Moorish Spain to Marrakech

Pueblo Blancos (white village)
Djemaa el fna square
Cordoba Mosque
Alhambra, Granada
Rhonda Valley
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Discover the Moorish architecture of Granada and Cordoba, the picturesque Andalucian villages and explore the Imperial Cities of Morocco, including Rabat, Fes and Marrakech. Travel from the whitewashed Spanish villages to the characteristic minarets and medinas of Morocco. Granada - Opportunity to visit the magnificent Alhambra Palace, one of the finest examples of Moorish architecture Marrakech - Explore the vibrant souks of the 'Red City' and the iconic Djema-el Fna Square Contrasting cuisines - Share traditional Andalucian tapas and taste flavour-filled Moroccan tagines

Highlights
  • Marrakech - Explore the vibrant souks of the 'Red City' and the iconic Djema-el Fna Square
  • Granada - Opportunity to visit the magnificent Alhambra Palace, one of the finest examples of Moorish architecture
  • Contrasting cuisines - Share traditional Andalucian tapas and taste flavour-filled Moroccan tagines
Destinations
  • Cordoba
  • Tangier
  • Alhambra
  • Hassan II mosque
  • Marrakech
  • Granada
  • Rabat
  • Casablanca
  • Toledo
  • Europe
  • Africa
  • Ronda
  • Cordoba Synagogue
  • Generalife
  • Sierra Nevada
  • Morocco
  • Spain
Tour Types
  • Cultural
  • Foodie
  • History
  • Rail
  • Active
  • Adventure
  • Scenic
  • Small Group
  • 50 plus
  • Couples
  • Seniors
  • Birdwatching
  • Sightseeing
  • Walking
  • Singles

Location: Málaga

Arrive in Malaga, a port city on southern Spain's Costa del Sol. There are no activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Malaga at any time. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Málaga-Costa del Sol Airport (AGP), which is around 25 minutes' drive. For those arriving on time our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 7pm for welcome meeting and for those that wish, there is the chance to go out for dinner. Should you miss the meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up. If your flight arrives earlier in the day, perhaps you might choose to stroll the cobbled streets of the old quarter, stopping to sample tapas washed down with a local sweet wine. The Picasso museum is a good place to spend the afternoon, the collection represents his entire life's work and is housed in the 16th-century Buenavista Palace.

Accommodation: Hotel

Location: Córdoba

Today we transfer to Cordoba (by train or bus, depending on availability). Standing on the banks of the Guadalquivir river, Cordoba was one of the most sophisticated Moorish cities and is for many, the most beautiful city in Spain. The Arabs established themselves in Cordoba as early as 719 AD, and before that the Romans had left their own mark here. Cordoba has a wealth of treasures locked away in its back streets with secluded patios tucked behind delicate iron grills. The medieval synagogues in Cordoba and Toledo are the only two which remain in Spain today and Cordoba synagogue dates back to the 14th century. This afternoon we visit the renowned Mosque (Mezquita), an extraordinary and unique building where history has superimposed two faiths and erected two oratories on the one site (local guide optional). The early massive structure dates back to the 8th century, its roof supported by a forest of 850 coloured columns. Its jewel is the gleaming and superbly decorated Mihrab, which has survived in its original state. In the evening we suggest you take in some traditional flamenco music and dancing (optional).

Accommodation: Hotel

Location: Granada

Today we transfer to Granada by public bus and spend the afternoon exploring the city on foot, discovering the main points of interest including the Albaicin, the old Moorish quarter where many Islamic traditions are retained, giving the city its characteristic look of white walls and narrow streets. From the highest point are spectacular views across to the Alhambra and Generalife with the Sierra Nevada as a backdrop. When dusk falls, we suggest a stroll around the old Moorish Quarter to see its illuminated patios.

Accommodation: Hotel

Location: Ronda

This morning has been left free for your own exploration of Granada or you have the option to visit the magnificent Alhambra Palace. In 1239 Muhammad al-Ahmar, founder of the Nasrid dynasty and Sultan of Granada, began work on this, the finest example of Moorish architecture outside the Arab world. The fabulous decoration in stucco, both inside and outside the buildings, reveals the purest expression of a sophisticated civilisation just before its decline. You might also choose to spend time in the Generalife, one of the most beautiful landscaped gardens in the world, surrounding the summer residence of the Caliphs. Later this afternoon we drive to Ronda. Please note that the visit to the Alhambra Palace is optional because it can no longer be guaranteed that group tickets can be secured to visit the palace. It is much simpler for you to book your own individual entrance tickets online for the Alhambra Palace. Bookings for this open at 90 days prior and you will need to book your ticket in advance on the website rather than waiting to when you are on tour. You can book your entrance ticket on day three from 3.30pm onwards or for this morning, but no later than 1.30pm. Further details can be found in the Optional Activities section of the Trip Notes.

