- Walk through the historic beauty of the Hassan II Mosque
- Prepare an authentic Moroccan meal with a local chef at their riad
- See the desert sunrise from the heights of a hot air balloon
- Ride camels across the shifting dunes of the Agafay Desert
|Day 1||Arrive in Casablanca||Casablanca|
|Day 2||Self-Guided Tour of Casablanca, Transfer to Marrakesh||Marrakesh|
|Day 3||Marrakesh: Explore the Red City||Marrakesh|
|Day 4||Discover More of Marrakesh: Mosques, Palaces & Gardens||Marrakesh|
|Day 5||Ouzoud Waterfalls Excursion||Marrakesh|
|Day 6||Imlil Valley & Atlas Mountains Day Trip, Argan Oil Cooperative||Marrakesh|
|Day 7||Marrakesh Private Food Tour, Hammam & Spa Experience||Marrakesh|
|Day 8||Hot Air Balloons, Le Jardin, Pottery & Mosaic Workshop||Marrakesh|
|Day 9||Transfer to Agafay, Agafay Desert Experience||Agafay|
|Day 10||Transfer to Essaouira, Self-Guided Tour of Essaouira||Essaouira|
|Day 11||Explore Essaouira's Old Town & Beaches||Essaouira|
|Day 12||Private Cooking Class||Essaouira|
|Day 13||Beach Day at Sidi Kaouki||Essaouira|
|Day 14||Transfer to Casablanca||Casablanca|
|Day 15||Depart Casablanca|
Day 1: Arrive in Casablanca
Welcome to Morocco! Enjoy a comfortable private transfer from Casablanca airport to your accommodations, a drive of approximately 45 minutes. After check-in, you can relax at your hotel, or step out and start exploring! The city has quite the storied past; originally a small Berber settlement on the slopes of the Anfa Hills, it was taken over by the Portuguese in the 1400s, and became a haven for pirates in the 1500s. Eventually, the city grew into a trade hub for European markets, and the influences of Portuguese, French, and traditional Moroccan culture are still evident in modern Casablanca.
Day 2: Self-Guided Tour of Casablanca, Transfer to MarrakeshYour day in Casablanca begins with a self-guided walking tour of the city. Start at Hassan II Mosque, which is considered one of the city's premier attractions—if you can only see one thing in Casablanca, let it be this! It's the largest mosque in Morocco, sitting scenically on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. The massive complex includes a museum, baths, Koranic school, library, and a prayer room that holds 25,000 people. What makes this mosque even more unique is that non-Muslims can enter, which isn't common in Morocco. Visitors are, however, required to cover their legs and shoulders, and wear a head scarf.
Day 3: Marrakesh: Explore the Red City
Take in the sights, sounds, and smells of Marrakesh, nicknamed the "Red City" for its red sandstone walls and buildings. Founded in the 11th century, it was a popular trading center for tribes in the nearby Atlas mountains. Modern Marrakesh remains a vibrant hub, with a host of things to see and do.
Day 4: Discover More of Marrakesh: Mosques, Palaces & Gardens
Your self-tour continues, starting with a visit to Koutoubia Mosque and Gardens. This is the city's largest mosque, with elegant grounds featuring fountains, pools, palm trees, and various flowers. From here, head to Menara Gardens, a historic public park and UNESCO World Heritage Site. The gardens encompass nearly 250 acres (100 ha), with walking paths that take you through olive trees and other greenery, ending at a breathtaking pavilion and water basin.
Take a deep dive into the city's history with a visit to Bahia Palace, built in the mid-1800s by Si Moussa, Grand Vizir of the Sultan. The palace is decorated throughout in true Moroccan style, with carved stucco and cedar, and has 150 rooms, a large riad and gardens, even a harem section! You'll also want to see the 16th-century Koran school Medersa Ben Youssef, and the Marrakesh Museum with its art collection, housed inside the Dar Mnebbi Palace.
Later, enjoy a respite from the Moroccan heat with a tour of Majorelle Botanical Gardens. The gardens are famous for the bright blue and yellow house there, a museum that was once the home of French artist Jacques Marojelle and was designed by the French architect Paul Sinoir. The gardens contain more than 300 species of plants and flowers from different continents, making for an idyllic and relaxing way to end your day.
Day 5: Ouzoud Waterfalls Excursion
Step outside the city and discover one of Morocco's most amazing natural wonders, the Ouzoud waterfalls. Located near the traditional Berber village of Ouzoud, the name translates to "the act of grinding grain," which makes sense when you see the powerful set of cascades dropping over 360 feet (110 m) into the El-Abid River Gorge.Your driver will collect you early in the morning, and you'll make the two-hour transfer from Marrakesh to Ouzoud. When you arrive in the village, a local guide will take you around the area, explaining some of the region's geological and cultural history. You'll follow your guide along a fairly easy route to the waterfalls, passing through olive groves on the way. Be sure to keep an eye out for the playful monkeys that live here! At the waterfalls, enjoy free time to walk around the cascades, take photos, and just absorb the scenery.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 6: Imlil Valley & Atlas Mountains Day Trip, Argan Oil Cooperative
Upon your arrival in Imlil, enjoy a welcome glass of mint tea and meet your guide before starting your trek. Your guide will help you decide on the length of trek you want to do (one to three hours) and then you'll begin the hike to Armed, the highest and the largest village in Imlil Valley. After exploring Armed and stopping in the village of Ait Souka for a tea break and meal, you'll return down the other side of the valley, and to the village of Taourirt. Hike through Moulay Brahim Gorges, and experience a camel ride if you'd like. Your driver will collect you in Taourirt and transport you back to your hotel.
