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Premium Morocco Highlights with Essaouira

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    Premium Morocco Highlights with Essaouira

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      Product Description

      Highlights

      Marvel at the Mosque of Hassan II in Casablanca, dive into the heart of Fes’s medina, witness the evening transformation of Djemaa el-Fna in Marrakech and unwind in the laidback seaside city of Essaouira.. Get to the heart of the real Morocco as you travel with an experienced local leader, swap stories with the locals in Fes and visit a family in the Atlas Mountains.. Taste the best of Morocco’s cuisine as you enjoy a meal at one of Casablanca’s best restaurants, eat pastillas with a local family, make mint tea in the Atlas Mountains and take part in a tasting tour in Marrakech.. Uncover the most impressive Roman ruins in Morocco at the World Heritage site of Volubilis, where you’ll enjoy a picnic lunch made with locally sourced ingredients.

      Overview

      Take in the rich history and diverse culture of Morocco on an 11-day journey through this North African gem. Marvel at the Mosque of Hassan II in French-infused Casablanca, discover the charming streets of the Medina in magical Meknes, uncover ancient history at the Roman ruins of Volubilis, wander through the labyrinth of twisting alleyways in Fes el Bali, relax in the lakeside settlement of Bine el Ouidane and, as the sun goes down, watch Jemaa el Fna come to life with markets and magicians in Marrakech and relax in the European-tinged Essaouira. Indulge your senses on a mesmerising adventure bursting with vibrant colours, spiced aromas and warm hospitality.



      Breakfast Included: 10

      Lunches Included: 3

      Dinner Included: 3

      Premium Morocco Highlights with Essaouira 1 Premium Morocco Highlights with Essaouira 2Premium Morocco Highlights with Essaouira 3Premium Morocco Highlights with Essaouira 4

       

       

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      Casablanca

      Welcome to Morocco! On arrival at Casablanca Airport, you will be met by an Intrepid representative and transferred to your hotel. Your adventure begins at 6 pm with an important welcome meeting. If you arrive with time to spare, a great option for your limited time in Casablanca is to visit the Villa des Arts. This gorgeous Art Deco gallery holds numerous exhibitions of contemporary Moroccan and international art. If you are looking for a different type of cultural experience, then you can discover a unique and fascinating part of Moroccan history at the Museum of Judaism. This evening, celebrate the beginning of a new adventure with a wonderful banquet style dinner with your group, set in the courtyard of a gorgeous riad. Nowhere is Morocco’s cultural heritage more evident than in its food, and tonight you’ll have the chance to try classic dishes like tagine, cous cous and pastilla.

      Meknes

      This morning you will visit one of the most impressive sites in Casablanca - the massive edifice of the Mosque of Hassan II. Second only in size to the great mosque at Mecca, the huge building sits partly on land and partly over sea, and is one of the only religious sites open to non-Muslims. Later, leave Casablanca and drive north along the coast to Rabat, the elegant capital of Morocco and its first Imperial city. Start your visit with a walk through the medina and souks, then explore the lovely walled quarter known as the Kasbah des Oudaias, where you’ll enjoy an included mint tea in a little treasure of a café overlooking the ocean and Bou Regreg river. Afterwards, continue the walk to visit the Mausoleum of Mohammed V, the vast minaret of the Mosque of Hassan II. In the late afternoon, continue on to Meknes, the former capital of Morocco.

      Fes

      This morning you will discover the charming streets of Meknes’s medina - the old walled section of the city. There’s something particularly special about exploring this lesser-known medina as the locals go about their daily lives. Walk to the shrine of Moulay Ismail, visit the granaries and stop by a local market selling vegetables, olives and sweets. Drive on to the Roman ruins of Volubilis, where a local guide will show you around and help you imagine the bustling city that once was. Enjoy a picnic lunch of fresh bread, cheese and seasonal fruits and olives from the market. Continue on to the city of Fes and arrive at the Riad Salam, a beautifully restored oasis in the heart of the medina and your feature stay for the next two nights. From dramatic mosaic floors to carved cedar wood ceilings and everything in between - this building is a treat for the eyes. Relax in spacious rooms with modern comforts, unwind in the hammam or head to the roof terrace for sweeping views of Fes. Prepare for a treat this evening as you are warmly welcomed into the home of a local family for a pastilla dinner. Learn how the iconic Moroccan pie is made as you chat with your friendly hosts about life in Fes.

      Fes

      Today head into Fes’s huge, well-preserved medieval old city and the mother of all medinas. Walk through the twisting streets and alleyways, passing donkeys piled high with goods, and explore the speciality sections that divide the souk as your leader talks you through interesting customs and traditions of Moroccan people. Filled with historic khans, madrasas and dye-pits, stalls loaded with fruits, herbs and soups, and where the squawk of chickens, smell of spice and sound of hammering of copper fills the air, it’s not hard to imagine yourself back in the Middle Ages. Explore the old city, visiting El-Attarine Madrasa, the tanneries and Funduq al-Najjarin, a splendid 18th-century inn.

