Spain & Morocco
Walking Tour in Spain and Morocco, from Andalusia to the Atlas Mountain Range
Andalusia is one of the most diverse regions in southern Spain. It has a mild climate with wonderful unspoilt beaches and hidden coves. The land of flamenco songs and dances, dazzling whitewashed villages set against an intense blue sky.
Olive groves stretching as far as the eye can see. The tiny villages are linked by old pathways and still used today. The beautiful local architecture and narrow winding streets remind us of a long Moorish heritage. Even 500 years after the departure of the Moors, we can still admire their advanced civil engineering skills when we walk along their elaborate system of aqueducts. This tour offers a wonderful insight to this charming part of Spain. It takes you to beautiful mountain country, gorgeous green river valleys with abundant and varied wildlife and a huge range of Andalusian flora.
From Valencia we take you to San José at the Almerian coast. It has a distinctly Moorish flavour and is known for the greatest number of hours of sunshine in Spain. In the Cabo de Gata Nature Reserve we experience a combination of a dry, desert climate with cliffs plunging towards the azure and turquoise Mediterranean waters. The spectacular Sierra Nevada is home to the highest peaks in Spain and UNESCO has declared it a Biosphere Reserve. The typical whitewashed ancient villages, known as Las Alpujarras, are famous for their characteristic flat rooftops.
Our walking track takes us through these intriguing, old-fashioned villages and constantly changing scenery. The views are truly unbelievable - from often snow-capped mountains to the glistening Mediterranean. In Granada we visit the legendary and incomparable Alhambra Palace, one of Europe’s most romantic monuments.
Ronda is one of Andalusia’s loveliest towns, towering over a plateau and famous for its plunging river gorge. It is a spectacular base for walks to some of Spain’s most beautiful pueblos blancos (whitewashed villages). We walk “fragrant” trails and follow an old smuggler’s path in the Sierra de Grazalema Mountains. We continue to magical Seville, one of the jewels in the crown Europe. The elegant Andalusian capital is Spain’s passionate city of flamenco and bullfighting, of artists and poets, of jasmine-scented gardens and Moorish monuments.
Morocco's sensuous beauty is legendary, from imperial cities with labyrinthine souks to the awesome grandeur of the Sahara. Our journey begins in Fez, a walled city suspended in a medieval dream. The Dades Valley is an amazing area in the High Atlas Mountains - a photographer’s paradise! The valley has lush green fields, spectacular gorges, and slot canyons of rose-coloured sandstone. The Dades Gorge has a fairy-tale feeling and the strength of the colours will never escape your memory. The Dades area is filled with lush valley oasis towns and many of the Kasbahs are in ruin, contributing to the mysterious atmosphere. We settle at the foot of Erg Chebbi where Morocco’s tallest sand dunes stretch to the horizon and admire the magnificent sunset.
The next morning we try not to miss the sunrise over the Erg Chebbi dunes. They stretch over kilometres and kilometres and are sublime at sunrise as they change colours from pink to ochre and from red to orange. We cross the desert where only few villages brave those difficult living conditions. Eventually we enter the Drâa valley and the oasis of Agdz, located in a vast palm grove on the old caravan route, linking Marrakech and Timbuktu and renowned for its fine dates.
We leave Agdz and travel north through the lush Draa Valley. We by-pass Ouarzazate, which is now a small Moroccan Hollywood (numerous films took place, and are still shot here). In the afternoon we cross the Tizi n’Tichka pass in the direction of Marrakech and travel to the lovely town of Ouirgane. It is all surrounded by the High Atlas Mountains, in the heart of the Berber country. Ouirgane is also known as a health resort.
Together, with our local guide, we discover the Toubkal National Park in the High Atlas Mountain range. It covers an area of 100,000 hectares and boasts the highest mountain peak in North Africa, Jbel Toubkal, 4167 metres (13750 ft) high. The park, the largest and oldest of Morocco, is located near the Sahara desert and has an incredible variety of wildlife and diverse ecosystems. Our last day takes us to Marrakech where our journey ends.
