¡Bienvenidos a Espana! A truly cosmopolitan city, Madrid is the gateway to Spain’s arts and culture, tantalising cuisine and diverse architecture.
Upon arrival at Madrid-Barajas Airport (MAD), take your private transfer to your hotel for check-in, then spend the day at your leisure exploring Spain’s thriving capital. Stroll the elegant boulevards and manicured parks, then live the Spanish life and step into one of the vibrant bars for ‘la hora del vermut’ or Vermouth Hour.
This evening, meet your tour director and fellow travellers at your hotel for a briefing on the exciting adventure come.
Enjoy a buffet breakfast at your hotel, then set out for a morning tour of this thriving city. From the busy squares of Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor and Plaza de la Villa to the storied streets of Barrio de Moreria and the Habsburg neighbourhood and the neoclassical Fountain of Neptune, discover the living history of this bustling metropolis with the direction of your expert local guide.
After a morning of cultural immersion, the afternoon is yours to enjoy at your own pace. This evening, come together as a group for a welcome dinner at a local tapas restaurant and sample the fragrant flavours and piquant spices of Spanish cuisine.
Bid farewell to magical Madrid as you travel to the university town of Salamanca. Tucked away among rolling hills, this medieval town is home to one of the oldest operating universities in the world.
With free time to explore, you can immerse yourself in its architectural and artistic wealth, from the stained-glass atrium of the Casa Lis art museum to the shell-covered walls of Casa de las Conchas.
Rise, shine and board your private luxury coach as you cross the border to picturesque Portugal. Stop first at serene Pinhao on the banks of the Douro River, where you’ll visit the local vineyards and centenary cellars that have earned Pinhao its place in the wine world. Explore the complex local blends on a special tasting experience and relish a delicious lunch made with local produce.
Continue to Porto, one of Europe’s oldest towns, and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. Opt to stroll through the UNESCO World Heritage-listed streets, visit the impressive Casa da Música concert hall or sample a hearty francesinha (toasted sandwich) – a Porto specialty.
Wake for a day of discovery and uncover Porto on a guided tour. Admire the fine craftsmanship of Porto Cathedral, the elaborate Stock Exchange Palace and the meticulous interior of Igreja de Santa Clara church.
Later, cruise down the peaceful waters of the Douro River. Watch as the twin cities of Porto and Gaia pass by on opposite banks, and gaze in awe at Porto’s countless stunning bridges.
Back on land, spend your evening freely, exploring the romantic streets and maybe choosing to try a glass of the city’s famous port wine.
- Guimaraes excursion (surcharges apply).
Be sure to fuel up at breakfast before embarking on the day’s adventure. Your first stop is Aveiro, known as the ‘Portuguese Venice’. See just why the city has earned this reputation as you cruise along the beautiful canals aboard a moliceiro boat, named for the algae they once harvested along the Ria de Aveiro.
Spend some time wandering at your leisure, exploring the old Beira Mar neighbourhood and the Mercado do Peixe – Aveiro’s bustling fish market.
Travel onward to Coimbra, the birthplace of fado – a popular style of traditional Portuguese music. With your abundant free time, you may choose to explore the historic streets climbing up from the banks of the Rio Mondego. Another famed university town, Coimbra’s buildings date back to the 12th century, including the Romanesque wonder of Se Velha Cathedral.
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel, then set your sights on the idyllic towns of the Portuguese countryside. Start your day in historic Tomar, former seat of the Order of the Knights Templar, where you can see the Convent of Christ. This Gothic and Manueline masterpiece was once a 12th-century Templar stronghold and took over five centuries to complete.
Continue to the picturesque fishing town of Nazare, famed for its world-class surfing. Spend your free time appreciating the rolling Atlantic at North Beach, where thrill-seekers try their luck among gargantuan waves averaging 15 metres high.
Rounding out the day is peaceful Obidos. Wander freely through this medieval town and marvel at the superbly preserved castle and 16th-century aqueduct.
Later, arrive in the vibrant city of Lisbon, where you can get a taste of its beloved architecture, delicious seafood and thriving nightlife.
