2021 Morocco & the South of Spain Tour
Travel 1st Class on the Great Trains of Morocco & Spain. All stops 3 nights. Quality 4 star hotels. Fully escorted by Australian historian.
22 Day tour. The historic centres of Berber, Moorish, Jewish and Christian civilisations on both sides of the Straits of Gibraltar. Today they are an example of tolerance and peace.
Day 1, Tuesday, Apr 6th
Our tour commences today on arrival at Marrakech International Airport. Transfer to our hotel inside the Casbah. Welcome drinks and dinner [D] in the hotel.
Day 2, Wednesday, Apr 7th
This morning we commence our exploration of this fascinating city, one of the four former Imperial capitals of Morocco. Outside the red or ochre walls which give the city its nickname ‘the ochre city’, there is a modern Western city with boulevards echoing the period of French control of Morocco.
Then we explore the old city where the 12th century Koutoubia mosque’s 77 metre minaret dominates the city skyline. We end at the Djemaa El Fna – the vast square in the heart of the old city. Hawkers, snake charmers, buskers… enjoy.
Day 3, Thursday, Apr 8th
A day trip through olive and Argan groves today to the Atlantic coast and the harbour town of Essaouira, with its 17th century Portuguese fort. The old medina is a UNESCO listed world heritage site.
Day 4, Friday, Apr 9th
Moroccan Rail is certainly the best in North Africa, and today we take our First class seats in an air-conditioned carriage for a journey from the desert landscape of Marrakech through the fertile coastal farmland, the vineyards and orchards of Meknes to another of Morocco’s former imperial capitals, Fes.
Day 5, Saturday, Apr 10th ^ Top ^
Fes was founded around 900AD and its medina - old city - is UNESCO heritage listed. Our sightseeing begins at the historic and beautiful Blue Gate this morning. Fes is considered the spiritual capital of Morocco: it has madressas - universities - that are a thousand years old, and a synagogue dating from the 17th century.
Day 6, Sunday, Apr 11th
A day to visit the souks and bargain for local leather goods and jewellery. The Medina al Bali, with many kilometres of winding pathways and thousands of shops, is one of the largest pedestrian-only urban areas on Earth. Be sure you have the hotel name written in Arabic to show to any teenager when (not if) you get lost. For a 20 dirham coin ($2) he will escort you home to the hotel.
Day 7, Monday, Apr 12th
On Moroccan Rail again today, back through the vineyards of Meknes to the most northerly point of Morocco - Tangier, on the Straits of Gibraltar. Its location at the mouth of the Mediterranean and its colourful history since its foundation by Carthage in the 5th century BC, make Tangier a truly cosmopolitan port city.
Day 8, Tuesday, Apr 13th
For the first half of the 20th century Tangier was an international zone partitioned between France, Spain and Britain. It is said to have been a hangout for spies, drug runners and international intrigue, and also the original setting for Rick and Ilsa and Sam in ‘Casablanca’. The Hollywood moguls felt that the word Casablanca was more mellifluous (Would you go to a movie called ‘Tangier?’). Our city sightseeing takes in the medina and the harbour.
Day 9, Wednesday, Apr 14th
A visit today to one of Morocco’s true gems: the blue city of Chefchaoeun, a Berber stronghold high in the Rif Mountains, founded by Moorish exiles from Spain in the 1490’s. Enjoy lunch or coffee in the tranquil main square. Back to Tangier this evening.
Day 10, Thursday, Apr 15th ^ Top ^
Our intercontinental journey takes 35 minutes today on our ferry across the Straits of Gibraltar to Spain. We arrive in the historic city of Seville (probably the setting for more operas than any other city).
Day 11, Friday, Apr 16th
A Moorish city, Seville was conquered by the Christian king Ferdinand III in 1248. The Moorish architecture still dominates the city. The two centuries following Columbus’ voyages were the Golden Age of Seville as all trade from the Americas passed through Seville. Buildings from this era - the cathedral and the Plaza de Espana - feature in today’s city sightseeing.
