Visit Morocco major cities, Casablanca, Rabat, Meknes, Fez, azrou, Midelt, Erfoud, Rissani, Merzouga, Tinghir, Ouarzazate, Marrakech, Essaouira, Safi and El Jadida with the Majestic Atlas Mountains and the Sahara. The Royal Cities and Sahara Tour will reveal to you the history, architecture, music, arts and crafts, daily life of Moroccans in urban and rural diverse areas. This cultural journey will reveal to you the beauty of Morocco from inside out as you will be traveling with local experts.
Day 1: New York – Casablanca. You will begin your exotic journey on a Royal Air Maroc carrier. With exceptional service and Moroccan hospitality, you will enjoy beverages, a delicious dinner, and a complimentary movie on your flight.
Day 2: Casablanca. Upon your arrival at the Mohamed V Airport in Casablanca, you will meet your guide, who will take you immediately to check in at your hotel. That afternoon, you will explore Casablanca, the largest port of the Maghred, and “capital in all but administration.” You will conclude your day with dinner at your hotel.
Day 3: Casablanca – Rabat. In the morning, you will depart for Rabat, the capital of Morocco. Styled in a spaciously elegant European grid, yet slightly self-conscious of its modernity, Rabat has an ancient legacy that spans hundreds of generations. Each civilization that has inhabited the city has left its mark, resulting in a wide variety in architectural styles including those from the Phoenician and Roman eras. You will spend your day discovering the delights that Rabat has to offer, ending with dinner and other accommodations at your hotel.
Day 4: Rabat – Meknès – Fez. You will travel to Meknes on an excursion that embodies a large part of Morocco’s early history. First you will travel through Volubilis, Morocco’s Roman provincial capital, and then through Moulay Idris, a creation of the country’s premier Arab dynasty. You will then continue onward to Fez, where you will be provided with dinner and accommodations at your hotel.
Day 5: Fez. Undeniably fascinating, Fez stimulates the senses with its haunting yet beautiful sounds, visual splendor, and evocative smells. The most ancient of imperial capitals and the most complete medieval city of the Islamic world, Fez is reminiscent of a city suspended in time, unfazed by the constantly evolving world outsides its walls, owing nothing to the Western world save electricity. Time spent in Fez will reveal much about the sophistication of the Moroccan artisan, providing an unparalleled learning experience to those who cross its path. Your morning will be spent visiting the Medina. You will break for lunch at a typical Moroccan restaurant and will continue to explore and shop for the remainder of the day.
Day 6: Fez – Azrou – Midelt – Erfoud. You will spend your day discovering the rural environs of the Atlas Mountains’ Berbers. Covered with evergreen pines, tall cedar trees, and poplars, and laced with flowing streams, your first view of the Middle Atlases will appear oddly un-Moroccan. You will soon come across the first real town of the Middle Atlases, Azrou, an important market center for the region’s Berber tribes that is located at a major junction of mountain routes. At Midelt, the Middle Atlases give way to the High Atlas Mountains, whose peaks are visible through the haze, soaring to over 12,000 feet. You will stop in Midelt for lunch, enjoying the dramatic sight before you. You will then continue to Erfoud, one of the most delightful southern regions consisting of a dry, red belt of desert with a sudden drop into the lush valley of Ziz, with copious date palm groves and flowing streams. You will conclude your day with dinner in your hotel.
Day 7: Merzouga Dunes – Rissani – Erfoud. With its indescribable beauty, watching the sun as it rises over the spectacular Merzouga dunes is an experience that should not be missed. Afterward, you will eat breakfast with the Toaregs and continue onward, transported in Land Rovers, to explore the ancient, holy oasis of Rissani. There, you will visit the ruins of Sijilmassa, remnants of the first Arab and Islamic city of Morocco, and the prehistoric fossils present throughout the desert. You will then return to your hotel for the evening.
