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The Gateway Between Morocco & Andalusia

  • Overview
  • Accommodation
  • Itinerary
  • Fares

A journey overview

  • Casablanca
  • Marrakesh
  • Merzouga
  • Fez
  • Chefchaouen
  • Seville
  • Tren Al Andalus
  • Ronda
  • Granada

20 Days Explorations
  • Departing:
  • 23 Sep 2020

Journey across the cities of Morocco, stay a night in the desert, and ride a train through Spain’s Andalusia region.

Map

Itinerary

Upon touching down in Morocco’s largest city, we are fast tracked to the Four Seasons Hotel Casablanca. Our immersion into the country’s history begins with a visit to Hassan II Mosque, before we make our way to the Habous Quarter. Here, a walk through the medina reveals souks selling everything from leather-bound books to spices. The glories of golden-age Hollywood come to life with a dinner at Rick’s Cafe, reminiscent of the film Casablanca.

Celebrate our arrival into Marrakesh with a choice between exploring the medina and souks of Marrakesh or indulging in an authentic hammam ritual at the Royal Hammam & Spa. After dark, discover Djemaa El Fna Square, declared a masterpiece of world heritage by UNESCO. Dip into Moroccan history with a visit to Koutoubia Mosque, Saandian Tombs and Palace of Bahia. After, feast on traditional Moroccan fare at Le Jardin before a tagine cooking class.

Take a sunrise hot air balloon ride, visit Villa Oasis, Jardin Majorelle and the YSL Museum. Then lunch at Le Nomad. Or, embark on a High Atlas hike to Imlil. We gather for a Gala Dinner in the candlelit gardens of our hotel, La Maison Arabe. Onwards to Ouarzazate. We follow the caravan trade route between the Sahara and Marrakesh, reaching Kasbah Aït Benhaddou which we explore by ATV. We arrive at Riad Ksar Ighnda, an oasis within the desert.

It’s time to make all our desert dreams come true as we make our way to Merzouga. Tangerine sand dunes roll across the Sahara Desert like the undulating waves of the ocean, beckoning us. At sunset, we meet our long lashed, hump-backed friends for a camel trek to our private tented camp. Under a star-studded sky we feast to the accompaniment of local tribal music, counting shooting stars as they appear.

It’s onto Fez and our private oasis at the Palais Amani. Our discovery of Fez includes the Royal Palace, the old Jewish Quarter, Al Qarawiyyin University and Medersa Bou Inania, a school for the study of the Quran built in 1351. At Fez Medina, join a tasting tour, sampling Malawi (pancakes), crispy potato cakes and cured olives. Perhaps partake in a traditional pottery, brass-etching or bookbinding workshop, or visit the Roman ruins of Volubilis.

We are led through the winding pathways of Chefchaouen’s blue medina with a personal photographer, who will perfectly capture us in this iconic city. A swift trek to the Spanish Mosque is rewarded with sweeping views of the city. For centuries, Tangier has been known as Europe’s gateway to North Africa. We stay at Grand Hotel Villa de France, where we may set off to Cap Spartel and peer over a sheer 325 metre drop to the sea.

Rising early, we are ferried across the Strait of Gibraltar into Spain and onwards to Seville where we will spend the night at Hotel Alfonso XIII. Resplendent with medieval streets and Gothic cathedrals, we explore Seville on foot. Cross the famous Plaza de España, an expansive green space flanked by tiled alcoves. Our carriage awaits aboard Tren Al Andalus. Settle in the saloon carriage as the train glides along steel tracks into Andalusia.

A visit to a wine cellar, sherry tastings, flamenco dancing and an equestrian ballet perfectly encapsulates Jerez. Founded by the Phoenicians around 1100BC, Cádiz has stood for thousands of years as Europe’s oldest continuously inhabited settlement. We are gifted a morning to wander the Old City and its ancient walls to our hearts’ content. Later, we are whisked to Ronda, a mountaintop town teetering on the edge of El Tajo gorge.

We roll into Granada. The morning is ours to explore Alhambra, a long-standing reminder of Spain’s Moorish era. The name derives from the Arabic al-qala’a al-Hamra, the Red Castle. A discovery of the Spanish Renaissance awaits on our approach to the cities of Úbeda and Baeza. Wander the paved streets, passing golden cathedrals, carved stone fountains and green olive groves. Back on board, we make a beeline for the charming city of Córdoba.

The capital of Islamic Spain more than a millennium ago, we while away the morning in Córdoba. It’s time to disembark our train for the final time and retire for the night at Seville where our journey ends.

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