Discovering Spain & Morocco by Private Car and Train Itinerary

A 12 day trip to Morocco & Spain 
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As you journey along the open roads of Spain and Morocco, you will be immersed in the grand palaces, the preserved medieval alleyways, and the dunes of the Sahara. During your customizable itinerary to these two countries, you can bask in the scent of the aromatic spices that fill the markets of Marrakech, and then discover the brilliant frescoes that decorate the rooms of Spain’s Royal Palace. Sample decadent Moroccan cuisine and then develop a personal connection to the passion of flamenco. From the charming narrow lanes to the elegant grand boulevards, travel with the promise of an incredible driving adventure in Spain and Morocco. 

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General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, Cordoba, Toledo, Marrakech, Dades Gorge, Erg Chebbi, Casablanca, Merzouga, Todra Gorge, Ait Benhaddou, Ouarzazate 

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Barcelona – Arrive in the Welcoming City of Barcelona

The majesty of Barcelona emanates from the relaxed ambiance and effortless beauty. The sapphire waters of the Mediterranean Sea lap against the sandy beaches in view of the many lively restaurants. Cafes place tables and chairs along the cobblestones of the historical Gothic Quarter in view of the soaring towers and preserved façade of the Cathedral. Your flight will land at Barcelona-El Prat Airport, where your private transfer will greet you upon your arrival. The 15th-century hall of Ajuntament de Barcelona borders Plaça Sant Jaume and contrasts with the 18th-century neoclassical façade of the Generalitat Palace.

Black and gold murals crafted in the 1920s show an Art Nouveau style that depicts the Catalan fighting campaign in Byzantium and Greece and celebrates the strong, independent tradition of Catalonia. Take your time to settle into the comforts of your luxurious accommodation at the center of Barcelona before venturing to Las Ramblas for an immersive stroll around the cultural heart of the city. The street reaches nearly a mile long and connects Port Vell with Plaça Catalunya. Mosaics decorate the walkways beside the boutique shops and bustling cafes, as the aromas of oranges and strawberries float beneath the wrought-iron frame of La Boqueria Market.

What’s Included: accommodation, airport transfer

Day 2: Barcelona – Delight in a Full Day Guided Tour of Art, Culture, and Cuisine

In the morning, the sea breeze will rustle the palm trees that line the seaside promenade. Cafes open their doors to the aromas of fresh pastries and rich coffee as the sunlight filters through the shading trees of Las Ramblas and spread over the cobblestones of the Gothic Quarter. Your guide will greet you at your hotel after breakfast eager to introduce you to the artistry of a city that captures the hearts and attention of visitors from all around the world.

Renowned architect Antonin Gaudi renovated the 19th-century Casa Batlló in the early 20th century. The master crafter convinced the owner to renovate instead of starting from scratch to turn the façade into a rainbow of stained glass and bright tile fragments. Wrought iron balconies texture the sleek surface beneath the scaly roof, as the latter symbolizes St. George, a popular figure in Catalonian history. The interior features a staircase that is illuminated by transparent windows and adorned with a maritime motif amongst the interior’s spirals and curves. The shapes layer the unique architectural aesthetic with a surreal atmosphere, and you can follow in the footsteps of Gaudi to tour the various structures around the Passeig de Gracia before you arrive beneath the towering spires of the Sagrada Familia Basilica.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 3: Madrid – Enjoy a High-Speed Train to Madrid with a Half-Day Exploration

Madrid is a city of prestige and movement, regal architecture and captivating artistry that permeates the fabric of daily life. The streets of Barcelona remain quiet in the early morning hours, with just the sounds of the Mediterranean splashing against the coastline. The cafes set out their chairs in the serene quiet and soon fill the lanes of the Gothic Quarter with the aroma of caramelized sugar and buttery filo dough. Your private transfer will greet you at your hotel after breakfast and escort you to Barcelona Sants Railway Station.

You will board your first-class car of the high-speed rail bound for Madrid, or if you’d rather, join your private driver and enjoy a longer road trip.  Arrive into the city to enjoy the upscale boutique shops line the main boulevard of the Gran Via as trees shade the walkways beneath the towering figures of Beaux-Arts architecture. Your private transfer will escort you from the train station to your hotel near the city center to settle into the luxuries of the regal city. Neighborhoods within the large city act as villages around the mile-long downtown area that stretches from the Royal Palace to El Retiro Park.

Medieval alleyways connect to elaborate museums and enchanting gardens, and your guide will lead you through the captivating movement of the city to see the monuments of Madrid’s history beginning with the Basilica de San Francisco. The structure was erected in the 18th-century with a mesmerizing dome that reaches nearly 110 feet in diameter. Seven doors lead to the interior with three chapels that surround the circular nave while the chapel of San Bernardino de Siena contains a central fresco crafted by master artist Goya.

