8 Days Morocco Imperial Cities Tour
Day 1: CASABLANCA – RABAT
Airport pickup or at your accommodation or our agreed place. First we visit the Mosque of Hassan II; the second largest in the world after Mecca, an exceptional monument both for its size as well as the elements used for its construction, built in polished marble, mosaics and granite. Its minaret exceeds 200 meters in height and is without doubt one of the major attractions for tourists in all Morocco.
We will continue our trip with a visit to Rabat, the capital of the country and therefore the political, financial and administrative centre of Morocco, where we will be able to stroll through its neighbourhoods. We can visit several important monuments such as the Citadel of the Oudayas, the Mausoleum of Mohammed V, the Tower Hassan and the souks; one of more quiet in Morocco, since the Medina is one of the places to get lost in this city. As in any good medina, is has its mixed smells and products of all kinds: crafts, spices, food, etc. With its linear design it is very different to the medinas of other cities and can be comfortably explored. You can admire its doors: Bab Rouah; the biggest and most beautiful, its interior open to the public and houses exhibitions of photography or painting. Bab El Had is the liveliest of all and is used as a pedestrian path. You can visit the medina with its narrow streets full of shops, gardens, walls and perhaps the neighbourhoods. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 2: RABAT – FES
After a good moroccan breakfast our journey starts on the road for Meknes which borders the great Mamora forest; one of the most important green areas in Morocco and an excellent place to stroll in full nature enjoying its fauna and flora. We will continue to Meknes where we stop for lunch. This Imperial city is very similar to Fes with its inviting Medina, although for an hours walk it is much easier to navigate and be oriented. It is very traditional, labyrinthine alleys full of life and its market stalls of fruits and vegetables, restaurants and artisan cooperatives. However its small size hides treasures of a sublime architectural beauty; its symbol, the Bab Mansour of 1732 is the largest door of Morocco and of the whole of Africa. We will stop to visit the Roman city of Volubilis that houses the most impressive ruins and best preserved throughout Morocco. It was declared a UNESCO site in 1997; with an expert guide we will enjoy an hour and a half visit. We will find some areas limited to the public but we will be able to move freely through the complex. Many of the mosaics are well preserved; one of the most spectacular areas is the Capitol, the Basilica and the Forum which are built on the highest part. Our journey today ends in Fes where we will spend the night.
Day 3: FES – FES
Today we will visit the city of Fes, known as the cultural centre of Morocco and the oldest city in Africa. Fes retains all its original walls and the ancient gates remain undamaged.
The medina of this city is the largest in Morocco and with more than 9400 labyrinthine streets is the largest pedestrian only zone in the world. Visiting Fes is like travelling back to ancient times, when the neighbourhoods were divided by guilds, when there was no transport within the medina and you could only go there on foot, dodging the donkeys loaded with merchandise.
The points of interest in Fes are:
The Chouara Tannery, Quaraouiyine Mosque, Bab Boujloud Gate, the Royal Palace of Fes, Moulay Idriss Mausoleum, Seffarine Square and the madrassas.
We will stop for lunch and continue in the afternoon by visiting the cooperatives of tile-makers, then finally on to the ruins of Merenid outside the medina, where a spectacular view of the whole of Fes awaits us.
Day 4: FES – IFRANE – AZROU – MIDELT – MERZOUGA
Today after a good Moroccan breakfast we leave the in the direction of the desert and Merzouga. We will cross the mountains of the Middle Atlas where we expect landscapes and inhospitable lands full of life and stories which will allow us to observe the scenery, take photos and stop in the places that are worth visiting. We will cross the town of Ifrane to which all the world is known as the “Switzerland of Morocco”, it is of alpine character with European style houses with sloping roofs, nothing to do with the traditional architecture of Morocco. Due to its altitude; 1630 meters, it is surrounded by trees and what is most striking is the nature that surrounds this small city, in particular the National Park which is well worth a stop to visit one of the more interesting inhabitants; the Barbary monkey, surviving as best as they can in these extensive forest of cedars. The landscape begins to change again leaving behind trees and its greenery and becomes a barren landscape but that manages to intrigue you. We will make a stop in Midelt to eat, after which our route will continue through the Ziz Valley; a strip of some 9000 palm trees with hidden Kasbahs that are lost between the remoteness and follows the course of the river. It is a hidden treasure in Morocco especially for all lovers of nature. It is a pleasure to be able to admire the immensity of the mountain and the erosion that has been produced over the years by the waters that formerly came from the High Atlas Mountains with great force. The contrast of the green of the palm trees with the red earth of the mountains and the small ochre coloured typical Berber houses that are all over the course of this valley and that are accommodated in a spectacular landscape that we cannot miss.
We can notice as we continue that the landscape is changing and that little by little the desert sand welcomes us as small dunes appear as we approach Merzouga. We will arrive at our accommodation located at the foot of the desert of Erg Chebbi where the welcome tea we will be waiting for us. The camels will also be ready to carry us into the desert to the Berber camp in the middle of the dunes; during the trip we will be able to take pictures, an experience that without a doubt will amaze you. At night you can see that the desert takes on a very different colour and as the evening becomes night it can become quite cool depending on the time of year you go. We serve dinner to the rhythm of the drums, singing and playing, as the big fire will keep us company until it´s time to go to sleep. So without any worries it is best to enjoy this magical and authentic night under the starry sky of the desert.
