Morocco Cultural and Landscapes Tour

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MOROCCO CULTURAL AND LANDSCAPES TOUR

Discover the best of Morocco cultural and historical encounters in diverse landscapes

Morocco offers the ultimate quest for those in search of new horizons. Visiting Morocco is a fascinating journey that will forever change one’s perspectives and perceptions. With its ever-changing natural beauty and intricate, rich history, Morocco is the ideal catalyst for the curious and open-minded traveler.

This 15-day grand tour is an excellent introduction to Morocco’s diverse landscapes through walking, hiking, camping over the dunes in the Sahara Desert, and staying in deluxe hotels and riads.

You will start this grand tour in Casablanca, traveling across the great farming plains to Rabat. From there, you will travel through the pastured hills to Fez. From Fez, start climbing towards the peaks of the evergreen middle Atlas Mountains, which are covered with the unique red cedar forest that is home to many nomadic tribes. The landscape and architecture are so un-Moroccan that you might almost feel like you are in the Alps of Switzerland.

From these vistas, you will reach higher snow-capped peaks in the high Atlas Mountains, eventually leading you to their eastern exposure to the expanse of the Sahara Desert. Throughout your journey, you will explore the significant historic imperial cities, Berber villages and wards, oases and valleys, and the most dramatic Sahara dunes. If you are a traveler who likes to mix culture, activity, and encounters with locals, then this tiny group discovery tour of Morocco is for you.

DAY TO DAY ITINERARY

Day 1Landing in Casablanca - Casablanca City Tour

Once you land at the Mohamed V Airport in Casablanca, your guide will meet you at your arrival gate to take you immediately to check-in to your hotel. The remainder of the morning will be spent relaxing and acclimating. In the afternoon, your guide will bring you on a monumental tour exploring Casablanca, the largest port of the Maghreb and “capital in all but administration.” next, you will visit the Habous quarter to be introduced to your first Spanish Moorish ambiance of a lively market in old Casablanca, then, of course, the art deco colonial downtown with the natural flavor of the mystic French connection.

Your guide will introduce you to the la Corniche and Ain Diab shorelines. This will give you an idea of the creative architecture in neighborhoods of the well-off Moroccans of the Anfa quarter and the inclusive resort of la Corniche. And, of course, you will not miss the great mosque of Hassan II, the second-largest mosque in the world. Finally, you will return to your hotel for dinner.

Day 2Travel from Casablanca to Rabat

Today’s excursion is a beautiful short drive of about 45 miles through the lush farms and nurseries of exotic plants. You will reach Rabat, the capital of Morocco, a city styled in a spaciously elegant European grid, yet slightly aware of its modernity. Rabat and its twin city, Sala Colonia, are separated by only a river but are historically worlds apart. They have an ancient legacy that spans hundreds of generations. Each civilization that has inhabited each city has left its imprints, resulting in a wide variety of architectural styles, from the Phoenician and Roman eras to the Art Deco and modern skyscrapers.

Your guide will take you on a historical and lively tour of the Muslim Market called Souika in the city’s heart, starting at Sidi Makhlouf. The 12-century ramparts are best seen from this landmark. Walk up to Bab Chellah in the medina and cross Sidi Fateh St. This will lead you to the traditional souk label (yarn market). He will introduce you to the importance of this conventional guild on a textile role in Moroccan society.

Proceed on your guided visit to Rabat; 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 can visit the old-fashioned Moorish gardens, stop in a traditional coffee house for mint tea, and explore the Oudaya Museum of tribal arts and Crafts, where you will discover the beauty of conventional Berber textiles.

You will continue your quest by exiting the Oudaya Kasbah and going up the hill to visit the Hassan Tower and Mohamed the V mausoleum, an emblem of Moroccan architectural arts and crafts at its finest. You will reach the royal palace and the Chellah cemetery at the end of your tour. After touring Rabat, you will return to the hotel for dinner and accommodations.

