Day 1: Casablanca Airport – Marrakech
On arrival at the Casablanca Airport, meet your driver and depart for your guesthouse in Marrakech, nicknamed the “Red City”, which is spectacular. Marrakech’s tradition as a political, economic and cultural metropolis has always dominated the history of Morocco. Have lunch and relax at your guesthouse or spend the afternoon visiting the historic Koutoubia mosque; shop in the famed Marrakech medina souks; and take in the sites at Jemma el Fna, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which for centuries has been an incredible world of native theater: snakes, musicians, dancers, storytellers, fortune-tellers. Return to your guesthouse for dinner and the night.
Day 2: Marrakech – Essaouira
After a traditional Moroccan breakfast, depart to Essaouira (old Mogador), the pearl of the Atlantic, via the el Haouz plain via Chichaoua and Sidi Mokhtar. You will discover a mix of cultures that reflects the rich history of this beautiful city. Travel through the argan forest on the way where you may see goats in the argan trees. Visit an argan oil cooperative and see a demonstration of how argan oil is traditionally made. Arrive in Essaouira and feast on delicious, grilled fish, fresh from the sea. Stroll through the former Portuguese port, the medina (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and beautiful beach. Return to your guesthouse in Marrakech in late afternoon for dinner and the night.
Day 3: Marrakech – Behind the Doors Culture Tour
After a traditional breakfast, visit Jardins Marjorelle, built by the painter Jacques Marjorelle, the former home of Yves Saint Laurent and its spectacular Berber museum. Visit the Saadian Tombs and Bahia Palace to learn about Moorish architecture. Stop for lunch along the way and set off to explore the local culture via a tour of the daily life of Moroccan people through a “behind the doors” tour: a visit to a communal bakery, walk through a local food market, visit a traditional hammam and visit a fondouk, an historic trading place for merchants from across North Africa. Stop for dinner in the medina and return to your guesthouse for the night.
Day 4: Marrakech – Ouarzazate
After a traditional breakfast, depart early morning for Ait Ben Haddou through the High Atlas Mountain pass of Tizi-n-Tichka and Telouet where you will visit one of the most extraordinary sights of the Atlas Mountains, the famous Kasbah Telouet. Built in 1860, it is one of the former residences of Pacha Glaoui and perhaps with the best examples of Islamic architecture in Morocco. After lunch in Telouet, continue through the Ounila Valley, a part of the main caravan route from sub-Saharan Africa to Marrakech, and the narrow river valley connecting Telouet and Ait Ben Haddou. Stop for a photo near the stunning Ait Ben Haddou Kasbah, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Continue to your guesthouse in Ouarzazate and relax with a spa or traditional hammam before a traditional dinner and the night.
Day 5: Ouarzazate – Merzouga
Depart early morning for Merzouga via the villages of Agdz, N’Kob and Rissani crossing the Tafilalet and vast mineral Massif Bougafer. Stop for lunch in N’Kob and arrive in Merzouga in the early evening for a camel trek to camp and sunset over the dunes of Erg Chebbi. Enjoy a desert dinner followed by traditional Saharan music around the campfire and night in luxury tents.
Day 6: Merzouga – Fes
After watching sunrise over the dunes, and a traditional nomad breakfast, depart early morning for the imperial city of Fes via the villages of Erfoud and Er Rachidia, through Tizi Ntalghomt and the Ziz Valley to Midelt. Stop for lunch and continue to Fes through the Middle Atlas Mountains. In the afternoon, enjoy a trip to the natural forest area near Ifran and Imouzar. Cross the cedar forests with century-old trees and enjoy watching Barbary macaques of Gibraltar. Arrive at your riad in Fes in early evening for a traditional dinner and the night.
Day 7: Fes
After breakfast, enjoy a free day in Fes for relaxation (with a spa or traditional hammam) or to visit the cultural capital of Morocco. Fes, founded in the 8th century by Moulay Idriss II, is known for the fortified medina of Fez El Bali and is one of the largest preserved medieval sites in the world and UNESCO World Heritage Site, with medieval architecture, lively souks and old-fashioned atmosphere. Explore the religious schools of the medina, such as the Medersas Bou Inania and Al Attarine, one of the most beautiful Koranic schools in Fes, dating back to the 14th century, both decorated with carved cedar panels and delicate mosaics. Have lunch along the way and discover historic mosques, picturesque gates, a traditional Moroccan tile (jelliz) factory, and the city’s distinctive and colorful tanneries. Enjoy a cultural night out at Kassr Annoujoum including a concert of contemporary Andalusian music followed by a “Thousand and One Nights”, culinary session of traditional Moroccan cuisine. Return to your riad for the night.
Day 8: Fes – Casablanca
After a traditional breakfast, depart for Casablanca. Visit the historic Roman ruins of Voulibilis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and filming location for Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ. Spread out across several acres, the ruins reveal the transformation of the Roman Empire Carthaginian settlement into a typical Roman city devoted to the Roman gods. Stop for lunch in Rabat, the administrative capital of Morocco and another important coastal imperial city, known for sites that illustrate the Islamic and French colonial heritage. After lunch, visit Kasbah Oudaya, located adjacent to the Rabat medina at the mouth of the Bou Regreg river opposite Sale, a royal fort of the Berber era surrounded by formal Andalusian gardens overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Visit Hassan Tower and the Mohamed V Mausoleum, a perfectly preserved example of the architectural style of the Alawite dynasty and explore the chellah or sacred necropolis. Continue to your riad for dinner and the night.
Day 9: Casablanca – Casablanca Airport
After a traditional Moroccan breakfast, visit one of the most emblematic points of Casablanca: the Hassan II Mosque and museum, the second largest mosque in the world including a minaret 690 feet high, and one of the few mosques open to non-Muslims. Stop for lunch before transferring to the Casablanca Airport.