They say great things happen in threes. This certainly seems to be the case with the combination of Spain, Portugal and Morocco which is taking South African travellers by storm this year.
Not only do these three countries boast favourable weather outside of the summer months, they are also continuously featured in lists of affordable places to visit.
This year, this combination has become the top-selling holiday in South Africa, says Trafalgar South Africa MD Theresa Szejwallo. “So much so, that we’ve introduced an Early Payment Discount of 7.5% on the full land package price before 24 August. Bookings open on 12 May.
“We start in Spain, travelling southwards from Madrid, through Granada and the gateway to the Costa del Sol. From there, travellers head into Morocco to explore the vibrant city of Marrakech, as well as Fez and Casablanca. Once they’ve crossed the Straits of Gibralta back into Spain, they will feast their curiosity in the gorgeous city of Seville. From there, Portugal awaits. My favourite thing is to hop on a tram to discover Lisbon – the ‘San Francisco of Europe’.”
Voted as Trafalgar’s Travel Director of the year for 2017, we asked Jason Simpson to give us five of his favourite things to experience on this trip:
- Tapas in Madrid: Trafalgar knows that you can’t go to Spain and not experience tapas. Its great for hardcore (and indecisive) food lovers who like to try a bit of everything. Tip: wash down with a generous splash of sangria.
- Get lost in a Medina: The best way explore Marrakech is to wander through its alley ways, souks and ancient streets. Keep the camera ready as you will be sure to stumble across an array of instagram-worthy sights.
- Take home a Tagine: Tagines in Morocco are a must. These hearty dishes are named after the earthenware pots in which they are cooked. Buy a pot to take home to impress your friends at your next braai.
- Flamenco in Seville: After a walk through Plaza de España, spend the evening at a Flamenco show. Not only will it have your feet tapping, but that fiery Catalan energy and passion is something you cannot miss.
- Lisbon trams: Why walk when you can tram? An efficient and affordable way to explore Lisbon like a true local is to board the number 28, which is the longest tram route and passes through the city’s finest districts.
A rand guarantee and guaranteed departures with Trafalgar means South African travellers can embark on a holiday to Spain, Portugal and Morocco no matter what the rand is doing.
Here is why these destinations will tickle your senses:
- Stand in the Centre of Spain
The Puerta del Sol (Gate of the Sun) plaza in Madrid is the physical centre of the country. It is even marked as ‘0 km’ on the Spanish radial road network.
- The Twelve Grapes at Midnight
The Spanish are known to celebrate the New Year by eating a total of 12 grapes at midnight (hence the name). Apparently, this custom was originally popularised by Spanish vine growers as a way to sell their excess grapes.
- Keep Right, Not Left
When eating In Morocco, it is considered impolite to handle food with the left hand. It may only be used for picking up bread or passing dishes to other people.
- With Your Liver on Your Sleeve
Another quirky fact about Morocco is that it is the liver, not the heart, that is considered the location of true love. In Berber culture, the liver is most important as it promotes health and wellbeing.
- Shaken not Stirred
The real Casino Royale of the James Bond series is located in Cascais, Portugal. During WWII, author Ian Fleming spent a considerable amount of time there and it served as inspiration for the novel. On that note, Lisbon also runs the largest casino in Europe, called Casino do Estoril.