The capital of Portugal since its conquest from the Moors in 1147, Lisbon is a legendary city with over 20 centuries of history. Spreading out along the right bank of the Taugus, its downtown, the Baixa, is located in the 18th century area around Rossio. The Alfama, one of the oldest quarters in Lisbon, still retains much of its original layout since it largely survived the earthquake of 1755.
The city of Portimao, the beach resort Praia da Rocha, and the nature reserve Ria de Alvor are the most well known places of an Algarve region quite unique in its diversity. Summertime is clearly the busiest time of the year, reaching a climax with the popular annual sardine festival in August, but the mild climate of the Algarve, and many sunny winter days attract a multinational crowd in all seasons. Explore the countless shopping opportunities, visit historical sites, strolling along the river boulevard or just sipping a drink in a garden bar. Warm sea waters and gorgeous rock formations make the beaches particularly alluring.
Just a hop across the Straits from Spain, Morocco is another world: an Islamic world, intoxicating and intense. In Tangier’s old town, you’ll find a medina (marketplace) filled with carpets, spices, copper, and merchants who expect you to bargain hard. The old world of bazaars is still intact in the form of the Grand Sacco with its makeshift shops, snake charmers, musicians and storytellers. Take time out for a Morrocan specialty, mint tea, in a tea shop along the Petit Soco. Or visit the Kasbah with its palace and mysterious charm.
Tangier was the real model for the famous film 'Casablanca' with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. It still retains its faded mongrel charm - not entirely Moroccan, European or African, but a heady mix of all three. Visit the white-walled Kasbah and the Sultan's Garden with its fountain, fragrant herbs & shrubs, and orange & lemon trees. At the end of the day there's always that erotic Moroccan liquid light that French painter Delacroix painted again and again.
Gibraltar is a British overseas territory located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance of the Mediterranean. It has an area of 2.6 sq miles and a northern border with Andalusia, Spain. The Rock of Gibraltar is the major landmark of the region. At its foot is the densely populated city area, home to almost 30,000 Gibraltarians and other nationalities.
Looming like some great ship off southern Spain, Gibraltar is a fascinating compound of curiosities. Despite bobbies on the beat, red post boxes and other reminders of 1960s England, Gibraltar is actually a cultural cocktail with Genoese, Spanish, North African and other elements which have made it fantastically prosperous. Naturally, the main sight is the awesome Rock; a vast limestone ridge that rises to 1,400 feet, with sheer cliffs on its northern and eastern sides. For the ancient Greeks and Romans the two great rocks marked the edge of the ancient world. Gibraltar’s location and highly defensible nature have attracted the covetous gaze of military strategists ever since.
The town of Motril is located in Andalucia on the Costa Tropical. Nestling at the foothills of the Sierra Lujar mountains, Motril lies at the heart of one of the most lush and productive agricultural areas of Spain. The town's coastal strip includes two main beaches - the busier being Playa Poniente, which is well served with tourist facilities, and the quieter Playa Granada. There are also many sheltered coves, rocky inlets and impressive cliff faces along this stretch of coastline, making it popular with divers, snorkelers and sailors.
Majorca, Spain (return)
Majorca is most famous for its beaches & resorts. It has towering mountains in the northeast, beautiful caves in the east, a picturesque coastline, and quaint villages. The port of Majorca is one of the most important in the Mediterranean. Majorca's principal city, Palma, features a gothic cathedral, a 14th century Bellver Castle which offers a great panorama of the area, the ancient "Lonja" or market area, the Archbishops Palace and the Monastary of Saint Francis.