Best of Morocco
Explore the rich, exotic sights and sounds of Morocco, the jewel in North Africa's crown.
Arriving in historic Casablanca, you'll take in the Hassan II Mosque before heading to Rabat to tour the Royal Palace and Mausoleum of King Mohammed V. Next is the imperial city of Meknes and its beautifully preserved 11th century architecture, before travelling to Fes, where a sumptuous feast awaits you. Heading high into the Atlas Mountains, you'll travel through the spectacular Ziz Gorges to the red sand city of Erfoud. Drink in the views from Todra Gorge while en route to Morocco's take on Hollywood, Ouarzazate; then it's on to Marrakesh, where you'll explore the medina before bartering in the souks. The laidback beach town of Essaouira is next, before heading back to bustling Casablanca for a final drink at "Rick's Café" to end your journey.
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Duration: 10 days
Company: Insight Vacations
Tour Highlights: Casablanca, Meknes, Fes, Erfoud, Todra Gorge, Ouarzazate, Marrakesh, Essaouira
- Casablanca: Experience the full expression of Luxury at Golden Tulip Farah your five star hotel in Casablanca. Enjoy excellent services, an innate sense of hospitality and the most advanced technology to reach absolute perfection.
- Rabat: See the Royal Palace and Hassan Tower.
- Meknes: Admire the Bab el-Mansour Gate in the heart of the medina.
- Fes: The Palais Medina and Spa Fes is a perfect alliance between tradition and modern luxury. The hotel offers exquisite rooms and is set in a 5-hectare Andalusian garden.
- Erfoud: Stay on the edge of the Sahara Desert. Kasbah Hotel Xaluca is located in Arfoud, a city known as "the Door to the Desert". The Kasbah is listed as unique in Morocco due to its distinctive characteristics. It was built with adobes, the traditional Moroccan building bricks, and it is a great place to relax and enjoy the moment.
- Todra Gorge: Experience 'the Grand Canyon of the Sahara'.
- Dades Valley: See the castellated mud houses and oases.
- Ait Benhaddou: View the Kasbah.
- Marrakesh: Watch the performers. Explore the Medina and see the Koutoubia Minaret.
- Scenic Drives: Ziz Gorges. View the spectacular scenery of the High and Middle Atlas Mountains. Tizi n' Tichka Pass.
- Ouarzazate: Berbere Palace Hotel, Built in the traditional Ksars style, offering beautiful style bedrooms, fine food, a hamman and a swimming pool.
- Marrakesh: The luxurious Atlas Medina & Spa is set amidst lush, picturesque gardens in central Marrakesh, the perfect location for exploring this fascinating city.
- Essaouira: Located beachfront in Essaouira, the Atlas Essaouira hotel features 2 swimming pools, a fitness centre and a spa with hammam.
- Insight signature experiences
- An expert Insight tour director
- Luxury air-conditioned 40 seater coaches, with extended leg room and on-board restrooms.
- Personal radio headsets, giving you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights without missing any of your local experts insights
- Insight Flourishes - from time to time, your Tour Director will enchant you with local tidbits, each representing authentic food or beverages unique to the destination.
- Baggage handling with seamless and prompt delivery to your door at every hotel
- All taxes and porterage charges at hotels and restaurant tips
- Complimentary wifi throughout the coach and hotels to stay connected
- Included airport transfers at scheduled times on arrival and departure days
- Tour also available for summer 2016
Welcome to Casablanca
Join your Tour Director for a warm and friendly Welcome Reception and the opportunity to mingle and get to know each other over a pleasant evening of dinner and wine. (Welcome Reception and Dinner)
Drive to the Imperial Cities of Meknes and Fes
A tour of the sights of Casablanca will show you the huge Hassan II Mosque – the largest in the country. The très chic seaside strip (known as the Corniche) stretches to the west, lined with trendy restaurants and cafés. Depart for the capital of Rabat to see the Royal Palace, Hassan Tower and visit one of the few holy places open to non-Muslims; the lavish Mausoleum of King Mohammed V - both an architectural marvel and a monument to a great ruler. Move on to Meknes, one of the kingdom's great imperial cities dating back to the 11th century, its surroundings remain unchanged for centuries. Stand before the Bab el-Mansour, the monumental entrance to the imperial city and focal point of Place El-Hedim. Continue to Fes and by treated to a superb Moroccan feast and traditional folklore show. In an ancient palace at the entrance to the medina, a colourful array of meze plates, aromatic tagines, exotic fruits and wine are laid before you, amidst a carnival-like atmosphere of belly dancers, drums and authentic music. A truly unforgettable experience! (Breakfast)
This day is packed with fantastic sights, sounds and aromas as you tour the well-preserved university city, that had its golden age in the 14th century.
