1 Welcome To Madrid.
Transfers leave Madrid airport for your hotel at 09:00, 11:30, 13:30 and 16:00. Join your Travel Director at 18:00 for a delicious Welcome Dinner and the chance to get to know your fellow travellers. (DW) Stay: Hotel Riu Plaza De España.
2 Prado Museum And On To Golden Salamanca.
With your Local Expert, travel along the main historical areas of the capital of Spain, knows as Madrid of the Bourbons. Your drive continues through the Old Quarter, to discover the origins of the city. A sure highlight is when you join an art historian to explore the Prado Museum, a magnificent palace housing works by Velazquez, Goya, Rubens and other masters. Journey past the walls of Ávila en route to Salamanca, with its honey-coloured cathedral and 16th century university buildings. (B) Stay: Hotel Alameda Palace, Salamanca.
3 Holy Fátima And Lisbon.
Cross the Portuguese frontier and skirt the Estrela Mountains en route to Fátima. Join the pilgrims flocking into the great basilica commemorating the miraculous appearance of the Virgin Mary to three young shepherds in 1917. Your travels continue to Lisbon. (B) Stay: Dom Pedro Lisboa, Lisbon.
4 Lisbon And The Age Of The Great Discoveries.
Exploring with a Local Expert takes you along the avenues of the Lower Town to the Terreiro do Paço with a visit to the Belém Quarter. Enjoy a taste of the famous Pastéis de Belém from a traditional patisserie that has managed to hold on to the secret recipe of Portugal's finest pastry for almost 200 years. View the modern Monument to the Discoveries and the more ancient Belém Tower, a fortress that was originally set in the middle of the river but with receding waters, now sits on the riverbank. Visit the 500-year-old Jerónimos Monastery with its Manueline architecture, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The afternoon is free for you to explore further as you wish. (B)
5 To Seville, The City Of Carmen.
Journey to Seville to join your Local Expert for a tour of the immense Seville Cathedral, burial place of Christopher Columbus. See the slender Giralda Tower, the former minaret of the Great Mosque and now the cathedral's belltower. Continue your exploration through the labyrinthine narrow streets and squares of the Santa Cruz Quarter, emerging beside the great walls of the Alcazar. (B) Stay: Ayre Hotel Sevilla (Superior Rooms), Seville.
6 Free Time And Flamenco In Seville.
This day is yours to completely relax or continue exploring this fascinating city. Perhaps join an Optional Experience to Córdoba and visit the magnificent Mezquita, an 8th century mosque with a Christian cathedral built inside it? Visit the Cristina Heeren Foundation, a beneficiary of a TreadRight Foundation grant. This private dance school is dedicated to promoting the conservation of flamenco and supports young enthusiasts from all over the world with a special focus on new talent from the Andalusian region. Feel the passion behind the choreography as you put your rhythm to the test during a dance lesson before witnessing emotions come to life in a flamenco performance.
With some free time for dinner, head next door to Triana market and stroll through the many colourful stalls where vendors are selling tapas made from fresh, local produce. Why not grab yourself a refreshing sangria for a cheers to your new found dancing feet? (B)
7 The Straits Of Gibraltar To Fes.
Set sail across the Straits of Gibraltar to reach Morocco — a land of musky spices and colourful souks. Your travels continue to Fes, Morocco's most ancient imperial city. (B/D) Stay: Marriott Jnan Palace, Fes (Deluxe Room with Pool View).
8 The Ancient Imperial City Of Fes.
Your Local Expert will guide you through the ancient Medina. Explore this walled city of hidden courtyards, mosques and workshops. Walk through the souks and pass one of the world's oldest universities. Learn about the ancient craft of carpet making and gain an insight into the motifs and colours used in the designs. Then you are at leisure to continue exploring as you wish, or perhaps cool off with a dip in the pool at your hotel. (B/D)
9 On The Road To Marrakesh.
See the Middle Atlas Mountains and mud-walled villages as you journey to Marrakesh. (B) Stay: Mövenpick Mansour Eddahbi Marrakech.
10 Marrakesh, Pearl Of The South.
An exploration with your Local Expert will show you the Medina with its many souks and the Koutoubia Minaret dominating the skyline. Visit the intricately decorated Palais Bahia, intended to be the greatest palace of its time when it was built in the late 19th century. (B)
11 Play It Again Sam In Casablanca.
Journey to the west coast of Africa to reach Casablanca. Discover if Humphrey Bogart really did say 'Play it again Sam' during sightseeing with your Local Expert. You will also see Hassan II Mosque, the largest mosque in the country and the très chic seaside strip, known as the Corniche, lined with trendy restaurants and cafes. (B/D) Stay: Grand Mogador City Center, Casablanca.
12 Rabat And Tangier.
Travel north to Rabat, to see the Royal Palace and Hassan Tower with your Local Expert. Your journey continues to Morocco's great port of Tangier, overlooking the Straits of Gibraltar. Here you will enjoy beautiful views where the Atlantic meets the Mediterranean. After dinner, you are at leisure to relax in the comfortable surroundings of your hotel or take a stroll along the Bay of Tangier. (B/D) Stay: Grand Hotel Villa de France by BlueBay, Tangier.
13 On To The Costa Del Sol.
Cross the water to Spain and continue on to Gibraltar, an overseas territory under British control since 1704. Meet your Local Expert for a guided tour of the Rock of Gibraltar, St. Michael's Cave and see the Barbary Apes, legendary guardians of the colony. (B) Stay: Meliá Costa del Sol, Torremolinos.
14 At Leisure On The Costa Del Sol.
Enjoy the following day at leisure on the sun-drenched Costa del Sol. Relax by the blue Mediterranean waters, stroll along the promenade, savour the specialities in the local restaurants or consider exploring Malaga, the birth city of Picasso. (B)
15 Dining With Locals And The Alhambra Palace.
Continue to Alfarnatejo, a quiet white washed village with a population of just 500 people and surrounded by stunning mountainous landscape. Walk the town centre to see the 18th century Iglesia del Santo Cristo de Cabrilla. Travel to the oldest olive grove in the region and stop at the rural mill-factory of Almazara to taste a selection of different oils with locally made farmer bread. In small groups, you are invited into the home of a local family to join them for a delicious Highlight Lunch made of fresh, local produce with flavours typical of the region.
Continue to Granada, where overlooking the town stands one of the most remarkable fortresses ever built, the Alhambra. Led by your Local Expert, explore this exquisite palace built as a citadel by the Moors in the 13th century - a fantasy of arabesque gardens, fountains and stone cut like lace. Stroll through the elegant, exotic water gardens of the Generalife, the royal summer residence. (B/LW) Stay: Melia, Granada.
16 To Madrid In Search Of Don Quixote.
Your journey continues to the north, through countryside immortalised by Cervantes fictional hero, Don Quixote. On return to Madrid, toast your travels with your newfound friends during a lively Celebration Dinner of delicious food and wine at a local restaurant. (B/DW) Stay: Hotel Riu Plaza De España.
17 Depart Madrid.
Departure transfers arrive at Madrid airport at 07:00, 09:00 and 11:00. (B)