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Marrakech Express - London to Morocco by Train

France, Morocco, Spain, United Kingdom - Trip code RLMO Discovery
Days 19
Deposit From £260
Price from £2599
Flights not included
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Why book this trip?

Watch as Europe slowly transforms into Africa as you travel by train through France, Spain and Morocco. See Moorish heritage come to life in Andalucia, walk on the Camino de Santiago from San Sebastian, and explore Morocco's Imperial Cities of Fes, Rabat and Marrakech. From baroque Bordeaux to the characteristic minarets and medinas of Morocco, travelling by rail is the stylish way to arrive at Marrakech.

  • Food - Taste wine in Bordeaux, share authentic Spanish tapas and try flavoursome Moroccan tagine
  • Spanish contrasts - Compare the faded glamour of San Sebastian with white-washed Andalucian villages and Moorish Granada
  • Marrakech - Explore the busy souqs of the 'Red City' and the iconic Djemma El-Fna Square
  • Included meals

    Breakfast: 18

  • Trip staff

    Explore Tour Leader

  • Transport

    Boat

    Public Bus

    Train

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    Accommodation

    18 nights comfortable hotel

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    Trip pace:

    Moderate

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    Group Size:

    12 - 18

Itinerary

Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.

Day 1 - Trip starts at London St. Pancras Station; Eurostar to Bordeaux via Paris

Our trip begins this morning at London's St Pancras Station, the home of the Eurostar. Here you'll meet a representative from Explore to assist you with check-in and answer any last minute questions, before you board your (unaccompanied) Eurostar train to Paris.

We meet our Tour Leader off the train at the Gare du Nord, and take the Paris metro together to the Gare Montparnasse. Here we board our train to Bordeaux, flying through the French countryside and saying 'bonjour' to the French coast after arriving around 5pm this afternoon.

We'll stretch our legs this evening as our Leader takes us on an orientation tour through Bordeaux's lively historic centre before we end the day with a glass of classic French wine.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: None

Day 2 - Wine-tasting in Bordeaux; afternoon at leisure

The small port city of Bordeaux is one of France's most renowned wine-making hubs. This morning we'll visit the Wine and Trade museum, in the heart of the wine merchants' quarter, where we'll get a real introduction into Bordeaux's long reputation for making world-class wines. The interactive visit takes us into the cellars of an old wine merchant's house, bringing the history alive. We'll end our tour with a tasting, of course, learning about what makes Bordeaux wine so special.

The afternoon is free to explore Bordeaux at our leisure. Thanks to the beautifully-preserved 18th Century architecture of the historic centre, Bordeaux is a real quintessential French town. Walk down the Quais or visit the many trails in the large botanical garden north of the city centre, or if you still haven't got your fill of wine, the multi-million pound Cite du Vin is an absolute monster - the museum chronicles a journey through centuries of wine production across the world.

Although Bordeaux is a delightful city to spend time in, if you do want to go further afield then the sand dunes at Pilat Beach, Arcachon, are reachable by public transport. These are the largest sand dunes in Europe, and Pilat Beach has been voted one of the best beaches in the world for its golden backdrop.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 3 - Train to San Sebastian, Spain; walking tour and optional evening Pintxos crawl

We cross the border into Spain today, taking first a French train to the frontier town of Hendaye, nestled between the Atlantic and the Pyrenees. From here, we switch to a local Spanish train which takes around 30 minutes to San Sebastian, calling at intermittent small villages en route.

We'll arrive into San Sebastian in the afternoon. Known locally as Donostia, this small town exudes Basque charm and a faded opulence. Once the go-to holiday spot for the Spanish monarchy, San Sebastian is dense with Belle-Epoque architecture, yet without being stuffy or grand. With a crescent-shaped beach and flanked by mountains, the setting is reminiscent of Rio de Janeiro.

After checking into the hotel, we'll set out on foot with our Tour Leader to explore the narrow streets of the Old Town, including the Plaza de la Constitucion, the Basilica of Saint Mary and the San Telmo Museum (entrance to the museum is not included, but there may be time to visit if you wish).

Controversial though it is, San Sebastian could be the best place in Spain to eat. The locals are seemingly obsessed with food, and there is no better place to experience this than at the city's Pintxos bars. Plates piled high with different 'Basque tapas' line up along the bars, and locals shout their orders from the blackboard menus. Just a couple at a time suffice, washed down with a beer or wine. You have the option this evening to head out with your Tour Leader to taste Pintxos, or if you'd prefer to explore solo then your Leader can give you some recommendations.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 4 - Walk on the famous Camino de Santiago to Pasaia; free afternoon in San Sebastian

The Camino de Santiago, or St James' Way, is one of the most famous medieval pilgrimage routes in the world, linking up religious pilgrims with the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. However, this famous walk is not just one single route. While the 'Camino Frances' is the most well-known and popular route, hiked by around 60% of pilgrims, we are going to do a half-day hike on the Camino Norte today, starting in San Sebastian and ending in the small fishing village of Pasaia (walking in the opposite direction of the pilgrims).

