DAY 1, October 19, 2019 | Marrakech
Welcome to Morocco!
Your journey begins in Marrakech, the ochre city that gave the country its name. Also known as the Pearl of the South, Marrakech showcases all of the magic and diversity that Morocco has to offer. Upon arrival, you will be met by your Ground Operator and taken by private transfer to check into your hotel.
Enjoy the welcome dinner this evening at the hotel.
DAY 2, October 20, 2019 | Marrakech
Today you are invited to explore Marrakech, a former imperial city renowned for its architectural wonders, historical monuments, mystical medina, and thrilling souks.
The tour starts with a visit to the Bahia Palace. Meaning “brilliant” in Arabic, the Bahia Place was ordered in 1880 by the great vizier Sidi Moussa and remains a remarkable example of 19th century Eastern architecture.
Next, enjoy a fascinating walk into the beating heart of Marrakech known as “The Medina.” Far from the touristy areas, your guide will introduce you to real Moroccan life amid neighborhoods where “Marrakchis” still leave in simplicity. The Medina of Marrakech is one of the largest medinas in Morocco and the most populated in North Africa. You and your guide will navigate through the Labyrinth of Souks. This maze of colorful alleys and small squares is home to a bewildering number of stalls and ateliers. Every section of the souk has its own specialty, with alleys devoted to everything from spices and ironwork to the ingredients necessary for casting magic spells. Emerging, you will find yourself in the famous Jamaa el Fna, the city’s main square. No one is really certain how it came into being, but over the years the square has become the beating heart of Marrakech, where fire eaters, mime artists, snake charmers, and street musicians perform at every turn.
You will also visit the famous Jardin Majorelle (Majorelle Gardens), originally designed in 1924 by French artist Jacques Majorelle. After taking up residence in Marrakech, Majorelle transformed the property’s existing garden into a tropical paradise, surrounded by vivid cobalt blue buildings with verdant exotic groves, lily-covered pools, and enormous sculptural cacti. After Majorelle’s death, the property was purchased by the famous Couture fashion designer Yves Saint-Laurent, who established a trust to protect the future existence of the gardens.
The peaceful garden settings offer a variety of exotic plants such as bamboo, cacti, bougainvillea, and palms. Babbling streams and fish-filled pools also flow through the tranquil gardens.
Then visit Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) museum. This museum is where the most precious YSL works are gathered. 50 years after they discovered the colors of Marrakech, Yves Saint Laurent & Pierre Bergé fell in love with the colors of the city where they spent the most beautiful years of their life. The museum, a 43,000-square-foot building, was designed by the Paris-based firm Studio KO. After being carefully selected by Pierre Bergé, the museum gathered thousands of articles of clothing and haute couture accessories, more than 5,000 dresses and 15,000 Haute couture accessories. The museum has a bookstore, a research library, an auditorium, and a cafe serving French-leaning fare with a terrace overlooking a reflection pool.
Return to your hotel for an evening at leisure.
DAY 3, October 21, 2019 | Marrakech – Casablanca - Rabat
Today you will travel with your Ground Operator 3 hours northwards towards Rabat, stopping en-route for an orientation tour of Casablanca, Morocco's largest metropolis and industrial hub. Discover the city's rich architectural heritage made from a blend of French-colonial design and traditional Moroccan style known as Moresque architecture. Developed back in the 1930s and heavily influenced by Art Deco, it embraced decorative details such as intricate tile work and ornate iron balconies. You will notice that some of the era's gems have been magnificently restored, whilst others lie in disrepair.
Visit the Hassan II mosque, the landmark and the highlight of the city, this phenomenal building is one of the world’s largest mosques. It was built to commemorate the former king’s (Hassan II) 60th birthday and opened in 1993. Built on reclaimed land, almost half of the surface of the mosque lies over the Atlantic Ocean; taking literally the verse from the Quran that states: God's throne was built upon the water. Rabat is the political capital of the Kingdom and situated at the mouth of the River Bu Regrag, opposite the city of Sale.
