Moroccan Dreams

From Chefchaouen's lovely blue medina to ancient Fez and lively Marrakech
Overview

overview

Gently embrace the light, magic and artistry of a stunning land on a carefully crafted itinerary that ranges from quiet countryside to ancient city, from the relaxed atmosphere of unpretentious Chefchaouen to the busy, ancient and populous walled city of Fez to Marrakech, the spirited heart of modern Morocco.

Begin with the imperial history, past and present, of Rabat.  Wend your way through the Rif mountains to the famed blue city of Chefchaouen, venturing on to Meknes, the holy city of Moulay Idriss and the Roman remains of Volubilis.  The meandering and ancient medina in Fez and animated central Djemma el-Fna square of Marrakech are the final stops on this distilled venture to the heart and soul of Morocco.

Lodging on most nights is in riads -- courtyard mansions which were formerly royal homes. 

itinerary

itinerary

  • Day 1: Arrive Rabat
    Welcome to Morocco.

    Your tour starts after breakfast this morning with a visit to the historic city of Rabat, Morocco's capital.  Visit the unfinished minaret La Tour Hassan and the columnar remains of the Hassan  Mosque's prayer hall, Mohammed V's Mausoleum and the King's Palace. 

    Retire this evening to your accommodation in the heart of the medina, within easy walking distance to explore the area, with a rooftop terrace from which to view the animated scene below.

    For those flying in to Casablanca, please note the distance between Casablanca and Rabat is approximately 60 miles.

    Meals
    Dinner
    Lodging
    Riad Dar Zahour, located in the old medina (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Days 2-3: Chefchaouen
    Gathered around the water fountain

    After breakfast, travel from Rabat through the countryside to the famous blue-painted city of Chefchaouen, nestled in the Rif Mountains.   In the afternoon you might take a hike into the surrounding mountains or undertake an excursion to a nearby village.

    The second day is at your leisure to explore the city and surrounds.  You might prefer to wander the streets aimlessly, visit the stream for the ritual clothes washing, or choose to visit one of the surrounding communities with the association Chaouen Rural (http://www.chaouenrural.org/).  Homestays, a day-long hiking trip, or a pottery workshop are among your many options with Chaouen Rural.

    Dinner will be served in the hotel both evenings.

     

    Drive time Rabat to Chefchaouen is approximately 4 hours.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Dinner
    Lodging
    Casa Hassan (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 4: Volubilis / Meknes / Fez
    Enjoy the beauty of Volubilis

    Departing from Chefchaouen, you head off to explore the Roman ruins at Volubilis, the most modest of Morocco's four imperial cities.  Thereafter you visit Meknes and the holy city of Moulay Idriss before continuing on to Fez for this evening's accommodation. 

    Volubilis is one of the best-preserved archaeological sites in Morocco, many of its mosaics, arches and structural foundations still intact and representative of this once-glorious city.

    Meknes, encircled by a 25-mile-long wall and accessible through its monumental landmark gate of Bab el-Mansour, was the Ismailian capital in the 17th century.  Wander the narrow lanes of the old medina, visit the Mellah Jewish quarter and the Royal stables. The Dar Jamai palace houses one of the country's best museums, exhibiting intricately painted ceramics, jewelry, rugs, and textiles with distinct ornate Meknesi needlework. Enjoy the setting of this town in a region of olives, wine, and citrus.

    A visual contrast to the blue-hued Chefchaouen, the sacred white-washed town of Moulay Idriss - named after Morocco's most revered saint and the great-grandson of the Prophet Mohammed - is a favored destination of pilgrims.  It is said that five "moussems" (pilgrimages) to Moulay Idriss equal one haj to Mecca. 

     

    Meals
    Breakfast, Dinner
    Lodging
    Riad Jaouhara (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Days 5-6: Fez
    Taxi stand in Fez

    The next two days will be devoted to Fez, the world's only walled medieval Arab city that remains completely intact.   Mesmerized by the old city's maze of alleyways and variety of items on offer, visitors often compare their first experience of the medina to an encounter with the tales of One Thousand and One Nights (a.k.a. the Arabian Nights).

    The first day you will explore the medina with your guide, who will bring the city's past and present culture to life.  The carpet, fruit and spice-ladden stalls of the medina are left behind for visits to the King's Palace, the tanneries and the local potters.  Lunch will be served in a traditional restaurant in the medina.

    Dinner will be at the hotel or a local restaurant.

    The second day is a free day to explore at your leisure. Not to be missed while here are the Attarine and Bouanania Medersas, the Nejjarine fountain, the Moulay Idriss mausoleum, and the Quaraouine mosque.  You might also want to try bathing in a traditional hamman or take a class to learn how to cook a traditional Moroccan meal. 

    Meals
    Breakfast, Dinner
    Lodging
    Riad Jaouhara (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 7: Fez / Marrakech
    Djemma el-Fna in Marrakech

    After an early breakfast, you set off on a full day's drive to Marrakech.  On arrival, check in to your hotel and then head off to the Djemma el-Fna, the central pulse of Marrakech.  Home to traditional ware and food vendors, snake charmers and henna artists during the day, the square comes alive at night with local storytellers, entertainers and mouth-watering barbecue pits.  Retreat to the terrace of one of the surrounding cafes for a quiet cup of tea and a spectacular view of the bustling scene below.

    Dinner is provided in the hotel.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Riad Moucharabieh (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 8: Marrakech
    Typical Moroccan vendor

    After an early breakfast, you set off with your guide to visit the Palace of Bahia, the Saadian Tombs, and many of the other hidden treasures of the city.  Following lunch taken at a local restaurant, you continue your tour with a visit to the Koutoubia Mosque and venture back to the Djemma el-Fna, where the tour ends with a visit of the souk.

     

    Dinner is taken on your own this evening.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Riad Moucharabieh (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 9: Marrakech / Onward
    Enjoy a Fantasia dinner with musicians and dancers

    After breakfast, you are transferred to the airport for your homebound flight.

     

    Possible extensions include a homestay in a Berber Village or a visit to the Portuguese port town of Essaouira.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Show on a map
Price and Date Details

Price and Date Details

Mar 7-15, 2015
Oct 3-11, 2015
Or Privately on Request
Land Cost:
$3,995
2 travelers - $3,995 3-5 travelers - $3,495 6+ travelers - $2,975
Single Supplement:
$775
The single supplement is applicable if a roommate is not available or if single accommodation is specifically requested. While single accommodation is not available on all trips, we will try and honor this request whenever possible.
Need to Know

Need to Know

Duration:
9 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost.
Comfort Level:
3
comfortable & delightful riads & small hotels
Group Size:
2-12
The stated range indicates minimum required for guaranteed departure and maximum accepted on the scheduled dates. Exceptions can often be made for private departures.
Activity Level:
1
easy walking with optional hikes; a couple of long driving days

Resources

Trip Extensions

Trip Extensions

Essaouira

Duration: 3 days

This extension takes you to the Atlantic coastal towns of Essaouira, Safi and El Jadida. 

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