Moroccan Explorer: Imperial Cities to Desert
Fez, Rabat, Meknes and Marrakech
Explore the imperial cities of Fez, Rabat, Meknes and Marrakech, all former or current capitals of Morocco and known for their architecture and vibrant souks. Along the way, travel through diverse landscapes, from the Atlantic coast through fertile plains to the Sahara desert.
10 Nights from £1,995pp
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• Explore the atmospheric Roman ruins of Volubilis & the town of Meknes
• Stay in traditional riad accommodation in the medinas of Chefchaouen & Marrakech
• Drink mint tea with a local nomad family and see the sun set over the dunes
• Sample local food at the medina in Fez
• All flights in economy class
• Stay in 4-star accommodation
• Various meals included
• Fully escorted by an English-speaking guide throughout
• Local Transfers in an air-conditioned vehicle
• Some entrance fees
Fly from London (regional connections available) to Casablanca with Royal Air Maroc. Transfer to Sofitel Tour Blanche (or similar) for an overnight stay.
Morning tour of Casablanca including United Nations Square and the Hassan II mosque before continuing to Rabat. Afternoon tour of the city, including the Royal Palace, the 12th-century Hassan Tower with its mausoleum followed by a mint tea in the Andalucian gardens at Oudaya Kasbah. Stay for 1 night at Riad Dar El Kebira or Dar El Kebira Salam (or similar).
Travel by road to the blue-walled town of Chefchaouen, perched beneath the rugged Rif mountains. Take a walking tour to discover the kasbah with its charming garden, then continue to the cobbled main square, Outa-el-Hammam square and admire the 15th-century Grand Mosque with its distinctive octagonal minaret. Stay overnight at Riad Cherifa (or similar).
Morning at leisure in Chefchaouen’s medina. Continue to Fez, stopping en route at the Roman ruins of Volubilis, which mark the westward extent of the Roman Empire, and the Unesco world heritage site of Meknes, now one of the quieter imperial cities but once the heart of the Moroccan sultanate. Spend 2 nights at the Palais Ommeyad & Spa (or similar).
Full-day tour of Fez, the oldest of Morocco’s imperial cities. Visit the Bou Inania madrasa, the Nejjarine fountain, the souk, tanneries and medina. Visit a communal bakery and join a tasting tour through the medina.
Travel to Erfoud on the edge of the Sahara desert, through the high plains between the Middle Atlas and High Atlas mountain ranges. Stop en route at Ifrane village for a walking tour. Continue to Erfoud and stay 2 nights at Palais du Desert & Spa (or similar).
Morning at leisure. This afternoon journey into the Sahara desert in 4×4 vehicles. Stop for a refreshing mint drink with a local Nomad family and see the sunset over the dunes before returning to your hotel this evening.
Travel west to Ouarzazate with a photo stop at Todra gorge, an impressive orange-coloured canyon. Take a panoramic tour of Ouarzazate and stay overnight at Ksar Ighnda (or similar).
Depart for the fortified village of Ait Benhaddou, a superb example of traditional Moroccan earthen architecture. Scenes from the films Gladiator, Prince of Persia and The Jewel of the Nile were shot here. Arrive in Marrakech and visit the beautiful Jardin Majorelle to see the exotic plants before continuing to Palais Sebban (or similar), a traditional Moroccan guesthouse in the medina for a 2-night stay.
Full-day city tour of Marrakech. Highlights include the lavish Moroccan architecture of Bahia Palace, the walls of the former El Badi Palace, Koutoubia mosque and the bustling souks. Finish in Djemaa el Fna market square, a swirling carnival of musicians, fire eaters, storytellers and snake charmers. Farewell meal at a local restaurant.
Transfer to the airport and fly to London, via Casablanca, with Royal Air Maroc.