This exciting visit, beginning and completing in Marrakech, gives an awesome prologue to Morocco’s magnificent urban areas, with occupied medinas and astounding notable destinations to investigate and incredible chances to attempt nearby Moroccan cooking.
This highly enjoyable and entertaining tour covers the clamoring city of Casablanca, Imperial Rabat, Meknes, the Roman Ruins of Volubilis, the Holy City of Moulay Idriss, UNEXCO Fes and Marrakech.
On arrival to Casablanca airport and after completing Immigration and custom formalities you will be met and transferred directly to your Hotel. Depends on arrival time we may include some activities on this day.
Enjoy Breakfast at the hotel.
Leave Casablanca for a short drive to Rabat. Your guided sightseeing tour of Rabat, the political capital of Morocco and the fourth of the Imperial cities begins at the old Medina, the picturesque Kasbah (forth) of the Oudayas, and the Oudaya Gate (at the estuary facing the Barbary coast Corsair port of Sallee) with its Museums, built during the Almohads dynasty. Legend has it that Jews came to sala colonia 5.C. before Carthage. In the day of Solomon, to purchse Gold. The Merinids built the well-preserved Hassan Tower and the Chellah in the 12th and 13th centuries. Walk into the mohamed V Mausoleum, the burial place of the present King’s father, in front of the Royal Palace.
Have free time for lunch in Rabat.(not included). Drive to the nearby private museum Dar Belghazi for a look at Moroccan crafts through the centuries. Overnight at your hotel.
Enjoy Breakfast at the hotel.
Leave Rabat and take the road to Meknes, driving through forests of cork trees (la MAAMORA).
Meknes, third of the Imperial Cities, built by the 17th century Sultan Moulay Ismael, contemporary of Louis XIV of France, whose grandiose building schemes he imitated. Visit, the old medina, the Mellah ( Jew Quartier) the monumental Bab El Mansour gateway, the Place LallaAdoua, the prison of the Christian slaves, the palace-tomb of Moulay Ismael (The only mosque in Morocco, after the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca which non-Muslims are allowed to enter), the ruins of the AgoudalBusin that was used to water the royal gardens and amuse the favorite concubines, the Moulay Ismail royal stables, granaries and House of Water (Dar El Ma) which were built in the 17th and 18th centuries to house, feed and water the sultan’s twelve thousand horses.
Continue via MoulayIdriss, Holly City, founded in the 8th century by MoulayIdriss I, who brought the Islamic religion to Morocco, centre of pilgrimage, no foreigner or non-believer is permitted to spend the night in the holy city, then on to Volubilis, imposing Roman ruins, capital of Roman Province of Mauritania and home of Sylene, daughter of Antony and Cleopatra who married the Berber King Juba II, visit the Olive press, the House of Orpheus, the Basilica, the Baths of Gallienus, the Forum, the Triumphal Arch of Caracalla, the House of Venus. Leave Volubilis and drive through the Col of Zagota to arrive Fes and overnight at your hotel.
Breakfast at the hotel.
The oldest of the imperial cities, FEZ is arguably the symbolic heart of Morocco. Founded shortly after the Arab swept across North Africa and Spain, it quickly became the religious and cultural centre of Morocco. Even on those periods when it was not the official capital of the whole country, Fez could not be ignored and never really ceased to be considered the northern capital. The Medina of Fez el-Bali (Old Fez) is the largest living medieval cities in the world and the most interesting in Morocco. With the exception of Marrakech, Cairo and Damascus, there is nothing remotely comparable anywhere else in the Arab world. The narrow winding alleys and covered bazaars are crammed with every conceivable sort of craft workshop, restaurant, meat, fruit and vegetable market, mosque and medersas, as well as extensive dye pits and tanneries – a veritable assault on the senses as you squeeze past recalcitrant donkeys and submit to the sounds and smells of this jostling city. During the tour, you will see the :
Qarawiyin Mosque/Medersa, the oldest university of the world, founded In 859 by Fatima Fihriya (a noble lady from an intellectual family of Fez ).
Borj Nord : built in 1582, this was the second of the Saadian fortresses designed as much to cover the city with a threatening field of fire as protect it. In 1964 it became a museum for arms and weapons.
The Mellah : The old Jewish quarters. There are few Jews left, but a legacy of jewellers’, brocade, balconies, small windows with their tracery of iron grille work, and an air of business gives the quarter something of its old distinctive atmosphere.
Bab Smarines : Restored in 1924, you pass through the glittering displays of the jewellers’ souk.
The Bab Smarine used to separate the mellah from the Muslim quarters, and before that marked the southern entrance of the city.
Bab Boujloud : The Bab Boujloud is the main point of entry to Fez-el-Bali. For 500 years this area was a wasteland, caught between the cities of Fez Jdid and Fez-el-Bali, until it was developed in the 19th century by the Sultan Moulay Hassan into the three gardeng of Dar Batha, Boujloud and Dar Beida.
Dar Betha Museum : Through Bab Boujloud, and approximately 100 meters walk the palace of Dar Batha, a 19th century Hispano-Moorish set in lovely gardens and now a museum of Moroccan Arts and Handicrafts.
Zaouia Moulay Idriss II : Which holds the tomb of the saint Moulay Idriss II the founder of Fez, was rebuilt in 1437 ( outside view only).
