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MoroccoRiads of Morocco's imperial cities and Saharan Desert

  • Highlights
Trip highlights
  • Desert
    Desert
  • Local cuisine
    Local cuisine
  • Nature observation
    Nature observation
  • Seaside
    Seaside
  • Arts and crafts
    Arts and crafts

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Day 1: Arrival & Discovering Rabat

Your dedicated driver will pick you up from the airport. You will find our driver carrying an Experience Morocco sign with your name on it.  

From Casablanca airport, you’ll head north towards Rabat for an hour and a half drive. You’ll stop for lunch (not included) and then check out the city’s key sights. You’ll stop at the Chellah Necropolis. Established originally as a Phoenician colony, the ruins feature remnants of Roman settlements from the 2nd century, and early Arab rebuilds as early as the 7th century. You’ll also head to the Yacoub al-Mansour Esplanade, which is home to two must-see monuments. First, the King’s Mausoleum, which was built in 1971 and which houses the remains of the late King Hassan II, Prince Abdallah, and their father King Mohamed V. In front of the Mausoleum, you will find the Hassan Tower, an incomplete red sandstone minaret which began construction in 1195AD. You’ll also see the Kasbah des Oudayas, an Almohad fortress built in 1150AD. From the Kasbah des Oudayas, you can take a stroll through the winding blue streets, and enjoy a mint tea at the Cafe Maure overlooking the Bou Regreg River. In the evening, you’ll have dinner (not included) and have the rest of the evening at leisure. 

Visited:
Rabat
Accommodation
Night at the Riad Kalaa (Rabat)

Day 2: Exploring The Blue Pearl

After an early breakfast, drive four hours from Rabat to Chefchaouen. Have lunch (not included) and then meet your guide for a tour of the stunning blue city. Known for its signature powder-blue walls and its calming charms, the village was founded in 1471 AD. You will be spending a day in discovery of the strikingly photogenic village! Your guide will lead you to his favorite haunts as well as the signature locations of Chefchaouen, starting with the Kasbah in the center of town offering breathtaking panoramic views from the top of the tower. You can also meander up the town’s waterfall, where locals meet to chat and do laundry, where you can relax with your toes in the water at one of the river bank’s small coffee shops! Spend your evening at your leisure either relaxing in your riad or taking one last peek at the lovely blue streets, dinner (not included).  

Optional extra (Professional photoshoot): All throughout your day, the local guide will unlock the village with his photographer’s eye, showing you how to take gorgeous shots and taking several pictures of you as well! 

Visited:
Chefchaouen
Accommodation
Night at Riad Sherifa y Riad Lyna & Spa (Chefchaouen)

Day 3: Uncovering Preserved History

After breakfast, you’ll depart for a 4 hour drive to Fes with stops in Meknes and the Volubilis ruins. Your driver will take you to the splendid roman ruins of Volubilis. Imagine Morocco in the 1st Century: an epoch of tumultuous transformation, where people from all over the Mediterranean and Northern Africa were migrating to the fertile Middle Atlas Mountains. Volubilis, located about 30 kilometers from Fes, is an ancient Berber and Roman city considered by many as not only the capital of the Kingdom of Mauretania but also the administrative center of Roman Africa. You’ll wander among the dramatic ruins up-close-and-personal through the homes, temples and public buildings of the Greek, Syrian, and Jewish city dwellers. Exceptionally well preserved, the ruins offer beautiful and colorful mosaics adorning many of the floor spaces, and you can just picture what it was like to wander the cypress-lined city in its Golden Age!  

You’ll enjoy lunch (not included) and then head out for a tour of the stunning imperial gates that dot the neighboring city of Meknes. After seeing the imperial entry to Meknes, you’ll continue to Fes, you will arrive by the late afternoon and check into your riad and have a delicious dinner at your Riad (included). 

Visited:
Fes
Accommodation
Riad El Amine (Fes)

Day 4: Into the wonders of the cultural capital


After breakfast, you’ll depart for a jam-packed half-day of touring Fes with your guide! Founded in 781AD, Fes is now considered the world’s largest car-free urban zone. Beware of mule-drawn carriages that speed through the alleyways, and check out a local pharmacy with its mysterious canisters of roots, flowers and powders. Your tour will include stops at the medersas, and the legendary tanneries, where ancient techniques are still used to prepare Moroccan leather which is then used in a variety of goods from clothing to bags and other handicrafts. In addition, you’ll also stop by the world’s oldest and longest operating learning institution, the University of Al Quaraouiyine, founded in 859AD. You’ll stop for lunch (not included).

