Day 1 Rabat
Kasbah des Oudayas; Hassan Mosque; Dinner
Salaam Aleikum! Welcome to Morocco.
After our usual get-acquainted meeting, we will visit the vast minaret of the picturesque Hassan Mosque and explore the lovely walled quarter known as the Kasbah des Oudaias before retiring to a classic Moroccan dinner together.
Hotel Dawliz (1 night)
Day 2 Chefchaouen
This morning after breakfast we will travel to Asilah, a charming white-washed seaside town known for its vibrant and active artistic community. We'll wander to the old fortress for photographs, enjoying the colorful public art seen around every corner. After free time for lunch we continue to Chefchaouen, known as “The Blue Pearl”.
Hotel Dar Echchaouen (2 nights)
Day 3 Chefchaouen
Our day begins with a walking tour of this lovely town. Set against a gorgeous wide valley and surrounded by the stunning Rif Mountains, Chefchaouen will pleasantly take you by surprise. Its medina has been lovingly cared for and boasts unique blue and whitewashed houses, sloping red-tiled roofs, and artisan doorways. Much of Chefchaouen was created by Andalusian refugees escaping the Reconquista of Iberia and reminders of Spain are everywhere when exploring its cobblestone streets. It’s an evocative atmosphere and a wonderful place to slow down and enjoy the bohemian ambiance. A free afternoon is yours to do just that.
Day 4 Fes
Volubilis Tour; Craft Demos; Palais Jamai
Today we travel to Fes via Ouazzan and the Roman site of Volubilis, once a provincial Roman capital. As we approach we can see its profile along the edge of a high plateau. Today it is the most impressive Roman ruin in Morocco and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. In the afternoon we continue on to Fes, pausing for some local craft demonstrations. At the end of the afternoon, we will retreat to the Palais Jamai to experience a panoramic view of the Medina and enjoy a sunset drink.
Riad Salam (2 nights) Note: This if our first Riad stay. A Riad is a traditional Moroccan house or palace with an interior courtyard.
Day 5 Fes
Walking Tour; Dye Pits: Medrassa Bouanania; Funduk Nejjarine
Our activity today is a walking tour of Fez, the spiritual and cultural heart of Morocco. It is vibrant, noisy, energetic, and fascinating. Made up of three distinct ‘cities’, or quarters, today we head into the old city, known locally as Fes el Bali. Medieval Fes was a storied center of education and culture: both Islamic and Jewish. Its religious institutions and libraries were legendary and its mosques of great renown. Many Muslims and Jews expelled from Spain by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1492 were drawn here. As we walk through the streets and alleyways, passing historic khans, madrassas (religious schools), and dye-pits, it is not hard to imagine ourselves back in the Middle Ages. Our visit includes Medrasa Bouanania, the dye pits, and the splendid Funduk Nejjarine, a beautifully restored 18th century inn.
Day 6 Merzouga
Today is a travel day. Leaving Fes we drive south, passing lovely scenery throughout the day. Our first stop will be Ifran, sometimes called “the Switzerland of Morocco.” Then we continue via Midlet and the Ziz Valley. During this journey we’ll experience glimpses of the Middle and High Atlas mountains and drive through the largest cedar forest in Morocco, stopping for panoramic views and passing Berber villages along the way. The scenery changes to reveal the desert as we continue southeast, eventually arriving in Merzouga. We will be welcomed with a glass of mint tea before checking in to our riad, where we have dinner tonight.
Riad Madu (1 night)
Day 7 Merzouga
Gnawa village visit; Camel Trek
After breakfast in the riad we start an exploratory journey of the area. We will visit the Gnawa people, originally slaves brought from Sudan, to experience their music and lifestyle. In the afternoon we will mount camels and, guided by an experienced camel mahout, we explore the sand sea of Merzouga. The Erg Chebbi is a great expanse of shifting wind-swept sand that’s formed into picturesque undulating crests and valleys. Its towering dunes, some up to heights of 500 feet, are the most stunning in the country and a must see experience in Morocco. Our overnight desert camp is rustic but comfortable with private bathrooms and showers.
