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Spain, Portugal Morocco

Tour departs: 20 May 2017
Tour length: 32 Days

Spain and Portugal offer a totally different experience from other regions of Europe – from the beauty and grandeur of the Alhambra Palace, the picture-postcard region of the Costa del Sol, the Old Town of Marbella, the magnificent coastline, the pretty fishing villages of Portugal and so much more.

Overview

Tour departs: 20 May 2017.

Tour length: 32 days.

After another very successful tour in 2016, we are delighted to repeat this tour to a very special part of Europe.

Spain and Portugal offer a totally different experience from other regions of Europe – from the beauty and grandeur of the Alhambra Palace, the picture-postcard white villages of Andalusia, to the magnificent coastline, the pretty fishing villages of Portugal and so much more. Add to this the romance and mystique of Morocco, a world of exotic places and changing landscapes and follow this up with 7 night luxury river cruise through the spectacular Douro River Valley.

Spain & Portugal Highlights
  • Barcelona, the Catalonian capital, and home to the architectural works of Gaudi
  • Madrid, the majestic Spanish capital
  • Toledo, redolent of the past glories and packed with memorable sights
  • Granada, home to the magnificent Moorish Alhambra Palace
  • Marbella, Old Town
  • Seville, passionate, romantic, festive
  • Lisbon, the stunning capital of Portugal and home to some of the greatest explorers
Morocco Highlights
  • Fez, the Imperial city with its labyrinthine Medina
  • Marrakesh, Africa’s most popular holiday resort and a favorite destination for Winston Churchill
  • Casablanca, the romance of the Casbah …- “Play it again Sam…”
  • Tangiers, across the Straits of Gibraltar where the Mediterranean and the Atlantic oceans meet
7 Night Douro River Valley Cruise

After our coach tour, it is time to join your luxury floating hotel for 7 nights cruising the World Heritage listed Douro River Valley. Lovely vistas, grand cities, terraced vineyards and hilltop villages.  Along the way uncover a land of genuine beauty and breathtaking charm; meet warm hearted people, friendly and welcoming with open arms. On board the deluxe rivership ‘Queen Isobel’, unwind in your river view stateroom. Take pleasure in the on – board meals in the elegant restaurant as well as on-shore meals featuring traditional cuisine in unique settings.  Many shore excursions are included during the cruise.

Itinerary

Saturday 20 May:

Auckland – Dubai

After connecting flights from other points, join the evening flight to Dubai.


Sunday 21 May:

Dubai (B)

On arrival in Dubai, after completing Customs and Immigration formalities, we are met and transferred to our hotel for an overnight stay. The morning is free to rest up after the flight.

 

This afternoon, we take a sightseeing tour of the city – a fascinating historical excursion which takes you to the magnificent Jumeirah mosque, past modern palaces sprawled along the coast. In Bastakiya, see the old wind-towered houses built by wealthy merchants and the 150-year old Al Fahidi Fort. We continue our journey by abra (local water taxi) and as you cross the Creek, you see the modern metropolis with its splendid architecture, dwarfing the bustling alleys of our next destination – the gold and spice souks.


Monday 22 May:

Dubai – Barcelona (D)

This morning we return to the airport for our flight to Barcelona.  On arrival in Barcelona, we are met and transferred to our hotel for a 3-night stay.  The remainder of the day is free to relax and rest up before meeting for dinner.


Tuesday 23 May:

Barcelona (B,D)

This morning we enjoy a sightseeing tour of Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia and one of Spain’s most spectacular and vibrant cities.  Our tour includes the Gothic Quarter with its magnificent Cathedral and also Gaudi’s “Segrada Familia” as well as many of his eccentric architectural masterpieces.  This evening it is time to sample the local cuisine at our dinner together at a local restaurant.


 

Wednesday 24 May:

Barcelona (B)

This morning, we enjoy a guided walk through the food stalls of La Boqueria Market where we can collect our lunch provisions to take on our excursion to Monserrat. We visit the mountain-top shrine and monastery, home to the Black Madonna, and enjoy fantastic views over the landscape below.


