes to find the elegant Moulay Ismail Mausoleum. The interior displays exuberance and restraint in the religious decoration as latticed archways wrap around a single trickling fountain at the heart of the hall. The green and gold tiles form geometric shapes along the floor with intricate woodwork that adorns the ceiling above the dangling brass chandelier. In Casablanca, you will find boulevards shaded with palm trees and the waters of the Atlantic Ocean splashing beneath the beachside promenade of El Corniche. You can take a seat inside a popular restaurant along the promenade that harkens back to the French colonial era and connect the enriching style of French cuisine with the dominant flavors of Moroccan gastronomy while enjoying the view to the sapphire water.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, breakfast

Day 11: Marrakech – Discover Fascinating Monuments and a Bread Making Class

The bustling sounds of the Medinas around Morocco have become familiar and welcoming. The aromas of black pepper, ginger, and turmeric drift through the air. The souk fills with vibrant colors from dangling shawls and textiles set against glistening brass candelabras and stained glass panels decorating traditional lanterns. Your guide greets you after breakfast eager to lead you on a private tour through the Medina, highlighting the bustling movement within the 11th-century walls accentuated by the towering figure of Bab al-Monsour, the grand entrance gate to the fortified city. Detailed mosaics add to the luster of the marble columns taken from the Roman ruins and Volubilis.

The indigo and turquoise hues accentuate the keyhole archways. Visit the main square of Place Hedim before entering into a private kitchen with your friendly private chef keen on teaching you the basics of making traditional Moroccan bread known as khobz. You have noticed the staple of a Moroccan diet in the souks and at breakfast, often accompanied with delicate jams or spicy soups. Before introducing you to the tagine, the chef helps sets out the ingredients, allowing you to mix the yeast, water, olive oil and different types of flour. Knead the dough until you can feel the soft but semi-sticky texture on your skin. Once in the oven, the kitchen quickly fills with the aroma of fresh baked bread.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 12: Marrakech – Depart for Home

The aroma of dried spice fills the three levels of a nearby cafe as the rooftop contains tables that offer views over the Medina and lead outwards to the Atlas Mountains. The kitchen emanates with freshly brewed coffee and zesty oranges that are accompanied with spiced tea and cinnamon. Pastries glisten with caramelized sugar and browned buttery exteriors, and it will be difficult to make your choices.  At breakfast, you will enjoy the comforts of your riad as you sample the semolina pancakes, fresh fruits, and mint tea before your private transfer arrives. You will make your way to Marrakesh Menara Airport when you are ready, with plenty of time to check in for your flight home.

What’s Included: airport 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.