Imperial Cities & Desert
Day 1: Casablanca Airport – Casablanca
On arrival at the Casablanca Airport, meet your driver and visit the Boulevard de la Corniche; stop for lunch to feast on fresh fish from the sea. Tour the district of Habous quarter including Mahkama du Pacha, the former home of the Pacha now an administrative building, and the Royal Palace. Continue to your guesthouse and relax before dinner and the night.
Day 2: Casablanca – Marrakech
After a traditional breakfast, visit the Hassan II Mosque, the second largest mosque in the world including a minaret 690 feet high and is of the few mosques open to non-Muslims. Depart for Marrakech, stop for lunch along the way and 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. Continue to your guesthouse before a traditional 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 – Ait Ben Haddou
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 Ait Ben Haddou in the late afternoon and relax with a spa or traditional hammam before a traditional dinner and the night.
Day 5: Ait Ben Haddou – Merzouga
After a traditional breakfast, depart in early morning for Merzouga via the multicolored rock walls of Dades Gorge, along Lake Ouarzazate via the road of kasbahs. Pass through Skoura, a fertile oasis lined with immense palm groves, to reach the home of Morocco’s Rose Festival, El Kelâa M’Gouna (commonly referred to as the Valley of Roses). Continue to the Todra Gorges and stop for lunch in Tinghir and hike the magnificent Tinejdad palm grove. Continue across the vast mineral Massif Bougafer to reach the village of Alnif to Rissani and arrive in Merzouga in late afternoon for a camel trek to the desert 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 – Midelt
After a traditional desert breakfast, depart for Midelt through Erfoud and Er Rachidia, known as the date capital of Morocco. Visit Musee des Sources de Lalla Mimouna and discover the Saharan heritage and culture of Er Rachidia, one of Morocco’s most ancient and famous desert cities. Stop for lunch and continue to your guesthouse in Midelt and relax before a traditional Moroccan dinner and the night.
Day 7: Midelt – Fes
After a traditional breakfast, depart in the morning for the imperial city of Fes through Tizi Ntalghomt and the Ziz Valley and the Middle Atlas Mountains. 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. Stop for lunch along the way and arrive at your guesthouse in Fes in early evening. Relax with a spa or traditional hammam before a traditional dinner and the night.
Day 8: Fes
After a traditional 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. Have dinner on your own or enjoy an optional 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 9: Fes – Casablanca
After a traditional breakfast, depart for Casablanca. Visit the historic Roman ruins of Voulibilis, declared 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 current capital of Morocco and another important coastal imperial city. Arrive in Casablanca and explore the Hassan II Mosque, the second largest mosque in the world including a minaret 690 feet high and is one the few mosques open to non-Muslims. Continue to your guesthouse for dinner and the night.
Day 10: Casablanca – Casablanca Airport
After a traditional breakfast, take a short walking tour of Casablanca before transferring to the Casablanca Airport.
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