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Take in the rich history and diverse culture of Morocco on an 11-day journey through this North African gem. Marvel at the Mosque of Hassan II in French-infused Casablanca, discover the charming streets of the Medina in magical Meknes, uncover ancient history at the Roman ruins of Volubilis, wander through the labyrinth of twisting alleyways in Fes el Bali, relax in the lakeside settlement of Bine el Ouidane and, as the sun goes down, watch Jemaa el Fna come to life with markets and magicians in Marrakech and relax in the European-tinged Essaouira. Indulge your senses on this mesmerising adventure bursting with vibrant colours, spiced aromas and the taste of 1001 Moroccan treats.
Day 1: Casablanca
Welcome to Morocco! On arrival at Casablanca Airport, you will be met by a Peregrine representative and transferred to your hotel. Your adventure begins at 6 pm with an important welcome meeting. If you arrive with time to spare, then a great option for your limited time in Casablanca is to visit the Villa des Arts. This gorgeous Art Deco gallery building dates back to the 1930s and holds numerous exhibitions of contemporary Moroccan and international art. If you are looking for a different type of cultural experience, then you can discover a unique and fascinating part of Moroccan history at the Museum of Judaism.
Day 2: Casablanca-Meknes
This morning you will visit one of the most impressive sites in Casablanca – the massive edifice of the Mosque of Hassan II. Opened in 1993, and second only in size to the great mosque at Mecca, the huge building sits partly on land and partly over sea, and in one area water can be seen through a glass floor. It can accommodate 25,000 worshippers and the main roof is retractable to create an open courtyard. It is one of the only religious sites open to non-Muslims. Later, you will leave Casablanca and drive north along the coast to Rabat (approximately 1.5 hours), the elegant capital of Morocco and its first Imperial city. It contains numerous fine Arab monuments, some dating from the 10th to 15th century Almohad and Merenid dynasties, and others that are far older. Start your visit with a walk through the medina and souks, then explore the lovely walled quarter known as the Kasbah des Oudaias and enjoy an included local drink. Afterwards, continue the walk to visit Mausoleum of Mohammed V, the vast minaret of the Mosque of Hassan II. In the late afternoon, continue on to Meknes (approximately 2 hours), the sixth largest city in the kingdom, and former capital of Morocco.
Day 3: Meknes-Volubilis-Fes
This morning you will discover the charming streets of Meknes’ medina – the old walled section of the city. Enter via the northern gate, Bab Berdaine, and walk to the shrine of Moulay Ismail who, in the 17th century, turned Meknes from a provincial town into a spectacular Imperial city. Visit Moulay Ismail Mausoleum. This peaceful and spiritual resting place of Sultan Moulay Ismail is one of the few sacred sites in Morocco open to non-Muslims. Constructed during his lifetime, the mausoleum's location was chosen by Ismail as it had once housed Meknes's Palais de Justice (courthouse), and he hoped in death to be judged in his own court by his own people. Take some time to soak up the atmosphere of this place before driving out of the city to the ruins of Volubilis (approximately 45 minutes). Volubilis was once a provincial Roman capital, a distant outpost of the empire, and the remains make an undeniably impressive sight. Volubilis is the foremost Roman site in Morocco and was declared a World Heritage site in 1997. Upon arrival you will take a tour around the ruins with a local guide. Please remember to pack drinking water, a hat, sunglasses and suncream for this tour as it may get hot and you will be exposed to the sun. And, of course, don’t forget to take your camera as the town is filled with fantastic mosaics along the Decumanus Maximus, many of which remain intact. After time spent imagining Volubulis as the bustling city it once was, continue on to the living museum of Fes for the night (approximately 1.5 hours). Check in to your hotel in late afternoon, and perhaps spend the evening relaxing in this calming oasis, away from the buzz of the Fes streets.
Day 4: Fes
Fes is the spiritual and cultural heart of Morocco: vibrant, noisy, fascinating and overwhelming – a visual and pungent feast for the senses. It is made up of three distinct ‘cities’, or quarters, and you will stay in the elegant Ville Nouvelle, or New City, which has a distinctly French character. Today head into the huge, well-preserved medieval old city, known locally as Fes el-Bali, and the mother of all medinas. Medieval Fes was one of the world's great centres of education and culture, both Islamic and Jewish. Its religious institutions and libraries are legendary, its mosques of great renown. Walk through the twisting streets and alleyways, passing donkeys piled high with goods, and explore the speciality sections that divide the souk. Filled with historic khans, madrasas and dye-pits, stalls loaded with fruits, herbs and soups, and where the squawk of chickens, smell of spice and sound of hammering of copper fills the air, it’s not hard to imagine yourself back in the Middle Ages. Spend the day exploring the old city, visiting El-Attarine Madrasa, the tanneries and the splendid Fondouk el-Nejjarine, a beautifully restored 18th-century inn. Return to your hotel in the late afternoon and listen to the amazing ‘call to prayer’ from the roof of your hotel. Your leader will be on hand to talk you through some of the most interesting customs and traditions of Moroccan people. Later in the evening, seek out a memorable dinner of one of the city’s signature dishes, the salty and sweet pastille.
