These are simple maps of your experience, where it will take you, and how may nights are spent in each destination. Vivamus sagittis lacus vel augue laoreet rutrum faucibus dolor auctor. Curabitur blandit tempus porttitor.
Morocco: Cities and Souks
Casablanca, Fes, Rabat, Marrakech
This ten-day journey through the historic cities and towns of Morocco offers a comprehensive introduction to the country, from the hidden corners of the ancient medinas to the wide boulevards of the French ville nouvelle.
Day 1 ARRIVE - CASABLANCA
Upon arrival at Mohamed V International Airport, you will be escorted through the airport (VIP airport service includes expedited passport control) and introduced to your private guide and driver. Spend the remainder of the day with your guide and driver exploring Casablanca, the largest and most famous city in Morocco.
Start at the Mosque Hassan V, the second largest house of worship in Islam, and then visit the famed Art Deco buildings clustered around Plaza Mohamed V. Highlights include the main post office, the Palais de Justice and the Cinema Rialto. Stop for a coffee or cocktail and enjoy the unparalleled people watching in this cosmopolitan area.
Day 2 - CASABLANCA – FES
This morning your driver will transfer you through the scenic Middle Atlas Mountains to Fes. The journey through the Middle Atlas Mountains offers stunning views as well several sights of historical interest, and you are welcome to stop and explore as long as you wish along the way. Though only partially excavated, the Roman ruins of Volubilis has lovely mosaics and several impressive buildings that date from the 3rd century BC. Moulay Idriss is a charming hill town that contains the shrine of the man who is credited with introducing Islam to the Maghreb. In Fes, check in to your hotel. After a rest, we recommend heading to the rooftop of the riad at sunset to enjoy a glass of wine as you listen to the haunting sounds of the call to prayer echoing from the minarets across the city.
Day 3 - FES
Today you will have a private guide and driver at your disposal to explore Fes, the second largest city in Morocco and its cultural capital. The highlight of Fes is the sprawling medina, Fes El Bali, which is in the oldest walled part of the city and a throbbing commercial center unlike any you have likely seen before. Narrow alleys create a crowded labyrinthine warren of stalls that overflow with spices, olives, rugs and leatherwork.
Walk down Talaa Kebira, the spine of Fes el Bali, to the Bou Inania Medersa, a seminary/dormitory that offers a splendid example of Moroccan architecture’s three main elements: tile mosaics, carved plaster, and painted cedar. See the striking Blue Gate, the gates of the Al-Karaouine Mosque and Chouara Tanneries for a look at how leather is treated.
Day 4 - FES
Continue exploring the Fes medina and, if you wish, the mellah (Jewish Quarter), which is adjacent to the Royal Palace. Stroll through the R’cif food markets to observe locals shopping as they have for centuries – these markets were “farm-to-table” long before it was trendy! If you wish, we will arrange a private cooking class in a traditional riad and arrange dinner reservations at a few of the restaurants that are creating truly exceptional Moroccan cuisine.
Day 5 - FES – RABAT
Today your driver will take you to coastal Rabat. Along the way, stop in Meknes, the imperial capital of Sultan Moulay Ismail, founder of the ruling Alaouite Dynasty. The massive granaries that he had built were rumored to hold enough hay for 12,000 animals! We also suggest a stop at the Place El Hedim, which offers excellent people-watching. Continue to Rabat, Morocco’s capital city, and – if time and energy permit – visit Le Tour Hassan, the half-finished minaret that is the city’s iconic landmark and a symbol of its ambition.
Day 6 - RABAT
Spend the day wandering through the Kasbah des Oudaias and Chellah, which date to the Phoenician period. When you are ready, continue to Marrakech. After settling in to your hotel, set out for an introduction to this marvelous city. Start at Djemma el Fnaa, the main square and heart of Marrakech. The square comes alive in the evening, with entertainers and food vendors vying for your attention; explore the unknown corners of the square before returning to your hotel.
Day 7 - COOKING LESSON
Today you will be driven to a small village for a cooking lesson. In addition to learning about the spice blends unique to Morocco, you will cook a traditional tagine and bake bread alongside a lush organic garden. Upon completion of the lesson, you can enjoy the feast you helped prepare. Return to Marrakech and take in the latest exhibit at the Maison de la Photographie, which houses a well-curated collection of antique photographs.
