Cosmos

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

16 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 unique highlight is a visit to the SANCTUARY of Fátima. En route, stop for an enjoyable wine tasting before reaching Portugal’s capital, Lisbon, for two overnights. (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, Dinner)

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)

Day 8Seville–Ferry to Morocco–Rabat

An interesting drive today through Spain’s pretty sherry wine region and south to the coast. Here, you will embark the FERRY and cruise across the Strait of Gibraltar to Morocco on the African continent. Motor along what was once the infamous Barbary Coast, then join the new motorway for the drive south via Kenitra to Rabat for an overnight. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 9Rabat–Casablanca–Marrakesh

Today starts with an included guided city sightseeing tour of the country’s lively capital. In 2013, Rabat was a filming location for the movie Black Hawk Down. Later, via Settat, reach Morocco’s westernmost city: Casablanca. Enjoy a short break in this modern city and see the illustrious Hassan II Mosque—perched dramatically on a platform over the Atlantic Ocean. One of the largest mosques in the world, its minaret soars 689 feet into the sky and part of the mosque’s floor is made of glass so worshippers can kneel directly over the ocean’s waters. Continue on to the historic oasis city of Marrakesh. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 10Marrakesh

The highlight of this morning is included city sightseeing that will make you feel like you’ve been whisked back in time. Founded in the 9th century, Marrakesh remains a tapestry of ramparts, mosques, palaces, gardens, and vibrant public squares and souks (markets)—where buying and selling and a carnival of entertainment and fascinations occur daily. An optional excursion this evening is the perfect end to the day. (Breakfast)

Day 11Marrakesh–Fez

Today, motor through the fragrant cedar forests of the Middle Atlas mountains, where a number of peaks soar above 13,000 feet in elevation. This range is home to the endangered Barbary ape, as well as wild boar and polecats. On your way north to Fez, enjoy glimpses of North African village life reminiscent of Beau Geste. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 12Fez

Ancient Fez is a city of outstanding scenic beauty. Visit the MEDINA during included sightseeing this morning, and enjoy the maze of narrow streets through the colorful bazaars and exotic atmosphere. In the afternoon, explore further on your own. (Breakfast)

Day 13Fez–Ferry Crossing to Spain–Málaga

Today, an early departure takes you north for the FERRY back to mainland Spain. Drive along the coastal road of the Costa del Sol (Coast of the Sun) to reach Málaga for an overnight. (Breakfast)

Day 14Málaga–Granada

Head into the heart of Andalusia to reach Granada. On the agenda: an included guided visit of the ALHAMBRA, a lavish palace and fortress complex built by Moorish kings. With construction dating back to 889 AD, you’ll marvel at its architectural beauty and magnificent gardens. This afternoon, there’s time at leisure—why not join an exciting optional excursion? (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 15Granada–Madrid

Travel north today through the very heart of La Mancha, famed for its castle and windmills. Tonight, consider joining your fellow travelers at an optional traditional tapas evening, a fitting way to say Adios to Spain! (Breakfast)

Day 16Madrid

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)

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As recommended by Budget Travel