Casablanca, Marrakech, Ourzazate, Erfoud, Rabat, Fes
Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
The delicate aroma of rosewater wafts around a shop filled with decadent silks. Carpets are woven in an intricate fashion and leaned against the old city walls. Elements of French colonization linger along the parapets of the new marketplace. The vibrant history of an old desert-trading town continues in the shade of the fortress. This 9-day discover Morocco tour of Casablanca, Fes, Erfoud and Ourazazate brings you powerful red walls and terracotta villages, hand-dyed leather goods and layers...
Casablanca – Moroccan Reception
Arrive in Casablanca and step into a world where the past and present merge to create a captivating atmosphere. Your private transfer meets you at the airport to escort you to your centrally located hotel. The boulevards are lined with palm trees swaying in the sea breeze. The Atlantic Ocean laps against the city’s western border. The aroma of palm oil blends with traditional spices that float out of cafes and restaurants. At the Parc de La Ligue Arabe men linger under the canopy and play pétanque, a form of lawn bowling.
The balls are thrown and hit the dirt field with a soft thud. The canopy creates a lush and shady walkway that locals stroll through. The aroma of cedar trees blossoms around the luxuriant space. Black and white marble stairs wind up the Art Deco building of Villa de Arts, a 1934 structure that maintains contemporary exhibits of artists throughout the country and abroad. When you settle into Casablanca in the evening you find a lavish city in touch with its roots but far from traditional.
Rabat – In the Direction of Independence
After breakfast, you make your way to the imperial city of Rabat, home to the royal palace of the king. The city has similar palm tree-lined boulevards but maintains a quieter, more relaxed pace than Casablanca. The air is sweetened with coconut milk that lingers around the trees. Remnants of French colonialism can be seen in the streets and the buildings. Oudaias Kasbah is your introduction to the possibilities a Moroccan walled city and fortress holds. The 11th-century stronghold now has a tranquil ambiance within its maintained walls.
A tiny neighborhood was constructed in the Andalusian style: painting the walls white and decorating the doors, windows, and roofs cobalt blue. The narrow lanes funnel the soft breeze through the winding streets. The old mosque was constructed in the 11th century and updated in the 18th century. Wander around the gardens and find the fauna in bloom. The aroma of fresh roses and tulips add perfume and color to the slightly golden walls of the Kasbah. Inside the Oudaias Museum, you see the 17th-century lodge is decorated with silk and gold divans, highlighting the opulent décor of lavish nobility.
Fes – Medieval Center
Wake up to the morning bustle of Fes’s medina, the old town. The medina harkens back to the city’s medieval zenith and maintains a traditional flair unlike any other city in the world. Your guide meets you after breakfast and soon you venture into the city to experience impressions of the past in modern-day life. Carpets are woven with exceptional designs and vivid colors. They hang in shops and lean against walls, ready to be unrolled and displayed for passersby. The streets of the medina are narrow and long.
The wind in and out of dead ends, creating a labyrinth with cultural treasures around every corner. The distinct aroma of leather wraps around the old city emanating from Fes’s famous tanneries. Dar el-Makhzen has been restored to its former pristine glory. The royal palace was constructed with over 200 acres of gardens. Finely carved cedar wood and colorful zellij, bright mosaics arranged in geometric shapes, surround imposing brass doors. The scent of citrus is strong around the palace gates and you find lemon trees nearby.
Erfoud – Captivating Countryside
You leave behind the medieval marvels of Fes and make your way through the mountains stopping in the high plains, a region between the Middle and High Atlas Mountains. The High Atlas Mountains reach an elevation of 13,671 feet. The peaks are often capped by vibrant snow with remnants of the rugged, high altitude earth peaking through. The High Atlas Mountains seem to rise from nothingness and fill the entire horizon. The atmosphere is crisp and cool with every breath you take.
The ruggedness fades as you descend the mountains and head through the Ziz Valley. Layers of color mark the cliffs that border a dense canopy of palm trees. The greenery disappears and is replaced by the rosy and golden sand dunes of the Sahara Desert at Erfoud. The desert spreads with intensity beyond the horizon. The scent of soft, hot earth surrounds the town. Even the edge of the desert is breathtaking in its scope and surprising beauty.
Ouarzazate – Desert Fame
Spend the morning venturing past the edges of the constructed world and into the desert sands. Erg Chebbi is known for its breathtaking view of the natural desert stretching over 17 miles. Sand dunes can climb over 500 feet and look more like small mountains. When the sun rises you can watch the entire landscape shift from dark blue to gold. Return to Erfoud and make your way to the town of Ouarzazate, renowned for its unique desert look and featured in movies such as Cleopatra and Gladiator.
From a distance the walled city blends into its surroundings. Colonial France established the garrison town in the early 20th century. The Taourirt Kasbah maintains an antique charm in its grit. Parts of the fortress have been renovated over the years and lead you through a maze of stairwells. The top floor has a prayer room and Moorish arches. You find traces of stucco from the original ceiling scattered across the room. The view of the rest of the town is delightful and the small breeze brings with it the aroma of the desert.
Marrakech – En Route to Red
Spend time exploring more of Ouarzazate before traversing the High Atlas Mountains and the town of Aït Ben Haddou. The Kasbah is frozen in time maintaining its 11th-century façade. The Kasbah was constructed out of mud and supported by corner towers. The scent of steaming couscous fills the air from the local restaurants. Make your way to the fortress through the ruins of a fortified granary. It provides a view of the surrounding palm grove. The aroma of natural oils and earthen roots filters through the still sky.
