This 17-day (16 nights) tour is the ultimate experience for those who are keen on visiting these three exotic locations: Spain, Portugal, and Morocco. You will tour two continents, Europe and Africa, in a little over two weeks.
During the tour you will visit Spain's major cities: Madrid, Toledo, Salamanca, and the most beautiful, authentic regions of the Spanish south - Andalusia: Seville, Cordoba and Granada.
In Portugal we’ll tour Coimbra with its ancient university, Fatima which is the center of Catholic pilgrimage from all over the world, and of course, Lisbon, the capital and one of the oldest cities in the world (the oldest in Western Europe).
In Morocco we will tour the major cities and noticeable sights. Of these, there are four main imperial cities: Fez, Meknes, Marrakesh and Rabat. We sill also pass through the coastal cities of Casablanca and ''gate to Europe'' - Tangier. You will feel the exotic and unique atmosphere in Morocco, experience the charming atmosphere of the ''souks'' (traditional Arabian markets), try local foods and absorb the spirit of this beautiful Arabian country.
The tour is very intence, with many cities to visit, lots of places to see and thousands pictures to take.
Day 1. Madrid
Arrival. Meet 'n' Greet in the airport by our guide.
Transfer to the hotel, check-in.
Free time in the evening.
Day 2. Madrid
Here it starts! Breakfast in the hotel, followed by a full day around the capital of Spain. Main highlights of the day:
- Royal Palace: Spain’s Royal Palace is one of the largest in Europe, and visitors are sure to be in awe of the regal columns, gold decor and extensive number of statues outside. The interior is equally impressive, with a collection of court paintings, frescoes and even a Stradivarius collection. Tickets and inside tour are included.
- Plaza Mayor: one of the most breathtaking sites in Spain, this plaza has 237 balconies facing the center of the square, where a statue of King Felipe III on his horse sits pretty. Dating back to the 1600s, the Plaza Mayor is now a site of outdoor cafes and restaurants where wandering tourists can relax, enjoy a drink and soak up the fantastic atmosphere.
- Puerta del Sol: one of the best known and busiest locations in Spain, this public square is the perfect meeting place to start exploring Madrid. With the famous Tio Pepe sign, the emblematic bear statue and a beautiful clock tower, this plaza (originally one of the gates in the city wall during the 15th century) is not to be missed.
- Mercado San Miguel: famous for its cast-iron columns and many market stalls featuring Spanish culinary delights, the Mercado de San Miguel is a dream for visiting foodies. Try famous Spanish jamon (Iberian ham), Manchego cheese or simply wander past the stalls and admire the huge range of delicious foods on display.
- Gran Via: known for its bright lights and shopping, Calle Gran Vía is one of Madrid’s most famous streets. The ''Fifth Avenue'' of the city, you’ll be able to find anything you need, including restaurants, stores and many of the city’s renowned theatres.
- Plaza Espana: famous for its statue of Miguel Cervantes, the Plaza España is located just off the famous Gran Vía street and near the Royal Palace. Built in the early 1900s, the city of Madrid has recently voted on reforming the Plaza, which will soon incorporate greater number of trees and flowers for city-dwellers and tourists to enjoy.
- Templo de Debod: although this temple dates back to the 2nd century BC, it was gifted to Spain and moved to its current location in Madrid in 1968. While it may seem odd to see an Egyptian statue in the middle of a European city, the Templo de Debod is one of Madrid’s most beloved attractions.
- Santiago Bernabeu located in the Spanish capital, Madrid, and is the home of the world-famous Real Madrid football team. It is by and large considered one of the world’s most prestigious football stadiums and regularly hosts some of the most important international competitions in the sport.
Optional add-ons for the day:
- Visit to Santiago Bernabeu football Stadium (the famous home of FC Real Madrid)
- Visit to Museum Prado, a national Art Museum with one of three most famous art collections in the world (alongside the Louvre in Paris and the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg)
Day 3. Madrid - Salamanca - Coimbra
After breakfast you'll leave Madrid behind and head towards Portugal, making your way to the medieval city of Located in the north-western part of Spain, Salamanca is a city of exceptional beauty and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988. You'll have a free time to enjoy the beautiful city center of Salamanca on your own. Highlights not to miss:
- The Old Town - listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988, the beautifully preserved old town in the center of the city is impossible to miss. The unmistakable sandstone architecture is scattered throughout and found among some of the city’s most famous monuments.
