Madrid to Marrakech
An exciting journey across Spain and Morocco
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Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Leisurely / Moderate
Group Size Small Group
Al-Andalus’ was once the heart of the Moorish Empire in Europe. Arriving in the 7th century, the Moors and Berbers from Morocco influenced almost every aspect of life on the Iberian Peninsula for over 500 years, building palaces and mosques. After exploring Madrid and the Moorish legacy in Granada and Seville we make the exciting crossing from Europe to Africa and the port city of Tangier. In Morocco we enjoy the beautiful ‘Blue City’ of Chefchaouen, holy Moulay idriss, the Andalusian quarter of Fez and famous Djemaa el Fna in Marrakech. This shared Moorish history flows through this entire two week itinerary and lets us appreciate these two contrasting yet familiar countries.
* All breakfasts and 3 dinners
* All accommodation
* Airport transfers (at designated times)
Tour leader throughout
- Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)
- Journey from Madrid through Moorish Andalucia
- Free time in Seville and Granada
- Take the ferry from Europe to Africa
- Morocco’s imperial cities of Fez, Meknes and Marrakech
- Overnight in Chefchaouen, Morocco’s blue city
- Explore holy Moulay Idriss
- 12 nights 3-star hotels, 1 night gite with shared facilities
- Travel by private minibus, local bus and train
- Group normally 6 to 16, plus leader
Meet for a group meeting at the hotel in the early evening.*Hotel Gran Legazpi or similar*
Morning tour of Madrid; free afternoon.
Our tour starts with an orientation walk in the centre of the Spanish capital. We will take in all the main sites including the beautiful Plaza Mayor, Cybele Palace and Almudena Cathedral. The rest of the day is free to enjoy this lovely city. You may choose to visit one the world famous art galleries, such as Museo del Prado, or maybe just relax in one of the many pavement cafes.*Hotel Gran Legazpi or similar*
Transfer to Granada; afternoon guided orientation walk.
This morning we transfer to Granada, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada and one of the most culturally rich cites in the world. After an orientation tour, there will be time to fully explore the Albaicin gypsy quarter, the Moorish baths and Capilla Real, resting place of the Catholic monarchs who ended Moorish rule in Spain.*Hotel Anacapri or similar*
Visit the Alhambra Palace.
Our destination today is the Alhambra, one of Spain’s most important historical sites. This wonderful hill top 13th century palace complex dominates the skyline of Granada and is truly a sight to behold. Founded by the dynasty of Muhammed Al-Ahmar, it became a Christian court in 1492 when the Catholic monarchs conquered the city. Later, various structures were built for prominent civilians, as well as a military garrisons, a church and a Franciscan monastery. All of these are perfectly preserved.After a guided tour some may choose to spend the day in the palace, however you are free to return to the city for free time.*Hotel Anacapri or similar*
Transfer to Seville; guided city tour.
After a short train journey from Granada we reach the city of Seville, the capital of Andalusia. Famous for flamenco, the Alcázar palace complex and the Gothic cathedral which is the site of Christopher Columbus’s tomb. Here we will enjoy a morning guided tour of the main sights including entrance to the Alcázar itself. The afternoon is free to enjoy the city at your own pace.*Hotel Sacristia de Santa Ana or similar*
Free day in Seville.
With so many sights, Seville definitely warrants another day to explore. So today we have time to enjoy the city at a more leisurely pace. You may choose to spend time in the Museum of Fine Arts, one of Spain’s best galleries, or maybe just take time over a tapas lunch overlooking the grand Plaza de España.In the evening we enjoy a traditional flamenco show (optional). *Hotel Sacristia de Santa Ana or similar*
Ferry to Tangier; transfer to Chefchaouen and medina walking tour.
After a short transfer to Tarifa, we board the ferry and take the exciting transfer from Europe to Africa arriving in the port city of Tangier. From here we travel on to the beautiful ’Blue City’ of Chefchaouen, founded in 1471 and most famous for its bright blue buildings. On arrival we will enjoy a short city tour to learn about the fascinating history of this unique town.*Hotel Madrid or similar*
Free morning in Chefchaouen; transfer to holy Moulay Idriss.
Free morning to enjoy Chefchaouen at your leisure. Our next destination is the sacred hilltop town of Moulay Idriss. Once forbidden to non-Muslims, the picturesque medina offers an excellent insight into traditional Moroccan life. In the evening we visit a family with whom we will share a delicious home cooked dinner.*Guest House La Colombe Blanche or similar*
To Fez via Volubilis; free evening to explore.