      Bin el Ouidane

      Travel from Fes to Bin el-Ouidane, with plenty of breaks along the way to appreciate the ever-changing Moroccan landscape. Visit with an Amazigh (Berber) family in the Middle Atlas Mountains for a truly memorable experience and a priceless insight into their unique way of life. The family will demonstrate how to make the perfect brew of mint tea and will provide a home-cooked cous cous lunch using locally grown ingredients. Learn about their customs, traditions and what life looks like on the edge of these cloud-piercing peaks. Arrive in Bin el-Ouidane, a small settlement perfectly placed on the bank of the lake, surrounded by sheer rocks. Your accommodation sits at the foot of the Atlas Mountains, perched on the edge of the huge, glittering lake. There’s a blissful afternoon to be had floating in the paradisiacal swimming pool or soaking in your surroundings on the fabulous terrace.

      Marrakech

      Today you will travel from Bin el-Ouidane to Marrakech. There’s no rush as the scenery on the way is always interesting, and you will enjoy a stop en route at the impressive Ouzoud Falls. On arrival to Marrakech, head to the great square of Djemaa el-Fna, one of the largest public spaces in the world and unique to this city. The food here is best experienced like a local, so be sure to bring your appetite as this afternoon your leader will take you for a special tasting session where you’ll try a range of seasonal delights such as freshly squeezed orange juice and stuffed Moroccan pancakes. Nights here are just as fun as the days as the square transforms into a hive of activity. The evening is yours to explore, perhaps enjoy a meal on one of the restaurant balconies overlooking the humming square with views of the Koutoubia Mosque.

      Marrakech

      After breakfast today, meet your leader and set off on a morning tour of the old medina, through the bustling souks that are the lifeblood of the city. Explore tranquil courtyards filled with the scent of orange blossom and the many salons and chambers that make up Bahia Palace. Stop by the Koutoubia Mosque; the inside is for Muslims only, but the famous minaret is a sight to behold. Then walk back through the streets of the old medina to Djemaa el-Fna. The rest of the day is free to explore further. Perhaps visit Le Jardin Secret, a traditional medina garden with a magnificent courtyard, or head back into the medina and practice your haggling skills. For your final evening, perhaps join your group for a farewell dinner - your leader will be able to recommend some fantastic local restaurants that are worth raising a toast to.

      Essaouira

      After breakfast leave for Essaouira, a city where the medina brushes up against the Atlantic Ocean and where you will spend the next two nights. Get to know this laidback and windswept city during an orientation walk with your leader who will help you navigate a maze of market stalls and narrow streets while sharing insights on local life in one of North Africa's most attractive places. Pass the harbour filled with colourful boats and explore the fish souk. Here you will choose a catch of the day and take it to a local-filled restaurant – follow their lead and hand over your market purchase for it to be grilled for the freshest of meals. Your leader will also take you to the fresh vegetables markets where you will choose your salads and veggies to accompany your seafood lunch. Enjoy a delicious meal together with the rest of your group. The evening is yours to uncover Essaouira further.

      Essaouira

      The name Essaouira means image, which is appropriate for the picturesque town. This artists' town was once home to sizeable British and Jewish populations, and its charm has seduced people like Orson Welles and Jimi Hendrix, who (according to local legend) spent much of his time here in the 1960s. Enjoy a free day to wander the city’s charming sandstone streets, giving way to the cart-haulers calling ‘ballak, ballak’. Your leader will offer advice on the best ways to spend the day. Perhaps explore Essaouira’s magnificent coast and golden sand dunes on horseback. Discover the Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdallah Museum and its collection of artefacts, woodwork, carpets and stringed instruments, or sit back and watch the kite surfers ride the crashing waves. You can also discover the taste of Morocco in a cooking class, or head outside of the city to the beautiful surroundings on a daytrip.

      Marrakech

      The morning is free for you to explore further. Perhaps pick up some local handicrafts at the eye-catching market stalls, or enjoy a final coffee in the square to soak up the easy-going rhythm of this Moroccan town with a European seaside twist. In the afternoon, drive back to Marrakech. Once you have settled in to your hotel, you will likely be drawn back to the Djemaa el-Fna, and its surrounding medina. Eating out at one of the many outdoor restaurants lining the square is a great way to finish your adventure.

      Marrakech

      Your trip ends today after breakfast. Check-out time is usually around midday and you are free to leave at any time. If you have arranged a private airport transfer you will be advised of the pick-up time. Additional accommodation can be pre-booked if you wish to spend more time exploring here. Speak to your leader about the wealth of extra activities to do around Marrakech.


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      TRIP OVERVIEW

      Trip Code: XMPSC

      Group Size: 12

      Start: Casablanca

      End: Marrakech

      Duration: 11

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