Beyond the palm trees is the desert littered with stones, a departure from the endless layers of sand you explored the previous mourning. After your journey through the historic walled town, you continue to Marrakech, once called the “Red City” for the color of the walls around the medina. The main gate, known as Bab Angaou, was constructed in the 12th century. A rounded, etched border layers and frames the keyhole doorway. You can find inscriptions of the Quran adorning three panels framing the gate. The calls of the city are filled with snake charmers and fortunetellers, harkening back to a spirit past that remains prevalent in Marrakech’s modernity.
Marrakech – All About the Story
Djemaa el Fna Square fills with people mid morning. The medina turns into a world unlike any other: you can watch the snake charmers twist and move their bodies as they hypnotize coiling cobras with their movement and music. The story of Marrakech overflows with wonderment as storytellers provide ample myths and legends of moving sand dunes and vile sultans, never repeating the same story. Acrobats walk inscrutable distances on their hands and juggle an unfathomable amount of objects. The atmosphere is rambunctious and energetic. The aroma of citrus and honey spills over from the rooftop cafes.
Your guide leads you through the narrow maze-like streets of the old city that wind around shops and stalls, filled with large carts stocked with figs and small stores flowing with luxurious silk. The Jardin Majorelle once belonged to a French artist. The gardens are decorated with over 300 plant species that span five continents. It is a virtual, artistic mirage cultivated in the 1920s. An old painting studio is colored electric-blue and houses a Berber Art Museum. A large fountain percolates with water in the shadow of the building’s balcony. A small circular outcropping spills over into a larger square pool, which trickles down into an even larger pool for a multi-tiered and calming effect. The aroma of lush flora adds spice to the pathway.
Casablanca – Between Antique and Contemporary
A single voice reverberates through the historic streets in the morning as the call to prayer awakens people. Koutoubia Mosque minaret was originally constructed in the 12th century and provides a soothing voice that the city finds familiar. The tower stands almost 330 feet tall and was once surrounded by booksellers. Keystone arches are textured within the so entire structure is proportioned mathematically. The exterior shimmers a particular pink in the morning light. The indelible beauty of the structure is as much in the calm rhythms of the call to prayer as in the subtle charm of the house of worship.
Your private transfer meets you at Palais Masandoïas' lobby and you return to the coastal city of Casablanca. The French constructed the “new medina” of Casablanca in the 1930s to combine French organization with Moroccan elegance. Moorish arches decorate buildings that line little pathways. The bazaars are active and colorful, creating their own unique flair similar to the medina. The aroma of pastries drifts down the street, combining almonds and honey into delectable concoctions. The city has a familiar feel, maintaining a heartfelt connection to Morocco’s deep roots.
Casablanca – Leaving the Luster
Marché Central fills with a French-Moroccan ambiance, overflowing with a combination of aromas. The central market shines with pristine white arches and an impressive gate that imitates the ancient style of an old medina. Arabesques flow effortlessly around the marketplace as mounds of spices are displayed below. Fresh seafood is on display caught early in the morning and brought to the market in time for lunch. The seafood gives you a touch of saltiness to the rambunctious and aromatic square. Your private transfer meets you at your hotel and takes you to the airport for your return flight. The splendor of Morocco spreads from the Atlantic to the Sahara, covering the Atlas Mountains and following you home.
Visit the Morocco tours page for more itinerary planning ideas.
- Witness the stunning artistic exuberance of Bahia Palace
- Discover the enchantment of Hassan II Mosque situated on the Atlantic Ocean
- Explore the grandeur of the Sahara Desert and its renowned sand dunes
- Visit exceptional walled cities erected in the desert on the Road of 1,000 Kasbahs
- Experience the wondrous medieval buildings and persistent culture of Fes’s medina
- Spend time in the sensational Djemaa el Fna Square in Marrakech
- Indulge in the exquisite cuisine that is an extension of the culture
A huge medieval gate with deep red walls stands between you and the old city. You can hear the jovial crowd enraptured by the legend of an old sultan. The high-pitched hum of an ocarina-type instrument adds to the soundtrack of the city. Your handcrafted tour takes you through the captivating splendor of Morocco, from seaside to desert plateau. Witness the ethereal quality of sand dunes at sunrise and listen to the morning Call to Prayer hum over the soft lull of the Atlantic Ocean. Rest assured that in Morocco every day is special.
Begin your time in Morocco with your arrival in Casablanca. Elements of the country’s French colonial past are prevalent in the Art Deco buildings and décor. The city is often seen as a bridge between Morocco’s vibrant past and forward-thinking present. Travel northbound along the coast to Rabat, the capital of Morocco. The imperial city is home to the contemporary royal palace. In Meknes, you will find a relaxed city with remnants of its 17th-century luster as the former grand capital of the country.
Once in Fes you will have a guided tour of the medieval city. Antique shops and a picturesque bazaar fill the medina, along with the famous tanneries hidden behind the leather workshops. Travel through the high plains connecting the Middle and High Atlas Mountains to visit Midelt. Palm trees border the lushness of Ziz Valley as you make your way through a true oasis to the Sahara Desert at Erfoud. Adventure through the waves of sand to witness the remarkable sand dunes of Erg Chebbi at sunrise before crossing Tinghir and journeying along the Road of 1,000 Kasbahs.
In Ouarzazate and Ben Aït Ben Haddou, you can wander through historic walled cities and restored fortresses that provide a view of the impressive landscape. Continue to Marrakech, where the cultural marvels of Morocco thrive. Your guided tour takes you around the artistic embellishments of Bahia Palace and the lively Djemaa el Fna Square. Return to Casablanca and spend time exploring the city at your preferred pace. On your final day in Morocco your private transfer, arranged by one of Zicasso's Morocco travel agents, meets you at the hotel and escorts you to the airport.
$2,020 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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