Day 1: Australia – – Madrid
Make your way to the airport and board a flight bound for the capital of Spain!
Day 2: Madrid
Welcome to Madrid! You are met upon arrival at the airport and transferred to the hotel for check in. Embrace Spanish culture immediately by settling in for a siesta in your room, or waste no time getting out into Madrid’s elegant streets to begin exploring. Meet up with your Travel Director and fellow travellers this evening for a welcoming briefing and then head out into the city for your first tapas experience and to soak up Madrid’s famous nightlife!
Day 3: Madrid (B)
Join a local guide for a morning city tour around Madrid. Some of the landmarks you’ll count off along the way include Cibeles Fountain, the Gran Via and Paseo de la Castellana. Peer through the gates at the opulent Royal Palace, and then have the afternoon as free time. Wander around El Retiro Park, admire the works inside Museo del Prado or Museo Reina Sofia, or find a table inside Mercado San Miguel (near Plaza Mayor) and pick up grazing plates from some of the covered market’s vendors.
Optional: Old Madrid with a Taste of Tapas
Meander through Old Madrid’s alleyways, plazas and squares on a walking tour that visits some of the best tapas bars in the downtown area. This culinary expedition is led by a local guide and includes more sightseeing around the city. Additional cost applies.
Travel out to Segovia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This beautiful city is located on a rocky outcrop between two rivers and is home to a stunning 13th-century castle, as well as well-preserved Roman aqueducts. Additional cost applies.
Day 4: Madrid – Toledo – Granada (B, D)
The group travels to Toledo today. This scenic route winds through the La Mancha plateau, the territory of the fictional Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. Admire Toledo’s gorgeous cityscape as you approach this hilltop-perched city and learn about its medley of Christian, Jewish and Islamic culture as you join a local guide for a walking tour. Pass the elegant cathedral and see the white-and-gold synagogue before visiting a steel workshop to learn about the art of Toledo’s famed steel crafts. The next destination on today’s itinerary is Granada. Located at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, Granada is the capital of the Andalusia region and is known for its rich Moor legacy. You have this evening as free time to explore after an included dinner.
Optional: Gypsy Night Out
Spend time in Granada’s Sacromonte Quarter and marvel at the views offered of the city’s emblematic Alhambra. Attend a Zambra dance performance put on by members of Granada’s most famous gypsy clan. This dance style is unique to the clan. This excursion includes performance tickets and a drink. Additional cost applies.
Day 5: Granada – Costa Del Sol (B)
You have this morning as free time to wander around Granada’s cobbled streets however you choose. Appreciate the Arab influences over the city as you walk past Moorish architecture, teteria (tea houses) and hammams. Make a beeline for the Alhambra, the city’s most recognisable landmark, to explore this incredible palace and its gardens. Later in the afternoon, the group makes it ways south towards the resort town of Malaga – a gateway to the sun-kissed Costa Del Sol. Malaga also happens to be the birthplace of Pablo Picasso.
Optional: Albaicín and the Royal Chapel of Granada
Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site-listed Albaicín, a city district that has preserved the medieval Moorish streets of its past. See the tombs of past Spanish monarchs – including Queen Isabella I and King Ferdinand, the Catholic monarchs – and the glittering treasures inside the Royal Chapel of Granada. There is also some time in the Alcaicería Quarter. Additional cost applies.
Optional: Mijas Andalusian Hilltown and Mediterranean Dinner
Head to Mijas, an idyllic hilltop village, to take in the sweeping views along the coast. Walk past its white-washed houses, the bullring, and small boutiques as you explore the village. Then, sit down to a delicious Mediterranean dinner at a local restaurant along the coast. Additional cost applies.
Day 6: Costa Del Sol – – Fes (B)
Journey along Costa Del Sol to the edge of the Strait of Gibraltar. Here you bid goodbye to Spanish soil and board a ferry across the water to Morocco. This short trip sees you land in Tangier, and the group then continues to make its way towards Fes. Get a hint at what to expect in the coming days – culture, cuisine, history and more – from your Moroccan guide. The scenery of the Rif Mountains, chaotic labyrinthine markets and lavish palaces are just some of what is in store! Arrive in Fes in the evening.
