Morocco Private (12 days)
PRIVATE & CUSTOM
Morocco offers an unparalleled cultural and natural diversity that, combined with its unbeatable hospitality, great roads, beautiful architecture, and superb cuisine, provides one of the greatest travel experiences in the world today.
This expedition brings you close contact with locals and nature: you will explore three of the Atlas mountain ranges, the Imperial cities, and the Atlantic coast. Of course, we can customize it for you.
Morocco is a destination that encompasses beautiful but sometimes lengthy drives. Our itinerary reduces those long drives to a minimum and increases the opportunities for off-the-beaten-path experiences. We are very proud of our Morocco Expedition and can’t wait for you to experience it!
We use first-class and award-winning riads and kasbahs, and spaces are limited. We highly recommend that you book soon.
WHAT MAKES THIS TRIP EXTRAORDINARY
- The itinerary is the most complete offered today.
- You will explore the Imperial cities, three Atlas ranges in Morocco, and its Atlantic coast.
- Drive times have been reduced to their minimum, resulting in the best pacing possible.
- We use first-class upscale Riads and Kasbahs for accommodations instead of modern hotels.
- A Master Local Guide will accompany you along your trip to Morocco.
- Become Berber on your visit to an authentic Berber town.
- Window seats when using 4×4 and 20% of empty seats when onboard tour busses are guaranteed.
- This itinerary gives you plenty of free time in the most important cities to allow you to experience them firsthand.
“I love Morocco – it’s a real challenge to all five senses. You think you know something, and you don’t. It’s wonderful. It keeps you on your toes that way.”
– Amy Ryan
If you have any questions, please let us know. We are here to help you!
Itinerary in Brief
Arrive in Fes
Upon arrival in Fes, an NPE representative will pick you up and transfer you to your hotel.
Overnight at Palais Faraj or similar (Melas Aloft).
Fes is considered to be not only the oldest royal city in Morocco but also one that has preserved its medieval architecture, flavor, and way of life.
You will begin the day visiting the ramparts, the perfect introduction to the culture and history of Fes. Your NPE Guide will take you through the city’s most fascinating portions. While the morning’s highlight will be a tour of the 14th-century Madrassa near the Karaouine Mosque, you will also explore the depths of the food and spice markets and perhaps enjoy a taste of the offerings at the public bakeries.
The old way of craftsmanship can be seen in the ateliers found throughout Fes, where you can watch the artisans at work. You will also see fountains, mosques, sanctuaries, and Islamic schools.
Fes cuisine is considered one of the best in all Morocco, and lunch today will allow you to taste some of its finest traditional dishes, from multiple delicate first courses to tanginess and light and tasty couscous. The restaurant itself is an architectural wonder.
The late 19th-century palace that was home to King Hassan I is our destination after lunch. It is now a museum displaying the traditional arts of the city.
We will then visit the Jewish quarter in the New Fez sector of the city, where we can admire the jewelry offered in the market and visit a 17th-century synagogue.
Dinner is on your own tonight, so you choose to visit one of the many superb restaurants in the city or stay in your hotel to enjoy its facilities and its cuisine (Wich is also great).
Overnight at Palais Faraj or similar (B, L).
To Rabat via Meknes and Volubilis
This morning, the northern Rif Mountains will accompany you on your drive to Meknes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Morocco’s youngest imperial city.
Meknes was founded in the 12th Century and was fully developed under Sultan Moulay Ismail, one of Morocco Meknes was founded in the 12th Century and was fully developed under Sultan Moulay Ismail, one of Morocco’s most powerful historical leaders. Despite his reputation as a ruthless warrior, the Sultan was also a passionate builder, and during his 55-year reign, he developed Meknes from a small town into a majestic capital with gigantic ramparts, monumental gates, more than 50 palaces, and 15 miles of exterior walls. You will see the impressive Bab el Mansour gateway and visit the ruins of the old stables and granaries.
Later we will reach Volubilis, the site of one of Rome’s African colonies, established during the first centuries of the Christian Era. Because of the area’s fertility, especially in olive cultivation, Volubilis in ancient times expanded and included a basilica and other public buildings. The surrounding villas were decorated with impressive mosaics that can be seen today. The partially excavated ruins of Volubilis are a World Heritage Site and provide excellent photo opportunities.
After our visit to Volubilis, you will be driven to Rabat where you will check in at your hotel.
Overnight at Riad Zyo in Rabat or similar (B, L).
Rabat is the capital of the Kingdom of Morocco and the residence of the King.
You will explore the fantastic Kasbah of Chellah. On this archaeological site, you will discover the remains of two civilizations: Sala Colonia, dating back to Roman times, and the Merinides Necropolis of the 14th Century.
