- The Bracing Atlantic Coast;
- Casablanca’s Hassan II Mosque, Old Medina and Habous;
- The Rif Mountains, their Peaks, Valleys and Forests;
- The calm ambience of Chefchaouen, the Blue City;
- Roam many Roman Remains in Volubilis;
- Meknes, Imperial City, its Architecture and History;
- Frantic Fes, its Architecture, History, Medina and Tanneries
- Azrou Cedars Forests and Macaque Apes
- Marrakech, its colour and clamour
The tour offers a super combination of Atlantic Coast, high mountains, rich forests, the Blue City of Chefchaouen and the Imperial Cities of Casablanca, Meknes, Fes and Marrakech.
Arriving into Casablanca on Day 1 you have that day plus the morning of Day 2 to see some of the sights.
Then, taking a thrilling countryside journey, through the mighty Rif Mountains, passing close to the city of Tetouan, you travel on to the “Blue City” of Chefchaouen.
Chefchaouen is a delightful, small, hillside settlement where much can be easily explored on foot. Narrow streets and alleyways, often cobbled, hide hidden gems of experience, all very colourful and most photogenic. You are based in Chefchaouen for 2 nights, allowing you ample time to relax, to wander and to enjoy is charms and serenity.
Moving on, it is next to Volubilis (with its many Roman remains), Meknes, an Imperial City and then to Fes, another Imperial City.
Fes is a quite remarkable old capital city with much to savour and enjoy. Fes has a captivating intensity of activity in and around the old medina in great contrast to that of Chefchaouen’s easy ambience. You are based in Fes for 2 nights.
Your tour then takes you to the Imperial City of Marrakech. Be prepared for colour, clamour, activity and excitement; it is quite a city!
A full day spent in Marrakech, allowing plenty time to see many of the city’s “must see’s” and “must do’s”. Its old Medina is the area in which there is most to explore.
Your tour concludes back in Casablanca (NOTE: alternatively, if you wish to fly out of Marrakech Menara Airport, of course, then this too can be arranged).
Arrival to Casablanca
Depending on your flight arrival time, you may have some informal free time to spend in the city, perhaps choosing to explore La Corniche boulevard that runs the length of the Casablanca coastline. The promenade offers a great view of the Hassan II Mosque.
As well as the beach, there are many cafés in which to relax and from which to watch the world go by and enjoy the refreshing, ozone laden sea breeze.
Overnight in Casablanca
Casablanca to Chefchaouen
Hassan II Mosque is most impressive with its 200-metre high minaret tower and its lavish interior with wood, marble, carved stone and gilded ceilings. Its minaret is topped with a laser, which points to Mecca, the birthplace of the prophet Muhammed; t is the tallest minaret in the world. So large is this mosque that over 100,000 people can worship at one time.
You can also visit the Old City Medina as well as the more modern Habous, built by the French in the 1930’s and a good place to find fine crafts. The Habous is most pleasing blend of French and Moroccan architecture with its winding streets.
You may wish to take lunch in the famous Rick’s Café (optional; not included in the price). Rick’s creates the legendary film “Casablanca" and has a cool interior ambience.
Either in late morning or in early afternoon, you will travel away from the coast and head inland. Your travels take you into the dramatic Rif Mountains. High in the mountains with their many deep, water cut valleys, the journey is exciting, heading ever more into "real" Morocco. Viewing stops can be made as and when requested.
In late afternoon/early evening you arrive into the Blue City of Chefchaouen, so called because of the extensive use of blue paint on walls, doors and windows. This is a most attractive hillside settlement and is a very relaxed and peaceful place to enjoy.
Overnight in Chefchaouen.
There is no need for a Guide on this day. Exploring and encountering on your own is an ideal way to pass many very pleasant hours here.
This small city is totally charming. Nestling as it does in the Rif mountains, its name is apt, meaning, “peaks”; they are all around this hillside settlement.