We'll take a public bus to the eastern end of San Sebastian where our walk begins. The initial section out of San Sebastian is an uphill walk, with many steps to undertake before hitting a woodland section and continuing uphill on a forest path. This gets us up onto the headland, where the path levels out and hugs the coast with some fantastic views over the Atlantic. At the end of the walk we descend past the Silver Lighthouse (Faro de la Plata) into the charming little harbour village of Pasaia. We'll take a three-minute ferry boat across the harbour to Old Pasaia, where there are some excellent fish restaurants near the water. The walk today will take us approximately three hours, with around 250 metres of ascent. The first uphill section is strenuous, but after this it levels off along the coast. The path varies between stone steps, rocky sections and dirt trail.

After lunch we'll take the three-minute ferry back and catch a bus or train back to San Sebastian (approximately a 15-20 minute journey). The afternoon is free to relax in San Sebastian. If time allows, you may wish to visit the Chillida Museum, an open-air museum of Basque culture and history, just outside the city.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 5 - Train to the ancient UNESCO-listed city of Segovia; explore on foot

Today we take a morning train to the stunning UNESCO world heritage historic city of Segovia. The train takes around five hours, and we'll arrive in the early afternoon, leaving us plenty of time to explore the city on foot with our Tour Leader.

With its huge 1st century Roman Aqueduct, and Disney-like Alcazar Fortress, Segovia is an impressive city. The upper old town, encircled by ancient walls, is centred around the Plaza Major and 16th century Gothic cathedral, from where streets lead to the famed monuments. The magnificent Aqueduct is the defining feature of the city, spanning 17 kilometres and made up of 166 arches. During our walking tour we'll see this in all its glory, as well as walking on some of the old walls surrounding the city.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 6 - Free time in Segovia; afternoon train to Malaga via Madrid

We have free time in Segovia this morning, which is time very well spent. Walking up to the hilltop Alcazar is worth it for the views over the city and rivers and to admire the slate turrets, the beautiful keep and square with four towers.

In the afternoon we take a quick train to Madrid, and catch the Renfe (underground system) between Madrid Chamartin Station and Madrid Atocha, where we pick up our onward connection to Malaga, arriving in the evening.

Malaga has an 'interesting' location among UK holiday-goers, who normally land there before journeying outside the city to stay at a beach resort. This is a shame, because the historic downtown area of the city is very attractive, and mainly pedestrianised. We'll most likely visit this area for dinner this evening.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 7 - Free day in Malaga

This morning we bid farewell to some of our travelling companions who are leaving us in Malaga, while the rest of the day is free to discover the city. As a major gateway to the Costa del Sol, many holiday-goers simply blow through on their way to a beachside hotel. In doing so they miss the superb art, food and architecture that Malaga has to offer - a trip to the old town reveals cobbled streets, baroque architecture, a Roman theatre and traditional bodegas serving tasty tapas. The Atarazanas Market is also a fantastic stop for food-lovers, hosted in a 14th century shipbuilding yard, with enormous stained glass windows that provide a visual treat. If you are interested in art, the Picasso Museum is a good place to spend the afternoon; the collection represents his entire life's work and is housed in the 16th-century Buenavista Palace. Alternatively, you may simply wish to spend the day relaxing at the beach after a week of travel.

This evening, we will be joined by new group members who are beginning their journey in Malaga and travelling to Marrakech. The Tour Leader intends to do a welcome meeting at 7pm this evening and, for those who wish, there is the chance to go out for dinner. Andalucia is renowned for its authentic tapas culture, and Malaga has many excellent tapas bars to discover.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 8 - To Cordoba; discover the old town and explore the remarkable Mezquita

Today we transfer to Cordoba (by train or bus, depending on availability). Standing on the banks of the Guadalquivir river, Cordoba was one of the most sophisticated Moorish cities and is for many, the most beautiful city in Spain. The Arabs established themselves in Cordoba as early as 719 AD, and before that the Romans had left their own mark here. Cordoba has a wealth of treasures locked away in its back streets with secluded patios tucked behind delicate iron grills. The medieval synagogues in Cordoba and Toledo are the only two which remain in Spain today and Cordoba synagogue dates back to the 14th century. This afternoon we visit the renowned Mosque (Mezquita), an extraordinary and unique building where history has superimposed two faiths and erected two oratories on the one site (local guide optional). The early massive structure dates back to the 8th century, its roof supported by a forest of 850 coloured columns. Its jewel is the gleaming and superbly decorated Mihrab, which has survived in its original state. In the evening we suggest you take in some traditional flamenco music and dancing (optional).

