- Climb ancient ramparts and eat fresh seafood in Essaouira
- Explore Marrakesh's palaces, souks, and tombs
- Marvel at Chefchaouen's striking blue architecture
- Uncover cultural treasures and take a cooking class in Fes
- Discover the Caves of Hercules in Cap Spartel
|Arrive in Casablanca, Transfer to Essaouira
|Days 2 & 3
|Self-Guided Exploration of Essaouira
|Transfer to Marrakesh, Self-Guided Exploration
|Marrakesh Palace, Hammam & Souks Tour
|Visit the Majorelle Garden & Saadian Tombs
|Visit the Museum of Moroccan Arts & the Secret Garden
|Transfer to Fes, Explore
|Fes Cooking Class & Medina Tour
|Self-Guided Exploration in Fes
|Transfer to Chefchaouen via Meknes & Volubilis
|Transfer to Tangier via Tétouan
|Visit Cap Spartel & the Caves of Hercules
Day 1: Arrive in Casablanca, Transfer to Essaouira
Welcome to Morocco! Touch down in Casablanca, where you'll meet your driver for the scenic journey down the coast to Essaouira. You'll stop to visit three formerly Portuguese-occupied coastal cities along the way.
The first is the traditional Azemmour, an artist's haven. Explore the 16th-century medina (old quarter) wedged between the Oud Er-Rbia River and the Atlantic before wandering the kasbah (old fortification). From there, head farther south to El Jadida, where you'll tour the hauntingly beautiful cistern of the El Jadida Fortress and the Manueline Church of the Assumption—two important buildings from the Portuguese-occupied period.
Next, stop in the port city of Safi for a bite to eat from one of the many food vendors lining Rue du Souq. If there's time, visit the Ksar el Bahr, a 16th-century fortress built by Portuguese colonial forces. Continue to your final destination, the port city of Essaouira, which translates to "fortified palace" in Arabic. Settle into your hotel and take a sunset stroll around the medina, followed by dinner.
Days 2 & 3: Self-Guided Exploration of Essaouira
Spend the next two days exploring Essaouira independently. Walk the Skala de la Kasbah, 18th-century seafront ramparts that offer sweeping sea views and are lined with brass canons. Next, ramble through the UNESCO-protected medina, where you can shop in the buzzing marketplace, before heading to the beach. Walk back to Essaouira in time to enjoy a meal of freshly-caught seafood while watching the sunset over the city's ancient ramparts.
Known as the "Windy City" for the strong Alizé trade winds that hit its crescent beach, Essaouira is a popular kiteboarding destination. Head to the beach one morning to watch windsurfers and kiteboarders ride the waves, or if you're feeling adventurous, take a lesson yourself. You can also visit the active fishing harbor or wander the city's mellah (Jewish quarter), which is one of the best-preserved in Morocco.
Day 4: Transfer to Marrakesh, Self-Guided Exploration
This morning, travel inland to Marrakesh, known as the "Red City" for its 1,000-year-old red sandstone walls and buildings. The city has Berber roots and was once a key trading hub for tribes in the Atlas mountains. Start exploring at Jemaa el-Fna, the central market square, then head west to the 12th-century Koutoubia Mosque, which features a 253-foot-tall (77 m) minaret. Wander the mosque's serene gardens with fountains, pools, flowers, and palm trees.
In the early evening, return to Jemaa el-Fna, which comes alive after dark with musicians, performers, snake charmers, games, and food stalls. If you want to enjoy the spectacle from a distance, choose one of the many cafés surrounding the square and enjoy a cup of mint tea and a meal.
Day 5: Marrakesh Palace, Hammam & Souks Tour
Start the day with a guided tour of Marrakesh, including a trip to the 19th-century Bahia Palace, which showcases intricately-carved woodwork and painted ceilings, as well as decorative fountains and floor tiles. Afterward, decompress at one of the city's hammams. A crucial part of Moroccan culture, hammams offer hot steam baths and body scrubs to rejuvenate your body and mind. For the ultimate pamper session, book an extra massage or facial.
Spend the rest of the day indulging your senses in Marrakesh's maze-like souks, including Souk el Attarin, Souk Chouari, and Souk Smata, which offer a selection of spices, woodwork, and babouche (Moroccan slippers). Don't miss Souk des Teinturiers (the dyers' souk) to see how leather hides and cloth are traditionally dyed.
Day 6: Visit the Majorelle Garden & Saadian Tombs
Discover more of Marrakesh's cultural charms today. Head to the kasbah area to tour the eerie Saaiden Tombs, which date back to 1557 and showcase detailed Moroccan craftsmanship. Spend a quiet afternoon in the north of the city in Ville Nouvelle with a visit to the Majorelle Garden, which is filled with sub-tropical plants, bamboo, lilies, and palms and is a perfect place to escape the heat and noise of the city.
Ben Youssef Madrasa School of Islam is another Marrakesh highlight. Admire 16th-century Moroccan architecture, which features carved cedar, sculpted plaster, arabesques, Islamic calligraphy, and colorful zellij (mosaic tilework). Wander the old dorms where up to 800 students once lived and visit the prayer hall.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 7: Visit the Museum of Moroccan Arts & the Secret Garden
Day 8: Transfer to Fes, Explore
This morning, leave early for the long journey to Morocco's oldest imperial city, Fes. The route snakes through the scenic Middle and High Atlas mountains through fragrant cedar forests and across towering passes that offer panoramic vistas. Along the way, you'll have the opportunity to stop and explore tiny Berber villages and have lunch in Beni-Mellal.