Accommodation: Hotel

Location: Ronda

We spend the day exploring the beautiful rolling landscapes west of Ronda by bus. Arriving at the fortified Moorish hill village of Zahara is like stepping back in time. Its whitewashed terraces are dominated by an impressive Moorish tower and a Baroque church lies at the heart of the village. We also plan to visit Grazalema, nestled beneath the limestone peak of San Cristobal. We return to Ronda and spend an afternoon in one of southern Spain's most attractive towns. Ronda is one of the original pueblos blancos (white towns). There will be time to wander the streets and marvel at the El Tajo gorge and visit the oldest bullring in Spain.

Accommodation: Hotel

Location: Tangier

We travel the attractive Andalucia Express route south from Ronda towards the coast through rolling countryside via the painted villages of San Roque, Castellar de la Frontera and Gaucin. On arrival at Algeciras, we transfer to the ferry port where we will say goodbye to our Spanish local leader and catch an early afternoon ferry across the Straits of Gibraltar to Tangier in Morocco. On arrival in Tangier, we will be met by our local leader and taken to our hotel to check in. After a short break to drop our belongings off to our rooms and get some lunch, we'll head out with our leader to immerse ourselves in the vibrancy and heady atmosphere of a Moroccan medina. We'll be guided through the network of narrow streets that make up the medina on foot for a couple of hours before transferring back to our hotel. The evening will be free to relax or explore independently. The contrast between the calm streets and squares of Ronda and the more energetic atmosphere of Tangier is quite incredible.

Accommodation: Hotel

Location: Fes

After breakfast we will make our way to the train station to meet the train to Fes, the cultural capital of Morocco. Fes' colourful history is full of wars, murders, intrigue and cloak-and-dagger politics, so after checking in and some time to get lunch nearby to the hotel, we'll set off into the city to start exploring. Around mid-afternoon we will begin a two hour orientation tour by bus, visiting the Royal Palace, the viewpoint by the Merenid Tombs and an operational pottery factory by bus. Entrance inside the Royal Palace is not allowed, however, the seven grand golden gates make the visit worthwhile. Beautifully intricate and framed by traditional Zellige tiles, the gates give a hint to how ornate the inside of the palace must be and are a great place to take a photo that captures the essence of Fes. The Merenid Tombs are perched on a hill above Fes and although there is little known history about the tombs themselves it's believed they date back to the 14th century. While the ruins are a point of interest, the elevated viewpoint is the highlight, offering sweeping views to the city below, and with help of our leader we should be able to make out the different parts of the city. Fes also has quite an active nightlife, centred around Avenues Hassan ll and Mohammed V. We enjoy two nights here to take in all the city has to offer.

Accommodation: Hotel

Location: Fes

After breakfast at the hotel we will take a guided walk through the Medina. We will explore the souks' craft areas, spice stalls, brass and copperware areas and look in on the very smelly but iconic tanneries. Beautiful buildings include the Sanctuary of Moulay Idriss 2nd, the Kairaouine Mosque and the Al Andalus Mosque (viewed from the outside only). We'll be walking for approximately 3 hours before lunch, and our guide will give some recommendations of where to eat both inside and outside of the medina. This afternoon, we will re-join our bus and travel to Meknes. One of the four Imperial Cities, Meknes is only 45 minutes from Fes and the old part of the city boasts a quiet, charming atmosphere. We'll spend a short time here to take in the city's ornate riads, spice-scented alleyways and visit the Royal Stables which is said to have once been home to 12,000 prized royal horses during Moulay Ismail's reign in the 17th Century. From Meknes we'll continue along the highway to the ancient Roman site of Volubilis. Perfectly located on a hilltop above fertile valleys, this site was once the capital of the Roman province Mauritania Tingitana and home to 20,000 residents. Despite being pillaged for materials, overthrown by newly-arriving Muslims and later crumbling with the effects of the 1755 Lisbon Earthquake, the site still features excellent examples of original mosaics and the Triumphal arch still stands. We'll travel back to Fes in the late afternoon and depending on timings we will visit Medersa Bou Iania, on our return. This evening will be free to relax.