Within the walls of the Kasbah, you will visit a delightful jewelry museum and an Andalusian garden, a part of the royal residence of the 17th Century. Continue to the Tour Hassan, the last vestige of an unfinished mosque from the late 12th Century.
Next, you will admire the Mohammed V Mausoleum, which is a place of exquisite contemplation.
The Mohammed V Mausoleum is one of the finest architectural monuments in Morocco, built as a memorial to this symbolic King of Morocco. Along your tour, you will visit the main gate of Bab Errouah, made in the 12th Century. The Kasbah Oudaia, occupied by Muslims evicted from Spain in the 17th Century, is a beautiful example of authentic Moorish design.
End your visit with a stroll in the park of the official royal palace, where you will see the royal guards at the residence’s entrance.
The rest of the afternoon is free for you to explore this imperial city and enjoy your hotel.
Overnight at Riad Zyo in Rabat or similar (B, L)
To Marrakech via Casablanca, Hasan II Mosque
After breakfast, you will be driven to Casablanca, where you will enjoy a complete visit to the largest religious building in Africa, the Hassan II Mosque.
After an early lunch at the fort next to the mosque, you will continue to Marrakech (a 3-hour drive on a good highway) where you will check in at your hotel.
Later that day, around sunset time, visit Jemma el Fenna, the largest plaza in Africa. Enjoy a coffee or tea at one of the balconies that serve as restaurants while the activity picks up, and then walk with your guide to experience this unique and bustling site.
Overnight at Riad Al Maha or similar (B, L).
This morning, enjoy a complete tour of Marrakech, including the main mosque, the Saadian tombs, and the souks. Before returning to your hotel, you will enjoy lunch and visit Yves Saint Laurent’s Jardin Majorelle and the Berber Museum.
Overnight at Riad Al Maha or similar (B, L).
Your day at Marrakech
Marrakech is full of wonders, and we have left this day open for you to explore. Get lost in the souks for superb photos and shopping, visit some of the attractions that we didn’t cover during the city tour, and enjoy a superb cooking class at La Maison Arabe (optional), the options are plenty, and your guide will help you with recommendations.
Overnight at Riad Al Maha or similar (B).
Berber Live in the Atlas Mountains
Drive through the lush and dramatic Atlas landscapes for an unforgettable Berber experience and an eye-opening, hands-on experience (Drive time is around one hour to one hour and a half).
You will start your experience by baking bread and preparing tagine in the kitchen of a village family and getting to know them better over a pot of traditional mint.
While your tagine is simmering on a stove, you will take a walk through the alleyways to explore the village, meet locals, and discover ancestral activities still maintained by the Berber. You will assist farmers in their daily tasks, such as irrigating fields, herding sheep, or cutting grass. On the way, you will also join local artisans in their workshops, get hands-on in making local crafts, and get sufficient education on the necessary materials and the proper techniques for perfect craftsmanship.
After this fantastic experience, we will return to Marrakech.
Overnight Riad Al Maha or similar (B, L)
To Coastal Essaouira
After breakfast, we will leave Marrakech and travel towards the Atlantic coast. Outside Essaouira, a stop at a women’s cooperative where they make Argan oil will provide insight into this valuable emollient. Essaouira has a reputation for having a relaxed and laid-back atmosphere, and we will first enjoy our lunch here before going on a walking tour of the city.
As its location was ideal for taking advantage not only of seagoing traffic but also the inland Trans-Saharan trade routes, Essaouira has been a trading center since the time of the Phoenicians. The Portuguese occupied the area in the 16th Century, naming it Mogador.
We will begin our exploration of the city at the old Portuguese fort that guards the harbor.
Eventually falling into Muslim hands, Mogador was renamed Essaouira in 1760. The city has since attracted many foreigners and overseen the establishment of a large Jewish community. Essaouira eventually became Morocco’s international port and trading center.
The architecture is a blend of Portuguese and Moorish, and you will soon become aware that blue might be considered the ‘color theme’ of the city. Your guided tour will take you through the jewelry market, spice souks, and various artisan markets. You will visit carpentry workshops where the artisans turn cedar and thuya wood into beautifully made furniture. As in ancient times, Essaouira still attracts talented artists from different parts of the world.
Note: The total drive time for this day is 3 hours, but it will be broken with activity stops.
Overnight at Heure Bleue Essaouria (B, L).
After breakfast, we will take a short drive south from Essaouira to Tizi Village. Our drive through the argan forest allows us to view some endemic bird species. Once at Tizi, we will have the opportunity to explore a rustic Berber market full of a wide variety of goods and furniture from the surrounding communities.
