Madrid to Marrakech tour
Description of Madrid to Marrakech tour
On this exciting tour you’ll take the slow route from Madrid to Marrakech, travelling overland through the changing landscapes of Spain, Portugal and Morocco. You’ll stay in small, locally owned accommodation and use public transport wherever possible, including train, ferry and public bus. You’ll do so in the company of a group of up to 15 other like minded travellers and you’ll be accompanied by experienced guides to ensure that your journey is as smooth (and as fun) as possible.
In Spain, art and architecture loom large on the agenda as you check out European masters in world class museums in Madrid and stroll the exquisite streets of medieval Salamanca and Moorish Seville. In Portugal, you’ll listen to traditional Fado music in former royal capital, Coimbra, relax on the golden beaches of the Algarve, and amble round the historic streets of graceful Lisbon. Your final destination, Morocco, brings the blue city of Chefchaouen, the vibrant Medina of Fes, and the bazaars, storytellers and food stalls of buzzing Marrakech.
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PlanetOver tourism is a problem we deal with time and time again, so on this particular trip we only allow for a maximum of 16 participants. This small group size allows us to travel in a way that has the least possible impact on the nature of our destinations. In the Algarve, the group visits Culatra Island on a daytrip. This wouldn’t be possible when travelling as part of a larger group because to get to the island we need to catch a local ferry. The islands itself isn’t developed and so a visit from even a handful of regular tourists has a really positive impact on the local economy.
To further minimize our impact on the environment, we try to reduce single-use plastics on our trips. We often provide reusable bags, encourage the use of reusable drinking bottles and we are working to increase access the places able to refill them. Two litres of oil and 200 litres of water are used to produce one single plastic bottle. Considering this, it becomes clear how important it is to largely do without plastic. During the welcome meeting, our tour guide will discuss this topic with the group. Furthermore, our local guides always take care that the group leaves each of the places the group visits as they found it. Of course, this includes taking any rubbish with them. All our tour leaders are passionate about responsible travel, so the messaging around important environmental issues is consistent at all times.
We’re committed to providing local experiences and as part of this philosophy, we use local forms of transport wherever possible. This includes a train ride from Fez to Marrakech, a ferry trip from Spain to Morocco and a journey by public bus to Chefchaouen. By using public transport, we reduce the amount of carbon emissions we produce.
PeopleOne thing we’re incredibly proud of is our foundation, which was set up to empower travellers to give back to the communities they visit. Supporting over 50 local, grassroots projects around the world, it has distributed more than $5 million to projects tackling areas like child protection, animal welfare and sustainable development.
In Morocco’s rural areas access to education and for girls in particular is lacking. As a result, 83% of women living here are illiterate. Some live far away from the nearest school, meaning that even getting there is a significant barrier. Our project Education for All brings learning closer to the girls. Founded in 2007, EFA provides a way for girls from remote villages in the High Atlas region of Morocco to access education. They currently support 192 girls across five safe boarding houses, each of which is managed by local house mothers. The girls have access to books and computers, receive three meals a day and benefit from additional study support, but are still able to return home to their families every weekend. The results of this program are impressive, with girls' grades almost double the national average. Part of the revenue from this trip will be donated to this foundation, so that more projects like EFA can be initiated.
Another project we support in Morocco is AMAL, a non-profit women’s training centre and Moroccan restaurant based in Marrakech. It helps women from disadvantaged backgrounds to become self-sufficient, by training them in a professional restaurant setting with the aim of sustaining long-term work in hospitality. Women taking part have a real opportunity for a self-determined future.
On top of that, the running of this trip supports local people and the economy. We use many local operators to provide transport and accommodation. For example, in the Algarve we cooperate with a small family-run boutique hotel. This is a perfect example of how we do not support over tourism by supporting smaller local businesses. We also encourage our passengers to eat in local restaurants.
Understanding local life is an important part of travel and on this trip we source local activities that we believe to be sustainable for the economy and allow for the flow of income to be more widely distributed. We want our customers to get into contact with local people wherever possible, and travellers will have ample opportunities to do so. For example, in Fez we visit a ceramics factory where our passengers will immerse themselves in the traditional methods and Moorish history.
During this journey we travel through three different countries and have made it our goal to give travellers a deep and authentic insight into the different cultures. Therefore, in addition to our local guide, we also use specialist guides in the villages themselves i.e. in Fez and Chefchaouen. After all they’re the ones most familiar with the history, culture and traditions of their homeland. This also means that a larger number of people benefit from tourism revenue.