Day 8 - HIGH ATLAS MOUNTAINS
Start the day with an energizing hike in the High Atlas Mountains. The walk is tailored to your comfort level – whether you prefer a gentle walk or a challenging hike, you are afforded magnificent sweeping views of the snow-capped peaks and a chance to stroll through the lovely orchards that dot the hillsides. Monday, Tuesday and Saturday are market days and we highly recommend a visit to these smaller village souks, which offer a pleasant contrast to the crowded city markets. Return to Marrakech in the afternoon.
Day 9 - MARRAKECH
Continue exploring Marrakech with your guide and driver today. A must-see is the Majorelle Gardens, a gift to the people of Marrakech from designer Yves Saint-Laurent – the brilliant cobalt blue and sunny yellow of the gardens offer endless photographic opportunities! We are happy to make reservations at any of Marrakech’s excellent restaurants – and highly recommend the fish tagine at La Maison Arabe!
Day 10 - MARRAKECH – CASABLANCA
Your driver will take you to Casablanca’s Mohamed V Airport for your departure flight. The drive from Marrakech to Casablanca should take approximately 2.5 hours.
Minarets, Dunes and Kasbahs
A North African Safari
Bookended by time in two of the most historic cities in North Africa, guests on this unforgettable journey will also have time to enjoy the vast “sheltering sky” on a southern safari.
Day 1 - CASABLANCA - FES
Upon arrival in Casablanca, you will be met by your guide and driver and taken to your hotel in Fes. If time and energy permit, head out for your first taste of the bustling Fes El Bali, the 1200-year-old cultural and commercial heart of the city. In the evening, we recommend heading to the rooftop of the riad at sunset to enjoy a glass of wine as you listen to the haunting sounds of the call to prayer echoing from the minarets across the city.
DAY 2 - FES
Today you will have a private guide and driver at your disposal to explore Fes, the second largest city in Morocco and its cultural capital. Continue your exploration of the medina, where narrow alleys create a crowded labyrinthine warren of stalls that overflow with spices, olives, rugs and leatherwork. Walk down Talaa Kebira, the spine of Fes el Bali, to the Bou Inania Medersa, a seminary/dormitory that offers a splendid example of Moroccan architecture’s three main elements: tile mosaics, carved plaster, and painted cedar. See the striking Blue Gate, the gates of the Al-Karaouine Mosque and Chouara Tanneries for a look at how leather is treated. Your day will conclude with a candlelit dinner of nouvelle Moroccan cuisine at one of Fes’s most well-regarded restaurants.
DAY 3 - SAHARA
This morning your guide and driver will take you to the vast Sahara Desert, a journey that passes through the Middle Atlas Mountains. As you head south, notice how the terrain changes from cedar forests to rocky cliffs before finally opening to the expansive desert dunes of the Sahara. Upon arrival, you will settle into your luxury tented accommodations. Take a sunset camel trek through the dunes and then enjoy an evening of stargazing around the campfire.
Day 4 - SKOUARA OASIS
Awaken to the quiet sounds of a desert morning and enjoy breakfast as the sun rises above the dunes. The morning is free to explore the desert as you wish: take another camel trek or perhaps go sand-boarding down the dunes. After lunch, hop back into your 4x4 vehicle and continue exploring the desert. Travel east toward the Skoura Oasis, passing through the Todgha and Dades valleys along the way. Spend the night in a deluxe Kasbah hotel or an excellent small inn in Skoura.
Day 5 - MARRAKECH
This morning you can spend some time climbing in and around the Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou before continuing on your journey to Marrakech. The trip will take you over the High Atlas via the Tizn Tichka pass, which affords unbeatable expansive views. Upon arrival in Marrakech, settle into your hotel. Even before you reach the famous Djemaa el Fna, you can hear the drum beats and smell the barbecue smoke from the food vendors’ grills, a remarkable change from the desert silence.