- - Salamanca’s impressive New Cathedral lies next to the Old Cathedral and its construction first began in the 15th century, and lasted until the 18th. It is considerably larger than its historic counterpart and is one of Spain’s most impressive examples of Gothic architecture, while also featuring Renaissance and Baroque elements.
- Salamanca University is located in the historic town center and was founded between 1425 and 1433. The building is considered one of the oldest universities in the world, and also one of the most beautiful ones.
- (The Main Square) - one of the largest squares in Spain, and is the heart of the bustling city. Small shops and restaurants are spread out around the bustling. Along with the University of Salamanca, Plaza Mayor is considered the emblem of the city and has been declared a National Monument.
- The historical Casa de las Conchas (Shells House) - building of a 16th century, is known for its curious façade, which is decorated with more than 300 shells.
After some free time continuation towards Spanish-Portugese.
Later arrival to ancient Portugese city of Coimbra. Check-in, overnight.
Day 4. Coimbra - Fatima - Evora - Lisbon
Breakfast followed a walking city tour to admire a gorgeous Univercity and a library of Coimbra (with a tour inside).
- The university is a public institution, established in 1290 in Lisbon. It went through a number of addresses before being permanently relocated to its current location in 1537. It is one of the oldest universities in continuous operation in the world, the oldest in Portugal, and one of Portugal’s largest higher education and research institutions. You’ll visit Mosteiro de Santa Clara-a-Velha, the monastery built in the 14th century and the old Cathedral of Coimbra.
Next stop for the day - beautiful and ancient town of Evora.
- Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Évora is known as a ''city-museu'', filled with culturally significant landmarks and marked with a notable history. It is also the Alentejo's regional capital and largest city. There is plenty to see and do, including visiting the eerily stunning Chapel of Bones (Capela dos Ossos), snapping photos of the ancient Roman Temple, touring the Royal Palace, and enjoying a drink, lunch or coffee in the central square.
After some free time FOR lunch, we continue on to Lisbon - the capital of Spain and one of the most interesting and beautiful cities in Europe.
Arrival, check in at the hotel and an overnight.
Day 5. Lisbon
Breakfast, then a city tour around Lisbon, both with bus and wlaking thru the Old Quorter. offers a rich and varied history, a buzzing nightlife and is blessed with a glorious year-round climate. It is a bustling and exciting city, that boasts a wide choice of activities and fascinating tourist attractions. The city has a welcoming atmosphere, while still embracing its deep-rooted heritage and extensive history. Some of the highlights of the tour:
- (Monument of the Discoveries) - this 50m tall sculpture is a monument to the Portuguese ''Era of Discovery'' and to ''Henry the Navigator'', Vasco da Gama, Ferdinand Magellan - total of 33 statues line the sides of the monument, each representing an important figure from that epoch: monarchs, cartographers, and scientists stand alongside explorers, artists, and missionaries.
- . The Torre de Belém was built in the 16th century as a military fortress and ceremonial entrance to the city. And yet, despite its primary function as a defensive structure, the tower’s delicate ornamentation, which includes arcaded windows, intricate sculptures and Moorish-style watchtowers, make it a real architectural marvel.
- . The undisputed highlight is the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos. Construction of this former monastery began in 1501 and, as designs became increasingly elaborate (fueled by trade with Asia), it eventually took nearly a hundred years to complete. Today, it stands as a testament to the prosperity of Lisbon at the height of the Portuguese empire. Check out its impressive cloisters, replete with ornate sculptural details and masterful stonework, and pay your respects to the major historical figures buried here, including Vasco da Gama and celebrated poet Luís de Camões. Entrance and tour inside.
