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Spain, Portugal & MoroccoRegional Journey
Duration: 10 days Visiting: Morocco
Welcome to Casablanca.
On arrival at Casablanca airport, your transfer leaves for your landmark city hotel at 09:00, 11:00, 13:00 or 15:00. Join your Travel Director and fellow guests at 18:00 for your Welcome Dinner, with the opportunity to mingle over a pleasant evening of good food and wine.
Imperial Meknes, Rabat and Fes.
An exploration of the sights of Casablanca will show you the huge Hassan II Mosque, the largest in the country. Venture to the très chic seaside strip known as the Corniche, which stretches to the west and is lined with trendy restaurants and cafes. Depart for the capital of Rabat to see the Royal Palace, Hassan Tower and visit one of the few holy places open to non-Muslims, the lavish Mausoleum of King Mohammed V which is both an architectural marvel and a monument to a great ruler. Travel to Meknes, one of the kingdom’s great imperial cities dating back to the 11th century; its surroundings have remained unchanged for centuries. Stand before the Bab el-Mansour, the monumental entrance to the imperial city and focal point of Place El-Hedim before continuing to Fes. You'll be delighted with your superb Moroccan Highlight Dinner in an ancient palace at the entrance to the Medina. A colourful array of meze plates, aromatic tagines, exotic fruits and wine will be laid before you while you are entertained with a traditional folklore show. Enjoy the carnival-like atmosphere of belly dancers, drums and authentic music -- a truly unforgettable experience!
Led by your Local Expert, wander the maze of streets that make up the ancient Medina. Pass one of the world's oldest universities and see the hidden courtyards, mosques and workshops. Continue through the souks where an array of vendors sell food, clothes, leather goods and beautiful lights. Learn about the ancient craft of carpet making, witness age-old techniques of pottery making and learn how khobz, the traditional local bread, is made.
The Ziz Gorges to Erfoud.
Leave the bustle of the city behind and head for the spectacular snow-capped High Atlas Mountains. Pass through Ifrane before reaching the great cedar forests of Azrou. After stopping for lunch at Midelt, continue through the magnificent Ziz Gorges, past palm-fringed towns to Er Rachidia, built by the French at an important crossroads. Your destination is Erfoud, where the red sand buildings contrast against the patches of greenery and surrounding desert. In the evening, there is an Optional Experience to meet the nomadic desert dwellers and marvel at the glorious Sahara sunset on a four-wheel drive vehicle.
Venture towards the oasis of Tinehir and explore the Todra Gorge, known as the Grand Canyon of the Sahara. At Boumalne-du-Dades you will encounter the dry, rugged Dades Valley that is dotted with oases of figs, olives, date palms and castellated mud houses hugging the slopes. Meet the locals of the region when you visit a traditional Nomad house to try authentic Berber tea. The Road of a Thousand Kasbahs concludes at Ouarzazate. It is known as the Film Capital of Morocco, with blockbusters such as Lawrence of Arabia to Star Wars having been filmed here.
Visit the fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Ksar of Aït Benhaddou, one of the finest examples of South Moroccan architecture, boasting one of Morocco’s finest kasbahs. Your journey continues via the spectacular Tizi n’Tichka Pass, before descending past charming mountain villages, dense woods and green fields to the ochre-coloured city of Marrakesh. With the rest of the day at your leisure, why not relax and enjoy the immaculate facilities of your hotel?
Marrakesh, Pearl of the South.
Meet your Local Expert in the bustling Jemaa el-Fnaa Square, where you can take a moment to watch the dancers, snake charmers, storytellers and acrobats. Explore the Medina and see the Koutoubia Mosque, with its minaret dominating the Marrakesh skyline. Visit the intricately decorated Palais Bahia, intended to be the greatest palace of its time when it was built in the late 19th century. With time at leisure, you are free to continue exploring, try your hand at haggling in the souks or maybe visit a museum? In the evening, perhaps choose to take a charming horse and carriage ride to a vibrant restaurant on Jemaa el-Fnaa Square where you will enjoy a slew of classic Moroccan dishes as you absorb the ambiance and watch twirling belly dancers balance plates of lit candles on their heads.
Venture to the west coast of Africa to reach the laid-back fishing town of Essaouira. After checking into your hotel, why not spend the afternoon navigating the narrow alleyways, exploring the busy fishing port or maybe just relaxing on the beach? In the evening, you could sample the local seafood and wine at a waterside restaurant.
Return to Casablanca.
Once you’ve experienced the traditional charms of the country, Casablanca is a fascinating place to return to as it offers a unique insight into modern Morocco. In the evening 'of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world' there really is only one place to be. Join your Travel Director at Rick’s Café, recreated from the famous movie. Enjoy a hearty Celebration Dinner with drinks and no doubt a rendition of ‘As Time Goes By’. Here’s looking at you kid!
Au revoir Casablanca.
Departure transfers arrive at Casablanca airport at 05:00, 07:00, 10:00 and 12:00.
Most Insight trips already include a host of bonus highlights and comprehensive sightseeing. There may also be an exciting array of Optional Experiences which will turn an already amazing experience into the trip of a lifetime! These are entirely optional and can be booked through your Travel Director/Local Representative at the commencement of your trip. Please note, many Optional Experiences are operated by independent third party suppliers, not Insight Vacations.
Prices and availability of Optional Experiences are subject to change.
An opportunity to visit two unique communities. We will see the village of Bhalil, where local people still live in dwellings carved from the rock face. Warm in winter but cool in the searing summer heat, these houses are perfect adaptations to the local climate. Sefrou was once a thriving Jewish community. The synagogue remains as a small memorial, and can be visited. (The synagogue may be closed on some occasions).
Adult Price: MAD 290.00
The changing palette of a desert sunset can be an almost mystical experience. Embark on a breathtaking jeep safari 50 km (30 miles) to the foot of the sand dunes of the Sahara and witness a glorious sunset like no other.
Adult Price: MAD 495.00
Marrakesh comes alive when the sun goes down. Take a horse and buggy ride to the magical Jemaa el Fna market place where an assortment of acrobats, snake charmers, trained monkeys, jugglers and conjurers congregate by night. Then dinner is served in a vibrant Moroccan restaurant. Enjoy classic tagine dishes, fruit teas, exotic juices and colourful salads amid an sultry ambiance of Arabic rhythms and twirling belly dancers balancing trays of lit candles.
Adult Price: EUR 69.00
Casablanca (Contemporary) - Morocco
The Grand Mogador City Centre is conveniently located within a short distance to the harbour and the Old Medina. Rooms are modern and spacious and include free WiFi.
Fez (Traditional) - Morocco
The Palais Medina & Spa is set in a 5-hectare Andalusian garden, with the perfect alliance between tradition and modern luxury.
ERFOUD (Traditional) - MOROCCO
Erfoud is known as the Door to the Desert. The Kasbah Hotel Xaluca Arfoud is unique having been built with adobes, the traditional Moroccan building bricks, and it is a great place to relax and enjoy the moment.
Ouarzazate (Traditional) - Morocco
The recently renovated Le Berbère Palace offers 5-star luxury suites to all guests, along with fine food and a delightful swimming pool.
ESSAOUIRA (Contemporary) - MOROCCO
Located beachfront in Essaouira, the Atlas Essaouira & Spa features two swimming pools, a fitness centre and a spa with hammam.