The Grand Tour of Morocco

Duration: 14 days

Highlights: Marrakech, Asni, Essaouira, Safi, Oualidia, Casablanca, Tangier, Chefchaoen, Fes, Meknes, Volubilis, Rabat.

From the imperial cities, famous mosques and historical monuments, to the coastal towns and the Atlas Mountains - this programme covers it all.

 

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Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive Marrakech

Upon arrival in Marrakech your guide will transfer you to your hotel where you are at leisure for the rest of the day.

Marrakech is the main city of the south, also known as “the red city” due to the colours of the buildings. Founded by the Almoravid Berbers of the Western Sahara in 1062, it is one of the world’s great cities, a place of legend and popularity that still manages to remain charged with mystery. The surrounding countryside, the flat plains, the High Atlas Mountains, they all provide an unforgettable backdrop to one of the most sophisticated cities in Africa.

Meal Plan: B

 

Day 2 - Marrakech

After breakfast begin your sightseeing of Marrakech. First stop is the Koutoubia Mosque. Koutoubia’s minaret went on to inspire the architects of the Giralda of Seville and the Hassan Tower of Rabat.


Your next stop is the Badii Palace. The construction of this sumptuous palace lasted from 1578 to 1603. The richest materials were used to decorate the 360 rooms of the princely complex.

Visit the Bahia Palace, a small piece of folly ordered in 1880 by the great vizier Sidi Moussa. A remarkable example of Moroccan architecture in the 19th century, it took 15 years to complete and gives a good idea of how the privileged lived during this time. Continue on to the Dar Si Said Museum, a smaller version of the Bahia Palace.

Your day is not complete without ending up at the Djemâa el Fna square, with stalls of dried fruit or orange juice freshly pressed before you, and the multitude of small restaurants that take over its centre from early evening. No one really knows how it came into being, but over the years it has become the beating heart of Marrakech, where fire eaters, mime artists, snake charmers and street musicians perform at every turn.

Meal Plan: B

 

Day 3 - Marrakech

Today tour the beautiful gardens hidden behind large walls in the city of Marrakech. First, visit the Menara Gardens which cover an area of 250 acres and are planted with olive trees. They are located west of Marrakech at the gates of the Atlas Mountains and were originally built in the 12th century by the Almohad ruler Abd al-Mu'min.

You will also visit the Majorelle Gardens in the northeast of Gueliz.  These gardens were created by French painter Jacques Majorelle in 1924 and later opened to the public in 1947.

A car and guide are at your disposal all day to allow for more time for shopping or other activities in the afternoon.

Meal Plan: B

 

Day 4 - Marrakech

Today is completely at leisure. Your car and driver are at your disposal for the entire day should you wish to arrange something.

Meal Plan: B

 

Day 5 - Marrakech - Asni - Marrakech

Today enjoy a scenic drive to the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. Take a tour around Asni, a small village which is overlooked by Mount Toubkal. See real Berber life in the local mountain villages, the people here survive by farming their terraces set high into the hills.

After lunch at a kasbah in the mountains, return back to Marrakech.

Meal Plan: B

 

Day 6 - Marrakech - Essaouira

Today you will visit Essaouira, an attractive coastal town rich in history. Its islands were inhabited as early as the 7th century BC.  Pottery found here proves the presence of both Carthaginians and Phoenicians. The Portuguese fortified the city in the 16th century and named it Mogador, and in 1506 the Portuguese King Manuel built an impressive fortress on the site.  

When you arrive in Essaouira, check-in at your hotel before setting off on a tour of with your guide and private vehicle. The rest of the evening is yours to enjoy as you please.

Meal Plan: B

 

Day 7 - Essaouira - Oualidia - Safi - Casablanca

Enjoy a scenic coastal drive today from Essaouira to Casablanca, en route stop at the little coastal villages of Oualidia and Safi.

Oualidia is spread around the southern shores of an 11 kilometre inland lagoon, which is flanked by a kasbah built in 1634. This small village is the main oyster hub of Morocco.

Safi, which was ruled by the Portuguese between 1488 and 1541, is now a main port for the country's sardine industry and also for exporting phosphates, textiles and ceramics. Take a small rest here before continuing your journey to Casablanca.

Meal Plan: B

 

Day 8 - Casablanca - Tangier

Before leaving for Tangier, you will tour the splendid Hassan II Mosque (the only mosque that can be visited by non-Muslims in Morocco). Your sightseeing includes the Place Mohammed V, the Place des Nations-Unies and the Arab League Park. You will also visit the Quartier Habbous (the new medina), the Old Medina and Old Muslim town.

