A trip to Morocco is like going on holiday to many different parts of the world – all at once. Roman ruins, Islamic minarets, Spanish mosques, Greek temples, Syrian homes, Jewish neighbourhoods and French restaurants all come together in a magical and glorious confluence of cultures, that leave you delightfully surprised. Spend your days exploring ochre cities, powder-blue villages and kaleidoscopic souks. Contemplate the quiet of the Sahara. Create your own mosaics, make a Moroccan tangine or try wild honey. On this holiday, everyday is a day of discovery.
10 Nights / 11 Days
Rabat, Chefchaouen, Fes, The Sahara, Marakech, Essaouira
Upon arrival, your private driver and national guide pick you up from the airport and transfer you to Rabat, Morocco’s charming political capital. Check in to your hotel and freshen up. Then head into the city to check out some of its key attractions. First up is the ancient Chellah necropolis. This is both a Roman ruin and an Islamic burial place, featuring Roman settlements from the 2nd century and Arab rebuilds as early as the 7th century. The ruins are tranquil, overgrown with aged fruit trees and habituated by a colony of storks, which is considered a sign of good fortune. Wander around and once you’ve had your fill, head to the Yacoub al-Mansour Esplanade, home to two must-see monuments: First, the King’s Mausoleum, which is not only a fine example of Alaouite dynasty’s architectural style but also the final resting place of three significant members of the royal family and next, the Hassan Tower, an incomplete red sandstone minaret which began construction in 1195AD and was once intended to be the tallest minaret in the world. Your next stop will be the Kasbah des Ouadayas, an Almohad fortress built in 1150AD. From the Kasbah des Oudayas, stroll through the winding blue streets lined with whitewashed houses, and enjoy a mint tea at the Cafe Maure overlooking the Bou Regreg River. In the evening, enjoy dinner at leisure. Overnight: Riad Dar Dar (Or equivalent)
After breakfast, you head to Chefchaouen (4.5-hour drive) and enjoy lunch en route. Upon arrival, check-in and freshen up at your hotel before heading out on a half-day tour of the striking blue city. Founded in 1471AD and beautifully perched beneath the raw peaks of the Rif, Chefchaouen is a charming mountain village known for its signature powder-blue walls. Meet your guide in Chefchaouen and begin your tour at the center of town with the red-walled Kasbah, a 15th century fortress and dungeon. Go to the top of the tower for some stunning views of the city. You can also wander up to the town’s waterfall, where locals meet to chat and do laundry, where you can relax with your toes in the water at one of the river bank’s small coffee shops. From here, you will have lunch then you can walk up the hill to the old Spanish Mosque and observe the sunset over the charming blue village. Enjoy dinner in the charming Chefchaouen medina at Cafe Clock, and spend the evening at your leisure. Overnight: Dar Ba Sidi & Spa (Or equivalent)
Today after an early breakfast, head out to the splendid Roman ruins of Volubilis. It’s a 4.5hour drive but well worth the journey. In the 1st Century people from all over the Mediterranean and Northern Africa were migrating to the fertile Middle Atlas Mountains. Volubilis, located about 30 kilometers from Fes, is an ancient Berber and Roman city considered by many as not only the capital of the Kingdom of Mauretania but also the administrative center of Roman Africa. Wander among the dramatic ruins of the homes, temples and public buildings of the Greek, Syrian, and Jewish city dwellers. Exceptionally well preserved, the ruins offer beautiful floor mosaics and it is easy to imagine what the cypress-lined city must’ve been like in its Golden Age. After Volubilis, head out for lunch (not included), post which, you continue onto Meknes, where you’ll explore the spectacular Imperial Doors. Finally, continue to Fes, where you have the rest of the evening at leisure. Overnight: Riad Myra (Or equivalent)
Begin this morning early and with a big breakfast - you have an action-packed day ahead! Today, you tour Fes’s many sights and attractions with your guide sharing interesting tidbits of information along the way. Founded in 781AD, Fes is now considered the world’s largest car-free urban zone. Mind the mule-drawn carriages that speed through the alleyways, and peep into local pharmacies with their mysterious canisters of roots, flowers and powders. Visit the medina’s Jewish quarter, the medersas and the legendary tanneries, where ancient techniques are still used to prepare Moroccan leather, used for clothes, bags and handicrafts. Take a quick lunch break, then continue the tour with a visit to the world’s oldest and longest operating learning institution, the University of Al Quaraouiyine, founded in 859AD. Towards the afternoon, you embark on the Tasting Trails of Fes with a visit to three different food souks. Be adventurous and try traditional Moroccan street food including dried meats, milawi, harsha, briwats, spicy sardines, potato cakes, soups, olives and more. At the honey souk, you’ll be able to taste an array of delicious wild honeys, discuss their flavors and health-giving properties and find out why honey is so important in Moroccan cooking and Islamic culture. Your dinner this evening is not included but we’ll be happy to offer recommendations for a deliciously authentic meal! Overnight: Riad Myra (Or equivalent)
You begin your day with an early morning scenic drive that leads you to the golden dunes of the Sahara. With several fabulous vistas as well as a lunch break en route, your drive will take about 8 hours. When the paved roads end, you’ll hop out from the car and onto the camels that will take you along a beautiful trail through tall sand dunes to your luxury camp. Savour some delicious mint tea as you enjoy the camp and contemplate the peaceful quiet of the Sahara. Dinner (included) will be followed by a campfire and some live, tribal music, under the canopy of a star-studded sky. Overnight: Luxury Camp (Or equivalent)
