Essential Morocco. From Fez to Marrakech.
Isn't it time you explored magical Morocco? Come with us on an enlightening journey. Begin in Fez, a giant step back in time. Continue on to Volubilis, Meknes, and Marrakech. If you've got the time, consider adding time in Rabat and Casablanca as well as the ancient coastal city of Essaouira, the Gate to the Desert—Ouarzazate, and Richard Branson's fabulous kasbah in the Atlas Mountains.
Morocco: land of minarets and marketplaces, snake charmers and street musicians. Where slaves became kings, rivalries built cities, and ancient cultures still mingle in the timeless traditions of crafts, music, and faith. The country is a marvelous mix of mountains and desert, open ranges, and cities teeming with life. Adventure awaits.
This is a sample itinerary. Remember that R. Crusoe can create a Morocco journey of any length to meet your exact specifications.
Essential Morocco. From Fez to Marrakech.
Day 1: United States
• Overnight flight to Morocco.
Overnight in flight
Day 2-4: Fez, Morocco
• Land in Fez.
• City tour including Borj Nord, Dal al-Makhzen, a kasbah, the medina, the Mellah, Batha Museum, Kairouyine Mosque, old souk, Nejjarine Fountain, Ali's Art Gallery.
Overnights in Fez
Day 5: Volubilis, Meknes, Fez
• Drive to Volubilis, Roman ruins.
• Drive to Meknes, Bab Mansour, Moulay Idriss Mausoleum, granaries.
• Return to Fez.
Overnight in Fez
Day 6: Beni Mellal, Marrakech
• Fly to Marrakech, or drive to Marrakech with stop at Beni Mellal, Berber settlement.
• Arrive Marrakech.
Overnight in Marrakech
Day 7-8: Marrakech
• City tour including old ramparts, Koutoubia Mosque, Saadian Tombs, Bahia Palace, Dar Si Said Museum of Moroccan Arts.
• Majorelle Gardens, Menara Gardens, souks, Djemaa el Fna.
• Options for hot-air ballooning, hammam, golf game, cooking class.
Overnights in Marrakech
Day 9: Ourika Valley, Marrakech
• Day-trip to Ourika Valley (Atlas Mountain foothills), Berber village, tea with Berber family, option to bioaromatic gardens of Nectarone.
• Return to Marrakech, leisure time.
Overnight in Marrakech
Day 10: Marrakech; United States or
• Fly home, or continue on in Morocco with R. Crusoe.
Per person sharing room from $5,980 for this 10-day sample itinerary.
For more information, to book, or to speak to an R. Crusoe & Son tour specialist, please call us at 800-585-8555.
Riad Maison Bleue. Three historic houses were combined to make this delightfully relaxing yet elegant hotel overlooking the medina. Amenities include a spa, hammam, fitness room, pool, cooking school, restaurant, and two bars.
Palais Faraj. Another boutique hotel, this one perched on the city’s south hill with breathtaking views of the old medina. It combines elegance and authenticity in an architectural gem by architect and interior designer Jean-Baptiste Barian, a specialist in Arab-Andalusia style. Think arches, columns, moucharabiehs, carved wood, plaster and brass, stucco, marble floors, and geometric zellij tiles. 25 rooms. Amenities include a spa, hammam, pool, 2 restaurants, 2 bars.
Riad Fes. A Relais & Château boutique property with four elegant guestroom styles: Moroccan, with traditional furnishings, zellij tile floors, ornate plaster walls, and exquisite Moroccan fabrics; Oriental, with refined tones, dark wood and bathrooms in black or white tadelakt plaster; Baraco-Andalous, with grey tadelakt walls, black zellij, and white marble bathrooms; or Contemporain, modern style incorporating warm colors, stone, and wood. Catch spectacular views of the medina and the Atlas Mountains from the hotel. 26 rooms. Amenities include a spa, hammam, fitness center, pool, library, cooking classes, 1 restaurant, 2 bars.
La Maison Arabe. This hotel began as a Moroccan restaurant, founded in the 1940s by two adventurous French women. Located in the romantic medina of Marrakech in the shadow of Bab Doukkala Mosque, it lives on today as an exclusive luxury hotel. 26 rooms and suites. Amenities include a spa, hammam, pools, cooking classes, 2 restaurants, 1 bar.