Day 7: Fes (B)
Begin your discovery of the vibrant city of Fes by heading into the medina for a guided tour. Perhaps put your haggling skills to use as you bargain for trinkets and keepsakes, and meander through the medina’s main squares and hidden alleyways. Stop at a carpet-weaving cooperative and learn about this intricate craft, and have the afternoon as free time. Some of the most popular things to do in Fes include seeing the Chouara Tannery, posing at the Golden Gates outside the Royal Palace, see inside Medersa Bou Inania, or explore the Jewish Quarter.
Optional: Meknes Imperial City Visit
Drive out to Morocco’s third imperial city of Meknes. The city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and features stretches of ancient walls and ramparts, as well as 17th-century granaries and stables once used by Sultan Moulay Ismail. See the Bab el-Mansour Gate and visit a local medieval school, known as a madrasa. Additional cost applies.
Optional: Arabian Dinner and Entertainment
Indulge with an authentic Arabian feast and enjoy music from a live band and traditional entertainment, such as belly dancing, while you dine. This experience takes place in a riad. Additional cost applies.
Day 8: Fes – Marrakech
Leave Fes behind as you set your sights on Marrakech. Also known as the ‘Red City’, Marrakech was once a magnet for merchants wanting to sell ceramics, glassware, handmade carpets and heady spices. This legacy hasn’t been lost and Marrakech is still home to one of the most vibrant and energetic souks to be found in Morocco. Arrive in the city and gaze around in awe at its red sandstone facades and busy streets. Use this afternoon to explore on your own and get a feel for the pace and culture of the city. Sit down with a refreshing mint tea, pick up slices of wood-fired bread topped with honey or goat cheese as an on-the-go snack, or sink your teeth into Marrakech street food with orders of bessara (fava bean soup), lightly battered sardines, eggplant fritters, or brochettes (small chicken kebabs).
Optional: Jemaa el-Fnaa at Night and Dinner
Jump into a horse and carriage for a magical excursion to Jemaa el-Fnaa, the most famous square and marketplace in the city. See the square illuminated with lights and learn how it comes alive with promenading locals, street food vendors and other visitors once the sun goes down. Dinner is taken at a local Moroccan restaurant and includes music and entertainment. Additional cost applies.
Day 9: Marrakech (B)
Meet up with an expert local guide following breakfast at the hotel and head out on a sightseeing tour of the city. This outing is a great way to get your bearings for later on. Some of the sights visited on the tour include Bahia Palace. You may even see snake charmers in some of the larger squares. You have free time once the tour finishes. Use the afternoon to seek out souvenirs and mementoes, indulge with more Moroccan street food, admire more of Marrakech’s beautiful monuments, such as Jardin Majorelle and Koutoubia Mosque, or visit a local hammam.
Optional: Ourika Valley and Berber Village Home Visit
Take a scenic drive into the Atlas Mountains to visit the home of local families residing in a remote Berber village, in the Ourika Valley. Meet the families living in the village and experience the legendary Berber hospitality. There is also chance to pick up some traditional handcrafted jewellery. Additional cost applies.
Day 10: Marrakech – Casablanca – Rabat – Tangier (B, D)
Say goodbye to Marrakech this morning and hit the road for the journey to another of Morocco’s most iconic destinations – Casablanca. This city was catapulted to fame thanks to the eponymous movie starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman but there is more to Casablanca than just its Hollywood credentials. Embark on a scenic drive along the Corniche (waterfront promenade) and take in the mix of Arabic and French-influenced architecture. Catch a glimpse of Hassan II Mosque and its soaring minarets while in the city, too. Make for the Moroccan capital city of Rabat and see some of its landmarks – the Royal Palace and Mohammed V Mausoleum – before continuing to Tangier. This is your final evening in Morocco and you have tonight as free time.
Day 11: Tangier – – Seville (B, D)
Step foot back onto Spanish territory as you make the ferry journey across the Strait of Gibraltar and then head north to Seville. This stunning city is home to Flamenco, fragrant oranges and sun-soaked summers. And Seville isn’t lacking in landmarks either; see its 12th-century cathedral, the Plaza de Espana and the magnificent Alcazar while here too. Use this evening’s free time to soak up the atmosphere of the city.
Day 12: Seville (B)
A sightseeing tour, led by a local expert, is the perfect introduction to Seville’s bounty of must-sees. Admire Plaza de Espana, Maria Luisa Park and the Old Quarter as you wander. Stop by the impressive Cathedral of Seville, the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, to see Giralda bell tower and the tomb of renowned explorer Christopher Columbus. Have the rest of the afternoon and the evening as free time.