Day 3Travel to Fez to explore Volubilis and Meknes

Your excursion for the day traveling east in the hinterland will cover most of the highlights of ancient history. The first stop will be the ancient Roman city of Volubilis.  Volubilis was a critical city in the imperial Roman department of Mauritania (modern-day Morocco and 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 north-south boulevard, and the Decumanus is east-west. The intersection of the two is the heart of every Roman city. There, you will find the ruins of the ancient forum.

The holy citadel of Moulay Idriss is nestled in the neighboring hills of the vicinity. Founded in the 8th century by Moulay Idris al Akbar, grandson of the prophet Mohamed (s.a.w.s), this citadel is both the cradle of Sufism to Moroccan society as well as the first Islamic capital for the premier Arab dynasty. The city was created primarily for the indigenous population that migrated with Moulay Idris from the Middle East.

You will drive around 15 miles to the next stop, the imperial city of Meknes. Meknes is a 17th-century city built by Moulay Ismail to rival the ancient Moorish city of Fez. However, the monumental grandiose of Meknes and the power of its founder, King Moulay Ismail Meknes, always lived in the shadow of Fez. Meknes is a royal metropolis considered to be the Versailles of Morocco.

Eventually, you will reach your destination, the ninth-century city of Fez. In the evening, you will taste the greatest of the imperial cities. You will visit the sights outside the ancient walled city, including the ramparts, the gates, and the Borjs (Moorish forts). After this introductory aperitif to fez, you will dine in your hotel and prepare for day three: Fez!

Day 4Historical guided tour of Fez

The whole day will be devoted to the historic visit of Fez. Incredibly enthralling, the fez is a feast for the senses with its haunting yet beautiful sounds, visual splendor, and evocative smells. Fez is the most ancient of the imperial capitals and the complete medieval city of the Islamic world. Fez is reminiscent of a city suspended in time, unfazed by the constantly evolving world outside its walls. Fez owes nothing to the world of today but 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 Fez, starting at the king’s palace and its Meshwar with ramparts and majestic gates.

Then, we will drive to the Merinides hill to visit their necropolis. Here, you will enjoy the best panoramic view of the old walled medina, brimful with countless minarets to call for prayers in a city that has responded to these calls for 12 centuries. Drive down the hills to the gate of Bab Guissa, where you will leave your vehicle and walk to enter an ancient world. Fez has preserved its medina as it was centuries ago. Not even a bicycle can be used as a tool of transportation. Only donkeys, mules, and horses can help move all the city produces and needs as supplies.

You will walk to the tannery and visit the Great Mosque University of Al Quarrawiyyine, passing by Shemma’ine, the dried fruit market. After that, you will see the Medersa Attarine 14th-century Quranic School and walk to Sbetryyine, a guild of bookbinders, which will lead you to the Seffarine square, where the tapping of metalworkers is still deafening passersby as was the case for centuries. You will break for lunch and then continue exploring the marvels of Fez Medina. These will highlight the dyer’s souk, Foundouk Tetouani, and the Sufi shrine of Sidi Ahmed Tijani. You will end your walking tour and retreat to your hotel for dinner and other accommodations.

Day 5Travel from Fez to Erfoud

You will travel mainly for the day to discover 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 ranges will appear oddly un-Moroccan. Visiting Imouzzer Kandar, followed by a quick stop at the Swiss-like town of Ifrane, you will soon come across the first real town of the middle Atlas, Azrou.

Azrou is 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 a cedar forest to introduce you to one of the oldest inhabitants of this region, the Berber apes. This may also coincide with the encounter of a nomadic family in its temporary encampment. As nomads are hospitable people, we are invited at least for a mint tea under their tents whenever we encounter them.

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 the 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 oases and natural sites before you reach the magnificent oasis of Erfoud.

After you arrive in Erfoud, you will leave your vehicle and hop into the 4-wheel drive cruiser, which takes you to meet a caravan of camels that you will ride to camp. You will conclude your day in your camp over the dunes of Merzouga, where tents are pitched for you to enjoy a night under the African skies. After dinner, the Rokba drummers will illuminate your night with their lively dances and moving chants. Enjoy this encounter of man and nature at its best.

