Morocco Grand Tour

Day 2:Casablanca Meknes:

Casablanca is a modern, commercial capital of Morocco, and is home to the stunning Hassan II Mosque. It sits on an outcrop over the Atlantic and has a 690 feet (210 m) minaret—the tallest structure in Morocco and the tallest minaret in the world! It is estimated the courtyard can hold 80,000 worshipers, with room for 25,000 inside. What makes this mosque unique is that it is one of the few mosques in the country non-Muslims can enter. Join a morning tour and admire the exquisitely ornate artisanship: hand-carved stone and wood, intricate marble floor detailing, and gilded cedar ceilings.Leave the coast behind and continue eastward to Meknes, for an introduction to your first historic imperial city—a smaller, less busy version of Fes where shopkeepers are not as pushy to make a sale. Discover the impressive Bab al-Mansour gate and the Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail in the Ville Impériale (Imperial City). Explore the medina (old quarter) and wander its souks (markets) before visiting the Madrasa Bou Inania (14th century). A beautiful example of Islamic architecture, the madrasa (Islamic school) offers nice views from its rooftop. Be sure to check out Dar Jamaï, a palace turned museum.

Day 3:Meknes Blue City Chefchaouen:

After breakfast, head north a short distance to the impressive Roman settlement of Volubilis. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Volubilis is a sprawling complex that has remained incredibly well preserved for centuries. A thriving city in its day, it was founded in the 3rd century BCE and was once one of the most remote parts of the Roman Empire, before it was abandoned nearly one thousand years later. Marvel at the merchant homes and their visible heating systems underneath, the temples, and the nearly intact colorful mosaics in situ, including the Labors of Hercules.Carry on north and watch the landscape change from flat plains and rolling hills to the rocky terrain of the Rif Mountains. Known as the “Blue City,” Chefchaouen is made up of narrow, winding streets and blue-washed buildings, enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and friendly locals. Spend your time in the compact medina along the northern hillside and enjoy a meal in Plaza Outa el Hammam, before touring the kasbah(old fortification). As the day draws to an end, make your way to the abandoned Spanish Mosque to enjoy one last view over Chefchaouen as the sun sets behind the mountains.

Day 4:Chefchaouen Fes:

Rise early to snap unobstructed photos of the blue-hued streets before you make your way south to your second imperial city, Fes. With its impressively large and complicated medinas, Fes is a city worth getting lost in. Before venturing into the medina, take the time to visit the Merenid Tombs located just north of the city and enjoy the all-encompassing view of historic Fes and the surrounding area. You may even see leather hides drying on sun-warmed rocks. Descend the hill and enter into Fes el Bali through the well-known Bab Boujeloud gate to find a café for a late lunch.Continue exploring Fes at your leisure before returning to your traditional riad for a warm meal and settle in for the evening.

Day 5:Exploring the Imperial City and medieval Medina:

Fes is the oldest of the four Imperial Cities in Morocco and perhaps the most interesting and exciting to explore. It has the most complete medina in the Arab world and is relatively untouched since it was founded over 1000 years ago. Often considered the country’s cultural capital, it is made up of three parts, two medina quarters, Fes el Bali and Fes el Jdid, and the more modern, French colonial influenced, VilleNouvelle. Meet your guide and spend a half day learning about the history and culture as you navigate the narrow streets of the medinas.

Start in Fes el Bali at the Bab Boujeloud gate and enter the main thoroughfare of Talâa Kebira. Notice the Spanish and Tunisian influenced architecture as you make your way past shops and souks. One of the most unique sights in the old Medina is the tanneries and Chouara Tannery is no exception. Next, climb to the rooftop of a nearby leather shop for a better view of the 11th-century stone pots filled with dye and men at work still using centuries-old techniques.