Continue on towards Rabat, chosen to be the Capital of the Almohad Empire in the 12th century, the Royal city still fulfills that role today as the capital of the Kingdom of Morocco and seat of its government.
Once arrived to Rabat, you will embark on a city tour which highlights the city’s cultural influences and the superbly-preserved relics of its Moorish past. The city boasts several historical sites flanked by large avenues and lush parks of oak trees. The most famous site is the 12th Century Hassan Tower, with its incomplete minaret of the great mosque built by Yacoub al-Mansour. Located alongside is the mausoleum dedicated to Mohamed V, the founder of modern Morocco and the grandfather of the current king.
Visit the Mohamed VI museum of Modern & Contemporary art, the first museum in Morocco dedicated entirely to modern and contemporary arts. The Museum aims to cover the evolution of Moroccan artistic creation in the visual arts, from the beginning of the 20th century to our days.
You will also pay a visit to the Oudaya Kasbah which is built on a bluff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Its gate is one of the most beautiful surviving in the Moorish world.
Arrive to your hotel in the early evening, check-in and enjoy an evening at leisure.
DAY 4, October 22, 2019 | Rabat – Meknes & Volubilis – Fes
Today will travel with your Ground Operator 3 hours eastwards to Fes. Founded in the 8th century, Fes is home to several famed historical monuments, among them Karaouine, the world’s first university. It is one of the most complete medieval cities in the world, the sprawling medina that is a UNESCO Cultural Heritage site will take you a step back in time to the middle Ages.
On your way will stop at Meknes; one of the Imperial Cities of Morocco where the monuments reflect the splendor of this 17th century. You will begin with a visit to the Bab Mansour gateway one of the best known and admired of Meknes' grand gates. The Gate leads from the Imperial City and Lalla Aouda esplanade to El-Hdim Square. The city was subscribed as a UNESCO patrimonial in 1996. You will also visit the granaries and stables of the great Moulay Ismail. The city walls of Meknes stretch for 25 kilometers interspersed with ceremonial fortress-style and utilitarian gates. The most spectacular gate is Bab Mansour named after the architect a Christian slave converted to Islam. Also peer into his lavish mausoleum.
Then, visit you will Volubilis which was originally inhabited by the Phoenicians, this was a key Roman outpost looking over the valleys and mountains. The evocative ruins include a Roman olive factory with storage facilities and foundations of the luxurious house of Orpheus showing sophisticated plumbing and heating systems as well as finely preserved mosaics.
The Forum was the center of life in Volubilis with the arches of the Basilica and the columned Capitol still standing. Visit the stately landmark of the Triumphal Arch and the main street lined by the remains of houses and palaces. The mosaics at Volubilis are what make this site so spectacular. Even if a number of the monuments were dismantled for their marble which was used in the construction of the palaces at Meknes the mosaics were left intact. The city was subscribed as a UNESCO patrimonial in 1997.
Arrive at your hotel in the late afternoon to check-in and enjoy the evening at leisure.
DAY 5, October 23, 2019 | Fes
Today your Akorn representative will take you to visit Fes El Bali, the largest living and complete medieval medina-city and the cultural heart of Morocco. You will explore some of the 9000 narrow lanes, alleys and souks that make-up the labyrinth of the city’s old quarter.
Enjoy a walking tour through the Medina, starting from Bab Boujloud down to the former house of Maimounid to see the water clock. The route continues via Talaa El Kebira & down to the Nejjarine Square, with its beautiful fountain made up of mosaic and elaborate tile-work.
You will visit the tanneries, where for centuries the leather produced has been highly esteemed and the methods remain the same today as in the medieval times. Only natural ingredients are used for the coloration such as indigo, saffron and poppy.
