- Dive into Portuguese history with visits to Braga and Guimarães
- Learn about the reach of the Roman Empire at the Templo Romano in Évora
- Experience Morocco's Imperial Cities in Marrakesh, Rabat, and Fes
- Wander the kasbahs of Aït Benhaddou and the blue-hued alleys of Chefchaouen
|Arrive in Porto (Portugal), Foodie Experience in Porto
|Private Tour of Porto
|Day Trip to Braga & Guimarães
|Transfer to Coimbra via Buçaco Forest & Aveiro
|Private Tour of Coimbra
|Transfer to Évora via Tomar
|Private Tour of Évora
|Transfer to Lisbon, Evening of Fado
|Full-Day Private Tour of Lisbon
|Private Day Trip to Sintra & Pena Palace
|Fly to Marrakesh (Morocco), Street Food Tour
|Private Tour of Marrakesh
|Aït Benhaddou & Ouarzazate Day Excursion
|Foodie Experience in Essaouira
|Transfer to Rabat, Private Tour of Rabat
|Transfer to Fes via Meknes & the Roman Ruins of Volubilis
|Private Tour of Fes
|Day Trip to Chefchaouen, "The Blue City"
|Transfer to Casablanca, Private Tour of Hassan II Mosque
|Free Day in Casablanca
Day 1: Arrive in Porto (Portugal), Foodie Experience in Porto
Olá and welcome to Portugal! Today you'll arrive in Porto, Portugal's second-largest city. On arrival, a driver will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel in the city center. Drop your bags, refresh, and start exploring. Venture down to the famous Ribeira neighborhood first. Set along the Douro River, admire the narrow and colorful dockside houses and enjoy its views of the iconic double-decked Dom Luís I Bridge. Sit on a café terrace for some wine and people-watching ahead of your foodie adventure later.
This afternoon you'll join a 3.5-hour walking tour of the historic downtown. A local guide will share a firsthand look at Porto's culinary renaissance, including the rebirth of specialty food shops and new restaurants adopting old methods. Stop at old-school, family-run businesses to taste simple, quality products and traditional Portuguese recipes made with love. Learn why these spots are an integral part of what makes gastronomy in Porto unique. Finish the experience with an introduction to Porto's famous drink—port wine—and taste three different styles.
Day 2: Private Tour of Porto
Today a private local guide will teach show you the city's history, heroes, and battles as you make your way through Porto. Find out why it's called "Invicta" (Unbeaten City) and explore Boavista Avenue, one of the city's most important streets, and Foz, home to some of the most revered museums and modern local treasures. In the city center—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—admire the most renowned Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque, and neo-Classical monuments and sites, including the São Bento Railway Station, Clerigos Tower, Lello Bookshop, and Bolhão Market.
After visiting the imposing Porto Cathedral with its superb silver altarpiece, you'll finish the tour along the banks of the immense Douro River with views of Ribeira Plaza and the Dom Luís I Bridge. From here, you could choose to wander across the river to Vila Nova de Gaia, where Portugal's famous port wine cellars lie. Use your free afternoon to join a tasting or continue exploring the city.
Day 3: Day Trip to Braga & GuimarãesToday's day trip takes you north to Guimarães, the birthplace of Portugal as a nation. You'll walk through the UNESCO World Heritage city center with its medieval atmosphere before visiting the imposing 10th-century castle and majestic Dukes of Bragança Palace with your local guide. After lunch, venture to Braga, the oldest Portuguese city and religious capital of Portugal. For centuries, the city has been an archiepiscopal seat and pilgrimage site. Visit the 11th-century cathedral and Bom Jesus Sanctuary, a UNESCO World Heritage site located in one of the hills surrounding the city.
Day 4: Transfer to Coimbra via Buçaco Forest & Aveiro
Today a driver will take you on the 1.5-hour transfer to Coimbra, Portugal's medieval capital, stopping at beautiful Aveiro en route. Set at the edge of an extensive coastal lagoon system, this prosperous town is filled with Art Nouveau architecture and picturesque canals and has a youthful, energetic buzz. Colorful traditional boats called moliceiros, once used for seaweed harvesting, now take tours of the canals.
After a self-guided tour of Aveiro, visit the Buçaco Forest, which forms part of the European Route of Historic Gardens. It dates back to the 17th century when the Carmelite Order selected this site. The forest is enclosed by a wall composed of 11 doors, all built in Coimbra in the 17th century. The remnants of the monastery and a historic palace-hotel are located in the center of the forest, surrounded by lakes, fountains, and pergolas with walking trails through the surrounding forest. After a walk, you'll continue to Coimbra.