Back to your hotel for the overnight.
Enjoy Breakfast at the hotel.
Full day drive across the cedar forests and picturesque scenery of the Middle Atlas Mountains To Immouzzer, dominating the plain of the river Sebou, through the hill station of Ifrane, in the lake district, the town of Azrou with its old Kasbah and handicraft center. Stop over for lunch near the hotel swimming pool en route in BeniMellal/Afourer not included, then continue to the ocre city of Marrakech.
Overnight at your Hotel
Breakfast at the hotel
Marrakech : There’s only one world to define it: magical… There are a thousand legends which describe its history, which began in 1070 when the Saharan Almoravid Abu Baker, the leader of a powerful army, encamped in the plain of Haouz, at the base of the upper Atlas mountains. Marrakech, the capital of the south, has a mysterious and seductive air. Marrakech, a name with a magical sound that evokes palm groves and caravans, oriental markets and international spies, and duels to the death in an oasis of peace. Many are the roads which lead to Marrakech which make it a cross road from north to south and from east to west.
The Ramparts ( City Walls ) : The city walls of Marrakech, built in the XII century and subsequently destroyed and rebuilt, is about 15 kilometres long, reddish in colour and two meters thick. It has powerful ancient ramparts, various styles and many monumental doors, among which the Bab Aguenaou stands out for its magnificence. It dates back to the era of the Almoravids and leads to the quarter of the Kasbah.
The Koutoubia Mosque: The Koutoubia is one of the biggest mosques in the Western Muslim world. Its Hispano-Moorish style is of an apparent simplicity combined with discreet luxury. This masterpiece was built by the Almohads in one of its imperial cities. Today, it’s a starting point that’s not to be missed before heading out to explore the medina.
The minaret of the Koutoubia : It’s a square tower made of rose-colored sandstone ( 67.50 meters high, 12.50 meters wide ) adorned with a delicate sculptured decoration that seems just like lacework on stone. The minaret is topped by a lantern, decorated and square, as well as a ribbed cupola. The close proportion between the width and height of the minaret of the mosque bestows a perfect harmony to this masterpiece of Hispano-Moorish art which was taken as a model for the Giralda in Seville. According to a legend, the three orbs of golden copper which crown the cupola were made from the melted down jewellery of Yacoub-el-Mansour’s wife. Yacoub-el-Mansour completed the construction of the tower began by the sultan Abdel-Moumen. Another legend about the orbs says that they are guarded by genies (jin) and that terrible misfortunes will plague those who try to steal them. Koutoubia in Arabic means “the mosque of booksellers” because once, the surrounding shops were mostly dedicated to the sale of books and antique manuscripts ( XII -XIII centuries.). The first mosque, erected after 1147, was later destroyed because its orientation towards Mecca wasn’t correct. The foundation of the first mosque is still visible today. The construction of the current mosque, built according to the instructions of Abd el-Moumen, was completed in the same year construction started, in 1158, and ordered by Yacoub el-Mansour. This splendid work of art is subdivided into 16 naves and a wider middle nave. Here, the luxurious almoravide ornamentation and the décor of Andalusian inspiration exalt the simplicity and pureness of its lines. The 11 stalactite cupolas, capitals and molded structures make the Koutoubia one of the finest examples of Almohade art.
Break for lunch. (Optional)
This tour includes a visit to the aristocratic Bahia Palace (former home of a 19th century grand Vizir), The 14th century Medersa Ben Youssef and finally, a stroll through the souks of the Medina.
The Souks (Bazaars)…: The souk of Marrakech is the vital heart of the medina, the old part of the city which dates back to the XII century. It is the place where age-old customs and traditions have been coming together since ancient times. Originally, souks were divided into various specific sectors with defined boundaries and with names that reflected the activities which took place there, but over time these boundaries gradually disappeared. The souk is a magical and fascinating place where it is customary to accept the tea that the vendor offers, just as how bargaining the price of any item for sale is all part of the game; a place where losing your way is a fun, yet never dangerous experience.
Enjoy Breakfast at the hotel.
This three quarter day excursion begins with a very picturesque drive from Marrakech through the gorge of OuedOurika, allowing for stops to see the local pottery and high quality good for sale at the Berber Museum (which is a shop more than a museum) and the waterfall in SitiFatma (when accessible and for those who enjoy walking approximately 45 minutes each direction). On Mondays & Fridays we also stop at the weekly Berber souk, which is a fascinating place to see the rural trade. The journey continues along the rivers which meander through the foothills of the mountains, dotted with typical hamlets of backed clay and stones. Along the way enjoy the opportunity to stop and visit the inside of a Berber home for a glass of tea and homemade bread.
Back to your Hotel
After breakfast and check-out, you will meet your driver for your 3 hour transfer to Casablanca’s airport for your flight.
Accommodation as listed above or similar on Standard rooms
Transport by deluxe car throughout the program.
Daily breakfast at the hotels.
Driver displacement throughout the program.
English or Spanish speaking guide throughout the program.
Entrance fees to monuments.
Portages in/out the hotels and the airports.
Any airfare tickets.
Meals except what is mentioned above.
Any expenditure of a personal nature, nor anything not specifically mentioned in the itinerary.
Gratuities for guide and driver.