Camp Madu (1 night)
Day 8 Ait Benhaddou
Today we travel west past ancient Kasbah ruins, austere mountains, and valleys of palm trees. We will pause for lunch in a Berber Museum before continuing to our final destination of Ait Benhaddou. You will have a free evening to relax and explore on your own.
Hotel Ksar Ighnda (2 nights)
Day 9 Ait Benhaddou
Centuries ago, Ait Benhaddou was an important stop for caravans carrying salt across the Sahara. Today its grand kasbah, Morocco’s premier example of clay architecture, was used extensively in the filming of Game of Thrones and has been listed as a World Heritage site. We will explore the site with our guide this morning. For lunch we’ll be welcomed into a local family home for home-cooked meal. For those who would like to explore nearby Quarzazate the tour will provide transportation.
Day 10 Marrakech
Walking Tour; Jemaa el Fna
This morning we will drive through the winding roads of the Atlas, bound for Marrakech, an ancient, exotic city wrapped in European modernity. The scenery is magnificent, and there will surely be calls for photo stops along the way. In the afternoon we meet our Marrakech local guide and set off on an afternoon tour of the old medina. Marrakech is a feast for the senses. Be enticed by the scents, sounds, and scenes of the seemingly endless mosaic of souqs. Each is devoted to a separate trade: pottery, woodwork, copper, leather, carpets, spices, and more. You’ll encounter the sounds of musicians, the aroma of delectable foods, performing acrobats, and restful gardens. The monuments of Marrakech are equally varied. We visit the Palais Bahia - a fine example of Muslim architecture, the Ben Youssef Coranic School, and a spice vendor. This evening we will head to the great square of Jemaa el Fna, one of the largest public spaces in the world and unique to Marrakech. When night falls it transforms into a hive of activity with henna-painters, street performers, storytellers, and a street food bazaar packed with stalls loaded with Moroccan delicacies.
Riad Al Jazira (3 nights)
Day 11 Marrakech
Today is our vacation from our vacation. Marrakech has many engaging activities to try. Or just relax in our comfortable riad. Optional activities include: Story tellers; Hot air balloon ride; Tagine cooking class; Imlil, El Jadida, or Essaouira excursions, bicycle tours, or a Hammam steam bath and massage.
Day 12 Merrakech
We begin this day with a visit to the tropical gardens of the French painter Jacques Majorelle. These magnificent gardens have become one of Merrakech’s premier sights. In addition to the gardens we’ll visit the gem-like Yves Saint Laurent museum. Laurent was instrumental in the saving and restoring of the gardens in the last century. Your afternoon is free to further explore Merrakech.
Day 13 Casablanca
Hassan II Mosque
This morning we depart for a morning’s drive to Casablanca. The bustling port city of Casablanca is the economic capital of Morocco famous for its art deco French-colonial buildings, Mauresque government institutions, and old medina. After checking in to our hotel we'll visit the mighty Hassan II Mosque. This impressive mosque, opened in 1993, is the second largest in the world after the great mosque at Mecca. In the evening we will gather for our last dinner together.
Hotel Barcelo Casablanca (1 night)
Day 14 Tour Over
Tour ends after breakfast. Imprint will assist with airport transfers and post-tour travel arrangements.
[Itinerary details & hotels subject to change]
13 nights accommodation; All breakfasts, 4 dinners, 5 lunches; All tour transport by AC bus; All tips (tour leader, escort, guides, drivers, group meals, hotel staffs); Full-time services of a Moroccan tour leader and Imprint escort, local guides; All entrances: Hassan II Mosque, Hassan Tower, Kasbah Oudaya, Volubilis, Medrasa Bouanania, Bahia Palace, Ben Youssef Coranic School, Majorelle Gardens, Yves Saint Laurent Museum; All activities: walking tours – Chefchaouen, Fez, Kasbah Ait Benhaddou, Merrakech; desert camel ride; Sunset drinks at Palais Jamai; Gnawa visit; lunch with Moroccan family; and more
Tour participants are responsible for the cost of drinks, free-time sightseeing and meals, and expenditures of a personal nature.