Discover why “mosaic” isn’t just about tilework! Morocco is a vastly diverse country that will dazzle and amaze you. From iconic world heritage sites to dramatic landscapes, colorful souqs and glorious cuisine, Morocco is never-forgettable. This tour showcases the very best of Morocco’s cultural treasures, while offering immersive experiences in aspects of daily life. Join local Berber women for tea and henna hand-painting. Discover the secrets of Moroccan cuisine, and spend a night in a tent camp deep in the Sahara dunes or in a kasbah reminiscent of the days of trans-continental trade routes. Oceans, mountains, deserts, cities … this tour is for women who travel, women transforming, women who savour exploration and discovery!
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Day 1: Arrival Casablanca
Your driver and escort will greet you at the airport, then help you check in to your hotel where you can rest, relax, settle in. Meet us for tea and a tour orientation, then we’ll visit some of the city’s main sights such as the Sacre Coeur Cathedral, Arab League Park, Mohammed V Plaza, and the Quartier Habous. Depending on your arrival time, you may visit the Hassan II Mosque this day, or otherwise start with a tour of this site on Day 2. The Mosque is one of only two in Morocco open to non-Muslims. We’ll have lunch today at Rick’s Cafe. Return to the hotel for some free time, then we’ll find a great spot for dinner!
Day 2: Rabat
Start the day with an invigorating walk along the oceanside promenade or optional yoga class. After breakfast, tour the exquisite interior of the Hassan II Mosque if you did not visit on Day 1. Then we’ll depart for Rabat, Morocco’s current capital and the first Imperial City on your tour. After you have checked into your riad, we’ll have lunch on the historic Le Dhow floating restaurant. In the afternoon, we’ll do a walking tour of the Rabat medina and major sites of interest including the Hassan Tower, the Kasbah des Oudayas, the Musee des Oudayas, Mohammed V Mausoleum, and Chellah.
Day 3: Chefchaouen
Travel through the lovely pastoral countryside of northern Morocco to your destination in the Rif Mountains: the “blue village” of Chefchaouen! When you arrive, settle into your riad, then begin to explore the medina. Visit Plaza Outa El Hammam, the kasbah and its Ethnographic Museum, and Ras el Ma. Don’t miss the Spanish Mosque, a pleasant walk of about .5 km from the medina, or allow us to drive you. Discover Spanish influences in the local cuisine at dinner this evening!
Day 4: Chefchaouen
Continue exploring Chefchaouen on your own today. Look for the locally-made brightly-striped “vegetable silk” textiles made from agave. Option: you can go for a guided hike of about 3 hours (return) to God’s Bridge in the nearby Talassemtane National Park. (Other walks of varying degrees of difficulty are also available in the park.) We will arrange for a guide for you, and transport you to the trail head as well.
Day 5: Fes
Your destination today is Fes, the third Imperial City on your program. Along the way, we’ll visit the ruins of the Roman city of Volubilis with its beautiful mosaic floors and dramatic columns and arches. The nearby town of Moulay Idriss, holy to Muslims, just minutes from Volubilis, is a great spot to have lunch. Then travel to Meknes, the second Imperial City on your tour. The medina here is colorful and very interesting, and you’ll be able to see key sights such as Bab Mansour, the Bou Inania Medersa, and Heri el-Souani (the Royal Granaries). Arrive in Fes in time to relax before dinner at your riad this evening.
Day 6: Fes
Take a full–day guided walking tour of the Fes medina, and see the major sights including the Andalusian Mosque, Attarine Medersa, Bab Boujeloud, the Bou Inania Medersa, the Fontaine Nejjarine, the Musée Nejjarine des Arts et Métiers du Bois (Wood Arts and Crafts Museum), Kairaouine Mosque, Place Seffarine, and the Terrasse des Tanneurs. You’ll also have the opportunity to visit a ceramics factory to see both ancient and modern methods of creating the beautiful hand-made “zellig” tiles so characteristic of Moroccan decor, as well as the famous “Fes Bleu” pottery. Complete this amazing day with a visit to a hammam, or relax at your riad before dinner.
DAY 7: Erfoud
Today you’ll pass through ever-changing landscapes as you pass through the Middle Atlas Mountains and approach the Sahara Desert. Shortly after leaving Fes, you’ll pass through the cool cedar forest near Azrou, home to the Barbary monkeys. Some of them are now “spoiled”: they’ll daintily take pieces of fruit or nuts from your fingers. As you leave the mountains, the road will take you along the Ziz Valley with its stark rocky outcrops, and dense palm oases before delivering you to Erfoud and the desert dunes. Enjoy dinner on the terrace under the stars this evening!
