On this fast-paced 16-day tour, you'll travel through Spain and Morocco. Start with a tapas tour in Madrid before hiking the cliffside trails of Caminito del Rey and cruising around Málaga at sunset. Next, take a ferry to the Moroccan port of Tangier and venture to the edge of the Sahara Desert for camel rides and sandboarding. Finally, head to Marrakesh through several fortified cities, where you'll tour the historic medina, experience a hammam, and learn how to make Moroccan recipes during a cooking class.


  • Immerse yourself in Madrid's famous tapas culture on a tasty guided tour
  • Strap yourself in to walk along the height-defying bridges of Caminito del Rey
  • Get lost in the UNESCO-listed maze of streets in the historic Medina of Fes
  • Relax and watch a sunset over the Sahara dunes at a luxury desert camp
  • Learn some delicious recipes in a Moroccan cooking class in Marrakesh

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Madrid (Spain), Tapas Culinary Experience Madrid
Day 2 Hot-Air Balloon Ride Over Madrid, City Segway Tour Madrid
Day 3 Hiking in Sierra de Guadarrama National Park Madrid
Day 4 Transfer to Málaga, Explore the City Málaga
Day 5 Day Trip to Caminito del Rey, Sunset Málaga Cruise Málaga
Day 6 Transfer to Tangier (Morocco), Free Time Tangier
Day 7 Transfer to Fes, Tour Medina & City Attractions Fes
Day 8 Day Trip to Sefrou Fes
Day 9 Transfer to Midelt via the High Atlas Mountains Midelt
Day 10 Transfer to Merzouga via Erfoud & Desert Camel Ride Merzouga
Day 11 Desert Adventures in Erg Chebbi Merzouga
Day 12 Transfer to Boumalne Dades via Tinghir & Todra Gorge Boumalne Dades
Day 13 Transfer to Marrakesh via Ouarzazate & Aït Benhaddou Marrakesh
Day 14 Guided Tour of Marrakesh, Traditional Hammam Visit Marrakesh
Day 15 Moroccan Cooking Class, Tour of Le Jardin Secret Marrakesh
Day 16 Visit the Handicraft Center, Depart Marrakesh  
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Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Madrid (Spain), Tapas Culinary Experience

Tapas of Spain
Savor the flavors of Madrid on a tapas tour

¡Bienvenidos a España! Upon arrival in Madrid, your driver will be waiting for you at the airport to take you to your hotel in the city's center. Once you settle, head out to see some highlights, like the historic plaza Puerta del Sol, the former center of Old Madrid at Playa Mayor, and the Palacio Royal with its impressive gardens.

Spain's capital is made for walking—with wide, elegant boulevards, different architectural styles scattered throughout, and plenty of parks. It also has some of the best art museums on the continent, like the Prado Museum, which showcases artists such as Velázquez, El Greco, and Goya. 

In the evening, dig into Madrid's food culture on a traditional tapeo, or tapas crawl, through Barrio Las Letras, known as the "literary quarter." Your culinary journey starts at a traditional bodega where you can sample classics such as patatas bravas (spicy fried potatoes) or huevos rotos ("broken" eggs). Over the next three stops, try out different tostas (toasted bread with various toppings) and bites of grilled seafood—all paired with local wines.

Day 2: Hot-Air Balloon Ride Over Madrid, City Segway Tour

End the day with a hot-air balloon adventure
Start the day with a hot-air balloon ride over the countryside of Spain

Wake up before dawn for a sunrise hot-air balloon ride over Madrid's mountains and countryside. Upon arrival at the launch site, you'll witness the inflating of the balloon, hop in the basket, and then cruise at 3,000 feet (1,000 m) as you watch the early morning sun light up the city and the surrounding countryside. When you land, you'll celebrate with a light breakfast and toast the experience with a glass of cava.

