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Imperial Cities of Morocco

Travel to Morocco imparts an intangible air of adventure as soon as you arrive. There are architectural marvels everywhere, including ornate mosques, medieval towers, and historic walled cities. The Kasbah Oudaya and its 17th-century Anadalusia style gardens are incredibly well-preserved and this charming neighborhood with it’s steep, narrow streets enjoys a unique location by the sea. Explore Fez, the oldest city in Morocco before heading across the fertile valleys and fragrant forests of the Middle Atlas region to Marrakech. Visit synagogues, mosques and a 16th-century necropolis before wandering the colorful souks and mingling with the local artisans peddling their wares. Visit the famous Majorelle Gardens and Yves Saint Laurent Museum and stroll the vivid spice markets and Portuguese fort in the fishing port of Essaouira. Get to know an indigenous Berber family and learn their history and way of life as you bake bread, prepare a tagine and understand their customs.

Trip Type: Cosmopolitan

Gallery

Imperial Cities of Morocco
Imperial Cities of Morocco
Imperial Cities of Morocco
Imperial Cities of Morocco
Imperial Cities of Morocco
Imperial Cities of Morocco
Imperial Cities of Morocco
Imperial Cities of Morocco

Day By Day

Day 1 – Welcome to Morocco

Upon arrival into Cassablanca you will be met and transferred to your accommodation in Rabat.

Rabat, Morocco's capital, rests along the shores of the Bouregreg River and the Atlantic Ocean. It's known for landmarks that speak to its Islamic and French-colonial heritage, including the Kasbah of the Udayas. This Berber-era royal fort is surrounded by formal French-designed gardens and overlooks the ocean. The city's iconic Hassan Tower, a 12th-century minaret, soars above the ruins of a mosque.

Starting Accommodation: Tour Hassan Palace


Day 2 – Rabat to Fez

This morning begins with a visit to Mohamed V Mausoleum, a masterpiece of the Moroccan art and craft next to which stands the medieval Hassan Tower built in the late 12th century. Enter Kasbah Oudaya and its 17th century Andalusia style gardens. Referred to also as Kasbah of the Udayas, the Oudaya Kasbah is one of the most unique sites in Morocco and is the first milestone of the city of Rabat. It’s located at the mouth of the Bou Regreg River, opposite the city of Salé, in Rabat, Morocco. UNESCO recognized the significance of the Oudaya Kasbah and added it to the World Heritage Tentative List in 2006. Depart Rabat and head inland to the city of Meknes known for its imperial past, with remnants including Bab Mansour, a huge gate with arches and mosaic tiling. The gate leads into the former imperial city. The Mausoleum of Sultan Moulay Ismail, who made the city his capital in the 17th century, has courtyards and fountains. To the south, ruined Heri es-Souani is a vast structure once used as stables and for food storage.  Enjoy a comprehensive tour of the city’s highlights such as the impressive granaries and stables, the monumental gates and El Hedim square. This afternoon continue to Volubilis, the largest Roman archaeological site in Morocco before continuing to Fez, arriving in the afternoon.

Starting Accommodation: Riad Fes
Meals: Breakfast


Day 3 – Fez Full Day

Today enjoy a full day exploring the city of Fez, a northeastern Moroccan city often referred to as the country’s cultural capital. It’s primarily known for its Fes El Bali walled medina, with medieval Marinid architecture, vibrant souks and old-world atmosphere. The medina is home to religious schools such as the 14th-century Bou Inania and Al Attarine, both decorated with elaborate cedar carvings and ornate tile work.  Fez will stimulate all your senses as you are guided on a tour inside the old town, across food and spice markets, handicraft quarters, auction squares and colorful stores.  Enjoy stops to see medieval theological schools, shrines and museums. Fez is a world of its own where time stood still. In the afternoon move to a different part of the city to explore what used to be the largest Jewish quarter in Morocco dating back to the time of the migration of the Jews from Spain in the late 15th century. Visit the 17th century synagogues before ending the day with panoramic views over this impressive city.

Starting Accommodation: Riad Fes
Meals: Breakfast


Day 4 – Fez to Marrakech

This morning depart Fez heading south. The drive takes you past the cultivated and fertile valley of Saiss up to Imouzzer de kandar with its nearby gorgeous lake ‘Dait Aoua’ and on to Ifrane, a charming ski resort and Azrou, a typical Berber town with its flat roofed earth houses. The road goes through magnificent cedar, pine and oak forests. This particularly varied landscape from north to south offers a diversity of impressions through the Middle Atlas Mountains where nomad shepherds live in black tents and move with their herds of goats and sheep across these mountains in the hot season, down to the desert land areas in the winter. Many stops will be made along this itinerary for photo stops, breaks and lunch. You will get your first glimpse of palm trees in the oasis in the outskirts of Marrakech bringing you closer to the red city of Morocco, Marrakech.