Day 6Explore Merzouga Dunes and Rissani

You will wake up early to reach the highest peak of the dunes and watch the sun rise over the spectacular Merzouga dunes. It is an experience not to be missed. You can walk up as far as you like over the dunes, or we can provide you with a camel to trek over these dunes.

Afterward, with your guide, you will have a festive breakfast with the Tuaregs under their tent and continue to explore the ancient, holy oasis of Rissani. There, you will visit the ruins of Sijilmassa, remnants of the first Arab and Islamic city of Morocco, and an ancient center of trade in gold and salt; later, you will visit the prehistoric fossils present throughout the desert. After stops in different oases and palm groves in this valley of Ziz, you will return to your hotel for dinner and other accommodations.

Day 7Excursion to Tinghir and Todrha Valley

You will leave Erfoud traveling west toward the valley of Todra, which lies right between the Atlas Mountains and the Sahara Desert. You will reach Tinghir, the town where we will spend the night. Only 15 kilometers from Tinghir inside the valley of Todra, you will find the Todra’s highest and narrowest gorges in the region.

Next, you will travel through the Dades Valley, where thousands of Persian roses bloom in hedgerows in the spring, filling the air with heavenly perfume. You will also see the thousands of Kasbahs scattered along the Dades River, majestic sandcastles with a visually appealing, timeless beauty. You will end your day with dinner and other accommodations at your hotel.

Day 8Travel from Tinghir to Ouarzazate

Today, you will continue to 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 to Ouarzazate, one large oasis that intercepts water flow between the Dades, the Draa valleys, and the majestic High Atlas Mountains. This is an ideal place to stop for the night. You will resume your day with dinner and other accommodations in your hotel.

Day 9Excursion from Ouarzazate to Marrakesh

You will spend most of your day traveling to Marrakesh, exploring the legendary Kasbah of Ait-Benhaddou, a renowned architectural marvel classified as UNESCO World Heritage. Your excursion will lead you to the highest pass in Morocco, the Taddart and Tizi Tishka pass, at 11,000 feet. This 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 visitors and locals, where southern tribespeople 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.

Day 10City Tour of Marrakech

You will devote your morning to exploring Marrakech’s many historical sites, starting at the Menara, a magnificent pool surrounded by flowerbeds, reflecting the image of an exquisite Moorish edifice. It was constructed in 1866 for dignitaries who enjoyed glorious sunsets with the ethereal Atlas Mountains as a backdrop. The pool also functions as an innovative irrigation system that serves dry life in the desert.

Your Marrakech city tour with your guide will cover many impressive sites, including the Koutoubia minaret (which is identical to la Giralda, a tower found in Sevilla, Spain) and the Saadian Tombs, which demonstrate Moorish architecture at its best. The tombs consist of sixteenth-century mausoleums, which had lain walled-in and undiscovered until 1917. Next, you will explore the gardens of the Agdal and then the Marjorelle. Finally, you will return to your hotel for dinner and other accommodations.

Day 11Excursion from Marrakesh to Ourika Valley

You will begin your day with an excursion to the Ourika valley, where you will visit the traditional Berber souks and the Jewish shrines. After lunch, you will see the Berber Museum of Arts and Crafts to learn about the dwellers of these mountains and their products before you discover their workshops and sophisticated, hand-made products. You will return to Marrakech for dinner and other accommodations at your hotel.

Day 12Excursion from Marrakech to Essaouira

You will begin your day by traveling to Essaouira (Mogador), an excursion that embodies an unprecedented aspect of Morocco. Essaouira, a picturesque city with a rich history and fascinating antiquity, Essaouira was occupied by the Phoenicians and Carthaginians, supplied essential purple dyes to the Romans, absorbed the sophisticated Moorish arts of the silversmith, and spent centuries as a Portuguese enclave.

Despite the apparent influence of these civilizations, Essaouira has managed to remain a small, authentic Berber town. Alive with the breath of fresh air provided by the Atlantic, Essaouira is a jewel nestled in the ragged coast, with a vast expanse of empty sands trailing back along the peninsula towards the south. After an introductory tour, you will conclude your day with dinner and other accommodations in your hotel.