Day 5: Private Tour of Coimbra
Coimbra is a beautiful and charming city of huge historic importance. Considered one of the most ancient university towns in the world, it was also Portugal's capital city between 1131 and 1255 and boasts some great Roman and medieval architecture. On your private guided visit today, you'll get to delve deeper into Portugal's fourth-largest city, wandering along many of the medieval streets and exploring the university.
Founded in 1290 by King Dinis and in its current location since 1537, the University of Coimbra is one of the oldest in continuous operation anywhere in the world and has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A must-see is the university's Baroque library, with an incredible collection of over 200,000 books and the 13th-century Chapel of St. Michael with its beautiful azulejos (colorful tiles). Later this evening you could opt to join a fado music concert.
Day 6: Transfer to Évora via Tomar
After breakfast at your hotel, it's time to make the journey to Évora. Along today's three-hour transfer, you'll make a special stop at the city of Tomar to visit the Convento de Cristo, which forms a beautiful backdrop from almost any vantage point. Eight-and-a-half centuries after its founding, this venerable headquarters of the legendary Knights Templar is a rambling concoction of Gothic, Manueline, and Renaissance architecture that bears extravagant witness to its integral role in centuries of Portuguese history.
After departing Tomar, there's time for one more stop at Almourol Castle, a fortress located on the top of a small rocky island in the middle of the Tagus River. Despite being nearly 2,000 years old, the castle is well-kept and has long controlled the waterway along the Tagus. From here, you'll continue to Évora. Once you've checked into the hotel, take an evening walk through the cobbled streets and get a taste of the city's architecture and sample the Alentejo region's hearty cuisine for dinner.
Day 7: Private Tour of ÉvoraToday's captivating full-day tour of Évora will delve into the city's compact UNESCO-listed center. Your private guide will uncover stories as you visit the well-preserved ruins of the Templo Romano, proof of Évora's Roman past, and witness the golden age of Portuguese maritime discoveries. Discover the hauntingly beautiful Chapel of Bones, an eerie yet fascinating ossuary adorned with human bones; delight in the architecture of the Sé de Évora (Évora Cathedral); and enjoy the grandeur of Praça do Giraldo, the city's lively hub.
Day 8: Transfer to Lisbon, Evening of Fado
This morning you'll take a short, 90-minute private transfer to Lisbon, Portugal's colorful capital. The rest of the day is yours to explore at your pace. Visit picture-perfect Belém to see the Jerónimos Monastery, one of the few buildings to survive Lisbon's devastating 1775 earthquake. Then explore the LX Factory, where a former textile factory is now a hub of street art, restaurants, bars, and boutiques.
This evening you'll experience the soul-stirring melodies of fado in the bohemian Bairro Alto neighborhood. Enter one of Lisbon's finest fado restaurants to indulge in a traditional Portuguese dinner before listening to the haunting and melancholic tones of fado. Allow the authentic sounds of this traditional Portuguese music to transport you to a place of profound emotion and cultural immersion, creating an unforgettable night in Lisbon.
Day 9: Full-Day Private Tour of Lisbon
Today's guided tour of Lisbon will take you beneath the skin of this vibrant capital, exploring the most exciting inner-city neighborhoods. Board one of the canary yellow trams destined for the narrow streets of Bairro Alto. Continue into Chiado, where the great 20th-century writers and philosophers used to gather at cafés. Next up is the picture-perfect neighborhood of Alfama. Here, walk along narrow cobblestoned streets, and see the stunning 12th-century Sé de Lisboa (Lisbon Cathedral).After lunch, head over to Belém, one of Lisbon's most historical and monumental areas. Visit the medieval Torre de Belém (Belém Tower), and tour the National Ajuda Palace, once home to the Portuguese royal family. Don't leave without stopping by Pastéis de Belém. This bakery claims to be the original home of the pastéis de nata and still follows the original recipe monks in the area used in the 18th century.
Day 10: Private Day Trip to Sintra & Pena Palace
UNESCO World Heritage-protected Sintra, with its romantic palaces, Moorish castle, and mystical forested hill, is Lisbon's best day trip. Just half-an-hour west of the city, this lush mountainous microclimate is an unmissable experience. Spend the morning exploring Pena Palace, a 19th-century romanticist beauty that mixes Moorish and Portuguese late-Gothic architectural styles, with your local guide.
Later, wind your way through the hilly landscape toward the dramatic coastal cliffs of the Cabo de Roca, continental Europe's westernmost point. Continue along the ocean to Guincho Beach, an expansive stretch of golden sand that's popular with surfers, before reaching upmarket Cascais. This former fishing village is now a premier beach destination and was once the coastal playground of Portuguese royalty. Admire the many lavish mansions and historic manor homes in Cascais and Estoril before returning to the city.