Upon arrival in Tangier, a car and driver are at your disposal for the entire day.

Meal Plan: B

 

Day 9 - Tangier

Today enjoy a full day tour with a private vehicle and guide. Your sightseeing includes visits to many of the areas main attractions including the Medina, Petit Socco, the Museum of Moroccan Arts, the market square, the Kasbah, a chance to wander through the Grand Socco (market) and a stop to enjoy the view of the Bay of Tangier. 

This afternoon, your sightseeing includes visits to Cape Spartel (where the Mediterranean and Atlantic meet) and the Caves of Hercules, where legend says that Hercules rested after creating the Straits of Gibraltar.

Meal Plan: B

 

Day 10 - Tangier - Chefchaoen - Fes

You will depart Tangier today and travel overland toward Fes. En route you stop in the city of Chefchaouen for some sightseeing. One distinction possessed by Chefchaouen is its blue-rinsed houses and buildings, a tradition that comes from the town's former Jewish population. Continue on to Fes after your tour has concluded.

Once you have arrived at your hotel take time to relax, the rest of the evening is at leisure.

Meal Plan: B

 

Day 11 - Fes

Today take a step back in time to the Middle Ages when you visit Fes El Bali, the largest living medieval medina, and the cultural heart of Morocco. Moulay Idriss I founded the city in the 8th century.  The imperial capital was a renowned centre of medieval learning and at its heart was the Karaouine, one of the oldest universities in the world. In the neighbouring building is the Attarine Medersa (Koranic college), a jewel of Hispano-Moorish architecture, built in the 14th century. The medieval medina is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Your morning of sightseeing also includes visits to the Nejjarine Square, with its beautiful fountain with elaborate mosaics, and the nearby Fondouq, now converted to a museum of carpentry artifacts.

After lunch, your sightseeing continues with a visit to Dar Batha and the Museum of Moroccan Arts which houses historical and artistic collections of woodcarvings, embroidery, tribal carpets and ceramics. 


Next visit Fezs El Jedid (New Fes), built by the Merinid Dynasty in the 13th century.  Here you will see the royal palace, mosques, medersas (schools), souks and the city wall.  Most notably, Fes El Jedid is home to the Mellah, the old Jewish quarter, which provides an interesting insight into Jewish architecture.

Meal Plan: B

 

Day 12 - Fes - Meknes - Volubilis - Fes

After breakfast, meet your guide and travel by private vehicle to Meknes, another imperial city of Morocco. Visit the granaries and stables of the great Moulay Ismail. The city walls of Meknes stretch for 25 kilometres  and are interspersed with ceremonial, fortress-style and utilitarian gates. The most spectacular gate is Bab Masour, named after the architect, a Christian slave converted to Islam. Also peer into his lavish mausoleum.


After lunch head to Volubilis, the site of the largest and most well preserved Roman ruins in Morocco. This was a key Roman outpost looking over the valleys and mountains. The evocative ruins include a Roman olive factory with storage facilities and foundations of the luxurious House of Orpheus showing sophisticated plumbing and heating systems. However the greatest treasures of Volubilis are the superb mosaic floors, which have been excellently preserved.

After sightseeing head back to Fes.

Meal Plan: B

 

Day 13 - Fes - Rabat

 Travel overland to Rabat today. Upon arrival explore the superbly preserved relics of Rabat’s Moorish past.

The city's most famous site is the massive minaret of Hassan, dating from 1195, which towers over Rabat. The huge mosque itself was never entirely completed and was largely destroyed in an earthquake in 1755. Next, visit the Mausoleum of Mohammed V, one of the great monuments of modern Morocco, inaugurated in 1967. The deceased king lies entombed in white onyx, surrounded by royal guards.

After lunch, continue on to the Kasbah des Ouadayas. It was the Almohad citadel of medieval Rabat, and is guarded by an impressive arched gate built around 1195. Inside the Kasbah are the palace and Andalucian gardens, as well as a broad terrace where you can enjoy the beautiful views of the river and sea.

Finally, visit Chellah. Emerging from the boulevards of the Ville Nouvelle, these ruins were once the thriving walled Roman port city of Sala Colonia, abandoned in 1154 in favour of Sale across the other side of the river mouth.

Meal Plan: B

 

Day 14 - Depart  Casablanca

Transfer to the airport for your departure flight.

Meal Plan: B

 

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