Majestic Morocco Tour / 14 Days
Your are Guaranteed 2 Weeks of Wonder on this Boutique Tour of Majestic Morocco. Begin your tour with a Private, Guided visit to the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca well appointed on the Atlantic Ocean. Explore the city of Casablanca's famous Art Deco sites and the seaside corniche. Experience Imperial Rabat's Ouadia Kasbah and the Volubilis Roman Ruins. Step back time into the mysterious backstreets of UNESCO Fes before heading to Morocco's Great Sahara. Indulge in an Arabian nights Sahara adventure and explore Dades Valley cliffs. This Classic Morocco Tour also includes a hike the High Atlas and site seeing in Marrakech, and the Costal Town of Essaouira.
DAY 1: CASABLANCA
- Arrive at Casablanca International Airport.
- Have breakfast upon arrival, then visit the Mosque of Hassan II. Casablanca is home to the Hassan II Mosque, designed by the French architect Michel Pinseau. It is situated on a promontory looking out to the Atlantic, which can be seen through a gigantic glass floor with room for 25,000 worshippers. Its minaret is the world’s tallest at 210 meters. It is an enormous architectural masterpiece and the second largest religious building in the world. On Fridays, the Mosque of Hassan II is open to non-Muslims. The Mosque of Hassan II’s promontory offers lovely views overlooking Casa in the residential Anfa quarter.
- After visiting the Hassan II Mosque, take the road to Rabat for a half-day tour of this Imperial City.
- During your half-day tour you will learn Rabat’s history and enjoy its beautiful domes, minarets, wide avenues, and green spaces. Your guide will escort you on a walk around the picturesque Almohad northern walls of the Oudaïa Kasbah. Tour the Musée de Oudaïa, Moulay Ismaïl’s palace exhibiting collections of Moroccan folk art. Before moving on to city medina, relax in the Moorish style Andalusian garden.
- Visit the Royal Palace and the Hassan tower which stands on the hill overlooking the Wadi Bou Regreg.
- Next door, visit the beautiful Mausoleum of Mohammed V decorated with stained glass windows, a white marble and a wrought-iron entryway, and a stairway leading to an impressive dome.
- Lunch in Rabat, by the sea.
- Explore the gardens and Palace of Rabat, then on to the Kasbah of Chellah.
- Dine and spend the night at a 4 or 5 star hotel in Rabat.
DAY 2: RABAT - MEKNES - VOLUBILIS - FES
- Breakfast at your Hotel in Rabat. Then take the road to Meknes.
- Arrive in Meknes. Begin your visit at the 18th Century Palace built by Sultan Mohammed Ben Abdallah.
- Then pass through the triumphal arch and enter Place El-Hedime, the Square of Ruins, which links the medina and the kasbah. The square is lined with modern residential buildings and a covered food souk.
- Visit the Musée Dar Jamaï. The Jar Jamai museum shows modern Moroccan arts, woodwork, ceramics, carpets, costumes, jewelry, and metalwork. The sophisticated building was once a palace incorporating a mosque, menzah, courtyard, kitchen, and hammam.
- Lunch in Meknes.
- After visiting Meknes, take the road to explore Volubilis. The breathtaking archaeological site of Volubilis, also referred to as Oualili, was once a thriving town occupied by the Romans. Volubilis has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site and gained international acclaim when Martin Scorsese made it a feature location for the film The Last Temptation of Christ. Discover the fascinating Roman ruins adorned with beautiful mosaics and colorful tiles depicting Roman mythology. The ruins are spread out across several acres and what remains visible is several fragments of wall, parts of massive columns, the capitol, the basilica, and a triumphal arch. The ruins reveal how the Roman Empire transformed the original Carthaginian settlement into a typical Roman city complete with mansions, a town center, a triumphal arch, and temples devoted to Roman gods.
- Enjoy tea at the small café that sits just below the Volubilis ruins before taking the road to Fes.
- Dine and spend the night at 4 or 5 star hotel in Fes.
DAY 3: FES GUIDED HISTORICAL TOUR
- Breakfast your day will begin at the Merenid Tombs of Fes.
- Next, stop at the Musée des Armes located in an old fortress. On diplay are 8,000 pieces of artillery from Makina, the arsenal built by Moulay Hassan I.