Day 8: Erfoud – Tinghir. Only 15 kilometers from Tinghir, you will find the Todras, the highest, narrowest gorges in the region. You will travel through the Dadès valley, where in the spring, thousands of Persian roses bloom in hedgerows, filling the air with their heavenly perfume. You will also see the thousands of Kasbahs scattered along the Dadès River, majestic sandcastles with a visually appealing, timeless beauty. Your day will end with dinner and other accommodations at the Hotel in Tinghir.
Day 9: Tinghir – Ouarzazate. You will explore the Dades Valley, traveling through El Kelaâ De Mgouna and Boumalne to view the inimitable natural vistas and unusual rock formations. You will then continue onward to Ouarzazate, where one large oasis intercepts the flow of water between the Dadès, the Drâa valleys, and the majestic High Atlas Mountains. You will conclude your day with dinner and other accommodations in your hotel.
Day 10: Ouarzazate – Marrakesh. You will spend most of your day en route to Marrakesh, exploring the legendary Kasbah of Aït-Benhaddou, a renowned architectural marvel, and stopping in Taddart and Tizi Tishka pass, at an altitude of 11,000 feet. The pass divides the mountains into two distinct facets: the harsh, stark side acting as a shield that protects the hinterland from the harsh, dry expansion of the Sahara, and a lush side, soft and evergreen, which collects the moisture from the Gherbi winds of the Atlantic Ocean. You will arrive in Marrakech, a city of pleasure for both visitors and locals, where southern tribesmen and Berber villagers bring their goods to market and find a variety of entertainment. To tourists, the city is a feast for the imagination, full of incomparable beauty, situated before the towering mountains that provide a thrilling backdrop. After a visit to the bustling Jemaa El Fna square, you will conclude your day with dinner and other accommodations at your hotel.
Day 11: Marrakech. You will devote your morning to the exploration of Marrakech’s many historical sites, including the Menara, a magnificent pool surrounded by flowerbeds, reflecting the image of an exquisite Moorish edifice, constructed in 1866 for the dignitaries, who enjoyed glorious sunsets with the ethereal Atlas Mountains as a backdrop. The pool also functions as an innovative irrigation system that is adapted to life in the desert. Your tour will cover many impressive sites, including the Koutoubia Minaret (which is identical to la Giralda, a tower found in Sevilla, Spain), and the Saadien tombs, which demonstrate Moorish architecture at its best. The tombs consist of sixteenth-century mausoleums, which lay walled-in and undiscovered until 1917. You will then return to your hotel for the night.
Day 12: Marrakesh – Ourika Valley. You will begin your day with an excursion to the Ourika Valley, where you will visit the traditional Berber Souks, as well as the Jewish shrines. After lunch, you will discover the workshops of the local artisans, enjoying their sophisticated, hand-made products. You will return to Marrakech for dinner and other accommodations at your hotel.
Day 13: Marrakech – Essaouira. You will begin your day by traveling to Essaouira (Mogador), a picturesque city with a rich history. With a fascinating antiquity, Essaouira was occupied by the Phoenicians and Carthaginians, supplied essential purple dyes to the Romans, absorbed the sophisticated Jewish arts of silversmithing, and spent centuries as a Portuguese enclave. Despite the obvious influence of these civilizations, Essaouira has managed to remain a small, authentic Berber town. Alive with the breath of fresh air provided by the Atlantic, Essaouira is a jewel nestled in the ragged coast, with a vast expanse of empty sands trailing back along the promontory towards the South. After an introductory tour, you will conclude your day with dinner in your hotel.
Day 14: Essaouira – Casablanca. You will travel to Casablanca, stopping at El Oualidia for a seafood lunch. You will continue onward to El Jadida, where you will visit the citadel, evidence of the 11th century Portuguese occupation. Finally, you will arrive in Casablanca, having completed a journey that has led you through immeasurable antiquity. You will conclude your day with a farewell dinner and spend the night at the Hotel.
Day 15: Casablanca – New York. In the morning, you will travel to the Mohamed V Airport for your transatlantic return flight to New York.
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