Thursday 25 May:

Barcelona – Madrid (B,L,D)

It is time to farewell Barcelona and today we have the chance to see some of the countryside when we travel by rail to Madrid. We take the high-speed train, the AVE (an acronym for “Alta Velocidad Española”), which takes only 2 hours 45 minutes to cover the 621kms distance between these two cities.


Friday 26 May:

Madrid (B,D)

This morning we enjoy a guided tour of the city down the tree lined avenues to see the Puerta del Sol, Gran Via, Pasco de La Castellana, Cibeles Fountain and the Cervantes Monument in Plaza de Espana.  Also included is a visit to the State apartments of the Royal Palace.  The afternoon is at leisure.  This evening we enjoy a celebration dinner at a traditional Spanish restaurant with wine and entertainment included.


Saturday 27 May:

Madrid (B)

This morning’s sightseeing tour takes us to El Escorial Monastery followed by a visit to the Valley Of The Fallen Monument erected in memory of the millions who died in the Spanish Civil War. We learn about Spain’s intriguing history shaped by church, monarchy and 20th century conflict.


Sunday 28 May:

Madrid – Toledo – Granada (B,D)

Leaving Madrid this morning, we travel first to Toledo spectacularly situated on a hill surrounded by the Tagus River. The ancient capital attracts more sightseers from all over the world than any other Spanish town.  We continue our journey south to hilltop Granada.


Monday 29 May:

Granada – Costa del Sol (B,D)

This morning a local guide takes us on a tour of the magnificent Alhambra Palace, Spain’s most beautiful Moorish building and former residence of the Moorish Kings.  The grand and graceful Citadel was planned in the 13th century, a fantasy of lace in stone.  Also amble through the magnificent water gardens of the Royal Summer Palace. Afterwards, we continue on to the sun drenched Costa del Sol coastline, past exclusive resorts, to our resort hotel in Torremolinos for a two night stay.


Tuesday 30 May:

Costa del Sol (B)

Today we visit the hill top town of Ronda.  Set in and around a deep gorge spanned by an impressive bridge, Ronda is famous for dramatic views.  Wander the cobblestoned streets and plazas before returning to our hotel.  Remainder of the day at leisure. Enjoy the beaches, browse through the trendy boutiques, and maybe sample the local fare at one of the many delightful restaurants.


Wednesday 31 May:

Costa del Sol – Marbella – Tangiers (B,D)

From Torremolinos, we first travel to the Old Town of Marbella, there is time to explore the town before continuing to Algeciras where we join the ferry for the short trip from Europe to North Africa.  We commence our stay in Morocco with an overnight stay in Tangiers.


Thursday 1 June:

Tangiers – Fez (B,D)

We begin our day with a sightseeing tour of Tangiers where we see the Medina and the Kasbah.  We then travel inland past the Rift Mountains to the most ancient of Morocco’s cities, Fez, for a 2 night stay.  This evening we enjoy a dinner of Moroccan specialties as well as folklore and belly dancing.


Friday 2 June:

Fez (B,D)

On our guided tour of this “City of The Mind”, we visit the Medina and the walled city of hidden courtyards, mosques and tiny workshops and the ancient bazaar.  This afternoon is at leisure – maybe think about an optional visit to a Berber village.


Saturday 3 June:

Fez – Marrakesh (B,D)

Today we drive through the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, past mud walled villages and onto Marrakesh for a two night stay.  Africa’s most popular year round sun resort, it was once the favourite spot of Winston Churchill.


Sunday 4 June:

Marrakesh (B)

On our guided tour this morning we see the Koutobia Minaret, visit the Saadi Tombs and explore the Medina with its many souks.  The tour ends in Jemaa Square where acrobats, dancers and fortune tellers entertain you.  The afternoon is at leisure.


