Explore the connections between Europe and North Africa on this new 17-day itinerary. In Morocco visit the kasbahs and medinas of renowned towns such as Fes and Rabat, whose bright streetscapes contrast with the rugged mountains of the interior at Chefchaouen and on the Mediterranean coast of Tangier. In the heart of Andalucian southern Spain we discover Seville, Cordoba and Granada, the heart of the Moorish south of Iberia, with deep and longstanding links back to Morocco.
A fascinating convergence of Moorish and European influence
Archaeological sites of Volubilis in Meknes and Chellah in Rabat
The stunning Rif Mountains and bluewashed Berber town of Chefchaouen
Charming and timeless villages founded by North African tribes around Arcos in southern Spain
Highly decorated Mudéjar-style palaces, a symbiosis of Christian and Islamic influences
An array of museums and gardens, culminating in the Moorish masterpiece at the Alhambra
In labyrinthine Fes, stunning Islamic architecture and a city seemingly stopped in time
UNESCO World Heritage Roman ruins at Volubilis
Seville’s Gothic cathedral and exquisitely decorated Real Alcázar
The breathtaking Mesquita of Cordoba, a blend of Visigothic and Islamic art
The 13th-century Alhambra in Granada, last stronghold of the Moors in Spain
A culinary paradise, from tagines to tapas
Days 1–2: Arrive Casablanca, visit the Chellah, Kasbah and Mausoleum of Mohammed V in Rabat.
Days 3–4: Explore Meknes, the Roman city of Volubilis and the museums and madrasas in Fes.
Days 5–7: Travel to Chefchaouen and stay in cosmopolitan Tangier.
Days 8–9: Ferry to Spain and the pueblos blancos of Arcos de la Frontera.
Days 10–12: See Seville’s Real Alcázar and cathedral, and enjoy a flamenco performance.
Days 13–14: Visit Cordoba’s mosque-cathedral and the Alcázar.
Days 15–17: Explore Moorish Granada, including the Alhambra.
A detailed itinerary for this tour is available. Click on the link above to view or download.
We recommend Emirates who fly into Casablanca and out of Spain (either Madrid or Barcelona). A one-way flight from Granada to Madrid or Barcelona with Vueling or Iberian airlines would be needed in addition to the international airfare.
Included meals are shown with the symbols B, L and D.
Monday 9 October: Arrive
The tour commences at Casablanca Airport. Your tour leaders will be waiting in the arrivals hall to meet the Emirates Airlines flight at 12.30pm, before departing by coach for the ninety-minute journey to Rabat. Upon arrival we visit the archaeological museum and its collection of Neolithic carving and small bronzes from Volubilis and Chellah. Overnight Rabat (D)
Tuesday 10 October: Rabat
This morning we visit the archaeological site of Chella, which combines a Merenid necropolis built over the Roman city. We then continue to the elaborate mausoleum of Mohammed V which houses the tombs of the nation’s recent kings; considered a masterpiece of Alawite architecture. After lunch, we explore the cliff top Kasbah les Oudaias, which features 12th century fortifications, narrow streets and whitewashed houses that are still inhabited today. Overnight Rabat (B, L)
Wednesday 11 October: Meknes & Volubilis
Heading east we travel to Meknes. Our touring includes Bab el-Mansour, Meknes main gate, the medina, the Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail and the Dar Jamai Museum. After lunch we explore Volubilis, an important Roman trading post and administrative centre on the south-western border of the empire before travelling to Fes in the afternoon. Overnight Fes (B, L, D)
Thursday 12 October: Fes
This morning we visit the excellent collection at the Dar Batha Museum, a converted 19th century Moorish Palace. We see the displays of carved wooden furniture, clothing, musical instruments and carpets. The pottery room has a superb display of ceramics from the 14th century. Entering Fes medina, we pass through Bab Boujeloud gate and visit the Bou Inania Madrasa. We continue past the Fondouks, used as workshops and warehouses to the Chaouwara Tanneries. Leaving the medina, we head to a tile factory to see the Zellij tiles being made by hand. Overnight Fes (B, L, D)
Friday 13 October: Chefchaouen
Today we travel through the Rif Mountains to Chefchaouen, a delightful mountain village defined by the blue washed buildings lining the cobbled streets. The old medina here has Moroccan and Andalusian influences, with red-tiled roofs and bright blue walls adorned with flower pots. We explore the compact medina and the Kasbah, that now contains a lovely garden and small ethnographic museum. Overnight Chefchaouen (B, L)
Saturday 14 October: To Tangier