Head back to the center of Madrid for an exciting segway tour of the city. Follow your guide to some of Madrid's most important monuments in the Madrid de los Austrias and Bourbon neighborhoods. Cruise through the famous Puerta de Alcalá at the entrance to Madrid's "green lung," El Retiro Park. Motor by the impressive Teatro Español at the Plaza de Santa Ana and immerse yourself in the city's long history.

Day 3: Hiking in Sierra de Guadarrama National Park

This scenic area is ideal for hiking
Hike to a gorgeous lake in the Sierra de Guadarrama near Madrid 

Strap on your hiking boots and hit the trails in the beautiful Sierra de Guadarrama National Park, north of Madrid. Beginning in the trailhead parking lot of Puerto de Cotos, which will take you through the massif of Peñalara, one of the most famous places in the park. 

Depending on your preference, you can take the one-hour, easy hike through the forest, past La Gitana sundial and the springs of Fuente Cubeiro, up to the glacial lagoon of Laguna Grande de Peñalara. For a longer, more challenging hike, continue 3 miles (5 km), approximately two hours, past a stream called Arroyo de Peñalara and through a wild pine forest.

Once you reach encompassing views of the Valle de Lozoya, it's a short trip to your final stop: the incredible Laguna de los Pájaros de Peñalara. Take a break to savor the views, then head back to the trailhead, stopping by the Laguna de los Claveles, a set of five glacial lagoons. Transfer back to Madrid for your last night in the city!

Day 4: Transfer to Málaga, Explore the City

Spend the day touring Malaga with a local guide
Check out the port, beaches, and boulevards of Málaga at your own pace

Say adiós to Madrid as a private car takes you to the train station from your hotel. This is where you'll catch a 2-3 hour train to the seaside city of Málaga. Upon arrival, a driver will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel in the city. Located on southern Spain's Costa del Sol, this lively port city is ideal for exploring the area and more of Andalusia.

Once you settle in, head out to explore. Lay in the golden sand of Playa de La Malagueta, located in the neighborhood of the same name in the center. Take a waterfront stroll along the remodeled Port of Málaga, gape at the 131-foot ceilings of the 16th-century Málaga Cathedral, and visit the famous Picasso Museum, home to 200 works by Málaga's favorite son.

For a peaceful getaway, head about an hour east of the city to the charming fishing village of Nerja, known for its coastal cliffs and beautiful beaches. The town is also famous for the Cueva de Nerja, a series of caverns that stretch 5 miles (3 km) and feature a theater that holds regular concerts. End the day at a tapas bar in Málaga for dinner. The tapas culture is alive and well, and it's one of the best places in the country to try boquerones fritos (fried anchovies). 

Day 5: Day Trip to Caminito del Rey, Sunset Málaga Cruise

El Caminito de Rey
Hike along the incredible walkways of El Caminito de Rey near Málaga

Today, you'll be picked up at your hotel in Málaga for a day trip to hike the incredible walkways of the Caminito del Rey, located one-hour northwest of the city. Built along a deep gorge carved out by the Guadalhorce River, the trail is carved into the side of the cliff and over the expanse, reaching depths of 2,297 feet (700 m). 

Once you arrive at the northern entrance, strap into your safety equipment and begin your hike. As you go, enjoy the spectacular views down the gorge to the river winding through the valley below. This one-way trail typically takes about 3-4 hours to complete. Afterward, you'll return to Málaga, where you can relax and recharge before your next tour. 

At sunset, you'll leave the bustle of the city center behind on a peaceful cruise. Hop aboard a catamaran for a 1.5-hour voyage around the coast close to Málaga, with glorious views across the water, passing an array of the region's fantastic beaches and enjoying the pleasant sea breezes. As the sun sets behind the mountains, settle in to enjoy the spectacle alongside a glass of bubbly (nonalcoholic if you prefer).

Day 6: Transfer to Tangier (Morocco), Free Time

Ferry to Tangier and check out the 15th-century Portuguese fortress

After breakfast, it's time to say farewell to Spain! Your driver will transfer you to the port of Tarifa to board a ferry to Morocco. The ferry to Tangier generally takes around one hour, depending on the weather. Once you arrive and settle into your hotel, you'll have the rest of the day to explore Tangier's historic and vibrant city center, the gateway between Europe and Africa. 

