This wonderful adventure follows the path of its predecessor only in reverse order for 2020. Featuring the colour, vibrancy and mystique of Morocco’s Medinas. Craftsmen creating wares by hand, utilising skills passed down through generations, continuing centuries old traditions, line a labyrinth of narrow, winding streets. Throughout the journey, incredible royal palaces and well preserved fortresses abound. A photographer’s paradise. Stand in the footsteps of great discoverers who once set sail from the very place you now find yourself. See timeless works by renowned artists and architects such as Gaudi, whose longevity is testamont to their creators skilled hands. Sagrada Familia, Casas Mila and Batllo and Parc Guell to name a few. Enjoy the fruity refreshment of a chilled glass of Sangria on a hot summers day on La Rambla. Surrender to the temptation of mouth watering Tapas. Marvel at stunning architectural wonders, from Plaza de Espana in Seville, to Hassan ll Mosque in Casablanca, and sip port from where else but Porto. If it’s the quintessential experience of Spain, Portugal and Morocco you seek, look no further.
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” - Marcel Proust
21 AUGUST - 18 SEPTEMBER • 29 DAYS
NEW ZEALAND – DUBAI one night Dubai
Days 1-2 We depart New Zealand this morning bound for a big adventure that awaits, stopping over- night in Dubai to rest our bodies, helping us to arrive in Casablanca in good shape.
DUBAI – CASABLANCA – MARRAKESH two nights Marrakesh
Day 3 Upon arrival in Casablanca we’re met by our national guide and touring coach, and make our way south to Marrakesh. Immediately you’re struck by the very simple way of life many Moroccan’s still live today. It’s not unusual to see farmers working in their fields using old ploughs pulled by animals.
Day 4 This morning we begin our sightseeing of this vibrant city, including bustling Jemaa el-Fna Square, sitting in the shadow of the Minaret of Koutoubia Mosque, where you’ll find all manner of curios, artefacts and locally produced goods from the abundant stall holders, not to mention traditional medicines, snake charmers, story tellers and so much more. We’ll also see the ornate Ben Youssef Madrasa and the captivating Medina, which is the Mecca for bargain hunters of genuine hand made goods.
MARRAKESH – ESSAOUIRA – CASABLANCA two nights Casablanca
Day 5 We depart Marrakesh this morning bound for Essaouira. This intriguing port city sits proudly on the Atlantic Coast. Bold ramparts protect the old town, or medina as it is known in this part of the world and 18th century brass cannons still line the walls in places. Once a ‘hippy hangout’ the city has changed very little over the years and retains its charm via the souks, myriad of tiny courtyards and captivating narrow pedestrian streets. We’ll arrive in Casablanca late afternoon.
Day 6 Our sightseeing today includes one of the world’s most impressive mosques. Hassan II Mosque is Morocco’s largest mosque, boasting the world’s tallest minaret. The mosque has a glass roofed section that can slide back to give the faithful a view of God’s creation, as well as a heated oor and electric doors. At night a laser on the roof points toward Mecca. We’ll stop to admire the architectural excellence of Place Mohammed V and also make a photo stop at the grand entrance to the Royal Palace. Completing the day we’ll drive along the Riviera of Casablanca, La Corniche and we'll try to allow some time for you to have a browse at the impressive Morocco Mall. Tonight we have a treat in store!
CASABLANCA – RABAT – FES two nights Fes
Day7 Continuing along the North Atlantic coast,in little more than an hour we’ll be in Rabat, Morocco’s capital and home to approximately 600,000 residents. Amongst other things we’ll walk the narrow character filled streets of Kasbah des Oudaias, a fascinating ‘fortress’ filled with whitewashed houses and blue parapets. We’ll also see the impressive Hassan Tower, intended to be the largest minaret in the world, and stop brie y at another of the Royal Palaces ... they have many! Mid afternoon we begin the drive inland to our destination today, Fes.
