In 2019, I headed to Spain, Portugal and Morocco on a bus tour. It was an amazing trip and here are my top 5 for each of the countries.
- Seville/Flamenco Dancing
You cannot go to Seville without taking in a performance of the flamenco dancing. It is exhilarating and will take your breath away. It is 90 minutes of music, singing, and of course dancing. They will twirl and stomp their way into your heart and soul. An unforgettable evening!
- Costa del Sol
I am not normally a beach person, but I do love to walk along a beach and listen to the waves crash. Costa del Sol was the most enchanting beach boulevard I’ve seen yet in this world.
The Mediterranean waves lapping on the beach, the gentle winds, the smell of the sea in the air, it was all mesmerizing. If I could have stayed there forever, I would have.
Spain was a surprise to me. I had not done much research about the places we were going to see and so I went with low expectations. I did not want to set myself up for disappointment.
The first stop was in Madrid and disappointed I was not. The city is vibrant, beautiful, historical, and full of life. I enjoyed just driving through the city and looking around without even getting off the bus to take in the beautiful sites. You need to see everything you can in Madrid!
On one of the excursions we took from Madrid, we headed to Segovia. The aqueducts were amazing to see and to find out they were hundreds of years old was astonishing. The entire city was lovely. And I had the best slice of pizza in Spain there! A true gem to visit.
- The countryside
As we drove from Madrid down to the coast, I enjoyed looking out the window and seeing the beautiful countryside of Spain. The rolling hills, the greenery, even the highways were not that busy. It was tranquil and beautiful. A country is not just made of historical sites, cities, and beaches. It’s also a place to enjoy a pleasant drive to see the countryside.
- Crossing the Strait of Gibraltar
Wanting to go to Africa has been a bucket list of mine for many years. To have the chance to cross the Strait of Gibraltar and land in Morocco was very exciting. Taking the ferry was a great time. The beautiful, albeit windy, weather was perfect for the crossing. We were able to catch a glimpse of the Rock of Gibraltar off in the distance. The entire trip was met with anticipation not only by me but by my fellow travel companions on the tour.
Marrakesh and its medinas were scary, but exhilarating. I kept close to everyone around me so I wouldn’t get lost or go the wrong way. The medinas are very narrow alleyways with little stores crammed in beside each other, each offering a different ware for sale. The smells that came from the stores were intoxicating, both of perfume and of food. It was definitely a bucket item list checked off.
- The Kasbah
One of our stops in Marrakesh was to see the Kasbah. Being an 80s girl, my immediate thought as we arrived was the song Rock the Kasbah by The Clash. I could not get that song out of my head the entire time!
Despite the mental distraction, the Kasbah was a very interesting place to visit. Again, a lot of history, but also learning that these were the stables that we saw. Stone stables. It was very interesting!
On our way back to Tangier from Marrakesh, a brief stop was made in Casablanca. We were able to visit the synagogue and also take a short walk along the boardwalk, and grab something to eat. While the visit was short, it was an intriguing place to see. The boardwalk was more of a sidewalk up on a hill, looking down at the ocean. But they called it a boardwalk. We were very lucky to have so many beautiful weather days, and the day in Casablanca was just right weather-wise. A lovely ocean breeze as we walked along the ocean.
We were able to travel to the Berber area in Fes and have a visit with a local family. We toured their home and were offered tea and a snack. It was very educational and beautiful. It is definitely a must do thing if you are in the Fes area of Morocco.
This beautiful town on the coast was beautiful. A huge ferris wheel is right at the beach. A great way to be greeted. The town is walkable and has lovely restaurants and cafes to stop in at. We had a short visit there, but it was lovely. A nice stop for a walk.
Sintra was our second stop after Cascais. It’s a beautiful town set up on a hill with beautiful views. The must do thing here is definitely a tour of Pena Castle. It is a gorgeous castle and worth the tour.
Lisbon was more beautiful than I imagined it would be. One of the most captivating sights I saw was the Padrão dos Descobrimentos along the Tagus River. It is a monument on the northern bank of the Tagus river. It is located along the river and the monument celebrates the Portuguese Age of Discovery (or “Age of Exploration”) during the 15th and 16th centuries. It is quite an amazing structure to see.
- Fado music
On one of our evenings out in Lisbon, we attended a restaurant that was a place that had a Fado band playing. The music was truly mesmerizing and while we were served our dinner, we were all silent and in awe of the beautiful sound of the guitar and singing. It’s definitely worth it to find a restaurant that plays this music.
- Streets of Lisbon
While we didn’t have a lot of time to wander around Lisbon, the time I did spend was like being back in Prague. The wonderful little stores and cafes with the feel of an old European city has such an appeal to me. I loved just walking around, enjoying window shopping, and listening to the people talk. I miss living in Europe – it’s definitely a better way of life in my opinion.