7-day tour: Morocco’s Imperial Cities and desert

Day 1: Casablanca – Rabat

Our 7-day Morocco tour starts at Casablanca airport or at the agreed place in this Moroccan city, the largest and most important of the country. There, an English-speaking driver from our agency will be waiting for you with a private vehicle to transfer you to the center.

In Casablanca, we will stop to visit the Hassan II Mosque, one of the largest in the Islamic world. The reason for this well-deserved stop is not only its spectacular architecture, but also the fact that it can be visited inside, something very unusual in Morocco. That way, we will know how it is inside a temple of these characteristics, where monumentality is mixed with spirituality.

After visiting the mosque, we will head to Rabat, located just 90 km away by road. Although it is not as big as Casablanca, it forms a huge urban area together with its neighbor Salé, on the other side of the Bu Regreg river. And what is more important: it is a city with an interesting historic center, declared World Heritage by Unesco. It is also the capital of the country and one of the famous Imperial Cities.

The visit to Rabat will be free, so you can organize the afternoon at your leisure, with a tour that should not miss the great monuments of Rabat: the Hassan Tower, from the Almohad period (late twelfth century) and the Kasbah of the Oudayas, whose origins date back to the same century, but with major reconstructions later. And not far from these and other monuments will be the charming riad where you will spend the first night of this 7-day tour of Morocco.

Day 2: Rabat – Meknes – Volubilis – Fez

The second day of this tour will start with breakfast included at the riad in Rabat and then you will depart to the important places of interest that make up this day. The first of these, Meknes, is another of the Imperial Cities and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Many of the historical monuments of Meknes evoke Moulay Ismail, the sultan who declared it the capital at the end of the 17th century. His mausoleum and the spectacular gates of the wall are examples of this.

After a free stroll through Meknes, we will continue the route to Volubilis, a Roman archaeological site. Columns, mosaics, arches and other remains will remind us of the importance of this city at the time of the Roman Empire, living moments of splendor in times of Marcus Aurelius and Caracalla, among others. And precisely for this reason it was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco.

In the afternoon we will move to Fez, another Imperial City and the third World Heritage Site of the day. Due to its splendor, it is one of the most important places of this 7-day tour of Morocco, so we will visit it in depth on the following day. For the time being, you will have time to stroll around the center and get in touch with its atmosphere and its popular culture. And in the evening, you will rest in a charming riad located in the medina.

Day 3: Fez

If there is a city that deserves to be discovered with a guide, it is Fez. And so it will be on this day of our tour of Morocco in 7 days: after breakfast at the riad, you will meet our official local guide to walk through the most important places of the historic center.

The route will not overlook any monument or neighborhood of maximum interest. For example, the Karaouine Mosque and University, one of the oldest educational institutions in the world. Or its prestigious madrasas (Bou Inania, Attarine, etc.), as Fez retains the character of spiritual and intellectual center earned centuries ago. No less special will be touring neighborhoods and souks of artisans, among which are the tanners, who maintain their traditional leather work in the medina.

Although the walking tour will be personalized, there will be places that will have to be left out during the morning. But you will be able to get to know them in the afternoon, since you will have the afternoon at your disposal to broaden your knowledge or to live genuine experiences in the city. For example, the Jewish quarter or Mellah and its neighboring Royal Palace, with spectacular Golden Gates, attract the attention of many visitors. The same as the Borj Nord Museum, the El Glaoui Palace or the gates of the wall, among which Bab Boujloud stands out.

Of course, the free afternoon will also be the perfect opportunity to go shopping, since Fez is one of the cities with more and better crafts in the country: leather, wood, jewelry, ceramics and a host of products made in the traditional way, which can be an excellent souvenir of this tour of Morocco in 7 days. And to conclude the day, you will spend the night again in the riad of the medina. Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

Day 4: Fez – Ifrane – Monkey Forest – Erfoud – Desert of Merzouga

On the fourth day of this circuit we leave the big historical cities and enter the wildest and most authentic corners of Moroccan nature. After breakfast at the riad in Fez, we will board our vehicle and head to the far south.

Soon we will meet the towns and landscapes of the Middle Atlas. For example, Ifrane, a city nicknamed ‘the Switzerland of Africa’ because its atmosphere is reminiscent of the Alps: buildings with gable roofs in a mountainous and green environment, as it is located at an altitude of over 1,700 meters, with abundant snowfall in winter.

The National Park located between Ifrane and Azrou, often known as the Cedar Forest or Monkey Forest, is also very charming. This tree and this animal are very characteristic of the country and a vital interdependence has formed between them: the Barbary macaques, in danger of extinction, have found here the perfect habitat to survive, being the only primate found in the wild north of the Sahara.