Day 13Travel from Essaouira to Casablanca

You will travel to Casablanca, stopping at El Oualidia for a seafood lunch. You will continue to El Jadida, where you will visit the citadel, evidence of the 11th-century Portuguese occupation. Finally, you will arrive in Casablanca, having completed a journey that has led you to immeasurable antiquity. You will conclude your day with a farewell dinner and spend the night at the hotel.

Day 14Flight from Casablanca back Home

In the morning, your driver will meet you at your hotel to assist you with your luggage and transport you to the Mohamed V airport. Your driver will help you with your check-in and bid you farewell.

Price Includes

  • Land Transportation
  • Accommodation in 3* Hotels
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner daily
  • Local guides and tour manager
  • Fees to monuments and museums
  • Hotel taxes and luggage handling

Price Excludes

  • Round Trip Flight
  • Tips for Drivers and Guides
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal spending

Hotels Used

  • Casablanca: Hotel Oum Palace
  • Rabat: Hotel Chellah
  • Fez: Hotel L'Escale
  • Erfoud: Bivouac Chergui
  • Erfoud: Hotel CherguiTinghir
  • Tinghir: Kasbah Lamrani
  • Ouarzazate: Hotel Aghor
  • Marrakech: Hotel El Andalous
  • Essaouira: Riad Loussia
3 Reviews
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Julia Lee

Couple Traveller

I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude for the wonderful, memorable trip I had in Morocco through Morocco Discoveries. I wanted to thank Mr. Khalil at Morocco Discoveries for assigning Miloud as our designated driver for the entire duration of our trip. Miloud is a professional driver with a great sense of humor and genuine care. I have not laughed wholeheartedly like this with Miloud since the sudden death of my beloved brother in May last year. Miloud was my medicine for the grief and sadness I have been going through with the lost of my loved one. Miloud has made my trip much more enjoyable and would make me like to revisit a beautiful country of Morocco again in the near future. Miloud’s explanation about the places we visited is much more valuable and informative than tour guides in general. Tour guides are quite knowledgeable, but at the same time I felt somewhat awkward or burdened when not purchasing anything at the stores to where I was introduced. I liked the entire program provided by Morocco Discoveries which certainly has given us (my friend and myself) a great opportunity to experience the amazing diversity of landscape and culture. On a separate note, I feel really terrible that Morocco Discoveries paid for the broken TV at Oum Palace Hotel in Casablanca even though Morocco Discoveries has nothing to do with the broken TV. This tour operator paid to the hotel in order for us to get checked out of the hotel. I strongly feel that it’s totally wrong of the hotel to demand me to pay 300 Euros. The hotel would not hear any of it. – I touched it, I broke it and I had to pay for it. It’s unbelievable how the hotel demanded it like that. If the TV had been securely mounted on the wall, it would not or could not have happened when I accidently brushed against the crooked TV. This incident happened in less than 30 minutes after checking into the room on the first day in Morocco. Normally, the travel agency/operator does not get involved with any issues between hotel and its guests, but Mr. Khalil at Morocco Discoveries intervened so that I can enjoy the rest of my time in Morocco. Besides this mishap, I had a truly unforgettable once in a lifetime experience. Thank you, Morocco Discoveries and Tour Radar. Best regards, Julia Lee, San Francisco

April 22, 2023

Deborah Jenner

Group Traveller

Great driver, very safe and quick to accommodate our individual needs. Guides were fabulous.

July 27, 2019

Janet Peters

Family Traveller

This tour was fantastic for my adult daughter and me. Our driver, Nisrine, was the best part. She was not only our personal driver for the entire trip, but became our guide and friend. She shared her country with us through sharing her life stories, favorite foods and places, family, education, religion, and experiences. She made all the difference for making our trip fantastic. She has such a caring nature and was always ready for whatever we may ask: a photo or bathroom stop, a snack, or a story. We always felt safe and protected, wherever we were, and whatever time of day or night. On our tour, we saw and experienced and tasted so many different parts of Morocco. Each city had different medinas, old areas, food, and hotel experiences. We saw it all. Thank you Tour Radar and Nisrine. I highly recommend both. Jan and Corinne

January 8, 2019