4. A tour of al-Andalus and al-Maghreb, a 12 night tour:
Within the heart of al-Andalus, an introduction to al-Andalus and it's main cities and provinces, exploring their main monuments. An encounter with the historical paradoxes in Muslim Spain with a privileged insight to Islam in Andalusia today.
Day 1. Arrival at Madrid. Tour of the city by bus. Overnight in Madrid.
Later we will continue to Madrid to receive a brief introduction covering the main monuments of the modern capital, the famous mudejar bull ring Plaza de Todos de Las Ventas, Castellana main avenue containing the main parks and buildings Madrid, main museums, bureaucratic and business buildings and sky scrapers, Santiago Bernabeu Real Madrid football stadium, between others. We will be driving in front of the Presidential Residence in La Moncloa and stopping in the historical centre to visit the Royal Palace, Catedral de la Almudena, Plaza de España, Plaza Mayor, Gran Vía, Puerta del Sol.
Day 2. Visit Toledo and further transfer to Cordoba. Overnight in Cordoba.
Toledo, 70 km from Madrid, was the former capital of Spain before and after Muslim Rule. We will tour the old medina and historical centre of Toledo for around 2-4 hours, including time for touring some of it's monuments, the Alkasr Royal Palaces, the Cathedral, and time for meals, snacks and a little break for your free exploring and shopping. After this, a 350 km bus ride through La Mancha, lands of the famous figure Don Quijote, will lead us to Córdoba.
We will reach Cordoba by the evening and after a brief presentation of the city and hotel check in, we will walk around the Mosque-Cathedral at night. Traditional courtyard tea saloon, night walks in the medina, flamenco show and horse rides are available during our free evening in Cordoba.
Day 3. Tour of Cordoba, visit to Medinat al-Zahra. Night tour of the medina. Free evening for proposed activities. Overnight in Cordoba.
Guided visits in the medina of Cordoba, including Cordoba Mosque-Cathedral, the Alkasr Royal Palaces, the Jewish quarters, old city walls, Live Museum of al-Andalus, Andalusi courtyard home and other streets and alleys in the historical medina of Cordoba.
Continuing our visits in the city and a break for lunch in the medina, we will depart Cordoba through Medinat al-Zahra, court city and Caliph's palace ruins, including a visit to the museum and expositions there.
Day 4. Transfer to Seville and tours, overnight in Seville.
Then continue down the river Guadalquivir towards Almodovar del Río, and further to Seville, 150 km. Guided visits in the historical centre of Seville, including the Alkasr Royal Palaces and gardens, Cathedral of Seville and the remains of the Almohad courtyard and minaret, the modern Giralda, Torre del Oro, Jewish quarters, old medina and city walls. After a break for lunch we will walk along the river to the Parque de Maria Luisa and Plaza de España, where we will be picked up and taken to our hotel. Night walks around historical centre or riverside, flamenco show and horse carriage rides are available during our free evening in Seville.
Day 5. Transfer to Granada, visit Alhambra palace and Gardens. Free evening in Granada.
Morning transfer to Granada for a midday arrival(260km). Upon arrival at Granada, we will collect some snacks and be introduced through a guided visit to the Alhambra palatial town, including the Nashrid Palaces, Alkasba fortress, Generalife summer palace, gardens and the old medina of the Alhambra. After this we will pass on to the opposite hill to visit the old medina of Garnata and it's main areas, divisions, city walls. We will visit the Mosque of the Albayzin at the Mirador de San Nicolás, most famous viewing point to the Alhambra and Granada city. From there we will walk down to the town centre and visit the souq streets where we will have dinner and enjoy the evening freely.
Day 6. Tour of the medina of Granada, free afternoon in Granada. Special dinner in Granada.
The next morning you will be introduced to the modern capital of Granada, we will go through the most important areas of the historical medina within the modern city centre, the old medina after which Granada is named.
After this introduction you will have free time for shopping, leisure walks or activities in Granada, during your last afternoon in Spain.
Day 7. Bus tour along the Costa del Sol, visit Alkasr of Malaga and further reach Gibraltar. Ferry transfer to Tangier. Overnight at Tangier.
We will make an early departure along the Costa del Sol drive past the defensive fortress towns of the southern coastline of Spain until we reach Malaga. At Málaga we will visit the historical quarters briefly for an introduction and head up to it's Alkasr fortress. After a midday break we will move on to Algeciras where we can view the rock of Gibraltar from on our way across the channel to Tangier by ferry. Once we arrive in Tangier we will be introduced to the medina and souq area and after our first Moroccan meal we will spend overnight at Tangier.
Day 8. Continue to Rabat. Tour of Medina in Rabat, transfer to Fes.
Overnight at Fes.
During our first day in Morocco we will head to Rabat to tour the medina.
During our morning in the present capital of Morocco, Rabat, we will visit Udaya and Chella old fortress towns, the Palace of Hassan II, and the King's Mausoleum.
After tours, walks and snacks we will move to Fez to spend the night there.
Day 9. Tour of medina in Fes. Overnight at Fes.
We will be starting our tour in Fez at the Andalusi quarters of the medina, touring the narrow streets and alleyways to visit the Qarawiyanne mosque, the Mausoleum of Idris II, and the main souqs and babs.
We will enjoy free time in Fes to shop arround for bargains and enjoy a relaxed dinner somewhere nice in the medina. Overnight at Fes.
Day 10. Continue to Casablanca, Visit mosque of Hassan II, continue to to Marrakech. Arrival and introduction to Marrakech. Overnight at Marrakech.
The next morning we will depart to Marrakech. We will get an early start to go 490 km from Fes to Marrakech at an easy pace and stopping at Casablanca along the way to enjoy a good roast and visit the mosque of Hassan II.
Once we arrive in Marrakech we will be introduced to the Qutubiya mosque and the main square of Fna where the labyrinth of souq streets starts. We will have a welcome dinner at the most'exotic'city in Morocco and conclude the'official'program to the day.
Day 11. Tour of the medina of Marrakech.
Tour of the medina and Jama fna and souqs. Introduction to the 7 saints of the city, Qutubiya mosque, Gardens of Menara.
In Marrakesh during the day we will tour the medina and souqs around Jam'a Fna. Throughout the day we will be introduced to the story of the 7 saints of the city and visiting some of their Mausoleums in the medina.
After a midday snack we will visit Menara gardens, one of the most exotic and famous Islamic gardens in Morocco.
You will be able to enjoy the exotic Moroccan food again on your second night in Marrakech during a farewell dinner at the central square Jama Fna.
Day 12. Departure from Marrakech.
- Optional tour extension to Ouarzazate, Merzouga with a night in the desert.
For the more adventurous we have a 2 day extra program visiting Ouarzate with overnight at an open desert camp. Before return to Marrakech for departure.