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Home > Morocco > Itineraries > Bustling Souks Dramatic Landscapes

Bustling Souks & Dramatic Landscapes

Departures

March through May

Duration

10 Days

Locations

Fes, Agafay Desert, Asni, Imlil, High Atlas Mountains, Marrakesh

Overview

Beginning in Fes and covering the High Atlas Mountains and Marrakesh, your tour of Morocco is a sensory sensation, as you experience the spirited way of life of this North African region. Fes serves up dozens of places of note, from the busy souks to the elaborate shrines.

A tour through the sand dunes of the Agafay Desert includes a camel ride over the sandy hills, reminiscent of the ancient nomads that once roamed the land. A tour of the majestic Atlas Mountains and the surrounding Berber villages delivers astonishing vistas and a glimpse into a very storied way of life.

Full tours of the highlights of Marrakesh follow as you discover the traditional marketplaces of the Medina and the unique heritage of this trade-route epicenter. The Yves Saint Laurent Museum attests to the lasting influence of the renowned French fashion designer. You also explore an Islamic college founded in the 14th century, as well as the Jemaa el-Fnaa, the greatest public square in all of Africa.

Itinerary in Detail

    Day 1: Casablanca, Fes

    Upon your arrival at Casablanca airport, you will be fast-tracked through customs and immigration, then transferred to Fes with a private driver. The rest of your day is at leisure.

    Hotel: Riad Fes

    Riad Fes

    Day 2: Fes

    You begin your Moroccan adventure in the fabled city of Fes. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a remarkably preserved city, functioning largely as it did in the Middle Ages when it was an important center of culture, famed for its university. The highlights include the Koranic University, the Foundouk Nejjarine, the shrine of Moulay Idriss II, countless souks, and Fes’s famous tanneries. You will also visit the Attarine, one of the city’s most beautiful educational institutions, and the Jewish cemetery at the gates of the Royal Palace. The last stop is the restored Aben Danan Synagogue, the oldest in Fes.

    Hotel: Riad Fes

    Riad Fes

    Day 3: Agafay Desert

    Your private driver will whisk you away today to the Agafay Desert, checking into the White Camel Lodge about an hour outside Marrakesh. This magnificent natural desert setting offers a breathtaking view of the Atlas Mountains. Far from the hustle and bustle of the city, you will ride camels over the dunes just like the nomads. After sunset, a private dinner is augmented with a Gnawas musical performance – and a fire-eater.

    Hotel: The White Camel Lodge

    The White Camel Lodge

    Day 4: High Atlas Mountains

    After breakfast, you will have a dune buggy ride over the Agafay dunes – a sensational way to further discover the desert. You will then depart for the renowned Atlas Mountains and the Berber villages nestled in the foothills, reaching the Toubkal Mountains, the highest in Morocco.

    The roads lead to Kasbah Tamadot, a luxury resort owned by Richard Branson. After checking into this intimate retreat, you enjoy the rest of the day on your own.

    Hotel: Kasbah Tamadot

    Kasbah Tamadot

    Day 5: Asni, Imlil

    After breakfast, you meet your local guide for a trek to the Berber villages of Asni and Imlil. Here, you will visit the home of a Berber family, discovering their fascinating way of life. While savoring a mint tea, you can converse with the family, your guide acting as a translator. The rest of the day includes more Kasbah relaxation.

    Hotel: Kasbah Tamadot

    Kasbah Tamadot

    Day 6: Atlas Mountains, Marrakesh

    Today, you depart for Marrakesh. No longer the secret of the travel elite that it was 15 years ago, Marrakesh is now recognized as one of the world’s great cities. With the design flair of Paris, the ethnic diversity of New York, the commercial heartbeat of Hong Kong, and a history to rival any city in Europe, Marrakesh is a city of heart and soul, of sunlight on rough pink walls, of rose petals floating in trickling fountains.

    On the way, you may stop at Anima Gardens, a botanical garden created by artist André Heller, filled with quirky sculptures and an intriguing variety of plants. Upon arrival in Marrakesh, you will check into La Mamounia Hotel and enjoy the rest of your day at leisure.

    Hotel: La Mamounia Hotel

    La Mamounia Hotel

    Day 7: Marrakesh

    Your tour today can be adapted to suit your interests. The medieval Medersa ben Youssef (Koranic University) is one of the finest Islamic monuments in North Africa. Architecture aficionados will enjoy the delicate dome of the 12th-century monument Almoravid Qubba.

    The Mellah of Marrakesh is the Jewish Quarter of the city, with its narrow streets, ancient synagogues, and a large cemetery. At the ruins of the vast Badia Palace, you will find the 800-year-old wooden pulpit from the Koutoubia Mosque restored by New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. You will be able to tour Saadian Tombs, the mausoleum of a great dynasty that once ruled North Africa.

    Visit some of the many souks (marketplaces) of Marrakesh, wandering through stalls offering spices, carpets, jewelry, enamelware, copper, brass, wood carvings, and more.

    Later, you will arrive at the famous Jemaa el-Fnaa, the greatest public square in all of Africa – and perhaps the world.

    It provides ever-changing entertainment for Moroccans and visitors alike, reaching its climax at sunset when the square comes alive with storytellers, healers, snake charmers, acrobats, and countless food stalls.

    Hotel: La Mamounia Hotel

    La Mamounia Hotel

    Day 8: Marrakesh

    This morning, you discover the Moroccan culinary arts with a private cooking class in a comfortable riad. Your workshop will be hosted by a Moroccan chef, whom you will assist with the preparation of a traditional meal.

    You will then visit the new Yves St. Laurent Museum and the beautiful Jardin Majorelle, the former home of French artist Jacques Majorelle. The legendary French fashion designer and his long-time partner Pierre Bergé discovered the garden in 1966, buying it in 1980 and expanding its size, and restoring the adjacent Villa Bou Saf, which was renamed Villa Oasis. You can explore the gardens and the villa, followed by the 4,500-square-foot museum exhibition space, which is dedicated to the designer’s work. Time permitting, you may also wish to visit the small but excellent Berber culture museum located in Majorelle’s former studio.

    Hotel: Kasbah Tamadot

    La Mamounia Hotel

    Day 9: Marrakesh

    Enjoy your day at leisure in Marrakesh.

    Hotel: La Mamounia Hotel

    La Mamounia Hotel

    Day 10: Marrakesh

    Today, you will be escorted to the Airport for your return flight home, receiving VIP service to expedite your departure.

Speak to our Travel Designers about combining this itinerary with a pre or post-luxury cruise.

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