The histories of Spain and Morocco have been intricately linked with one another right through the ages. They have each influenced the other in the areas of art, culture and architecture.
Take an extensive tour of Seville, Granada, Cordoba, Toledo, Fez, Marrakech, Casablanca and Rabat and discover for yourself the richness that is the result of the close proximity of Spain and Morocco.
Day 01: Madrid – Cordoba - Seville
The tour departs at 0830h from Plaza de Espana, 7, Madrid. You will travel in an sir-conditioned minibus accompanied by a guide.
Travel through the land of Don Quixote "The Man from La Mancha" to reach Cordoba in time.
Cordoba was founded by the ancient Romans. During the classic Roman times, the great philosophers, Seneca the Elder and the Younger expressed their ideas and orated in some of the wonderful palaces that the Romans built here.
Cordoba then went on to become the capital of the Iberian peninsula under the caliphates of the Moorish dynasties. For a long time it was the largest city in Western Europe. Today the historic centre of Cordoba is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The tour starts by visiting the famous Mezquita or the Great Moorish Mosque of Cordoba. The Mosque was considered a wonder of the medieval world by both Muslims and Christians. Its internal columns and arcades create a vision that reflects the building traditions of the Great Mosque of Damascus and the Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem.
You also visit the Jewish Quarter, which dates back to the times of the Romans and Goths. The area consists of a captivating system of narrow lanes that provide for great atmosphere allowing you to imagine what it was like in its heyday.
Built in the medieval period around 1315, the Sinagoga of Cordoba is the only one to survive the Inquisition. Containing Hebrew inscriptions and beautifully restored, it has been converted into a museum.
After your trip around Cordoba your will then be taken to Seville.
On arrival in Seville you check in to your hotel for dinner where you also stay the night.
Day 02: Seville
The morning starts with breakfast after which you start your morning tour of Seville. It is one of the most loved and visited cities in all of Spain. Occupied by the Moors for more than 800 years it still bears reminders of its rich and vivid past.
Start with a visit to the Cathedral of Seville - It is the third largest church in Europe and the largest Gothic religious building in Europe. It also boasts the largest and richest altarpiece in the world. It is lavishly decorated with a large quantity of gold. It is so large that it seems an ordinary cathedral could fit inside its walls.
Visit the Santa Cruz Quarter - Stroll through the famous historical old town of Seville. It is truly the heart of the city with a magical charm that comes from its winding alley and lime-washed houses. It was home to the Jewish Quarter in the Middle Ages and the enormous and beautiful Maria Luis Gardens built as a Romantic garden. It was also home to the legendary ‘Don Juan’.
The afternoon is yours to explore the city at your leisure. You return to your hotel in Seville for dinner and stay the night.
Day 03: Seville - Costa del Sol
After breakfast you depart for Ronda, taking the White Villages road.
On arrival at Ronda you have time and leisure to admire this ancient town of Celtic origin. It is one of the loveliest towns of southern Spain. It is famous worldwide for its dramatic escarpments and views over the Serranía de Ronda Mountains. Ronda has preserved its charm and historical identity despite the growth of tourism.
Please wear comfortable shoes for a walk around Ronda. Walking around this city may involve going through some steep cobble-stoned streets.
Some of Ronda’s attractions that you will see are: The Puente Nuevo or ‘New Bridge’ - The Bridge spans the 100 metre El Tajo gorge. It is from here that you can get spectacular views of the Serranía de Ronda Mountains.
La Ciudad or the old city is separated from the newer city by the Puente Nuevo. This is the old Muslim part of Ronda and has winding cobbled streets hemmed in by fine-looking old mansions. In one corner of La Ciudad is the Palacio Mondragón and its beautiful miniature water gardens.
The Barrio San Francisco is a lovely place to relax because of its picturesque and excellent bars and restaurants. On one side is the lovely Church of Espiritu Santo.
After spectacular Ronda you travel on to Costa del Sol. On arrival at Costa del Sol you check in at your hotel. You are at liberty to do as you please for the rest of the afternoon. Have dinner and stay the night on the Costa del Sol.
Day 04: Costa Del Sol – Algeciras – Fez
After breakfast you set off along the Costa del Sol to Algeciras or Tarifa, from where you will board the ferry for the crossing to Morocco.
On arrival at Morocco you continue on to Fez. On arrival Fez you check into your hotel, have dinner and stay the night.
