Highlights of Spain, Portugal & Morocco 2019-2020

A 17 day trip to Morocco & Spain 
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Explore the irresistible soul of Spain, Portugal, and Morocco on this unique 17-day tour through the best of each country. From fado and flamenco, to desert and beach, and walled cities and wondrous monuments, this route has been handcrafted to celebrate a complete range of highlights, which include charming medieval towns, art trails, and capital cities with a vibrant present. Every day will create a new experience on a route that is both exotic and enchanting, full of historical sites while packed with local culture.

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General Information

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Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Lisbon, Alfama, Baixa, Jeronimos Monastery, Tagus River, Andalusia, Seville, Casa de Pilatos, Santa Cruz, Jerez, Algeciras, Strait of Gibraltar, Barbary Coast, Rabat, Royal Palace, Hassan Tower, Roman Relics of Chellah, Casablanca, Hassan II Mosque, Marrakesh, Bahia Palace, Saadian Tombs, Djemaa El-Fna, Ouarzazate, Kasbah Taourirt, Dedes Valley, Todra Gorge, Erfoud, Sahara Desert, Erg Chebbi, Ziz Gorges, Middle Atlas, Fez, Royal Palace, Mellah, Ben Bou Jeloud, Fez Medina, Tangier, Costa del Sol, Granada, Alhambra, Water Gardens of the Generalife, Toledo, Church of Santo Tome, Madrid, Plaza de Espana, Prado Museum, El Escorial

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

(Day 1): Lisbon – The Iconic Tramcar and an Ebullient Capital City

Lisbon will delight you with its contrasts, making it an ideal introduction to this 17-day luxury tour. Every neighborhood is different and there’s a commitment to idiosyncrasy that you’ll later find all over Iberia and Morocco. After your private driver escorts you from the airport to your hotel the afternoon will be at your leisure. Take a stroll around the grand district of Baixa, perhaps heading out to the riverside promenade or one of the districts on a hill. In the late afternoon you will enjoy a timeless journey through the city as you ride the number 28 tramcar that connects the diverse central neighborhoods. This vintage means of travel will create a window onto the city for you. The evening will be at your leisure and Lisbon has an outstanding culinary reputation.

What’s Included: airport transfer, accommodation, tour

(Day 2): Lisbon – Highlights of Lisbon Private Tour and Fado Performance

On your first full day in Lisbon, you will discover that Portugal’s capital is the home of legends, where monuments to explorers stand on the riverfront and a unique architectural style stands out from the rest of Europe. The grandest monuments are in the region of Belem where Manueline style added glitz and glamor to the 15th and 16th centuries. Baixa was rebuilt after the 1755 earthquake, a complementary show of grandeur. Then there’s Alfama, the old quarter for seamen, and Bairro Alto, the slum turned 21st-century creative hub. You will explore all this on a full-day private Lisbon tour, before an evening in one of Alfama’s traditional taverns, where a classic Fado performance reveals the soulful music of the past.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

(Day 3): Seville – The Historic Soul of Andalusia

The next morning you will take a short flight south where the atmosphere will change. You will be in another lively city, where the old quarters are draped in the ebullience of today. There’s a different soul here, one that lives life in the present even if one of Europe’s oldest historic centers provides the setting. After you touch down and settle in, the best way to initially explore will be to do so without a map. Moorish architecture enlivens the streets, mingling with murals and al fresco terraces. Cathedral spires stand over streets of cobblestone and allure. Mazy walkways open out onto a harbor where Columbus set sail and the history of Andalusia can be found on every corner. Today you will relax, indulge, and let your footsteps roam to the southern beat.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, breakfast

(Day 4): Seville – A City of Many Sides and a Night of Flamenco

After yesterday’s open discovery you will be privately guided today as you take a tour through the monuments that elevate Seville further. You will discover Roman remnants followed by Moorish remains, such as the artistry of buildings like Casa de Pilatos. Then, take a walk through Santa Cruz, discover one of Europe’s greatest cathedrals, gaze up at the Golden Tower and get to know Seville with an insider. There will be something special for the evening, a performance of Andalusian flamenco in the home of flamenco. A soulful guitar finds the space between traditional notes, feet stamp and hands clap to control the rhythm, and an enchanting voice improvises a story that moves through you with every word.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