Day 12, Saturday, Apr 17th
We visit the Islamic Alcazar Palace this morning and the remainder of the day is free for shopping.
Day 13, Sunday, Apr 18th
We take the high speed ATR train today, and stop over for a visit to Cordoba on the way to Seville. Our city sightseeing includes the UNESCO listed historic centre of Cordoba, shaped successively by the Romans, Arabs, Jews and Christians. The Moorish Catholic cathedral was formerly, and obviously, a mosque until the expulsion of the Moors in 1492. Later, our ATR delivers us to Seville.
Day 14, Monday, Apr 19th
Andalusia was under Moorish (Muslim) control from the 8th century until the expulsion of both Moors and Jews by the Christian monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella in 1492.
Perhaps the greatest gift to the world from this period is the UNESCO listed Alhambra, with its inspiring Moorish architecture and beautiful squares, gardens and fountains. It is the focus of our city sightseeing today.
Day 15, Tuesday, Apr 20th ^ Top ^
Today, we enjoy the magnificent Generalife Gardens. Then in the afternoon, wander the timeless streets to absorb the unique history of Granada. The Gothic Catholic cathedral containing the tombs of Ferdinand and Isabella, the Grand Via and the Hospital Real should be included in your strolling.
Day 16, Wednesday, Apr 21st
As our luggage is taken on ahead, the high speed AVE train takes us to Spain’s new (since 1561) capital, Madrid. Located in the borderlands between the historic enemies Aragon and Castille - joined with the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella - Madrid was favoured by Philip II who moved his court here.
Day 17, Thursday, Apr 22nd
Our city sightseeing tour introduces us to historic palaces and glass skyscrapers, Real Madrid’s soccer stadium and an active bullfighting ring. It is a sprawling city of almost 7 million, a modern European capital.
Day 18, Friday, Apr 23rd
One of the world’s great art galleries is the Prado in Madrid. Spain controlled Italy and the Netherlands long enough to gather a magnificent collection of Flemish and Italian Renaissance art.
Day 19, Saturday, Apr 24th
Our high speed AVE train delivers us quickly to Spain’s second largest city Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia. it was founded by the Romans, and has a proud spirit of independence from the rest of Spain. Catalan is the first language; Spanish the second.
Day 20, Sunday, Apr 25th ^ Top ^
This morning’s sightseeing begins with visits to the Mirador de Colon and the Placa Reial and winds up at Antoni Gaudí’s unfinished masterpiece, La Sagrada Família cathedral.
Day 21, Monday, Apr 26th
Barcelona lends itself to aimless wandering and people watching, and La Rambla ranks with Paris’ Champs Elysees as the best place in Europe to do it. Later, take the funicular to the top of Montjuïc for a fine view of Barcelona and its harbor. Farewell Dinner tonight.
Day 22, Tuesday, Apr 27th
Our tour ends after breakfast this morning.
$AUD 15,950 per person Twin Share.
Single Room supplement $AUD 2,500.
Cost includes 4 star hotels with buffet breakfasts, other meals as indicated, airport transfers, all entrances and sightseeing, tips for local guides.
DEPOSIT: $AUD 2,500 with booking, final payment 3 months before travel.
Also enquire about competitive and ‘early bird’ airfares.
The TOUR COST does includes:
- First class rail travel in reserved seats
- Quality 4 star city centre hotels with buffet breakfasts
- 7 dinners
- Full luggage handling (Escorted tour only)
- Local expert guides
- Full time Tour Director who is the Tour Company Principal (Escorted tour only)
The tour will be fully escorted from Australia by the Tour Director, Mr Stan Klan of Toowoomba, Qld, a published Australian historian and the Principal of Great Trains of Europe Tours. Stan has more than 30 years’ experience in history teaching and tour guiding.
The TOUR COST does NOT include:
- Hotel incidentals (eg. mini-bars, telephone calls, laundry),
- Airport and departure taxes, local transport in any city,
- Optional excursions listed or meals other than those indicated by [B] or [D]
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