Morocco Classic Imperial Cities
7 Days/6 Nights
Casablanca – Rabat – Fez – Marrakech
Day 1: Casablanca – Arrival + Half Day Sightseeing
– Arrival at Casablanca Mohammed V Airport
– Welcome by your english speaking tour guide and transfer to your hotel
– In the afternoon tour Casablanca with your english speaking guide:
HASSAN II MOSQUE: visit one of the worlds largest mosques, with room for more than 100,000 worshipers. Inaugurated in 1993, it took 6,000 traditional Moroccan artisans five years to build this magnificent mosque, with its intricate mosaics, stone and marble floors and columns, sculpted plaster moldings, carved and painted wood ceilings. Rising above the Atlantic, this magnificent monument was designed by French architect Michel Pinseau. At 210 metres (689 feet), the minaret is Morocco’s tallest structure.
THE HABOUS DISTRICT: This new medina was built according to the traditional model and is in the south of the city in the Habous neighbourhood. You will have a pleasant time admiring its little squares, arcades and numerous craft shops. The mahkama (courthouse) of the Pasha is to be seen here too. This Hispano-Moorish style building, built entirely of marble and wood, has 60 rooms and was used as a courtroom and as a reception room by the ancient Pasha of Casablanca.
Art Deco Buildings: If you can see past the traffic, fumes and general chaos of central Casablanca you’ll discover the city’s rich architectural heritage, a blend of French-colonial design and traditional Moroccan style known as Mauresque architecture. Developed in the 1930s and heavily influenced by the Art Deco movement, it embraced decorative details such as intricate carved friezes, beautiful tile work and ornate wrought-iron balconies.
Cathedral Sacre Coeur: Casablanca’s cathedral was built in 1930, when Morocco was still under the rule of Catholic France. Falling into disuse after Morocco’s independence in 1956, the Cathédrale Sacré-Coeur was used as a school and then a culture center. Today, it hosts fairs and exhibitions. The Sacré-Coeur Cathedral is a fascinating work of architecture. Designed by the French architect Paul Tournon, who also designed several churches in France, it represents an interesting experiment in the decorative use of cast concrete.
The Sea Side Corniche: The Aïn-Diab coast, the seaside annex of the city, is the traditional spot for inhabitants of Casablanca going out for the evening, especially on weekends. Trendy restaurants and popular pubs abound along the seafront. Some of these establishments, have been there since the thirties. The atmosphere is so cosmopolitan that it is as easy to find a sushi restaurant as one specialised in Moroccan dishes. The discotheques open later on in the evening. Everyone will find one to his taste, from the latest techno to North African music. Boulevard Mohammed V, in the city centre, is full of restaurants, some of which have kept their 1920’s decor. Another curiosity: you can have a drink in a perfectly recreated copy of the famous café in the film Casablanca.
Dinner and overnight at the Barceló hotel
Day 2: Casablanca / Meknes / Fez
Buffet breakfast at the hotel – Depart with your tour guide to Fez. On the way, Stop to visit Meknes, the Ismalian capital, famous for its 40 km long walls, visit Bab Mansour: Dominating the southern end of the square is the monumental gateway of Bab Mansour, the crowning jewel of Moulay Ismail’s architectural legacy, commissioned by him but finished during his son’s reign in 1732. Intricately decorated with richly coloured tiles and flanked by two bastions supported in part by columns plundered from Volubilis, it marks the entrance to the vast precincts of the imperial court.
The huge Heri el Souani Granary: This large 17th-century high-vaulted building served both as a granary and feed store for the 12,000 steeds in Moulay Ismail’s vast stables. These chambers are immense – Moulay Ismail was always ready for a siege or drought. Take the stairs to the pleasant rooftop café-garden, with a fine view of the city and the huge Aguedal Basin, once used to irrigate the imperial city’s gardens. The remains of Moulay Ismail’s stables are attached to the granary
Markets and lively squares: Meknes has one of the busiest medinas in Morocco. The Place El-Hedime, located exactly between the old town and the Imperial part of the city, houses the covered market and becomes busy at dusk: fire-swallowers, storytellers, animal trainers and jugglers create an atmosphere different from anything you are used to.