Fresh from your Saharan adventure, this is the day you explore the mesmerizing rock formations and twisting roads of the gorges of the Atlas Mountains. Your day begins by watching the sunrise over the dunes, turning the world golden in your luxury camp. Enjoy a hearty breakfast, before you depart at around 9am for Rissani and Sijilmassa, continuing onto Tinghir for lunch. After lunch, you head to the Dades Gorges where you check in at Chez Pierre and have the rest of the afternoon at leisure. Now, we wouldn’t usually dedicate a new paragraph to a meal, but this is a special exception – at the gorges, you will be in a very remote and rural part of the country, so ordinarily you’d expect a wholesome but standard meal. Instead, the brothers who run Chez Pierre have made an art of their meal service, crafting delectable creative dishes based on locally sourced ingredients. We bet, this is one dinner you are sure to remember. Pro tip: Leave room for a delicious breakfast the following morning, where you’ll have a selection of jams made from fruits that grow in the gorges! Overnight: Chez Pierre (Or equivalent)
Fresh from a good night’s sleep, you’ll depart in the morning for a 6-hour drive to the ancient fortress of Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou and the beautiful ochre city of Marrakech. A UNESCO world heritage site the imposing fort of Ait-Ben-Haddou is a striking example of southern Moroccan architecture. With its extraordinary ensemble of buildings offering a complete panorama of pre-Saharan earthen construction techniques. After lunch near the Kasbah, you’ll continue towards Marrakech on a breathtakingly scenic drive, venturing through the snow-capped peaks of the High Atlas mountains and back down on the other side into the dry flat plains of Marrakech. Arrive in Marrakech in the late afternoon and check-in to your hotel. Spend some time resting and freshening up, for tonight you’ll head to Djemaa El Fna square for a spectacle like no other. Snake charmers, musicians and henna artists wow you with their gasp-worthy performances. Work up an appetite, for the final activity of the day, a dinner at La Maison Arabe (included), where you dine by the shimmering pool, enjoying a live performance by a talented luth player. Overnight: Riyad El Cadi (Or equivalent)
Rise and shine early, this morning. You have a jam-packed day of sightseeing ahead! Begin with the iconic Koutoubia Mosque, followed by the Saadian tombs and the Bahia Palace, a stunning example of traditional Moroccan architecture. Later head to the medina and catch your breath with a fortifying lunch at Le Nomad (not included). After lunch, as you walk through the medina you will see medersas or religious schools, the atmospheric Jewish quarter and wander down the myriad pathways of the souk. The souks or the markets of Marrakech are located in a serpentine set of alleyways with twists and turns that can confuse even frequent travelers to the city. Your guide will give you an overview of how the souk is laid out. Spend the afternoon browsing through the spices, lamps, shoes and traditional Moroccan crafts, haggling, striking bargains and returning to your hotel with a bagful of souvenirs. The rest of the evening is at leisure. Ask your guide for interesting dinner options. Overnight: Riyad El Cadi (Or equivalent)
Today post breakfast you get creative at a mosaic making workshop and make your very own mosaics. In Morocco, the facades of riads, traditional houses, fountains, pools and even tables are often ornamented with colourful and intricately crafted mosaics. At the workshop, learn about the art, technique and process of mosaic making before actually trying your hand at making parts of a mosaic tile. Mosaic making is hard work, you’ve earned yourself a nice, long lunch. In the second half of the day, you attend a Moroccan Tagine Cooking Class. That’s right, after enjoying lip-smacking food through the holiday, you learn how to rustle up your very own authentic Moroccan meal. Accompanied by a local “dada”, or expert cook, and with the help of an English translator, you will learn how to prepare all the key components of a Moroccan meal, starting with the famous Moroccan mint tea and the traditional Moroccan bread. Next, you’ll prepare two different staples of Moroccan starters, a tomato and cucumber salad and another salad using eggplant (please note: the exact salads may change depending on the day’s ingredients.) After this, its time to prepare your main course, the famous Moroccan Tagine of chicken with preserved lemons. Let your tagine cook over the fire, while you prepare dessert – Moroccan cookies with almond paste. The class ends when the dinner is ready. Give yourself a pat on the back and enjoy your delicious self-cooked meal. Overnight: Riyad El Cadi (Or equivalent)
After breakfast, you drive for about 4 hours to Morocco’s Atlantic coast for a daytrip to the charming coastal city of Essaouira. On your way stop to see the funny tree goats as they perch on precarious branches to snack on the Argania tree’s fruits and nuts. En route, visit Val D’Argan, a beautiful vineyard where you stop for a wine-tasting tour and lunch. Later, explore Essaouira with your guide. Visit the city’s medina, the artisan cooperatives, The thuya wood workshops and the Jewish heritage sites. With its brilliant blue and white architecture, windswept beach and easy-going charm, Essaouira is a lovely change from the hectic pace of Marrakech. When you’ve had your fill of this gentle coastal town, you drive back to Marrakech and enjoy the rest of the evening at leisure. Overnight: Riyad El Cadi (Or equivalent)
Your Moroccan adventure comes to an end today, but the memories you’ve created will last a lifetime. After breakfast,check out of your hotel and drive to Casablanca airport for your flight back home.
Arrival & Welcome to Rabat
Chefchaouen - The Blue City
Into the Sahara
The Dades Gorges
Mosaic Workshop & Tagine Time
Day trip to Essaouira
A preview of the wonder that awaits you.
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