Day 7: Marrakesh Private Food Tour, Hammam & Spa Experience
Foodies will rejoice today, as you head into Marrakesh's medina quarter for a three-hour private food tour. This culinary journey explores some of the city's beloved local eateries, visiting local market stalls that are laden with fresh produce, olives, meats, and baskets overflowing with colorful spices. Taste traditional delicacies that range from unique sugary confections to savory tajine (stew cooked in a clay pot). Along the way, your guide will offer insight into Morocco's essential ingredients, cooking techniques, and culinary culture.
Day 8: Hot Air Balloons, Le Jardin, Pottery & Mosaic Workshop
Start your morning with a stunning view of the Marrakesh desert landscapes with an incredible hot air balloon ride. The early wake-up call is worth it, as you'll watch the sunrise over the desert, taking in the pastel colors and crisp morning air. Your balloon will take you over arid hills, quaint villages, and pockets of green, all with a gorgeous mountain backdrop. After sunrise, you'll sit down in your balloon and relax with breakfast and a Moroccan pastry while still in the air. This is truly a wonderful way to see a different side of Marrakesh.
If the morning air has gotten your creative juices flowing, learn the art of mosaic this afternoon with a guided workshop. The class takes you through techniques of mosaic zellige, or cutting tile into small pieces and then assembling them, and you'll learn about the art of making plates of zellige. The workshop includes one hour of practice on cutting and finishing the pieces, a tea break with a local craftsman, and demonstrations of proper usage and assembly of the provided materials.
Later, travel to a magical sanctuary hidden in plain sight; Le Jardin Secret. Located in the heart of the medina, this complex of places and magnificent gardens showcases Islamic art, science, and architecture. Le Jardin is actually two gardens, joined by a narrow path. The first is the Exotic Garden which has plants from all over the world, including South Africa, Madagascar, Australia, and Latin America, and feels like you've stepped into the Garden of Eden. A nearby pavilion leads into the more extensive Islamic Garden, where you can spend some time in these peaceful surroundings before rejoining the bustle of the medina.
Day 9: Transfer to Agafay, Agafay Desert Experience
Your next destination takes you into the heart of the Agafay Desert. Your driver will collect you in the morning, and you'll make the one-hour journey to Agafay. The drive takes you through lush vegetation, olive and orange orchards, and the village of Ait Imour. You'll then reach Lake Takerkoust, which was built as a dam to provide electricity for Marrakesh. You'll travel along the dam to the Nfis Valley, eventually arriving at a Berber family house, where you can enjoy a local lunch.
Day 10: Transfer to Essaouira, Self-Guided Tour of EssaouiraContinue to Essaouira today, a small city on the Atlantic coast that is known for its historic medina and well-designed layout. The route takes you over extensive, rolling plains, and into an argan tree forest, the only region where these trees grow and produce the popular and useful fruit. You're also likely to see the very unusual sight of goats in the argan trees! Local goats love the fruit of the argan trees and will actually climb up into the thorny branches to find them.
Day 11: Explore Essaouira's Old Town & Beaches
Day 12: Private Cooking ClassDiscover Morocco's incredible and flavorful cuisine with a cooking class at a traditional riad in Essaouira. Together with a local chef and culinary enthusiast, you'll learn how to prepare one of the most popular and authentic dishes in Morocco: tajine. This dish is named after the signature ceramic pot used to cook it. Typically, tajine features meats, vegetables, and/or fruit, such as dates or apricots, to add sweetness to its savory flavors.
Learn about the ingredients of tajine, focusing on the importance of its spices. Get to know typical Moroccan components, like cuts of meat, produce, and different tools and techniques. You'll create homemade salads, fresh bread, couscous, and your stew-like tajine. When finished, sit down with your host to enjoy the fruits of your labor! Feel free to ask questions about traditional Moroccan cuisine and culture as you eat. After your meal, enjoy a cup of traditional mint tea.
Day 13: Beach Day at Sidi KaoukiHop on the bus or take a taxi to Sidi Kaouki beach today, an open and somewhat untouched expanse of sandy beaches and blue waters. The beach is considered one of the best in the area, with endless dunes that stretch to the coast, and cresting waves that entice surfers from all parts of the world. The beach and nearby village were named for a 19th-century marabout (Muslim holy man) and are home to a shrine dedicated to him. Pilgrims still come to the shrine, which sits right on the ocean, to pay homage and pray.
Day 14: Transfer to Casablanca
This morning, your driver will transfer you back to Casablanca, driving along the coastal route. Along the way, you'll stop in some of Morocco's seaside cities, where you can stretch your legs and explore the area. Your first stop will be Safi, known for its excellent surfing beaches and stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. From here, you'll head to El Jadida, where you can tour the haunting Portuguese cistern, a Unesco World Heritage site that was built in the 16th century. Spend some time walking the ramparts and visit the Church of the Assumption; after, have lunch here in the city.
Day 15: Depart Casablanca
It's time to say goodbye to Morocco today. Your private driver will pick you up from your hotel and transport you to Casablanca airport. Have a safe and comfortable flight home, or to your next destination!
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