- A maze of narrow, winding streets, Lisbon's Alfama quarter is the oldest and most historical part of the Portuguese capital, having survived the great earthquake and subsequent fires and tidal waves of 1755 almost intact. Mostly traffic-free these days except for the occasional 100-year-old tram creaking and rattling through, this ancient labyrinth of twisting lanes and cobbled stairways is in many ways the heart and soul of the Portuguese capital.
Enjoy an evening in Lisbon on your own. Please do not miss on opportuntiy to try famous pastel de nata (egg tart) - local culinary's iconic pastry, who's recipe dates back to the 16th century. You can buy it in any coffee/bakery shop.
Free evening and a second night in Lisbon.
Day 6. Lisbon - Caceres - Seville
Breakfast. Departure towards the Spanish border to reach the province of Extremadura, and the city of - a beautiful place, founded by the Romans in 25 BC. Visit to Cáceres will bring you back to the old medieval era. The streets climb and twist among hoary palaces and mansions. As you turn your head up, you can see the skyline decorated with gargoyles, spires, and gigantic storks’ nests. The fortress has been serving as defensive walls since the 16th century. You will have a good hour and a half there, so, go ahead and check the main highlights, they are very close to each other:
- - town’s most-lively square. There are several must-see places located in Plaza Mayor. Climb up the steps from the Old Town and turn left. You will see the great Torre de Bujaco, or Bujaco Tower. At the top of the tower, you will be treated to a storks’ eye view of the Plaza Mayor. To climb the tower, you need to spend 2 euro.
- Next to Torre de Bujaco, at the top of the stone stairs, you will see , (Star Archway). This archway serves as a traditional entrance to the Old Town. Built in the 18th century, this archway is considered to be the most important gate in Cáceres.
- The essential part of travelling to Cáceres is what lies inside the fortress. As you enter through Arco de la Estrella, several antique buildings greet you. If you walk left from the archway, you will find Palacio de Toledo-Moctezuma, built between the 14th and 15th centuries. Though you can only visit the palace from the outside, the front-facing architecture is worth seeing.
- Additionally, the small streets in the Old Town have different small shops selling local products, such as homemade pastries and sweets. Other local products definitely worth trying are goat cheese (Torta de Casar) and fig cake.
After a break you will take the highway towards gourgeous Andalusian capital Seville. Arrival, check in and a night in the hotel.
Day 7. Seville
Breakfast in the hotel, followed by a proper city tour throughout with a local guide, to admire this beautiful and also the largest city of Southern Spain. With a numerous sights and attractions, this city will never leave visitors stuck for choice. Main highlights of the tour:
- was built as a centerpiece for the 1929 Ibero-American Exhibition. Described as one of Seville’s most impressive sights, this plaza (square) measures at 50,000 sq. meters. Only a twenty-minute walk from Seville Cathedral, this is one of Seville’s more popular locations and with a canal measuring 500 meters, the plaza is known as ''the Venice of Seville’’. It is a magnificent sight and a must see, with its colored ceramics and 48 tiled alcoves, each representing a different province of Spain. This place is not only popular with tourists and visitors as it has been used for the location of a number of films including Lawrence of Arabia and Star Wars.
- acted as the site of the Ibero-American Exhibition in 1929. Filled with orange trees, palm trees and flower beds, it is the perfect place to unwind. With a number of colorfully tiled benches and fountains erected in a Moorish style, this park brings a touch of the exotic to the city. It is surrounded by a number of historic sites and wonderful architectural buildings which allows visitors to indirectly appreciate the beauty of Seville.
- is one of the largest in the world. It stands at an enormous 126 meters long and 83 meters wide with a ceiling height of 37 meters. The classical exterior draws visitors into an equally impressive interior. For example, the main alter piece, consists of 36 gilded panels, gently glimmering through the space. Globe-trotters can also pay their own homage to one of the world’s greatest travelers – this monumental building holds the sarcophagus of Christopher Columbus. During the tour we will see the Cathedral from outside.
- - Seville’s most famous area and a former Jewish Quarter. Its unfeasibly narrow streets, white houses, secret squares and small churches creates an unforgettable atmosphere, just enjoy it.
After the city tour you will have the afternoon off to rest or explore more on your own. Second night in Seville.