Later that day, you will return to Essaouira for lunch. the rest afternoon is yours in this beautiful relaxed town.
Ovyernight at Heure Bleue Essaouira (B, L).
Essaouira / Oualidia / Casablanca
Today, you’ll go on a trip along the coast that will give you beautiful views.
After breakfast, our first stop will be the fishing village of Bhibih, where you can observe shorebirds. Then you will head to Safi Town, originally a Portuguese trading post in the 15th Century. Safi is famous for its unique ceramic workshops, where the skills and traditions of the craft are handed down through generations.
Oualidia is also on the coast and is an idyllic location with a beautiful beach and lagoons where oysters are bred. From Oualidia, we journey to El Jadida, another old Portuguese trading center, where we will enjoy lunch at the medina.
Our afternoon travel will continue along the coast, crossing the fertile lands of Zemmour, until we arrive in Casablanca, where you can enjoy dinner at the hotel or at one of the many great restaurants the city offers. (If you would like to have dinner at Rick’s Cafe, please let us know ASAP, as bookings must be made well in advance)
Overnight at Le Doge Hotel (B, L).
Flight back home
After breakfast at the Le Doge, you will be driven to the Casablanca Airport and assisted with check-in for your flight home.
Located right in the heart of Fes, Palais Faraj is the best option to stay in this beautiful city. Its privileged location provides the best view of the medina during your stay. Also, Palais Faraj has a Spa that will help you relax after a full day of experiences and activities in Morocco. Its restaurant will allow you to try the best of Morrocan cuisine while enjoying the views from the terrace.
Located right in the heart of the beautiful and unique city of Rabat, Riad Zyo will be our base hotel, from where we will explore the most important attractions of Rabat.
This fantastic riad maintains traditional architecture and ornaments, creating a romantic environment perfect for resting after long days of exploring the wonders of Morocco.
Riad Zyo serves a traditional Moroccan breakfast and is near restaurants that serve both local and traditional seafood.
Riad Al Maha
The luxurious hotel riad Almaha Marrakech combines centuries-old Moroccan craftsmanship with modern art in rhythm to create the beauty of order and is a haven for indulgent artists.
Almaha is an excellent place to explore the mysteries of the medina, with its strange souks and busy squares, and to see the desert and the Atlas mountains outside of the red city.
Set in the heart of The Kasbah, Marrakech’s oldest neighborhood, the best tourist attractions and all located near this fantastic hotel. From here, you will be near the beautiful Saadian tombs, the outstanding Koutoubia Mosque, the unique Jemaa el-Fna Square with its smoky food stalls, magicians, musicians, and snake charmers, and the fantastic Jewish neighborhood of Mellah.
Heure Bleue Essaouira
The Heure Bleue Palais isn’t an average hotel. It is a historic home with men and women serving their guests. Like a pearl in an extraordinary location, the Heure Bleue Palais welcomes you to Essaouira. This palace, located in the center of the historic Mogador’s harbor, is dedicated to the well-being of its visitors throughout its history and has an active role in Essaoira’s society. The hotel hosts major cultural, musical, and sports events that punctuate the Souirie year, being an important hub for Morrocan culture.
Le Doge Relais & Chateaux
Hôtel & Spa Le Doge is a luxury 5-star “Relais & Châteaux” establishment located a few steps from the Sacre Coeur Cathedral. Rooms are cozy and carefully decorated to create a warm atmosphere that makes you feel like in a cocoon.
At the “Jasmine” restaurant, you will be able to enjoy a traditional and tasty Moroccan cuisine with authentic flavors.
If you wish to enjoy a drink, a library bar with a superb chimney offers an intimate space. You also have the option to visit the new roof floor lounge bar with an incredible view over the white city. If you need relaxation time, you will find a wellness area including a hammam, a steam room, and also the possibility to have a relaxing massage.
When to go
The best time to visit Morocco is during spring (mid-March to May) or autumn (September to October). The weather is warm but pleasant, unlike the cold temperatures and snow of winter, or the scorching heat of summer.
The coastal regions can be visited year-round. In the winter they are pleasantly mild, while in the summer they bask in temperatures hovering around the mid-20°Cs.
The High Atlas Mountains can also be visited all year round, although it does get cold in winter. The summer may still be a bit hot to embark on any long-distance hikes, but if the heat doesn’t bother you then conditions are fine any time between April and October. Outside these months, there is snow on the peaks, which makes hiking more dangerous, but creates some spectacular panoramas.
The Islamic festival of Ramadan will affect transport in Morocco. The dates vary each year, so it’s worth checking what they are while planning your trip.
If you have any questions, please let us know. The NPE expedition advisors are here to help.
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