Morocco Imperial Cities Highlights

Code: THS
9 DAYS
  • An Overly Close
  • The Santa Barbara Wildfire
  • A Perfect Day in the Nature
  • A rare opportunity to try Foundry coffee
  • Love advice from experts

 

Explore the culture, history, and legacy of the fabled Imperial Cities of Morocco.  This is an exclusive adventure that will stimulate your curiosity to explore more of this mystic land. From the fascinating cities of Casablanca, Fez, Marrakesh, and their many World Heritage Sites to its beautiful mountain ranges and valleys, this trip will give you an all-encompassing experience of Al-Maghrib (Morocco). Extend this trip to explore the magnificent Rif Mountains and the picturesque blue city of Chefchaouen. From Tangier, board a ferry across the Strait of Gibraltar and extend your trip to Andalusia in Southern Spain.

Highlights

The imperial cities of Morocco and the cradle of the Moroccan dynasties: Alaouites and Idrissides.

Major Cities/Towns:

Casablanca, Fez, Meknez, Marrakesh, Rabat

Variety of Transport:

Minibus/minivan, local taxi and optional train and camel rides.
Activity:Easy to Moderate walking through downtown and city streets.
Unique Local Experiences:Outstanding learning opportunities to connect with local people and to discover the unique scenery and architecture. Visit many UNESCO World Heritage sites. Discover the souks for spices and explore the handicraft markets.

 

#TourMealsOvernight
Day 01Arrive CasablancaBHotel
Day 02Casablanca-Rabat-Volubilis-Meknes-FezB+DHotel/Riad
Day 03FezBHotel/Riad
Day 04Fez –Erfoud – Sahara (Merzouga)B+DHotel
Day 05Sahara – Todra Gorge – OuarzazateB+DHotel/Riad
Day 06Ouarzazate – Ait Ben Haddou – MarrakeshBHotel/Riad
Day 07MarrakechB+DHotel/Riad
Day 08Marrakesh – Departure
Optional Extension to Tangier and Blue City (Chefchaouan)
Day 08Marrakesh – CasablancaBHotel
Day 09Casablanca – ChefchouanBHotel
Day 10Chefchouan – TangierBHotel
Day 11Tangier – Departure / Spain (Andalusia)B

B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner

Day 1: Arrive Casablanca

Arrive in Casablanca. At the airport, meet our guide who will escort you to your transport. We’ll drive straight to your hotel in Casablanca where you will have the rest of the day at leisure. Explore the neighborhood on a walking tour or relax at your hotel and get rested up for your upcoming adventure. In the evening, enjoy a Moroccan mint tea with an orientation of your upcoming adventure provided by your guide. Overnight: Hotel in Casablanca.

Day 2: Casablanca – Rabat – Meknez – Fez

This morning, after an early breakfast, you will begin your thrilling Moroccan Adventure with our guide and driver.  Our first stop is in Rabat, only an hour’s drive from Casablanca. Here we will visit our first world heritage site, the Hassan Tower.  Construction on this fascinating tower began in 1195 by Sultan, who intended to build the largest tower and mosque in the world. He hired the famous mathematician and architect Jabir ibn-Aflah, who also worked on a similar tower, the Giralda of Seville in Andalusia. During the construction of the minaret, the Sultan died and the grand project came to a complete halt. It is unfinished to this day. We continue to visit other sites such as the Dar al-Makhzen (The Royal Palace) and the Kasbah des Udayas, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A Kasbah is a fortified community of a group of families or a tribe. Kasbah des Udayas was built in the twelfth century, with imposing walls perched on the Bou Regreg river. A visit to the Kasbah will take you back to medieval times, as you walk through its winding narrow streets with blue and white painted homes. The wooden doors make for a postcard photograph, while the hanging clay pots with colourful plants and flowers give you a sense of this community’s love of its natural surroundings.  Next, we head to The Holy City of Moulay Idriss – Meknes, for a quick visit and an outstanding photo opportunity of the famous Bab-al-Mansour – the gate of Al-Mansour. The inscription on the gate tells its story; “I am the most beautiful gate in Morocco. I’m like the moon in the sky. Property and wealth are written on my front.” After a stop for lunch we will head to our next destination. Driving through the mesmerizing Moroccan countryside we will arrive at the ancient ruins of the Roman city of Volubilis. This world heritage site has wonderfully preserved mosaics. It was a grand city with its road, temples, Forum and Triumphal Arch. The small museum and the visitor’s center will provide fascinating insights into the discoveries at this site, which stretches out over 40 hectares.  Finally, we arrive in Fez and enjoy a breathtaking view of the ancient city from a hill overlooking the medina. Enjoy a short tour of the imperial city of Fez. Transfer to your hotel for a wonderful night’s rest. Overnight: Hotel in Fez

