GRAND HIGHLIGHTS OF MOROCCO
In our Grand Highlights of Morocco Itinerary, you will experience a 15-day adventure of some of Morocco’s most alluring destinations. These include Casablanca, Rabat, Fes, the Sahara Desert, Skoura, the High Atlas Mountains, and Marrakesh.
Morocco has many faces. It has both the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. It has both seemingly endless desert and beautiful snow-capped mountains. Then, there are labyrinthine markets, cosmopolitan cities, and palm-tree swaying oases in the middle of nowhere. There is an infusion of smells and colors bordering on sublime sensory overload. And lastly, it is exotic and mysterious yet welcoming and hospitable. Accompanied by a private driver and guide for your entire voyage, you will have the chance to experience the very best of what this amazing and exotic country has to offer.
RABAT- 2 NIGHTS
Welcome to Morocco! The first destination of your Grand Highlights of Morocco tour will be amazing Rabat. Upon your arrival in Casablanca, your private concierge will greet you as you get off the plane. He/she will assist you in getting through fast-track customs and immigration. He’ll then help you with your luggage and accompany you to meet your private driver.
En route to Rabat, you’ll visit Casablanca’s mosque of Hassan II, the largest mosque in Africa and one of the few open to non-Muslim visitors. Situated on the edge of the Atlantic in the easternmost point of Morocco the mosque is truly an architectural masterpiece. Afterward, you will drive to the Imperial “garden city” of Rabat. Then, your driver will accompany you to your luxurious accommodations in the early evening. During your stay in Rabat, we will arrange for the following special experiences:
- A Half-day Highlights Tour of the Capital of Morocco. The well-planned city consists of broad tree-lined avenues, a landscaped central park, and impressive quarters for the foreign embassies and ministries. First, you will visit the Kasbah of the Oudayas. Secondly, visit the unfinished Hassan Tower and Mosque. Then, you move on to the distinctive and elegant Mausoleum of Mohammed V, revered former King, and grandfather of the present King Mohammed VI. You will enjoy the wonderful stroll through labyrinth-like streets full of color and life.
FES – 3 NIGHTS
After breakfast and checkout, your private guide and driver will accompany you on to the next destination of your Grand Highlights Tour of Morocco, historical Fes. There will be interesting stops along the way before arriving at your very special accommodations. From the hotel, you’re a short walk from many of the amazing sights and landmarks the city is so famous for. During your stay in Fes, we will arrange the following special experiences:
- A Private Guided Tour of the City of Fes. One of the most important centers of learning in the world for centuries, and home to the oldest university in History, Fes was founded by Idriss I in 789. Its history of long, complicated, and colorful. The city started as two separate cities or medinas, stretching on both banks of the river Jawhar, facing each other. They were made into a single one in 1070 by the Almoravids, who erected the city ramparts that can be seen today. Furthermore, it was influenced by many cultures: the Almohads, Andalusian expatriates expelled from Spain, and later, the Merinids. It was at one point the largest city in the world during the second half of the 12th Century, with an estimated population of 200,000. Under Merinids rule, construction began on the new town outside the walls, which was called Fes Jdid. The old part became Fes El Bali or ancient Fes. Today, Fes el Bali (Fes the ancient) is a UNESCO Heritage Site. It is also the largest car-free urban area in the world. It is well known because of the skills of its artisans, who are outstanding in trades such as metal and leather-working, ceramics, wood carving, silk, and tapestries. Despite the political capital of the kingdom being transferred to Rabat in 1912, Fes is still regarded by Moroccans as the spiritual center of their country. Additionally, your guide will help you discover the highlights of the city as well as accompany you through the winding streets of the souks.
- A Full Day Tour to Meknes and Volubilis with Lunch and Wine Tasting. After breakfast, you’ll meet your driver and guide for a private tour of the city of Meknes and the Roman ruins of Volubilis. This imperial city, known as “Moroccan Versailles”, was founded in the 17th century by King Moulay Ismail. Meknes is famous for its 25-mile-long walls. Afterward, you’ll also visit the Roman ruins of Volubilis, a UNESCO heritage site. The ruins were excavated by the French in 1915. They actually date back to the 3rd century AD and are an interesting glimpse into Morocco’s varied past. You will also enjoy a traditional Moroccan meal with a wine tasting during your excursion. Eventually, you will return to your lovely accommodations in the late afternoon.
