Imperial Cities Tour Morocco
Day 1: CASABLANCA
Transfer from the airport to the hotel in the middle of town. Start your journey in Morocco by wandering through the city center and admire the many Art Deco buildings.
Day 2 : CASABLANCA - RABAT - MEKNES
Starting the day with a visit to the mosque of Hassan II, designed by the French architect Michel Pinseau. The mosque is located on a peninsula overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. It can be seen as a gigantic building where classical and modern styles are perfectly integrated. With room for 25,000 worshippers and its minaret of 210 meters, this is the second largest mosque in the world.
Then we are heading to the administrative capital of Morocco where most of the embassies are situated. This makes from Rabat the second most important city of Morocco. The city is located on the Atlantic Ocean and at the mouth of the river Bou Regreg. Tourism is also very important because there is in fact much to see. We visit the wonderful Kasbah of Oudaia where there is a nice cafe that overlooks the sea and where we offer our customers a Berber whiskey. After this, we visit the Hassan Tower which is the Minaret of an incomplete mosque and the Mausoleum of Mohammed V. This site was added to UNESCO world heritage in July 1995.
We drive further to Meknes and spend the night in a traditional Riad.
Day 3 : MEKNES - FES
Our day will start by visiting the beautiful city of Meknes. It was the old capital of Morocco under the reign of Moulay Ismail(1672-1727). That’s why it’s one of the imperial cities. The origin dates back to the 8th century, where the Kasbah was inhabited by a Berber tribe called Meknasa. The Almovarids founded a fortress in the 9th century. Following visits are planned during the day :
- the old Koran school Medersa Bou Inania and Meknes Royal Golf Course.
- Bab Mansur which is one of the biggest gates of Moulay Ismail and the most important in North Africa. It is classified as the most beautiful gate in the world.
- HRI Souani which is the most famous historical monument in Meknes located in the northern part of the Royal Palace
- We continue the road to Fes but first stop at the Zrhoun Tomb at Moulay Driss and a visit to Volubilis, an archeological site which features the best preserved ruins in the part of northern Africa. In 1997 the site was listed as UNESCO World Heritage.
We overnight in a Riad in the Old Medina of Fes
Day 4 : FES
Our day trip in Fes starts with a walking tour to discover this city. It is the fourth largest city in Morocco after Casablanca, Rabat and Marrakesh and it’s one of the four imperial cities. It consists of three separate parts: Fes-Jdid (New Fes), Fes-ELBALI (Old Fes) and the Nouvelle Ville (the French created this newest section of Fes).
Fes el Bali is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Its Medina, the largest of the two medinas of Fes, is believed to be the world’s largest contiguous car-free urban area.
After walking around in the Medina we will begin to visit the most important monuments in the city :
- the University of Al Karaouine founded in 859 which is the oldest continuously functioning university in the world.
- the Leather-dyeing pits.
- the Merenid Tombs
- AL-Attarine Madrasa
DAY 5 : FES – IFRANE – MIDELT
We pick you up from your hotel early in the morning to drive to the south, We stop in Ifrane for a coffee and to take a picture of a large statue of a lion in memory of the lions who lived here in earlier times The city is known as a ski resort and is nicknamed “Little Switzerland”. There is also a large English university. Afterwards, we cross the biggest forest of cedar from the Middle Atlas and have a stop for taking pictures of the monkeys in their natural habitat. We drive over the Tizi n Talghamt pass to arrive in Midelt, famous for its apple trees.
We overnight in a Hotel in Midelt
DAY 6 : MIDELT – ERRACHIDIA - MERZOUGA
We drive through nice landscapes and through the Ziz Gorge composed by volcanic rocks. On the way, there are beautiful views over the Middle Atlas and see the colors changing from fertile oasis to desert. We approach the first city in the desert (Errachidia) and continue our travel through the valley of the Ziz and to Erfoud, the famous land for dates. Heading to Rissani and then to the Sahara Desert at Merzouga.
Spend the night in a Kasbah near the dunes of Erg Chebbi.
DAY 7 : MERZOUGA – NOMAD FAMILY – CAMEL RIDE – NIGHT IN BERBER TENT
You will benefit from a wonderful experience: a splendid sunrise early in the morning on the top of the dunes near the Kasbah where you have spent the night. After breakfast, you will make the tour of the dunes by 4×4 and meet nomad people. Then we do a small part of the Paris-Dakar Rally to visit Khamliya, the village of black people of sub-Saharan origin where you assist to the dance and the Gnawa music. Afterwards, we visit the lake with the pink flamingos in full black desert. Lunch (Berber pizza) will be held in Rissani, the oldest imperial city and an economic center of the area where we visit the souk of artisanal spices and products. Overnight will be in the camp in Berber tents in the middle of the Desert after having a Camel ride to reach the camp.