Travel up to the Royal Palace for panoramic views over the old town (Medina), see one of the oldest universities in the world and walk through the labyrinthine streets, taking time to haggle in the bazaar. Oriental rugs are an attraction for bargain hunters, so learn about the ancient craft of carpet making, see artisans at work and gain an insight into the motifs and kaleidoscopic colours used in the designs. The tanneries of Fes have been turning out high quality leather for centuries. Indeed, the pungent smell from the balcony overlooking the vivid palette of stoney vats and dyes, suggests a scene unchanged since medieval times. Fes is often regarded as the pottery capital of Morocco. Watch the artisans at work, each creating their own unique designs before moving on to witness the age-old technique of bread making. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Journey through the Ziz Gorges to Erfoud
Leave the bustle of the city behind and head for the spectacular snow-capped High Atlas Mountains.
Pass through Ifrane before reaching the great cedar forests of Azrou. After lunch (included) at Midelt, continue up through the magnificent Ziz Gorges, past palm-fringed towns to Er Rachidia, built by the French at an important crossroads. Your destination is Erfoud, where the red sand buildings contrast against the surrounding desert. In the evening, there is the option to meet the nomadic desert dwellers and marvel at the glorious Sahara sunset on a 4-wheel drive optional experience. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Travel to Todra Gorge and on to Ouarzazate
Venture towards the oasis of Tinehir before taking a detour to explore the Todra Gorge – the Grand Canyon of the Sahara.
At Boumalne-du-Dades, encounter the dry rugged Dades Valley, dotted with oases of figs, olives, date palms and castellated mud houses hugging the slopes. En-route, lunch is included. Stop for Berber tea at the house of a respected local religious leader (Imam) for a personal insight into his daily life and beliefs. Your 'Road of a Thousand Kasbahs' concludes at Ouarzazate, film capital of Morocco, with everything from Lawrence of Arabia to Star Wars being filmed here. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
On the Road to Marrakesh
Get your cameras ready as you stop at the village of Aït Benhaddou, boasting one of Morocco's finest kasbahs. Continue via the spectacular Tizi n'Tichka Pass before descending past charming mountain villages, dense woods and green fields to the ochre-coloured city of Marrakesh. (Breakfast)
Marrakesh, Pearl of the South
The next day's sightseeing starts in the bustling Djemaa El Fna Square.
After some time to watch the dancers, snake charmers, storytellers and acrobats, explore the Medina, seeing the Koutoubia Mosque, with a minaret that dominates the Marrakesh skyline. Then visit the Palais de la Bahia, built in the late 19th century, intended to be the greatest palace of its time. Later enjoy free time to visit a museum or haggle in the souks. In the evening, perhaps take a charming horse and carriage ride to a vibrant restaurant on the main square for a slew of classic Moroccan dishes and an ambiance arabesque of twirling belly dancers with plates of lit candles on their heads. (Breakfast)
Drive to Elegant Essaouira
Say goodbye to the snake charmers of Marrakesh and venture to the laid-back fishing town of Essaouira.
After checking into your hotel, why not spend the afternoon navigating the narrow alleyways, exploring the busy fishing port or maybe just relaxing on the beach. In the evening, you could sample the local seafood and wine at a waterside restaurant. (Breakfast)
Return to Casablanca
Now you've experienced the traditional charms of the country, Casablanca is a fascinating place to return to, offering a unique insight into modern Morocco.
At night, 'of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world', there really is only one place to be. Please join your Tour Director at Rick's Café, recreated from the famous movie. Enjoy a hearty Celebration Dinner including drinks and, no doubt, a rendition of 'As Time Goes By'. Here's looking at you kid. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Au revoir Casablanca
Departure transfers arrive at Casablanca Airport. (Breakfast)