THE SAHARA DESERT – 1 NIGHT
The next destination on your Grand Highlights of Morocco itinerary will be the Sahara Desert! Together with your private guide and driver, you’ll take the scenic drive from Fes to Erfoud. Crossing Ifrane, known as the Moroccan Switzerland, to the cedar woods of Azrou, and then the Middle Atlas Mountains. From Erfoud, you’ll board comfortable 4×4 vehicles that will transport you across the dunes to your luxury Sahara camp accommodations.
A sea of soft, warm, apricot-toned sands, the rippling landscape of the Erg Chebbi desert is one of Morocco’s most enchanting natural wonders. For centuries, travelers have awed at its infinite stillness. Beauty beyond words. Here you will find your luxury camp for one magical night. You will enjoy camel trekking, a sand hammam, traditional dancing, and a wonderful meal by candlelight. Make sure to get to bed early so you can experience the amazing sunrise over the Sahara!
SKOURA – 2 NIGHTS
This morning you’ll meet your private guide and driver again and travel to the desert oasis village of Skoura. En route, you’ll visit the gorges of Todra. Then on to the valley of Roses kelaa Des Mgouna, and the valley of 1000 Kasbahs. Finally, you’ll then be accompanied to your gorgeous traditional accommodations where you can relax after your exciting stay in the desert.
Your time in Skoura takes shape around completely personalized adventures with your dedicated guide. You could trek into the Valley of Roses. Or you could explore among the corn stalks and pomegranate trees of a nearby palmeraie. Additionally, you could drive to the hilltop vestiges of a 12th century Berber village for a traditional tea ceremony at dusk. Otherwise, feel free to just enjoy the hotel at your leisure. Your gorgeous accommodations include a palm-shaded swimming pool, hammam, and candle-lit massage room.
MARRAKESH – 4 NIGHTS
After checkout, you’ll enjoy a visit to the impressive Ksar Ait-Ben-Haddou. Located on the southern slopes of the High Atlas Mountains, Ait-Ben-Haddou is the most famous ksar in the Ounila Valley. The Ksar of Aït-Ben-Haddou is a striking example of southern Moroccan architecture. Afterward, you’ll continue on to the next destination on your Grand Highlights of Morocco Tour, the vibrant city of Marrakesh.
Marrakesh has been a city of history and culture for more than a thousand years. It is one of the most evocative and exotic places in the world. The name alone evokes images of this cultural melting pot, its dusty streets, colorful souls, sandstone buildings, and towering minarets against clear, blue skies.
Arriving in Marrakesh, you will be delivered to your spectacular accommodations in the heart of the Medina. We have several wonderful choices to consider based on your travel style and wishes. During your visit to Marrakesh, you will enjoy the following special experiences:
- A Full Day Private Discovery of Marrakesh. Marrakesh enjoys a legendary status that conveys the ideas of mystery, sensuality, and exoticism. Marrakesh was founded in 1062 by one of the chieftains of the Almoravid king Youssuf ibn Tashfin. Then, the Almoravids were desert warriors, very much attached to their Islamic religion. The original garrison developed very quickly into a city where numerous mosques and madrasas (Koranic schools) were built. Subsequently, the Andalusian craftsmen built and decorated several palaces. Merging their style with the Saharan and African traditions, a distinctive architectural flavor evolved within the city. The Almoravids also erected the city walls and created a complex system of underground irrigation canals to bring water from the High Atlas mountains. Called the khettara, it is a system still currently in use to water the several gardens of the city. Nowadays, Marrakesh is a vibrant city that exhibits a curious blend of the ancient and the modern. Travelers have the chance of experiencing the genuine medieval atmosphere of the old Medina as well as visit the trendiest bars, art galleries, and restaurants of the French Quarter, Guéliz, built at the beginning of the 20th Century, all in one day. Highlights of your visit will include Koutoubia Mosque, Saadian Tombs, El Bahia Palace, and of course, the souks.