Day 11: Fly to Marrakesh (Morocco), Street Food Tour
This morning you're destined for Marrakesh, "the Red City." Take a transfer to the Lisbon airport for your flight to Morocco. On arrival, a driver will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel. Drop your bags and rest up before venturing out to explore the bustling city.
When night falls, venture to the central square of Jemaa el-Fna for an energetic and exciting food-focused evening in Morocco. Arrive with an empty stomach and open mind—this street food tour goes beyond Jemaa el-Fna, diving down streets and back alleys of the medina. Follow your guide to their favorite haunts, stopping to taste dishes only made there or at unassuming spots the locals have loved for 30 or more years.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 12: Private Tour of Marrakesh
Enjoy a traditional Moroccan breakfast, then join a private guide to explore Marrakesh. Together you'll pass by historical sites such as the Koutoubia Mosque, the Saadien Tombs, the 19th-century Bahia Palace, and the Jewish Quarter. Wind your way through the colorful and lively UNESCO World Heritage-listed medina (walled old town), visiting different artisan areas within the souks where you can barter for souvenirs or gifts.
Spend the rest of your afternoon bartering for last-minute souvenirs or gifts, book yourself a relaxing hammam or traditional Moroccan bathhouse experience, or take a taxi to Majorelle Gardens and enjoy the lush, expansive gardens filled with sub-tropical plants, bamboo, lilies, and palms. When night falls, return to the central square of Jemaa el-Fna for an energetic and exciting evening in Morocco.
Day 13: Aït Benhaddou & Ouarzazate Day Excursion
Marrakesh is surrounded by a vast desert, snowcapped mountains, and a rugged coastline that's dotted with authentic Berber villages. Today a guide will pick you up after breakfast to cross the Tizi n' Tichka mountain pass, which is the highest in Morocco at 7,414 feet (2,260 m). You'll venture 113 miles (183 km) east toward Aït Benhaddou, an 11th-century UNESCO World Heritage Site comprised of ancient earthen buildings.
Defensive walls, angled towers, and an armored gate surround Aït Benhaddou's earth homes. Learn about pre-Saharan earthen construction techniques and see the famous film location up close. If you'd like, you can pay a small fee to enter a few of the kasbahs (fortresses) and climb up to the rooftop for pretty views of the surrounding ksours (individual kasbahs) and the Ouarzazate Valley, an oasis in the red desert.
Day 14: Foodie Experience in Essaouira
Embark on a private full-day trip to the charming coastal city of Essaouira and discover a different side of Morocco. This city has a long history of diverse influences, from Indigenous Berbers and Phoenicians to Romans, and today it's a hub for the artsy and young surfer crowd. After a scenic 2.5-hour drive from Marrakesh, follow your guide through Essaouira's medina, with bright and wide streets that cover an impressive 75 acres (30 ha).
Savor local specialties such as ma'akouda, sfinge, or nougat, visit the bustling port with its bobbing blue boats and fortified walls, and experience a mini-cooking class and meal at a local Saouri home. Then, join a walking food tour in the afternoon, exploring the souks, street vendors, leafy plazas, and whitewashed houses with ornate wooden doors. Take time to stop into various traditional shops and pick up some ceramics, spices, leather goods, or shoes before the return journey back to Marrakesh.
Day 15: Transfer to Rabat, Private Tour of Rabat
This morning, take a comfortable 3.5-hour private transfer to Rabat, the capital of Morocco, since 1956. Arrive at the bustling UNESCO World Heritage city, and embark on a self-guided tour, starting at the Royal Palace of Rabat and the medieval fortification of the Chellah Necropolis, where you can wander the Roman and Islamic ruins. Stroll through the medina to find the Hassan Tower and Mausoleum of Mohamed V. This abandoned 12th-century project features the minaret of an incomplete mosque and some 200 columns.
Head back to the historic medina and immerse yourself in the souks. Browse the colorful array of goods, from rugs to spices to slippers to leather and beyond—and don't forget to bargain for the best price! Afterward, find tranquility at the Andalusian Gardens, a 20th-century oasis with lush terraces filled with exotic plants, flowers, and fruit trees. Finally, head to the magnificent Kasbah des Oudaïas and the Musée des Oudaïas handicrafts museum, and marvel at the stunning white and blue architecture before checking in to your accommodation to relax.