A short transfer this morning takes us to the Roman site of Volubilis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, due to it housing the largest and best preserved Roman ruins in North Africa. Despite the damage caused by the 1755 earthquake, this important Roman town managed to retain some detail including very beautiful mosaics. We delve further into this country’s amazing history as we journey to Meknes, where we enjoy an orientation walk around the city including the impressive gate with its arches of mosaic tiles.We will arrive in Fez in the early evening, with plenty of time to settle into our hotel and head out for dinner.*Hotel Across or similar*
Full day sightseeing in Fez
This morning we take a guided tour of the labyrinths and alleyways of Morocco’s third largest city, including a visit to the Andalucian Quarter, whose architecture will now be familiar to us. The afternoon is free to discover more of the intellectual and religious heart of Morocco. Fez has many mosques and medersas (theological colleges) including the 9th century Karouine University, whose architecture is very similar to that seen in Moorish Spain. The famous medina in Fez is one of the largest in the world and in its immense and confusing warren of souks there are thousands of craftsmen in their tiny shops opening onto the narrow alleyways. Noisy and pungent, the medina of Fez is a totally absorbing and unique experience.*Hotel Across or similar*
To Bin Louidane; valley walk and barbecue dinner
We break our journey to Marrakech in the small town of Bin Louidane. The route from Fez takes us across the Middle Atlas mountain range. On arrival there will be time to enjoy a gentle walk around the lake, a contrasting experience in a country so famous for its dry desert landscape.In the evening we will enjoy a barbecue dinner in the garden of our gite on the banks of the river.*Gite L’eau Vive or similar*
Transfer to Marrakech
Our journey from the Spanish capital, through Europe and Africa comes to an end today as we travel from Bin Louidane to Marrakech. One of the imperial cities of Morocco and a city stooped in history and tradition. We arrive late, from a long drive across the mountains, but there will still be plenty of time to exsperience Djemma el Fna, the main square of the city, which burst into life at dusk. Here, thousands of locals and tourist alike come out to enjoy the local food stalls, snake charmers and other street entertainment.*Hotel Gomassine or similar*
Half day city tour of Marrakech; free time
This morning we enjoy a morning guided tour of the ‘Red City’. Our guide will take us to the Bahia Palace, the Saadian tombs and of course the main souq and spice market. There will also be plenty of free time. You may wish to head further into the souq and try your hand at getting a bargain. Alternatively you can retreat to the tranquil Majorelle Gardens, just a short walk from our hotel and a lovely spot to find some shade.In the evening we will be returning to Djemma el Fna for a traditional farewell dinner in the bustling square, a fitting end to our exciting journey.*Hotel Gomassine or similar*
Our tour ends after breakfast
Hotel and gite accommodation
12 nights in hotels and 1 nights in a private guest house with shared facilities in Moulay Idriss. The hotels in Fez, Bin Louidance and Marrakech have small swimming pools.
All the hotels we use are of a similar standard, clean and functional although the rooms and facilities may be basic and the breakfasts simple. Our night in the hills is in simple cosy accommodation, with shared facilities. The gite may be basic in comparison to a hotel but the welcome is warm, and the property offers lovely views over the surrounding countryside.
All breakfasts, 3 dinners included.
Moroccan food is, generally speaking, excellent though not particularly varied. Breakfasts usually consist of bread and jam with coffee or tea. Meals eaten out are reasonably priced – kebab and bread cost only about US$7 equivalent. In main towns it is possible to find very good French and Moroccan restaurants where a meal and French wine will cost anything from USD$30 upwards. Generally dinner is likely to cost between approx. US$8-15 equivalent depending on what you drink – so an estimate for food would be about approx. US$25 equivalent a day. Local beers, wines and soft drinks are available at very reasonable prices, but you can pay USA prices or more for imported alcohol. Your leader can help recommend restaurants each evening.
Please note that if you have any special dietary requirements you should inform the Exodus Office prior to the trip. If you have a specific medical/dietary need (i.e. coeliac or vegan) you may find it helpful to bring some items of food with you from home.
Vegetarians: Please be aware that a meat and fish diet is the norm in Spain. Vegetarians can be catered for, but a degree of flexibility is required. There is a fairly limited choice of vegetable tajines, couscous and omelettes. This is particularly the case in more rural areas.
This is a busy trip for those who like to keep on the move and see as much as they can. Using a variety of transport, including ferry and trains where we have the opportunity to experience local life. Travelling conditions are generally comfortable as most roads are reasonably good and train journeys are in second class compartments. Orientation tours are provided in all Spanish cities visited and guided tours are included in Fez, Marrakech and Volubilis.
We will stay in standard hotels that offer all amenities you would come to expect (some with swimming pools). Spain and Morocco generally enjoy a good year round climate (sun-soaked in the summer and reasonably warm in the winter).
Please note Ramadan runs from 15th May – 14th June 2019 – During Ramadan, our local guides and drivers choose to work and so we continue to run trips in this period. However, the energy levels of our staff and some local guides may be a bit lower and that some restaurants may be closed during the day. Having said this, Ramadan is a speical time to visit a Muslim country – each evening the streets empty for an hour while everyone breaks their fast, and there’s a feeling of festivity in the air every night.