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Spain & Morocco

Get ready for a whirlwind adventure spanning seven cities, two countries, two continents, and miles of the Mediterranean. From the impressive paintings of Madrid’s Prado, to the ornate tiles of Granada’s Alhambra palace, to Morocco’s bustling bazaars, these cities are filled with colors as rich and diverse as the history behind them. 





Let’s get the paperwork out of the way so we can focus on the fun stuff. Your passport must:

·       be valid for at least six months after your return.

·       match your name and birthday on file with EF.

·       have three blank pages available.

Non-US citizens may require a visa—visit to see if you need one.

Traveler tip: Make two photocopies of your passport - one to bring with you and one to leave at home.

Not to sound cliché, but we can’t say this enough: pack light! Check with your airline to see what size bags they allow to avoid paying any fees.

Most travelers find it easiest to go without checking bag. Here are some tips for getting as much as possible into that carry-on suitcase:

  • Wear your bulkiest shoes on the plane and pack the lighter ones. Same thing goes for jackets and heavier clothing.

  • Packing cubes or vacuum seal bags can save space and help you stay organized.

  • Make the most of your personal item by using a tote bag or backpack that you can reuse throughout the trip.

  • Roll your clothes instead of folding them. Pack the bigger items first and use smaller items like socks and underwear to fill in the gaps.

Traveler tip: You'll be traveling by train and ferry on this itinerary, where very limited luggage space is available. With that in mind, we highly recommend a carryon for your travels.  

To see a full packing list, check out our Pocket Guide to Expert Travel. Just make sure you don’t forget these: 

  • Passport—bring a photo copy and leave one at home too

  • Visa (if applicable)

  • ATM card and credit card

  • Entertainment for the plane and travel days

  • Purse or small day bag with a zipper 

  • Converter/adapter for any electronics

  • Toiletries

  • Washcloth—optional, but they aren’t always available

  • Medications and a copy of any prescriptions*

  • Comfortable, casual clothingcheck the weather before you pack!

  • Dressier outfit

  • Raincoat and umbrella

  • Reusable water bottle

  • Comfortable walking shoes—for example, one pair of sneakers and one pair of sandals

  • Warm layers

  • A scarf or shawl - required when entering religious sites. Women will need to cover their head and shoulders when entering Muslim sites.

  • EF's emergency numbers

    • ​Calling from within the US: 1-800-873-2250

    • Calling from abroad: 001-617-619-2913

*All medications should be in their original containers. Put medications in your carry-on bag only, in case a checked bag gets lost or delayed.

Traveler tip: Morocco is a conservative, religious country; it is recommended to dress modestly when visiting. It can also be extremely hot depending on the time of year. Pack pants/skirts and shirts in lightweight fabrics (like linen and cotton), as well as a couple of warm layers for the early mornings and evenings.

The best things in the world are free (like snapping the perfect photo in front of the blue walls of Chefchaouen). Still, a little spending money can go a long way while you're abroad:

  • Mo' money, less problems: Budget $40 to $60 per day for pocket money. This will cover lunch each day, three dinners, souvenirs, and additional activities. If you’re an especially avid souvenir hunter, you’ll want to give yourself more wiggle room—financially and in your suitcase.

  • Currency: Euro (Spain) and Dirham (Morocco). You can order some Euro before you leave, but we recommend withdrawing cash from an ATM when you arrive in Spain. The Dirham is a closed currency, meaning you can only exchange USD to Dirham once you arrive in Morocco. You can exchange money conveniently at local Moroccan banks or at most hotels; your Field Director will be sure to save time for this upon arrival in Morocco. The exchange rate is typically fixed so you won't pay high commissions on the exchange.

  • Tips for tipping: We suggest $6-$8 per day for your Field Director. Your Group Leader will likely collect this money before you depart so that you can budget accordingly.

P.S. Be sure to let your bank know you’ll be traveling so they can put an alert on your account and inform you of any international fees.