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 9 - Explore Granada including the old Moorish Quarter

Today we transfer to Granada by public bus and spend the afternoon exploring the city on foot, discovering the main points of interest including the Albaicin, the old Moorish quarter where many Islamic traditions are retained, giving the city its characteristic look of white walls and narrow streets. From the highest point are spectacular views across to the Alhambra and Generalife with the Sierra Nevada as a backdrop. When dusk falls, we suggest a stroll around the old Moorish Quarter to see its illuminated patios.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Swimming pool available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 10 - Chance to visit the magnificent Alhambra Palace; afternoon train to Ronda

This morning has been left free for your own exploration of Granada or you have the option to visit the magnificent Alhambra Palace. In 1239 Muhammad al-Ahmar, founder of the Nasrid dynasty and Sultan of Granada, began work on this, the finest example of Moorish architecture outside the Arab world. The fabulous decoration in stucco, both inside and outside the buildings, reveals the purest expression of a sophisticated civilisation just before its decline. You might also choose to spend time in the Generalife, one of the most beautiful landscaped gardens in the world, surrounding the summer residence of the Caliphs.

Later this afternoon we travel to Antequera by public bus and then catch our train from here to Ronda.

Please note that the visit to the Alhambra Palace is optional because it can no longer be guaranteed that group tickets can be secured to visit the palace. It is much simpler for you to book your own individual entrance tickets online for the Alhambra Palace. Bookings for this open at 90 days prior and you will need to book your ticket in advance on the website rather than waiting to when you are on tour. You can book your entrance ticket on day three from 3.30pm onwards or for this morning, but no later than 1.30pm. Further details can be found in the Optional Activities section of the Trip Notes.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 11 - Visit the picturesque Andalucian 'pueblo blancos' (white villages) of Zahara La Sierra and Grazalema

We spend the day exploring the beautiful rolling landscapes west of Ronda by bus. Arriving at the fortified Moorish hill village of Zahara is like stepping back in time. Its whitewashed terraces are dominated by an impressive Moorish tower and a Baroque church lies at the heart of the village. We also plan to visit Grazalema, nestled beneath the limestone peak of San Cristobal. We return to Ronda and spend an afternoon in one of southern Spain's most attractive towns. Ronda is one of the original pueblos blancos (white towns). There will be time to wander the streets and marvel at the El Tajo gorge and visit the oldest bullring in Spain.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 12 - Travel by train through rolling countryside; take a ferry to Tangier and visit the medina

We travel the attractive Andalucia Express route south from Ronda towards the coast through rolling countryside via the painted villages of San Roque, Castellar de la Frontera and Gaucin. On arrival at Algeciras, we transfer to the ferry port where we will say goodbye to our Spanish local leader and catch an early afternoon ferry across the Straits of Gibraltar to Tangier in Morocco.

On arrival in Tangier, we will be met by our local leader and taken to our hotel to check in. After a short break to drop our belongings off to our rooms and get some lunch, we'll head out with our leader to immerse ourselves in the vibrancy and heady atmosphere of a Moroccan medina. We'll be guided through the network of narrow streets that make up the medina on foot for a couple of hours before transferring back to our hotel. The evening will be free to relax or explore independently. The contrast between the calm streets and squares of Ronda and the more energetic atmosphere of Tangier is quite incredible.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Swimming pool available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 13 - To Fes, the cultural capital of Morocco

After breakfast we will make our way to the train station to meet the train to Fes, the cultural capital of Morocco. Fes' colourful history is full of wars, murders, intrigue and cloak-and-dagger politics, so after checking in and some time to get lunch nearby to the hotel, we'll set off into the city to start exploring.

Around mid-afternoon we will begin a two hour orientation tour by bus, visiting the Royal Palace, the viewpoint by the Merenid Tombs and an operational pottery factory by bus. Entrance inside the Royal Palace is not allowed, however, the seven grand golden gates make the visit worthwhile. Beautifully intricate and framed by traditional Zellige tiles, the gates give a hint to how ornate the inside of the palace must be and are a great place to take a photo that captures the essence of Fes. The Merenid Tombs are perched on a hill above Fes and although there is little known history about the tombs themselves it's believed they date back to the 14th century. While the ruins are a point of interest, the elevated viewpoint is the highlight, offering sweeping views to the city below, and with help of our leader we should be able to make out the different parts of the city.