Day 8. Seville - Algeciras - Tangier - Fez
Breakfast, then relocation to Algeciras from where we'll take a ferry, and will cross the border to reach an African continent - the Kingdom of Morocco.
In the afternoon we'll disembark in Tangier and will do a short orientational tour around the city, also to see the grottoes of Hercules Cave - the place where Hercules is said to have lived.
Soon after we'll continue to the imperial city of Fez.
Arrival, accommodation and a first night in Morocco.
Day 9. Fez - Meknes - Casablanca
Breakfast in the hotel, then departure to - one of Morocco's old imperial cities. Meknes became the capital city in the 17th century. Located in the Middle Atlas region, it sees fewer tourists than nearby Fez and is a pleasant place to take a journey back in time. We will have a stop there to admire the beautiful monumental gates of Bab Al Mansour.
- The core of Meknes’s old city is within the imposing walls of the Medina. The ancient fortified city can be entered through numerous gates, several of which are very impressive. Bab Mansour is often said to be one of the most beautiful gates in all of Morocco, and one of the world’s finest entrances. Arches and columns, wood carvings, and striking zellige tile work combine to make this a photogenic beauty.
Later we'll continue to Casablanca - a city, which is considered a Morocco's commercial centre, it's more of a modern megapolis, however the French colonial legacy, entwined with the traditional Arab culture, ensures there are defineteley spectacular highlights to see.
Arrival, accommodation and a night in the hotel.
Day 10. Casablanca - Marrakesh
- This monumental construction - located on a platform overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the iconic Hassan II Mosque is the second-largest mosque in the world. The mosque, which can accommodate up to 25,000 worshipers, offers Muslims the chance to pray on a glass floor, giving the unique feeling of praying directly over the sea.
Later we'll continue to another imperial city - Marrakesh.
Day 11. Marrakesh
Breakfast and a proper tour around . Imperial city of Marrakesh is one of the country’s most captivating destinations. Nicknamed the ''Red City'' because of the high, reddish-brown walls that enclose the old medina, Marrakesh offers an exciting blend of history, culture, tradition, everyday life, and a unique energy that needs to be experienced to be understood. Main highlights of the tour:
- - is a major highlight for both tourists and locals seeking entertainment and fun. During the daytime ladies offer henna tattoos, men demonstrate snake charming and try to get people to pose for pictures with mischievous monkeys, and an array of stalls sell an even larger assortment of goods. As night falls, the square becomes even livelier, with musicians, magicians, people wearing traditional outfits, dancers, and story-tellers all adding to the carnival-like ambience.
- The Bahia Palace, (''brilliance'' in Arabic) - is perhaps one of the best-preserved historical sites and certainly most interesting in Marrakesh. This sprawling palace is set over two acres in the middle of the Marrakech medina and features 150 rooms, including a harem section. Having housed the Resident General during the French Protectorate era, today the Bahia Palace is a must-see historical museum open to the public daily. Entrance ant tour inside.
- Saadian Tombs - is the complex of mausoleum houses the remains of the dynasty’s founder and Sultan Ahmed el Mansour’s parents. Built during the sultan’s lifetime, it showcases the incredible skills of master artisans. There are 66 tombs between the two mausoleums, containing princes and other prominent figures. The gardens have even more tombs in various states of beauty and detail. Decorative and colorful tiles and Quranic inscriptions are common embellishments. Entrance and tour inside.
On you free time you may want to:
- Relax in a soothing hammam. Hammam is a traditional Moroccan steam bath and nowadays there are many authentic hammams open to the public, for oth locals and tourists.
- Eat - Marrakesh has numerous restaurants and cafés where you can sit and enjoy a delicious taste of Morocco. In addition to well-known Moroccan dishes, such as tajine and couscous, look out for places that serve tanjia. Tanjia is a Marrakshi specialty that takes its name from the type of earthen pot it is cooked in.
