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The Ultimate Cultural Morocco Tour

£3937 pp

Essaouira, Fes, Marrakech, Morocco

14 Days/13 Nights

Private Tour - minimum 2 ppl

The Ultimate Cultural Morocco Tour

What You'll Do

From the gateway to Africa to the distant reaches of the Sahara, the soaring Atlas mountains to the sleepy Atlantic coast, atmospheric abandoned fortresses to buzzing Medina's - this all-encompassing two-week tour of this most beguiling of countries covers everything you could wish to see in Morocco, and then more you didn't even know existed. And it's not just the natural and man-made highlights you'll experience. You'll also get under the skin of rich, ancient cultures, discover incredible authentic cuisine, and discover the Morocco so many tourists pass over - the local Morocco.

The tour appropriately begins in Tangier, Morocco’s capital and what has long been known as the ‘gateway to Africa’. A city with a slightly seedy reputation, it has been a place of allure for many famous people who were looking for, let’s say, a more lenient view of the law.

William S. Burroughs, the Rolling Stones and many more called Tangier home for a short time, and you’ll start your Moroccan adventure by exploring the atmospheric streets, shady alleyways and heaving Medina, all whilst getting under the skin of the city and getting to know the local rhythms of life thanks to your guide.

Once you leave Tangier, your adventure really begins. Head to the Merzouga Desert, home to the highest sand dunes in the world and your location for an unforgettable desert camping stay and a true Berber experience, via the incredible cities of Fes and Chefchaouen.

At these two cities, you’ll discover ancient tanneries, colleges and hidden gems like local eateries and quiet, blue-washed streets in the shadow of rugged mountains. Once you’ve watched the Saharan sunrise, explored the desert on camelback and slept under the stars, it’s on to the spectacular Dades Gorges.

Travelling through some of the most spectacular scenery in Morocco, you’ll pass through the Valley of Roses, past the ancient Kasbah of Ait Benhaddou, and discover countless sites and experiences that introduce you to a region with an incredibly rich heritage, all from the perspective of a local.

On to the mountain village of Taliouine, a rocky, alien landscape and a rural feel, before making the journey to the addictive Marrakech. Enjoy a full day here, wandering the Medina that buzzes with electric energy and exploring backstreets to find incredible places to try magical Moroccan food.

Travel from Marrakech over the High Atlas mountains, on stunning mountain passes that wind their way through remote valleys and plunging gorges, before arriving in the oasis of calm that is Essaouira.

This gorgeous, blue-washed coastal town is a great place to take a breath, and relax as you wander the quiet streets, the creeping stairways, the markets with a real artisanal feel and the harbour that’s awash with the smells of grilling seafood.

Finish by following the coastal road northwards, visiting stunning fortified cities, magnificent mosques, the fascinating city of Casablanca and endless beautiful beaches and hidden gems along the coast, before your journey comes to an end back in Tangier.

If it’s worth seeing in Morocco, the chances are you’ll experience it on this tour. But it’s not about the highlights. By the time you leave Morocco, you’ll have lived like a local, meeting the local people, eating genuinely authentic Moroccan cuisine, and staying in classic riads and desert camps to get a real taste of Moroccan culture, so that you’ll feel as though you know the country intimately by the time you leave, and won’t be able to wait to come back.

Experience
Highlights

Sleep under the stars in a Berber desert camp in the Sahara

Discover authentic Moroccan cuisine with beautiful home-cooked meals

Explore countless markets, Medinas and seek out hidden gems with your local guides

Road trip over hair-raising mountain passes, past crumbling fortresses, and through oasis valleys

Get to know authentic Moroccan culture truly intimately as you live like a local for 2 weeks

Your Local Host:

Aziz

My name is Aziz (meaning, the Dearest one). Our business was created to bring people together, to authentically connect you, not only to Morocco’s incredible destinations, but to the heartbeat that lies beneath. I want you to come away with an eye for the beauty of its natural environment and the hopes and challenges of our people. I want you to touch and feel good quality workmanship and to taste the Ras El Hanout in our tagines. I would like you to build authentic connections and know that your visit matters.

Experience Itinerary

Arrival Day

Welcome to Morocco!

Whether you arrive by plane or by ferry, you will find your host holding a card with your name, waiting to drive you to your hotel to settle in before you start your journey.

 

 

 

Acommodation

A riad in Tangier

Welcome to the Gateway of Africa

We start this tour from the gateway of Europe to Africa, Tangier, named for the goddess Tinge and the lover of Hercules, who mythically pulled Europe apart from Africa to form the Strait Gibraltar.

A dramatic drive takes you through La Montagne over a pine-covered headland to the Cap Spartel Lighthouse that lies just 14km west of Tangier. 5km further on and you’ll get to Grottes d’Hercule where you’ll see the much-photographed view from within the mythical dwelling cave of Hercules, which resembles a map of Africa.

Then it’s back to the Medina, where you’ll spend a few hours meandering down shady alleyways within the 15th-century Portuguese fortress walls, and visit the Kasbah Museum of Mediterranean Culture.