Fes also has quite an active nightlife, centred around Avenues Hassan ll and Mohammed V. We enjoy two nights here to take in all the city has to offer.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 14 - Guided walking tour of Fes through its souks and tanneries; visit Roman site of Volubilis

After breakfast at the hotel we will take a guided walk through the Medina. We will explore the souks' craft areas, spice stalls, brass and copperware areas and look in on the very smelly but iconic tanneries. Beautiful buildings include the Sanctuary of Moulay Idriss 2nd, the Kairaouine Mosque and the Al Andalus Mosque (viewed from the outside only). We'll be walking for approximately 3 hours before lunch, and our guide will give some recommendations of where to eat both inside and outside of the medina.

This afternoon, we will re-join our bus and travel to Meknes. One of the four Imperial Cities, Meknes is only 45 minutes from Fes and the old part of the city boasts a quiet, charming atmosphere. We'll spend a short time here to take in the city's ornate riads, spice-scented alleyways and visit the Royal Stables which is said to have once been home to 12,000 prized royal horses during Moulay Ismail's reign in the 17th Century.

From Meknes we continue to the ancient Roman site of Volubilis. Perfectly located on a hilltop above fertile valleys, this site was once the capital of the Roman province Mauritania Tingitana and home to 20,000 residents. Despite being pillaged for materials, overthrown by newly-arriving Muslims and later crumbling with the effects of the 1755 Lisbon Earthquake, the site still features excellent examples of original mosaics and the Triumphal arch still stands.

We'll travel back to Fes in the late afternoon. This evening will be free to relax.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 15 - Train to Rabat; city tour through the highlights of the atmospheric capital city

This morning we catch the morning train to the modern capital of Rabat, where we'll arrive in time for lunch. Although it was only established as the capital in 1912 by the French, Rabat's history stretches back to a settlement in the 8th century BC. On arrival we'll have some time for lunch before we spend a couple of hours on a guided tour with a mix of short bus transfers and walking.

We'll visit Rabat's iconic Hassan Tower which has been in the same state of construction since 1199 when Sultan Yaqoub al Mansour died. Despite the fact it's not yet finished it's still worth the visit; building commenced with the intention that it would be the tallest minaret in the world and inside there are ramps that were put in place so the muezzin (servant of the mosque) would be able to ride a horse up to call everyone for prayers. The tower is located at one end of a large esplanade that is filled with 200 marble columns and was built to be large enough for the Sultan's entire army to attend prayer, while the Mohammed V Mausoleum dominates the other end of this plaza.

Later, we will wander through the charming Kasbah des Oudaias; once a fortified town, the Kasbah now has a distinct Andalucian influence that can easily be seen as we make our way through the narrow, cobbled streets lined with white and blue houses.

This afternoon will be free to relax or explore further. There is an optional visit to the historical Chellah dating back to the 8th century BC. Once a prosperous Roman town and transformed by the Merinids into a cemetery, the Chellah is a fascinating and atmospheric place to visit.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 16 - Train to Marrakech via Casablanca; chance to visit the famous King Hassan II Mosque

This morning we will take a train to Casablanca to visit the famous King Hassan II Mosque (optional entry), possibly the biggest religious monument for Muslims after Mecca. Finished in 1993, this magnificent building is covered in decorative Zellige tiles and has intricate cedar wood carvings - proof that the ancient crafts are still very much alive. After visiting the mosque we will have some free time to get lunch, before returning to the train station for our next leg to Marrakech, the heart of Morocco. The train ride will take most of the afternoon, on arrival we'll check into our hotel and the evening will be free.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Swimming pool available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 17 - Walking tour of Marrakech through colourful souks and the iconic Djemma El-Fna Square

Marrakech is a feast for the senses. Like many North African towns, Marrakech is divided into two distinct parts; Gueliz, the more modern French-influenced area and the Medina, the old city. It has always been a meeting place for the mountain Berbers and the desert peoples of the South and the colourful souks perfectly illustrate this fact.

This morning a local guide will take us for a walking tour of the old city. Taking a closer look at the maze of narrow streets filled with the sounds, colours and smells of the exotic and an opportunity to visit the iconic Koutoubia Tower. After a morning of sightseeing, we'll stop in time for lunch and the rest of the day will be free.

During a free afternoon it is worth visiting are the Saadian Tomb, the Dar Si Said Palace (now Museum of Moroccan Art), the Menara Gardens or the Majorelle Gardens including the Museum of Islamic Art a short taxi ride away. By night Marrakech comes alive and no trip to the city is complete without a visit to the celebrated Djemma El-Fna Square, a spectacle not to be missed with many street performers it's reminiscent of a scene straight out of the pages of Arabian Nights.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Swimming pool available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 18 - Free time in Marrakech; chance to join a day trip to the High Atlas

Today is free to explore the city further at your own pace. Alternatively, for a complete change of scenery, you may choose to go on an optional visit to a nearby High Atlas village today. The High Atlas is North Africa's greatest mountain range. Populated by Berber tribesmen, it has always been an area culturally removed from the rest of Morocco, a barrier between the northern plains and the pre-Sahara.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Swimming pool available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 19 - Trip ends Marrakech

The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Marrakech.