Optional extra (DIY Brass-Etching/ Bookbinding workshops) - You’ll have the afternoon at leisure to either rest or book your spot in a fun optional DIY workshop with a local artisan. You will learn and even try your own hand at crafting in the time-honored methods and traditions of local craftsmen in Fes. 

After a productive day of touring the cultural epicenter, you’ll return to your Riad and have the rest of the evening at leisure.

Visited:
Fes
Accommodation
Riad El Amine (Fes)

Day 5: Exploring Fes

Morning at leisure. After lunch, join your guide to explore the medina’s Jewish quarter, the medersas, and the legendary tanneries, where ancient techniques are still used to prepare Moroccan leather which is then used in a variety of goods from clothing to bags and other handicrafts.  

Then in the evening, you can either ask the guide for a recommendation for dinner or join another local guide who specializes in cuisine for a tasting tour!  

Optional Extra (Tasting tour): In the late afternoon, you begin the Tasting Tour during which you’ll visit three different food souks allowing the chance to try traditional Moroccan street food including dried meats, Malawi, Harsha, briwats, spicy sardines, spicy potato cakes, soups, olives and more. At the honey souk we’re you’ll be able to taste an array of delicious wild kinds of honey, discuss their flavors and health-giving properties and find out why honey is so important in Moroccan cooking and Islamic culture. You’ll also investigate traditional cooking methods by visiting a furnace where the water for the communal bathhouse ‘hammam’ is also heated, and a 400-year-old ‘furan’ or communal oven and bakery. Lastly, you’ll also discover the world of spices and their uses and the secrets of the male-oriented domain of the tea den under the guidance of a culinary leader and story-teller.  

Meals: Breakfast.

Visited:
Fes

Day 6: Saharan Adventure

Your day begins as you embark on an early morning scenic drive that will lead you to the golden dunes of the Sahara! With several panoramic vistas as well as a lunch break (included) en route, your drive will take a total of roughly eight hours and will lead you to the very end of the paved roads where you’ll hop out from the car and onto the camels that will take you on a beautiful path through the tall sand dunes arriving into your luxury camp.  

Mint tea will be served as you arrive, after which you’ll have some time to enjoy the camp and contemplate the peaceful quiet of the Sahara. Dinner (included) will be served at your convenience, followed by a campfire and some live music by the camp’s staff who will perform tribal music for you. You can then enjoy the starlit sky before going to sleep in the comfort of your well-appointed tent.  

Visited:
Sahara, Erg Chebbi

Day 7: Exploring Dades Gorges

Fresh from your Saharan adventure, this is the day you’ll explore the mesmerizing rock formations and twisty roads of the gorges of the Atlas Mountains! Your day begins with sunrise over the dunes in your luxury camp with optional sandboarding, followed by a hearty breakfast and a departure from your camp to head for a four hour drive towards the Todgha Gorges. 

Located in a small canyon in the eastern part of the High Atlas near the town of Tinerhir, the Todgha Gorges were carved out by rivers running through cliff-sided canyons on their final stretch through the mountains. The last 600 metres (1,969 ft) of the Todgha gorges are the most spectacular - you’ll see how the canyon narrows to a flat stony track, in places as little as 10 metres (33 ft) wide, with sheer and smooth rock walls up to 160 metres (525 ft) high on each side.  

After lunch (not included) near the Todgha gorges, you’ll continue on to check in at your property where you’ll have the rest of the afternoon at leisure. Dinner this evening will be at the hotel (included).  

Driving time: 5 hours.  

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner.

Visited:
Dades Valley
Accommodation
Auberge Chez Pierre (Dades)

Day 8: Across the Atlas Mountains

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel, before departing for your six-hour drive with the first stop at Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou-A UNESCO world heritage site located in the foothills on the southern slopes of the High Atlas Mountains where parts of Game of Thrones were filmed. 

The fort of Ait-Ben-Haddou is a striking example of southern Moroccan architecture. The fort is a mainly collective grouping of dwellings, with imposing defensive walls that are reinforced by angle towers and pierced with a baffle gate. It is an extraordinary ensemble of buildings offering a complete panorama of pre-Saharan earthen construction techniques.  