After breakfast, it’s time to hit the streets of Lisbon on a morning sightseeing tour. Traverse the main squares and avenues, passing Belem Tower and the serene Jeronimos Monastery, as well as the imposing Padrao dos Descobrimentos (Monument of the Discoverers) on the northern bank of the Tagus River and the grand Marquis of Pombal Square.
The rest of the afternoon will be free to wander through the city streets or perhaps visit the Alfama Quarter, the oldest and most historical part of Portugal's capital.
This evening, enjoy a traditional Portuguese dinner and fado performance at one of the oldest venues in the city.
Tuck into breakfast before saying goodbye to Portugal as you travel by private coach across the border to Merida. Capital of the western Spanish region of Extremadura, Merida’s famed Roman ruins date back to the 1st century BCE.
Spend time exploring the historic remains of this ancient colony and stand at the centre of the miraculously preserved Roman Theatre.
Continue onward to Seville – the vibrant Andalusian capital - to enjoy the evening at your leisure. Walk the city’s storied streets and soak up extraordinary architecture and the vibrant Spanish soul.
- Las Setas de Sevilla evening city tour (surcharges apply).
Let your expert guide unlock the wonders of romantic Seville as you navigate the maze of narrow, tree-lined streets and blooming courtyards of Santa Cruz – the city’s picture-perfect Jewish Quarter. Lose yourself in the complex blend of Christian and Moorish architecture, epitomised by the Mudejar style of the grand palace of Real Alcazar.
Spend your afternoon meandering through the bright barrio or opt to join a trip to the southern city of Jerez de la Frontera. Built around an 11th-century Moorish fortress, this sun-kissed spot is known globally as the namesake of sherry wine or ‘jerez’ as well as its centuries-old equestrian tradition (surcharges apply).
- Jerez de la Frontera excursion with sherry tasting (surcharges apply).
Fill up with a buffet breakfast at your hotel, then hit the road on your way to Cordoba. Founded in the 2nd century BCE, this historically Roman city has a fascinating history of diverse influences converging in a cosmopolitan blend of architecture and culture.
Visit the wonderfully unique Mezquita – a captivating mosque-turned-cathedral that stands as testament to the compounding innovations of Islamic and Christian architects dating back to the 8th century. Over the next millennium, the complex would grow and evolve in unexpected ways, tied to the particular cultural exchange of Spain’s southern reaches. The enormous mosque is an intricately constructed masterpiece of striped arches and wide halls, while the 16th-century cathedral at its heart tells the story of a changing Spain.
Depart for a scenic journey through Spanish olive groves, learning how olive oil is produced from the olive treem then check in to your hotel in Granada upon arrival. In the evening, convene with your fellow adventurers for an unforgettable traditional flamenco show over a delicious Spanish dinner.
Prepare for the day with a hearty breakfast, then make your way to the jaw-dropping Alhambra. This expansive hilltop fortress complex remains one of the most renowned examples of Islamic architecture in the world. Listen as your guide highlights the intricately carved Moorish architecture, punctuated by signs of the Spanish Renaissance in its layered distillation of a history shrouded in mystery.
Spend your afternoon at leisure, or choose to join an optional walking tour through the Albaicin district and chart the transition of Moorish design to Christian construction as you marvel at the beautiful mosques, churches and artisan shops and visit a celebrated pastry and teashop (surcharges apply).
- Albaicin neighbourhood walk (surcharges apply).
Depart glorious Granada and travel back to Madrid, stopping along the way at the ‘Imperial City’ of Toledo. Spectacularly poised overlooking the Rio Tajo, Toledo’s reputation as the ‘city of three cultures’ dates back to the Middle Ages. Today, let your guide dig up the past on a tour of the historic narrow streets, where you can spot countless mosques, Gothic cathedrals and Sephardic synagogues.
Continue to Madrid and check in at your hotel, then spend an evening of cultural exchange with your group over another sumptuous Spanish meal.
Rise and shine for a new day and a new destination! Take your private transfer to Madrid-Barajas Airport (MAD) for a flight to beautiful Casablanca, Morocco. Famed for its place in Hollywood movie history, Casablanca’s vibrant mix of cultural influences span from traditional Moorish to French colonial, as seen in its intricate architecture.