Monday 5 June:

Marrakesh – Casablanca – Rabat (B,D)

Today we leave Marrakesh and head north to Casablanca, setting for Humphrey Bogart’s most magical moments and home to some of North Africa’s best beaches.  Here our orientation tour shows us some of the city’s highlights before we continue on along the Atlantic Coast to the modern capital of Rabat where we see the Royal Palace and the Hassan Tower.  We enjoy an overnight stay in Rabat.


Tuesday 6 June:

Rabat – Seville (B,D)

We continue our drive north along the Moroccan Atlantic coast to Tangiers where we re-join the ferry for the Straits of Gibraltar crossing to Algeciras.  We travel through the sunny wine region before arriving in Seville for a 2 night stay.


 Wednesday 7 June:

Seville (B,D)

This morning, we are joined by a local guide for a city tour including a visit to the cathedral to see the tomb of Christopher Columbus. We continue to the Giralda Tower, Alcazar and the Santa Cruz quarter. For the rest of the day, you have a chance to enjoy this “World Heritage’ city at your leisure. This evening, let us “shout” you a tapas meal and drink at a local tapas restaurant / bar.


Thursday 8 June:

Seville to Lisbon (B,D)

Our journey today takes us via the ‘Jabugo’ (ham centre) of Spain and past mighty castles.  We enter the Alentejo region which is commonly known as the bread basket of Portugal, a region of vast open countryside with undulating plains and rich fertile soil.  All the major towns are mainly reliant on agriculture and there are several types of cheeses, wines, smoked hams and sausages which are produced in this region.  Cultivation of cork forests also takes place here.  Later, we reach Lisbon, Portugal’s capital, for our 3 night stay.


Friday 9 June:

Lisbon – City Tour (B)

Our guided tour of Lisbon takes us to the historic district of Belem and the Belem Tower, the traditional starting and ending point of Portuguese voyages of discovery.  We will then visit the magnificent cloister of San Jeronimos built in the early 16th century as a celebration of Portugal’s territorial expansion and an expression of a unique national style.


Saturday 10 June:

Lisbon (B)

Take a break from touring today and do what you want to do. Enjoy a divine “pasteis” at a local café and watch the world go by, wander the cobbled streets of the Alfarma district, shop in the pedestrianised Rua Augusta …  The choice is yours.


Sunday 11 June:

Commence Douro River Valley Cruise

Lisbon – Coimbra – Porto (B,L,D)

In the morning, we head north to Porto. En route, we stop in Portugal’s third-largest city, Coimbra, birthplace of six of Portugal’s kings and home to one of the oldest universities in Europe. Within the university is the Biblioteca Joanina, a gem of a library with books from the 12th-century. After your library visit, enjoy lunch in a local restaurant before continuing to Porto where we embark on the “Queen Isobel”, our floating hotel for the next 7 nights.


Monday 12 June:

Porto – Entre-os-Rios (B,L,D)

Birthplace of Henry the Navigator (who launched Portugal’s voyages of exploration) and long-time hub of the Port wine trade, Porto combines well- preserved historic buildings with cutting-edge architecture and a booming cultural revival. Your tour will take you to the 19th-century Palácio da Bolsa and then on to the cathedral and the bustling shopping street, Santa Catarina. Or, if you prefer, see Porto from a different perspective, starting with a climb to the top of Clérigos Tower for the best view of Porto. Visit the world’s most opulent bookstore, Livraria Lello; then see the sweeping Avenida dos Aliados followed by a tasty stop at a pastelaría. A scenic cable-car ride returns you to the riverfront, where you can walk to spectacular São Francisco Church.


Tuesday 13 June:

Regua – Pinhão (B,L,D)

The Douro River winds through one hundred miles of granite mountains, carving out a valley whose steep slopes hold terraces that were cut by hand into the rocky soil and planted with grapes centuries ago. Visit the Douro Museum to learn about the river and its wines. If you prefer you can visit the legendary Mateus Palace, which has one of the most beautiful gardens in the country. In the evening, you’ll tour the family-owned Quinta da Avessada, which produces premium Moscatel. Stroll the vineyard and enjoy its views before meeting the owner and learning about the winemaking process. Then partake in a rustic dinner inside the winery’s old stone walls featuring fine local wines and traditional live music.