Next, make your way to the 14th-century Al Attarine Madrasa, a beautiful example of Moroccan architecture and artisanship showcasing intricate zellij tilework. From there, find your way to one of the oldest still-operating universities in the world, Al-Qarawiyyin University (859 CE) next to the Al-Qarawiyyin Mosque. Though the mosque is only open to Muslims, there are a few places where you can glimpse inside to its decorated interior. Cooking enthusiasts may also wish to join a cooking class and learn how to prepare a typical Moroccan meal before retiring for the evening.

Day 6:Fes Museums,Ceramics and Tile Collective,and gardens:

Today,visit the Batha Museum.Housed in a 19th-century palace, the Museum is home to a collection of traditional Moroccan arts and crafts, including carved wood, zellij, and local pottery (its highlight). Spend time in the Andalusian-style gardens before walking to the Mellah (old Jewish quarter and cemetery). Take advantage of its location for a stunning panoramic photo of the city. Continue south to Ville Nouvelle and discover the dramatic change in architecture.Tour a Ceramics and Tile Collective to learn how local artisans make wares, from shaping the clay to painting the designs. As well as watch the tile masters at work: fitting together small pieces of tile to form intricate mosaics. Return toward Fes el Bali, stopping along the way in Jnan Sbil (Bou Jeloud Gardens)—a halfway point between the mellah and Bab Boujeloud. Spend some time relaxing in the gardens’ grandeur and cool off in the central fountains or beside the lake.

Day 7:Fes Middle Atlas Erfoud Merzouga Sahara Desert:

Start your day early and travel south toward Merzouga to arrive at the Sahara dunes by for a sunset camel ride. Along the way, you will climb up an elevation of 7,146 feet (2,178 m) over the Col du Zad pass and through the cedar forests of the Middle Atlas mountains. Enjoy sightings of the local Barbary macaque monkeys before stopping for lunch in Midelt (the ‘apple city’), relishing the nearby Moulouya River. Continue over the Tizi n’Talremt pass and into the Ziz Valley, known for its hidden oases and palm tree clusters. Along the road, you will see many fortified houses known as ksars—built to protect precious wares, including gold, salt, and spices.

Continue on to Erfoud, known for its date festival and fossil mining. Here you can visit a local collective to learn more about the process and meet some local artisans. End your day at Erg Chebbi, an extensive sea of sand dunes covering an area of 13.5 square miles (35 square km). Never stationary, the massive dunes shift and travel depending on the changing wind! Upon reaching Merzouga, switch gears and ride your camel through the dunes to your already-prepared-for-you camp. Climb a nearby sand dune to watch the sunset before returning to camp for a delicious dinner, relaxing by the campfire.

Day 8:Sahara Desert Todra Gorge Dades Valley:

Today you will have to wake up very early in the morning to see what will may be the best sunrise of your life. You will set over the Sand Dunes of Sahara of Erg Chebbi to watch wonderful sunrise. After watching the sunrise you will go down to the Camp for breakfast. Then you’ll peacefully camel-trek back to the village of Merzouga. While enjoying morning camel ride you couldn’t fail to appreciate the unique beauty of the spectacular Erg Chebbi sand dunes – changing with the light as the day progresses.Once you arrive the village of Merzouga, you will meet the driver again to continue the tour to Dades. You will have optional stop in Rissani to visit the Mausoleum of Moulay Ali chref, the founder of the Alaouit dynasty, and then you will continue to Arfoud to visit the fossilized marble factory before continuing to the Todra valley, where you will have lunch. Once in Todra you can highlight a half-hour walk to see the gorges calmly and you will be guided through the palm grove and the Jewish quarter. Todra gorges is the highest, narrowest gorges in Morocco. The Todra River has formed a gorge of enormous vertical walls of great beauty; it is a climber’s paradise and a unique place.

In the evening we will drive through the Dades Valley, where you’ll see the majestic sand castles and the amazing rock formations known as “monkey toes”. Overnight accommodation will be in a fancy guest house overlooking the Dades Valley.