There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Marrakech at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day, luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you need to depart from Marrakesh Menara Airport (RAK).

Depending on the schedule of your flights, you may have some additional time to wander in the souks of Marrakech or buy your last souvenirs before departure.

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Trip information

Climate and country information

France

Climate

Across France, from April - August, weather conditions are generally warm and pleasant with moderate rainfall; Autumn temperatures are a bit lower and the winter months (though colder) remain mild. The summer months on the Mediterranean Coast in the south tend to be warmer than the rest of France and have less rainfall, and also more mild winters; freezing conditions are nearly unheard of. The mountainous areas of the Alps, Juros and Pyrenees can be quite different. During summer the morning and evening temperatures are considerably cooler and it becomes much colder in winter with heavy snowfall. Western France, along the English Channel, there can be very strong winds and frequent rain during the winter months Nov - Apr. Wine harvesting takes place in late August/early September.

Time difference to GMT

+1

Plugs

2 Pin Round

Religion

Catholic

Language

French

Morocco

Climate

The climate is both Mediterranean and Atlantic. The dry, hot season is from May to October when summer temperatures can reach 38°C and above (if sight seeing is included we will do our best to avoid the heat of the day during this period). Temperatures may drop significantly at times during the night as the day's heat rapidly diminishes. From December to January snow can be expected on mountain passes and it can be wet. In winter, day temperatures will probably be around 18-25°C, dropping to perhaps 0-5°C.

Time difference to GMT

0

Plugs

2 Pin Round

Religion

Islam

Language

Arabic, Berber, French.

Spain

Climate

Overall, spring, early summer and autumn are ideal times for a Spanish trip - though the weather varies enormously from region to region. The high central plains suffer from fierce extremes, stiflingly hot in summer, bitterly cold and swept by freezing winds in winter. The Atlantic coast, in contrast, has a tendency to damp and mist, and a relatively brief, humid summer. The Mediterranean south is warm virtually all year round. Spain's Islands the Canaries and Balaerics experience very mild winters and warm summers making them ideal year round destinations.

Time difference to GMT

+8 (PCT)

Plugs

2 Pin Round

Religion

Roman Catholic

Language

Castilian Spanish, Catalan, Galician, Basque

United Kingdom

Climate

The UK has a temperate but very variable climate. In general the summers are warm with July and August being the warmest. The winters are cool and the lowest temperatures are recorded during January and February. Whatever the season it is advisable to be prepared for rain!

Time difference to GMT

0

Plugs

3 Pin Flat

Religion

Christian

Language

English

Budgeting and packing

Optional activities

The following excursions and/or activities are usually available and may be arranged locally. Estimated costs are provided below for guidance only, are on a per person basis unless shown otherwise, and may depend on the number of participants. Prices quoted are correct as of the date these tour notes were originally issued but may change at any time due to currency fluctuations. Please note: These activities are booked and paid for direct with the supplier and do not form part of your Explore holiday contract.



A selection of optional activities are listed below to help you budget for your adventure. Whilst the tour price you pay before you travel includes a great selection of highlights, we have also built in free time to allow you the flexibility to choose from a carefully selected range of additional excursions and activities. Alternatively, take time to relax; the choice is yours.

Bordeaux:
Cite du Vin - €20 including a glass of wine
Pilat Dunes - Train to Arcachon €5 and bus from Arcachon to dunes from €1

San Sebastian:
Chillida Museum - €12 + public bus from €1.50
San Telmo Museum - €6

Granada:
Alhambra Palace from €14 per person:
Only limited tickets are made available for sale on arrival each day, however this will likely involve long queues. We recommend purchasing a ticket in advance via the website. Tickets go on sale 90 days prior to the visit. At the time of booking your ticket to the Alhambra, a time will be allocated for entry to Nasrid Palace and you are able to indicate a preferred time. In addition, entry to Nasrid Palace is strictly monitored and you will not be able to enter outside the allocated time. We therefore recommend booking tickets for entry on day three from 3.30pm onwards or on day four for no later than 1.30pm. Due to the train/public bus schedule from Granada to Ronda, you will need to be back at the hotel no later than 4pm on day four.

There are a number of ticket types available through the official website - https://tickets.alhambra-patronato.es/en/tickets-alhambra-general.

'Alhambra General' tickets start from €14 per person and will allow unguided access to the Alcazaba, Nasrid Palace and Generalife. Many visitors spend a few hours here, so please allow plenty of time to explore and book your entrance time accordingly.