Day 5: Bin el Ouidane
Bin el Ouidane is your destination today. You will drive approximately 7 hours in a comfortable private van, with frequent stops along the way, and witness the beautiful and ever-changing Moroccan landscape as well as slow, rural life. On many occasions you will have a chance to buy fresh local fruits and vegetables, which are mostly grown in nearby villages. Small village shops often sell original handicrafts too, if you’d like to stock up on souvenirs. Today you will also experience the art of tea-making. Join a local family for a cup of truly delicious mint tea and share a home-cooked lunch with them too. Bin el Ouidane is a small settlement beautifully placed on the bank of the lake, surrounded by sheer rocks. Take a moment to sit back and enjoy the calm and peacefulness of the place. Perhaps take a short walk for a closer look at the majestic Bin el Ouidane dam, an arch-shaped wall that not only provides hydroelectric power to the surrounding settlements, but also irrigates fields in Beni Moussa and the Tadla plains. Without the irrigation system, it would be nearly impossible for local farmers to grow their crops. Everything at this beautifully located homestay is free so remember, there is nothing wrong with sitting back on the terrace and admiring the view.
Day 6: Marrakech
Today you will drive for approximately 3 hours from Bin el Ouidane to Marrakech. There’s no rush as the scenery on the way is always interesting, and you will enjoy a stop en route at Ouzoud Falls. Spend some time admiring these multi-tiered falls, then continue to Marrakech. On arrival in Marrakech you will check in to your beautiful riad, or Moroccan mansion. This evening, why not head to the great square of Djemaa el-Fna, one of the largest public spaces in the world and unique to Marrakech. When night falls it transforms into a hive of activity. Henna painters, performers and storytellers share the square with a street food bazaar, packed with stalls loaded with Moroccan delicacies. You can enjoy a bite of famous Moroccan pastries with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, and then finish your day with a cup of tea on one of the rooftop restaurants overlooking the square.
Day 7: Marrakech
After breakfast today, meet your local guide and set off on a morning tour of the old medina, through the bustling souks that are the lifeblood of the city. Explore tranquil courtyards filled with the scent of orange blossom and the many salons and chambers that make up Bahia Palace. This splendid mansion was built in 1866 for a former slave who rose to power within the government. Stop by the Koutoubia Mosque; its famous minaret is the prototype for others of its kind around the world. Then walk back through the streets of the old medina to Djemaa el-Fna. The rest of the day is free to explore further or shop in the bazaar. Perhaps visit Le Jardin Secret, a traditional medina garden revived for the 21st century. This historic riad has one of the most beautiful courtyards in Marrakech, combining exotic and traditional Islamic gardens that are fed by the original khettara, an underground irrigation system. Or head back into the medina, where every step brings a new smell, a new sight or a new gift to buy. Watch skilled artisans perfect their craft, practice your haggling skills or take a break from the hustle to sip on tea or share a tajine, filled with the aromas of Morocco. For your final evening, perhaps dine on Moroccan specialities with your old-new friends in one of the traditional riads in Marrakech.
Day 8: Marrakech
Enjoy a free day in Marrakech. There will be a meeting at 6 pm to welcome any new travellers joining you on the next stage of your Moroccan adventure
Day 9: Essaoiura
The name Essaouira means image, which is appropriate since it's such a picturesque town. This artists' town was once home to sizeable British and Jewish populations, and its charm has seduced people like Orson Welles and Jimi Hendrix, who (according to local legend) spent much of his time here in the 1960s. On this free day perhaps grab a traditional Moroccan breakfast and wander the streets, giving way to the cart-haulers calling ‘ballak, ballak’, pass the harbour filled with colourful boats which go out early every morning for the day's catch, see camels and surfers sharing the beach, and perhaps explore the fish souk. Here you will choose a catch of the day and take it to a local-filled restaurant – follow their lead and hand over your market purchase for it to be grilled for the freshest of meals. Your leader will also take you to the fresh vegetables markets where you will choose your salads and veggies to accompany your seafood lunch. Enjoy delicious meal together with the rest of your group. Take day to search the less hectic medina, discover the Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdallah Museum and its collection of artefacts, woodwork, carpets and stringed instruments, enjoy cafe life on the main square, or sit back and watch the kitesurfers ride the crashing waves. You can also discover the taste of Morocco in a cooking class, or head outside of the city to the beautiful surroundings on a daytrip.
Day 10: Essaouira - Marrakech
The morning is free for you to explore further, and in the afternoon drive back to Marrakech (approximately 2.5 hours). Once you have settled in to your hotel, you will likely be drawn back to the Jemaa el Fna, and its surrounding medina. Eating out at one of the many outdoor restaurants lining the square is a great way to finish your adventure.
Day 11: Marrakech
Your trip ends today after breakfast. Check-out time is usually around midday and you are free to leave at any time. If you have arranged a private airport transfer you will be advised of the pick-up time. Additional accommodation can be pre-booked if you wish to spend more time exploring here. Speak to your leader about the wealth of extra activities to do around Marrakech.
- Casablanca - Guided Tour of Hassan II Mosque
- Rabat - Kasbah Les Oudayas
- Rabat - Kasbah Oudaya Local Drink
- Rabat - Mausoleum Mohammed V
- Rabat - Hassan Tower
- Rabat - Mausoleum Hassan II
- Meknes - Guided Walking Tour
- Volubilis - Entrance and Guided Tour
- Mausoleum Moulay Ismail visit
- Fes - Fondouk Nejjarine Visit
- Fes - Medina Walking Tour with Local Guide
- Fes - Medersa Attarine Visit
- Tea making demonstration
- Ouzoud - Ouzoud Falls visit
- Marrakech - Guided Walking Tour
- Local food tasting in Marrakech
- Djemma el Fna fresh orange juice
- Marrakech - Palais Bahia
- Seafood Market Lunch - Essaouira
10 Breakfast(s) Included
2 Lunch(es) Included
3 Dinner(s) Included
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