Imperial Cities


Imperial Cities (8 days)

Day 1: Fes Arrival

On arrival at the Fes Airport, meet your guide and off to marvel at a panoramic view of Fes. Next, have a cultural presentation in traditional Moroccan tile (jelliz) factory then continue to your guesthouse and relax before for the night.

Day 2: Fes Culture Tour

Spend the day in the cultural capital and first imperial city of Morocco. Fes, founded in the 8th century by Moulay Idriss II, is known for the fortified medina of Fez El Bali (Old Fes), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the largest preserved medieval sites in the world, with medieval architecture, lively souks, and an old-fashioned atmosphere. Explore the medina and the religious schools Bou Inania, one of the most beautiful Koranic schools in Fes dating back to the 14th century, and the Museum Nejjarine decorated with carved cedar panels. Stop for lunch in the medina and explore historic mosques, picturesque gates, and the city’s distinctive and colorful leather tanneries. Dinner on your own and return to your guesthouse in Fes for the night.

Day 3: Fes – Rabat via Meknes

After breakfast, depart for the imperial city of Meknes (known as the “Versailles of Morocco”), one of the most important imperial cities of Morocco and former capital of Morocco under Sultan Moulay Ismail. Meknes is known for sites that illustrate both Islamic and French colonial heritage. Visit the triumphant arch of Bab Mansour, argued to be the most beautiful in Morocco. Wander Place el Hedime (Square of Ruins) which links the medina and the kasbah, lined with modern residential buildings and a covered souk. Stop for lunch and continue to 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. Explore Moulay Idriss, considered the holiest place in Morocco and of all places after Mecca. Continue to your guesthouse in Rabat for dinner and the night.

Day 4: Rabat – Casablanca

After breakfast, discover Casablanca, a port city and commercial center of Morocco facing the Atlantic Ocean. The French colonial heritage of the city is reflected in the Moorish architecture of the city center, combining Moorish style and European Art Deco. Explore 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; the Royal Palace; the district of Habous quarter including Mahkama du Pacha, the former home of the Pacha now an administrative building. Stop for lunch on the Boulevard de la Corniche and take a walking tour of Mohamed V and United Nations Squares and return to your guesthouse. Optional dinner at Rick’s Café, the mythical saloon from the film Casablanca, set in an old courtyard-style mansion built against the walls of the Old Medina  and filled with architectural and decorative details reminiscent of the film.

Day 5: Casablanca – Marrakech

After breakfast, depart for 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. Explore Jardins Marjorelle, built by the painter Jacques Marjorelle, and the former home of Yves Saint Laurent and its spectacular Berber Museum. Visit Koutoubia Mosque, constructed in the 12th century and known for its beautiful minaret which is a landmark in the Red City.  Continue to your guesthouse in Marrakech and relax with a traditional hammam or spa and the night.

Day 6: Marrakech Behind the Doors Culture

After breakfast, visit Bahia Palace, Saadian Tombs and other sites to learn about Moorish architecture. Set off to explore the local culture via a tour of the daily life of Moroccan people through a “behind the doors” culture tour in the medina: a visit to a communal bakery, a walk through a local food market, and a visit to a traditional hammam and fondouk, an historic trading place for merchants from across North Africa. Stop for lunch and then to the recently renovated Medersa Ben Youssef, the largest Medersa in Morocco dating back to the founding of Morocco 1,000 years ago. Take in the sites at Djemma el Fna, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which for centuries has been an incredible world of native theater: snakes, musicians, dancers, storytellers, and fortune-tellers. Stop for dinner and return to your guesthouse for the night.

Day 7: Marrakech Gardens

After breakfast, visit the Abderrazzak Benchaabane Cactus Garden & Palmeraie Museum. Benchaabane, a Marrakech legend, is a renowned ethnobotanist and Marrakech’s leading garden designer. His gardens were created to give public awareness to the importance of the garden in life and protection of their environment. Located on a 150-year old restored French farm on 1 hectare outside of Marrakech, Musee de la Palmeraie is dedicated to nature and art with its 100-year old palms, 60-year old olive and orange orchards, Andalusian and Saharan cactus, aquatic, and perfumed rose gardens, all dotted with local artisans sculptures and garden art. Visit Maison de la Photographie, a converted 3-story fondouk (the old inns and storage houses for camel trains coming to sell their wares in the souks) which was converted into a photographic gallery in 2009. It houses photographs of Morocco from the 1860’s at the very dawn of photography. Stop for lunch and explore Le Jardin Secret, a charming garden in the Mouassine district of the medina. The origins of the garden date back to the Saadian Dynasty, more than 400-hundred years ago. Rebuilt in the mid-19th century at the behest the Caid of the Atlas Mountains, Le Jardin Secret has been the home of some of Morocco and Marrakech’s most important political figures and is now part of the great tradition of stately Arab-Andalusian and Moroccan palaces. Dinner on your own and return to your guesthouse for the night.

Day 8: Marrakech Departure

After breakfast, relax before transferring to the Marrakech Airport for your flight home or wherever your next destination may be.


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