- Enter the Fes el-Bali through the symmetrical horse shoe arches at Bab Boujeloud, the Blue Gate.
- Upon entering Rue Talaa Kebira, the main street in the medina, you will see lines of shops covered by canopies. Make your way to the University of al-Karaouine, the oldest continually operating university in the world. Then, visit Dar el-Magana, a 14th century water clock and Zaouia el Tijaniya, the shrine and tomb of Ahmed el Tijani.
- Stop to visit the Ech Cherabliyine Mosque, Mosque of the Slipper-Makers, then browse the souks selling henna, slippers, caftans, silks, jewelry, and spices.
- Tour the Najjarine Museum of Wooden Arts & Crafts housed in a beautifully restored foundouk, an ancient style of hotel for merchants.
- Stop for lunch within the medina at one of the fine Moroccan palace-style restaurants that serves an extravaganza of mezzes for lunch.
- After lunch, visit the Musée Dar el-Batha to view the impressive collections of pottery, leather-work, woodwork, books, and manuscripts from the nineteenth century.
- Next, enter Bab el Ftouh, the Gateway of the Aperture, to explore the Andalusian quarter, a residential part of the medina laced with monuments. Stroll through the Fès el Jedid, a kasbah which functioned as Morocco’s administrative center until 1912. Explore the royal palace and many interesting neighborhoods, including the Moulay Abdalllah Quarter, the Jewish Mellah, and the Ville Nouvelle.
DAY 3: FES GUIDED HISTORICAL TOUR CONTINUED
- Visit the Weavers Cooperative located in a residential neighborhood. The workshop specializes in weaving the finest jellaba fabric made of silk and wool threads imported from Italy. The shop also makes a quality jellaba fabric from a locally spun, textured wool thread called hubba. Hubba is sometimes referred to as couscous because its nubby texture resembles Morocco’s national semolina dish of the same name.
- Tour the Chourara, or the Tanner’s Quarters, one of the most lively and picturesque souks in Fes. Located near the Wadi Fès and far from residential areas due to the tannery smell. See the wide array of local leather work, a proud tradition of Fes.
- View a Berber carpet weaving demonstration.
- Dyers Souk – The dyers market, located along Rue de Teinturies, is the best place to see the dying vats which have been used for centuries to dye cloth and sheep, goat, cow, and camel leather. You will see many tanned hides colored with natural pigments of all shades and hues.
- Visit Place el-Seffarine Pottery Cooperative, the most important center for the production Fasis style ceramics, brass-ware, and silverware in Morocco.
- Dine and spend the night at 4 or 5 star hotel in Fes.
DAY 4: FES DAY AT LEISURE
OPTIONS: Pottery & Zellij Tilemaking – Visit Sidi Harazam Hot Springs – Fasis Cooking Class – Local Traditions
- Rise, have breakfast at your Riad, then stroll the Jnan S’bil Garden.
- Visit the Pottery and Zellij Tile Cooperative, a renowned Pottery Cooperative where you can view how Fasis pottery and zellij tile are made by hand. Tour the cooperative to see how the various artisans work using the ancient Fasis techniques that are unique to this Imperial city and region. View the galleries and shops of the artisans
- Enjoy the rest of the afternoon visiting sites on your own.
- Spa Options:
- Take the road to visit Sidi Harazem, a spa and green area just outside of Fes which contains hot water springs that are rich in magnesium. The benefits of these curative waters may be enjoyed at the health spa. There is also an ancient sacred pool surrounded by eucalyptus, palm, and pink laurel trees.
- The other option is to visit Moulay Yacoub, an old French-style Spa with thermal stations, a cold dipping pool, hot rock saunas, and steam rooms. Complement your visit with an old world French-Moroccan massage with rose, orange, or jasmine oil.
- Cooking Class Option:
- Mid-morning to mid-afternoon Moroccan Cooking Class. These workshops are conducted by a dada, a traditional Moroccan cook, or a chef from a Moroccan restaurant, and are held at the hotel. Small groups of maximum 10 participants work alongside a translator, using modern equipment found in everyday kitchens. At a typical half-day workshop, one learns to prepare an appetizer and a main dish, or a main dish and dessert.
- Dinner Recommendations: Your riad, Le Palais D’Medina, or Le Maison Bleue.
- Spend the night at 4 or 5 star riad in Fes.