Head to the buzzy old medina, contained by the walls of a 15th-century Portuguese fortress. Stop for a coffee break or lunch at the famous 100-year-old Café Hafa, enjoying the coastline views from the many terraces known to attract artists, writers, and musicians from all over the world. Catch the best views from the cannons of Faro Square overlooking the Strait of Gibraltar and, on a clear day, the shores of Spain.

Explore the city's kasbah (fortified castle), which is small and compact enough to explore independently. At sunset, wander along the palm-lined seafront promenade, Corniche de Tangier, which parallels the sandy city beach and ends at Corniche Gardens.

Day 7: Transfer to Fes, Tour Medina & City Attractions

Get lost in the maze of tiny streets and discover the intricate architecture

This morning, make the 3.5-hour transfer from Tangier to Fes, the oldest of Morocco's imperial cities. Begin in Fes' fortified medina, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that makes you feel you're stepping back in time, mainly due to the lack of colonial influence in the city. Get lost among the twisting, uneven cobbled streets, and stop to peruse the iconic souks (markets) for spices, leather goods, ceramics, shoes, scarves, medicines, and more. 

Next, head to the ninth-century Al-Qarawiyyin Mosque and University, the world's oldest continuously operating university, and stop at Al Attarine Madrasa, a 14th-century school featuring beautiful architecture and ornate zellij tiles. Then, wander to some of the other sites of Fes, such as the mellah (Jewish District and cemetery) and the Dar el Makhzen (the Royal Palace of Fes).

End your day watching the sunset from the Marinid Tombs in the north or Borj Sud in the south (depending on where you're staying), offering fantastic views of this dynamic city and its timeless roots.

Day 8: Day Trip to Sefrou 

Aggay waterfalls in Sefrou
See the beautiful Aggay Waterfalls in the Jewish town of Sefrou

Meet your guide at your riad (traditional house with a courtyard) for a day trip to the nearby town of Sefrou. Sefrou is a walled town on the slopes of the Middle Atlas mountains, about 17 miles (28 km) southeast of Fes. The city, once a market town in the Roman era and a stopping point for caravans of traders, was a significant town long before Fes was built in the eighth century. 

Known for its long Jewish and Algerian history, a third of the population was Jewish until the 1970s. Sefrou is also well known for its cherry festival, one of Morocco's oldest and most prominent regional celebrations. It dates back to 1919 and occurs during the cherry harvest in early June.

Walk the city's charming streets and visit the Ensemble Artisanal de Sefrou (Craft Center of Sefrou). This beautiful complex, located by the old city, has several workshops where artisans work on wood, ceramic, rug weaving, and even silk djellaba buttons. See their work and learn from the craftspeople before heading back for your last dinner in Fes.

Day 9: Transfer to Midelt via the High Atlas Mountains

Visit the town of Ifrane, Morocco's "Little Switzerland" 

Enjoy a comfortable, 3.5-hour transfer from Fes to Midelt, a charming town in the scenic High Atlas mountains. As you weave through dramatic roads and reach the mountains, you'll enter an area of Morocco known as "Little Switzerland," which features various picturesque Alpine villages, including the 1930s hamlet of Ifrane. This little town is an ideal stopping point, with its quintessential French and Swiss mountain architecture. 

As you continue, you'll drive through the village of Azrou and climb to an elevation of 7,146 feet (2,178 m) over the Col du Zad Pass. Watch for the local Barbary macaque monkeys as you enter the dense cedar forests of the mountains. You'll weave through more towns, including traditional Berber villages, passing the nearby Moulouya River and its surrounding fruit orchards.

After settling into your accommodation in Midelt, known as the "Apple City," enjoy lunch, spend some free time exploring the town, and chat with the locals.

