Morocco & Andalucia:
Islamic Gardens and Architecture
Co-sponsored by Pacific Horticulture Society and
The San Diego Horticultural Society
Escorted by Katherine Greenberg

April 4-15, 2013   This tour is sold out, to join the
waiting list, click

Come with us to discover the splendid Islamic gardens and
architecture of Morocco and Andalucia. Our tour will take us
from the Imperial Cities of Marrakech, Fez, and Meknes to
Tangier and across the Straits of Gibraltar to the Moorish
Kingdoms of Granada, Cordoba, and Seville. We will explore
some of the ancient medinas and fabulous palaces that have
enchanted travelers for centuries. We also have invitations to
visit exceptional private homes and gardens. Along the way,
we will enjoy regional cuisine in private homes and acclaimed
restaurants, while staying in traditional hotels in the heart of
the old cities.   Join us for an amazing adventure!                                                   
Photo by Jeffrey Bale

April 4, Thursday:  Fly to Marrakech, Morocco

April 5, Friday:  Marrakech   
Independent arrivals into Marrakech airport, with private transfers to our hotel, Jardins de
la Medina, located in the medina of Marrakech. Transfers may also be arranged, at cost, from the Casablanca airport.
In the late afternoon we will meet our Moroccan guide and depart for the famed Hotel La Mamounia, where we have a
special invitation to enjoy a cocktail and have a tour of its legendary gardens. From there we will visit the vibrant heart
of the city, Jemaa el Fna Square, on our way to a welcome dinner of Moroccan specialties. (D)

April 6, Saturday:  Marrakech Our day begins with a presentation on
the history of the city by the Koutoubia minaret, the symbol of
Marrakech and a “reference” of world Islamic art. It was built under
the Almohad Berber dynasty on the site of the city’s 11th century
foundations. The minaret is the “sister” to the Giralda tower in Seville,
also from the 11th century. From here we will visit Bahia Palace, a
classic example of Moorish-Andalusian art, where the transition from
tradition to modernity in Moroccan architecture at the turn of the 19th
century can be seen. Time allowing, we may also visit the Saadian
Tombs, the last window into the splendor of early 17th century
Moroccan interior art. After a seafood lunch in the new city, we will
enjoy a walk through the spectacular Majorelle garden, designed in
the 1920s by the French painter Jacques Majorelle. The garden
meticulously restored by the late Yves St. Laurent, and the home is now the Museum of Moroccan Arts, with items from
YSL’s own collection. We have a free evening to enjoy dinner in one of the city’s excellent restaurants. (B, L)

April 7, Sunday:  Marrakech This morning we explore Marrakech’s bazaars, the largest in Morocco. We begin by
walking through the residential quarters of the old city, with their traditional public bakeries and baths, to see the Ben
Youssef Medersa, a 15th century theological school that has recently been restored. Then we visit the Museum of
Marrakech, with its eclectic collection of crafts and contemporary arts, housed in a former palace. As we walk through
the narrow alleyways of the medina, we will pass stalls displaying an astonishing variety of Moroccan arts and crafts.
There will be free time for lunch, and an afternoon excursion will take us toward the High Atlas Mountains and the
Ourika Valley, where the orchards and Berber villages are enclosed by dramatic red cliffs. We will visit the Jardin Bio-
Aromatique, a garden with over 50 species of aromatic and medicinal plants native to Morocco, and learn about their
traditional uses. This evening we are invited to dinner in a lovely private residence amid the palm groves of Marrakech.
(B, D)

April 8, Monday:  Marrakech – Fez   Today we drive to Fez, Morocco’s oldest
Imperial City, crossing the Tadla Plains, one of the Kingdom’s prime “bread
baskets”. We continue through small villages to the Middle Atlas range,
where we will stop at the last natural forest of Moroccan cedars, Cedrus
atlantica ‘Glauca’, and see a band of the indigenous Barbary macaques.
After passing Ifrane, a mountain station and site of Africa’s most prestigious
university, we descend toward Fez, with an early evening arrival. We will stop
for lunch in Zayane at the Berber center Khenifra. Later we will check into the
famed Palais Jamaï, one of the country’s finest hotels. The hotel was built
upon a former vizier’s palace and features lovely terraced gardens and
views of the medina. Dinner awaits in the elegant Moroccan Room of the
hotel’s original palace wing. (B, L, D)

April 9:  Fez  Today we explore Fez, a World Heritage site that is considered the last true example of a typical medieval
Arab city. We begin in “old” Fez, which dates from the 9th century, following its labyrinthine alleys to the Attarine
Medersa, the highest artistic achievement of the 14th century Merinid Dynasty. We will visit the mausoleum of Idriss II,
the picturesque leather tannery, and the restored 17th century Nejjarine caravanserai. We will also explore the busy
ateliers and markets around the world’s oldest functioning university, the Qarawine. After a lunch of local specialties in
the medina, we will continue to the 15th century “new” Fez, with its Boujeloud “Blue” Gate and the Bou Inania Medersa,
another jewel of the Merinids. We will also visit workshops for making pottery and tile mosaics, a specialty of Fez. We
have a free evening or an optional dinner at the Maison Bleue, one of Morocco’s most esteemed traditional
restaurants. (B, L)