Once you’ve transferred to your hotel, enjoy the afternoon as you please, before meeting up for a hearty dinner at your hotel.
A full day of wonderous sights awaits, starting with a guided city tour through the bustling streets of Casablanca. Visit Anfa Boulevard and the historic United Nations Square, then witness the breathtaking Hassan II Mosque – one of the largest mosques in the world. Partially suspended above the sea and fitted with an enormous retractable roof that opens to beaming sunlight on special days of worship, this feat of architecture – with its hand-carved stone and detailed marble floor – pays tribute to the former King of Morocco in painstaking detail.
Farewell Casablanca and set out for Fes, stopping along the way in Rabat – capital of Morocco with Berber fortifications dating back to the 12th century. See the Royal Palace and the regal Mausoleum of Mohammed V, then peer up at the commanding minaret of Hassan Tower.
Continue on your way until you reach the sprawling city of Fes. Round out your day with a mouthwatering Moorish welcome dinner.
This morning, step back in time as you venture through Fes’ medieval Medina. A glass of mint tea or a handful of sweet Moroccan dates might be the fuel you need as you admire the varied sizes and designs of the Seven Gates of the Royal Palace, the ornate gate of Bab Bou Jeloud and the historic Jewish Quarter.
Spend the afternoon at your leisure. Gaze upon mesmerising mosaic fountains and breathe in alluring spices as you pass aromatic food stands offering bowls of earthy harira soups and lamb sausages stuffed with paprika.
Return to your hotel for dinner and a restful evening.
Today, travel beyond the walls of Fes and reach Meknes – known as the ‘Versailles of Morocco’. Admire the great gate of Bab el Mansour and gaze upon the colourful tiles of the Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail.
Continue to the Berber-Roman ruins of Volubilis – an archaeological site in the Jebel Zerhoun plains. Walk through the historic fortifications, known for their lovely bloom of delicate wildflowers in the summer.
Return to Fes for a well-earned meal at your hotel.
Depart Fes and travel through the Middle Atlas mountains to Erfoud, where you’ll transfer to your 4WD transport and head to your desert escape in Merzouga. Scale the magnificent rose-gold waves of sand as they sweep up from the rocky plains at the fringes of the Sahara.
Check into your luxury desert camp, then settle in for a traditional Berber meal by the campfire. Tilt your head back and drink in the vast tapestry of dazzling stars above that cloak the sky like diamonds.
Watch the sunrise over the golden sands and savour a refreshing breakfast, then set off through glorious Todra Gorge. Winding along the babbling river, this jaw-dropping road carves a path through a 300-metre-deep break in the limestone cliff walls.
Drive on through the Valley of Roses and pass Kelaat M’Gouna, where thousands of Berbers travel for the annual Rose Festival. This springtime celebration honours the fragrant harvest and production of treasured rose water with parades and dancing.
Follow the dramatic ‘Road of 1000 Kasbahs’ and wind your way past mud-brick forts, spotting historic kasbahs and fortified villages in the resonant silence of the mountains. Continue to Ouarzazate and check in at your hotel for the evening.
Wake and seize the day with a visit to magnificent Kasbah Taourirt – a richly decorated palace that stood as the former residence of the Pasha of Marrakech.
Unearth almost a thousand years of history as you travel to the fortified ksar of Ait Benhaddou. Beyond its striking beauty and uniquely Moroccan clay architecture, this town built into a hill is a favourite location for Hollywood filmmakers, playing host to epic productions such as Lawrence of Arabia, Gladiator and Game of Thrones.
Later, venture through the High Atlas mountain range and on to Marrakech.
Your day begins with a guided tour of colourful Marrakech. Make your way to Koutoubia Mosque and its decorative minaret – considered one of the world’s greatest minarets and 'sister' to the Giralda in Seville.
Visit the royal necropolis of the Saadian Tombs, then head to the famed Jemaa el-Fnaa – the main square of Marrakech. Perpetually abuzz with activity, this lively square is known for its excellent people-watching and eye-catching street performers.
Mark your last Moroccan night with a bountiful farewell dinner.
Even the best adventures must come to an end. Enjoy one last breakfast at your hotel, then take your private transfer to Marrakech Menara Airport (RAK) where your whirlwind journey concludes.