Spain, Portugal & Morocco

Trip Code: ZMSQC

Why we love it

Experience a memorable Fado performance in Coimbra – an emotional form of Portuguese music expressing the hard realities of the daily life and balancing both resignation and hopefulness., Soak up the sun on the Portuguese coast's gorgeous beaches along the Algarve, walking across rocky cliff tops, exploring remote coves and taking in a sunset over the Atlantic Ocean with your small group., Relive a glorious medieval past in in the labyrinthine streets of Fes city, and discover the cultural capital, Marrakech, through its people – drummers, dancers, fortune tellers, jugglers and medicine men., Scale the High Atlas Mountains and trek through scenic Amazigh villages, spending a night in a traditional Amazigh homestay to get a true sense of rural Moroccan life., Travel through the Sahara in a camel convoy, sleeping under a blanket the North African stars and enjoy an evening beside the campfire listening to traditional Bedouin tales.

Is this trip right for me?

The European part of this trip will be led by a European leader, while the Moroccan part will be led by a Moroccan leader. The changeover will take place upon arrival at the port of Tangier in Morocco with your European leader returning to Spain after you meet your Moroccan leader.

This trip covers a lot of ground and the majority of travel is done by trains, ferries and public buses. It's a good time to sit back, relax and let the scenery roll past your window. Please read the Itinerary carefully for travel time estimates.

We recommend packing light and smart for this trip as you'll be required to carry your own luggage between train stations and hotels, which can include going up and down multiple flights of stairs, and across cobblestones. Train stations often don’t have lifts available.

Summer temperatures can be extreme in this region (over 40C/104F). It’s important to use sun protection, wear layers to combat the heat, and drink plenty of water. Many hotels in Europe and Morocco have fans, not air conditioning. Please carefully consider the time of the year you wish to travel and your suitability to that season.

Space is at a premium in Europe and Morocco and your hotel is no exception. Rooms are often small, but usually the central location makes up for that. For those travelling as a duo, hotels often don't have double beds, but rather two single beds that can be pushed together.

We've sourced our accommodation very carefully and picked the best possible hotels in line with the Intrepid style of travel, but please note that service and accommodation in Morocco may differ from standards at home.

Ramadan is an annual month-long festival, during which travel can be a rewarding cultural experience, however some regular services may not be available during the day, such as restaurants or cafes, and occasionally travel can be disrupted by events. Your leader will adjust the itinerary accordingly, but please consider this when selecting your travel dates. You’ll find dates and further information in the ‘Climate and seasonal information’ section of the Essential Trip Information.

Important information

1. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement excludes Days 16 and 19 where you will be in shared accommodation and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
2. Please provide your full name exactly as per passport at the time of booking (including any middle names listed on your passport) for transport tickets. Ticketing fees may apply for amendments to details within 45 days of departure, and in some cases you will be required to cover the cost of issuing a new ticket.

What to bring/pack

What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage and walk with it for short distances or up or down a flight of stairs. Our travellers usually find the smaller their luggage is, the more they enjoy the trip not having to worry about carrying heavy bags! Aim to keep your main luggage under 15kg.

Many travellers carry their luggage in a compact smaller suitcase or backpack with wheels. We recommend your bag has carry straps or handles so it is easy to lift and carry for the times you are unable to wheel it (ie. on rough surfaces or up steps).

If you are taking overnight trains, or primarily using public transport then the smaller your luggage the easier it will be to store under or above bunks. Large suitcases may not be able to be taken on board. A lockable bag or small padlock for your bag will be useful especially when travelling on public transportation as well.

You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, swimming suit, waterproof pouch/bag for phone, hiking shoes and jacket etc. when you’re exploring during the day.

Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:, https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list, WATER BOTTLE
Please bring your own water bottle to refill along the way. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please use the water dispensers which are provided on some of our vehicles and at some of our accommodation. Your group leader or local representative will advise whether tap water is safe to drink in your destination and if it is you can simply refill with tap water. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day. If you are walking or trekking as part of your trip you will need to carry at least 2L of water with you., SLEEPING BAGS
Please review the weather at the time of year you plan to visit Morocco, particularly the overnight temperatures. If you feel the cold, from November to March you may find the heating and blankets to be insufficient at night. You may like to bring a sleeping bag or thermals to sleep in. Sleeping bags cannot be hired while on the trip and are not easy to buy outside of large cities., DRONES IN MOROCCO
Please note that drones are not permitted to enter or be used in Morocco, neither for personal nor professional/commercial use.

