This short tour is an excellent introduction to Morocco, covering its contrasting sights from Marrakech’s souks and town squares to dramatic scenery in the Atlas Mountains. Visit all four of Morocco’s imperial cities including Marrakech, Fes and Rabat, and discover towns and a green oasis in the Sahara Desert.
This short tour is an excellent introduction to Morocco, covering its contrasting sights from Marrakech’s souks and town squares to dramatic scenery in the Atlas Mountains. Visit all four of Morocco’s imperial cities – Marrakech, Meknes, Rabat and Fes – and discover towns and a green oasis in the Sahara Desert.
• Marrakech: 2 nights
• Casablanca: 1 night
• Fes: 2 nights
• Erfoud: 1 night
• Dades Valley: 1 night
• Marrakech: 1 night
Day 1: UK to Marrakech
Depart the UK on your flight to Marrakech. On arrival, transfer to your hotel where you will spend three nights. Enjoy a traditional mint tea in the hotel as a welcome to this remarkable city. Stay: Sofitel Marrakech (or similar). D.
Day 2: Marrakech
Your first stop is the Jardin Majorelle, one of Marrakech’s most visited attractions. Home to cacti, water lilies, palm trees and bamboo, this garden is a celebration of flora from five continents, created by the artist Jacques Majorelle. Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé discovered the rundown garden years later and were so enchanted by it that they saved it from its fate of becoming a hotel complex. They restored the garden and continued to add new plant species, reinstating its position as one of the city’s gems. Next you’ll visit the iconic 12th-Century Koutoubia Mosque, a Marrakech landmark and an example of Morocco’s rich religious history. Walk around the minaret, the 77-metre tower from which the adhan sounds, signalling time for prayer. Then head to the Saadian Tombs, built under the rule of Sultan Ahmed el Mansour between 1578 and 1603 and largely forgotten about after it was sealed up by a successor – only to be reencountered when it was captured by aerial images in 1917. As you enter the perfectly preserved tomb, admire the carvings and colourful zellige tiles – Islamic geometric tile designs – which adorn the walls and tombs. Your final stop of the day is another beautiful relic of Marrakech’s past: the Bahia Palace and museum. A contrast to the lively sights and sounds of the city, this grand vizier’s (prime minister to the sultan) former home showcases the finest of Moroccan architectural design at the end of the 19th Century. Though it has been emptied of its lavish furniture, the palace still evokes grandeur. End your day with a welcome dinner at a local restaurant. Stay: Sofitel Marrakech (or similar). B, L, D.
Day 3: Marrakech
Today you will learn the art of making a traditional tagine at a hands-on, tailor-made cooking class. A dish originating from Berbers, the indigenous people of North Africa before the arrival of the Arabs, tagine is traditionally cooked in a dish with a conical lid of the same name. This cooking method retains the moisture of the ingredients as the condensation is circulated in the tagine back into the dish – a resourceful way of cooking that’s particularly useful in areas where water is often scarce. Discover firsthand the spices used to create the deep flavours of this typical Moroccan dish and enjoy your home-made tagine for lunch. In the afternoon, visit the old Medina and the souks – a quintessential part of Moroccan culture – where the air is filled with heady scents and the stalls are laden with fascinating items. Whether you’re looking for fragrant spices, colourful fabrics, souvenirs or just a few local snacks, you’ll find it here. Stay: Sofitel Marrakech (or similar). B, L, D.
Day 4: Marrakech to Ouarzazate
Departing from Marrakech, today you will travel up and over the Atlas Mountains through the Tizi n’Tichka pass. Take in the views of the rugged peaks, covered with snow in the winter months, and see the historic kasbahs of Aït Benhaddou, a UNESCO World Heritage Site of earthen houses with high defensive walls. Arrive in Ouarzazate on the edge of the Sahara Desert, a place known as the Hollywood of Morocco for providing the backdrop for films including Lawrence of Arabia. Tonight’s dinner is at your hotel. Approx. journey time: 3¾ hours, 122 miles. Stay: Le Berbère Palace (or similar). B, L, D.
Day 5: Ouarzazate to Taroudant
After breakfast, journey from Ouarzazate to Taroudant, passing through the craft town of Taliouine, where the most expensive spice in the world, saffron, is produced. See the Glaoui Kasbah, a crumbling building which still retains the majesty of its former days as a governor’s home. Arrive in Taroudant where you will stay for two nights. Approx. journey time: 4½ hours, 181 miles. Stay: Hôtel Dar Zitoune (or similar). B, D.
Day 6: Taroudant
Explore the ancient city of red ramparts, which briefly served as the capital under part of the Saadi dynasty. Often said to be a smaller, more relaxed version of Marrakech, you can experience the finer details of Moroccan culture and daily life as you walk around the city. Highlights include the souks, which have more of a laid-back vibe than Marrakech’s buzzing markets, and a Berber Women’s Co-Operative where you can see how Argan oil is made using traditional methods. Stay: Hôtel Dar Zitoune (or similar). B, D.