If you would prefer a guided visit, these are operated in English on a daily basis at specific times but may not coincide with our scheduled itinerary. Further details and times can be found here and tickets start at €69 per person - https://www.alhambradegranada.org/en/info/guidedtours.asp

Tours of the Alhambra Palace run from 8am to 5pm and normally last for around three hours. From our hotel the Alhambra Palace is a 20 minute walk each way.

Casablanca:
Hassan II Mosque entrance €12 per person.

Rabat:
Chellah €1 per person.

Marrakech:
Full day excursion (from Marrakech) to a village in the Atlas Mountains, with Berber lunch approximately €40 per person.

Clothing

Select your clothing carefully. Remember, you are expected to carry your own luggage so packing light is essential. In summer, most locations will be very hot, while trains will be air-conditioned, so light layers are encouraged, and waterproofs are recommended throughout the year.

In winter (November to April), temperatures will vary greatly between France and Morocco. Thicker clothing is essential for potentially cold days and nights, while you may benefit from lighter layers on warmer Moroccan days.
Please note that the High Atlas mountains can be cold and windy all year round.

Footwear

Comfortable shoes are recommended for travelling and walking around the cities, plus sandals for relaxing. If you intend on visiting the Atlas Mountains, we recommend walking shoes or boots with good ankle support.

Luggage: On tour

As you'll be taking care of your own luggage, including stowing it on the trains, it's absolutely essential that you bring a small suitcase. If you're travelling in a pair, bringing one small suitcase each is much easier than bringing one large one between you. A suitable suitcase size is approximately 61 centimetres (24 inches) in height. Suitcases with wheels are very handy for ease of transportation. Although our ideal size given might seem small, it should help reduce the chance of overpacking and will greatly improve your enjoyment of the tour!

Equipment

We advise you bring a water bottle for day to day use. We have a partnership with Water-to-Go, who have developed a filtration system that eliminates over 99.9% of all microbiological contaminants. This allows you to drink from any tap, including on trains, or even streams and lakes. You can purchase your own Explore branded bottle with the discount code EXPLORE15.

Sunscreen and a sun hat are advised. A power bank may be useful if you'd like to use or charge your phone while on the train journeys.

Tipping

Explore leader
Tipping isn't compulsory, and we work hard to ensure that our leaders all receive a fair wage. However, you might want to recognise a leader that's done a great job or really added to your trip by giving them a tip. We're often asked about the recommended amount. It's a tricky one, and down to personal preference, but we'd recommend between £15 to £20 per person per week as a guideline

France

Food and drink

The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.


Lunch price
£11
Dinner price
£16.00 - 18.00
Beer price
£4
Water price
£1.3
Foreign Exchange
Local currency
Euro
Recommended Currency For Exchange
Pounds Sterling and US Dollars can only be changed in larger airports with a Bureau de Change. Please change currency into Euros prior to arriving in France.
Where To Exchange
Bureau de Change can only be found in major cities and large airports. Many French banks no longer exchange Foreign currency.
ATM Availability
In cities and most major towns
Credit Card Acceptance
In major restaurants (make sure you have informed your credit card company that you are travelling abroad as some companies will reject payments)
Travellers Cheques
Travellers Cheques are no longer commonly accepted and can only be changed in larger airports with a Bureau de Change.

Morocco

Food and drink

The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.


Lunch price
£6.00 - 8.00
Dinner price
£8.00 - 12.00
Beer price
£2.5
Water price
£0.6
Foreign Exchange
Local currency
Moroccan Dirham (MAD).
Recommended Currency For Exchange
US Dollars, Sterling and Euros are readily exchangeable. We recommend you take a mixture of cash and credit cards. Scottish bank notes and Australian dollar travellers cheques and cash are NOT normally accepted in Morocco.
Where To Exchange
Most major towns - your Tour Leader will advise you.
ATM Availability
ATMs are available in main towns/cities, though can be unreliable.
Credit Card Acceptance
Not all places.
Travellers Cheques
Travellers cheques are difficult to exchange and are not recommended.

Spain

Food and drink

The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.


Lunch price
£8.00 - 12.00
Dinner price
£16.00 - 20.00
Beer price
£1.50 - 3.50 (depending on the region/area in Spain)
Water price
£1.4
Foreign Exchange
Local currency
Euros
Recommended Currency For Exchange
We recommend you take the majority of your spending money in Euros cash.
Where To Exchange
We recommend that you change any currency into Euros prior to arrival. Bureau de Change are generally only found in major cities and large airports.
ATM Availability
In cities and most major towns.
Credit Card Acceptance
Visa and Mastercard are generally accepted in larger restaurants and some shops.
Travellers Cheques
Not recommended.

United Kingdom

Food and drink

The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.


