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Activities & Transport
- Traditional Medicine
- City Tour
- Meet the Locals
- Rental Car
Main travel focus
Self-drive Moroccan Imperial Cities
- Day 6: A snake-charmer's show in Marrakech's main square
- Day 3: Watch the Fes tanners as they work their magic
- Day 2: Casablanca's enormous Hassan II Mosque
- Day 5: Stop off in Ifrane, a little piece of Switzerland
Even just the word Morocco conjures up heady images of exotic architecture and food, stunning views and rich romance. Well, imagine jumping into your car and experiencing all this mystical land's most alluring sites for yourself. Actually, imagine no more, it's all about to happen.
This is what this trip is all about. What better way to experience such an amazing country than by driving through its greatest, most glamorous cities, by yourself and at your own pace? This driving tour takes you through the Imperial Grand Slam: you'll dig deep into the legendary cities of Casablanca, Rabat, Fes, and even take in Meknes and the ancient Roman ruins of Volubilis, before ending up in the near-mythical Marrakech. This is a road trip like no other, and one you'd be raving mad to miss.
- 6 nights accommodation as per itinerary
- Comfortable vehicle
- International flights
- Entrance fees to sites
- Alcoholic beverages
- Meals other than those specified in the itinerary
- Laundry, porterage, personal expenses.
- Tips and gratuities
- Cooking class in a Fes workshop
- Official Local Guides
- Entrance fees to sites (Casablanca: Hassan II Mosque, Fes, Meknes & Marrakech )
Example Trip to customize
Touchdown in Casablanca
Even before you arrive at the airport, you'll realise that Casablanca deserves its near-mythical status as a world tourist destination. Then, once you've checked into your hotel, take yourself for a drive through its streets to get a better feel of its vibrantly colourful sights and sounds. If you end up in the Corniche, take yourself out for a lazy meander and sit back with cool one at one of the many seaside cafés here. Not that bad a way to start your adventure at all.
The Imperial City Hat-trick
There's plenty to do today, so, after your sumptuous breakfast, it's best to get cracking. First things first, take in Casablanca's sights; making sure you don't forget the magnificent Hassan II mosque, which is only beaten in size by Mecca's Great Mosque, and stands as a showcase of Moroccan craftsmanship. Then, drive to Quartier des Habous for the exquisite High Court and local markets.
Next on the list is Morocco's capital, Rabat, where the ancient Roman and Merinid ruins will capture your imagination; as will the Royal Palace's parade grounds, brightly populated by the Royal Guards in their intricate costumes. The 12th-century Hassan tower and the beautiful 20th century mausoleum are must-sees as well, so make sure they're both on your list today. Your list also must not exclude the picturesque blue and white Kasbah of the Oudaias, which overlooks the Bou Regreg river and houses a wonderful museum with displays of Moroccan jewellery dating from prehistoric to modern times. Wrap up your Rabat time by relaxing with a Moroccan tea at the Café Maure, marvelling at its beautiful coastline views.
To score the imperial hat-trick today, you'll then scoot off to The Holy City, famous Fes, a jewel of Spanish-Arabic civilisation. Cradle of religious, cultural and artistic traditions, Fes, the double city, is the kingdom's spiritual capital and home to its most refined cuisine. In other words, you'll be fairly ecstatic you made the drive.
Impressed by Fes
Today, as you gape out at the panorama of the Fes' different quarters afforded from a Saadian Dynasty fortress look-out, you'll realise you're somewhere rather special. Tear yourself from the view, as it's time to enter the ancient walled city to explore its fascinating trade quarter and its souks. A 14th-century Koranic College is a beautiful option, as is the stunning 17th-century Foundouk, rightfully recognised by UNESCO for its beauty and importance.
In the afternoon, work your way through the medina, to learn how the tanners and weavers achieve their world-famous level of craft, and even visit an embroidery workshop. Next, be guided around the Royal Palace grounds and the Jewish quarter, before ducking your head into a pottery workshop outside the city walls to see how the magic adorning every corner of this city is made.
Choose the triumphs of Meknes
After yesterday's treasures, you may want to continue exploring all the wonders Fes hides within its walls. However, then you'd miss the chance to experience Meknes and the tyrant Moulay Ismail's ruined city. As you've got the keys, this difficult choice is all yours, but don't be too worried: either option is equally rewarding. Still, more must be said of the Meknes path.
The Meknes tour begins in Bab Mansour, where you'll pass through its beautifully enormous triumphal arch, to enter Place El-Hedime (Square of Ruins), which links the medina and the kasbah, and features a covered souk where venders vend ridiculously delicious Moroccan treats. Another Meknes highlight is El-Mansour's grand gate, inlaid with zellij mosaics of the highest quality, and featuring marble columns taken from the Roman ruins of Volubilis. Speaking of Volubilis, that's where you're headed next, as this is definitely something to be seen. Just ask Martin Scorsese, who was so impressed by the ruins that he used them for The Last Temptation of Christ. There are acres of mosaics depicting Roman mythology, parts of massive columns, the capitol, the basilica and even a triumphal arch. All of these ruins might have made you hungry, a problem best solved by stopping for kebabs in the holy town of Moulay Idriss Zerhoun, before you head back to Fes for another enchanting evening.
Marrakech via Switzerland
Do your delicious breakfast justice, and then get back out on the road again, but this time all the picturesque way to Marrakech. Picturesque? Indeed: you'll be going straight through the Middle Atlas mountain range, and even be stopping at the alpine resort of Ifrane, something like a little piece of Switzerland smack-bang in the middle of Morocco. From there, the best stop for lunch is Beni Mellal, before continuing on your gorgeously merry way to Marrakech, which you'll reach as it's just starting to light up for the evening.
Delving deeply into Marrakech
You might think that this morning's breakfast is stunning, but wait til you get a load of the Majorelle gardens, once owned by that man of legendary taste, Yves Saint Laurent. You'll continue to be stunned all day by Marrakech's treasures; the next example will be the 12th-century Menara sultanic garden with its pool, olive groves and views of the distant High Atlas Mountains. Then, all the main monuments of the city will be ticked off, one by one: the Koutoubia Mosque, Saadians Tombs and the splendid El Bahia Palace. This is all before lunch, and so is a visit to a ridiculously fragrant spice shop; you'll even get time to discover the secrets of ras el hanout, Moroccan beauty products and magic potions.
There would be no better idea for your afternoon than to explore the Medina and its numerous trade quarters at leisure; slowly making your way to the epicentre of Djema el Fna square. This square cannot fail to delight with its almost-overwhelming atmosphere and jumble of food stalls, snake charmers, and fortune- and story-tellers. Take it all in as you relax with a tea at one of the cafes overlooking the action, while you wait for sunset and the start of the night's non-stop excitement.
Back on home
It's only been a week, but you've amassed so many memories during your time in this magical country that you'll be spending many more sifting through and reliving each one. It's back to the Mohamed V Airport today, to jump on your plane and work out what experience you're going to boast about first.