Day 7: Taroudant to Essaouira
After breakfast, drive to the beautiful harbour city of Essaouira, with a stop in Morocco’s largest beach destination, Agadir. Perhaps take a walk down the promenade and choose from Agadir’s selection of fine dining and rustic eateries for lunch before continuing on your journey to Essaouira for your two-night stay. Approx. journey time: 4½ hours, 159 miles. Stay: Le Medina Essaouira & Spa by MGallery (or similar). B, D.
Day 8: Essaouira
Your day begins with an introductory tour of this historic city. View the old Portuguese battlement and experience the contrast of the relatively peaceful medina in comparison to the livelier cities of Morocco. Wander around the souk where you can see artisans at work crafting their wares. This distinctive bohemian vibe has long appealed to artists including the likes of Jimi Hendrix, who famously visited in 1969. Take a trip to a gorgeous sand beach (approx. 3 miles) and visit the crumbling Jewish quarter and government craft centre for silver. Spend the afternoon at leisure, perhaps stopping by the fishing port to watch the city’s signature blue boats unload their catch. Or, head for the beach to take advantage of Essaouira’s famous trade winds which make it ideal for windsurfing. Return to your hotel for a farewell dinner with your fellow guests and local tour leader. Stay: Le Medina Essaouira & Spa by MGallery (or similar). B, D.
Day 9: Essaouira to Marrakech
Transfer to the airport for your flight back to the UK. Alternatively, enjoy some extra time on Morocco’s coast. Approx. journey time: 2¾ hours, 111 miles. B.
Beaches of Morocco 3 nights
Spend some time on Morocco's laid-back beaches for extra relaxation.
Day 1: UK to Marrakech Depart the UK on your flight to Marrakech. On arrival, transfer to your hotel where you’ll have free time this evening. Stay: Les Jardins de la Koutoubia (or similar).
Day 2: Marrakech Your first stop is the Jardin Majorelle, one of Marrakech’s most visited attractions. Home to cacti, water lilies, palm trees and bamboo, this garden is a celebration of flora from five continents, created by the artist Jacques Majorelle. For lunch today you’ll get hands-on as you learn how to make a classic Moroccan tagine in a cooking class. Later in the afternoon, you’ll visit the iconic 12th-Century Koutoubia Mosque and Jemaa el Fnaa. Walk around the mosque’s minaret, a 77-metre tower which sounds the adhan, signalling time for prayer. Then soak up the sounds and scents at Marrakech’s most famous market, Jemaa el Fnaa, where you can be right in the buzz of local life as it changes from a typical market in the day to a place of entertainment at night. The rest of your evening is free to explore on your own and pick a restaurant for dinner. Stay: Les Jardins de la Koutoubia (or similar). B, L.
Day 3: Marrakech to Casablanca Leave Marrakech for your journey to Casablanca, a coastal city that lent its name to the 1940s Hollywood film, Casablanca. On arrival, learn about the city beyond the film on a guided city tour, where you’ll see an architectural masterpiece, Hassan II Mosque. Built for and named after the King of Morocco at the time, it’s one of the largest mosques in the world. Get immersed in the hum of Casablanca’s Central Market, which has more of a local feel to it than Marrakech’s markets, before having the day to yourself. Stop in a café for some reviving, sweet mint tea, join the locals hanging out on The Corniche for a stroll by the sea, visit one of Casablanca’s burgeoning art galleries or get lost in the Old Medina. Dinner is at your own leisure to choose from Casablanca’s varied food scene. Try local food like grilled fish in chermoula (a typical Moroccan marinade) or visit Rick’s Café, an American-Moroccan venue made to recreate the bar from the film, Casablanca. Approx. journey time: 2½ hours. Stay: Sofitel Casablanca Tour Blanche (or similar). B.
Day 4: Casablanca to Fes Today you’ll travel back inland to Fes with multiple stops at some of Morocco’s most important historic destinations. Your first stop is at the country capital, Rabat. Take a city tour of Rabat, which is home to Roman ruins at The Chellah, narrow alleys in the Kasbah of the Udayas and the imposing block-shaped Hassan Tower. Then continue on to Meknes, where you’ll get to see Spanish-Moorish designs that have lasted lifetimes on intricate buildings like Bab Mansour Gate. Your last stop on the way to Fes is a UNESCO World Heritage Site; Volubilis was once an important Roman settlement in what was known as Mauretania. The surrounding land grew plenty of grain and olives which were exported to the Roman empire, and Volubilis became a wealthy settlement as evident in the elaborate mosaics you can see that are still almost completely intact today. Check in to your hotel in Fes for time at leisure. Approx. journey time: 5 hours. Stay: Palais Ommeyad Suites & Spa (or similar). B, L.