Imagine it: you’ve finally arrived. It’s been a few hours since you left home, but your feet are firmly planted on the ground again. Today’s challenge? Fight off jetlag and make the most of the day.

Unless you arrive at night, be prepared to hit the ground running. Staying awake on arrival day is the best way to fight jet lag and adjust to any time difference. If there are other groups on your program, you may wait at the airport for them to arrive. To make things a bit easier:

  • Pack toiletries and a change of clothes in your carry-on for when you land.

  • Stay hydrated—it helps reduce jetlag.

  • Travel in comfort, not necessarily in style, and get as much sleep as you can on the flight before.

Your dedicated Field Director—a physical and cultural guide—will be with you throughout your program. Our Field Directors work tirelessly behind the scenes to coordinate logistics like managing reservations and making sure everything flows seamlessly, so that you can enjoy your time without sweating the details. They are there to acquaint you with each new city and make sure everyone is safe, confident, and making the most of every moment.

You’ll spend very little time at your hotel (mostly catching some sleep), but you should still be aware of where you’re staying and who you’re staying there with.

  • Hotel du jour: Country-hopping means hotel -hopping, but don't worry; each hotel is safe, clean, comfortable, and equipped with private bathrooms. Hotels are typically 30 to 45 minutes from the city center via public transit or bus, which comes in handy if you want to check out different areas and blend in with the locals.

  • What to expect: Hotels abroad may feature smaller rooms than you’re used to and may not have air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, television, or elevators. All the more reason to get out and explore.

  • Roomies: Unless you have opted to upgrade your room, standard accommodations mean you’ll be rooming with two or three other people of the same gender, each with your own bed.  You may even take part in an exchange program—that is, rooming with a traveler(s) from another school in your group.

Traveler tip: Electrical outlets in different countries may be different from the ones we're used to. Make sure you research what type of converter and/or adapter is needed for your travels! 

You should expect food and portion size to be different than what you're accustomed to at home. Kick off each day with an included continental breakfast. Seven dinners will be included, too. We work with local restaurants to provide a pre-set menu that includes 2-3 course plated meals inspired by the region, giving you the opportunity to experience authentic dishes. Other dinners and lunches are your opportunity to explore the cuisine as you see fit.

In Spain, eating a meal is a true experience of the senses; take time to sample different tapas and understand Spaniards’ pride in their unique dishes and sustainable food practices. Moroccan cuisine is warm and flavorful, and reflects the melting pot of cultures that have influenced its history and culinary traditions alike.

  • In Spain, you can find fresh seafood, bread baked daily, locally made cheese and olive oil, and cured meats like chorizo and jamón ibérico.

  • Tapas, small plates made for sharing, are common in most Spanish cities and are a great way to try lots of different dishes at once.

  • In Morocco, most dining takes place seated on a floor mat around a low table. Mint tea is almost always available and is popular with locals.

  • Try a chicken or kefta tagine for an authentic Moroccan meal. Tagine refers to the clay cooking pot used to prepare a variety of Moroccan dishes.

  • Travelers from the US should not drink the local water in Morocco. Be cautious of fresh fruits vegetables, which may have been washed in tap water, and drinks containing ice. Filtered water is available in restaurants and is inexpensive to purchase. 

Since teleportation hasn’t been invented yet, you’ll need these to get from point A to point B (and C and D and E).

  • Flights: Overnight to Madrid and home from Casablanca.

  • Bus: Main mode of transportation on the ground.

  • Public transportation: Public transportation passes are included in Madrid and will be the main mode of transportation for included activities and exploration time.

  • Train: From Madrid to Granada.

  • Ferry: From Gibraltar to Tangier.

  • Walking: Hands down the best way to explore a new city. Be ready to walk a ton (we're talking 5-7 miles per day) to see as much as possible.

Traveler tip: You will be spending quite a bit of time in transit during this program. Be sure to pack books or other entertainment as well as Dramamine if you are prone to motion sickness.