Optional extra (ATV ride): You’ll have the optional opportunity to take an exciting ATV Ride around the Kasbah.  

After lunch (not included), you’ll continue towards Marrakech on one of the most scenic drives you’re likely to take in your life, venturing through the peaks of the High Atlas mountains and back down on the other side into the dry flat plains of Marrakech. You’ll arrive in the early evening to your riad, your home base in Marrakech. Dinner this evening is on your own (not included), but we’ll be happy to make a recommendation of our favorite spots in Marrakech.  

Accommodation
Riad Elegancia (Marrakesh)

Day 9: Sightseeing in the Ochre City

We won’t judge you for wanting to linger at your breakfast table, but we hope you’ll be ready to go to tackle your jam-packed day of sightseeing in Marrakech! Your day will break up into a morning and afternoon block, with a stop for lunch in between (which is not included). In the morning, you’ll see the Koutoubia Mosque (the iconic sight of Marrakech), the Bahia Palace (a stunning example of traditional Moroccan architecture), and the Saadian tombs. Afterward, you will head for lunch (not included), followed by afternoon visits to the medina and the souks. 

As you walk through the medina, you will also see medersas or religious schools, and delve into the myriad pathways of the Souk. 

The term Souk refers to the markets, and the markets of Marrakech are located in a serpentine set of alleyways with twists and turns that can confuse even frequent travelers to the city! Your expert guide can give you an overview of how the souk is laid out and where the different sections are located, each focused on a different set of goods (Clothes, spices, lamps, shoes, traditional crafts, etc).  

As day turns tonight, you’ll head to Djemaa El Fna square for a spectacle unlike any other - with snake charmers, musical performances, and henna artists combining for a circus of activity. The final activity of the day will be dinner at your leisure (not included), where you will relax and unwind after an exciting day of taking in the vibrancy of Marrakech! 

Visited:
Marrakesh
Accommodation
Riad Elegancia (Marrakesh)

Day 10: Exploring the Atlas Mountains

After breakfast, head out for an hour and a half drive to our hiking spot and meet your local Atlas guide who will be your guide in your exploration of Berber culture. He’ll lead you through a myriad of hiking paths that lead to small Berber villages you can explore. Take a short break from your hike to drink some tea with a local Berber family. You’ll join them in their home with your guide to help translate and learn about the traditions and customs of the region first hand. You’ll then enjoy lunch (included) at a Berber restaurant with a panoramic view and take some leisure time to discover the area before hiking your way back down. You’ll then drive an hour and a half to return to Marrakech and enjoy the rest of the evening at leisure. 

Visited:
Marrakesh
Accommodation
Riad Elegancia (Marrakesh)

Day 11: The Magic of Marrakech

After you start your day with breakfast, you will head to the stunning Majorelle Gardens. Global fashion icon Yves Saint Laurent made his second home in Marrakech for many decades, and his vision drove every detail behind the lush Gardens, accompanied by a small but must-see Berber Museum! 

After your visit to the Majorelle Gardens, you can head next door to the Yves Saint- Laurent Museum, which honors the fashion icon’s love of Marrakech and builds upon the collections housed at the Majorelle Gardens. The building itself is a work of art and houses a permanent collection of some of YSL’s best-known designs along with rotating installations dedicated to themes about which he cared. You’ll take in the beauty of the gardens and museums before enjoying your lunch (not included). 

Optional Extra (Moroccan Tagine cooking class): You will head to La Maison Arabe to enjoy an immersive and fun cooking experience!! Accompanied by a local “dada”, or expert cook, you will dig into all of the key components of a Moroccan meal, starting with how to prepare the famous Moroccan mint tea. Next, you’ll sample some tasty local bread and here all about how we cook traditional Moroccan bread. From there, the hands-on portion of the course begins as you will prepare two different staples of Moroccan starters, a tomato and cucumber salad and a second salad using eggplant (please note: the exact salads may change depending on the day’s ingredients).  

After that, you’ll finally learn to prepare your main course, the famous Moroccan Tagine of chicken with preserved lemons. While your tagine is cooking over the fire, you’ll also prepare Moroccan cookies with almond paste. The class ends with a dinner where you eat your very own masterpiece! 

You’ll then enjoy your evening at leisure.  