Wander up St Andrew’s Church for a spot of gravestone reading, then take in the latest art exhibition at cultural centre Ibn Khaldoun.

Accommodation

A riad in Tangier

Sapphire Towns and Rugged Mountains

Leaving the famously decadent Tangier, with its almost European Medina, we’ll start our journey inland into the Rif Mountains.

That distinctly European influence continues in Chefchaouen with its bright blue, Andalusian-tiled Medina, despite the grand red-hued Kasbah lording it over the main square of Outa Hmam.

Chefchaouen is a city perched beneath the shimmering peaks of the Rif Mountains, and the “Blue Town” has a mystical blue-washed Medina, the prettiest and the smallest in the country.

The town remained isolated with its own Andalusian character and architecture, and is a place to enjoy exploring at your own pace.

Accommodation

A riad in Chefchaouen

The Ancient Capital of Science

Today, you’ll travel from Chefchaouen to Ouazzane, and will pass through what remains of the Rif Mountains on stunning, sweeping mountain roads.

Heading further south, pass through more oak, pine woods and olive groves to the Imperial city of Fes. This city is as quintessentially Moroccan as it gets, with its ancient Medina being the largest in the world.

 

 

Accommodation

A riad in Fes

Explore the Oldest Medina in the World

Today, your guide will show you the very best sites and local gems in Fes.

Your private guide will be born and bred in Fes, and will give you the opportunity to discover this ancient breeding ground for scholars and artisans, as well as the largest Medina in the world.

You will see the America Fondouk, Nejjarines, the Tanneries, the Medersa (Theological College), and Karaouine, the oldest university in the world.

Your guide will shed light on many tales and 1200 years of history that have unfolded in this UNESCO-protected Medina.

When you finish your visit to the Medina you will drive out of Fes to have a delicious homemade meal at Lalla Fatiha’s place in Sefrou.

Accommodation

Your riad in Fes

The Road to the Sahara

We would recommend an early-morning start for this day. You finally leave the amazing Medina of Fes, with all its mysteries and secrets hidden in the 9000 alleyways, and head southeast towards Merzouga and the gateway to the golden dunes of the Sahara desert.

En route, you will pass by the cedar forests of Ifran, the “Switzerland of Morocco”, where you could easily be mistaken for being in the Alps. If you’re lucky, you’ll come across the Barbary Macaques on your way to Midelt, where you’ll stop for lunch.

After eating, drive through the Middle Atlas Mountains to reach the Ziz Valley, which is considered to be among the largest producer oasis dates in Morocco.

Then, it’s off to Merzouga, home of the highest dunes in Morocco, where you can store any baggage while packing an overnight bag to bring to the desert.

Experience being accompanied by a camel and blue-turban-robed guide into the sandy seas for a taste of Berber travel, then after an hour-long camel ride you enjoy one of the highlights of the trip, as you watch the sunset over the Sahara dunes and stay the night in a Bedouin-style tent.

Accommodation

Desert camp

desert camp in merzouga desert

Glorious Sunrises and Berber Lifestyles

This morning, you’ll wake up with the sun shining on your face as you witness what we hope is one of the most memorable sunrises of your life, as the sun glides up from among the dunes, the light creeping slowly down the dunes.

Enjoy an early breakfast, then after an hour-ride on camelback out of the desert, you will depart and head for Erfoud where you will marvel at the million-year-old fossils that the area is famous for.

Then it’s onward to Tinjdad where you’ll stop at a local Berber culture museum so that you can get to know more about this fascinating race of nomadic people.

Then, head north for a sublime experience in the Todgha gorges where you’ll descend between the gigantic rock walls, arriving at Dades gorges and a chain of rust-red and mauve mountains.

Pass the series of crumbling Kasbahs and Ksours that line the valley, explore in the Berber villages, and drink in the site of the monkey toes Mountains.

Accommodation

A riad in Dades

riad accommodation at dades gorges

Hollywood of Africa and Saffron

You’ll start today by shadowing the high Atlas Mountains as you head west, bringing you to Ouarzazate via the ‘valley of roses and daggers’.

While you’re in Ouarzazate, you might like to explore the Taourirt Kasbah and the “Ouallywood” studio. From here, head past Ouarzazate to Ait Benhadou, the 11th-century UNESCO-protected red mud-brick ksar, that has formed the backdrop for Hollywood movies such as Lawrence of Arabia, Jesus of Nazareth, Gladiator, Game of Thrones and many others.

The next stop is in Taliouine, the African center of red gold, saffron, the world’s most expensive spice.

Accommodation

A riad in Taliouine

swimming pool at a riad in Taliouine

The Miniature Marrakech

From Taliouine, continue all the way to Marrakech via Taroudant, a smaller town that has echoes of Marrakech, but is a little sleepier, and calmer.

Pause here, in the miniature model of Marrakech where you have some time out to stroll and explore on foot in the Medina, wandering its 7.5km red-mud ramparts and its atmospheric old Kasbah.

Jump back in your vehicle and wind through North African’s highest mountain range, crossing the white-knuckle ride that is the mountain pass Tizi n’Test. all the way to mellow Ouirgane.

