(17 days from Lisbon to Madrid)

This comprehensive vacation starts in Lisbon with a welcome dinner and sightseeing including Jeronimos Monastery. Travel south and visit a tile workshop in Azeitao and continue to Seville, Spain, where sightseeing features a visit to the Alcazar. Ferry across the Strait of Gibraltar and overnight in Rabat, Morocco. Time to admire the Royal Palace and to visit the Mohammed V Mausoleum and Chellah’s Roman Relics before continuing to exotic Casablanca, where an exclusive lunch at Rick’s Café, made famous in the movie Casablanca, has been arranged for you. In Marrakesh, guided sightseeing visits Bahia Palace and the Saadian Tombs (if closed, visit Badia Palace instead). In Erfoud, in the heart of the Sahara, an exciting four-wheel drive through the sand dunes awaits you. Also visit Fez, Meknes, and Tangier before sailing across the Strait to the Bay of Algeciras. There’s time to visit the Rock of Gibraltar and St. Michael’s Caves. Enjoy a whole day at leisure on the Costa del Sol, then continue to Granada to visit the Alhambra Complex and the Water Gardens of the Generalife, and to enjoy dinner at a local restaurant. Stop in Toledo to see one of El Greco’s masterpieces in the Santo Tomé Church on your way to Madrid, where guided sightseeing visits the famous Prado Museum. For your farewell celebration, a special paella dinner has been prepared.


Day 1 Arrive in Lisbon, Portugal

Welcome to Lisbon! At 6 pm, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions for a welcome dinner at your hotel. (D)

Day 2 Lisbon

Lisbon was the center of Europe’s longest-lived overseas empire. Portugal’s imperial ambitions date back to Prince Henry the Navigator’s 15th-century discoveries in West Africa. Morning sightseeing with a Local Guide features a drive through the Baixa quarter’s main squares. Then, enjoy a walk through the cobblestone alleys of quaint ALFAMA, the popular quarter of the seamen and Fado singers. Drive along the grand Avenida da Liberdade up to Pombal Square. Stop for pictures of Belem Tower, guarding the mouth of the Tagus, and the Monument to the Discoverers. Also visit JERONIMOS MONASTERY with the tomb of Vasco da Gama. To enhance your stay, choose from our optional excursions to Sintra and the royal palace of Queluz and a dinner with Fado-style entertainment. (B)

Day 3 Lisbon–Azeitao–Seville, Spain

In Azeitao, visit a traditional TILE WORKSHOP. Next, enter Spain and reach the vibrant capital of Andalusia, Seville. (B,D)

Day 4 Seville

During your sightseeing tour with a Local Guide, hear about the city’s role in Roman times, its conquest by the Moors in 712 AD, and its contribution to the discovery of the New World. Admire Maria Luisa Park, the Golden Tower on the Guadalquivir River, and the university that used to be the tobacco factory of Carmen fame. Then, stroll through the narrow lanes of the charming SANTA CRUZ QUARTER. Highlight is a visit to the ALCAZAR, founded in the 11th century as a Moorish fortress, with its Palacio de Don Pedro. For those interested, an optional extended guided visit to the cathedral is available. Tonight, for a truly Andalusian night out, reserve a seat at our optional Flamenco show. (B)

Day 5 Seville–Algeciras–Rabat, Morocco

Travel through the sherry wine region of Jerez to Algeciras and enjoy a FERRY RIDE across the Strait of Gibraltar to Morocco. Here, your Moroccan adventure starts! Follow North Africa’s infamous Barbary Coast to Rabat, once a lair of the corsairs and now the country’s capital. (B,D)

Day 6 Rabat–Casablanca–Marrakesh

Sightseeing with a Local Guide focuses on the massive medieval battlements, the Royal Palace, MOHAMMED V MAUSOLEUM, Hassan Tower, and the Kasbah of Oudaias. Also visit the fine ROMAN RELICS OF CHELLAH. Continue to Casablanca, Morocco’s modern seaport. [LF] A special lunch has been prepared at Rick’s Café Américain, famous from the movie Casablanca with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, and the song As Time Goes By. Your guided panoramic drive features the Hassan II Mosque, a splendid monument designed to mark the end of the century. Evening arrival in Marrakesh, beautifully situated in an oasis. (B,L,D)