Lunch included at a local restaurant in Meknes
After lunch continue to Fez & stop to visit Volubilis Volubilis Ruins: The Roman ruins of Volubilis, stretched out over 40 hectares, and are the most well preserved ruins in Morocco. Volubilis was the administrative center of the province in Roman Africa called Mauretania Tingitana. The fertile lands of the province produced many commodities such as grain and olive oil, which were exported to Rome, contributing to the province’s wealth and prosperity. Archaeology has documented the presence of a Jewish community in the Roman period.
Arrival to Fez by the end of the afternoon – Check in before dinner and overnight at Barcelo.
Day 3: FEZ
Buffet breakfast at the hotel – Departure with english speaking tour escort guide to a city-sightseeing of Fez, the spiritual capital of Morocco, you’ll visit:
The oldest university: the Karaouiyine mosque is one of the most imposing in Morocco. It houses a university which is thought to be the oldest in the world and which was founded in the middle of the 9th century.
Bou Inania Madersa: a breathtaking 14th-century religious college. The best example of Islamic architecture a non-Muslim can see in Fez, with wooden walls elaborately carved with geometric patterns and Arabic calligraphy, and a beautiful minaret. In the courtyard there is a portico with a still-functioning mosque, separated by the rest of the courtyard by a small moat. The view from the hills surrounding the old city is spectacular- there are two fortresses overlooking the old city, the Borj Nord which contains an armaments museum, and the Borj Sud, which is being developed for tourism.
Fondouk el-Nejjarine: also known as“Wood Museum” faces the old Place el-Nejjarine or the “Carpenter’s Square.” The fondouk was constructed in the 18th century and originally served as a “caravanaserai” or “roadside inn” for travellers and traders. Visitors will want to spend an hour or so in this wonderfully restored fondouk learning about the woodwork indigenous to the region while viewing artifacts dating from the 14th century. Make sure you leave time to visit the rooftop terrace, one of the best views of Fez.
Tanneries: You will probably hear people asking you if you want directions to the tannery. On warm days, you don’t need directions. You only have to follow the smell. There are a couple of shops that sell good dyed in the local tanneries that have terraces where you can, without cost, look down on the terraces. The cost is free, but you may get persuaded into buying some handmade Moroccan leather goods.
Lunch included at a local restaurant inside the Medina.
In the Afternoon: Continue your visit to Fez: Souk shopping: Continuing along the Talaa Kebira, at the foot of a hill, you will find the Souk el Attarine (the perfume or spice market). Pause here to look over the shops full of spices, cosmetic and herbal goods; tree bark and incense, snake skins, twigs, roots, charms and potions on sale. Among the traditional herbalist shops are some specializing in souvenirs and Moroccan crafts. A few are set up in beautiful old mansions, and a shopping expedition here gives you the bonus of a tour through a traditional Moroccan house. Just off Souk el Attarine is the shady Souk el Henna, where you can buy henna leaves and powder, kohl and other cosmetics.
The Mellah, or Jewish Quarter, of Fez was established in 1438. It is the oldest of the mellahs in Morocco though very few Jewish people live here today, most of them having moved to the ville nouvelle, France or Israel. The Mellah section today is well worth a stroll with it ornate balconies and wrought-iron windows. There is a great view from the terrace of the Danan Synogogue on rue Der el-Ferah Teati and the Jewish cemetery is worth a visit, though be wary of faux guides and people asking for money at the cemetery; it’s best to go with a knowledgeable guide if you want to avoid them.
Dinner and overnight at the hotel
Day 4: Fez/Beni Mellal /Marrakech
Buffet Breakfast at the hotel – Departure to Marrakech via Ifrane, Immouzzer & the cedar woods of the Middle Atlas – Lunch and a moment of relaxation in Beni Mellal, one of the agricultural centres of Morocco. – Continuation to Marrakech, that you will reach by the end of the day.