Day 05: Fez
After breakfast you set off for your city tour of Fez, the most ancient of the Imperial cities of Morocco. It regarded as being the symbolic heart of Morocco. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Medina of Fez el-Bali, in particular and Fez in general, has been regarded as the cultural and artistic centre of Morocco. It was for quite a long time the religious and centre for both Muslims and Christians.
Your tour starts outside the Royal Palace. From here you can admire the stunning entrance to the Palace, which hints at the beauty which lies behind the walls. Unfortunately the Palace is not open to the public.
Stroll through the Christian and Jewish Quarters. Visit these ancient and historic areas of Fez with their distinctive architectural styles and character. The coach will drop you off in the vicinity of these areas. Your tour continues on foot. After your exploration of these ancient areas you return to the coach and continue the tour.
Next stop is the The Medina (Old City). The ancient walled city with its twisting alleys and souks - is widely regarded as the most intact Islamic medieval city in the world.
After your tour of this fascinating city, then take lunch at afternoon. Then the afternoon is at leisure.
Return to your hotel in Fez for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 06: Fez – Meknes – Marrakech
After breakfast at the hotel the tour then leaves for Marrakech.
En route we will take a short panoramic tour of the town of Meknes. Meknes is one of the “Imperial Cities” and has monumental gates, imposing walls and enormous palace complex and many other building projects.
The construction of the city was commissioned by Moulay Ismail in the latter part of the 17th century. It was once the capital of the Moroccan kingdom.
Your tour will include The Mansour Gate - The great and beautiful Gate attracts many visitors everyday. It is one of the more beautiful pieces of Moorish architecture in Morocco. Once the main entrance to the city, the huge gate is well preserved and has interesting inscriptions on the top. You will also visit the The Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail – is a beautiful piece of architecture and is the tomb of, probably, Morocco’s greatest personality.
Besides the architecture of the city, the many romantic and traditional souks selling everything from cure-all medicines to carpets and jewellery to bakeries selling traditional breads are another major attraction for visitors.
After the brief tour of Meknes, the coach tour departs for Marrakech. On arrival at Marrakech, you check into your hotel for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 07: Marrakech
After breakfast you are taken on a tour of the city of Marrakech. The “Red City” or “Al Hamra” – Marrakech sits at the foot of the Atlas Mountains. Built in the 11th century, the underground canals still service the water needs of the city.
Start in the Koutoubia Minaret. The most perfect Islamic monument in North Africa. The minaret dominates the city of Marrakech and is visible for miles around. It is a perfect and classic example of the Moroccan-Andalucian architectural style. You will find copies of the Koutoubia around Morocco but none to match it in size or grandeur.
The Saadian Tombs were discovered early in the last century. They are a must see because of the delicate carvings and the beauty of the decorations. It is one of the cities architectural attractions. Housing the remains of about 60 members – the tombs are decorated with beautifully carved cedar wood and stucco work with the graves made of Italian marble.
The highlight for most people is a visit to the Djemaa El Fna Square. This is the largest traditional market in Morocco and the busiest square in all of Africa. It is the core of the medina and the main square of Marrackech. It is filled with fortune tellers, story tellers, snake tamers, etc. This square is where it all happens and draws the visitor back time and time again. Lively at any time of day, it is especially so as sundown turns to night.
After the morning’s sightseeing you are at leisure to do as you please for the remainder of the afternoon. Dinner will be at your hotel in Marrakech where you will stay for the night.
Day 08: Marrakech – Casablanca – Rabat
After breakfast you depart for the legendary city of Casablanca.
On arrival at Casablanca you take a tour of this wonderful city. Casablanca is Morocco's largest city, industrial and economic capital as well as its chief port.
The focal point of the city is the large and impressive United Nations Square. Located at the corner of the old part of Casablanca it has an impressive (restored) clock tower. In the same area are the remains of Casablanca’s 18th century fortifications. The ruins of this former bastion provide a breathtaking view of the city.
You will drive down the ANFA Avenue, which is reckoned to be the most westernised district of the city. You will also get to travel down the new and impressive Promenade Maritime.
The large and imposing Hassan II Mosque is another noteworthy landmark. This mosque is the world’s third largest. The soaring minarets and laser lights (pointing the way to Mecca) at night make it a truly striking piece of architecture.
In the afternoon, after your panoramic tour of Casablanca the tour moves on to Rabat.
On arrival at Rabat you check into your hotel for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 09: Rabat – Tangier – Larache
After breakfast you set off on your morning tour of the city of Rabat.
Then tour starts outside the Royal Palace. As with Fez the palace can only be admired from the outside, but hints at the beauty and opulence which is contained inside.