Day 9:Dades Valley,Ouarzazate,and Aït Benhaddou Kasbah:

Travel along the Valley of a Thousand Kasbahs to Morocco’s most famous kasbah, Aït Benhaddou. Pass through the Dades Valley and stop in Kela’a M’gouna to admire the cultivated rose bushes. Visit a rose collective to see the process of converting rose petals into rose water and oil. As you continue west, you may want to stop in Ouarzazate, the movie capital of North Africa to discover how its nearby regions have been featured in movies, including Lawrence of Arabia, Gladiator, and Black Hawk Down. Join a movie studio tour and visit the Musée du Cinema to learn more about the filmmaking process and history of the area.

Spend the afternoon exploring Aït Benhaddou, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The old ksour dates from the 11th century when it held an important position along the trans-Saharan trade route. Settle into your accommodation in the old town, and wander the alleys and passageways in the late afternoon after the day crowds have left. Climb up to the old Granary—an excellent vantage point to see the kasbah and surrounding area. Game of Thrones fans may want to trek down to the river to see the gates featured in the popular HBO series. Long after the day crowds have left, enjoy a quiet dinner overlooking the valley.

Day 10:Kasbah Ait Ben Hadou Tizi n’Tichka Pass over the High Atlas Marrakech:

Leave Aït Benhaddou behind to begin the ascent over the High Atlas mountains. Spot Mount Toubkal, the mountain range’s highest peak, at 13,671 feet (4,167 m). Stop in Taddert to visit an Argan Oil Cooperative and learn how the argan nut and fruit are processed for various uses (and try some samples). As you descend the High Atlas, you will notice a dramatic change in the climate and landscape as the rocks change to foothills and into flat plains. Soon you will be a part of the noise and bustle of Marrakech.

After a long day on the road, settle into your hotel and spend the rest of the afternoon as you like. In the early evening, Jemaa el-Fna Square comes alive with musicians, performers, snake charmers, games, and food stalls, a catch-all of entertainment! If you want to enjoy the spectacle from a distance, choose one of the many cafés surrounding the square and enjoy a cup of mint tea and a meal.

Day 11:Marrakech Exploring the Red City:

After breakfast in your Hotel/Riad, you can start to explor Marrakech; «the red city of Morocco”. You will visit the most important sites of historical and cultural interest, including the Majorelle Gardens, the Koutoubia Tower, the Saadian tombs, the Bahia Palace and main square place Ljamaa Lfna. After Lunch at a restaurant near the square, you will walk through the souks and view hundreds of handicrafts. On the afternoon, you will have some free time to wonder by yourself the other parts of the city.

Marrakech nicknamed the “Red City” for its old red sandstone city walls and buildings. It has Berber rather than Arab roots and was an important trading capital for tribes of the Atlas mountains. Orient yourself around Marrakech’s bustling Jemaa el-Fna Square: the souks are to the north, the Koutoubia Mosque and Gardens to the west and the kasbah area with the Saadian Tombs, Bahia Palace, and El Badi Palace are to the south. In the new city, you will find the Majorelle Gardens.Indulge your senses as you explore the complicated labyrinth of souks, tucked behind ordinary restaurants and shops. Check out Souk el Attarin, Souk Chouari, and Souk Smata for a selection of spices, woodwork, and babouche (traditional Moroccan slippers). Visit Souk of Tanneries or the dyers’ souk to see how cloth and yarn are dyed using traditional methods. Next, admire the fine example of Moroccan Islamic architecture of the Ben Youssef Madrasa, a 16th-century Koranic school, and note the ornate detail of its interior: carved cedar ceilings, sculpted plaster, and zellij tiling.

Day 12:Departure from Marrakech:

Transfer to the airport depending on your flight details.

Included

Private transportation.

Accomodations for 11ights.

Breakfast all Days.

Driver / Guide.

Camel trik in Sahara Desert.

Dinner only in Sahara and Dades.

1 ight in Berber Camp in Sahara Desert of Merzouga.

Local Guide in Fes & Marrakech.

Not Included

Dinner x9

Lunch and Drinks

Fee to enter the monuments.

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