Historic Cities of Morocco

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$1,559/person

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Delve into Morocco's fascinating history uncovering the intrigues of the cities of Fes, Marrakesh, Rabat and Meknes

Details

Duration: 8 Days
Starts in: Morocco
Group Size: 4-16

Operated by:

World Expeditions

World Expeditions is an adventure travel and ecotourism company that offers guided small group trekking and adventure holidays.

Itinerary

Join Marrakesh

On arrival in Marrakesh you will be met and transferred to the group hotel, which is actually a traditional Moroccan Riad. (Transfer is included if arriving on Day 1 only. Please contact your reservations consultant for rates if you require an arrival transfer on any other day.) The remainder of the day is at leisure in this colourful city. There will be a group meeting with your guide at the hotel at 18:30hrs. Overnight Riad Celia (or similar).

Exploring Marrakesh

Today we explore the fabled 'red city' of Marrakesh, so named for its ochre colored walls. We will start with a walking tour through the old town, or Medina, and visit the Medersa Ben Youssef (koranic school), stroll through the souks to the majestic Bahia Palace and also visit the imperial Saadien tombs. After lunch, we continue the tour by car, driving through part of the new city and taking in the beautiful Majorelle Gardens, Menara Gardens and the Koutoubia Mosque (from outside only). Our tour ends in the main square, the Djemaa el Fna, which is known for its snake charmers, acrobats, fortune-tellers, musicians and other colourful characters. There is time to watch and wander through the square at leisure, absorbing its intoxicating vibe. Overnight Riad Celia (or similar).

Drive to Fes via the Middle Atlas

Enjoy the picturesque Moroccan landscape today as we drive to the world renowned city of Fes. It will be a long driving day (approx 8 hrs) but one that is incredibly scenic. Along the way we will visit the rural town of Beni Mellal surrounded by huge fertile fields. The northern slopes of the Middle Atlas are impressively honeycombed with woods, fields and lakes. Passing Khenifra and the village of Azrou, known for its cedar woods, we will arrive in Fes in the late afternoon. Overnight Riad Salam or Riad Ghita (or similar). Please note: there is an option today to take a train from Marrakesh to Fes, departing at 09:00 and arriving at 16:10, approx 7.5 hrs. Times are subject to change and availability. Please ask your reservations consultant for cost of a 1st Class ticket, including hotel transfers in Marrakech and Fes. Seats must be booked in advance.

Exploring Fes

Today we have a full-day of sightseeing in the enchanted city of Fes. We take a guided walking tour through the very narrow streets of the medina, including the Kairaouine Mosque, the Nejjarine square and the Medersa, as well as the souks and tanneries. The medina also offers the chance to purchase unique Moroccan handicrafts and samples of delicious local cuisine. After lunch at a local restaurant in the Medina, we drive to a number of significant sites outside the old city including the majestic Royal palace and the former Jewish quarter (or Mellah). To put it all in perspective we view the city of Fes from a spectacular vantage point which overlooks this beautiful region. Overnight: Riad Salam or Riad Ghita (or similar).

To Meknes via Volubilis

A scenic drive from Fes to Volubilis begins our day. We will visit these awe-inspiring Roman ruins which feature some well-preserved mosaics. A short drive away is the Islamic pilgrimage village of Moulay Idris (non-Moslems are not permitted inside the holy shrine dedicated to the founder of Islam in Morocco). Here we take a short walk to gain a panoramic view over the town, its beautiful landscape and across to Volubilis. After lunch a short drive brings us to the imperial city of Meknès. During a guided city tour we will visit the Mosque and the tomb of Moulay Ismail as well as the old stables and granaries of Dar el Ma and the famous Gate of Bab Mansour. Overnight: Palais Didi (or similar).

Drive through Rif Mountains to Chefchaouen

This morning we leave Meknès and drive north towards the Rif mountains. Again, we are surrounded by picturesque scenery with rustic farmhouses dotted amongst fields and olive groves. The town of Chefchaouen is our destination, built on the lower slopes of the Rif mountains. The houses here are painted blue, typical of the Andalusian style. We will visit the Medina of this pretty town with its old Kasbah and also a museum. Overnight: Casa Hassan (or similar).

Drive to Ouazzane and Rabat, transfer to Casablanca

Leaving Chefchaouen, we drive to Ouazzane with spectacular views of the Rif mountains and its forests. Passing through Souk el Arba du Rharb we reach the Atlantic coast near Kenitra and continue south to the Moroccan capital, Rabat. We will enjoy a short, mid-afternoon tour of Rabat, visiting the Hassan Tower and the Mausoleum of the Kings Mohamed V and Hassan II. Afterwards we will be transferred to the city of Casablanca. Overnight: Imperial Hotel, Casablanca (or similar).

In Casablanca, trip concludes

Our trip concludes after breakfast. You will be transferred to the airport if you depart Casablanca today. For departure on any other day, transfers can be arranged at an additional cost.

Additional Information

Morocco's most famous imperial cities have played a pivotal role in the country's history that straddles the pre-Arabic times of the indigenous Berbers, to the Arab invasion and European colonialism to independence. This journey traces the ancient civilisations beginning in Marrakesh at the foot of the Atlas mountains and famed for its old Medina, Djemaa el-Fna, palaces, gardens and ancient steam baths. Then to Fes; the intellectual and religious heart of the nation and the UNESCO world heritage site crammed with narrow, winding streets, tiny squares, and artisan workshops. Visit centuries-old mosques and universities, the open-air tanneries, and shop for traditional wares made from copper, ceramics and leather. En-route to Meknes we encounter the perfectly preserved ruins of Volubilis, a thriving Roman settlement until the 4th century. We take a fascinating deviation to Chefchaouen, a gorgeous mountain city in northeastern Morocco with its distinctive blue-washed homes and a Mediterranean theme carried into our next destination at Rabat; once a thriving Roman port. A further highlight is our stay in traditional riads which fuse perfectly with the historic theme of our journey.

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