Explore the classical cities, Casablanca, Rabat, Fez , Meknes and Marrakech, well-known for their Islamic architecture, historical monuments and vibrant souks.
Salaam Alaikum! Welcome to Morocco, and the great city of Casablanca, the perfect place to acclimatize to the culture. Your adventure begins today with a welcome meeting at the airport, if you arrive with time to spare, then perhaps visit the art deco Villa des Arts, this gorgeous gallery dates back to the 1930s and holds numerous exhibitions of contemporary Moroccan and international art. If you are looking for a different type of cultural experience, then you can discover a unique and fascinating part of Moroccan history at the Museum of Judaism. After lunch and refreshments, you will visit the magnificent Hassan II Mosque and understand why this is considered the ‘diamond’ of the city. Completed in 1993, this architectural masterpiece has a retractable roof, and heated glass floors that look over the Atlantic Ocean, and is one of the most impressive religious monuments in the world. Hassan II Mosque can accommodate 25,000 worshippers and is one of the only religious sites open to non-Muslims. Dinner of Welcome and Overnight at your Hotel / Villa in Casablanca.
After Breakfast, drive for 1.5-hour to the capital of Rabat. Rabat’s history is long and colorful, having been host to Roman settlements, pirates, and more recently the Moroccan parliament. It contains numerous fine Arab monuments, some dating from the 10th to 15th century Almohad and Merenid dynasties, and others that are far older. After a short orientation walk, you will have some free time to discover the city. Start your visit with a walk through the Medina and Souks, then explore the lovely walled quarter known as the Kasbah des Oudaias and enjoy an included local drink. Afterward, continue the walk to visit Mohamed the 5th Mausoleum and the vast minaret of the Hassan Mosque. In the afternoon, travel to Meknes (approximately 2 hours), the former capital of Morocco, enjoy a guided tour of Meknes, and discover the charming streets of the old medina. From the northern gate of Bab Berdaine, walk to the shrine of Moulay Ismail (closed for renovation) – who turned Meknes from a provincial town to an imperial city in the 17th century – then explore the elaborately decorated public buildings hidden in these winding streets, including the granary of Mouly Ismail and the old souk. Next, drive to the nearby archaeological site of Volubilis, the remains of which make an undeniably impressive sight as they come into view on the edge of a long, high plateau. Enjoy a tour of the ancient hilltop ruins with a local guide, and discover the town’s fantastic mosaics along the Decumanus Maximus, many of which remain intact. Afterward, continue to the imperial city of Fez, where you’ll spend the night at your authentic Riad in the old Medina.
Today you will discover the city of Fes, the spiritual and cultural heart of Morocco – vibrant, noisy, fascinating, and overwhelming – a visual and pungent feast for the senses. Head into the old city, known locally as Fes el Bali, arguably the world’s most fascinating and confounding old city. Medieval Fes was one of the world’s great centers of education and culture, both Islamic and Jewish. Its religious institutions and libraries are legendary, its mosques of great renown. Walk along the twisting streets and alleyways, passing donkeys piled high with goods, and explore the specialty sections that divide the souk. Filled with historic khans, madrassas, and dye pits, stalls loaded with fruits, herbs, and soups, and where the squawk of chickens, the smell of spice, and the sound of hammering of copper fill the air, it’s not hard to imagine yourself back in the Middle Ages. Spend the day exploring the old city, visiting Medersa el Attarine, the tanneries, and the splendid Fondouk Nejjarine, a beautifully restored 18th-century inn. Dinner and overnight in the old Medina.
Today, leave the intensity of the city behind for the simplicity of the High Atlas Mountains. Drive south, inland through a variety of spectacular scenery – fertile valleys, cedar, pine forests, and barren, rocky landscapes – to the small town of Midelt (approximately 3.5 hours). Midelt is a market town, originally built as a base for mining in the area, and is nestled between the Atlas and Anti-Atlas Mountains at an elevation of just over 1500 meters. It’s a perfect spot to break up the journey to the Sahara. After lunch, drive through changing scenery, from barren mountainsides to fertile valleys, on the journey to Merzouga. With a backdrop of the orange-colored Erg Chebbi sand dunes, the charming Saharan village of Merzouga feels wonderfully isolated, like the modern world has left it behind. The Erg Chebbi dunes are the most stunning in the country and an essential part of any visit to Morocco. An erg is a vast sea of shifting wind-swept sand that’s formed into picturesque, undulating crests and valleys. The Erg Chebbi is one of the world’s iconic landscapes, with towering dunes up to 150 meters in height. Located at the end of a sealed road and just 20 kilometers from the Algerian border this really feels like a frontier country.