Day 8 Our guide will tell us more of the history of this ancient land today, proudly showing us the city highlights including the ornate Medersa el-Attarine. A ‘Madrasa’ as you’ll see mentioned often in the Arab world, is the name commonly given to an educational institute, religious or secular. We’ll then enter the incredible Medina of Fes via the grand gates of the Fes el Bali. The sights, smells and colours within will almost certainly awaken your senses! We’ll also see the 16th century Fort Borj Nord and give you more free time to further explore this magnificent medina labyrinth.
FES – TANGIER one night Tangier
Day 9 After a leisurely start to the morning we head back toward the coast and our last stop in Morocco, Tangier. On arrival we’ll do a city highlights tour with our guide, where amongst other things we’ll enter, conditions permitting, the incredible Caves of Hercules.
TANGIER – ALGERICAS – GIBRALTAR – TORREMOLINOS two nights Torremolinos
Day 10 Although tinged with sadness having to leave Morocco, the next stage of our fascinating journey has just begun. After an enjoyable high speed ferry journey across the Strait of Gibraltar we head immediately to ‘The Rock’ itself where we join our local guide and coach to see highlights of this legendary fortress including the Barberry apes, the incredible WWll tunnels and the 100 ton gun amongst other things. Following this memorable tour we cross the Gibraltar runway and rejoin our long distance coach for our drive to the beautiful Costa Del Sol.
Day 11 Much has been said about the stunning Costa del Sol, the name itself says it all. Today is yours to spend entirely as you please, from the stunning beach at our doorstep to shopping in the upper town, or simply relaxing by the pool.
TORREMOLINOS – CORDOBA – SEVILLE two nights Seville
Day 12 Driving amongst a varying landscape of farmlands intermingled with expansive farms of a different nature, notably solar farms, we make our way to captivating Cordoba to see the incredible Mezquita. There is nothing else like it in the world. An expansive Mosque built around a grand Cathedral, the two co-existing in harmony. For centuries accommodating worshippers of both religions. After some free time to explore the quaint narrow streets filled with all kinds of shops, cafés and galleries, we make our way to the architecturally significant city of Seville.
Day13 Our city sight seeing today includes one of the most striking buildings you’re ever likely to see, the Plazade Espana, constructed in 1928 for the World Expo the following year. We’ll also look through the Moorish Renaissance Royal Palace of Alcazar and stroll through the fascinating Santa Cruz Quarter with its beautiful flower boxes and vibrantly decorated facades. We’ll stop brie y at the imposing Seville Cathedral and Tower of Giralda, and time permitting, make a photo stop at the ultra-modern, Metropol Parasol, constructed of timber and affectionately known locally as the ‘mushrooms of Seville’.
SEVILLE – EVORA – LISBON three nights Lisbon
Day 14 Departing the capital of the Andalusian region today, we cross the border into Portugal, and our first stop of significance, the fascinating standing stones of Evora. 93 megalithic stones that are thought to be two thousand years older than Stonehenge. We can freely move among them, touch them and take photos. After this we continue to Portugal’s capital, Lisbon. Our first impression as we enter the city is that this is a modern city honouring its heritage, with architecture blending respectfully between old and new.
Day 15 Today we’ll see a few of the highlights, including the impressive Vasco da Gama Bridge. Further upstream we’ll see the historic Belem Tower, guarding the mouth of the Tagus River, and Jeronimos Monastery, housing the Tomb of Vasco da Gama. We pass back via the symbolic Bridge of 25 April and Pombal Statue. We’ll also visit the ‘fisherman’s district ‘of Alfama, a labyrinth of winding streets and quaint squares. Tonight we have another treat in store, dining while being entertained at a performance of Fado, traditional music and dance.
Day 16 Today’s a totally free day to do as you please. Our hotel’s location makes it the ideal starting point for exploring Lisbon. By foot, an easy and enjoyable twenty minute walk will have you in the heart of Rossio Square off which you’ll uncover many famous landmarks, galleries, wonderful shopping and a pedestrian only mall.
LISBON – PORTO two nights Porto
Day 17 Leaving Lisbon this morning we drive to the quaint city of Porto. On arrival our guide will tell us more about some of the cities highlights including the colourful and much photographed Ribeira district, the incredible mosaics in Sao Bento Station, a photo stop at Livraria Lello made famous through the Harry Potter stories, in addition to other famous sights. Rounding off a very interesting day, you couldn’t say you’d been to Porto without visiting a Port distillery, so we’ve chosen one of the best!