April 10:  Fez – Meknes – Tangier    This morning we drive to the
Imperial City of Meknes to see its astounding 17th century
granary, a World Heritage site. Then we continue to Tangier,
formerly an international city on the Straits of Gibraltar, with a
span of 9 miles separating Morocco from Spain. We arrive in
Tangier in time for lunch and then enter the Kasbah for a tour of
the American Legion Museum with its director. The museum first
came into U.S. hands as a gift from the Sultan, and is the only
monument outside U.S. territories registered as a National
Historic Landmark. Hidden in the maze of the Kasbah, the
museum showcases everything related to the city, including
paintings and crafts. We will check into El Minzah Hotel, ideally                                      
located in the center of the city, above the Kasbah and port of       
Tangier.  This evening we are invited for cocktails and dinner in a                                                
photo by Jeffrey Bale
private hillside villa with an exotic garden developed over the last 30 years by its owner. (B, L, D)           

April 11, Thursday:  Tangier – Granada This morning a fast boat will take us across the Straits of Gibraltar to Tarifa,
following the route of the Moors, who crossed the Straits in 711 to conquer the Iberian Peninsula. We will meet our
Spanish guide and stop for lunch along the beautiful Costa del Sol. Then we will continue to Granada and check into
the Hotel Alhambra Palace, an elegant hotel near the Alhambra Palace with views of the city and the Sierra Nevada
Mountains. Dinner tonight is in the elegant hotel restaurant, followed by a special guided visit to visit the palaces of the
Alhambra. Seeing the architectural details of the palaces and patios illuminated at night is a memorable experience.  

April 12, Friday:  Granada We will depart this morning on foot to visit the
Alhambra and the Generalife with our excellent local guide, who will give
us an insider’s view of these beautiful palaces and gardens. We are
invited for a tapas lunch at the private Rodriguez-Acosta Foundation,
with its amazing architecture and terraced gardens overlooking the Sierra
Nevada Mountains. The complex was created in the early 20th century by
painter Jose Maria Rodriguez-Acosta to house his studio and art
collection. The director, Mrs. Cristina Rodriguez-Acosta, will welcome
us and show us the art collection of the Foundation’s Manuel Gomez
Moreno Museum. After lunch we will visit two significant private gardens
in the Albaicin Quarter overlooking the Alhambra. From there we go to the
Royal Chapel, the burial place of the Catholic Kings Isabella and
Ferdinand, that houses part of Isabella’s personal art collection. A free
evening follows for dinner on your own or perhaps a flamenco performance. (B,D)

April 13, Saturday:  Granada – Cordoba – Palma del Rio – Seville  This
morning we depart by coach for a scenic drive through a landscape of
silver-green olive groves to Cordoba, passing picturesque castles and
hill towns en route. In Cordoba, we will visit the magnificent 8th century
Mosque. Its orange tree court is considered to be the oldest garden in
Europe. The mosque was expanded over several centuries and
eventually converted into a cathedral in the 15th century. We will also
visit the Alcazar de los Reyes Catolicos, which retains attractive Moorish
patios and terraced gardens. Then we will stroll through the Juderia, the
old Jewish quarter, to see its charming patios and visit the only remaining
synagogue in the city. We will enjoy a tapas lunch at El Churrasco Restaurant, once a private home with interior patios
in the old quarter, and then depart for Seville. On the way we will visit Islamic-influenced private gardens in the village
of Palma del Rio. On arrival in Seville, we check into the Casa Romana Hotel. A free evening to enjoy un paseo en
Sevilla, stopping for tapas or dinner in one of Seville’s excellent restaurants. (B, L)

April 14, Sunday:  Seville  In the morning, we will walk to the Alcazar to see its lovely gardens, patios, and spectacular
architecture. This fortress was begun in the 8th century by Spanish Islamic rulers. In the 11th century, the Abassid
kings added a royal palace. The Alcazar became the residence of the Christian kings of Castile after the conquest of
Seville by the Christians in 1248. Our guide has written a book of “tales” of the Alcazar, and he will give us his insights
into the fascinating history of this amazing palace. Then we will enjoy a walk through the Barrio de Santa Cruz, the old
Jewish quarter with lovely flower-filled patios, and visit the Cathedral of Seville. It is the largest Gothic cathedral in the
world and a museum in itself, with paintings by Goya and other Spanish artists.
Our lunch today is in the charming Corral del Agua, originally a private home in the old quarter. After an afternoon
carriage ride through Maria Luisa Park, we will visit the Casa de Pilatos, private home and foundation of the Duchess
of Medinaceli. This extraordinary palace has beautiful gardens and courtyards featuring magnificent tiles and
architectural details. Tonight our farewell dinner will be in the private home of the Italian Consuls in Seville, Jose
Carlos and Celia Ruiz-Berdejo y Sigurta, in the Santa Cruz quarter, where we will also enjoy Spanish guitar music and
a representation of the opera Carmen. (B, L, D)

April 15, Monday:  Seville – USA Individual departures for return flights to the USA.  