- A Private Moroccan Cooking Class and Lunch. One of the most pleasant aspects of Morocco is its closeness to nature. Organic food and vegetables luxuries in most Western countries, are easily available in Morocco. Indeed, these are the only kind of food available in large areas of the Kingdom. With today’s private hands-on cooking class, you’ll have a close-up experience of traditional Moroccan cooking. Your culinary experience takes place in the Amizmiz Valley, an area still populated by Berbers who still maintain their traditional way of life. Just a short ride from Marrakesh, this valley has been little affected by tourism and modernity. Your chef has a long experience running the kitchens of many well-reputed hotels and restaurants, both inside and outside Morocco. His elegant eco-farm is set amongst 15 hectares of olive groves, vegetable gardens, and orchards, in a traditional Berber hamlet called a douar, with the imposing silhouette of the High Atlas Mountains dominating the landscape. Seizing on the knowledge transmitted to him by the elders, your chef is an expert on aromatic herbs. Seasoning is an art more complex than it seems. You will learn about this (and much more) using the ingredients you have selected from the chef’s gardens. You’ll then create a traditional Moroccan two-course meal, and even bake your own bread. Following your class, you’ll enjoy the fruits of your labor under the shady trees of the garden- a truly unforgettable experience! Your afternoon is free to enjoy on your own. As always, your private guide and driver are at your disposition should you need them.
- A Private of Tour of Les Jardins Majorelle. Your guide and driver will accompany you to one of Marrakesh’s most interesting attractions, Yves Saint Laurent’s Majorelle Gardens. Les Jardins Majorelle was created by the French Orientalist artist, Jacques Majorelle, over almost forty years, starting in 1923. The property was the residence of the artist and his wife from 1923 until their divorce in the 1950s. Later, in the 1980s, the property was purchased by the fashion designers, Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé who worked to restore it. Today, the garden and villa complex is open to the public. The villa houses the Islamic Art Museum of Marrakesh, the Berber Museum, and the recently opened Yves Saint Laurent Museum. The afternoon is free to spend at your leisure.
- A Full-day Excursion to Essaouria. Your guide and driver will accompany you to this charming village on the Atlantic coast. En route, you can choose to stop and visit a women’s argan oil co-op, which produces culinary and beauty products from this indigenous nut. Long known as Mogador, from the Phoenician word Migdal, or lookout tower, Essaouira has been home to Phoenicians, Romans, Portuguese, and a large Jewish population. Essaouira is charming: clear blue skies accent the white shops and houses. You can leisurely stroll through the narrow pedestrian-only streets of the town. There is also the colorful harbor to stroll along, stopping to admire the plethora of crafts spilling out of tiny shops and the many art galleries. Or join the guide to visit a silver jewelry workshop and a thuya wood (unique burled wood indigenous to this area) workshop. You should also enjoy a delicious seafood lunch along the oceanfront. Finally, after an amazing day, you will be returned to Marrakesh in the early evening.
HIGH ATLAS MOUNTAINS – 2 NIGHTS
Last but not least, on your Grand Highlights of Morocco tour is the village of Asni. You will have a direct transfer from Marrakesh into the heart of the Atlas Mountains. It is a great starting point for an outdoor holiday. There is trekking. hiking and mule trekking are just some of the exciting activities that you can enjoy.
Your day is free to explore at your leisure. There are several activities to choose from including visiting a berber home, cooking lessons, mule riding, hiking. Or you can simply enjoy your 5 star hotel and its fantastic amenities and views. Your guide and your trip manager will be happy to provide you with ideas!
On your departure day, you will have a private transfer to the Marrakesh Airport for your flight home or beyond.
If you are not yet ready to go home, we can add several options to your Grand Highlights of Morocco tour. A few days on either the Atlantic or Mediterranean coast at one of our preferred resorts? Or a head north across the Strait of Gibraltar to visit Spain or Portugal? The choice is yours and we would be happy to design your trip as you wish.