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

Day 4: Madrid – Relish the Imperial Splendor of Madrid and the History of Toledo

In the morning, your guide will escort you to Madrid’s Royal Palace to experience the grace and grandeur of the 18th-century estate. The city fills with the aroma of coffee and pastries while the adornments on the exterior of the palace foreshadow the opulence to come. The grounds encompass nearly 1.5 million square feet, and the sunlight pours through the window and shines over the Grand Stairwell. A fresco will decorate the ceiling with clouds and cherubs, and you will feel as though you have ascended into the regal version of heaven as you climb the stairs to the Royal Apartments. Crimson velvet curtains decorate the walls of the Throne Room amongst paintings crafted by Tiepolo.

After exploring the palace, your guide will escort you to Toledo, a gorgeous medieval town that overlooks the rushing waters of the Tagus River. Traverse the 13th-century Moorish bridge that is crowned by a Baroque 18th-century gateway. You will be able to hear the water rushing over the rugged banks below as the preserved walls continue to wrap around the cobbled lanes and mixture of Moorish and Christian architecture. Inside the Santa Maria la Blanca Church, you will find elements of the original 12th-century synagogue where the interior contains 28 keyhole arches that are supported by rows of crowned pillars that are influenced by Moorish architecture.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 5: Seville – Transfer to Andalusia at Seville by way of Captivating Cordoba

The sounds of the city return to the morning in Madrid as the cafes open early to offer delicious coffee and crunchy churros rolled in cinnamon and sugar. Your private transfer will greet you at your hotel and escort you through the Spanish countryside to reach the city of Cordoba, en route to Seville. The marvelous city stands along the banks of the Guadalquivir River with foundations that date back two millennia to the occupying Romans. Under the Moorish rule, Cordoba grew into a city dedicated to art, architecture, and leaving a cultural legacy.

Whitewashed homes blossom in spring and summer with flower adorned patios, as the aroma of citrus sweeps through the cobbled lanes that reach from the Patio of Oranges and connect to the Mezquita. Bakeries fill their display cases with pastel Cordobes, a pastry stuffed with delicate citrus-infused cream. You will make your way to the 13th-century Alcazar where Castilian rulers erected the edifice atop the former Moorish palace that once stood to protect the city. King Fernando and Queen Isabel first met Columbus on the palace grounds in the late 15th century. Roman and Visigoth ruins continue to support the foundations, including elements of the defensive walls and towers. The Hall of Mosaics displays the Roman artwork with halls that lead to the open garden of ornamental pools and trimmed hedges.

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

Day 6: Seville – Discover Charm and Flamenco on a Full Day Tour of Seville

The drama of Seville’s Gothic Cathedral will command your attention upon your arrival into the city. The Patio of Oranges offers a citrus zest to the morning air, as narrow cobbled lanes meander between the whitewashed walls of the former Jewish Quarter and connect to the Plaza del Triunfo. After breakfast, your guide will lead you to the entrance gate of the Alcazar, which overlooks the city and provides stunning views of the Cathedral spires as the soaring figure of the Giralda Tower stands more than 300 feet tall. The Alcazar embodies the idea of regal grandeur and Moorish architecture, and the structure was erected in the 10th century with additions in the 14th century under the Christian Reconquest.

Elegance greets you in the courtyard of Patio de las Doncellas in the form of delicate arabesques supported by more than 50 columns. Inside the Hall of the Ambassadors, you can look up to find the dome ceiling adorned with graceful friezes and the sweeping swirls of Arabic script. Stalactite molding accentuates the size of the dome and crowns the gallery. In the evening, you will watch a flamenco show to enjoy the captivating footwork and passionate music of the renowned Andalusian dance. The performers will draw you in with their atmospheric rhythm before clapping their hands to the beat. The dancer will stomp and stride slowly, gathering momentum before her powerful steps move across the stage.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 7: Marrakech – Venture to the Stunning Marrakech for an Introductory City Tour

Today your private transfer will meet you at your hotel in the morning and escort you to Seville Airport for your flight to Marrakech, Morocco, one of four Imperial cities. The Old City fills with the bustling spice markets that radiate with the aromas of ginger, coriander, and sesame. The cobbled lanes create a labyrinth amongst the antique buildings that are encircled by the seasoned city walls. Your private transfer will greet you at Marrakech Menara Airport and escort you into the heart of the Medina at a luxurious riad, a traditional Moroccan mansion.

A fountain trickles in the open courtyard and connects the Moorish architecture of Spain to the architectural similarities of the Morocco. Your guide will help you to navigate the maze of the Medina as you pass shops filled with brass lamps that are covered with vibrant stained glass. Colorful garments dangle from the rafters, and perfumeries offer hints of rosewater to the air. For a fabulous introduction to the city, you will partake in a crafts exhibition situated inside the private home of a Dutch anthropologist. Your guide will introduce you to a collection of arts from Southern Morocco and the Sahara, and then lead you on an aesthetic journey to Timbuktu in the form of masks and a Berber tent woven out of camel hair.

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

Day 8: Marrakech – Explore the Marvels of Marrakech’s Medina and Take a Cooking Class

Marrakech was founded in the 12th century and retains the majesty of history through the preserved architecture and culture that has cultivated myths and legends. Snake charmers take to Jamaa el Fna Square to perform amongst the sounds of the enchanting musicians and storytellers as they weave tales of magic and wonder. Rooftop cafes offer views to the activity below, accentuated by the aroma of mint tea with honey. Your guide will greet you at your hotel lobby eager to lead you through the city once again, this time on an in-depth tour of the living history that begins at the Saadian Tombs.

