Upon your arrival at Tangier Port, you will meet your guide, who will take you immediately to Fez. You will visit on the road in between Volubilis and Moulay Idris. Today is the day of time travel! Going back in time, this journey will take you from you from imperial Rome to the ninth century to the ninth century A.D. Unlike the movies, this temporal voyage will take almost the entire day. (There will be, of course there will be stops along the way.) This first stop will be the ancient Roman city of Volubilis, and you will finish your day in the majestic city of Fez, founded in 9th century. Volubilis was a critical city in the imperial Roman department of Mauritania (modern day Morocco, and the Western Sahara) during the reign of Caracalla. Volubilis is impressively well preserved and the genius of Roman urbanism is still intact. The two central integral streets in every Roman castrum, the Cardo and Decumanus, are prominent. The cardo is the boulevard which runs north-south and the Decumanus, east-west. The intersection of the two is the heart of every roman city. There you will find the ruins of the ancient forum.
Jumping forward in time and just few minutes away is the venerated citadel of Moulay Idris, founded in the 8th century by Moulay Idris Al Akbar, grandson of the Prophet Mohamed (s.a.w.s). This citadel is considered to be both the cradle of Sufism to Moroccan society as well as the first Islamic capital for the premier Arab dynasty. Created primarily for the indigenous population, the citadel of Moulay Idris has become a central destination for those who cannot afford to make the pilgrimage to Mekkah for the Hajj duty. The next stop is the imperial city of Meknes.
Finally you have reached your destination, the ninth century city of Fez. In the evening, you will get a taste of the greatest of the Imperial Cities. You will visit the sights on the outside of great walled the city which includes: the ramparts, the gates, and the Borjs (Moorish Forts). After this introductory aperitif to Fez, you will dine in your hotel and prepare for full day tour: Fez!
Undeniably fascinating, Fez stimulates the senses with its haunting yet beautiful sounds, visual splendor, and evocative smells. The most ancient of the imperial capitals and the most complete medieval city of the Islamic world, Fez is reminiscent of a city suspended in time, unfazed by the constantly evolving world outsides of its walls. Fez owes nothing to the Western world, save electricity.
Time spent in Fez will reveal much about the sophistication of the Moroccan artisan, providing an unparalleled learning experience to those who cross its path. Your morning will be spent visiting the Medina. Our specialized guide will take you on a historic discovery of the city of Fez starting at the King s Palace and its Meshwar with ramparts and majestic gates.
Next, you will explore the Jewish quarter, a 15th century citadel with all its Moorish maze architecture and medieval glory. Visits to Sephardic synagogues and mausoleums of holy Rabbis will be the highlights of this part of town. Then, we will drive to the Merinides hill to visit their necropolis. Here you will enjoy the best panoramic view on the old walled Medina, brimful with its countless minarets to call for the prayers in a city that has responded to these calls for 12 centuries. Drive down the hills to the gate of Bab Guissa to leave your vehicle and enter an ancient world. Fez has preserved its Medina as it was centuries ago. Not even a bicycle is able to be used as tool of transportation. Only donkeys, mules and horses are able to help moving all what the city produces and needs as supplies.
The first guilds you will immediately encounter are the cobblers, the saddlers and black smiths interlaced by some caravansaries for tribesmen who come from the surrounding areas to trade and supply their needs. Down the hill to Juteya you will encounter all sorts of crafts but noticeably carpenters and leather workers as one of the traditional tanneries is not far. This walk will lead you to El Ashabine square with its variety of activities. From there, you will wind your way to the Sgha square which will lead you to Attarine then Souk el Henna and the Mausoleum of Moulay Idris, the founder of Fez. Next to it, you will visit the Nejjarine square with its famous fountain, its guild of carpentry and the museum of folk arts at the Fondouk.
You will walk to the tannery and on to visit the great Mosque university of Al Quarrawiyyine, passing by Shemmaine, the market of dried fruits. After that, you will visit the Medersa Attarine and walk to Sbetryyine, a guild of book binders, which will lead you to the Seffarine Square, where the tapping of metalworkers is still deafening passerby as it was the case for centuries. You will break for lunch then continue exploring the marvels of Fez Medina. These will highlight the Dyers souk, Foundouk Tetouani and the shrine of Sidi Ahmed Tijani. You will end your walk at foundouk Lihoudi where a local Fez family will host you for traditional mint tea in their home. Finally, you will return to your hotel for dinner and other accommodations.
You will spend your day discovering the rural environs of the Atlas Mountains Berbers. Covered with evergreen pines, tall cedar trees, and poplars, and laced with flowing streams, your first view of the Middle Atlas will appear oddly un-Moroccan. Passing by Imouzzer, with a break stop at the Suisse-like town of Ifrane, you will soon come across the first real town of the Middle Atlas, Azrou, and an important market center for the region s Berber tribes, located at a major junction of mountain routes. Your driver will take a little detour in the forest of cedar to introduce you one of the oldest inhabitant of this region the Berber apes. This may also coincide with the encounter of a nomadic family in its temporary encampment. As nomads are very hospitable people, whenever we encounter them we are all invited at least for a mint tea under their tents. At Midelt, the Middle Atlases give way to the High Atlas Mountains, whose peaks are visible through the haze, soaring to over 12,000 feet. You will stop in Midelt for lunch, enjoying the dramatic sight before you. You will then continue to Erfoud, one of the most delightful southern regions consisting of a dry, red belt of desert with a sudden drop into the lush valley of Ziz, with copious date palm groves and flowing streams. Visit the gorges of Ziz and some of the oases and natural sites before you reach the magnificent oasis of Erfoud. You will conclude your day in your camp over the dunes of Merzouga where tents are pitched and camels are saddled on your behalf to enjoy a night under the African Skies. The Rokba drummers will illuminate your night with their sensual dances and moving chants. Enjoy this encounter of Man and nature at best.