Blue paint absolutely dominates this city; almost every doorway, wall, path and house is painted blue! House doors are often metal studded and many houses have red-tiled roofs and ornate metalwork.
Place Uta el Hammam is the old centre of the town with a grand fountain. Here the old, bustling medina has many charming, winding alleyways. Local crafts to seek out are leather, woodwork and cloth. It is an exotic place in which to happily lose some time (and perhaps lose yourself, temporarily!).
Overnight in Chefchaouen
Chefchaouen to Volubilis & Meknes to Fes
Volubilis contains Morocco’s best preserved Roman ruins, some of which are now undergoing conservation. There is a Forum and basilica as well as many mosaics.
Volubilis is an excellent example of an important outpost city on the edge of the Roman Empire and now holds World Heritage Site status. Here you might wish to engage a Site Guide (not costed in).
In Meknes there is much to appreciate in this ancient Imperial City. Moulay Idriss is an architecturally stunning shrine. Bab al-Mansour is an impressive huge gate of the Imperial City, very photogenic.
The Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail, king in the 17th Century, is well worth a visit as are his impressive ancient Royal Stables. The old core of the city has an interesting Old Medina too. Here you might wish to engage a Site Guide (not costed in).
Overnight in Fes
Fez's Islamic University (Al-Qarawiyyin) is regarded as the scientific capital of Morocco. The University is the oldest existing continually operating university in the world, founded in 859. It is now a World Heritage Site. The university specialises in studies of historical Islamic religious texts, sciences, Arabic linguistics and ancient Sunni law. Being the central point for religious activity in Fes, tradition has it that the mosques of Fes must first hear the call to prayer from Al-Qarawiyyin before sounding their own calls.
The Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail is a palace-tomb and the only mosque in Morocco, other the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, that non-Muslims are allowed to enter. The tomb is of the Sultan who made Meknès his capital in the 17th century. It was the sultan that developed Meknes into a city of grand architecture and the Mausoleum itself is no exception.
The Moulay Ismail Royal Stables (El Heri es-Souani) are close by the Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail. This massive stable was built to hold no less than 12,000 royal horses. Ismail had a great respect and admiration for horses. The stables were designed extremely well to ensure the temperatures were kept cool and that the air was constantly renewed; no expense was spared to ensure that Ismail’s horses were given the best possible living conditions.
The markets of Fes El Jdid are a great place to explore, wandering hither and thither, coming across what you come across! It is a bit of a labyrinth and your senses will be heightened as you pass spice and perfume stalls, etc. Tailors offer vibrant colours of fabrics and have great sacks of dyes. Simply “people watching” is a fascinating pastime here.
The colour, clamour and activity of the famous Fez leather tanneries can be enjoyed (but have some mint to hold beneath your nose!). The Fez pottery district is similarly very interesting and the quality products are highly regarded and, be warned, very tempting!
The afternoon will be informal leisure time for you to explore Fes further or to simply relax.
Overnight in Fes
Fes to Marrakech
This area is famous for its Cedar Forest that densely covers the mountains. Some of the trees of the forest are more than 400 years old. Moroccan cedars can grow to heights of close to 200 feet (60m). These trees grow at altitudes of between 3,940 feet (1,200m) and 9,200 feet (2,800m). Oak trees too form part of the forest.
Living among the enormous cedars are troops of Barbary macaques. They are numerous but some patience is needed to spot them (but well worth it, to see wildlife in their natural habitat). Birds too are present such as woodpeckers, owls and eagles.
The journey today then follows the northern edge of the Moyen Atlas onwards to your next imperial City, Marrakech.
Marrakesh is an exciting, exotic city, full of colour and with non-stop activity. To spend some time in the centre of Marrakesh, in and around the medina and the old city walls, provides interest at every turn.
Options include Jemaa el Fna Square (a lively entertainment square), the Medina and its Souks, the Koutoubia Mosque (outside only), Medersa Ben Youssef (Koranic School), Saadian Tombs, Bahia Palace. All are easily reached on foot.