Day 6 - MARRAKECH
Spend the morning scrubbing off the desert sand in a traditional Moroccan hammam. In the afternoon, continue exploring Marrakech. A must-see is the Majorelle Gardens, a gift to the people of Marrakech from designer Yves Saint-Laurent – the brilliant cobalt blue and sunny yellow of the gardens offer endless photographic opportunities! We are happy to make reservations at any of Marrakech’s excellent restaurants – and highly recommend the fish tagine at La Maison Arabe!
Day 7 - ESSAOUIRA DAYTRIP
Head out for a daytrip to seaside Essaouira, a whitewashed town that is remarkably reminiscent of the Mediterranean. Long famous for its art galleries and thuya wood crafts, Essaouira is also becoming a popular surf destination – if you wish, we are happy to arrange a wind-surfing lesson. We also recommend eating some fresh grilled sardines, served by the port. Before returning to Marrakech, stop at a coop to pick up some Argan oil, a natural moisturizer.
Day 8 - MARRAKECH
Today is reserved for you to explore personal interests in an itinerary that you devise in concert with our guide. The museums of Marrakech are a fascinating starting point for learning about Moroccan history as well as the contemporary art scene. The Maison de la Photographie and the Musee Boucharouite, which focuses on folk art rugs, are highly recommended. We also love enjoying mint tea in the beautifully restored Secret Garden!
Day 9 - MARRAKECH – CASABLANCA
Depart from Marrakech for the overland trip to Casablanca (which generally takes 2.5 hours). You will be brought to the Mohamed V International Airport for your international departure flight.
From Kasbahs to riads to traditional luxury hotels, Morocco offers a dazzling array of accommodations to suit just about any traveler. This itinerary includes the most famous (and luxurious) of the available properties in Marrakech, the Skoura Oasis, and the High Atlas Mountains.
Day 1 - MARRAKECH
Upon arrival in Marrakech, you will receive VIP arrival services and be escorted to your hotel by your guide and driver. Marrakech has a wonderful array of top hotels, including the iconic La Mamounia, the Royal Mansour, Villa des Orangers and the Mandarin Oriental. Depending on your preference, Cobblestone will book the property and suite that will result in the best experience.
DAY 2 - MARRAKECH
Explore the sites and souks of Marrakech this morning with your private guide. The Jardin Majorelle offers a welcome respite from the bustle of the medina and those who are interested in art will relish a visit to the cutting-edge David Bloch gallery. We also advise time to stop at a café to observe the stylish expat crowd and enjoy Marrakech’s cosmopolitan pace. In the afternoon, enjoy a typical hammam treatment to wash away any of remnants of jetlag. Dinner this evening is at the Royal Mansour’s Grande Table Marocaine, one of the most opulent settings in the city.
DAY 3 - MARRAKECH
The day will be devoted to an insider’s look at Marrakech’s vibrant design and art scene. Cobblestone will arrange private access to a range of ateliers and workshops that operate largely out of the public view. Meet artisans working in tile and textiles and learn about the rich history of these ancient arts. One of the artisans works with master craftsmen in brass, copper and nickel, turning his designs into stunning works of art.
Day 4 - SKOURA
Depart from Marrakech this morning and travel via private car over the High Atlas via the Tizn Tichka pass, which affords unbeatable expansive views. Travel east toward the Skoura Oasis, passing through the Todgha and Dades valleys along the way. Spend the night at Dar Ahlam, a restored Kasbah that truly offers one of the most memorable accommodations in Morocco.
Day 5 - SKOURA
Today you will spend at Dar Ahlam, and may choose from the many excursions they offer to guests. We recommend a visit to the Valley of the Roses followed by sundowners on the ruins of Ksar Ali.
Day 6 - ASNI
Return over the High Atlas Mountains to Asni, a market town just an hour from Marrakech. Check in to Kasbah Tamadot, the luxury retreat owned by Sir Richard Branson. Cobblestone suggests a stay in their luxe Berber tent suites, which offers the most sumptuous way to experience the mountain scenery.
Day 7 - ASNI
Spend today hiking with a local mountain guide. The trek can be tailored to your interests and energy level, anything from a gentle stroll through the foothills to a vigorous mountain hike. Either way, your efforts will be rewarded with magical views of the mountains.
Day 8 - MARRAKECH
Your private guide and driver will take you back to Marrakech to catch your international departure flight.