11 D | Guaranteed Departures | From and to Marrakech
Join this memorable 11-day tour that takes you to see some of the best places in Morocco. Visit the imperial cities of Marrakech, Casablanca, Rabat, Fes and Meknes, and admire the Atlas Mountains, kasbahs and the Sahara desert, valleys and gorges, Atlantic and Mediterranean waters, and the rolling countryside. Learn about the impressive history, fascinating local culture and art, marvel at the diverse landscapes of this incredible country, and take advantage of the opportunities to savour the best traditional Moroccan cuisine during eleven unforgettable days.
Once you have landed and collected your luggage, meet your driver/agent in the arrivals hall – he will be holding a board with your name on it. Then comes the transfer to your hotel, where you will check in before enjoying dinner and spending your first night in the city of Marrakech.
After breakfast, bid farewell to Marrakech for now as you depart for Casablanca, a city whose name evokes old-school Hollywood glamour but is in fact the kingdom of Morocco’s commercial powerhouse. Arrive in time for lunch (optional) and then go discover the charms of this cosmopolitan coastal city. Visit the bustling central market, the Habous district, the Royal Palace, Mohamed V Square, the gorgeous residential area of Anfa, the majestic Hassan II Mosque looming high over the city by the sea (exterior visit), and the Corniche of Casablanca.
Take to the road after breakfast at the hotel and follow the Atlantic coastline northwards until reaching the capital city of Rabat. Enjoy a guided panoramic tour of the city and contemplate its Royal Palace, the Mausoleum of Mohammed V and the Hassan Tower before wandering through the Casbah of the Oudayas to lose yourself in the beauty of its famous gardens. Make a stop for an optional lunch before driving along the breath-taking coastal road to Tangier. Along the way, pass by the Caves of Hercules and Cape Spartel, where legend has it that Hercules separated Africa from Europe. This is the point where the waters of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic mix and mingle. Once in Tangier, check in at the hotel before dinner.
Overnight in Tangier
Breakfast at the hotel is followed by an outing to the medina to discover the birthplace of Ibn Battuta, a famous 14th century traveller and writer. Then visit the old town and see the Grand and Petit Socco (squares), the Grand Mosque, the souk, the former palace of the Sultan Moulay Ismail (exterior) and the Mendoubia Gardens. Then it’s time to hop into the coach and continue to Chefchaouen. Visit the mesmerising medina and winding alleys of this charming blue and white village, reminiscent of the small Andalusian villages of southern Spain. Chefchaouen is part of the territory protected by UNESCO’s Intercontinental Biosphere Reserve of the Mediterranean, so take advantage and admire the surroundings. Continue the visit to Ras el Maa, the water source that supplies Chaouen with drinking water, and then check out the wash houses where locals hand-wash their laundry. Continue afterwards towards the hilltop Bouzaafer Mosque. End your day with a trip to Fes, where you’ll check in at your hotel for dinner.
Overnight in Fes.
Discover Meknes’ imperial heritage after breakfast at the hotel in Fes. Such was the grandeur of the city erected by Moulay Ismail, that Meknes became known as the ‘city of a hundred minarets’ and is today a UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site. See the imposing city walls and the beautifully decorated gates of Bab Mansour and Bab El-Khemis; the vast El-Hedim Square. After an optional lunch in Meknes, take to the road and drive northwards to the hilltop holy village of Moulay Idriss Zerhoun, which is named after a great-grandson of the prophet Mohammed credited with bringing Islam to Morocco. The village is also home to Morocco’s only cylindrical minaret. Continue to the ruins of the ancient city of Volubilis; originally built by the Phoenicians, the city came into its own during the Roman Empire and the well-preserved Arch of Caracalla still stands. The remnants of a temple and basilica are also still visible, as are many magnificent mosaics that hint at the wealth and opulence of Volubilis in its heyday. The final leg takes you back to Fes for check in and dinner at the hotel.