(Day 5): Rabat – Following the Iconic Barbary Coast

The next day you will begin your journey from Seville to Rabat, taking time to enjoy a sherry in Jerez, the home of the fruity and fragrant sweet wine. Then cross the Strait of Gibraltar by ferry as you gaze back at the cliffs of Iberia and forward to the dusty iconicity of Africa. You will be greeted by a private driver at the ferry port and begin to trace a route along the Barbary Coast, passing cute villages and stunning stretches of untouched coast. While you will start your trip early in the morning, the Moroccan portion of the trip will be very flexible and you can stop off at various points on the route, depending on your interests. When you arrive in Morocco’s old capital in the late afternoon, you will be surprised at how calm and quaint the city is.

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

(Day 6): Marrakesh – Sublime Monuments of the Moroccan Cities

In the morning, you will notice how Medieval battlements mark the cityscape in Rabat, odes to a time of quarrel and conflict. They juxtapose with a royal palace that looks completely different to the one you saw in Lisbon. Travel beneath a 12th-century gate into the Kasbah of Oudayas, where palm trees provide shocks of green amid the sandstone architecture. Admire Hassan Tower and a series of Roman relics before the short drive south to Casablanca. Here you will have lunch at Rick’s Cafe Casablanca, the restaurant made famous by Humphrey Bogart in the movie Casablanca. After lunch, you will visit Hassan II Mosque, one of the world’s largest mosques and a fabulous impression of Islamic architecture as the silence and design is extraordinary. Casablanca is a modern city and from here you will continue to Marrakesh, where the tradition is everywhere you look in the old town.

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

(Day 7): Marrakesh – Immersed in the Seductive Back-Lanes

Today you will discover that Old Marrakesh is a maze, where even the most detailed maps can’t do justice to the abundance of back-lanes and alleyways. It will be a baffling experience to be guided by your five senses as you hear market traders calling, smell spicy fragrances floating, and experience the local life continuing. You can turn a corner and stumble upon a lively street. Or you can turn a different corner to find tranquility and an exquisite historical icon such as like Badia Palace or the Saadian Tombs. Spend a whole day being guided around, with the exact itinerary dependent on your interests. The evening will be at your leisure to explore vibrant neighborhoods, such as Djemaa El-Fna, which has been a popular hangout place for centuries. This a central square is where musicians and storytellers ply their trade, alongside a marketplace of food and vivacity.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

(Day 8): Ouarzazate – Across the Mountains to the Immortalized Movie Sets

The following day, you will leave the city behind you to travel across the epic landscapes of Morocco. Snow clings to summits in the High Atlas, a mountain chain that casts a great scar between the coast and desert. As you descend from the mountain pass, you will arrive in Ouarzazate, a city of movie studios that’s surrounded by filming locations. Star Wars, Lawrence of Arabia and Gladiator were all filmed in this area, along with most Hollywood movies based in the Middle East or Rome. While the studios showcase one perspective of the region, Ouarzazate is also a city of tradition that sees relatively few tourists. Spending a night on the main plaza will be a great way to enjoy the local culture and lifestyle.

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

(Day 9): Erfoud – Into the Sahara and the Dunes

In the morning, a zigzag of roads will take you into the Dades Valley, where the ochre of the rock is punctuated by an oasis of villages. Plantations of olives and dates and figs stand beneath the narrowing valley walls. This is all just an introduction to the next natural wonder, Todra Gorge. You will continue deeper into the desert, until the camels are more numerous than the vehicles and the sand dunes rise evocatively beyond the horizon. You have a choice tonight. Either drive out into the sand dunes by four-wheel drive, cruising to a towering point that’s surrounded by silence, before an evening at a hotel that gazes onto the dunes. Or ride by camel to a small camp that’s hidden in the dunes, for a night beneath the stars and an insight into Berber tradition.