Guides: Arrangements have been made for two private guides to accompany our group, one for Morocco and one for
Spain, and both with expertise in Islamic gardens, architecture, and culture. Local experts will join the tour from time to
time to enhance our experience, and Katherine Greenberg will escort the group throughout the tour.
Tour Escort:
Katherine Greenberg is a garden designer from California with a special interest in Mediterranean
gardens and culture. She is a past president of Pacific Horticulture Society, the Mediterranean Garden Society, and the
Friends of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden. Katherine studied Spanish history at the University of Madrid, and she
has led a number of tours to Spain and Morocco with a focus on gardens, culture, and cuisine. She is the author of
Growing California Native Plants, 2nd edition, published by UC Press in 2012, as well as several cook books. Her
father worked as an agricultural consultant in Morocco and Spain.

Hotels: All hotels have been selected for their location, amenities, and historical
interest. Hotel Les Jardins de la Medina, ideally located in the Kasbah of Marrakech,
features rooms that open to the gardens, a swimming pool, and a Moroccan
hammam. Palais Jamaï in Fez is a former palace just inside the walls of the old
city and one of Morocco’s most famous hotels. We will stay in deluxe rooms with
views of the medina. The hotel has lovely terraced gardens and a swimming pool
and spa. El Minzah is a traditional Moroccan hotel in the center of Tangier. The hotel
has been the meeting place for dignitaries and celebrities, and it has a central
courtyard, pool, and spa. Alhambra Palace Hotel, designed in the Moorish style
with authentic architectural details throughout, is a short walk from the Alhambra.
The hotel’s terrace and rooms have spectacular views of the mountains and the
city below. Casa Romana is a boutique hotel, formerly a private home with enclosed
patios, located in the heart in Seville near restaurants, the shopping district, the old
quarter, and the Plaza de Toros, one of the most beautiful in Spain. The hotel has
a roof-top terrace with a restaurant and pool.

Gardens and Architecture: We have special invitations to visit some of the most
exceptional gardens and palaces of Morocco and Andalucia. The hallmarks of
Islamic gardens and architecture include enclosed patios and pavilions, intricate
architectural details with geometric motifs, the integration of interior and exterior spaces,      
photo by Jeffrey Bale
cooling fountains and pools, exotic plants, lavish use of tiles, and a dazzling array of colors, patterns, and textures.
Cuisine: Moroccan and Andalusian cuisine is a unique blend of Berber, Arabic, and Spanish traditions. Spices are an
essential part of Moroccan cooking, used to enhance the flavors of meats and vegetables. Cumin, saffron, ginger,
turmeric, cloves, and cinnamon are the most commonly used spices. The national dish is tagine, made with lamb,
chicken or fish. According to the season, meals feature a selection of salads, soups, couscous or tagine, fragrant
bstilla, and delicate pastries served with mint tea. Andalusian cooking reflects Islamic influences, and local
specialties include an amazing selection of tapas, gazpacho, fresh seafood, grilled meats, and excellent wines.
Lunch is typically the main meal, and the evening may begin with tapas and a dinner of one or more dishes later in the

Shopping, Spa, or Cooking: Morocco and Spain are known for their outstanding arts and crafts, and there will be
limited time for shopping during the tour. Some guests may want to arrive a day or two before the tour to have more
time for shopping or to visit a spa.
A private shopping guide can be arranged in advance, and this is particularly recommended for Marrakech, where
there are numerous shops, a tradition of bargaining, and a confusing maze of narrow alleys. Cooking classes can be
arranged in Marrakech or Seville for those who are interested.

Physical Endurance Level: The tour includes a moderate amount of walking, and some of the places that we will be
visiting can only be seen on foot. Walking surfaces may be uneven, and comfortable shoes are recommended.

Based on a minimum of 15 paying guests: $7295.00 per person
Single supplement: $1298.00

 10 nights select accommodations, all rooms fully en suite
 All hotel taxes and service charges
 9 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners , 1 reception
 Deluxe private coaches and top drivers
 Boat from Tangier to Granada
 English speaking local guides in Morocco and Spain.
 All sightseeing and entrances as per the itinerary
 Deluxe portfolio of documents
 Escorted by Katherine Greenberg.
 Donation of $200 to Pacific Horticulture or San Diego Horticultural Society

 International Airfare
 Travel insurance
 Passports and Visas.
To make a reservation, please complete and submit either a printed booking form

Sterling Tours, Ltd            
2907 Shelter Island Drive Suite #105-262    
San Diego, CA 92106      Tel: 619 299-3010     800-976-9497
sterling tours, ltd