Cosmos

Spain, Portugal & Morocco (6830) - 2014 / 2015

15 Day Tour from Madrid to Madrid

Itinerary

Day 1Arrive in Madrid, Spain

Check into your hotel. The rest of the day is free to start exploring lively Madrid. Tonight, meet your Tour Director and fellow travelers. (Dinner)

Day 2Madrid

Of the Spanish capital, situated 2,180 feet above sea level, the Spaniards say it’s the nearest thing to heaven. You’ve only a day here, and it’s certainly worth making the most of it by joining the included guided sightseeing tour: a full panoramic drive by way of the Avenida Mayor, Puerta del Sol, Parliament Square, and a picture stop outside the Royal Palace. The optional trip to Toledo is most rewarding, too. The splendid setting of this old walled city above the Tagus was made famous in El Greco’s painting, and even now it’s like a great open-air museum of Spanish history and art. (Breakfast)

Day 3Madrid–Avila–Salamanca–Coimbra, Portugal

West for a visit to fortified Avila with its many towers. Next is Salamanca, just six miles from the spot where Wellington routed Napoleon’s army in 1812. Make sure you spend some time wandering around Plaza Mayor, the grandest square in Spain. Across the frontier to Guarda, the highest town in Portugal. From here, descend to the valleys of the Serra da Estrela to Coimbra for an overnight. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 4Coimbra–Batalha–Fátima–Lisbon

This morning, enjoy your orientation tour of Coimbra, celebrated for its beauty and ancient university. Later, travel southwards to Batalha with a visit to its beautifully sited monastery. Today’s penultimate highlight is a visit to the Sanctuary of Fátima. A sterner and more desolate landscape accompanies you to Lisbon for two overnights in Portugal’s capital. A stop en route includes a wine bodega and some wine tasting. (Breakfast)

Day 5Lisbon

Henry the Navigator made Lisbon the 15th-century mistress of the seas. On the included tour, see his monument, the Belem Tower, the Moorish Citadel, and the impressive Black Horse Square. Spend the afternoon in the Alfama’s tile-decorated streets, or take an optional excursion to coastal Estoril and Cascais. (Breakfast)

Day 6Lisbon–Seville, Spain

From the rolling plains of the Alentejo with its woodlands of cork and eucalyptus trees, southwards all the way to the brilliant light of Andalusia. Admire its neat white-painted villages and sun-drenched plantations of olives, figs, and almonds, while traveling by way of Beja into magnificent Seville. (Breakfast)

Day 7Seville

At leisure in one of Spain’s most colorful cities. Perhaps you’d like to spend this morning enjoying an optional sightseeing tour including the main highlights of this vibrant city. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 8Seville–Ferry to Morocco–Fez

An interesting drive today starts with views of the sherry wine region before reaching the coast for embarkation on the ferry to Morocco. Next, motor south along what was once northern Africa’s infamous Barbary Coast. Join the new motorway for the drive southwards, then west, bypassing Meknes for two overnights in Fez. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 9Fez

At leisure in ancient Fez, which occupies a position of outstanding scenic beauty. This morning, visit the Medina on the included sightseeing and enjoy the maze of narrow streets through the colorful bazaars and the exotic atmosphere. (Breakfast)

Day 10Fez–Middle Atlas–Marrakesh

While motoring through the Middle Atlas on your way to Marrakesh, enjoy glimpses of North African village life reminiscent of Beau Geste. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 11Marrakesh

The highlight of this morning is the included city sightseeing. You’ll really feel as if you’ve stopped the march of time. Marrakesh has always been a meeting place—first just a group of nomad tents, now a bustling city. An optional evening excursion will be a fitting choice to end the day. (Breakfast)

Day 12Marrakesh–Casablanca–Rabat

This morning, drive northwest from the heartland of Morocco by way of Settat to reach the most western of all Moroccan cities—Casablanca. Stop here awhile. Later in the afternoon, continue by way of the motorway northwards to Rabat, in Morocco’s capital for city sightseeing and an overnight. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 13Rabat–Ferry Crossing to Spain–Granada

Today, an early departure retraces your steps northwards for the ferry across the Straits of Gibraltar to mainland Spain. Drive directly to the heart of Andalusia to reach Granada for an overnight. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 14Granada–Madrid

Take advantage of the included visit with a Local Guide of the Alhambra, a summer complex built by the Moorish kings. This afternoon, drive into the very heart of La Mancha, famed for its castle and windmills. Overnight in Madrid. (Breakfast)

Day 15Madrid

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)

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As recommended by Budget Travel