Day 10: Transfer to Merzouga via Erfoud & Desert Camel Ride

Sahara Desert Luxury Camp
Take a memorable camel ride to get to your luxury camp in the Sahara Desert

Wake up early and meet your driver for the approximately eight-hour transfer from Midelt to a Bedouin-style tent accommodation in Merzouga. Your driver will stop along the way to show you the desert communities in the Sahara Desert.

You'll stop in the Ziz Valley, famous for its hidden oasis and palm tree clusters, before reaching the market town of Erfoud, where you'll catch your first glimpse of the dunes. Stop to watch an ancient method of water mining, chat with nomadic shepherds, stroll through settlements, and, if time allows, enjoy a cup of tea with a local Berber family. 

You'll soon see the ever-changing sand waves of Erg Chebbi in the distance, an extensive set of dunes covering almost 14 square miles (35 sq km). Switch from car to camel for a ride through the dunes to your luxury camp in Merzouga, arriving at sunset. After settling into your tent, climb up the nearest dune to watch the rest of the sunset. Head back to camp for dinner by the campfire, accompanied by traditional Berber music and jaw-dropping views of the starry skies.

Day 11: Desert Adventures in Erg Chebbi

Spend a day exploring the massive dunes of Erg Chebbi

Explore the dunes of Erg Chebbi and its surroundings today, beginning with a drive through the massive dunes via Jeep to discover the hidden secrets of this exotic landscape. Meet with a local nomad family for a cup of tea, and visit the Gnawa House in Khamliya Village to discover the traditional, spiritual music often used for healing. Traditionally practiced throughout Morocco, popular maâlems (master musicians) are making the music known worldwide.

Experience the life of a local nomad as you accompany them through the desert plateaus, assisting them in their daily mission to search for grazing lands and water and helping with food preparation for the evening. You'll also get to feed the camels and other animals, learn to weave a camel wool carpet, and cook using traditional utensils and wood fire.

In the afternoon, rent a sandboard and test your skills on the dunes. Glide down the golden slopes and enjoy the soft, warm sand beneath your feet. If you're up for a challenge, tackle the steeper hills and attempt to carve your way down the larger dunes. In the evening, climb up dunes to watch the colorful display as the sun sets, then head back to camp for another campfire dinner under the starlit desert sky.

Day 12: Transfer to Boumalne Dades via Tinghir & Todra Gorge

The Tinerhir Oases & Todra Valley
Marvel at the contrast of oasis and desert in the Dadès Valley

Enjoy a spectacular desert sunrise and breakfast at your camp in Merzouga before hitting the road to Boumalne Dades, which takes about 4.5 hours. Along the way, your driver will make a few stops, starting in Khamliya, a village known for its farming plots in the sand. Next, go to Rissani, home of Maison Tuareg, a house filled with traditional arts and crafts.

Continue through the Draa Valley, a rich riverside area filled with endless date palms—stop by a stall to pick up a small box of sweet dates for the drive—before heading to the desert town of Tinghir. Here, you'll find fantastic views of neighboring villages along an extensive river oasis with 30 miles (48 km) of palm trees. With its ancient and colorful Jewish quarter, Tinghir also offers a glimpse into ancestral Moroccan Jewry in Ali Ait el Haj, the old Jewish quarter.

Your next stop is the Todra Gorge, which is 984 feet (300 m) high and features impressive red-stained limestones. Enjoy a leisurely walk through the gorge or relax in the cool, shallow water. Pass through the Valley of a Thousand Kasbahs, known as the "Valley of the Roses." The traditional mud kasbahs and red-orange rocks contrast perfectly with the verdant stretch following the Dadès River, which you'll then follow to your accommodation in Boumalne Dades.

Day 13: Transfer to Marrakesh via Ouarzazate & Aït Benhaddou

The Kasbah at Aït Benhaddou
Wander the twisting streets of the famous Ksar of Aït Benhaddou

Start early for your six-hour ride to Marrakesh from Boumalne Dades. Your driver will make several stops, beginning at a rose collective in El Kelâat M'Gouna, the "Valley of the Roses," to learn how artisans convert rose petals into water and oil. Next, take a break in the picturesque town of Ouarzazate, the "Gateway to the Sahara," known as the site of many movies and shows (including Game of Thrones). See sets and props at the Musée du Cinema.