DAY 8: Merzouga
We’ll explore the desert towns of Erfoud, Rissani, and Merzouga this day: visit their markets, discover the fossil record of the area at Erfoud, and Kasbah ruins at Rissani. Visit tiny Hassi Labied, home to the Pigeons du Sable, a renowned Gnaoua music group. If they’re “home”, they’ll often offer an impromptu performance. After lunch, you’ll be invited into the home of a Berber family, and will have the chance to meet Berber women for tea and have your hands hennaed. Later in the afternoon, we’ll head into the desert tent camp – even ride in on a camel if you wish. You’ll arrive in time to watch the sun set over the dunes, then enjoy dinner prepared by your camp hosts, and do some amazing star-gazing before sliding into your tents for the night.
DAY 9: Ouarzazate
Prepare for your departure from the desert today with a morning yoga class or walk. Travel to Ouarzazate, a modern desert city with ancient roots. The road will take you to the Todra Gorge at Tineghir, the Dades Valley at Boumalne de Dades, through the Valley of Roses where the Damask Rose is grown commercially, and down the Route des Kasbahs, to Skoura and the Thousand Palms Oasis. Ouarzazate is the major centre for spices grown in the region – and the best place to buy them for yourself or friends!
DAY 10: Marrakech
As you leave Ouarzazate for Marrakech, you’ll visit the region’s major attraction, Ksar Ait Ben Haddou, the classic example of red pisé (rammed earth) architecture, and monument to an ages-old life and lifestyle. The road will then take you into the High Atlas Mountains, crossing over the amazing Tichka Pass. Stop at the village of Taddart to visit a Women’s Co-operative where cosmetic and culinary argan oil products are made. You will arrive in Marrakech in the late afternoon, giving you time to relax and enjoy the amenities of your riad, or perhaps go for a walk or a refreshing cup of tea. Enjoy a quiet dinner at your riad this evening, If you like, discover night life in the Red City: we can take you to one of the city’s night spots for a nightcap!
DAY 11: Marrakech
Discover the exotic Red City of Marrakech, the fourth and final Imperial City on your tour. Take a guided walking tour of the medina and see all the major sites: the Bahia Palace, Koutoubia Mosque, the Jewish Mellah, Ali Ben Youssef Medersa, Marrakech Museum, El Badi Palace, and Saadian Tombs. Along the way, you’ll experience the colorful souks, the olive market, the dyers’ quarters, and visit the tanneries. You’ll also the Majorelle Gardens, legacy of Yves Saint Laurent, and the exquisite Berber Museum and its excellent displays of Berber tribal costuming and jewellery. Enjoy dinner at one of the food stalls at the Djemaa el Fna Square this evening. The square comes alive in the evenings as it’s when the story-tellers, jugglers, and fortune-tellers all gather to entertain and amuse! Optional: Complete the day with an evening ride through the city on a horse-drawn calèche!
DAY 12: Essaouira
Travel to Essaouira on the Atlantic coast, and spend the afternoon strolling through Essaouira’s lovely blue-and-white medina, the harbor area, and the artisanal craft shops on your own. No guide is needed, as it’s all very easily navigable, and there are no significant points of interest needing guided interpretation. Discover Essaouira’s wonderful restaurants showcasing the coast’s excellent seafood!.
DAY 13: Casablanca
Attend a cooking class this morning, discover the secrets of Moroccan cooking! Complete your Moroccan adventure by meandering up the coast to Casablanca. En route, visit the Old Portuguese City and cistern at El Jadida. Arrive in Casablanca late in the afternoon, in time to prepare for tomorrow’s departure.
Day 14: Departure Casablanca
We’ll transport you to the airport in time for your onward flight.
Key Tour Highlights
- *8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- Imperial Cities: Rabat, Meknes, Fes, Marrakech
- “Blue Village”: Chefchaouen (optional hiking)
- Hammam visits (spa experience and/or community hammam
- Sahara Desert towns: markets and local points of interest (Erfoud, Rissani, Merzouga)
- Overnight in desert tent camp, optional camel ride
- Traditional tea and henna party
- Roman ruins: Volubilis*
- Architectural marvels: Ksar Ait Ben Haddou* (Ouarzazate)
- Historic landmarks: Old Portuguese City* and cistern (El Jadida)
- Souqs and Medinas: Rabat, Meknes, Fes, Marrakech, Essaouira*
- Azrou cedar forest, sighting Barbary apes
- Women’s co-operatives: argan oil products
- Cooking class
- Tradescraft highlights: vegetable silk, carpet-making, marquetry and wood crafts
- Exceptional cuisine; beautiful traditional Moroccan accommodations
- Health walks, yoga classes
- Professionally-certified driver for the entire tour
- Knowledgeable Moroccan host/driver speaks local languages and English/French