Overview & Highlights:
- Explore the ancient medina of Fes with a private guide.
- Visit Meknes and Volubilis, the site of the old Roman ruins.
- Explore Rabat; Hassan Tower, Mohammed V Mausoleum and Oudayas Kasbah.
- Visit Casablanca and Hassan II Mosque, the largest mosque in Africa.
- Visit the Portuguese city, the old fortress within walls in El
- Spend quiet night in the coastal town of Oualidia.
- Explore the ancient Medina of Essaouira and its beautiful beaches.
- Enjoy the charming seashores in the coast of the Atlantic Ocean.
- Hopefully spotting the goats that climb the Argan trees along the way.
- Explore Marrakech with professional guide.
Day 1: Arrival – Fes.
Upon arrival, we will meet you at the airport and head to your accommodation in Fes. There you will take time to relax and recover from your journey.
Overnight in Fes.
Day 2: Full day guided tour to explore Fes.
After breakfast in your Riad/Hotel, you will meet your private local guide to explore the different sights of the ancient Medina of Fes. Begin your tour with a visit to the royal palace, with its seven golden doors, and learn about the significance of the intricate decor. Continue and stroll through the Mellah, or Jewish quarter, which was built next to the palace to offer protection.
And then take in the view of the city from Borj Sud, a former fortress and one of the lookouts on a hill where you can see all of Fes laid out, allowing you to spot landmarks otherwise hidden by the skyline-obscuring buildings. Visit a pottery cooperative to see how they make the unique Fes pottery, as well as handcrafting the intricate mosaics adorning half of Morocco.
Head into the ancient medina and step into a sort of living museum. The Fes medina is very much a local community that lives and works and goes about daily life in the medina. Stop by the Al-Quaraouiyine University, the oldest degree-granting university still in operation, have been founded in 859CE by a woman. Visit handicraft workshops, where you will see why Fes is considered the handicraft capital of Morocco.
This can include, among other things, the silk weavers, where beautifully colorful fabrics are woven from silk fibers of the agave plant, and the famous Fes tannery, where they process all manner of animal hides by hand, much as they have for nearly 1000 years. During your tour of the medina, you will stop for lunch in a restaurant that would be very easy to walk right past, but is truly a hidden gem. In the late afternoon you will get back to your accommodation.
Overnight in Fes.
Day 3: Fes – Meknes – Volubilis – Rabat.
After breakfast, we will leave Fes. We will drive first to Meknes, one of the four Moroccan imperial cities, which was the capital of Morocco from 1672 to 1727 under sultan Moulay Ismail. Where you will be able to tour the city and explore its ancient Medina with its square called “Lhdim”. See Bab Mansour, which was built with marble columns token from nearby Volubilis. And stop by the Royal Stables, which once held the sultan’s 12,000 horses, each with its own groom and slave to attend to its every need.
As well as Visiting the Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail, one of only three active Moroccan shrines that non-Muslims may enter. In spite of his excesses, Moulay Ismail is fondly remembered for bringing peace and prosperity, and driving out Spanish and British forces. After quiet stay we will head to the holy town of Moulay Idriss which is famous for being the site of the tomb of Idriss 1st, the first major Islamic ruler of Morocco, after whom the town is named.
Not far from there you will discover Volubilis the site of the ancient Roman ruins dates back to 3 BCE, when it was the capital of the kingdom of Mauretania. The Roman rule began in the 1st century CE, and continued until it fell to the local Berber tribes in 285 CE. The remains of many ancient structures are still being excavated, as well as the triumphal arch still standing.
There are several large mosaic floors still fully intact, and they will still reveal vibrant colors when wet. In the afternoon, you will drive toward the coast, exactly to Rabat, Morocco’s current capital and its fourth imperial city, where you will visit the Hassan Tower, which has sat unfinished since 1199. Commissioned by Abu Yusuf Yaaqub al-Mansur, the tower was to be the minaret for the largest mosque in the world.