Check in & Overnight at the Atlas Medina & Spa
Day 5: Marrakech – Full Day Sightseeing
Buffet breakfast at the hotel – Meet with your english speaking guide at the hotel’s lobby and start your Visit of Marrakech – the Red Pearl: – The Koutoubia Minaret: One of the best example of hispano -mauresque art, which combines apparent simplicity with superb craftsmanship and restrained luxury. With its minaret rising 252 feet into the sky it is certainly one of the most impressive sights in Marrakech.
The Bahia Palace: The Bahia Palace is a palace and a set of gardens located in Marrakech. It was built in the late 19th century, intended to be the greatest palace of its time. The name means ‘brilliance’. As in other buildings of the period in other countries, it was intended to capture the essence of the Islamic and Moroccan style. There is a 2 acre garden with rooms opening onto courtyards , it is a haphazard arrangement of luxury apartments opening on to inner courtyards.
The Majorelle Gardens: Jacques Majorelle the French painter settled in 1919 in Marrakech to continue his career. While living here he acquired the Majorelle garden. Since 1947 he has opened the garden’s doors to the public. In 1980 Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent repurchased the garden and restored it. Jacques Majorelle was one of the more important collectors of plants of his era. Plants of the five continents are exposed in an enchanting framework. Yves Saint Laurent ashes were scattered in the garden and a Memorial to him has been built here.
Lunch at the hotel
After lunch visit Marrakech’s Famous Jemaâ el Fna Square & the Souks – The Square: The traditional meeting place for peasants and merchants has become the heart of Marrakech. In the afternoon come the musicians, storytellers, snake charmers and entertainers with performing monkeys
Souks: are a riot of colours, noise and activity, a wealthy storehouse of all the treasures of this vast and varied country. Thus you will find all the silver merchants in one corner, all the gold merchants in another, and rows of stalls selling exclusively leather work or copper goods or jewelry. The real fascination is to watch the craftsmen at work, gilding on leather, or inlaying with enamel the sheaths of ornate silver daggers, hammering out copper, embroidering silks or smoothing out the surface of a cedar wood table.
Dinner – a great place to try is the “Lotus Privilege Restaurant”
Le Lotus Privilege: A hundred meters from Dar El Bacha, a man dressed in blue welcomes you and leads you to Lotus Privilege. The patio is beautiful and the décor is sublime, blending traditional riad with Art Deco “Lotus” touches. On your plate, you will find traditional dishes and flavours completely reinvented with a unique presentation. A colourful evening will be spent with the rhythm of belly dancers and Andalusian Arab musicians.
Day 6: Marrakech – High Atlas
Buffet Breakfast at the hotel – Meet your english speaking tour guide & departure on an itinerary of approximately 70 km. We will be traveling to small Berber villages leaning on the steep mountains of the High Atlas. Asni is a picturesque Berber village located at an altitude of 1.150m, dominated by Djebel Toubkal, the highest peak of the Maghreb with a height of 4.167m. It is the starting point of many excursions in the High Atlas. During the trip, you will alternate between asphalt roads and dust tracks in order to benefit from the landscapes offered by this beautiful area.
Lunch is suggested at La Roseraie Restaurant.
Back to Marrakech with time for leisure. Dinner and accommodation at the hotel.
Day 7: Marrakech – Departure
Buffet breakfast at the hotel – Check out & Transfer to Mohamed V Casablanca Airport – Flight back home
Our prices include:
• 6 Nights / 7 Days accommodation at mentioned hotels or similar on half board basis + all the meals indicated in the program
• Transportation is available for small and large groups.
• For small groups from 2 to 9, English speaking drivers are available from arrival to departure + Local English speaking guides for historical visits in each city as per the program above. From 10 passengers and up National English speaking guide from arrival to departure.
• Entrance fees to monuments as per our program above
• Tips to hotels luggage porters and restaurants
• Tax and services
Our prices don’t include:
• Any Soft or alcoholic beverage either at hotels or restaurants • All extras at the hotels: laundry, mini-bar, spa,etc.
• Tips to the driver & the guide
• Anything not mentioned above
Valid From November 1st 2016 to October 31st 2017