DAY 5: FES - ZIZ VALLEY - IFRANE - MERZOUGA
- Breakfast at your Riad. Take the road to Merzouga. stop to see the view of Ifrane University and go for a short walk around the garden. Ifrane is nick named “Little Switzerland” of Morocco for its architecture, cedar forest, and winter ski resort options. Developed by the French during the protectorate era for their administration due to its Alpine climate, this Morrocan town has a remarkable European style, as if it were an Alpine village. Because of its elevation, the town experiences snow during the winter months and a cool climate during the summer. Ifrane is also the place where the lowest temperature was ever recorded in Africa. Animals to be found in the vicinity include the threatened Barbary Macaque. Among the local tree species are the native Atlas cedar, Scrub oak, and the introduced London plane.
- Lunch en route in the Ziz Valley. Continue the road to Merzouga and arrive before sunset.
- Arrive in Merzouga before sunset. Venture out on a 2 hour dromedary camel trek to watch the sunset in the Erg Chebbi Dunes. Your Tuareg guide will share the secrets of the Sahara Desert. As you glide across the silent desert landscape there will be countless opportunities to photograph the endless rolling dunes. Enjoy dinner and music at a luxury bivouac in the Sahara Desert.
- Spend the night in a luxury bivouac tent near the Oasis in the Erg Chebbi Dunes of Merzouga or at a luxury desert guest house.
DAY 6: MERZOUGA - RISSANI - ERFOUD - N’KOB - OUARZAZATE
- Rise, have breakfast, and take a sunrise trek back to Merzouga. Take the road to explore Merzouga’s desert scenery by piste. View flora and fauna that is unique to the Sahara.
- Visit the Saharan Desert towns of Rissani and Erfoud. Roam and tour the old ksars, then continue to the village of Ait Ouzzine, located in near N’kob nestled within the Middle Atlas Mountains.
- Ait Ouzzine is a Berber village inhabited by over 300 families who live in beautifully painted crenelated kasbahs and tend to their henna fields, water wells, livestock, and gardens. This peaceful village is tucked away along an impressive desert route connecting the Draa Valley, Tansikht, and Rissani.
- Meet a local Berber family and partake in a cooking lesson on traditional bread and tajines.
- Explore and tour the village. Walk in the green fields and see how traditional Berbers live with their gardens of herbs, livestock, and henna plants.
- Lunch will be served to you in Ait Ouzzine by a traditional Berber family. The menu will include a traditional meal of fresh baked bread with spices, a chicken and vegetable tajine (tagine), and fresh local fruits for desert.
- After lunch, have your hands and feet painted with henna, or have your hair adorned with saffron by a local village artist. Relax. Experience the tradition of Berber perfume made from musk and amber along with the villages own spices.
- End the afternoon in Ait Ouzzine with mint tea and almonds. Take the road through the Draa Valley back to Ouarzazate.
- Dine and spend the night at 4 star riad or hotel in Ouarzazate.
DAY 7: OUARZAZATE - BOU THARAR VALLEY OF NOMADS - BOUMALNE DADES VALLEY & GORGE - SKOURA - OUARZAZATE
- Breakfast at your riad. Take the road to visit Bou Tharar, the Valley of Nomads, and the Dades Valley.
- The breathtaking Valley of Nomads located in Bou Tharar is a beautiful valley where nomads live in caves that are surrounded by Mount Mgoun. Mount Mgoun is the second highest mountain in Morocco and boasts extraordinary views of the rust colored, earthy scenery. Have tea with a nomadic family. See how they make their own carpets and co-exist in Bou Tharar with other nomadic families.
- Visit the Dades Valley. The Dades Valley covers 125 km between the Todra Gorge and Ouarzazate. The Dades Valley boasts limestone cliffs with uniquely shaped erosions and superb scenery along the valley’s piste. Driving along you will pass flower-filled fields, fertile agricultural fields, riverbanks, and several fortified ksours. At the bottom of Gorge of Boulmane Dades there are ruined hilltop kasbahs and valley floor gardens.
- Lunch will be served at a nearby guesthouse that offers local Moroccan fare and a panoramic view. Relax and sip mint tea while gazing at the impressive valley view. Continue your discovery of the Dades Valley and Gorge after lunch.