- Wander around bustling souks - the souks of Marrakesh are famous around the world, attracting many visitors who are keen to practice their haggling skills, pick up some bargains, and browse the many colorful delights. Large tubs of aromatic spices, vibrant glass lamps, tall shisha pipes, leather (traditional slipper-like shoes), and wooden musical instruments sit alongside djellabas (long, traditional garments), kaftans, sewing supplies, stuffed camels, silver bangles, cooking equipment, rugs, and an assortment of housing supplies, handicrafts, and souvenirs.
Second night in Marrakesh.
Day 12. Marakesh - Rabat - Tangier
Breakfast, followed by a transfer to - the enchanting and welcoming capital city of Morocco, with a long and rich history. Main highlights to see:
- Hassan Tower and Tomb - At first sight, it appears as though this tower fell and split in half. However, it was never actually completed. Started by the Almohad, Hassan Tower was intended to be the minaret for what the ruler, Yacoub al-Mansour, intended to be a majestic mosque. The beautiful and intricate designs on the tower, as well as the open and intriguing surroundings make it a must-see.
- Just opposite from Hassan Tower lies a beautiful tomb of King Mohammad V and his two sons. The tomb is open to even non-Muslims. Visitors will be entranced by the gold-leaf ceiling and captivating carvings that lie inside the plain white building.
- King’s Palace - almost every big city in Morocco has a palace ready for the arrival of the King as a guest. However, the Palace in Rabat is King Hassan II’s official residence, and was built upon the ruins of an 18th-century palace. Home to many government offices, as well as quarters for the Royal Family, it is an important city building. While visitors cannot enter the main grounds, admiring the palace from the central pathway is still special.
Continuation to Tangier. Arrival in the evening, dinner and accommodation.
Day 13. Tangier - Algeciras - Granada
Breakfast at the hotel. Today, after five days and nights in Morocco, we are heading back to Spain. First - with a ferry to the portal city of Algeciras, where bus will pick us up and transfer to southern city of Granada.
In the late afternoon we are in Granada, just relax enjoy a free evening. Granada has a rich history, fantastic range of sites to see, and a bustling nightlife. With Arab influences and Spanish charm, there is plenty of culture and history to explore here.
You may want to try free ''culture''. Tapas (an appetizer or snack in Spanish cousine) is certainly one of the first things that comes to mind whenever Spain is mentioned, and Granada is probably the city most renowned for its popular tradition of free tapas. With the fantastic ''buy a drink, get free tapas'' phenomenon, this timely Spanish tradition is even more popular here. With countless numbers of bars and tapas restaurants, you’ll certainly be left with plenty of choice of where to get these tempting little snacks. Offering everything from gourmet and international tapas like sushi and caviar, to traditional Spanish jamón (dry-cured ham), you can't leave Granada without experiencing this culinary delight.
Day 14. Granada - Cordoba
Breakfast, then a city tour, during which you'll see the most popular site in Spain (official info - most visitors amongs sights in Spain) - complex of Alhambra, its Arabian palaces Nazaries, and its green and picturesque Generalife Gardens.
- is definitely number one on the list of unmissable things to see in Granada, and the most visited sight in the whole Spain. The world-renowned Alhambra gets its name from the Arabic for ‘Red Castle’, and has been poetically described as the place where the air is clear and the fresh water from the mountains reaches. Partly palace, partly fort, the Alhambra is now a dedicated UNESCO World Heritage site and boasts spectacular medieval architecture which captivates its thousands of visitors. It tends to get quite crowded, given its magical nature, with around 6,000 visitors a day, but its beauty can be appreciated even in the busiest of moments.
After tour to Alhambra, we will relocate to another gourgeous city of Andalusia - Cordoba.
Arrival, check in and overnight stay.
Day 15. Cordoba - Toledo.
Breakfast, then a walking morning city tour. is beautiful ancient town in Andalusia as well as one of Spain’s most famous historical monuments. You will a proper tour through its historic center - conspicuously charming place, with its patios and courtyards, decorated with pots of aromatic jasmine and geraniums and walk narrow, winding streets, lined with what must be some of the prettiest and most colorful houses in southern Spain. And of course you will enter the Mosque-Cathedral - the greatest dual-identity monument in Spain.