Optional: Flamenco Performance
Experience Seville’s renowned Flamenco culture by attending a dance performance this evening. The performance runs for 90 minutes and includes a drink. Additional cost applies.
Optional: Flamenco Performance with Three-Course Dinner
Indulge with a sumptuous three-course dinner of authentic Andalusian fare (drinks included) and take in an extraordinary Flamenco performance afterwards. Additional cost applies.
Optional: Moorish Alcazar and Plaza America
Visit the elegant 14th-century Moorish Alcazar and its beautiful gardens. You may even recognise the gardens from a recent appearance in the TV series Game of Thrones. Continue to the exhibition site of Plaza America. Additional cost applies.
Day 13: Seville – Lisbon (B)
Head west as you leave Spain and cross the Iberian Peninsula into Portugal. Take in the stunning shores along the Algarve Coast and move through the green plains of the Alentejo region. Arrive in Lisbon, the Portuguese capital, and immediately be bewitched by the city’s charm – think cobblestone streets, fairytale-like neighbourhoods, buzzing squares and markets, and world-class bars and restaurants. You have free time upon arrival in Lisbon.
Optional: Portuguese Fado Evening with Dinner
Head into Lisbon’s Bairro Alto district to enjoy a dinner of traditional Portuguese cuisine at a local restaurant before attending a Fado performance. Fado is a form of Portuguese singing, often found in cafes, restaurants and bars. Additional cost applies.
Day 14: Lisbon (B)
Join the group for a morning excursion to Belem. This area of Lisbon is set along the Tagus River and is where you will see the famous Belem Tower, the Monument to the Discoveries and the Hieronymite. It is also the home of the bakery long-rumoured to be the origin of the infamous pastel de nata (custard tart). The remainder of the day is yours. Jump onto a tram to be taken through the city, head up to St. George’s Castle to see its ruins and incredible views across the city, amble aimlessly through the narrow laneways of Alfama and Chiado, sip a sundowner at a bar in Bairro Alto, or set out on a mission to find the city’s best bifana (pork sandwich) or bacalhau (codfish).
Optional: Estrela, Parliament and Dinner
Head into the Estrela district on a guided excursion that takes you to its park, basilica and the buildings of Portuguese Parliament. This is followed with a drive along the banks of the Tagus River and dinner at a local restaurant. Additional cost applies.
Optional: Seafood Dinner by the Tagus River
Board a ferry to make the journey across the Tagus River, bound for an outstanding seafood dinner at a local restaurant. After the meal, the group crosses the Suspension Bridge to take in glorious views of Lisbon at night. Additional cost applies.
Optional: The Golden Triangle (Sintra, Cascais and the Estoril Coast)
Travel out to the fashionable resort town of Estoril and explore the idyllic village of Cascais, home to a collection of magnificent mansions and exclusive residences. Then, move inland to see Sintra National Palace, located in centre of town. Additional cost applies.
Day 15: Lisbon – Fatima – Salamanca (B)
The group journeys out of Lisbon and to Fatima this morning. This city is home to the Sanctuary of Fatima, a Catholic pilgrimage site. The legend of this site began in 1917 when three young children claimed they were visited by an apparition of the Virgin Mary and were instructed to revisit this location every year after. Word of the apparition spread, and the children were soon joining on their yearly pilgrimage by other faithful. You have time to explore the Basilica on your own before the group ventures back into Spain and arrives in Salamanca. Join the Travel Director for a brief orientation around the ancient city and take in its heritage facades and university buildings as you go. The evening is leisure time, and a popular pastime is for visitors to catch the sunset in the 18th-century Plaza Mayor. Order a sundowner and admire the sights of the surrounding buildings becoming illuminated with golden light.
Day 16: Salamanca – Madrid (B, D)
Begin the return drive towards Madrid, driving through the Sierra de Guadarrama Mountains along the way. Arrive back in the Spanish capital and have free time to squeeze in any last-minute sightseeing, shopping or tapas feasting. Reconvene with the rest of your group in the evening for a delicious farewell dinner.
Optional: El Escorial Palace and Monastery, and the Valley of the Fallen
Join a local guide for a visit to the royal city of El Escorial. See the location of its great monastery palace, and visit a Spanish Civil War memorial. Additional cost applies.
Day 17: Madrid – – Australia (B)
Say goodbye to your Travel Director and newfound friends as you are transferred to the airport and board your return flights back to Australia.
Day 18: Australia
Arrive in Australia today.