From here you will head to Fez Jdid (the new Fez), an extension to Fez El Bali (the old medina). Fez Jdid was the first new town developed by the Merinids from the 13th century! The quarter also includes the Mellah, former Jewish quarter, with its cemetery and the Royal Palace which is not open to the public but whose impressive main gate can be admired on the Southern side (Place Des Alaouite).
Return to your hotel in the late afternoon.
Tonight, you well be treated to a lovely riad for a sumptuous Moroccan dinner.
DAY 6, October 24, 2019 | Fes – Chefchaouen – Tangier
Today you will depart to Tangier (3hours), a gorgeous city that dominates the north of Morocco and the gateway to Europe. The appealing and cosmopolitan city, with mixtures of Moroccan, African and European influences, Tangier is a melting pot of cultures!
On the way, you will visit Chefchaouen, or Chaouen as locals name it, is a town in the Rif Mountains of northwest Morocco. It’s known for the striking, blue-washed buildings of its old town. Leather and weaving workshops line its steep cobbled lanes. In the shady main square of Place Outa el Hammam is the red-walled Kasbah, a 15th-century fortress and dungeon, and Chefchouen Ethnographic Museum. The octagonal minaret of the Great Mosque rises nearby.
The town itself is very small with so little attractions aside walking around. It’s famously known for being a photographers’ haven and a great starting point for nature lovers and hikers.
PS: Chefchaouen and surroundings are DRY – alcohol needs to be purchased before arriving there.
Arrive at your hotel in the early evening, check-in and time at leisure.
DAY 7, October 25, 2019 | Tangier – Seville
After a relaxing start to the day transfer privately to the airport for your afternoon flight to Seville. Upon arrival you will be met and transferred directly to your hotel.
This evening enjoy an introduction to this delightful city brings you to the Barrio Santa Cruz for a tour of some of the most atmospheric tapas bars where you can enjoy a glass or two of "fino," dry sherry, fried fish every kind of squid and octopus, and the delectable ham from Sierra Norte.
DAY 8, October 26, 2019 | Seville
Depart after breakfast for a city tour today, beginning with a visit to the fifteenth-century cathedral, one of the most breath-taking in all of Christendom, and see La Giralda. Later visit the Alcazar, a magnificent fourteenth-century Mudejar palace that is one of the oldest royal residences in Europe still in use.
Lunch and the afternoon are at leisure.
A visit to Seville would not be complete without watching a performance of the region’s famous Flamenco. This evening transfer to Tablao El Arenal for an authentic Flamenco show (including dinner) performed in a building dating from the seventeenth century, with typical Andalusian architecture and decoration.
DAY 9, October 27, 2019 | Seville – Granada
This morning drive east to Granada, arriving in time for lunch. Later enjoy an afternoon tour in Granada, visiting the Alhambra, the most perfect example of the Arabian heritage in Andalucía, founded in the 1240s. Once a great citadel containing a whole community of houses, schools barracks and gardens, the Alcazaba fortress and Royal Palace are all that remain today but they offer a complex of magical, exotic buildings. Take a stroll through the lovely gardens of the Generalife Palace. Afterwards take a walking tour to include the Royal Chapel (burial place of the Catholic Monarchs, Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon).
DAY 10, October 28, 2019 | Granada – Cordoba – Madrid
This morning transfer to historic Cordoba. After lunch in the Caballo Rojo, enjoy a city tour with a local guide which will include the old Jewish Quarter and the Mezquita, built between the 8th and 10th centuries and considered to be one of the most extraordinary buildings in all of Europe. In the 1520s, a Christian Baroque nave was constructed in the heart of the mosque, which fortunately is so large that the unity of the building was not destroyed by this resplendent but anomalous addition. Later you will be transferred to the train station to take the high-speed AVE train north to Madrid (journey time 1 ¾ hrs) to Madrid. Private transfer to your hotel to check-in. Dinner tonight is in a lively restaurant on the Plaza Mayor.
DAY 11, October 29, 2019 | Madrid
Transfer to the Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas International Airport for your departure flight.