The next stop is Marrakech where you can spend the evening in the famous square known as Jamaa El Fanaa.

Accommodation

A riad in Marrakech

double bedroom in a riad in marrakech

Exploring the City of Marrakech

Today, spend time with your private, Marrakech-born-and-bred guide as you explore the stunning city, the bustling Medina and many little hidden gems you would never find yourself.

Start exploring the Red City from its oldest quarter as you dive into the Medina’s narrow lanes that lead to incredible mosaics, tombs and religious monuments decked out in marble.

Dsicover Bahia and El-Badii Palace and Saadien’s Tombs, then afterwards, your guide will pick you up to visit and explore the Majorelle garden, Museum Saint Laurent, and the Berber Museum.

While in Marrakech you can be sure that you’ll encounter thousands of motorcyclists and horse-carts roaming in the city. Finish your day at the vast square of Jemaa El-Fnaa, where it’s carnival night every night and musicians, acrobats, storytellers and slapstick acting troupes tap into the frenetic pulse of life in the Medina.

Accommodation

A riad in Marrakech

riad accommodation in marrakech

Goats in Trees and Hendrix's Hometown

After breakfast at the Riad, you’ll be picked up by your driver/tour guide. Although it’s a three-hour drive to Essaouira, if you’re lucky enough you’ll have the chance to see the bizarre phenomenon of the tree-climbing goats en route.

You’ll have plenty of time to explore Jimi Hendrix’s town today, and you’re free to roam in the city that was once, and still is, a haven for hippie backpackers and Gnawa musicians.

Start your visit with a visit to the ramparts, a series of forts that were built in the 15th century around the Medina of Mogador. Inside the Medina, you can wander through the Mellah (former Jewish quarter), before walking to Morocco’s 3rd fishing port where you’ll find stunning seafood restaurants serving up some of the best fish in the world.

For sports-oriented travelers, Essaouira is a great place to find wind and kitesurfing schools.

Accommodation

A riad in Essaouira

From El-Jadida to Casablanca

At around 8am, you’ll head north to the 15-century Portuguese fortified city of Mazagan, now known as El-Jadida. Nicknamed “the Deauville of Morocco”, its Portuguese structures, fortified ramparts, and system of defenses surrounding the Medina which advance out into the sea all evoke the city’s past history.

Listed as World Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, its an ancient coastal town with impressive Portuguese architecture.

If time allows, then by the time you arrive in Casablanca you might like to discover some of the city’s sights. Notable ones include the Hassan II Mosque, considered to be the largest in North Africa and the third-largest in the Islamic world, with its splendid esplanade and the tallest minaret in the world.

A long spiral of marble and emerald zellige rising 210 meters into the sky, it’s a spectacular sight. Grand and timeless, the Great Mosque is constantly busy, a meeting point for Sunday strolls for the locals, and a great spot to simply grab a snack or a tea, and watch the world go by.

Accommodation

A riad in Casablanca

The Return Leg

If time didn’t allow you to visit Casablanca’s sights yesterday, then this morning is the perfect chance to do so.

After you’ve finished exploring Casa, Morocco’s political and administrative capital will be waiting. Rabat may be short on top-drawer tourist attractions, but it compensates with plenty of charm.

You will have the opportunity to explore the city on a short sojourn, first to the monumental Hassan tower, where the pillared stumps of its mosque are all that remains from the earthquake of 1755.

There is also the nearby Mausoleum of the royal family, and you can relax and have a cup of mint tea in red Oudayas, a walled village within a city.

Head further to north and back to Tangier, which has always carried a slightly seedy allure, in part due to its time as a semi-independent international zone that attracted eccentric foreigners, artists and spies.

Accommodation

A riad in Tangier

Departure Day

Today is not goodbye, it is merely “take care and see you sooner rather than later” for another adventure.

Your guide will drop you off directly at the airport when you have checked out of your riad, and your whirlwind adventure will come to an end.

Location Information

The tour begins in Tangier, where you will be picked up directly from the airport and taken to your riad accommodation.

From here, you will travel south towards Fes, then further until you reach Merzouga, in the Sahara and close to the border with Algeria. Then, you’ll head west as far as Taroudant, before turning northwards to Marrakech.

From Marrakech you’ll set off for the coast, and once at Essaouira, head up the coast through Casablanca, and finally returning to Tangier.

All transport and accommodation is provided for you, so you can simply relax and soak up every second of the most memorable two weeks of your life.

  • Eng, Fr, Spa-speaking professional driver/tour guide
  • Shuttle from and to the airport
  • Accommodation: 13 nights
  • City Guide: Marrakech and Fes Medina guided tour
  • Private Transportation: Minivan or Minibus, camel
  • Air-conditioned vehicle
  • Visit to women's cooperatives
  • Toll road fees, fuel charges and all taxes
  • Transport insurance
  • An opportunity to give back and meet up with locals
  • Camel ride in the desert
  • Wi-Fi on board
  • Some meals will be home-cooked with local families

FAQs

Transfers are offered to Casablanca or Tangier airports for your journey home