Day 3: Fez

Today we will spend the entire day exploring fabulous Fez, the former capital of Morocco that was founded during the 8th century AD. The best and probably the only way to explore Fez-al-Bali is by foot, as it claims to be the largest pedestrian zone in an urban city! There are over nine thousand streets and alleys, twisting and zigzagging their way through bustling markets and serene old quarters. It is easy to get lost in this mystical maze. You share this warren of pandemonium with men in their flowing robes, women, children, even donkeys and mules. Yet you are immersed in its fascinating flavour and colour. There are markets that sell fresh meat, vegetables, fruits and olives of all sorts. Then there are artisans working tirelessly on their distinctive and vibrant products ranging from bronze lamps, intricately woven kilims (rugs) and amazingly exquisite pottery. Our guided tour will also take us to visit Al Quaraouiyine, the world’s oldest continuously operated university, founded in 859 AD. Al Quaraouiyine, which started the tradition of awarding degrees to its students, was founded by a woman named Fatima al-Fihri.  Near the spice and perfume market, we can visit the Al-Attarine Madrasa and Najjarine Square. We will also stop to see the intricately decorated entrance to Fez’s Palais Royal. During the 14th century, the city became a refuge for Jews when almost two hundred and fifty thousand took refuge in Fez. Although most have left, the Mellah (Jewish Quarter) still stands as part of Fez’s impressive multicultural past. Through the centuries, Fez has endured periods of hardship, yet it has emerged as a vibrant, picturesque city, boasting its own distinctive culture, art and cuisine. Overnight at your hotel/Riad.

Day 4: Fez – Midlet – Erfoud – Merzouga

Depart Fez early in the morning; a day’s long journey will take us through the ever-changing landscape of the Central Moroccan valleys. This is Morocco’s matchless landscape between the Rif and Atlas Mountain ranges. As we start the day with beautiful views of the mountains around Ifrane, you will need to keep your cameras charged and ready to capture every magnificent moment.  Along the way, we will pass many historic villages, towns and traditional Kasbah style settlements. We will make a brief stop in Midelt for lunch. After lunch, we will continue to drive to Erfoud on the edge of the Sahara Desert. Here we switch transport and hop in our exhilarating 4×4 jeeps to travel through vast arid plans that are filled with astonishing rocks and shimmering sands. As we drive further south, magical mirages start to appear on all sides and form the horizon until we view the impressive mass of yellowish-orange dunes that await us in Merzouga. We will take you straight to a camp where camels are ready for you! Here we board our desert transport and head on camel-back towards the dunes. We will try to make it to the top of a nearby dune.  This is where your camels will stop and you can continue up the dunes by foot. The views of the sunset are strikingly spectacular. Depending on the set up of your tour and the time of the year, we will offer you either hotel or Bedouin camp accommodation. A tantalizing, desert-style dinner will be served. The camel Ride is optional – US$ 20 per person. Overnight: Hotel Merzouga.

Day 5: Merzouga – Todra Gorge – Ouarzazate

Wake up to a magnificent desert sunrise over the dunes of the Sahara. Eat a traditional breakfast in the camp or your hotel and enjoy the naturally sculpted landscape. We board our 4×4 vehicles to head back to the edge of the desert to Erfoud. Here we undertake a fascinating stop to see how fossilised rocks are cut and polished to create countertops and furniture. Our guide will explain the polishing process and how the age-old fossils in these rocks reveal creatures that roamed the Sahara millions of years ago.  Rissani is the holy city where Moulay Ali Cherif, ancestor of the Alaouite dynasty, is buried. Time permitting, today we can visit the Kasbah of the 17th century and the Ksar Abbar ruins. We head on to the Tinghir area along the Tinjdad road.  We will visit the magnificent Todra Canyon and the Dades Gorge, a geological formation that has pushed the rocks to a sheer two hundred and fifty metres high. You can always spot an enthusiastic rock climber carefully climbing these rocky walls!  Our guide will give us an option to have some lunch or rest at a local restaurant. We will continue our drive along the road of the thousand Kasbahs, traversing the edge of the Sahara Desert and the foothills of the Middle Atlas Mountain Range. Our destination is Ouarzazate. Dinner and overnight at your traditional-style hotel.