Day 7 Marrakesh

Follow your Local Guide and visit BAHIA PALACE, the 16th-century SAADIAN TOMBS (if closed, visit the BADIA PALACE instead), and to Djemaa El-Fna, the vibrant town center dominated by the 222-foot-high Koutoubia Minaret. In the afternoon, an exciting optional evening excursion is available. (B)

Day 8 Marrakesh–Aït Ben Haddou–Ouarzazate

Stop in the quaint town of Aït Ben Haddou, and visit its fascinating kasbah before continuing to Morocco’s Hollywood, Ouarzazate, deep in the desert and immortalized through movies like Lawrence of Arabia and Star Wars. (B,D)

Day 9 Ouarzazate–Erfoud

A fascinating drive through the desert via the Dades Valley with its oases filled with olives, dates, and figs. Then, head through Morocco’s Grand Canyon, Todra Gorge, to Erfoud in the heart of the Sahara. A special treat awaits you: [LF] enjoy a spectacular FOUR-WHEEL DRIVE through the sand dunes. Admire the unforgettable and romantic sunset before heading back to your hotel to savor a typical Moroccan dinner. (B,D)

Day 10 Erfoud–Fez

Enjoy your last views of the desert and turn northwards. Stop in Er Rachidia, originally built as a French settlement, and travel via the Ziz Gorges and the Middle Atlas mountains to Fez. Blessed with an ample supply of water and strategically situated, Fez became the capital of Morocco when the country shook off foreign rule under Berber King Idris in the 8th century. To this day, Fez has remained Morocco’s spiritual and artistic center. (B,D)

Day 11 Fez

See the magnificent entrance to the Royal Palace, drive through the Mellah, the old Jewish quarter, and travel on to Bab Bou Jeloud, the traditional entrance to Old Fez. Your Local Guide also leads you through labyrinthine MEDINA and MEDERSA BOU INANIA. Why not sign up for an optional folklore dinner? (B)

Day 12 Fez–Tangier–Costa del Sol

Arrive in Tangier, jumping-off point for the Moorish conquest of Spain, and enjoy an orientation of this busy seaport. Board the FERRY for the trip back across the Strait to Europe. Continue to the elegant Costa del Sol, where you will stay for two nights in the pretty resort of Marbella. (B)

Day 13 Costa del Sol

Today is your chance to join an optional excursion to the Rock of Gibraltar, in British hands since 1704. Later, enjoy the sandy beaches, and browse through the trendy boutiques. Tonight, why not try one of the seafood restaurants in the Carihuela? (B)

Day 14 Costa del Sol–Granada

Leave the Mediterranean coast and arrive in Granada. A guided walking tour features a visit to the ALHAMBRA COMPLEX, a fantasy of “lace in stone” surrounded by arabesque gardens and fountains, with superb views of the Old Quarter and Sacromonte. Also visit the WATER GARDENS OF THE GENERALIFE. This evening, enjoy dinner with wine at a local restaurant. (B,D)

Day 15 Granada–Toledo–Madrid

Drive via Don Quixote’s La Mancha to Toledo, where a Local Guide takes you to the Moorish bridge, an early SYNAGOGUE, the CATHEDRAL, and the CHURCH OF SANTO TOMÉ with one of El Greco’s most famous paintings. Visit a DAMASCENE STEEL WORKSHOP before returning to Madrid. (B)

Day 16 Madrid

Morning guided sightseeing features the Puerta del Sol, Plaza de España with its monument to Cervantes, the Parliament, and more. Highlight is a visit to the PRADO MUSEUM. An optional excursion to El Escorial is available, and tonight, [LF] a special paella farewell dinner with wine awaits you at one of Madrid’s fine restaurant as a proper way to say, “Adios” to Spain! (B,D)

Day 17 Madrid

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)