With its indescribable beauty, watching the sun as it rises over the spectacular Merzouga dunes is an experience that should not be missed. Afterward, you will eat breakfast with the Toaregs and hop in your 4X4 Vehicle to Erfoud to meet your driver then continue onward to Tinghir. Only 15 kilometers from Tinghir, you will find the Todras, the highest, narrowest gorges in the region. You will travel through the Dades valley, where in the spring, thousands of Persian roses bloom in hedgerows, filling the air with their heavenly perfume. You will also see the thousands of Kasbahs scattered along the Dades River, majestic sandcastles with a visually appealing, timeless beauty. After lunch, you will explore the Dades Valley, traveling through El Kelaa De Mgouna and Boumalne to view the inimitable natural vistas and unusual rock formations. You will then continue onward to Sekoura, where one large oasis intercepts the flow of water between the Dades, the Draa valleys, and the majestic High Atlas Mountains. You will conclude your day with dinner and other accommodations in your Kasbah Ben Moro.
You will spend most of your day en route to Marrakesh, exploring the legendary Kasbah of Ait-Benhaddou, a renowned architectural marvel, and stopping in Taddart and Tizi Tishka pass, at an altitude of 11,000 feet. The pass divides the mountains into two distinct facets: the harsh, stark side acting as a shield that protects the hinterland from the harsh, dry expansion of the Sahara, and a lush side, soft and evergreen, which collects the moisture from the Gherbi winds of the Atlantic Ocean. You will arrive in Marrakech, a city of pleasure for both visitors and locals, where southern tribesmen and Berber villagers bring their goods to market and find a variety of entertainment. To tourists, the city is a feast for the imagination, full of incomparable beauty, situated before the towering mountains that provide a thrilling backdrop. After a visit to the bustling Jemaa El Fna square, you will conclude your day with dinner and other accommodations at your hotel.
You will devote your morning to the exploration of Marrakech s many historical sites, including the Menara, a magnificent pool surrounded by flowerbeds, reflecting the image of an exquisite Moorish edifice, constructed in 1866 for the dignitaries, who enjoyed glorious sunsets with the ethereal Atlas Mountains as a backdrop. The pool also functions as an innovative irrigation system that is adapted to life in the desert. Your tour will cover many impressive sites, including the Koutoubia Minaret (which is identical to la Giralda, a tower found in Sevilla, Spain), and the Saadien tombs, which demonstrate Moorish architecture at its best. The tombs consist of sixteenth-century mausoleums, which lay walled-in and undiscovered until 1917. You will then return to your hotel for the night.
In the morning, after your breakfast, you will depart for Rabat, the capital of Morocco. This is a wonderful short drive of about 45 miles through the lash farms and nurseries of all kind of flowers and exotic plants you will reach Rabat. Styled in a spaciously elegant European grid, yet slightly self-conscious of its modernity, Rabat and its twin city Sala Colonia separated by only a river but historically worlds apart have an ancient legacy that spans hundreds of generations. Each civilization that has inhabited each of the cities has left its mark, resulting in a wide variety in architectural styles including those from the Phoenician and Roman eras. You will spend your day discovering the delights that Rabat has to offer. Your guide will take on a historical and lively tour starting at the Jewish quarter the Mellah in the Heart of the city at Place Sidi Makhlouf, the 12 century ramparts are best seen from this and up to Bab Chellah visit the medina across by Sidi Fateh St. This will lead you to the traditional Souk Laghzel (Yarn market). Your guide will introduce you to the importance of this guild on textile role in the Moroccan society. Later you will cross to the citadel of the Oudaya Kasbah entering from its 12th century main gate to explore an extraordinary Medieval Moorish marvel overlooking the delta of Bourgreg River. You will have the opportunity to visit the Moorish old fashioned gardens, traditional coffee house, and in between the Oudaya museum of tribal arts and crafts. A docent will introduce to you the traditional Berber Textiles. You will continue your quest exiting the Oudaya Kasbah and up the hill to visit the Hassan Tower and sample of the real Moroccan architecture in its best at Mohamed the V Mausoleum. From here we will drive through the boulevards and Gardens of Rabat visiting the Saint Pierre Cathedral, the Parliament, the Sounna Mosque and the Royal Palace through the magnificent Ramparts and tower standing proud and glorious to reach the Necropolis of Chellah at the end. We will return to the hotel for dinner and other accommodations.
In the morning, you will travel to Tangier Port to catch your ferry back to Spain.