Continuing towards Tangier, we stop at the world heritage listed town of Tetouan which served as the capital of the Spanish protectorate when it encompassed much of Northern Morocco. We wander through the Islamic medina and restored Spanish colonial buildings and boulevards that give the town its unique Hispano-Moorish character. After lunch, we travel to Tangier and do a short orientation walk before checking in and enjoying dinner. Overnight Tangier (B, L, D)
Sunday15 October: Tangier
We spend the morning exploring the sights of Tangier commencing with the American Legation Museum. This houses an impressive art and furniture collection and has a section dedicated to American expatriate composer and author, Paul Bowles. We continue to the Medina and wander through the Mendoubia gardens and visit the Moorish style St Andrew’s Anglican Church. (B)
Monday 16 October: To Spain
From the port at Tangiers we embark on the ferry for the short trip across the Straits of Gibraltar to Spain. Upon arrival, we head to the sherry producing town of Jerez for a walk through the old town and a tasting at a bodega, or cellar door. Our destination is Arcos de la Frontera, one of Andalusia’s most dramatically positioned ‘pueblos blancos’ (white villages), perched high on a limestone ridge. Here we stay in a traditional Parador for two nights, with dinner provided each night. (B, D)
Tuesday 17 October: Pueblos Blancos.
Today we tour the other fabulous white hillside villages around Arcos, like Grazalema and Ubrique. These charming and timeless villages were founded by the Berbers from Northern Africa, who felt particularly at home in these mountainous regions. For lunch, we stop at the city of Ronda which is famous worldwide for its position above a huge gorge with unparalleled views across the surrounding mountains. (B, D)
Wednesday 18 October: To Seville
Vibrant and theatrical Seville, the city of Carmen, Don Juan and Figaro is regarded as the quintessential Andalusian city. After checking into our hotel, which is a selection of converted traditional houses linked by patios and passageways, we set off on foot to explore the cobbled streets of the surrounding Jewish Quarter, plus the city’s magnificent cathedral, the largest Gothic church in the world. Those who are keen can climb the 12th-century Giralda, a beautiful 98 metre minaret which was once part of the original mosque on this site. (B)
Thursday 19 October: The Alcázar and Flamenco
The Real Alcázar, or Royal Palace, is a highlight of any trip to Seville. It dates from the 12th to 14th centuries and is an exquisite example of the highly decorated Mudéjar style, a symbiosis of Christian and Islamic influences. The afternoon is free for sightseeing around Seville. This evening we regroup for a Flamenco performance in an intimate location, followed by a tapas dinner. (B, D)
Friday 20 October: Roman Italica
This morning we take a short transfer out to Santiponce to see the Roman remains at Italica. a superb amphitheatre, well preserved mosaics and evidence of a once thriving civilisation from 200 BCE. On the way back to Seville we stop at the Plaza de España to view the huge decorated square with tiles representing all the regions of Spain. The afternoon and evening are at leisure. (B)
Saturday 21 October: To Cordoba
We depart Seville for Cόrdoba this morning, stopping at Carmona, a small picturesque town with many heritage buildings. On the outskirts of Cόrdoba we stop at the Medina Azahara, the site of a once sumptuous palatine city built by caliph Abd al-Rahman III in the 10th-century. Today we can see parts of the palace and mosque and a section of reconstructed gardens, and visit the award-winning museum. (B, D)
Sunday 22 October: Cordoba
Our hotel is the ideal base to take a walking tour of the winding streets of the historic centre, where we marvel at the world famous Mezquita, or mosque, and the beautiful gardens of the Alcázar palace. The afternoon is at leisure to explore Cόrdoba’s other attractions- the archaeological museum or the splendid patios of the Palacio Viana. (B)
Monday 23 October: To Granada
Our drive to Granada is enriched by the small towns of Baeza and Ubeda where we can admire Renaissance Palaces and beautiful town squares. In Ubeda we stop for an opulent lunch at a local restaurant before continuing on to Granada. In the late afternoon, we are transported up to the lookout of San Nicolás for a sunset view of the Alhambra palace before a walk back down to the centre along the narrow cobbled streets of the former Moorish quarter, the Albaicin. (B, L)
Tuesday 24 October: Alhambra
Today is dedicated to visiting the Alhambra, palace fortress of the Nasrid sultans, rulers of the last Spanish Moorish kingdoms. This magical site with its walled gardens and decorated patios is one of the highlights of our trip. In the evening, we gather for a farewell dinner in the centre of Granada. (B, D)
Wednesday 25 October: Departure
Our tour finishes after breakfast today. Transfers are included to the airport for those who have booked their flights with Academy Travel.