Wednesday 14 June:

Pinhão – Vega de Terrón (B,L,D)

Pinhão is the centre of Port winemaking. Today, you’ll take a winding road up to a quinta perched high in the hills to learn about and sample the country’s most celebrated beverage. In the afternoon you’ll enjoy breath taking scenery while sailing through the remote Douro Valley toward Spain.


Thursday 15 June:

Vega de Terrón  (Salamanca) – Barca d’Alva (B,L,D)

From Vega de Terrón on the Spanish border you’ll travel over the high plains of the Meseta Central to Salamanca, a UNESCO World Heritage city. The architectural purity of this charming town has endured through the centuries, during which times its sandstone buildings acquired the exquisite golden glow that gives Salamanca its nickname, “The Golden City.” Salamanca boasts monumental churches, a historic university, and a broad plaza where bullfights were once held and where students now hang out. Walk under plateresque arches and past ornately decorated masonry walls as you explore the university. Then enjoy a flamenco show.

Travel overland from Vega de Terrón on the Spanish border to Salamanca. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has golden sandstone buildings, monumental churches, a historic university and a broad public square ideally suited for people watching. After exploring the city’s beautiful university, you’ll have an opportunity to take in a traditional flamenco show.


Friday 16 June:

Barca d’Alva (Castelo Rodgrigo) – Régua (B,L,D)

Visit the 12th-century walled village of Castelo Rodrigo (one of the twelve historic villages of Portugal), with its medieval streets and stone-walled houses.  Later in the day, venture to the UNESCO-designated Archaeological Park of the Coa Valley, considered the world’s most important Paleolithic open air rock art site.


Saturday 17 June:

Porto (Guimaraes)                  (B,L,D)

Enjoy a panoramic city tour of historic Guimarães, Portugal’s first capital and the home to its first king, and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Alternately, you can explore Porto’s UNESCO-designated Ribeira district on foot. In the evening, enjoy a Gala Dinner on board your ship.


Sunday 18 June:

Porto – Lisbon – Dubai (B)

At the conclusion of a memorable river cruise, it’s time to farewell Portugal and Spain as we join the morning flight to Lisbon which connects with the afternoon flight to Dubai.


Monday 19 June:

Dubai – Auckland

We arrive into Dubai in the early morning with rooms reserved at the Airport Hotel to rest before the connecting mid morning flight to Auckland.


Tuesday 20 June:

Welcome Home

The tour ends with our mid-morning arrival home.

 

Map

Maher Tours Tour Programme_SPAIN, PORTUGAL, MOROCCO MAP

Prices

Tour Costs

Sharing Twin or Double Room and Cabin: $18,250
Supplement for Single Accommodation: $4,650

Costs include
  • Economy class air travel from the tours international departure point.
  • First Class / Superior Grade hotel accommodation
  • Deluxe River View Staterooms on the cruise ship
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary B = Full Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
  • First Class air-conditioned coach transportation for all touring
  • Sightseeing and entrance fees as indicated in the itinerary
  • Services of a tour director and local guides for touring and sightseeing
  • All port taxes and tips to crew on the 7 night cruise
  • Tips to local guides and coach drivers
  • Airport and government security taxes
  • Baggage handling of one suitcase per person
  • Fully Escorted by a Maher’s tour escort

Costs exclude
  • Any meals and sightseeing tours not specifically mentioned in the itinerary
  • Travel insurance – advice and assistance offered
  • Items of a personal nature such as room service, drinks, laundry, telephone calls etc

 

Testimonials

The tour itinerary is absolutely excellent, as was our tour leader.  Overall, our expectations on this tour were certainly exceeded.


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Need Assistance?

By Phone: 0800 500 518 | By Email: info@mahertours.co.nz