This itinerary takes you to discover the grandeur of the great historic Imperial Cities of Morocco:
Rabat, Meknes, Fez, and Marrakesh.
For over a thousand years, Morocco has been ruled by Roman, Amazigh, Arab, and French powers.
Each has left their unique cultural, architectural, and historic trace on Morocco.
Grandiose palaces, florid Koranic schools, bustling marketplaces, flowery courtyards, royal boulevards, mighty fortifications, labyrinthal old towns—these are just a few of the many enchanting features of Moroccan urban civilization that you’ll discover on the Imperial Cities Tour.
Day 1 : Arrival in Casablanca .
– After picking you up at the airport and checking you into your hotel for one night, we’ll have the rest of the day to discover Morocco’s biggest and richest city: Casablanca.
– The Hassan II Mosque – Opened in 1993, the Hassan II mosque is biggest mosque in Morocco and a true symbol traditional Moroccan craftsmanship.
Built on the ocean (yes, on the ocean!), it features a mighty retractable roof to let in sunlight and the sea breeze.
This is one of the only mosques in Morocco that tourists are allowed to enter. You will be accompanied by a guide.
– Downtown Casablanca – Laid out and developed during the French Protectorate, downtown Casablanca still features many historic French avant-garde buildings.
During on tour of downtown, we will also visit the monumental Arab League Park, Mohamed V Square, and the United Nations Palace.
– Rick’s Café – A possible stop for dinner or a drink, Rick’s Café is a recreation of the famous bar made famous by Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in the classic film Casablanca.
Day 2 : From Casablanca to Rabat
– After driving from Casablanca to Rabat and checking you into your hotel for one night, we’ll have the rest of the day to discover the capital of modern Morocco: Rabat.
– Hassan Tower + Mausoleum of Mohamed V – A veritable complex of Moroccan royal history, here we’ll see where Morocco’s past meets its future.
Completed in 1199 by the Almohad king Yacub al-Mansour, the Hassan Tower, a UNESCO site, and its 200 collapsed columns have stood as a symbol of royal power in Morocco for over 800 years.
Just next to it, one finds the ornately decorated Mausoleum of Mohamed V, the grandfather of the present king and founder of modern Morocco.
You will be accompanied by a guide.
– Kasabah of the Udayas – This fortified neighborhood has sat perched over the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean since its completion in 1269.
A maze of small streets, ancient stone houses, picturesque doors, and views over the Atlantic Ocean, the Kasabah of the Udayas UNESCO status isn’t just merited by its rich history, but also by its calm beauty.
You will be accompanied by a guide.
– Chella – An ancient Roman port city, a Moorish outpost, a fortified necropolis—the Chella of Rabat enjoyed a storied history before becoming the tourist destination it is today.
A winding, unkempt assembly of houses, ruins, streets, and gardens, one wonders if the families of white storks or humans enjoy visiting the Chellah more. You will be accompanied by a guide.
– Rabat’s old city – Built over centuries on top of a Roman settlement, the streets of the Rabat old city are the straightest and most orderly of any old city in Morocco.
Enjoy exploring the vibrant markets and the stately Street of Consuls.
– Rabat’s new city – Where Morocco meets the modern world, Rabat’s new city, left behind by the French, features many notable sights all connected by a sleek brand-new tram system: the Bank of Morocco, the Postal Museum, and the Saint Peter Cathedral.
Day 3 From Rabat to Meknes then Fez
– Leaving Rabat, we will drive to Meknes where we’ll spend the day before heading to Fez to spend the evening.
– Meknes’s old city – Modest in comparison to the other Imperial Cities, Meknes held the status of capital of Morocco for only 55 years during the reign of the famed Moulay Ismail.
Still, Meknes’s old city, a UNESCO site, offers a trove of sights for a curious visitor: Moulay Ismail’s stables, granary, prison, and mausoleum, the monumental Mansour Gate, the covered food market, and the El Hidem Square.
– The town of Moulay Idriss – Perched atop a hill overlooking the Roman ruins of Volubilis, the picturesque town of Moulay Idriss is famous for more than its sweeping views of the surrounding countryside.
Situated in the middle of the city, one finds the green-tiled tomb of the founder of the first Moroccan kingdom, Moulay Idriss.
– The Roman ruins of Volubilis – A Roman colony on the very outskirts of Roman rule, historians still debate the authenticity of Volubilis as a truly ‘Roman’ city.
Were there really than many Romans living here, or was it a town built by the local Amazigh people in the style of a Roman city?
Opinions differ, but what is certain is that the beauty and good condition of the ruins will blow you away.
Day 4 : Tour of Fez
– Today we’ll spend the whole day exploring the ancient heart of Moroccan civilization: Fez.
– Fez’s old medina – The biggest urban car-free zone in the world, Fez, a UNESCO sight, is a massive labyrinth of dusty alleys, sumptuous houses and palaces, hectic markets, and innumerable stories.
The joy of visiting Fez consists largely in simply meandering through this medieval urban jungle.
Among the many things we’ll discover are the recently restored leather tanneries, the Foundouk Nejjarine woodworking museum, the Dar el-Magana water clock, the hilltop Merenid Tombs, the serene Bou Inania Koranic school, the Moulay Idriss II Mausoleum, and the Karaouiyne university (the oldest university in the world), just to name a few!
– Souvenir shopping – As the center of the Moroccan handicraft industry, Fes is also the perfect place to do some souvenir shopping.
Scarves, leather goods, carpets, spices, metal goods, pottery, etc., Fez has it all!
Day 5 : From Fez to Marrakesh via Beni Mellal
– Leaving Fez, we’ll drive to Marrakesh while making stops in the rural towns of Azrou and Beni Mellal along the way.
We’ll spend the night in Marrakesh.
– Azrou – Situated at about 1,250 meters above sea level, Azrou is a lush small town surrounded by green oak and cedar trees.
Historically the capital of the Middle Atlas region, Azrou has recently lost much of its luster to nearby Ifrane.
Home to a predominately Berber population, Azrou also homes another inhabitant in the hills of trees surrounding it:
Barbary apes! Maybe we’ll get lucky and see a few.
Day 6 : Tour in Marrakesh
– Today we’ll spend the whole day exploring the legendary red city of Marrakesh.
– Marrakesh’s old medina – Smaller than the Fez medina, but no less riveting, Marrakesh’s old medina feels worlds away from the fancy modern hotels, clubs, and restaurants that gild its new town.
Main attractions in Marrakesh’s old medina include the Mellah (Jewish neighborhood), the ornate 19th century Bahia Palace, and the crumbling 16th century Badi Palace.
What’s more, we’ll explore the Koutoubia Mosque and the world famous Jemma el-Fna, a UNESCO site, with its fabled snake charmers, monkey tamers, acrobats, musicians, orange juice sellers, and story tellers.
– The Majorelle Gardens – Taking a little excursion into Marrakesh’s new town, we’ll visit the lush Majorelle Gardens.
Designed by the French artist Jacques Majorelle in the 1920s and 1930s, the Majorelle Gardens feature a striking array of cactus species from all over the world in Art Deco inspired grounds.
Famous for its iconic blue walls, the Majorelle Gardens also house an excellent museum devoted to Berber culture and history.
Day 7 : Drop off
– Our trip has reached its end! Rabat, Casablanca, Marrakesh