The mausoleum was erected beside the Kasbah Mosque in the 16th century. Mosaics adorn the burial sites in the gardens that pre-date the Saadian dynasty. The feeling of grandeur comes from the three pavilions that were built during the reign of Ahmed El-Mansour, most notably the Hall of 12 Columns. Marble pillars have become the main feature amongst the latticework that wraps around the three central tombs. The aromas of anise and turmeric will drift from the spice market as you continue to the grounds of the Bahia Palace.  There you can compare the palatial havens of Moorish Spain to the dynastic galleries of Moroccan bastions before indulging in Moroccan flavor with a private cooking class.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 9: Dades Gorge – Revel in Landscapes and Kasbahs en route to Dades Valley

Wake to indulge in an early breakfast of fresh semolina pancakes drizzled in honey. You will have grown familiar with the aroma and flavor of steeping mint tea using fresh leaves. Your private transfer will greet you in the lobby after your meal and escort you out of Marrakech en route to the Dades Valley. The scenic road will take you along the Tizi n’Tichka Pass, which reaches an elevation of more than 7,400 feet as it cuts through the High Atlas Mountains. The road travels along switchbacks to overtake the promontories and ridges to provide a unique view of the snow-capped peaks of North Africa. You can follow along the trails of Berbers before reaching the historical Kasbah of Ait Benhaddou.

The former fortress and town nearly blend into the desert landscape with clay homes. In the foreground, a small stream rushes past, feeding the desert brush. A cliff rises over the Kasbah in the background and glows with rustic red hues. You will pass women weaving clothing along the thin, long steps that lead to the top of the hill. You can reach the rooftops along the homes of the former stronghold for marvelous views of the old walls and striations that streak the textured hills around the valley.    

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

Day 10: Erg Chebbi – Continue into the Desert for a Sunset Tour of the Sahara

The sunlight will wash over the desert landscape that borders with the lush greenery of Skoura, an oasis in the Dades Valley. Dates dangle with palm trees, and olive groves fill the air with a briny sweetness.  Your private transfer will greet you at breakfast and then escort you along the Road of 1,000 Kasbahs that lead to the edges of the Sahara Desert. In the Todra Gorge, you will meander between the canyon walls that reach heights of more than 650 feet tall. The orange and gold striations add to the luster of the natural landscape.

The gorge walls open to the flatlands of the desert near Merzouga, referred to as the Gateway to the Sahara. The market in town fills with spice merchants, textile vendors, and jewelers eager to display designs that celebrate the aesthetics of Berber royalty, Moroccan sultans, and Malian princesses. The sands of the Sahara touch the edges of the town and ascend into the dunes that roll across the horizon. The steep banks of Erg Chebbi can grow to heights more than 500 feet tall and bring endless desert waves that are textured by the gentle breeze. You will soon reach your private luxury tent and enjoy the colors of sunset that burn over the desert.

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

Day 11: Casablanca – Revel in Sunrise over the Sahara and Fly to Casablanca

In the morning, the sunrise will layer the horizon with captivating orange, purple, and pink hues that are reflected in the glow of the pale sand. The aroma of fresh mint tea accompanies the beautiful morning, and your guide leads you back to Merzouga for a short flight to the cosmopolitan city of Casablanca. Palm trees line the wide boulevards and the Atlantic Ocean laps against the pebbled coastline. Art galleries display new Muslim artists and shed light on the contemporary views that have been shaped by religion or the onslaught of Western Civilization.

Casablanca represents the modern culture of Morocco, embodied in the fusion restaurants found along the seaside promenade of El Corniche and the Art-Deco façade of the Grand Theatre. After enjoying the comforts of your luxury hotel, you can set out into the city with your guide to explore the unique atmosphere that effortlessly blends the rich culture of its past with French influences and a deep connection with the outside world embodied in the Hassan II Mosque, one of the largest mosques in the world. The edifice was built in the early 1990s but adheres to the antique décor of Old-World Islamic architecture set alongside the splashing waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The minaret demands attention as it soars into the sky at more than 690 feet tall.

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

Day 12: Casablanca – Depart for Home

The palm trees that line the Place Mohamed V rustle in the morning light against the backdrop of the neo-Moorish style of the Bank of Morocco. The doors of cafes open into the courtyard within the antique-styled mansion of the Medina. Locals and visitors alike enjoy the connection to the classic Hollywood film and celebrate the curved archways, brass lighting, and gentle tune of a piano. The restaurants along El Corniche place their tables and chairs in view of the drifting waters of the Atlantic. After one last morning to enjoy it all, your private transfer will greet you at your hotel and escort you to Mohammed V International Airport for your flight home.

What’s Included: airport transfer, breakfast

Price

Price 

Please inquire for a custom quote. The price is customized based on final accommodation choices, travel dates, and other custom preferences.