Physical rating

 
2

This trip can be enjoyed by just about anyone with a reasonable level of fitness. Some trips may have individual inclusions that may be of a higher physical rating compared to the overall rating of the trip. Please read the day-to-day itinerary carefully to find out more details on each day's activities, and whether they are suitable for you. Activities can be opted out of if you don't want to participate.

Joining your group

Gran Legazpi Hotel, Paseo de la Chopera 71, Madrid, SPAIN, Phone: +34 915396600

The Gran Legazpi Hotel is located in the Legazpi neighbourhood of Madrid, next to the emblematic Plaza de Legazpi, close to Madrid's shopping, cultural and financial centre. It is situated on Metro line 3, with a ride into the centre of Madrid taking approximately 15 minutes. The Gran Legazpi is a modern hotel, offering fully equipped rooms with the latest amenities.

Alternate Joining Point


Joining instructions

Madrid International Airport Barajas (airport code MAD) is located within the city limits, just 9km from the city centre. From the airport take metro line 8 to Nuevos Ministerios metro station and then metro line 6 (circular line clockwise) to Legazpi metro station. Alternatively metered taxis are available in taxi ranks outside any of the main terminal exits. Please note that the metro line from the airport to the city centre is particularly notorious for pickpockets, and travellers with backpacks or suitcases are indeed a target. Please ensure you are careful with your valuables on the metro.

Finishing your trip

Hotel Le Caspien, 12 Rue Loubnane, Gueliz, Marrakech, 40000, MOROCCO, Phone: +212 524422282

Hotel Le Caspien has 40 rooms equipped with TV, air-conditioning, phone, Wi-Fi and private bathrooms. The hotel is in Marrakech's new town of Gueliz surrounded by plenty of restaurants, cafes and shopping options. Other hotel facilities include 2 restaurants and a small pool. It takes only a few minutes by taxi to reach the Old Medina and gardens.

Alternate Finish Point

For trips departing on the following dates
use this finish point.
06 Apr 2024 (ZMSQC240406)
20 Jun 2024 (ZMSQC240620)
Moroccan House Hotel Marrakech
3 Rue Loubnane
Gueliz
Marrakech
40000
MOROCCO
Phone: +212 524420305

Intrepid can assist with pre-booking a departure transfer to the airport - enquire with your agent. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to the start of your trip.

If you have a confirmed departure transfer your leader will advise your pick up time the day before your trip ends. If your driver has not arrived within 30 minutes of the scheduled pick up time, or your departing flight is cancelled or changed, please contact the transfer operator directly: +44 20 4576 9838.

Taxi fare from your hotel to the airport will cost approximately MAD100 - MAD200 to prebook. If hailing a taxi on the street, the price should be agreed before entering the vehicle. Please ask your leader or hotel staff for assistance in arranging a taxi.

Meals & dietary information

Breakfasts included: 19

Lunches included: 2

Dinners included: 2

While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader or local representative will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. If you have dietary requirements and/or food allergies, please let your booking agent know prior to departure.

MEAL TIMES IN SPAIN
Meal times in Spain are later than in many other countries. Dinner is usually served between 8pm and 10pm. While this takes some getting used to it is a great way to observe Spanish food culture.

FOOD IN MOROCCO
Moroccan food is, generally speaking, excellent, though not particularly varied. Breakfasts usually consist of bread and jam with coffee or tea. Meals eaten out are reasonably priced - kebab and bread can be found virtually everywhere. In main towns it is possible to find very good French and Moroccan restaurants. Soft drinks are available at very reasonable prices, but generally speaking alcohol is not widely available in Morocco due to cultural and religious reasons. Still, in some hotels and restaurants you will be able to purchase beer, wine and spirits, but you can expect to pay western prices or more for imported alcohol. Please be aware of local laws, believes and traditions, and be very sensitive and respectful when consuming alcohol. Your leader can help recommend restaurants each evening. Vegetarians can be catered for but there is a fairly limited choice of vegetarian dishes. Couscous, vegetable tajine or omelettes are your best bet. This is particularly the case in the rural parts of this itinerary. Please note that if you have any special dietary requirements you should inform us prior to the trip.

Climate & seasonal information

SUMMER
Summer temperatures can be extreme in many of the regions visited (over 40°C/104°F), which can be uncomfortable. It’s important to use sun protection and drink plenty of water. Please carefully consider the time of the year you wish to travel and your suitability to that season.

SHOULDER SEASON
In contrast, weather in shoulder season can be unpredictable, and snow is not unheard of at higher altitudes. If you travel at the start or towards the end of the European season please pack accordingly with warm and/or waterproof clothes (preferably layers). The advantage of travelling during this time is that there are less tourists around.