On of the most famous buildings in Casablanca is the Mohammed V Mausoleum. The building is considered a masterpiece of modern Alaouite dynasty architecture, with its white silhouette, topped by a typical green tiled roof. Part of the complez - the Hassan Tower is incomplete. The minaret along with the mosque and the Mausoleum of Mohammed V forms the most important historical and tourist complex in Rabat.
At the end of your tour of this wonderful city, in the afternoon, we depart for Tangier.
On arrival at Tangier we do a brief panoramic tour of the city. You will drive along the Boulevard Pasteur and admire its views overlooking the Strait and its scores of cafes - relics from the days of the International Zone and the Beat Generation. During the Thirties, Forties and Fifties Tangier was famous for its eccentric writers and artists. It also acquired a dubious status for the large-scale espionage activities and smuggling.
With its reputation and old world charm, Tangier still manages to captivate today’s visitors.
Enjoy a visit to the Grand Socco - Just outside the city walls is the souk, where you can see traditional products being made and sold. Walk through the archway into the medina and take a trip back in time as you encounter a medieval world as you traverse the narrow lanes of the old town.
You will also visit the Petit Socco - Here, in the heart of the Medina, you will find an open space with cafés where you can see people from all cultures go by. Your last stop in Tangiers in the Kasbah. A complex of castles on top of the hill overlooking the city. The 17th century Dar el Makhzen palace and its gardens are part of this complex.
We will also drive along the Mohammed V Avenue and the famous “Promenade Maritime”.
After the brief tour of the city, you check into your hotel in Tangier where you will have dinner and stay the night.
Day 10: Tangier – Costa del Sol
After breakfast at the hotel you depart for Pier, where you board the ferry to Algeciras in Spain.
On arrival in Algeciras your coach will take you on to Costa del Sol. On arrival at Costa del Sol you check into your hotel to have dinner and stay the night.
Day 11: Costa del Sol – Granada
After breakfast in the hotel you then depart for Granada.
On arrival at Granada you visit and explore the magnificent Alhambra complex which includes the beautiful Generalife Gardens. This was the seat of the Moorish kingdoms of Spain and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Broadly speaking The Alhambra is composed of three parts: The Royal Palace, The gardens of Generalife and the fortress of Alcazar. The Royal Palace, the most famous, consists of the Mexuar – enclosing the striking Golden Room - where the sultans conducted every day business. The Serallo, which served as a reception area and its very attractive Patio of Myrtles and the intriguing Lions' Court. The Hall of the Ambassadors is the largest and finest room in the palace where King Fernando discussed Columbus’ attempt to find the sea route to India.
The inspiration for the gardens of Generalife is supposed to be the Koran’s description of Paradise. Running water and plenty of shaded areas together with all sorts of plants reminded the rulers of Granada of their past in the hot deserts. The Patio of the Cypresses and the Walk of the Cascades are the highlights here.
The fortress of Alcazaba (the Citadel) is the oldest part of the Alhambra and consists of the impressive Torre de la Vela.
Please wear comfortable walking shoes. Some parts of the Alhambra are unsuitable for those with mobility difficulties.
After your tour of the Alhambra the afternoon is yours at leisure. You will have dinner and stay overnight in Granada.
Day 12: Granada – Toledo – Madrid
After breakfast at the hotel you then leave for the Imperial City of Toledo.
On arrival at Toledo the tour stops so that you can take a break for lunch. After lunch you are taken on a tour of the city and its most important monuments and sites. You will get to explore and see many architectural and artistic styles such as "Mudejar", Gothic and Renaissance.
We will get to see plenty of El Greco’s paintings inside different churches and monasteries around the town. You will get to see the world famous art of Damascening – or the decorative application of gold or silver on iron or steel.
You will visit the The Gothic Cathedral (outside visit only,) which contains many famous works of art including those of El Greco. Also visit St. Tome Church - with its mudejar Tower and El Greco’s most famous painting – “The Burial of Count Orgaz”.
Synagogue de "Santa Maria La Blanca" is a beautiful construction in the ‘mudejar’ style and in the medieval Jewish Quarter of Toledo.The Victorio Macho Museum - is now a museum containing some of Mach'os best known sculptures and is situated right in the heart of the Aljama, Toledo's old Jewish Quarter.
Lastly visit the Monastery of the San Juan of the Kings – A 15th century monastery in the Gothic-Spanish-Flemish style was built on the orders of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella.
After the tour of Toledo you continue on to Madrid where the tour ends.