La Mamounia. Marrakech’s most legendary hotel. Opened in 1923 in 20 acres of meticulously maintained landscaping in the middle of the old city close to Djemaa el Fna square. La Mamounia closed for three years for extensive renovations, and it has since reopened to the delight of international travelers. Absolutely nothing is done halfway here. 136 rooms, 7 suites, 3 villas. Amenities include a spa, pools, fitness center, tennis courts, cooking classes, four restaurants, six bars.
Riad Kniza. Dating from the 18th century, Riad Kniza is a small luxury hotel in the heart of the medina. It has been completely restored by Haj Mohamed Bouskri using traditional materials and local artisans to recreate an authentic Moroccan inn. Haj Mohamed, one of the city’s most renowned antiques dealers, has shown the best of Marrakech to many VIPs including former American presidents and Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Aniston, and other celebrities. 4 rooms, 7 suites. Amenities include a spa, hammam, pool, cooking classes, 1 restaurant/bar.
Royal Mansour. Set within the walls of the old city in nine acres of gardens, this is an oasis of elegance and quiet. An underground system of tunnels leads to the individual guest riads (suites), accessed only by staff, ensuring absolute privacy and quiet. 53 suites. Amenities include a spa, hammam, fitness center, library, and 3 restaurants/bars.
Pre-Tour & Post-Tour Options
Morocco has much more to offer, if you have time.
Consider adding the imperial city of Rabat and the port city of Casablanca to your journey. A visit to Rabat and Casablanca is best inserted after Meknes and before Marrakech. Drive from Meknes to Rabat, the country’s capital and one of four imperial cities. Visit the royal palace, Dar el Makhzen; Sala Colonia, a Roman settlement, and its Chellah Necropolis; the royal mausoleum dedicated to the first king of Moroccan independence; 12th-century Hassan Tower, which exemplifies Mauresque architecture; and Kasbah of the Oudayas. A kasbah, incidentally, is a type of fortress or citadel. It was a place for a local leader to live, and a defense for a city under attack. Building a kasbah proved the wealth and power of the family.
If you are interested, spend time in the Rabat Archaeological Museum to view the most extensive collection of artifacts found in Morocco—prehistoric and pre-Islamic items. See objects unearthed in Volubilis.
On to Casablanca, Morocco’s largest city. Visit Hassan II Mosque, one of the world’s largest. Then drive to Marrakech.
We also recommend time in Essaouira after Marrakech. Drive south from Marrakech. En route, stop at an estate that produces some of Morocco’s finest wines. Visit an argan oil workshop before arriving in Essaouira.
Old Essaouira was known in the 1700s by its Portuguese name, Mogodor, though the area has been settled since prehistoric times. Visit the medina, a UNESCO World Heritage site; the Grand Mosque; the Ensemble Artisanal (a crafts market).
At the Museum of Sidi Mohammad Ibn Abdellah, view examples of marquetry for which Essaouira is known.
Other ideas in Morocco? Ouarzazate, known as the Gate to the Desert. And Kasbah Tamadot, Richard Branson’s elegant resort in the Atlas Mountains near Marrakech.
For more information, speak to your R. Crusoe travel specialist.
Remember that R. Crusoe & Son can create a Morocco pre-tour or post-tour extension of any length to meet your exact specifications.
Morocco and the U.S.: Back to the Beginning.
This may surprise you, but Morocco was one of the first countries to recognize the new American republic. It did so on 20 December 1777. In fact, Morocco allowed American ships access to Moroccan ports shortly after the outbreak of the American Revolution. In 1787, the U.S. Congress ratified a Treaty of Peace and Friendship with Morocco. It was renegotiated in 1836 and is still in force, making it the longest unbroken treaty relationship in American history.
Morocco was also the scene of one of the most pivotal meeting of Allied leaders during World War II. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and French generals Charles De Gaulle and Henri Giraud met in the Moroccan city of Casablanca in January 1943 to discuss the war. The negotiations produced the Casablanca Declaration and its most historically provocative statement of purpose, “unconditional surrender,” a doctrine that would represent the voice of implacable Allied will. In Morocco, the Allies agreed to fight the Axis powers to their ultimate defeat and annihilation.
The rest, as they say, is history.
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