The Kingdom of Morocco has long held a romantic allure for the westerner. Since the 18th century some of Europe’s greatest writers and painters have sought inspiration here. Known to the Arabs as “al-Maghreb al-Aqsa” meaning the “farthest land of the setting sun,” Morocco boasts stunning natural beauty and an extraordinarily rich and varied cultural heritage.
In Casblanca, Morocco’s largest city, see the Hassan II Grand Mosque with its glass floor that extends over the sea. Tour historic Meknes, one of Morocco’s imperial cities. See the stunning mosaics in the Roman ruins of Volubilis.
In Fez, view the Kairaouine Mosque and shop at the many souks that line the streets of Old Town. Take a carriage ride and discover the gardens of Marrakesh.
From the sands of the Sahara to the Atlas Mountains, Morocco offers an infinite variety of landscapes.
Delve into this exotic country with visits to the imperial city of Meknes, the well-preserved Roman ruins of Volubilis, and the incredible sand dunes of the Erg Chebbi, some of the highest in the world.
Come with us to the casbahs, the medieval Medinas and the bustling souks on a 9-day Morocco tour. A diverse cultural kaleidoscope of Berber, European and Islamic influences, Morocco has a fascinating history and rich, exotic traditions that continue to shape life in the 21st century. From fabled Casablanca to the four Imperial cities of Rabat, Meknes, Fes and Marrakesh, ancient Morocco reveals its many faces, and present-day Morocco embraces the future on an incredible journey of discovery
In this magical land of legend and color, the souqs and thousand-year-old labyrinthine Medinas of fabled Marrakesh and Fez await your discovery. Cross the high passes of the Atlas Mountains, discover the magnificent scenery and crumbling casbahs of the pre-Sahara. Throughout your 9 day journey experience the warm hospitality of Moroccans at the small luxury character hotels featured in this program.
Day 1 – Welcome To Morocco
Casablanca is Morocco’s economic capital and the country’s chief port. Welcome cocktail reception and dinner this evening.
Day 2 – Casablanca & Rabat
Begin your exploration of Morocco’s economic center by viewing the United Nations Square and local Casablanca neighborhoods, then visit the Hassan II Mosque, one of the largest religious monuments in the world – and one of the few Moroccan mosques open to non-Muslims. Have a memorable Casablanca lunch at Rick’s Café – a re-creation of the mythical saloon owned by Humphrey Bogart’s character in the 1942 movie that helped to make this city synonymous with romance and intrigue. Then you’re off on a drive along the coast to the ancient city of Rabat; walk through the impressive fortress of the Oudaya Kasbah – whose walls date from 1195 – and the Andalucian gardens for a glimpse of Rabat past and present. This evening, you’ll enjoy fine à la carte dining at either a Moroccan or French restaurant… the choice is yours!
Day 3 – Rabat
A highlight of any Morocco tour, the lovely capital city of Rabat offers something intriguing at every turn. View the Royal Palace (Dar el Makhzen), a residence of King Mohamed VI, home to various government offices and approximately 2,000 inhabitants. During a walk through the Chellah Necropolis, take in the ruins of the ancient Roman town of Sala Colonia as well as the remains of a 13th-century mosque and an ancient royal burial complex. Visit the Mausoleum of Mohamed V, the father of Moroccan independence, and view the huge minaret of Hassan Mosque. After lunch at a Moroccan-style seafood restaurant with views of the Atlantic, enjoying time at leisure exploring Rabat as you please.
Day 4 – Imperial Cities & World Heritage Site
Continue your tour through the country’s “breadbasket” today, en route to Fes. Named for a Berber tribe that once inhabited the area, the Imperial city of Meknes was founded in the 10th century and served as the capital of Sultan Moulay Ismaïl in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Putting his subjects to work, he transformed Meknes into an extravagantly impressive walled city known for its babs, or gates, and its Spanish-Moorish style. Take a close-up look at the Heri es-Souani, the stables and granary built to house 12,000 horses, considered to be among the Sultan’s finest projects, and visit the Musee Dar Jamaï. Later, tour the fascinating archaeological site at Volubilis, exploring the best-preserved Roman ruins in this part of Northern Africa with a local guide. Extensive remains of a Roman town as well as remnants of an early medieval town have been unearthed at this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today’s final destination is the magnificent city of Fes.
Day 5 – Fascinating Fes
Fes is the oldest of Morocco’s four Imperial cities and the country’s spiritual and religious capital. Following a lecture on the role of women in Morocco by a noted university professor of women’s studies, your exploration of this impressive city includes the Fes el-Jadid, the “new” section of the city built by the Merenids in the 13th century. Here, you’ll tour the old Jewish quarter and see the impressive gates of the Dar el-Makhzen, the Royal Palace. Travel back in time in the Fes el-Bali, the ancient Medina, or walled city, of Fes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With its labyrinth of narrow, endlessly twisting streets bustling with shops, tanneries, workshops and stalls selling fruit or spices, it is one of the largest living medieval cities on the planet. View the beautifully decorated theological college of Bou Inania Medersa, and the Karaouiyine Mosque, founded in 859 AD and one of the oldest mosques in the western Muslim world.
Day 6 – Through the mountains to Marrakesh
Travel through the spectacular scenery of the Middle Atlas mountains as you journey from Fes to Marrakesh. Drive through diverse landscapes, from abundant orchards and fertile farmland to mountainous terrain, and through many villages and towns that reveal more of the varied lifestyles in present-day Morocco. You’ll arrive in Marrakesh early in the evening for a three-night stay near the ancient Medina in the heart of the city.
Day 7 – Marrakesh the “Peral of the South”
Sightseeing includes the ornate Saadian Tombs, 19th-century Palais Bahia, and the Koutoubia Mosque, the largest in Morocco, and its imposing minaret, which date from the 12th century; visit the opulent 19th-century Palais Bahia; and discover the beautiful, richly decorated Saadian Tombs. Visit the cool, very-blue oasis of the Le Jardin Majorelle, the stunning gardens surrounding Villa Majorelle, once the home of the noted French painter, Jacques Majorelle and later owned by the late designer Yves Saint-Laurent.
Ride a horse-drawn carriage to Djemâa el Fna Square, the largest city square on the African continent, where you’ll see dancers, snake charmers, acrobats and magicians entertaining the crowds who gather here. Then, accompanied by your local guide, absorb the unique flavor of this amazing city as you explore the souks of the Medina on foot, finding stalls and shops selling just about anything that anyone could ever want or need, from the mundane to the exotic. Admire the colorful costumes of the water-sellers and the work of the craftsmen practicing traditional skills like blacksmithing, saddle making, leather work and basket weaving.
Day 8 – Meet the Berbers
The indigenous people of Morocco, the once-nomadic Berbers, live in ancient villages on the banks of the Ourika River. Venture from Marrakesh into the verdant Ourika Valley, where you’ll be invited into a typical Berber home to experience the warm hospitality of the family as well as a traditional Moroccan tea ceremony. Later, lunch will be served in a restaurant managed by local Berber villagers. Back in Marrakesh, your Morocco tour concludes with a cocktails and canapés followed by an elegant farewell dinner at an exquisite, exclusive riad.
Day 9 – Farewell
Your tour ends in Marrakesh with an included transfer from the hotel to Marrakesh-Menara Airport.