Day 18 Porto is not a city to be rushed. There are so many things to see and do, and because we all have individual tastes and desires we felt a free day to indulge personal pleasures was appropriate.
PORTO – SALAMANCA one night Salamanca
Day 19 Departing Porto this morning we make our way deeper into the heart of Spain. Scenery is ever changing, and on this particular leg we should see a significant number of cork trees in various stages of harvest, and expansive groves of olive trees, which is not surprising, given Spain produces half the worlds’ olive oil. Salamanca is home to the third oldest University in Europe, dating back to 1218, and there are many wonderful examples of Romanesque, Baroque, Gothic, Moorish and Renaissance architecture everywhere you look. The Plaza Mayor (Main Square) of Salamanca is one of the best examples in Europe, and the perfect place to dine or have a nice cool drink on a warm summer’s day.
SALAMANCA – MADRID three nights Madrid
Day 20 Giving you the morning to have a final look around Salamanca, we should reach Madrid by mid afternoon. This afternoon, time permitting, we’ll take you to the Prado Museum, one of the world’s nest museums, and give you time to browse the impressive collection at your leisure. For the die-hard art lovers amongst us there’ll be an opportunity to return here over the coming days, or to browse another world renowned museum, Reina So a.
Day 21 This morning our local guide will show us some of Madrid’s most notable sights including the 18th century Royal Palace, the Cervantes Memorial, Cibeles Fountain, Gran Via, Puerta Del Sol and Parque de Retiror. We’ll also see the beautiful Atocha Railway Station. For lunch we’ll give you time to wander the Plaza Mayor at your leisure, after which you may choose to re-visit one of the aforementioned museums, stay and shop or possibly take a stroll through the nearby botanical garden.
Day 22 Today’s entirely yours to do as you please. We’ll be on hand if you’d like any assistance, but Madrid being the city it is, we doubt you’ll be stuck for ways to spend your day.
MADRID – BARCELONA three nights Barcelona
Day 23 We bid farewell to Madrid this morning as we depart for Barcelona and an interesting day ahead with an ever changing landscape. We’ll have several stops en-route to make the trip comfortable. You can sit back, relax and take in the views, knowing you’re in the safe hands of our professional coach driver.
Day 24 Today we’ll take in some of the greatest features of Antoni Gaudi’s beloved city, such as his grotesquely beautiful Sagrada Familia Cathedral where we have ‘skip the queue’ entry. We’ll also visit spectacular Parc Guell, the forerunner of today’s modern subdivisions. Two of Gaudi’s most famous inner city properties are also on our itinerary today. Casa Mila (known locally as La Pedrera or ‘the stone quarry’) and the beautiful Casa Batllo. We’ll see the top and bottom of La Rambla, one of the world’s most famous boulevards, where you’ll have time to stroll at your leisure tomorrow, and drive past the famous Statue of Christopher Colombus among other things.
Day 25 Our last full day in Europe, and there’s possibly no more fitting place than Barcelona in which to spend it. There’s a plethora of things to do, from drinking sangria and eating tapas on La Rambla, to shopping at the boutique fashion outlets, having a personal browse through any of Gaudi’s creations, or possibly a little of everything. Tonight we have a special dinner planned, to conclude our journey in the appropriate fashion.
BARCELONA – DUBAI one night Dubai
Day 26 We have the best part of the day to spend doing as we please before we depart the hotel late afternoon to connect with our evening flight to Dubai.
Day 27 After time to get freshened up, we’ll have a look at the souks, Dubai Creek and possibly the Emirates Mall if there’s sufficient interest. This evening we’re going driving in 4WD’s to a Bedouin style camp in the middle of the desert, under a star lit sky, to enjoy dinner in the dunes.
DUBAI – NEW ZEALAND
Days 28-29 This morning we depart Dubai bound for New Zealand, arriving next day and drawing to a close our magnificent journey together, for now.