Starting Accommodation: La Maison Arabe Marrakech
Meals: Breakfast


Day 5 – Marrakech Full Day

Today explore the historic city of Marrakech – an imperial capital in centuries past. Being the day with the city’s landmark, the Koutoubia Mosque constructed in the late 12th century. The be beautiful minaret which can be seen from nearly every approach to the city due to a long-standing ordinance that restricts any other building in the old city to rise above the height of a palm tree. Enter the Kasbah from Bab Agnaou gate to visit the Saadian necropolis of the 16th century, walk through the 12th century Kasbah and its food market, bakeries and narrow alleyways. Here admire the marvelous pulpit of the Koutoubia mosque made in 1137. Continue to the El-Bahia Palace and discover this splendid home which was built over a seven-year period by a powerful Vizir for his Harem. Translated to English, the El Bahia Palace means “Palace of Brilliance”, it features a trapezoidal garden, tiled courtyard, and many hidden treasures in the form of antique objects d'art and the palace's convergence of Andalusian and Moorish architecture. Stroll through the Jewish quarter stopping at the historical synagogue built in 1492 by Sephardic Jews. After a break for lunch, you will be guided through artisan quarters and the colorful Souks to interact with the real life of Marrakech people. With 18 souks selling a dizzying array of handicrafts, textiles, spices, foods, electronics, antiques and everything in between, the souks of Marrakech are the perfect place to find a unique souvenir or get a taste of life in the Red City. Before sunset walk in the square of which the city is so famed, Jemaa El Fna, where hundreds of locals and tourists come to spend the end of the day watching jugglers, dancers, fortune tellers, story tellers and traditional musicians.

Starting Accommodation: La Maison Arabe Marrakech
Meals: Breakfast


Day 6 – Gardens of Majorelle and Yves Saint Laurent Museum

This morning visit the famous Gardens of Majorelle created by the orientalist painter Jacques Majorelle in 1920’s. In the 1980’s ownership of the garden changed to French designer, Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge. The Garden houses a collection of plants from the four corners of the world which flourish amidst elegant ornamental ponds and an Art Deco villa of which the special shade of bold cobalt blue is named after the artist, ‘Majorelle blue’. The garden hosts also more than 15 bird species that are endemic to North Africa and has an amazing collection of cacti. Continue to the beautifully designed Berber Museum displaying Yves Saint Laurent’s personal collection of Berber antiques to learn some fascinating facts about the Berbers of Morocco and admire the marvelous treasures of local antiques. From here walk to Yves Saint Laurent Museum dedicated to his career’s artistic design and creation. This new museum houses an important selection from the designer’s impressive art and design collection and was inaugurated at the same time as Yves Saint Laurent in Paris. The two museums will showcase a collection made up of 5,000 articles of clothing and 15,000 haute couture accessories. This afternoon is at leisure to explore more of the historic city.

Starting Accommodation: La Maison Arabe Marrakech
Meals: Breakfast


Day 7 – Day Trip to Essaouira

This morning depart Marrakech for an easy drive to the charming seaside historical city of Essaouira. Stop en route to see the women's cooperative for the making of the Argan. Essaouira is a port city and resort on Morocco’s Atlantic coast. Its medina (old town) is protected by 18th-century seafront ramparts called the Skala de la Kasbah, which were designed by European engineers. Old brass cannons line the walls, and there are ocean views. Known as the ‘Wind City of Africa’ due to the strong "Alizée" trade winds, the city’s crescent beach is popular for surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing between April and November. However, most visitors prefer to wander through the spice-scented lanes and palm-lined avenues of the fortified medina, browse the many art galleries and boutiques. Once in Essaouira enjoy a guided walk in the colorful spice markets, the old Portuguese fort, the fishing port. Stop to admire the skills of the cabinet making craftsmen in their workshops. Essaouira is a great place to enjoy a seafood lunch in one of the stalls in the port. Tonight, enjoy a farewell dinner in one of the best restaurants in town. Return to Marrakech.

Starting Accommodation: La Maison Arabe Marrakech
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Day 8 – Berber Experience

This morning depart Marrakech driving through the lush and dramatic Atlas landscapes for an unforgettable Berber experience and an eye-opening, hands-on adventure. Berbers or Imazighen are an ethnic group who are indigenous to North Africa. The Berbers live in scattered communities across Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Mali, Niger, and Mauritania. Experience the traditional way of living as you learn to bake bread and prepare tagine in the kitchen of a village family and get to know them better over a pot of traditional mint. Get your hands stuck into wet clay in a ceramics workshop and try out weaving a colorful kilim with the local women. Walk through the farmed terraces to see the ancient irrigation system and the subsistence farming methods. Also visit the charity pre-school center where the local children are educated which is a great introduction to the rich diversity of this region, then continue for an overnight at the stunning Kasbah Tamadot.

Starting Accommodation: Kasbah Tamadot
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner


Day 9 – Kasbah Tamadot to Marrakech

Transfer from Kasbah Tamadot to Marrakech Airport for your onward flight.

Meals: Breakfast


Pricing

Package Level: Luxury

Pricing for this package is on request. Please call a Swain Destinations Specialist to customize this journey.


Terms and Conditions

Prices are per person, twin/double share in USD. All highlighted savings are reflected in the price. Price does not include airfare unless otherwise stated. Travel may be limited to certain days of the week. Hotels and tours remain subject to availability. Cancellation penalties and other booking or alteration restrictions may exist. Please note blackout dates may apply to Christmas, New Year and local special event periods. Pricing may increase over Holiday and special event periods and may not be reflected in price grid. Prices indicated remain subject to change without notice. Prices are not guaranteed until full payment is received and processed. CST #2012413-20 See our full Terms and Conditions: www.swaindestinations.com/terms

Details

Length:

8 Nights

Pricing:

Pricing on request

Destinations:

Rabat; Fez; Marrakech; Atlas Mountains

Inclusions:

  • Roundtrip airport road transfers
  • 1 night Rabat
  • Meknes and Volubilis    
  • 2 nights Fez
  • Fez City Tour
  • Fez to Marrakech Overland
  • 4 nights Marrakech
  • Marrakech City Tour
  • Majorelle Gardens and Yves Saint Laurent Museum Half Day
  • Berber Experience
  • 1 night Kasbah Tamadot
  • Meals: 8 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners
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