Tour of Imperial Cities in Morroco

  A couple visited Morocco in December 2017

“We would like to visit the imperial cities and whatever else you recommend while in Morocco.

We are Europeans that live in the US and will be coming by plane from a European city but leaving to go back to the US.. We are well traveled but like advise and would like to have an itinerary to follow - with driver all the way or partially, if this makes any sense.

Ages 73 and 62.”

Ian Hardie, a local specialist from Morocco, helped this traveler put together a customized itinerary.

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Trip planning highlights

60 messages exchanged
2 trip plan versions shared
Travelers completed their trip! Read traveler review

Renee's Morocco Tour, 10 days, 9 nights

Day 1: Arrival Day
Day 2: Casablanca to Fes
Day 3: Day in Fez
Day 4: Fes to Meknes to Rabat
Day 5: Rabat to Marrakech
Day 6: Day in Marrakech
Day 7: High Atlas Day
Day 8: To Essaouira
Day 9: Essaouira and Casablanca
Day 10: Departure Day

Summary of the trip planning conversation

Below are some useful excerpts from the trip planning conversation
Ian Hardie
It is very nice to receive your email and to learn of your interest in a tour to Morocco. My name is Ian and I will be very happy to advise and guide you so that we create the ideal tour for your needs.

Being a private tour for your two selves, this makes it possible to create a tour that is totally bespoke for you. Private transport adds reassurance as well as comfort and space throughout your tour.

Please find below a first draft of a possible itinerary. It both includes Imperial cities as well as other areas that I would highly recommend (although it does involve travelling). Of course it can be adjusted if you wish once I hear back from you.

Day 1: Arrive in to Casablanca; airport transfer to hotel; overnight in Casablanca. Rest of day independently.
Day 2: Drive to Fez; in Fez; to Mekenes; overnight in Fez.
Day 3: Fez to Merzouga (Sahara desert); option of an hotel stay or in a Bedouin tent.
Day 4: Merzouga to Ouarzazate via Erfoud and Rissani and the Todra Gorge and the Valley of a Thousand Kasbahs (Dades Valley); Ouarzazate for overnight.
Day 5: Ouarzazate to Marrakech via Ait Benhaddou; option of Movie Studios visit, on edge of Ouarzazate; overnight Marrakech.
Day 6: Day in Marrakech; overnight Marrakech.
Day 7: Marrakech to Casablanca; overnight Casablanca.
Day 8: Departure day.

How does that sound?

If you could kindly advise me of the types of accommodation you would wish to use then this would be helpful - 3*, 4* or 5* hotels? And/or riads of moderate/superior standard?

Hoping that this whets you appetite for your Moroccan tour. I look forward to hearing back from you.

Kind regards, Ian

Hi Ian,

Thank you very much for the itinerary. I will discuss with my husband. 

A couple of comments: we would like to have a little more time in Casablanca with a 1/2/day tour. No movie studio visit. We don't like long travel day, +/- 4 hours travel on any day is fine. 3* accommodation in riads, please. If we keep the Sahara desert, a stay in a Bedouin tent would be fine.

Are there any tours in Fez and Marrakech included, especially a 1/2 day tour in Marrakech?

Thanks again. I look forward to hearing back from you,

Ian Hardie
It is good to receive your positive reply and we can certainly take in to account your comments. With your wish to not to have too much travel hours each day then we need to rethink the itinerary.

First of all, is the Sahara a "must include" option for you? If so then rather than Merzouga perhaps Zagora might be a better option. However it does still mean a good number of traveling hours each day. So, it has to be a compromise, keep in the Sahara and accept the necessary travelling or omit the Sahara and thus have less travel hours. Morocco is a vast country.

Please let me know your thoughts and then I can work on a second itinerary find you to consider.

Kind regards, Ian

Hi Ian,

How about first two nights in Fez (travel from Casablanca to Fez - haven't checked if we can fly into Fez directly, thus airport pickup in Casablanca or Fez. then travel back to Casablanca from Fez via Rabat etc. - next 2 nights in Casablanca and last 3 nights in Marrakech.

Site seeing tours in Fez, Casablanca and Marrakech, plus one trip to Atlas mountains from Marrakech.

3* riads please (simple, but clean is fine)


Ian Hardie
Very nice to hear back from you. Your ideas are good and here is a second draft itinerary for your consideration:-

Day 1: Arrive in to Casablanca or Fez (either airport option is OK); airport transfer to Fez hotel (from Casablanca if necessary, of course); overnight in Fez. Rest of day in Fez independently.
Day 2: In Fez with sightseeing tour; overnight in Fez.
Day 3: Fez to Casablanca via Rabat. overnight in Casablanca.
Day 4: In Casablanca with sightseeing tour; overnight in Casablanca.
Day 5: Casablanca to Marrakech; overnight Marrakech.
Day 6: In Marrakech (High Atlas Day); overnight Marrakech.
Day 7: In Marrakech with sightseeing tour (or it could be swapped with the day 6 High Atlas tour); overnight Marrakech.

I hope that this sounds good; looking forward to hearing back from you with your observations.

Kind regards, Ian
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Traveler Review

Our driver Sellam was outstanding and so were Larbi and Hassan, the guide in Fes.

The riad in Fes was beautiful, but the food was awful and the owner, Assis kept promising food/meals that never came since the kitchen didn't know about it and his stuff has no clue and the cook(s) don't either. The bathroom always stank of sewage. We were in room #19.

We also were required to pay an extra $85 for a New Year's Eve Fiesta, that also did not exist and the New Year's dinner was uneatable. Plus, Assis refused to return the $85 to Larbi, Larbi nevertheless did reimburse us out of his own pocket. We learned later from another driver, that Assis did the same thing to him and his guests. We understood, that Assis took over the management of the riad only recently and that the riad before was run very well.

The main dinner course in the hotel in Rabat was also uneatable. We were the only guests and the meat and veggies were cooked in rancid, old and overheated oil. The hotel has a 4-star rating - it should have a minus 4-star rating.

Hassan and Samira in the riad in Marrakech were absolute charming and great hosts. Samira is a fabulous cook. Everything was great!

All the other places were fine. I only mentioned above the really great and really bad experiences.