Experience a homestay in Moulay Idriss, widely regarded as Morocco’s holiest place, and visit the tomb of Moulay Idriss I, great-grandson of Mohammed.. Spend two days relaxing in Essaouira and enjoy a guided walk through the art galleries and wood workshops within this walled seaside city.. Scale the High Atlas Mountains and trek through scenic Amazigh (Berber) villages, then spend the night with a local family in their gite.. Travel through the massive sand dunes of the Sahara Desert on a camel, then sleep under the North African stars at a Bedouin camp.
Sparkling coastlines, soaring mountains, lush valleys, and the vast, unforgettable Sahara Desert – this is Morocco Encompassed. Travel in the footsteps of pirates, sultans, and nomadic people, exploring the colonial architecture of Casablanca, the ancient Roman ruins of Volubilis, the medieval city of Fes and the intricate clay architecture of the Ait Benhaddou Kasbah. Enjoy the warm local hospitality and embark on exotic adventures like riding a camel over Saharan dunes, hiking in the High Atlas Mountains, and haggling for treasures in bustling souqs. This exhilarating 18-day journey is the ultimate way to discover Morocco.
Breakfast Included: 16 Lunches Included: 2 Dinner Included: 3
Salaam Aleikum! Welcome to Morocco. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm today. If you arrive with time to spare before the meeting, consider exploring the city on an immersive, local-led Urban Adventure.
Rabat – Moulay Idriss
Today take an early morning 1-hour train to the historical town of Rabat. Store your luggage and spend a few hours strolling through the city's Old Quarter on a self guided walk, then head to Kasbah des Oudaias and enjoy views over the Atlantic Ocean. Continue to Meknes by train (approximately 3 hours), then take a 45-minute taxi through scenic countryside to the sacred pilgrimage village of Moulay Idriss. Explore the delightful medina of this ancient town that offers an excellent insight into traditional Moroccan life. See where the faithful gather to pay homage at the tomb of Moulay Idriss I, who was the great-grandson of Mohammed and brought Islam to Morocco. At sunset, enjoy great views over the plains of Volubilis below.
Volubilis – Fes
Today, take a guided tour of the World Heritage-listed site of Volubilis, one of the Roman empire's most remote bases. The remains make an undeniably impressive sight as they come into view on the edge of a long, high plateau. Enjoy a tour of the ancient hilltop ruins with a local guide. Afterward, return to Meknes and take a few hours to explore at your own pace. The adventurous may want to try a camel burger for lunch at a local restaurant in the medina – don’t knock it ‘til you try it! In the afternoon, take a 1-hour train to Fes, where you'll spend the next two nights. Fes is the most complete medieval city in the Arab world, and the most ancient of Morocco's imperial cities.
Take a guided group walking tour of the Old City, known locally as Fes el Bali. Step back into the Middle Ages in the labyrinth of the Medina, which is alive with craftsmen, markets, tanneries, and mosques. Pass donkeys piled high with goods (this is one of the largest car-free urban zones in the world) and explore the specialty sections that divide the souk. Look out for the Medersa Bou Inania: one of the city's most beautiful buildings, which has recently been restored and is now open to tourists. Visit Medresse el Attarine and the splendid Funduk Nejjarine: a beautifully restored 18th-century inn. You'll also see the famous tannery, known for the iconic view overlooking its dye pits, and a ceramics factory where you can see potters working in the traditional way. After the tour, the afternoon is free. In the evening, enjoy a delicious group dinner of Moroccan specialties like harira (chickpea soup) and chicken-stuffed pies with couscous.
Take a local 4-hour bus to Chefchaouen today. Set against a wide valley and nestled between two peaks in the stunning Rif Mountains, much of Chefchaouen was recreated by Andalusian refugees escaping the Reconquista, so you might feel like you're in the hills of Spain. Your afternoon and evening are free. Perhaps take a stroll through the ancient medina and shop for handicrafts, go hiking in the Rif mountains, or simply sit at a cafe and enjoy the pleasure of time passing by. If you're feeling peckish, the local goat’s cheese is a popular treat enjoyed by many visitors.
Today is a free day for you to explore Chefchaouen as you wish. Perhaps take a guided tour of the sights, sounds, and smells of the medina, or sample the delicious local specialties at a cafe in the Plaza Uta el-Hammam. Alternatively, you might prefer to get out of town and enjoy a hike and picnic in the surrounding hills. In the evening, how about tucking into a tagine at a local restaurant or visit a hammam a traditional Moroccan spa? The night is yours.
Take a 3-hour private minibus journey to the coastal town of Tangier – a place of strategic importance to the Mediterranean as a gateway to Africa. Your afternoon here is free. Perhaps visit the American Legation Museum, the former palace of Dar el-Makhzen or the Caves of Hercules. You could also enjoy a fresh seafood dinner by the port, watching the sunset over the Atlantic. Later tonight, board an overnight sleeper train bound for Marrakech.
Arrive early into Marrakech and then the day is free for you to explore. Perhaps visit the well-known Koutoubia Mosque and its 12th-century minaret, which was the famous prototype for the Giralda tower in Seville. Or, you could take a wander through the tropical gardens of the French painter Jacques Majorelle (now owned by Yves Saint Laurent). In the evening, join the thronging crowds for an optional dinner in the Djemaa el Fna: the city's main square. When night falls it transforms into a hive of activity. Henna-painters, performers, and storytellers share the square with a street food bazaar, packed with stalls loaded with Moroccan delicacies.
Today is a free day for you to discover Marrakech further. There are no activities planned until a meeting at 6 pm to welcome any new people joining your adventure. If you would like to relax after the first part of your journey, ask your leader to help you out with booking a session at a hammam.
Take a short drive into the High Atlas Mountains to the village of Imlil (approximately 2 hours). On arrival, store your main luggage and load your overnight bags onto pack mules. Make the 1-hour trek to the peaceful village of Aroumd. Perched on a rocky outcrop, the remote village of Aroumd offers stunning views across the High Atlas Mountains and a unique opportunity to experience traditional Berber (Amazigh) culture. Spend the night in a family-run mountain gite where, surrounded by the smell of woodstoves and bread, you will enjoy traditional hospitality and food. Use the rest of the day to explore the village and the surrounding farmlands. If the group is up for it and weather permits, there will be a chance to hike around eight kilometres to the pilgrimage shrine of Sidi Chamharouch (approximately 4 hours return). Regardless of your fitness levels, the gentle pace of Aroumd makes it a special place to explore beyond the reach of the modern world.
This morning, journey along mountain roads and over Morocco's highest pass, Tizi n'Tichka (2260 metres), to Ait Benhaddou on the edges of the Sahara (approximately 6 hours). Perched on a hilltop and almost unchanged since the 11th century, Ait Benhaddou is one of Morocco's most iconic sites. It was once an important stop for caravans passing through as they carried salt across the Sahara, returning with gold, ivory, and slaves. The town has a long list of film and TV credits, including Lawrence of Arabia, Game of Thrones, and Gladiator. Enjoy a leader-led walk through the winding streets of the Old Town, making your way to the top of the hill, from where you can enjoy the views across the surrounding plains. Your evening is free, with the option of partaking in a local cooking demonstration and meal of Morocco's most famous dishes: couscous and tagine.
Ouarzazate - Zagora
This morning you'll journey south towards the Sahara, stopping in the regularly used film location of Ouarzazate along the way (approximately 5 hours in total). Continue to travel through the lush Draa Valley to Zagora, a small oasis town on the Sahara fringe that is perfect for an overnight stop. On arrival, take a stroll through the palm groves, explore the ksars and wander around the surrounding countryside.