Day 5: Fes Go sightseeing this morning to see Fes’s old medinas and what the city is best known for – Fes’ tanneries are usually what springs to mind for most people when they think of the simple, open-air pools of coloured liquid. Watch as pieces of leather are dipped in different liquids which are used to clean, soften and then dye the fabric. It’s an unmissable part of Fes’s culture and history; the oldest tannery is around a thousand years old. Afterwards, you’ll have time to explore the souks where you’ll spot leather goods on sale. Return to your hotel for dinner tonight. Stay: Palais Ommeyad Suites & Spa (or similar). B, D.
Day 6: Fes to Erfoud Head south for the Sahara Desert with a surprising stop on the way. Morocco’s Atlas Mountains are topped with snow and hidden among the peaks there are ski resorts that few people have heard of. Ifrane is one of these – built in the 1930s, it takes its style from Alpine resorts and is often called the ‘little Switzerland of Morocco’. Pass through the Ziz Valley, where a river creates a lush green belt of palms that runs through the gorge, and enjoy the scenic views as you approach your destination. Your hotel in Erfoud is colourful hotel full of Moroccan charm to give you a taste of traditional living. Approx. journey time: 6¼ hours. Stay: Kasbah Hotel Zaluca Arfoud (or similar). B, D.
Day 7: Erfoud to Dades Valley See more of Morocco’s dramatic and rugged gorges as you set off for Dades Valley. Stop at Tinghir Oasis, a pocket of green surrounded by red rocks that over 40,000 people call home. Drive on to Todgha Gorge, a series of limestone river canyons in the High Atlas Mountains where the canyon walls tower up to 400 metres high. Travel along the zig-zagging Road of 1000 Kasbahs, an ancient caravan route used by sultans and traders to pass over the Atlas Mountains and Sahara Desert. Relax at your rustic hotel to far-reaching views of the valley. Approx. journey time: 3 hours. Stay: Hotel Xaluca Dades (or similar). B, D.
Day 8: Dades Valley to Marrakech Begin your return journey back to Marrakech today, with a stop in Ouarzazate, a city that’s been used as the backdrop for films like Lawrence of Arabia and Gladiator. See the historic kasbahs of Aït Benhaddou, a UNESCO World Heritage Site of earthen houses with high defensive walls, and travel through the Tizi n’Tichka Pass which passes over the Atlas Mountains. The rest of your day in Marrakech is at leisure. Approx. journey time: 5½ hours. Stay: Stay: Les Jardins de la Koutoubia (or similar). B.
Day 9: Marrakech Transfer to the airport for your return flight back to the UK, or head to Essaouira for a relaxing beach break. B.
Beaches of Morocco 3 nights
Spend some time on Morocco's laid-back beaches for extra relaxation.
Single room supplement from £625
Is this for you?
This escorted tour takes on Morocco’s contrasting sights with stays in Marrakech, Casablanca, Fes and the sunburnt Dades Valley.
Good to know
• For guests over 16 (unless travelling on a private journey, where the minimum age is 10)
• Average group size of 10 guests
• A maximum of 14 guests
• Journey times do not take into account stops or traffic conditions
• We recommend travelling with no more than one suitcase and one day bag.
What to expect
• Long journeys on rough terrain
• Limited options for vegetarian and gluten-free diets
• Clothes should cover legs and shoulders when in places of worship
• A good level of fitness is required.
Accommodation on tour
We’ve chosen quality hotels with Moroccan-inspired décor so you get a real taste of your destination. Our city hotels are a comfortable base to come back to after sightseeing; your hotel in Marrakech is right in the heart of the Medina next to Jemaa el Fnaa. In more rural destinations like Erfoud and Dades Valley, your hotels have a more rustic and traditional feel that complements the dramatic desert settings.
Sole-use room from £2785
Upgrade your tour
Private tour Upgrade to a private tour with a local tour leader on the same itinerary, departing on the date of your choice, please call for prices.
2020 Mar 14; Apr 04; Sep 26; Oct 17; Nov 07.
Included in price
• Quality accommodation
• Insightful local tour leaders
• Handpicked itineraries
• Flexible arrival times
• Small groups
• Porterage and guide tips
• Meals where most convenient (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
• All specified flights.
Upgrade your tour
Private tour Upgrade to a private tour with a local tour leader on the same itinerary, departing on the date of your choice from £2425 per person.
Experience Morocco’s contrasting sights from lively souks where you can haggle for bargains to grand mosques and dramatic mountain vistas. Take home an authentic tagine recipe after you learn how to cook the traditional dish for yourself and after your tour, you can extend your holiday with a few days on a glorious beach in super relaxed Essaouira.