Our Hotels and Cuisine
Our charming hotel in San José is next to the Mediterranean, bordering the Cabo da Gata National Park. The setting and friendly atmosphere make this the perfect place for our next two nights. The Spanish love of seafood is legendary. Our restaurant is well known for its delicious rice, seafood and fish concoctions.
Our friendly hotel in the Sierra Nevada is on a large property amidst orange and olive plantations. From the garden, with its very large pool, we have marvellous views of the majestic mountains. Our candlelit dinners highlight the interesting and flavoursome Alpajurrian cuisine.
The enchantment of spending a night in the Alhambra gardens is the exclusive opportunity in the Convento de San Francisco. Built by Fernando and Isobel in the late 15th century on the site of a Moorish palace, it is now a Parador and listed under one of the best 500 hotels in the world. The views of the Genralife, gardens of Secano and the Albaicin are a real luxury. This splendour is preserved in the restaurant fare.
The fabulous Parador in Ronda provides a panoramic view of the “Tajo”, a gorge of more than 100 metres. Partridges, Andalusian soups and rabbit are some of the specialities of its restaurant. Our hotel in Sevilla is located in a quiet position in the famous neighbourhood of “Triana”, next to the Guadalquivir River and the ancient part of the city.
The first two nights we stay in a beautifully restored Riad in the old Medina of Fes. From the dining room of our Kasbah in the Dades Valley we enjoy panoramic views and savour some of the country’s traditional cuisine - a delicious couscous, the famous Pigeon Pie, the Moroccan soup, Harira, or the many varieties of Tagine with meat.
In Erg Chebbi we spend two nights in the renovated Tombouctou guesthouse. Its privileged location near the sea of dunes is just magical.
In Agdz we stay in a beautiful, newly built Kasbah for 2 nights. Our peaceful hotel, inspired by many Moroccan Kasbahs, is in the heart of the palmarie and has a scrumptious restaurant, which opens up to the pool area. It offers fine Moroccan cuisine but we might also escape for one night to the more familiar European cuisine.
In Ouirgane, at an altitude of 1,000 metres, our charming hotel is secretly hidden in the middle of sixty acres of natural parkland. All rooms and suites open on patios and terraces surrounded by thousands of rose bushes. There is also a very inviting pool!
Departure dates have been arranged to allow both, "Follow the Moorish Trail" and "From the Mountains to the Mediterranean" walks to be combined.
Tour departure dates
Feedback from previous guests
|I really enjoyed the 10 days in Andalusia with our tour guides Gabriela & Gilles. The walking trails through the Sierra Nevada & Grazalema natural park offered spectacular scenery. Our accommodation was varied & comfortable. I loved all the places we visited from San Jose to Seville. The meals were fine in the hotels but would have liked more tastings of Tapas. Morocco was a unique experience. Starting in Fes, staying at the Riad & a tour of the Medina was quite amazing. Then driving many miles across the High Atlas to the Dades Gorge on to the sand dunes at Erg Chebbi. Then back towards Marrakech via Agdz. Here we stayed at a very special Riad my favourite for the trip. The walks we did through the Berber villages was stepping back in time but all very interesting with local guides. It was unfortunate Gabriella had to leave us in Morocco but with Gilles there to guide us all the way we had a great trip."
Alison from Hawthorn VIC, Australia 
|Gilles was a great guide and we enjoyed the trip!"
Helen from Stratford, Victoria, Australia 
|Brilliant guides, fabulous accommodation, exotic luscious food. Thank you Gabriella and Giles for leading this "mature" trekker on the walk of her life. How I wish I had started 30 years ago. I am almost prepared now for more mountaineering rather than the envisaged walk in the plains of Spain. Truly a great and very happy experience with so many shared exciting memories".