Afterward, continue to UNESCO-listed Fes, where you'll check into your riad. Before venturing into the medina, take a short sunset trek to the ruins of the Marinid Tombs, a hilltop archaeological site hosting the ruins of two 14th-century mausoleums. Here, you can enjoy panoramic views of the sprawling metropolis while the call to prayer rings out and the city lights begin to glow.
Day 9: Fes Cooking Class & Medina Tour
Enjoy Fes's cultural and culinary delights today with a cooking class and medina tour. Meet a local chef for a trip to the nearby souk, where you'll purchase ingredients for your cooking class and get a glimpse of local life in the buzzing marketplace. Head to the kitchen to learn how to create a typical Moroccan four-course meal, which you'll feast on for lunch.
In the afternoon, learn about the history and culture of Fes as you navigate the medina's maze-like streets. Fes has two old quarters, Fes el Bali and Fes el Jdid, and the modern Ville Nouvelle region. Get an insight into traditional Moroccan industry with a trip to the Chouara Tannery, with its extensive assortment of colorful leather dyes produced using centuries-old techniques.
Your last stop is the Al Attarine Madrasa, a 14th-century school featuring beautiful Marinid and Moroccan architecture, cedar woodwork, and zellij tiles. Throughout today's tour, you'll stop to engage with Marrakesh's skilled artisans to learn about their life and work.
Day 10: Self-Guided Exploration in Fes
Today is yours to explore Fes independently. Perhaps start with a trip to the Batha Museum, which is housed in a 19th-century palace and showcases a collection of traditional Moroccan arts and crafts, including intricate zellij tilework and pottery. For a break from the crowds, ramble through Fes's Andalusian-style gardens and the mellah, which offers supreme panoramic city views.
Continue south to Ville Nouvelle and discover the dramatic change in architecture. Other highlights include the Dar el Makhzen (Royal Palace of Fes) and the peaceful Jnan Sbil (Bou Jeloud Gardens). If you're interested in crafts, tour a ceramics and tile collective to learn how local artisans make traditional wares.
Day 11: Transfer to Chefchaouen via Meknes & Volubilis
Say goodbye to Fes and travel north this morning to Chefchaouen. On the way, you'll stop at the imperial city of Meknes, home to palaces, the impressive gate of Bab al-Mansour, the Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail, and the Royal Stables. Next, stop for lunch in Morocco's oldest town, Moulay Idriss. Founded in 789 CE by Moulay Idriss I, the town is home to Morocco's only round minaret.
After lunch, visit the nearby Roman ruins of Volubilis. Ramble through the streets of this once-grand settlement, which dates back to the 3rd century and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. You'll learn about the site's history as an Amazigh (Berber) city and its significance in establishing the first dynasty of the Kingdom of Morocco as you pass wealthy residential houses, temples, and public buildings with intricate mosaic floors.
Continue your journey to photogenic Chefchaouen, also known as the "Blue City" for its maze-like medina filled with bluewashed buildings. Set beneath the raw peaks of the Rif Mountains, the city's name translates to "two horns," a reference to the twin peaks that shadow the metropolis. Revered as a holy mecca, the city is home to eight mosques and several zaouias (an Islamic place of worship, school, monastery, or mausoleum), and marabouts (Muslim religious leaders).
Wander the Plaza Uta el-Hammam, the city's main square, which is named for the hammams that once encircled it. Find a restaurant or café for a bite to eat before browsing the many shops peddling traditional wares and then tour the old kasbah and its eerie prison cells, used during Spanish rule. The Grand Mosque, built in 1560, makes a stunning photo stop.
Day 12: Transfer to Tangier via Tétouan
Rise early today for one last walk around the blue-hued streets of Chefchaouen before embarking upon the journey to the northern tip of Morocco and the cultural hub of Tangier. On the way, stop at Tétouan, which lies at the foot of the Rif Mountains. Recognized as a UNESCO site, the medina is the perfect place to stretch your legs and have lunch.
Arrive in Tangier in the afternoon. Strategically situated on the Strait of Gibraltar, Tangier serves as a gateway between Africa and Europe, making it a key trading port over the centuries. Check into your hotel in the whitewashed old town before venturing out to explore.
Day 13: Visit Cap Spartel & the Caves of Hercules
Today is yours to explore historic Tangier. Stroll around the kasbah, a fortress area that offers sweeping views of the Strait of Gibraltar. Wander through its snaking markets lined with market stalls and ornate architecture. You can also venture out of the city to visit Cap Spartel, a striking lighthouse that marks the spot where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Mediterranean Sea.
From there, continue south along the coast to the legendary Cave of Hercules, rumored to have been created by the mythical hero himself. Explore the limestone caverns, thought to be where Hercules rested during his 12 labors, and peer out through the Africa-shaped opening to the Atlantic. Afterward, return to Tangier for a final night in the city.
Day 14: Depart Morocco
Today your Morocco adventure comes to an end. Your driver will take you to the ferry terminal in time to catch your ferry to Spain. Safe travels!