Lunch price
£10
Dinner price
£18
Beer price
£4
Water price
£0.8
Foreign Exchange
Local currency
Pounds Sterling.
Recommended Currency For Exchange
Carry a combination of UK Sterling cash, ATM and credit cards.
Where To Exchange
Your tour leader will advise you on arrival.
ATM Availability
ATM's are widely available in main towns.
Credit Card Acceptance
Widely accepted.
Travellers Cheques
Can be exchanged at most banks and post offices.
Transport, Accommodation & Meals

Transport Information

Boat, Public Bus, Train

Accommodation notes

Throughout this trip we use a range of comfortable accommodation, well located for access to train stations and for exploration of these diverse cities. Due to Malaga's popularity in July, August and September, we are using different accommodation there depending on the departure. You may be staying at the Hotel Zenit or the Hotel Teatro Romano. Please ask a member of sales staff if you would like this information before booking.

It's worth noting that there may be a maximum of 10-15 minutes' walk from train stations to accommodation, for which you will be required to carry (or pull!) your own luggage. For distances above this, we will take taxis or public transport. If you don't fancy walking at all, that's no problem - taxis are easily available from train station entrances and you can meet the group at the hotel.

Essential Information

Government Travel Safety Advice

We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.

Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.

 

Under 18 immigration guidance

Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.

Price Guarantee

Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions

Visa and Passport Information

France: Visas are not required by UK, EU, Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens.

Spain: Visas are not required by UK, Australian, US, New Zealand, US or Canadian citizens.

Morocco: Visas are not required by UK, Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens.

Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office. You should confirm all visa related questions with the relevant Embassy prior to departure.

In addition to the above visa information, it is essential that you provide Explore with the correct passport information at the time of booking, as this will be required in order to pre-book any applicable train tickets. Corrections and amendments will incur additional charges, so please double check that the information we have for you is up to date and correct, this includes your passport number, full name as per passport (including middle names), date of birth and place of birth; if customers renew or reissue their passports from the details initially given to Explore, train tickets must be cancelled and purchased again, which involves extra costs. If you intend to renew your passport please let Explore know at the point of booking.


If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
 

Booking conditions

Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.

Transfers

Find out more about Trip Transfer Terms and Conditions before you book.

Booking a land only package with Explore

Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information. 

You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.


Joining Tour Abroad

Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.

The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.  

Free transfers are not available for Self-Guided, Polar, Tailormade or Tours for Churches customers.

If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.  

For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here

Insurance

It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.

Flight information

Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.


Flight Information

You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.

  

Booking a flight inclusive package with Explore

We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.

On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.

France

Vaccinations

Nothing compulsory. Tetanus recommended. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.

Morocco

Vaccinations

Nothing compulsory, but we recommend protection against tetanus, typhoid, infectious hepatitis and polio. Consult your travel clinic for latest advice on different prophylaxis available against malaria. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.

Spain

Vaccinations

Nothing compulsory but Tetanus is usually recommended as a precaution. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before traveling.

United Kingdom

Vaccinations

Nothing compulsory, we recommend protection against tetanus, diphtheria, polio and hepatitis A. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at http://www.explore.co.uk/Travelhealth/ and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed before departure.

Additional Information

Dates, prices and booking

All holidays are subject to availability and prices are subject to change
Mon 23 May 2022 - Fri 10 Jun 2022
RLMO_2022
£2699
was Save
FLIGHT OPTIONS FROM
i
+£134
SINGLE ROOM OPTION
i
+£572
RLMO_2022

Add a flight with Explore

  • Full Explore refunds in the event of FCDO cancellations or major disruption at your UK departure airport
  • Carbon neutral flights – Gold Standard offsetting included
  • Rearranged flights and transfers in the event of delays, missed connections, or cancellations (including accommodation overseas)
  • ATOL protected
  • No surcharge guarantee
 
Mon 25 Jul 2022 - Fri 12 Aug 2022
RLMO_2022
£2745
was Save
FLIGHT OPTIONS FROM
i
+£204
SINGLE ROOM OPTION
i
+£604
RLMO_2022

Add a flight with Explore

  • Full Explore refunds in the event of FCDO cancellations or major disruption at your UK departure airport
  • Carbon neutral flights – Gold Standard offsetting included
  • Rearranged flights and transfers in the event of delays, missed connections, or cancellations (including accommodation overseas)
  • ATOL protected
  • No surcharge guarantee
 
Mon 5 Sep 2022 - Fri 23 Sep 2022
RLMO_2022
£2799
was Save
FLIGHT OPTIONS FROM
i
+£164
SINGLE ROOM OPTION
i
+£676
RLMO_2022