You will leave your gear at your overnight camp set and then ride camels into the edge of the Sahara Desert, enjoying a spectacular sunset along the way. The dunes are stunning, especially as the evening light plays across them and set off the colors. Tonight you will camp out in traditional style, with the chance to try some fantastic local cuisine while you sit around an open fire, enjoying live music and dancing under the stars.
Walk up the nearest dune for a spectacular sunrise over the Sahara, break your fast with traditional food, and begin the drive to Todra Gorge. On the way visit the old market of Sijilmassa, before continuing on to the beautiful Todra Valley, which follows the foothills of the Atlas Mountains and is dotted with mud-brick villages perched on hillsides. The remarkable scenery – sprawling green valleys and rocks sculpted into stunning formations by the wind. From here continue your journey through Tinghir to Dades valley – will be your home for tonight.
Breakfast at the accommodation. From Dades valley, travel along the ‘Road of 1,000 Kasbahs’ and enjoy the scenic views of Roses Valley, and Skoura Plam’s grove, home to the beautiful little houses rising like a mirage beyond a dry riverbed. After your visit to the Taourirte Kasbah and Atlas Studio Cinema in Ouarzazate, you will continue to the medieval mud-brick town of Ait Benhaddou Kasbah in Morocco, it is a famous house of the Glaoui’s family and UNESCO historical matrimonial listed. Perched on a hilltop and almost unchanged since the 11th century, Ait Benhaddou is one of Morocco’s most iconic sites. If you think you recognize the place, you probably do, as the town has a long list of film and TV credits, including Lawrence of Arabia, Game of Thrones, and Gladiator. Enjoy a walk through the winding streets of the old town, making your way to the top of the hill, from where you can enjoy the views across the surrounding plains. From here drive through the winding roads of the Atlas, bound for Marrakech, an ancient, exotic city wrapped in European modernity. There’s no rush as the scenery through the High Atlas Mountain passes is magnificent, and there will surely be calls for several photo stops along the way. After checking in to your hotel, you might like to head to the great square of Jemaa el Fna, one of the largest public spaces in the world and unique to Marrakech. When night falls it transforms into a hive of activity. Henna painters, performers, and storytellers share the square with a street food bazaar, packed with stalls loaded with Moroccan delicacies. Perhaps finish your day with a cup of mint tea on one of the roof-top restaurants overlooking the square. Overnight at your Riad in the Red city of Marrakech.
After breakfast, today, meet your local guide and set off on a morning tour of the old medina, through the bustling souks that are the lifeblood flowing through the city. Explore tranquil courtyards filled with the scent of orange blossom, and the many salons and chambers that makeup Bahia Palace. This splendid mansion was built in 1866 for a former slave who rose to power within the government. Stop by the Koutoubia Mosque, its famous minaret is the prototype for others of its kind around the world, including La Giralda in Seville. Then walk back through the streets of the old medina to the Jemaa el Fna to enjoy a refreshing glass of fresh orange juice. The rest of the day is dedicated to exploring the tropical gardens of the French painter Jacques Majorelle and checking out the ruins of the Palais Badi, once one of the most beautiful palaces in the world. Dinner & overnight in Marrakech.
After Breakfast at the accommodation, head west to the coastal town of Essaouira (approximately 5 hours). The name Essaouira means image, which is appropriate since it’s such a picturesque town. Its charm is undeniable; within the stone ramparts, you’ll find whitewashed houses with bright blue shutters, art galleries, and wood workshops. Today, join a local guide for a walking tour through the old medina, Jewish Mellah, port, and Skala (sea wall). Afterward, enjoy free time for the rest of the day. Maybe grab a freshly-cooked plate of the day’s catch at the port, or browse the plentiful shops and intriguing art galleries.
In the afternoon, we will drive back to the red city of Marrakech. If you’d prefer to relax, don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in a hammam or local-style bath. Dinner & overnight in Marrakech.
A direct transfer to the airport in Marrakech or Casablanca, to do your check-in and registration in a good time for taking your flight home with a good experience and best memories about Morocco.