Visited:
Marrakesh
Accommodation
Riad Elegancia (Marrakesh)

Day 12: Exploring a Coastal Paradise

After breakfast, you’ll drive three hours to the charming coastal town of Essaouira. Along the route is a great local vineyard, where you’ll stop to enjoy lunch at a local vineyard, then continue to visit an Argan Oil Cooperative and learn about how this nut is turned into a luxury beauty project and how its production is a tool for women’s empowerment. Finally, you’ll arrive at your property Essaouira and have the rest of the evening at leisure.

Visited:
Essaouira
Accommodation
Dar Maya (Essaouira)

Day 13: Sightseeing in Essaouira

After breakfast, join your guide to explore Essaouira. You’ll see the city’s old ramparts, the medina, the artisan cooperatives, and the Jewish heritage sites. With its brilliant blue and white architecture, windswept beach, and easy-going charm, Essaouira is a lovely change from the hectic pace of Marrakech.  

On your guided visit, you'll learn all about the city's history and the influence left over the centuries by the Carthaginians, Romans and Portuguese. Behind the 18th century, sea walls are thuya wood workshops, artists’ enclaves and silent alleyways where cats sun themselves and veiled women emerge from studded doorways. The harbor is a photographer’s dream, with fishing nets laid out on the quayside, boats unloading their catches and the smell of freshly-grilled sardines and lobsters in the air. Dine on a lunch of freshly caught and grilled seafood. You can try the famous sardines, hot or traditional Moroccan white fish, octopus, and even lobster. It’s all grilled to order and your guide will be there to help you navigate the best stalls and place your order. Your lunch is included today!  

Optional extra (Sunset ATV/camel/horseback ride by the beach) - In the afternoon, if you opted for the sunset ATV/camel/horseback riding, you will set out for a ride through the sand. Enjoy the refreshing ocean breeze, exploring Essaouira’s dunes and beaches in a fun-filled adventure! 

If you chose to sit this one out, take the rest of the afternoon to explore more independently. Essaouira is known for its wood carvings and pottery, so it’s a great place to shop for final gifts and souvenirs. Plus, the laid-back and more orderly feeling of its medina makes it enjoyable to explore on your own. 

Your evening is free to relax.

Visited:
Essaouira
Accommodation
Dar Maya (Essaouira)

Day 14: Welcome back to Casablanca!

After breakfast, you’ll head out on a five and a half hour drive to the bustling metropolis of Casablanca. You’ll stop for lunch (not included) before setting off for a guided tour of the stunning Hassan II Mosque. The great Hassan II Mosque was commissioned by its namesake, King Hassan II, in part to provide Casablanca with an impressive landmark monument. On his birthday, July 9th, the Mosque was completed in 1993 after great expense and artistic labor. The result is one of the largest and most beautiful mosques in the world. Its gleaming newness and tremendous wealth is a stark contrast against the otherwise commercial aesthetic of Casablanca. The most distinctive characteristic of the Hassan II Mosque is its spectacular location on a platform over the Atlantic Ocean. Uniquely, part of the Mosque's floor is made of glass so worshippers can kneel directly over the sea.  

Tonight, your dinner is included at Rick’s cafe as you savor your last night in Morocco! 

Visited:
Casablanca
Accommodation
Hotel Barcelo Anfa (Casablanca)

Day 15: Departure

Time to say your farewells to Morocco! After breakfast, you’ll check out of your hotel and your dedicated driver will drop you off at Casablanca airport

Safe travels!

Visited:
Casablanca

RabatChefchaouenFesSaharaErg ChebbiDades Valley Ait BenhaddouMarrakeshEssaouiraCasablanca

Price details

This tour idea is fully customizable

The price reflects this specific itinerary and is designed to give you an idea of the budget required for this destination. Throughout the trip-planning process, our local agency will tailor your itinerary around your budget.

For 2 Adults
SeasonPrice Per Adult
Average trip price
All year round $4,770

Included in the price:

  • Accommodation
  • Breakfast
  • In-trip ground transportation
  • Activities according to your customized trip
  • Airport transfers
  • 24/7 local agency support
  • Trip creation with an expert local agent

Not included in the price:

  • Arrival and departure flights
  • Meals and beverages not indicated
  • Personal expenses
  • Service gratuities
  • Visa fees
  • Travel insurance
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