- Originally there was a Roman temple on this site, but it was replaced by a Christian church during the Visigoth era. After the Moors captured Córdoba in 711, the church was split in two and used by both Christians and Muslims as a place of worship. But the reign of religious pluralism in Córdoba didn’t last long: in 784, on the orders of the Emir Abd al-Rahman, the church was destroyed and work on a great mosque began. Construction lasted for over two centuries and, when the building was completed in 987, Córdoba’s mosque was the largest in the Islamic kingdom, save only for that of Kaaba in Arabia. When the city was reclaimed by Christians in 1236, the mosque was converted into a church and in the 16th century Charles V added a great Renaissance nave right on top of the original Moorish structure. The mosque’s most-photographed aspect is its vast main hall, which is supported by over 850 double-arched columns. Sunlight and shadows create unusual effects as you wander among them, contemplating the multifaceted history of this great building.
Extending in a tangle of cobbled streets and squares to the north of the Mosque-Cathedral is - the city's former Jewish quarter. This is a great area to stop for lunch, packed as it is with smart restaurants as well as superb no-frills tapas bars. Free time to have lunch and buy some souvenirs.
Later bus departs to Toledo. On our way we will pass thru the region of , known for being the setting of Miguel de Cervantes' 17th century novel Don Quixote de la Mancha – probably, one of the most famous books ever to have come out of Spain.
Short stop in Puerto Lapice to admire the typical courtyard's from the time of Don Quixote.
Arrival to Toledo.Check in and overnight.
Day 16. Toledo - Madrid
Breakfast, then transfer towards Andalusia, with the first stop in Toledo, with a 3h walking tour.
Toledo is an incredibly cultural city; it has seen numerous cultures and dynasties pass through its walls, as well as wars, royalty, and artists. The legacy it guards is an essential part of Spanish culture so visiting Toledo is bound to be a unique experience. Discover the best sights:
- Mirador del Valle. Enjoy spectaculars view of Toledo from the splendid Mirador del Valle, a fantastic viewpoint where one can view the entire city. There are magnificent views of the river, the imposing Alcázar, the tiny winding streets and the Cathedral.
- Toledo’s Cathedral is one of the most important places to visit in this beautiful city. It is a grand monument built in Gothic style with obvious French influence. Some scholars believe it is the most impressive building built in this particular style in the entire country. It was completed toward the end of the 15th century, over 200 years after construction began. There are several masses each day. Tickets and a tour inside are included.
- The Juderia district (Jewish Quarter). The Juderia district is what used to be the city’s Jewish quarter, and nowadays is one of the most beautiful parts of the city with some excellently preserved buildings. Translating to ''the city of the Jews'', a tour through the Juderia will enable visitors to learn what life was like under Muslim and Christian rule.
- The Monasterio de San Juan de los Reyes is a Franciscan church that was built under the reign of Elizabeth of Castile, one of Spain’s most powerful queens. The church was built with the intention of being used as the royal mausoleum. The building is a breathtaking example of the Elizabethan-Gothic style that was predominant in Spain under the monarch’s reign. It was also meant to serve as a memorial for a recent military victory, the Batalla del Toro. It is a long, narrow structure, with many chapels decorating the sides. The ceiling is particularly remarkable as it was designed in the mudéjar style, with clear Arab influence.
- La Puerta de Bisagra is a magnificent structure that provides access to the city. The Puerta de Bisagra was originally built by the Arabs when they inhabited the city during the last few centuries before the first millennium. It was reconstructed in the 16th century but some of the original structure can still be seen today. The name comes from the Arabic, ''Bab-Shagra'' meaning something along the lines of ''the door, that leads to the field''. The exterior is composed of an arch of triumph, accompanied by two beautiful semi-circular towers, and crowned by the city’s imperial coat of arms.
- Cross the Puente de San Martín - this medieval bridge was built over the Tajo river and is one of Toledo’s symbols. From the bridge, we have an excellent panorama of the old town.
After some free time, completeng the circle you'll be transferred to Madrid - a place where you started 16 days ago. Evening in Madrid to enjoy it in full before heading to the airport next morning.
Day 17. Madrid - departure
Breakfast then transfer to the airport for the flight home.