Continue to Aït Benhaddou to explore the spectacular Ksar of Aït Benhaddou. This UNESCO World Heritage Site dates back to the 11th century and is one of the most incredible sites in the region. While you walk through the center, explore the old town's alleys and passageways. Then, hike up to the old granary for incredible views of the kasbah, surrounding areas, and historic camel caravan routes.

After a scenic and tranquil drive, you'll reach the vibrant Marrakesh. After settling into your riad, feel free to venture into the city. Enjoy a relaxing stroll in the gardens near the Koutoubia Mosque, then head to the lively Jemaa el-Fna Square as the sun sets. Here, you'll find musicians, performers, food stalls, snake charmers, games, and more. 

Day 14: Guided Tour of Marrakesh, Traditional Hammam Visit

Shopping in the Souks of Marrakech
Your last destination is Marrakesh, the "Red City" of Morocco

It's time to discover Marrakesh, "The Red City." After you've had a traditional Moroccan breakfast at your riad, meet your local guide for a tour of the Medina of Marrakesh. You'll be dazzled by the displays of djellabas (robes), bright babouches (leather shoes), intricate lanterns, and mounds of spices. Your guide will share the history and stories of the medina, the souks, and the mellah sections (typically a walled and gated section where Jewish citizens lived), all within the city's rose-pink walls.

Continue your private tour to explore more of the city. See the Bahia Palace, a sprawling complex dating to the late 19th century filled with colorful, intricate details. Explore the ruins of El Badi Palace, built in 1578, and the Majorelle Gardens, an artist's landscape garden created in 1923, which provides a cool respite from the heat. End your tour at the intricate Tombeaux Saadiens (the Saadian Tombs), the historic royal necropolis.

After your tour, head to the ultimate pampering escape in a hammam (bathhouse). Begin with a traditional hammam session, an ancient Moroccan bathing ritual that combines heat, steam, and meticulous body cleansing. Then, enjoy a relaxing and refreshing massage, followed by a nourishing body mask and a cup of soothing herbal tea. 

Day 15: Moroccan Cooking Class, Tour of Le Jardin Secret

Cooking Class
Learn to make traditional dishes during a Moroccan cooking class

Discover Morocco's incredible and flavorful cuisine with a cooking class in Marrakesh. With a local chef, you'll learn how to prepare one of Morocco's most popular and authentic dishes: tajine. This dish is named after the signature ceramic pot used to cook it and typically features meats, vegetables, and fruit, such as dates or apricots, to add sweetness. When finished, sit down with your host to enjoy the fruits of your labor and a cup of traditional Moroccan mint tea. 

In the afternoon, visit a sanctuary deep in the old medina called Le Jardin Secret. This complex of palaces, set within a magnificent garden, is an outstanding example of Islamic art, science, and architecture. The gardens are split into two sections, joined by a narrow path: the Exotic Garden, which has plants from all over the world. Facing the entrance, a pavilion leads into the more extensive Islamic Garden, laid out as it would have been in the 16th century.

After you explore, relax and enjoy the views along with drinks and snacks at the on-site café. 

Day 16: Visit the Handicraft Center, Depart Marrakesh

Do some last-minute shopping before you depart Marrakesh

This morning, you'll head to the government-run Ensemble Artisanal (Handicraft Center), a market where artisans create traditional goods. Watch the artists at work, from the careful sculpting of each wooden animal to the stitching of leather poufs and the firing of hand-thrown tajines. The money goes directly to the producers, helping to keep traditional crafting methods alive and profitable for the artisans.

Later in the day, you'll check out of your hotel and meet your driver for a ride to Marrakesh airport. Safe travels wherever you're headed next! 

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Map of Adventures in Spain & Morocco - 16 Days
Map of Adventures in Spain & Morocco - 16 Days