Add a flight with Explore

  • Full Explore refunds in the event of FCDO cancellations or major disruption at your UK departure airport
  • Carbon neutral flights – Gold Standard offsetting included
  • Rearranged flights and transfers in the event of delays, missed connections, or cancellations (including accommodation overseas)
  • ATOL protected
  • No surcharge guarantee
 
Mon 17 Oct 2022 - Fri 4 Nov 2022
RLMO_2022
£2799
was Save
FLIGHT OPTIONS FROM
i
+£164
SINGLE ROOM OPTION
i
+£629
RLMO_2022

Add a flight with Explore

  • Full Explore refunds in the event of FCDO cancellations or major disruption at your UK departure airport
  • Carbon neutral flights – Gold Standard offsetting included
  • Rearranged flights and transfers in the event of delays, missed connections, or cancellations (including accommodation overseas)
  • ATOL protected
  • No surcharge guarantee
 
Mon 31 Oct 2022 - Fri 18 Nov 2022
RLMO_2022
£2599
was Save
FLIGHT OPTIONS FROM
i
+£164
SINGLE ROOM OPTION
i
+£494
RLMO_2022

Add a flight with Explore

  • Full Explore refunds in the event of FCDO cancellations or major disruption at your UK departure airport
  • Carbon neutral flights – Gold Standard offsetting included
  • Rearranged flights and transfers in the event of delays, missed connections, or cancellations (including accommodation overseas)
  • ATOL protected
  • No surcharge guarantee
 
Mon 3 Apr 2023 - Fri 21 Apr 2023
RLMO_2023
£2745
was Save
FLIGHT OPTIONS FROM
i
+£214
SINGLE ROOM OPTION
i
+£594
RLMO_2023

Add a flight with Explore

  • Full Explore refunds in the event of FCDO cancellations or major disruption at your UK departure airport
  • Carbon neutral flights – Gold Standard offsetting included
  • Rearranged flights and transfers in the event of delays, missed connections, or cancellations (including accommodation overseas)
  • ATOL protected
  • No surcharge guarantee
 
Mon 22 May 2023 - Fri 9 Jun 2023
RLMO_2023
£2795
was Save
FLIGHT OPTIONS FROM
i
+£194
SINGLE ROOM OPTION
i
+£551
RLMO_2023

Add a flight with Explore

  • Full Explore refunds in the event of FCDO cancellations or major disruption at your UK departure airport
  • Carbon neutral flights – Gold Standard offsetting included
  • Rearranged flights and transfers in the event of delays, missed connections, or cancellations (including accommodation overseas)
  • ATOL protected
  • No surcharge guarantee
 
Mon 24 Jul 2023 - Fri 11 Aug 2023
RLMO_2023
£2775
was Save
FLIGHT OPTIONS FROM
i
+£234
SINGLE ROOM OPTION
i
+£559
RLMO_2023

Add a flight with Explore

  • Full Explore refunds in the event of FCDO cancellations or major disruption at your UK departure airport
  • Carbon neutral flights – Gold Standard offsetting included
  • Rearranged flights and transfers in the event of delays, missed connections, or cancellations (including accommodation overseas)
  • ATOL protected
  • No surcharge guarantee
 
Mon 4 Sep 2023 - Fri 22 Sep 2023
RLMO_2023
£2845
was Save
FLIGHT OPTIONS FROM
i
+£194
SINGLE ROOM OPTION
i
+£652
RLMO_2023

Add a flight with Explore

  • Full Explore refunds in the event of FCDO cancellations or major disruption at your UK departure airport
  • Carbon neutral flights – Gold Standard offsetting included
  • Rearranged flights and transfers in the event of delays, missed connections, or cancellations (including accommodation overseas)
  • ATOL protected
  • No surcharge guarantee
 
Mon 16 Oct 2023 - Fri 3 Nov 2023
RLMO_2023
£2845
was Save
FLIGHT OPTIONS FROM
i
+£194
SINGLE ROOM OPTION
i
+£652
RLMO_2023

Add a flight with Explore

  • Full Explore refunds in the event of FCDO cancellations or major disruption at your UK departure airport
  • Carbon neutral flights – Gold Standard offsetting included
  • Rearranged flights and transfers in the event of delays, missed connections, or cancellations (including accommodation overseas)
  • ATOL protected
  • No surcharge guarantee
 
Mon 30 Oct 2023 - Fri 17 Nov 2023
RLMO_2023
£2845
was Save
FLIGHT OPTIONS FROM
i
+£194
SINGLE ROOM OPTION
i
+£633
RLMO_2023

Add a flight with Explore

  • Full Explore refunds in the event of FCDO cancellations or major disruption at your UK departure airport
  • Carbon neutral flights – Gold Standard offsetting included
  • Rearranged flights and transfers in the event of delays, missed connections, or cancellations (including accommodation overseas)
  • ATOL protected
  • No surcharge guarantee
 

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