Arrive at Lisbon Airport where we’ll have a driver waiting to take you to your hotel. Take the day on your own. Your guide will pick you up in the evening for a food and wine tour. Learn about Lisbon’s café culture near Rossio Plaza, try codfish cakes, stop at a wine bar in Bairro Alto for the local white wine. Visit Castle Hill to see the best views of the city and discover Lisbon’s best sausages and cheeses, paired with a glass of port. Finish with a gourmet meal in one of Lisbon’s traditional restaurants.
Meet your driver in the hotel lobby for the drive along the Tagus River and through the Arrabida wine region. You’ll pass through vineyards, cork and olive trees. Visit a beautiful, family-owned winery in the heart of Arrabida Park. Try some of the local vintages. Continue to the highest point of the park for views of the Atlantic Ocean extending before you. We’ll take some time to walk along Portinho da Arrabida beach before enjoying lunch at Sesimbra fishing village. On our way back to Lisbon, we’ll finish the day with a stop in a wine cellar in Azeitao.
Meet your driver for the ride to Lisbon Airport. Catch a short flight to Sevilla where we’ll have another driver waiting to take you to your hotel. Check in and take the day on your own. In the afternoon, meet your guide for a biking tour. Begin at the city walls, passing the Murillo Gardens with several stops in Barrio Santa Cruz Jewish Quarters, the background to the opera “Carmen”. See Plaza de España, the Alcazar fortress where Game of Thrones was filmed, the Cathedral and the Giralda prayer tower. Your tour will end at the Tower of Gold on the river where you’ll take a slow cruise up and down the Guadalquivir.
Meet your driver in the hotel lobby for the drive south of Sevilla through the mountains. Discover a small corner of Spain where traditional village life goes on as it has for thousands of years. We’ll make our first stop in Zahara de la Sierra, birthplace of Arab noblemen, conquistadors and bandits. Walk through its botanical garden and steep streets before visiting an olive mill for a tour and tasting. Continue on to the tiny village of Grazalema, a town within a natural park. There is some easy hiking along a stream that leaves from the town. Finally, we’ll take a break for lunch just outside Ronda with a tour and wine tasting at a family-run countryside winery. After lunch, your driver will leave you with your guide in Ronda, the birthplace of bullfighting. Go inside the bullring to step into the matador’s shoes. Later cross the New Bridge spanning a plunging gorge that separates Ronda’s New and Old Quarters. Once across the bridge, your guide will continue the tour down cobblestone streets into the Collegiate Church and Don Bosco’s medieval palace. Return to Sevilla in the evening.
Meet your driver in the hotel lobby for the short drive to Córdoba. Meet your just outside the mosque to begin your tour of what was once the most culturally advanced city in Europe. Enter the mosque, converted into a cathedral after the Reconquest in 1236 and listen to the stories of the sultans and commoners who built it together. Wander the Jewish Quarters, known for their jewelers, strolling among the whitewashed houses and red gardenias. Your guide will explain why the Jews lived in such cramped quarters and some of their customs. End the tour of Cordoba with a visit to one of the few remaining synagogues in Spain. You’ll have some time on your own before continuing on to Granada.
Meet your guide at the entrance to the Alhambra. We’ll go back 900 years to visit the 11th wonder of the world. Gardens of Paradise, Alcazar Fortress and the renowned Nasrid Palaces are just some parts of the Alhambra Forbidden City that you’ll visit on tour. After leaving the palaces, take a few hours of free time in Granada center. Try the local tapas on Plaza Nueva or take a real Arab Bath on Plaza Santa Ana. In the afternoon, take a small group Segway tour of the steep, cobblestoned Albaicin and Sacromonte Quarters.
Meet your driver about midday for the ride to Málaga Airport. Catch a direct flight to Casablanca. Meet your next driver as you leave customs. Tour Hassan II mosque and head to Fez for the night.
There are thousands of derbs, streets so narrow you could whisper in your neighbor’s ear. Your guide will collect you from the Riad just after breakfast and try to make some sense out of the apparently chaotic old town. The numerous Islamic schools, among which the most ornate are perhaps Bou Inania and El Attarine, will wow you with their intricate stucco and cedar engravings that have so well resisted the passage of centuries. Out in the streets again, you will most likely smell the tannieries before you see them… Dozens of workers toil over open vats, dipping skins in to treat them before hand-dyeing them in bright yellow, red and white, stomping them under the hot sun to distribute the pigment. Enter Nejjarine Square you can catch your breath enjoying a mint tea on the roof terrace of Nejjarine Foundouk, an 18th-century caravanserai, turned woodwork museum after six years of painstakingly renovation. “There is a good deal of frustration involved in the process of enjoying Fez,” wrote Paul Bowles about Fez and that still holds true nowadays. Just when the walls seem to cave in on you, a little square comes up and suddenly all menace disappears. The secrets to be found around every corner draw you into the long-forgotten world of the travels of Ibn Battuta and Leo Africanus.
In the morning, your driver will take you south to Marrakech with a stop in Rabat along the way. A quiet administrative center, Rabat has also a much richer history and makes the perfect introduction to Morocco, suspended somewhere between Europe and the Arab world. We will visit the 12th century Kasbah des Oudayas and its Andalusian Gardens, an important outpost of the Almohad dynasty.
Your guide will be waiting at your riad to discover Marrakech and its treasures with you. We’ll start with the Bahia Palace and the ruined Badi Palace. Next door, the imposing marble columns of the golden dynasty, the Saadis, adorn the mausoleums. The small, yet very richly decorated Douiria is a fine example of crafts and architecture from two centuries ago. In the afternoon, stroll around Jemaa El Fna square and watch the acrobats, food stalls, musicians, snake charmers and story tellers in action.
After breakfast, leave Marrakech for a day trip into the Atlas Mountains. One hour later reach Imlil at 1700 meters high and start an easy 2-3-hour trek in the High Atlas with a local guide. Follow the hike with lunch in a Berber home. Hop back in the 4×4 and take on Kik Plateau to then descend by Lalla Takerkoust lake for tea. Enter the stony Agafay desert to arrive at your luxury camp. Take a camel for a ride at sunset. Dinner is at the camp.
Return to Marrakech Meet your guide at Café de France. Today the morning schedule is dedicated to a tour of the medina’s food stall and a Moroccan cooking class. After lunch, meet your driver for the ride to Marrakesh airport.
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