You will explore five cities in eleven days, so this program will feel fast! In order to maximize your time each day, you will leave the hotel bright and early and return some time in the evening (or later if you’re feeling adventurous). Most days will be a combination of planned activities and exploration time with some days being busier than others. You'll have a mix of time on the bus, public transportation, ferry, train and walking to get around. Be prepared to walk between 5-7 miles per day.

You'll spend 1-2 nights in each hotel before moving on to the next, meaning there’s no time to waste! Transfer days can mean long bus rides where you can rest and recharge. Just be ready to hit the ground running in each new place.

Traveler tip: Arrival day will feel like the longest day on your program, we recommend sleeping on the plane as much as possible to be ready to hit the ground running.

Exploration time can vary depending on a few factors: the number of planned activities, whether or not your group has decided to add any optional excursions, and general travel variables like traffic. How you spend your exploration time is entirely up to you. You could sit in a café and people-watch, grab a few friends and discover a new part of the city, or do some souvenir shopping. On busier days, you might just have enough exploration time for a quick lunch.

Here is a rough breakdown of exploration time on your itinerary:

  • Madrid: Half day

  • Granada: Half day

There is so much to see and do, so do some research and plan ahead. If you need inspiration, here are our exploration time suggestions:

  • Spend time in Parque Retiro in Madrid

  • Explore the Malasaña district of Madrid, a student-friendly area with cafes, art stores, and vintage shops

  • Sip tea in a tetería or shop for souvenirs in the markets along Granada’s Calle Elvira

Do learn common words and phrases:

  • Hola = Hello

  • Buenos dias = Good morning

  • Buenas tardes = Good afternoon

  • Buenas noches = Good night

  • Gracias = Thank you

Spanish people live life to the fullest, while maintaining a slow pace of life. Particularly outside the major cities, expect long, drawn out dinners full of good conversation and food. When wandering through Spain, you’ll notice friends gathering at cafes in mid-morning, families spending time outside, and a long siesta in the afternoon.

Embrace the siesta lifestyle! Also, be aware that, in most cities, it can be difficult to find open restaurants during siesta, usually between the hours of 12-3pm. 

Don’t go to a restaurant if you don’t have plenty of time. Unlike the US, there is less of a focus on fast and immediate service. Eating out is an experience, so be prepared to be patient. 

Be aware of pickpockets in high traffic tourist spots. Always keep your belongings on you person and tucked away safely in a secure bag. 

Meal times in Spain are different than what you may be used to in the US. Lunch is later in the day, usually between 12-2 PM and dinner is much later, between 9-11 PM. Due to this, everything stays open later.   

99% of Morocco’s population identifies as Sunni Muslim. Their strong faith and religious traditions can be felt in everything from their family-oriented values to their friendly, hospitable warmth toward visitors.

Gestures like waving should be made with the right hand. The left hand is associated with less “pure” activities like cleaning and using the bathroom.

Women frequently experience catcalling in Morocco. We recommend that you ignore these calls and keep walking. Blonde women might experience additional attention like staring and questions since blonde hair is not common in Morocco.

Consensual same-sex sexual relations (including kissing and holding hands) are criminalized in Morocco.

If you are not Muslim, you will be prohibited from entering Mosques and should not peer into the windows of a Mosque.

Do not take pictures of locals (especially women) without asking permission first. Some locals might expect payment in return for a photo. Taking pictures of royal palaces, guards, and police, as well as most Mosques, is not allowed at all.

Locals including young children might approach you offering goods or services like tour guiding. You should politely decline these offers up front, otherwise you might be led to a family’s shop and expected to pay for the tour or make a purchase.

In general, Moroccans are extremely friendly and eager to meet visitors. A great way to connect with locals is over a cup of hot mint tea which will probably be offered to you more than a few times.

Traveler tip: Haggling in the souks (markets) is common and even expected. Try starting the bargaining at 1/3 or 1/2 the initial asking price and see if you can get a good deal!

We’re here to help

Our team has heard it all so don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions. Call us at 877-485-4184 between Monday and Friday, 9:00am-5:30pm EST.