DAY 8 : MERZOUGA–TODGHA GORGE-DADES GORGE
After breakfast we depart from Merzouga towards the Dades Gorges, passing through Risanni and Erfoud where we will visit a marble factory and see manufacturing of the fossils. Then we go to the Todgha Gorge in Tinghir which is very spectacular as the canyon narrows to a flat stony track of about 10m wide and between smooth rock walls up to 160m high on each side. Finally, we arrive at the Dades Gorge. Overnight will be in a Guest House where you have the occasion to share a little of Berber family traditions.
DAY 9 : DADES - VALLEY OF THE ROSES – OUARZAZATE - AIT BEN HADDOU.
Start the day with a half hour walk in this green valley and between the fields and visit an old Kasbah of Ait Arbi. This is the oldest one in the valley and in this area, there is also an old clay house of Pacha Galoui of Ouarzazate. Afterwards, we go by car to cross the valley of 1000 Kasbah. After a 30km drive, we arrive in the Valley of the Roses where you will visit a traditional women cooperative where they make all kind of products from the roses. The roses originate from Damascus.
Heading to Ouarzazate, also called African Hollywood City to visit the cinema studios.
We spend the night in Ait Ben Haddou Kasbah.
DAY 10 : AIT BEN HADDOU - HIGH ATLAS – MARRAKECH
In the morning we walk through the old fortified village of Ait Ben Haddou which is situated on a hill and close to the Onila Valley. It has been a favorite background for many films such as Gladiator, Asterix and Cleopatra. The village is protected by UNESCO since 1987. Only a few families still live in this ochre-colored village of clay. Then back to our car to continue the road through the magical landscapes of the Onila valley and to cross the central part of the High Atlas (TIZI N TICHKA 2262m).
We overnight in a Riad inside of the Medina of Marrakesh.
DAY 11 : MARRAKESH
A cultural day in Marrakesh after the nature days in the desert. This town offers historical places to visit and gives you an idea about the origin of Morocco and the various tribes who lived there. The first attraction is Jamaa El-Fna square. It used to be a normal central market. Nowadays it’s a tourist attraction with traditional music and dancers and snake charmers and lots of stalls serving fresh orange juice. The square becomes really alive towards the afternoon when the restaurant stalls have been set up. In addition, this place is protected by UNESCO. The biggest mosque in town is just located in front of the square. The mosque was built around 1147 and its minaret is over 60m high. Also, Marrakesh offers others interesting places such as the Gardens of Majorelle, the Ben Youssef Madrasa, El Badi Palace, the Menara Gardens, Bahia Palace and Bab Agnaou.
DAY 12 : MARRAKESH - ESSAOUIRA
The last tour walk in Marrakesh will be at the square for a last unforgettable moment, enjoy the sun and drink a fresh orange juice. Then we take off and after 3 hours drive from Marrakech we reach the medieval-looking town Essaouira The authentic medina is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Essaouira was formally known as Mogador. Before arriving in Essaouira we stop for a nice view over the white city and the Atlantic Ocean.
DAY 13 : ESSAOUIRA
We start the day very relaxed by enjoying the sun and sand on the beach of Essaouira. Then we visit the picturesque harbor where in the morning fishing boats unload their catch of the day and where the fish is sold by bid. There is still a small wharf where wooden boats are built. A walk on the Sqala with its bronze cannons rewards you with magnificent views over the harbor and Mogador Island. The walk continues over the city walls where you get an overview of the Medina with its narrow streets and white houses with blue shutters. The Medina is home to numerous art galleries, handicraft shops, workshops where carpenters make the finest objects from the Thuja wood, souks of spices, silver and precious stones. Also worth a visit is the Mellah which is the Jewish Quarter in the northern part of the town and the museum Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdullah which holds a collection of old crafts, weapons, jewelry, musical instruments, carpets and beautiful silk costumes. Taste the fresh grilled seafood in one of the local restaurants at the port or the medina and have a walk on the beach or a camel ride
DAY 14 : ESSAOUIRA - CASABLANCA
Free Morning to explore the Medina and beach by yourself. After lunch transfer to Casablanca and overnight in a hotel in Casablanca.