Accommodation: Hotel

Location: Rabat

This morning we catch the morning train to the modern capital of Rabat, where we'll arrive in time for lunch. Although it was only established as the capital in 1912 by the French, Rabat's history stretches back to a settlement in the 8th century BC. On arrival we'll have some time for lunch before we spend a couple of hours on a guided tour with a mix of short bus transfers and walking. We'll visit Rabat's iconic Hassan Tower which has been in the same state of construction since 1199 when Sultan Yaqoub al Mansour died. Despite the fact it's not yet finished it's still worth the visit; building commenced with the intention that it would be the tallest minaret in the world and inside there are ramps that were put in place so the muezzin (servant of the mosque) would be able to ride a horse up to call everyone for prayers. The tower is located at one end of a large esplanade that is filled with 200 marble columns and was built to be large enough for the Sultan's entire army to attend prayer, while the Mohammed V Mausoleum dominates the other end of this plaza. Later, we will wander through the charming Kasbah des Oudaias; once a fortified town, the Kasbah now has a distinct Andalucian influence that can easily be seen as we make our way through the narrow, cobbled streets lined with white and blue houses. This afternoon will be free to relax or explore further. There is an optional visit to the historical Chellah dating back to the 8th century BC. Once a prosperous Roman town and transformed by the Merinids into a cemetery, the Chellah is a fascinating and atmospheric place to visit.

Accommodation: Hotel

Location: Marrakesh

This morning we will take a train to Casablanca to visit the famous King Hassan II Mosque (optional entry), possibly the biggest religious monument for Muslims after Mecca. Finished in 1993, this magnificent building is covered in decorative Zellige tiles and has intricate cedar wood carvings - proof that the ancient crafts are still very much alive. After visiting the mosque we will have some free time to get lunch, before returning to the train station for our next leg to Marrakech, the heart of Morocco. The train ride will take most of the afternoon, on arrival we'll check into our hotel and the evening will be free.

Accommodation: Hotel

Location: Marrakesh

Marrakech is a feast for the senses. Like many North African towns, Marrakech is divided into two distinct parts; Gueliz, the more modern French-influenced area and the Medina, the old city. It has always been a meeting place for the mountain Berbers and the desert peoples of the South and the colourful souks perfectly illustrate this fact. This morning a local guide will take us for a walking tour of the old city. Taking a closer look at the maze of narrow streets filled with the sounds, colours and smells of the exotic and an opportunity to visit the iconic Koutoubia Tower. After a morning of sightseeing, we'll stop in time for lunch and the rest of the day will be free. During a free afternoon it is worth visiting are the Saadian Tomb, the Dar Si Said Palace (now Museum of Moroccan Art), the Menara Gardens or the Majorelle Gardens including the Museum of Islamic Art a short taxi ride away. By night Marrakech comes alive and no trip to the city is complete without a visit to the celebrated Djemaa El Fnaa Square, a spectacle not to be missed with many street performers it's reminiscent of a scene straight out of the pages of Arabian Nights.

Accommodation: Hotel

Location: Marrakesh

Today is free to explore the city further at your own pace. Alternatively, for a complete change of scenery, you may choose to go on an optional visit to a nearby High Atlas village today. The High Atlas is North Africa's greatest mountain range. Populated by Berber tribesmen, it has always been an area culturally removed from the rest of Morocco, a barrier between the northern plains and the pre-Sahara.

Accommodation: Hotel

Location: Marrakesh

The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Marrakech. There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Marrakech at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day, luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you need to depart from Marrakesh Menara Airport (RAK). Depending on the schedule of your flights, you may have some additional time to wander in the souks of Marrakech or buy your last souvenirs before departure.

Included
  • Train Tickets
  • All Domestic Transportation (including internal flights)
  • Meals – Breakfast Only
  • Accommodation
  • Fully Guided

Not Included
  • 1 bottle of Mineral Water per person per day
    -
  • Tipping and Gratuities
    -
  • Country Entry Visas
    -
4* Moorish Spain to Marrakech
Aod all round experience
Added By:
Date: 27-Oct-2017

5* Moorish Spain to Marrakech
Spanish leg of journey with Tony Muldoon equallyod and well structured
Added By:
Date: 26-Feb-2019

4* Moorish Spain to Marrakech
Well-paced holiday given the distances travelled. well-organised with pleasant guides Local visits to ceramic workshop and tannery were interesting.
Added By:
Date: 26-Feb-2019

You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.

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19-Dec-2021
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13-Feb-2022
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23-Oct-2022
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06-Nov-2022
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18-Dec-2022
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25-Dec-2022
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Touring with Explore

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tour details

This tour is operated by Explore!

12 nights from pp exc.flights; per Night
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Start:Malaga
Finish:Marrakech
Group size:4 - 18
Suitable for: Adult
Accommodation:Standard
Physical rating:Medium, Moderate
Meals:Breakfast: 12
Diets:Vegetarians, Vegans
Tour operated in: English
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