WINTER
The winter months in Europe are usually quite cold and possibly snowy. Temperatures can drop to freezing or below, and snowfalls are common, especially at higher altitudes. You will need to be prepared to travel in varying temperatures and snow. Extra layers, a warm jacket, hat, gloves and good footwear are a must.

SPANISH SIESTA
Shops, attractions and businesses may be closed for up to 5 hours in the middle of the day. This gives the locals time to escape the heat and spend time with their families, take a long lunch or simply sleep through the warmest time of day. This means that people work later into the evening and dine between 8pm and 10pm. We recommend that you try to do as the locals do - avoid the heat of the day and stay out later at night.

EID AL-ADHA
Eid Al-Adha (Sacrifice Feast) will take place in Morocco 16 – 17 June 2024 and 6 – 1 June 2025. This festival honours the sacrifice Abraham made of his own son. In commemoration of this, an animal is sacrificed and divided into three parts: one-third of the share is given to the poor and needy; another third is given to relatives, friends and neighbours; and the remaining third is retained by the family. Please expect delays or complete suspension of public services during that time which may be disruptive to the trip schedule. For some, it may also be disturbing to see animals being sacrificed, as this can take place in public.

HIGH ATLAS MOUNTAIN PASSES
On this trip, you will cross the High Atlas Mountains through the impressive Tizi n’Tichka pass that rises to the altitude of 2,260 metres above sea level (7,415 ft). It is a great mountain road with breathtaking views. During the winter months (November to March) this part of Morocco can be hit by heavy snowfalls and it is possible for Tizi n’Tichka to become impassable. This usually lasts only for a day until authorities have a chance to clear the road. In the event of a snowstorm, your itinerary may be required to change. This is dealt with on the ground and depending on the situation we may re-route your itinerary or reverse it.

RAMADAN
The important month of Ramadan will be in progress 10 March to 08 April 2024 and 1 March to 30 March 2025 and  and the Eid ul-Fitr festival will be held directly at its conclusion for 3-4 days. Ramadan is a festival of sacrifice where the devout refrain from eating or drinking during daylight hours. During Ramadan, business hours are shortened, including opening hours at some tourist attractions. Alcohol is not permitted during daylight hours and many restaurants will be closed. While you should expect some delays and inconveniences during this period, the month is a fantastic opportunity to travel in a Muslim country and witness this unique period, particularly the nightly celebrations when the sun sets and the fast is broken. Please note that although the Eid ul-Fitr festival can also be a fascinating time to travel it's a period of national holiday. Most government offices and businesses will be closed and some tourist site opening hours may be affected.

In case of emergency

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader or local representative may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the group leader or local representative to speak to their direct manager.

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time.

In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local office on the numbers below:

For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

If you have booked an arrival transfer, and you experience severe delays at immigration, baggage collection or customs, or if you are not able to find to the driver, please contact the transfer operator directly on the number listed in the joining point instructions in the section above.

Intrepid's Local Operator: +212 661922693

Intrepid's Local Operator: +49 8024 4679 540

Accommodations

The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline only and may change. On some occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our preferred accommodation. In these cases, we will use a similar standard of accommodation.

Throughout the trip, we request that our properties prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However, this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination or on some trips, have use of shared day rooms until all rooms are available.

EUROPEAN HOTELS
Hotels in Europe often don't have double beds, but rather two single beds that can be pushed together/apart. Rooms can be rather small, especially by American or Australian standards.

Your accommodation may not always have private en suite facilities or air-conditioning. European hotels generally don't provide kettles or fridges.

Transportation

TRANSPORT IN EUROPE
Half the fun of travel is the travelling itself, that's why we like to travel the local way – whether that means mingling with commuters on a local train, watching the scenery roll by from the window of a long distance bus, arriving on a high speed train in the city centre of your next destination, or navigating each city's public transport system. In Europe, you are guaranteed to travel by genuine local public transport wherever possible, which puts you right in the centre of the action.

There are some long travel days and some rough travelling in areas away from the main tourist routes. High passes, windy roads, and rough surfaces make for some challenging travel experiences. On some long travel days, we depart early in the morning to ensure we optimise our time at our next destination. If you experience travel sickness we recommend you consider medication to help ease the discomfort. The best part about all of these long drives is the spectacular views and fun stops en route such as mountain passes, kasbahs, palmeries, sand dunes, goats up trees, etc.

We also use public transport on some of our trips around Morocco. Be it a train or a public bus, remember that the best part of it is the possibility to interact with local people traveling along with you.