Llynne from Valla, NSW Australia 
|This trip was superb! Glorious days walking in the Sierras of Spain, with some snow still on the mountains, walking the mountains and valleys of the Grazalema Natural Park, the magic of waking up in the Alhambra Palace in Granada, exploring Sevilla, all were exceptional experiences. Then came the mysteries of Morocco- being led through the intricacies of the Medina of Fes, arriving at Boumaine in the High Atlas range after travelling through the striking Dades Gorge, finding ourselves in the desert with dunes at Erg Chebbi, riding lurching camels into the dusk and setting sun, the tranquillity of staying in oasis and exploring the date plantations with an exuberant guide, the vibrancy of Agdz, and the calmness of Ourigane with memories of a guided walk through Berber villages. There were so many stunning sights, fairytale experiences, and I saw things I had only ever imagined before. It was a very satisfying tour well-planned and led by Gabriela and Gilles, great guides, with unique accommodation that in itself was memorable."
Wendy from Sydney NSW, Australia 
|The holiday was extremely interesting in that the places we visited and the hotel stays were well selected, typical of the areas, varied and off the beaten track. With the exception of a few meals, very good food, and were the cuisine of the places we stayed at. The group size was large enough. Transport in the mini-buses was very comfortable. The walks were in places less visited which made them adventurous and gave us a different perspective of the local environments to that of just skirting around towns and villages, and gave a closer look at the landscape and how people in less populated area lived. The trip was well thought out and unique. Thank you."
Helen from Sydney NSW, Australia 
|We loved our walking tour of Spain & Morocco with Gabriela & Gill. They were both so accommodating and nothing was too much trouble. The walks were varied and Interesting with knowlagable guides. We would have liked to start the walks earlier than 9.30 - 10 as it was often hot and we didn't have enough time to enjoy the beautiful accommodation at the end of the day. The buses could have been more comfortable for those in the back seat, we had some long days and they felt every bump. I was lucky as I travelled in the front due to motion sickness. We had some long days in the bus but we covered a lot of country in Morocco which was really interesting and scenic. There was always a jewel at the end of the day as we stayed in some beautiful places. I really liked the lunches where we did the shopping and had picnics in the countryside.I realise that was difficult in Morooco. I think the meals could have been more varied eating where the locals eat,as we often ate in large dining rooms more than once at the same place. I would recommend Gourmet walkabout to my friends & hope to do another trip with you.)"
Prue from Barwon Heads VIC, Australia 
|Where to start?… so many highlights made up our wonderful trip to Spain and Morocco! A lasting impression for me is of the views high up in the Sierra Nevada and Atlas Mountains and looking down to the lush, fertile valleys below. We loved walking through the market gardens and villages where just about anything seemed to grow and covered every pocket of arable land. The changes in architecture and construction as we moved from Andalucía to Morocco were fascinating and the explanations about village life and culture by our local guides added to our enjoyment. The trip included wonderful cities like Granada and Fes as well as a surprise on our first night to find our hotel overlooked the sparkling sea in San Jose and time for a dip in the sea. Four nights were spent in a rustic hotel in the countryside near Órgiva in the Alpujarra mountains – the setting for Chris Stewart's book 'Driving Over Lemons". We enjoyed relaxing in the beautiful garden after a day's walking and sipping very large G&Ts! Thank you Gabriela and Gilles for a wonderful holiday and great time!"
Rosemary from Wallington VIC, Australia 
|What a fabulous 21 days! Great Guides, Accommodation, Food, Company, Walks, Loads of fun and laughter and quite overwhelmed by the magnificence of the Andalusias and Morocco. Bring on Jordan next :)"
Lyn from Point Lonsdale, VIC, Australia 
|An absolutely wonderful trip with a marvellous guide. A huge number of experiences packed into 3 weeks of travel. Excellent walking, great food and wonderful contrasts in accommodation from the rustic and immensely enjoyable Berber village, Tamerloute in the Valley of the Roses to the luxury of the stunning Parador at the Alhambra in Granada. The local guides in Morocco were interesting and entertaining, the schedule very well planned and the walks were of a good level for a medium walker.
Cathy from Kew VIC, Australia