Overnight in Fès
Breakfast at the hotel is followed by a day exploring the fascinating city of Fes. Boasting more than 12 centuries of history, as well as a medina that is a UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site and the oldest university on the planet, Fes is a multifarious city renowned for the splendour of its faded glory. The medina, Fes el Bali, is a vast network of winding alleys hemmed in by ancient walls. Despite being car-free, the bustle, noise, shouting, and the smells of tanned leather, oriental perfumes, barbecues and sweet pastries create a sense of movement and vibrancy that draws you deep into its soul. Head to the Nejjarrine fountain and smell the cedar from the carpenters’ district. The alleys are lined with places of study or prayer such as madrasahs or the magnificent mausoleum of Moulay Idriss Zaouia, the most important saint’s shrine in Morocco. After lunch in the medina (optional), continue through the rustic narrow streets of the Mellah, the former Jewish district, and head to the outskirts to see the Royal Palace and enjoy the extraordinary panoramic view of the whole city offered by the fortifications of the north. Return to the hotel for dinner.
Overnight in Fès.
Depart after breakfast at the hotel and climb from the 400 metres above sea level of Fes into the Middle Atlas, with altitudes of more than 2,000 metres. Admire the contrasting landscapes of imposing massifs – solid masses with unusual rock formations – and hills covered in dense cedar forests. The route passes along Ifrane, a picturesque ski resort at 1,650 metres, famed for its European-style country cottages with sloped roofs. Pause for lunch (optional) in Midelt, a former French colonial outpost, and take to the road in the afternoon, passing through the market town of Er-Rich and Tizi N'Talghomt until finally reaching Erfoud. Here you’ll check in and have dinner at the hotel or choose from a number of optional experiences to enjoy, including experiencing a special nomadic life and spending the night under a tent in the desert, or an excursion of the Merzouga Dunes, a great place from which to snap picks of the sunrise and sunset from the top of the dunes (optional tours not included).
Overnight in Erfoud
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before departing from Erfoud and going on a scenic journey to Tineghir and the dramatic Todra Gorge. Alternatively, there’s an optional pre-dawn excursion to the dunes of Merzouga to experience sunrise over the first big hills of the Sahara (not included, to be paid to guide). En route, pass through the oasis of El Jorf, where a large palm grove stands in contrast to the colours of the town’s adobe homes and the sands of the desert, and the market town of Tinejdad, before arriving in Tineghir. Continue to the Todra Gorge, a 15-minute drive away from the town. A small stream still flows through this spectacular canyon, at times only 10 metres wide, and which has steep walls as high as 160 metres. There’s an optional lunch stop in Tineghir before departing for Ouarzazate via the Dade’s Valley, also known as the ‘valley of one thousand casbahs’. Stop at the fortified village of Kelaat M'Gouna, a fragrant oasis in the heart of the ‘valley of the roses’ before arriving at today’s final destination: Ouarzazate.
Overnight in Ouarzazate.
After breakfast, visit the Taourirt kasbah, which was one of the bastions of T'hami El Glaoui, the powerful lord of the Atlas during the final decades of French colonial rule. Head then to Ait Ben Haddou, home to one of the world’s most famous casbahs, and a site that has been used as a location for dozens of films. For centuries, this oasis on the banks of the River Oued Ounila was a key hub on the trans-Saharan trade route and that legacy is writ large on the weather-beaten walls of the casbah, which is crowned by the ruins of a fortified granary. Wander through this beguiling UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site before enjoying an optional lunch in front of the casbah – a magical experience that will linger long in the memory. Continue to Marrakech for check-in and dinner at the hotel.
Overnight in Marrakech.
Discover Marrakech after a delightful breakfast at the hotel. The historical visit of the city is a journey marked by the various stages of its construction: the famous Koutoubia Mosque, everlasting proof of Hispano-Moresque art, with a 70-metre-high minaret, the Bahia Palace and its garden lined with orange trees, cypress, jasmine, splendours of cedar tree domes and the marble columns in the Saadian Tombs. Fill up on lunch at the hotel and spend the afternoon free at leisure, enjoying the beauty of Marrakech, or pick an optional excursion like Traditional Hammam: an invitation to experience the traditional ritual of the Moroccan Hammam (hydration of the skin, body scrubbing, herb masks…), relax and enjoy a mint tea and a 30-minute massage with oil. In the evening, perhaps enjoy a typical dinner show in an old palace located in the Medina of Marrakech (optional).
Overnight in Marrakech
Check out after one last breakfast at the hotel before hopping onto your transfer to the airport at whichever time suits you best to catch your scheduled flight.
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