Holds degrees in Near Eastern history and archaeology, South Asian studies and interpreting. Sue has led tours in India, Central Asia and the Middle East.
She lectures for the UK-based National Association of Decorative and fine Arts Societies (NADFAS) and is well known to ADFAS members through her lecture tours in Australia.
What is included in the tour price? Unless otherwise stated in the itinerary, our tours include the following:
Any flights mentioned in the itinerary that take place during a tour
Land travel by private air-conditioned coach. Where appropriate public transport is also used for short distance travel on some tours
All accommodation in hotels or apartments as stated in the itinerary
Breakfasts, lunches and dinners specifically stated as included in the itinerary
Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included
Background talks on tour, site notes and online resources
Services of tour leader throughout tour
All entrance fees to sites mentioned in the itinerary
Local guides at some sites
Tips for drivers, local guides and restaurants for included meals
Tours begin either at the arrival airport or the first hotel, depending on the itinerary. If you have booked your international flights with Academy Travel and arrive before the tour commences, we will provide airport to hotel transfers to the closest main city on your arrival, and to the closest airport at the end of the tour. These may be either individual or group transfers.
What is not included in the tour price? Open-age tours do not include the following:
Return international/domestic air travel unless those flights take place during the tour
Special taxes and airport levies that can only be paid in cash at the destination. We will advise you of these charges (if any) before you depart
Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required
Travel insurance. We require all participants to have comprehensive travel insurance. A typical policy for one of our tours will cost from $160 upwards, depending on your age, pre-existing medical conditions, the countries you are visiting and the overall length of your trip
Lunches and dinners not specifically mentioned as included in the itinerary
Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
Costs associated with any activity mentioned as “optional” in the itinerary, or any suggested free time activity
You will be asked to sign an acknowledgement of these conditions when you book a place on a tour.
A deposit of $500 per person is required to confirm your booking on a tour. Final payment of the tour fee, insurance and any additional travel will be due 60 days before departure.
If you decide to cancel your booking the following charges apply:
More than 60 days before departure: $500*
60-45 days before tour start: 25% of total amount due
44-15 days before tour start: 75% of total amount due
14 days or less before departure: 100% of total amount due
*This amount may be credited to another Academy Travel tour within 12 months of the original tour you booked.
Unused Portions of the tour
We regret that refunds will not be given for any unused portions of the tour, such as meals, entry fees, accommodation, flights or transfers.
Academy Travel requires all participants to obtain comprehensive travel insurance. We offer a comprehensive policy with a reputable insurer if required.
Passport and Visa
A valid passport is required for all international travel. If you do not hold an Australian passport you may require a re-entry permit. Some countries require a visa to be issued before you depart Australia. We will advise you of all passport and visa requirements, but it is your responsibility to ensure that you meet passport and visa requirements before you depart.
Will the tour price change?
If the number of participants in a tour is significantly less than budgeted, or if there is a significant change in exchange rates Academy Travel reserves the right to amend the advertised price. If this occurs you will be given the option of cancelling your booking and obtaining a full refund. If an Academy Travel tour is forced to cancel you will get a full refund of all monies paid.
Will the itinerary change?
Occasionally circumstances beyond the control of Academy Travel make it necessary to change airline, hotel or to make slight amendments to daily itineraries. We will inform you of any changes as soon as they occur.
Full and final payment for the tour, airfare travel, insurance and any additional travel you book is due 60 days before departure. Payment may be made by bank deposit, cheque, cash or credit card. Please note there is a surcharge for payments made by credit card.
Academy Travel reserves the right to decline the booking or terminate the holiday of any traveller.