Unfortunately, when the sultan passed away in 1199, the project was abandoned, leaving some partial outer walls, 348 columns, and a minaret only standing half-finished at 140 feet rather than the intended 260 feet. Standing opposite the Hassan Tower is the Mohammed V Mausoleum, which contains the tombs of Mohammed V, the current king’s grandfather, as well as the king’s father, Hassan II, and his uncle, Prince Abdullah. It is considered a masterpiece of Alaouite architecture with its white walls and green tiled roof.
Visit also the Kasbah of the Oudayas, which is a small fortified town area of the city, with white and blue houses, a nice Moorish garden and a breath taking view of the opposite city Sale and the Atlantic Ocean. In the evening drive to your accommodation in Rabat.
Overnight in Rabat.
Day 4: Rabat – Casablanca – El Jadida – Oualidia.
Today we will leave Rabat and travel to Casablanca, where you will visit to the stunning Hassan II Mosque, the largest in Morocco and the third largest mosque in the world that non-Muslims are allowed to enter. Able to accommodate up to 105,000 people in prayer, this marvel of modern Moroccan architecture is the work of hundreds of expert craftsmen from around the country, many of them donating their work.
Then we drive along the Cornish where you can have also walk, at its end there is Morocco Mall, the largest shopping center in Africa which was opened in December 2011, with an impressive marine aquarium that extends through all floors and presents forty fish species. Then drive to El Jadida to visit the Portuguese city, the old fortress within walls, that at the turn of the millennium, everything was ruins but since UNESCO took over the medina it has been restored to its former glory.
Through the large gate you will enter the fortress, in the main street there is the Catholic Church which is now converted to a theater, and there is also the entrance to the cistern which is definitely worth a visit. Then walk to the port gate, get into the ramparts and in 20 min you can take a tour around the hole fortress. The colorful history of El Jadida became clear especially when you see a church, a synagogue and a mosque at a glance from the north bastion. In the afternoon continue along the charming seashores on the coast to Oualidia, a beautiful quiet town on the Atlantic coast, where you will spend quiet night in an ocean-side hotel.
Overnight in Oualidia.
Day 5: Oualidia – Essaouira – Marrakech.
After a leisurely breakfast in a panoramic terrace looking to the sea, we will resume our trip toward Essaouira, which is a popular tourist destination with a white and blue seashore medina. It has a beautiful stone port area with a lot of crafts/ceramic shops, and stores that sell the Argan oil they make in the area.
After three hours drive to the south through the coast, we will get to Essaouira, where you will spend the day exploring the charming ocean-side medina which is a UNESCO world heritage site, and stroll in the beach. Visit the harbor and enjoy a delicious lunch in one of the restaurants of the fishing port.
In the late afternoon we drive to Marrakech, on the way we could stop in one of several cooperatives of Berber women who make Argan oil, where we will also see the goats that climb the Argan trees besides the way. In the evening we will arrive to Marrakech and check into your accommodation.
Overnight in Marrakech.
Day 6: Explore Marrakech with private guide.
Today, after breakfast you will start your Marrakech tour with a private guide. You will begin with a visit to the Koutoubia minaret, the tallest in Marrakech. Within the city walls, no building is allowed to be taller than the Koutoubia. The minaret is part of the largest mosque in Marrakech, which was completed in 1199. Then tour the Bahia Palace, a late 19th-century palace built for the grand vizier and named for his favorite wife.
The rooms, set in a 2-acre garden, include the rooms which housed his harem, an often political position. From there you will have walk to explore Jemaa el Fna, the primary square in the medina and a UNESCO world heritage site. Though now filled with street performers, snake charmers, merchants, and orange juice stalls, when it was created in 1050, it was used for public executions, perhaps leading to its name which can be translated as “assembly of death”.
Head into the souks surrounding Jemaa el Fna and make stop at a Berber Apothecary shop, learning of the medicinal uses of many of the common spices and herbs that are still used across Morocco to treat common illnesses. While it’s not as picturesque as the heaps of spices you find in the market, it is far more informative. Then visit the several workshops including shoemakers and bakers. In the afternoon you will enjoy a traditional lunch in the square before going back to your accommodation.
Overnight in Marrakech.
Day 7: Marrakech – Departure.
In the morning, after breakfast check out of your hotel and transfer to the airport for your departure flight.