After leaving behind this National Park, we will cross the Middle Atlas and start a long descent that will take us to the Ziz Valley, where the landscape changes radically: at the bottom coexist palm groves and fields, and around the aridity of the stony hamadas is imposed. In this way, the road reaches Erfoud, a small town famous for its fossils of dinosaurs and other creatures that lived here millions of years ago.

The asphalt will end in Merzouga, humble town that gives its name to this part of the Sahara desert. Here we will change means of transport: we will leave the car to get on the incombustible dromedaries, which are the most suitable for our excursion through the dunes of Erg Chebbi. The end of the excursion is a tent camp in the middle of the desert, where we will be welcomed with a Berber tea, have dinner and spend the night. And also where we will experience one of the most special moments of this 7-day Morocco tour: contemplating the amazing starry sky, free of all clouds and light pollution.

Day 5: Merzouga Desert – Rissani – Todra Gorges – Dades Valley – Ouarzazate

Another highlight of this 7-day Morocco tour is the sunrise of the fifth day: from the dunes of Erg Chebbi we will see how the sun emerges on the horizon and bathes with a magical light this sea of sand dunes, in the middle of a moving silence. After that, we will return to the camp for breakfast and to take our camels, which will take us back to Merzouga. During the morning we will also reserve time for a nice shower, in the tents or in a hotel in Merzouga according to the package contracted.

Back on the road, we will have ahead of us a roadtrip full of attractions. The first is the visit to the small town of Rissani, cradle of the Alaouite dynasty. In its medina and its surroundings we can see genuine scenes, such as a traditional market wrapped in exotic aromas or a donkey parking.

After Rissani, the road will take us through small villages between arid hills and scattered palm groves to the next stop: the Todra Gorges. This rocky canyon is a paradise for climbers, as it has natural walls of about 200 meters. But it is also a place that will surprise any traveler, as its gorge can be explored on foot. The winding curves of the road are also a picture that is worth stopping.

After the Todra Gorges, we will travel through the Dades Valley, which is part of the Route of the Thousand Kasbahs, so called because of the numerous Berber fortresses that mark the road. We will also pass through the Valley of the Roses, where this flower is abundantly cultivated, with a high value for the local economy.

Finally, we will arrive in Ouarzazate, a city known as the ‘Hollywood of Morocco’ for its film studios that have served as a set for super productions in the seventh art. Depending on the schedule and interest, we will be able to visit its studios. The visit to the Taourirt Kasbah, located on the outskirts of this city and very interesting for its exterior military architecture in adobe, as well as for its exotic interior decoration, is for sure. And at the conclusion, you will have dinner and sleep in a hotel in Ouarzazate.

Day 6: Ouarzazate – Ait Ben Haddou – Telouet – High Atlas – Marrakech

After breakfast at the hotel in Ouarzazate, we will take our vehicle to travel the 25 km that separate us from the ksar of Ait Ben Haddou. This fortified complex, declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco, is one of the best examples of Berber defensive military architecture. And not by chance, because it was a key point on the caravan route linking Timbuktu and Marrakech. In more recent times it has become a perfect film set for movies and series, such as Game of Thrones.

After a leisurely visit to Ait Ben Haddou, we will return to the road, which will begin to gain altitude: we will enter the High Atlas, where the highest mountains of the country are located. On the way up we will stop to visit the kasbah of Telouet, ‘sister’ of the kasbah of Taourirt as it was the residence of the Lord of the Atlas, Thami El Glaoui.

Shortly after, we will arrive at the Tizi n’Tichka Pass, a natural pass located at an altitude of more than 2,220 meters. Therefore, the panoramic view of the High Atlas is fantastic, with snow-capped peaks for much of the year and small Berber villages lying on its slopes.

About 100 km from the pass, through a road in continuous descent, we will arrive in Marrakech, the last city of this 7-day tour of Morocco. You can visit it freely during the afternoon to see the most representative places of its medina, declared World Heritage by Unesco: the Kutubia Mosque, the Jemaa el-Fna square, the Ben Youssef Madrasa, the Bahia Palace and a long list of monuments and museums full of interest. All this, by the way, will be close to your accommodation, which will be a riad in the center of the city.

Day 7: Marrakech – Airport

The seventh day is the last day of this 7-day tour of Morocco. Therefore, after breakfast at the riad and if the program allows it, it would be possible to take a last walk around the city to do some shopping, for example. In any case, our chauffeur will be on time for the transfer to the airport in a private vehicle.

Our services will end at the terminal, with the hope of accompanying you again on another tour like this one of Morocco in 7 days, but in other parts of the country: the Atlantic coast, the northern Mediterranean…

TOURIST PACKAGE INCLUDED

  •   Pick up and drop off at the airport
  •    Comfortable private transportation with air conditioning
  •    English speaking driver / tour guide
  •    Sandboarding in the desert
  •    Camel ride

TOURIST PACKAGE EXCLUSIONS

  •    Plane tickets
  •    Drinks
  •    Lunches
  •    Tickets
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