Day 6: Ouarzazate – Ait Ben Haddou – Marrakesh

After an early breakfast, we will leave Ouarzazaat along a scenic route that travels right through the heart of the spectacular Atlas Mountain Range – also known as The High Atlas. If the weather cooperates you should be able to get a glimpse of Mount Tubkal; at 4,167 metres (13,671 ft), it is the highest peak in the Atlas Mountains and in North Africa. Before we cross the mountain range, we will make a very interesting stop at a famous fortified city and Kasbah – Ait Benhaddou.  Although this little Kasbah used to be an important stop for the caravans travelling between Marrakesh and the Sahara, for the last few decades it has been a preferred location for famous Hollywood movies. Blockbusters such as The Mummy, Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven, The Last Temptation of Christ, Jesus of Nazareth and Lawrence of Arabia are some of the famous movies shot here.  Continue your drive through the Atlas Mountain range to Marrakesh.

Day 7: Marrakesh

After breakfast, enjoy a morning tour of the city. This living melting pot of the Berber, Arab and African cultures is what makes Marrakesh such a unique city. Its 12th Century Koutoubia Mosque is representative of the Hispano-Moresque art. The 19th Century Bahia Palace preserves centuries-old techniques and craftsmanship of Islamic architecture. You can visit the Saadian Tombs, dating back to the 16th century. In the afternoon we will explore other sides of the Medina: the souks. A visit to the Marrakesh souks means a traditional shopping trip for a variety of wares. Enjoy a late afternoon walk in Jemaa-el-Fnaa square, The Open Outdoor Theatre, which offers various entertainment (storytellers, water sellers, acrobats, snake-charmers, magicians, musicians, open-air barbeque food-stalls). Dinner and overnight in Marrakesh.

Day 8: Marrakesh – Departure

Transfer to the airport for your departure flight or continue with our extended trip to Rif Mountains and Spain.

OPTIONAL EXTENSION PROGRAM

E X T E N S I O N

RIF MOUNTAINS & CHEFCHAOUEN 

 

Day 8:  Marrakesh – Casablanca

After breakfast, travel to Casablanca and transfer to your hotel. Later this afternoon we embark on a walking tour of Casablanca. You will visit the famous Hassan II Mosque and enjoy its beautiful exterior décor. The mosque used to be one of the largest in the world, displaying its grandeur along the corniche. Visiting the mosque from the inside is optional and its opening is subject to local prayer times. Take a moment to catch your breath at the end of your Moroccan adventure and admire the serenity of the Atlantic Ocean. Continue on a short drive through the residential areas of Casablanca and the centre to see the Mohamed V Square, the Habous quarter and the Notre Dame de Lourdes Cathedral. Tonight join us on a farewell dinner at a traditional local restaurant. Overnight at your hotel in Casablanca.

Day 9: Casablanca – Chefchaouen

Today we drive from Casablanca to the Rif Mountains. Our destination is Chefchaouen, originally established by the Berber people in 1471 and since then it has seen Moorish, Jewish, Spanish and a verity of other tribal cultures. Chefchaouen is likely the most picturesque town in Morocco and is famous for its iconic blue and whitewashed walls and doors. We take the time to explore the town and discover many of its unique handicrafts.  Overnight at the hotel.

Day 10:  Chefchaouen

Spend the day in Chefchaouen, explore the town, relax and enjoy the beautiful vistas.

Day 11:  Chefchaouen – Tangier

This morning we have time to explore the town on our own. We can take short walks and explore the town. In the afternoon head towards Tangier. Criss-crossing through the famous Rif Mountains we arrive in Tangiers, the well-known port and gateway into Europe. Tangier is also famous for giving its name to the famous Tangerines, one of its valuable exports. We arrive and transfer to our hotel. Free time to explore the town and taking short walks.  Overnight at the hotel.

Day 12:  Tangier – Departure

Departure to your next destination or to the airport for homeward-bound flight.

 

Services include:

  • Meals: Meals as mentioned in the program outline, are included.
  • Accommodation: Clean and reliable accommodation with a unique local style.
  • All entry fees for sites are included in the tour with the exception of those that are mentioned. Entrance fees to the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca with the guided tour with the mosque authority are extra. Visit outside is included.
  • All transfers and sightseeing as mentioned in the tour details.
  • Transport throughout the tour (as per sightseeing program and hotel transfers).
  • English speaking local cultural guide.

Services do not include:

  • If you book your flights yourself, you will be required to pay for the airport transfers – US$ 79 per person per way.
  • Customs and baggage handling during overseas travel.
  • Expenses of a personal nature such as phone calls, personal drinks, use of mini-bar at the hotels, laundry or personal medications.
  • Any expenses that may arise due to unforeseen natural or political situation.
  • Personal insurance (we strongly recommend to all clients to buy travel insurance).

NOTE:

  • This trip may only operate with a minimum number of participants.
  • Sudden changes in the foreign currency rates can impact the prices. We can only protect our prices as long as they do not change over 5%.

BOOK YOUR SPOT

Number of Travellers    × US$  1,995.00
Total = US$  1,995.00

Available Dates

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Price:US$  1,995.00