Overnight in Marrakech
Day in Marrakech
Marrakesh is sensational, in every sense of the word! Often called “the red city”, it is named for the natural red ochre pigment in the walls. Marrakesh is Morocco’s second largest city. No building in the city must exceed the height of the tallest palm tree nor the tallest mosque minaret tower.
There are many options for you to explore today including Jemaa el Fna Square, a lively entertainment square, the Medina and its Souks, an Apothecary visit, the Koutoubia Mosque, Ben Youssef Madrasa, a Koranic School, Saadian Tombs, and Bahia Palace. All of which are easily reached on foot.
Koutoubia Mosque is a place of Islamic worship, where you'll hear the calls to prayer that come from the minaret. Koutoubia Mosque is the largest mosque in Marrakesh. It has a large plaza with gardens and is floodlit at night. The minaret is particularly magnificent, its facade is undoubtedly one of the most photographed views taken in the city. There are gardens around it to stroll, but entry to the mosque itself is only possible for Muslims.
You can also visit the Ben Youssef Madrasa. Built in the 16th century, the Madrasa (also known as the Koranic School) was the home of Islamic students of the nearby mosque of Ben Youssef. The carved cedar, stucco plaster and tiling of the central courtyard are good to see as well as the old dorms and the prayer hall.
To spend some time in the centre of Marrakesh, in and around the Old Medina, a World Heritage Site, and inside the old city walls, provides something interesting at every turn. It is here that cultural contrasts are most evident, each one providing a great visual and mental feast. By day and by evening, this is an exciting place to be.
The Jemaa el-Fna square is a lively, colourful and bustling public area with music, snake charmers, henna painters, hawkers and sellers. The souks offer a glamorous and colourful maze of narrow alleyways. It is a place to try to seek out bargains and to haggle for best prices - it is quite a skill!
The Majorelle Gardens are an oasis of calm and tranquillity amongst lush plants in a garden developed by Yves St Laurent. Originally established in the 1920s, Jardin Majorelle was created by French painter Jacques Majorelle and is fantastically coloured, just like a painting. It is filled with marble pools, raised pathways, banana trees, groves of bamboo, coconut palms and bougainvillaeas. It is a fine place to relax amongst the greenery and visit yellow and blue pots and water features.
Alternatively/additionally, you may wish to visit the Secret Garden, a recently renovated walled garden that is rather special and has been referred to as a "Paradise Garden".
You may also want to watch the sun go down behind Koutoubia Mosque from the vantage of a roof terrace cafe, above Jemaa el Fna, perhaps sipping a mint tea.
After such a lively day, perhaps a massage and spa experience to relax and soothe might be tried (not included); this can readily be arranged for you.
Departure from Casablanca
what ats offers:
- Airport transfers to/from your Marrakech accommodation on arrival and departure days;
- All Moroccan ground transportation in private 4x4 vehicle with driver to cover the itinerary as described; your driver will be English speaking and as well as being you driver, he will assist with all practical and logistical aspects of your tour as well as bieng able to impart information as you travel;
- 7 x nights of accommodation on half board basis (dinner, bed and breakfast) i.e. 1 night in Casablanca, 2 nights in Chefchaouen, 2 nights in Fes, 2 nights in Marrakech;
- A Fes City Guide for a half day;
- A Marrakech City Guide for a half day;
- Personal Insurance;
- Personal spending;
- All other items not mentioned in the INCLUDES list;
8 DAY TOUR: CASABLANCA, CHEFCHAOUEN, MEKNES, VOLUBILIS, FES, AZROU, MARRAKECH, CASABLANCA (all taxes incl)
- Total for 2 persons: 26160 MAD (2616 EURO)
- Total for 4 persons: 36240 MAD (3624 EURO)
- Total for 8 persons: 56400 MAD (5640 EURO)
- For other group sizes please enquire