Day 16: Transfer to Fes via Meknes & the Roman Ruins of Volubilis
Discover one of Morocco's famous Imperial Cities and visit the remains of the Kingdom of Mauretania's former capital. A private driver will take you from Rabat to the well-preserved Roman ruins of Volubilis, a 2,000-year-old complex and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore impressive merchant homes, temples, and vibrant mosaics, and learn about its history as an important part of the Roman Empire, exporting wheat and exotic animals.
Continue to Moulay Idriss, one of Morocco's holiest cities and where Islam was introduced in the region in 789 CE. Then, head to Meknes, founded in the 11th century. Explore the medina and visit some of the monumental city gates and ornamental decorations highlighting Spanish-Moorish architecture. Tour the city walls, and stop at the Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail, founder of the Alaouite Dynasty and sultan when Meknes was its capital city. End your visit at the Museum of Moroccan Art to view various regional handicrafts before your driver continues to Fes.
Day 17: Private Tour of Fes
After breakfast, you'll set out to explore Fes, Morocco's cultural and spiritual heart and the oldest of Morocco's four Imperial Cities. A private local guide will lead you through the world's largest living medieval medina, the UNESCO-listed Fes el-Bali. The labyrinth of narrow winding streets, intricate mosaics, and ornate doorways will transport you back in time. Feel free to shop for various spices, vegetables, leather goods, ceramics, pewter, shoes, scarves, and medicines in the souks—or simply watch artisans at work.
You'll also visit the Karaouine Mosque, founded in 859 by Fatima Al-Fihri. Stop for lunch before visiting the Merenid Tomb, Bou Inania Medersa, Attarin Medersa, and the Najarin Fountain. Stop by the Fondouks, the place where the donkeys and their owners meet, then continue your explorations solo. End your day in Fes enjoying the sunset from the Merenid Tombs or Borj Sud.
Day 18: Day Trip to Chefchaouen, "The Blue City"
Chefchaouen, also known as the "Blue City," is waiting for you to explore its colorful streets, sites, and monuments on today's day trip. The town, which translates to "two horns," is nestled among the majestic and raw peaks of the Rif mountains and was founded in the 15th century as a stronghold against the Portuguese. Chefchaouen is one of the prettiest towns in Morocco, an artsy, blue-washed mountain village that feels like its own world.
The old medina is a delight of Moroccan and Andalusian influence, with red-tiled roofs, bright-blue buildings, and narrow lanes converging on the busy Plaza Uta el-Hammam and its restored kasbah. As a holy town, Chefchaouen has eight mosques and numerous zaouias and marabouts (religious schools and leaders). Spend the day snapping pictures along the blue streets, shop the souks, and enjoy a local meal before returning to Fes for the evening.
Day 19: Transfer to Casablanca, Private Tour of Hassan II Mosque
Today you'll take a private three-hour transfer to Casablanca, the country's most modern city. Casablanca is known as the Art Deco capital of Africa, and the city is famous for the Hassan II Mosque. The present city was only founded in 1912, and it's the commercial and financial capital of Morocco, where tradition and modernity co-exist.
This afternoon you'll explore the Hassan II Mosque. Sitting on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, the mosque's 650-foot (200 m) minaret is the tallest in the world and reflects the changing colors of the water. Here a large complex includes a museum, baths, a Quranic school, a library, and a prayer room supported by 78 pillars. Your guide will help you admire the ornate design with beautiful green hues, mosaic tiles, and carved stone. As the second-largest mosque in the world, the prayer room holds 25,000 people, and the outside courtyard can accommodate 80,000 worshippers.
Day 20: Free Day in Casablanca
Spend your last full day in Morocco exploring Casablanca on your own. This modern commercial capital has relatively few tourist sights compared to the historic Imperial Cities of Fes and Marrakesh, so you can get to know it at a leisurely pace. Begin in the medina and wander through its cobbled streets, perhaps picking up some fresh fruit or last-minute souvenirs. Then head onward to the Quartier Habbous, Casablanca's new medina, which was built in the early 20th century by the French.
Admire the architectural blend of French colonial design and traditional Moroccan style as you wander. Later head down to the beachside promenade along the Boulevard de la Corniche, sometimes referred to as "Morocco's Miami." Pause for a meal in one of the high-end waterfront restaurants, or gaze out over the Atlantic from the top of the El Hank Lighthouse. In the evening, follow in the footsteps of Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart by visiting Rick’s Café, which recreates the famous scene from the legendary film.
Day 21: Depart Casablanca
It's time to say goodbye. Your three-week adventure through Portugal and Morocco has come to an end. At the designated time, a driver will pick you up at your hotel for transfer to the airport for your flight home. Safe travels!