Day 5: MERZOUGA – RISSANI – ERFOUD – TODRA – SKOURA – OUARZAZATE
Without any doubt one of the greatest spectacles in the desert is to see the dawning of the day, so today rise early to contemplate the wonderful dawn, you should not miss seeing the changes of colours that the dunes are taking as the sun rises over the horizon. A visual spectacle that you will always remember.
After leaving the desert behind and returning on camels for a shower and breakfast, we head off to Rissani; very famous for its souk and for being the last commercial stop before the desert, this proud and dignified city has a special atmosphere we can almost breathe in as we stroll through the markets. Rissani has something not found in any other place of Morocco, a twilight ambience owing to its roofs that filter the late sun into an explosion of colours and rich outstanding smells of the combination of spices so well-known.
We will continue toward the Todra Gorge of more than 100 meters of height, with its houses excavated in the rock, a magical place of vertical rocky walls caused by the erosion of the water and the air during centuries, a perfect place for climbers. Surrounded by a river of low flow but of crystalline water we can enjoy this stop with a peaceful stroll. We will continue on our way to Ouarzazate by the interesting route of the 1000 Kasbahs, here there are curious fortified adobe built citadels; these magnificent buildings are completely integrated within the landscape and even some of them show high towers and walls decorated with symbols of Berber origin that sometimes appear as white coloured silhouettes.
Our adventure takes us along the Valley of Roses; very well known by the massive cultivation of roses, we will discover an impressive landscape. With its harmonious colours this valley is a landscape worthy to admire. We will continue our journey toward the Palm Grove of Skoura, with more than 700,000 palm trees; it stands out as an important enclave of greenery and life in this arid plateau. The large concentration of kasbahs spread throughout the oasis and its vicinity deserves to be visited, it exudes a special beauty and it seems that time has stopped in a bygone era. This night we will spend in Ouarzazate.
Day 6: OUARZAZATE – AIT BENHADDOU – MARRAKECH
Ouarzazate is considered to be the door of the great desert as it is the intermediate point that joins the mountains and the desert; also called the Hollywood of Morocco, since its location in arid lands is the perfect environment for recording movies. One of the charms is its medina, the old part of the city with its many narrow streets full of life and the central square converted into a fantastic place to enjoy the daily life of its people. Also a strong point is the Kasbah of Taourirt which we can visit; a fortified palace where getting lost in the labyrinthine corridors and stairways is part of the fun. From the top of its towers we have an impressive panoramic view of the medina.
We will take the direction of Ait Benhaddou, the best preserved Ksar and one that enjoys the status of being a World heritage site declared by UNESCO. Its highly ornate adobe houses are encompassed within a strong defensive wall and reinforced by turrets, this spectacular kasbah; built with mud and stones, is maintained by foot and miraculously stands the test of time since it was inhabited. Standing high on a hill and surrounded by the desert landscape of the Anti Atlas is without any doubt one of the most magical places of Morocco.
In the afternoon we will continue towards Marrakech on the mountain route where we shall enjoy the extraordinary landscapes that these mountains offer us; the colours change from oranges to greens, the shoulders of the roads occupied by vendors add up to a landscape worthy of view. We will cross the mountain pass at Tizi n’Tichka; the highest drivable pass in north Africa at 2260mts altitude. We arrive in Marrakech in the middle of the afternoon. Accommodation in a Riad.
Day 7: MARRAKECH – MARRAKECH
Without any doubt a good way to get to know this city is by being immersed in the bustle of Djemaa el Fna and imagining a leap to a time completely different to European civilization. The beautiful city is a mix of seductiveness, magic and sensuality because only with a stroll through its small alleyways can we love it.
We recommend you to visit:
The Menara Gardens; a mirror of the Muslim paradise on earth, this peaceful garden is special for walking and its main charm is located in the central area, around a huge artificial pond, the legend tells that these gardens were used by the sultans for their dating.
The Saadian Tombs; one of the most visited places in Marrakech, were opened to the public in 1917 when they were rediscovered. In the same garden you can see more than 100 tombs decorated with mosaics, in them are buried the bodies of the servants and warriors of the Saadian dynasty.
The Bahia Palace is a palace and a set of gardens built with the intention of being the biggest palace of all times and residence of the former Vizier, it includes a courtyard decorated with a central pond and surrounded by ornate rooms.
The Koutoubia Mosque; one of the most representative monuments of the city, it stands out as a landmark with its 69mt high minaret, the highest building in the city.
Jemaa El Fna Square; it will surprise you by its enormous dimensions in spite of being located in the centre of the medina. It is a real maze of streets and alleys; you will be amazed when the plaza entirely changes its scenario from a fabulous souk in the day and in the evening turns at night in a swarm of food stalls where the people were gathered for dinner. Dinner and accommodation in a hotel under the hotel category you selected.
Day 8: MARRAKECH – CASABLANCA AIRPORT
At the agreed time we transfer you to the airport in Casablanca for the start of your return flight. End of our services.
Tour Include :
- Private Transport with A/C
- Driver/guide english speaking
- Hotel (breakfast & dinner included)
- Camel Ride & Night in Sahara Desert
- Camel Per person
- Sandboarding in The Dunes
Not included :
- Monuments tickets