- Visit Skoura and the Valley of One Thousand Kasbahs. Skoura is a fertile oasis lined with immense palm groves that provide great views of the Atlas Mountains alongside desert landscapes. It is renowned for the cultivation of roses. The palm groves were laid out in the 12th century by the Almohad sultan Yacoub el-Mansour and named after its original inhabitants, the Berbers of the Haskourene tribe. The most beautiful kasbahs in southern Morocco can be found here and many of them are still partially inhabited.
- Dine and spend the night at 4 or 5 star hote in Ouarzazate.
DAY 8: OUARZAZATE - MARRAKESH
- Breakfast at your riad. Take the road to visit the Ouarzazate region and its famous Kasbahs.
- Located just four hours from Marrakesh, Ouarzazate is the main Berber city in the south known for spectacular sunsets and dramatic mountain and desert scenery. Surrounded by breathtaking valleys, Ouarzazate was once crossing point for African traders seeking to reach northern cities in Morocco and Europe.
- Visit Ait Benhaddou. 32 km from Ouarzazate, Ait Benhaddou is situated in Souss-Massa-Draâ on a hill along the Ouarzazate River. Lawrence of Arabia, Sodom and Gomorrah, and Jesus of Nazareth were filmed here. In recent years, controlled restoration has been carried out under the auspices of UNESCO. Ait Benhaddou once served as the former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakesh. Most of the town’s inhabitants live in a more modern village on the other side of the river, however ten families still live within the old ksar.
DAY 8: OUARZAZATE - MARRAKESH - CONTINUED
- After visiting Ait Benhaddou, continue the road to Marrakesh. During your journey to Marrakesh you will pass the olive groves of the Oued Zat as you ascend to the Tizi n’Tichka Pass. Built by the French in the 1920’s, the Tizi n’Tichka Pass will take you through stunning mountainous terrain. Along the route you will see panoramic views of the High Atlas Mountains as well as fertile valleys, blue and red colored villages, and striking geology.
- En route you will go by piste to visit Kasbah Telout, one of Morocco’s hidden jewels and a famous kasbah that is the ancestral home of the Pacha Glaoui Family. Kasbah Telout is hidden on a tiny road in a small village that is 20 minutes outside of Tichka. The original zellij tile, masterful design, and collection of authentic preserved silks are grand remnants of the Glaoui family. Although Kasbah Telout appears to be in ruins on the exterior, its interior is one of true splendor.
- En route stop for lunch and visit the Argan Cooperative where argan oil, argan butter, and argan cosmetics are made by hand from argan nuts. Berber women crack the nuts and the grind them one by one. Enjoy a complimentary tasting. This cooperative is run entirely by women. Lunch in the village of Tadart.
- Return to Marrakesh. Dinner at your riad, or in the heart of Djemaa El Fna Square.
- Spend the night in a 4 / 5 Star Riad in Marrakesh.
DAY 9: MARRAKESH GUIDED HISTORICAL TOUR
- Breakfast at your riad.
- Your introduction to Marrakesh will begin in the Nouvelle Ville and Gueliz. to the Majorelle Gardens, a magical and lush small garden estate designed by Jacque Majorelle and maintained by Yves Saint Laurent. The Majorelle Garden is filled with colorful walkways, ponds, cacti, and plants, as well as a beautiful shop with hand-made goods.
- Visit the El Bahia Palace. The El Bahia Palace in Marrakesh is a beautiful building and an excellent example of Eastern Architecture from the 19th century that represents the trends and standards of the wealthy at that time. The palace is surrounded by an eight hectare garden.
- Next, visit the old Medina. Explore this charming area on foot. In Djemaa el Fna, you will visit the famous 12th century Koutoubia Mosque.
- Your guide will lead you through the labyrinthine streets and alleys of the Djemaa. Enjoy aromatic smells and venture into the souks specializing in Berber carpets, silver jewelry, handmade shoes, and leather tanneries. Enjoy a three course lunch consisting of fresh salad, tajine, and fruit at one of Marrakesh’s most delectable restaurants.
- Next, visit the Museum of Marrakesh, a Contemporary Moroccan Art Museum, or Tiskiwin, a private museum dedicated to popular arts & crafts located within a beautiful Spanish-Moroccan house.
- Evening free to explore Marrakesh on your own. Your private driver will be available to escort you to a variety of restaurants we recommend.
- Dinner Recommendations: Your riad, Le Marrakeshi, Le Fonduk, Dar Moha, La Trattoria, or Le Comptoir Darna.