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

(Day 10): Fez – The World’s Largest Walled City

Admire the sand dunes as they change color at sunrise, the shadows turning to orange and yellow as the day starts in earnest. You will travel northwest, back through the Atlas Mountains to the world’s largest walled city. Along the way you stop at spectacular gorges, an old French settlement, and oasis villages that are perfect for a refreshing cup of sweet mint tea. Berber King Idris made Fez the country’s capital in the eighth century and it continues to be a city of art and folklore. It’s a confusing place, a maze behind walls where it’s impossible not to get lost. Your guide will provide an orientation before leading you to a restaurant terrace for dinner amid the city’s soul.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

(Day 11): Tangier – Legendary Tales of Culture and Tradition

This morning you will stand on a viewpoint and marvel at the scale of the city and the endless details such as the roofs that stretch across the valley. Marvel at the Blue Gate that guards the city, then enter beneath the adorned facade. Travel through the ancient souks, from the tanners to the jewelers to the antique stores and the spices. Explore the old Jewish quarter of Mellah and be guided into the heart of the Medina, where the sounds and smells are as evocative as the sights. You’ll spend most of the day in Fez before you are transfered north to Tangier, a city immortalized by the travel writers of the early 20th century. Perched on the coast, it will be a peaceful place to discover before tomorrow’s ferry ride to Spain.

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

(Days 12 – 13): Costa Del Sol – Beach Relaxation in the South of Spain

After tirelessly exploring Portugal and Morocco, there will be a brief change of tempo. Once you cross the Strait of Gibraltar you will settle into a quiet beach village on Spain’s southern coast, where the sounds of the surf keep you company. There isn’t much to do here and the village has been chosen for its quietude. After You will be grateful for the opportunity to recharge your batteries and reflect on what you’ve experienced so far. Enjoy lazy mornings, languid afternoons, and easy evenings on a restaurant terrace. You’ll be tucked away on a beautiful part of the Mediterranean coastline and there are some excellent self-guided coastal hikes if you are interested.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, breakfast

(Day 14): Granada – The Fabulous Legacy of the Moors

Recharged and revitalized you will continue the adventure to cross a landscape that’s filled with Moorish influence. Iconic white villages (Pueblos Blancos) dot the hills and the design of the Mudejars gives every settlement an old-world beauty. Today’s destination will be Granada, home to one of the world’s greatest historical buildings, the Alhambra. It’s a fantasy land of Arabesque detail, so intricate it appears to be made of lace rather than stone. This city was the last stronghold of the Moors and there are countless other memoirs to their story, from fountains to palaces to the vernacular wonder of the past.  As the Alhambra is illuminated on the hill, the evenings in Granada will be very special, with such a wonderful impression of the past surrounding you at all times.

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

(Day 15) Madrid – Following the El Greco Trail and Tapas in the Capital

Today you will drive north across La Mancha, the landscape of open plains immortalized by Don Quixote. Your first destination will be Toledo, an old Moorish bridge that leads you into a city of medieval enchantment. Cathedral bells chime, a synagogue stands next to the remains of a mosque, and the cobbled roads lead you to some of Spain’s finest architecture. You’ll take the El Greco trail to follow in the footsteps of Spain’s pre-eminent Golden Age artist and admire his most important works, like the mural at the Church of Santo Tome. Then continue onward to Madrid where the best introduction to the city will be a different kind of trail, a tapas tour. It will not just be an insight into the flavors but an introduction to the ambiance of a capital city that is far more tranquil than its size suggests.

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

(Day 16): Madrid – Wonders of the Spanish Capital

On your last full day in Spain, you will discover the numerous wonders of Madrid. Marvel at the iconic art pieces in the Prado, one of the world’s great art galleries. Take a stroll through the lavish decoration of El Escorial, a World Heritage Site that shows the relationship between royalty and religion. Admire the ancient rooms in the Royal Palace then gaze up at the statue of Cervantes. Relax on a city square, sipping on wine or coffee as you watch the world go by. Then take a stroll through vibrant central neighborhoods that are laced in history. There’s a high degree of flexibility for you to experience as much of Madrid as you can. The guide can tailor a route to your interests and you will never be far from a grand plaza to rest your legs.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

(Day 17): Madrid – Departure

Spend the day in Madrid, a chance to visit attractions you missed yesterday, or to simply sit back on a terrace and recount the last 17 days. You’ll be transferred to the international airport in plenty of time for your departing flight.

What’s Included: airport transfer, breakfast

For more inspiration, read our reviews of Spain and Morocco from our travelers and gain more information about this amazing experience.

Price

Starting Price 

$3,947
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.