DAY 10: MARRAKESH OPTION I
- Breakfast at your Riad. Visit Marrakesh’s Menara Gardens. The Menara Gardens are located to the west of Marrakesh at the gates of the Atlas Mountains. They were built in the 12th Century by the Almohad ruler Abd-al-Mu’min.
- Next, head to La Mamounia Hotel & Gardens for Tea & Lunch. Situated on the edge of the old city of Marrakesh, La Mamounia is named for its 200-year-old gardens given as an 18th century wedding gift to Prince Moulay Mamoun by his father. Today the gardens cover nearly 20 acres and display an incredible variety of flowers and trees. The hotel was designed in 1922 by the architects Prost and Marchisio. They combined traditional Moroccan designs with the popular Art Deco look of the 1920’s. Winston Churchill called it, “the most lovely spot in the whole world.” He spent many winters at La Mamounia painting the Atlas Mountains and surrounding countryside.
- After lunch at La Mamounia spend the day exploring Marrakesh on your own, or with your guide shopping in the Djemaa El Fna.
- Dine and spend the night at a 4 or 5 star hotel in Marrakesh.
DAY 10: MARRAKESH OPTION II
DJBEL TOUBKAL AND IMLI EXCURSION
- Breakfast at your Riad. Depart Marrakesh by 4×4 and head south toward Imlil. Imlil is a small, peaceful village in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco that has become the center of mountaineering in the area. At 1740 m above sea level, Imlil sits just below Djebel Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa.
- En route, your driver will take you on a small tour of the village which is fertile in spring and summer with waterfalls surrounded by greenery. Explore the small shops selling Berber silver jewelry and local Moroccan crafts.
- Travel a winding road and then take a short hike to Kasbah Toubkal. Enjoy lunch and tea on the terrace with breathtaking views of Toubkal and the surrounding kasbahs. Return to Marrakesh.
- Dine and spend the night at a 4 or 5 star hotel in Marrakesh.
DAY 11: MARRAKESH - ESSAOUIRA GUIDED HISTORICAL TOUR
- Breakfast at your Riad. Journey to the former Portuguese fishing village of Essaouira passing roadside towns and Berber village. During the ’60s and ’70s, Essaouira was a pit stop on the hippie trek from Marrakesh.
- Explore Essaouira, the sea-side medieval town with lovely white-washed and blue-shuttered houses is enchanting. Learn about the local tradition of thuya wood workshops, roam the art galleries, and enjoy fresh seafood. Once called Mogador by European sailors and traders, Essaouria is known for its annual Gnaoua Music Festival that attracts 300,000+ people in June. It also has an expansive beach for surfing called Plage de Safi.
- Take a stroll along the sunlit pedestrian main square, Place Prince Moulay el Hassan, and then on to Skala du Port, the fishing harbor, offers breathtaking views of the Portuguese ramparts. Explore the ramparts, the spice and jewelry souks of the medina, and the Jewish Mellah.The medina of Essaouira is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because it is a well-preserved example of a late-18th century fortified town.
- Have lunch at the fish grill cafes with wooden tables and benches laid out overlooking the sea.
- After lunch visit Orson Welles’ Square and memorial, designed by Samir Mustapha, one of the towns artists, which pays homage to the filming of Othello in Essouaria.
- Dinner at Essaouira’s top restaurants, Le Sirocco or Elizer
- Spend the night at 4 or 5 Star Accommodations in Essaouira.
DAY 12: ESSAOUIRA DAY AT LEISURE
- Breakfast at your riad. Stroll the beach in Essaouira and explore the old medina on your own. Visit the local art galleries and explore shops that mix traditional Moroccan wares with international flavor.
- Dine and spend the night at a 4 or 5 Star hotel in Essaouira.
DAY 13: ESSAOUIRA - EL JADIDA - CASABLANCA
- Breakfast at your riad. Take the road to Casablanca. En route to Casablanca stop in El Jadida for lunch and if time allows visit the old Portuguese cistern. El Jadida is a port city on the Atlantic coat of Morocco with massive Portuguese walls of hewn stone.
- Arrive in Casablanca in the early evening. Farewell dinner at Rick’s Cafe.
DAY 14: CASABLANCA
- Breakfast at your hotel. Depart Casablanca’s International Airport.