Best of Morocco - Insight Vacations

Best of Morocco (Winter 2017-18)

Duration: 11 days Visiting: Morocco

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  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Highlights
  • Optional experiences
  • Accommodation
  • Reviews
  • Dates & prices

Morocco is a colourful mix of Islamic, Arabic and African influences. Spain and France have also left their mark on this vibrant culture, making Morocco a great country to explore in every season.

  1. Day 1

    Your Journey Begins

    Board your overnight flight to Europe (please ask about our great deals).

  2. Day 2

    Welcome to Casablanca

    On arrival at Casablanca Airport, your transfers leave for your landmark city hotel at 09:00, 11:00, 13:00 and 15:00. Later, join your Tour Director for a warm and friendly Welcome Reception and the opportunity to mingle and get to know each other, over a pleasant evening of dinner and wine.

  3. Day 3

    Meknes and Fes

    A tour of the sights of Casablanca will show you the huge Hassan II Mosque – the largest in the country. The très chic seaside strip – known as the Corniche – stretches to the west, 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 – both an architectural marvel and a monument to a great ruler. Move on to Meknes, one of the kingdom’s great imperial cities dating back to the 11th century, its surroundings remaining unchanged for centuries. Stand before the Bab el-Mansour, the monumental entrance to the imperial city and focal point of Place El-Hedim. Continue to Fes and be treated to a superb Moroccan feast and traditional folklore show. 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, amid a carnival-like atmosphere of belly dancers, drums and authentic music. A truly unforgettable experience!

  4. Day 4 - Relaxed Start

    Fes Sightseeing

    (Relaxed Start) Sightseeing with a Local Expert will show you the Medina – the walled city of hidden courtyards, mosques and workshops, the bazaar and one of the world's oldest universities. Learn about the ancient craft of carpet making, gain an insight into the motifs and colours used in the designs. Later you will witness the unique and age-old techniques of pottery and bread making.

  5. Day 5

    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 your lunch at Midelt, continue up through the magnificent Ziz Gorges, past palm-fringed towns to Er Rachidia (built by the French at an important crossroads), your destination is Erfoud. In the evening, there is the option to meet the nomadic desert dwellers and marvel at the glorious Sahara sunset on a 4-wheel drive optional experience.

  6. Day 6

    Todra Gorge and Ouarzazate

    Venture towards the oasis of Tinehir before taking a detour to explore the Todra Gorge – the Grand Canyon of the Sahara. At Boumalne-du-Dades, encounter the dry, rugged Dades Valley, dotted with oases of figs, olives, date palms and castellated mud houses hugging the slopes. En-route, lunch is included. Stop for Berber tea at a traditional Nomad house. Your 'Road of a Thousand Kasbahs' concludes at Ouarzazate, film capital of Morocco, with everything from Lawrence of Arabia to Star Wars being filmed here.

  7. Day 7 - Relaxed Start

    To Marrakesh

    (Relaxed Start) Get your cameras ready as you stop at the village of Aït Benhaddou, boasting one of Morocco’s finest kasbahs. Continue 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.

  8. Day 8 - Relaxed Start

    Marrakesh, Pearl of the South

    (Relaxed Start) Sightseeing starts in the bustling Jemaa el-Fnaa Square. After some time to watch the dancers, snake charmers, storytellers and acrobats, explore the Medina, seeing the Koutoubia Mosque, with a minaret that dominates the Marrakesh skyline. With your Local Expert, visit the Palais de la Bahia, built in the late 19th century and intended to be the greatest palace of its time. Then enjoy free time to visit a museum or haggle in the souqs. In the evening, you could take a charming horse and carriage ride to a vibrant restaurant on the main square, for a sumptuous selection of classic Moroccan dishes, and an ambient arabesque of twirling belly dancers with plates of lit candles on their heads.

  9. Day 9 - Relaxed Start

    Elegant Essaouira

    (Relaxed Start) Say goodbye to the snake charmers of Marrakesh and venture to 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?

  10. Day 10 - Relaxed Start

    Return to Casablanca

    (Relaxed Start) Once you’ve experienced the traditional charms of the country, Casablanca is a fascinating place to return to, offering a unique insight into modern Morocco. At night, "of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world", there really is only one place to be. Join your Tour Director at Rick’s Café - recreated from the famous movie. Enjoy a hearty Celebration Dinner including drinks and, no doubt, a rendition of ‘As Time Goes By’. 'Here’s looking at you kid!'

  11. Day 11

    Au revoir Casablanca

    Departure transfers arrive at Casablanca Airport at 05:00, 07:00, 10:00 and 12:00.

Highlights

 

SIGNATURE EXPERIENCES

  • Fes: Your Local Expert, will show you hidden courtyards and mosques, the bazaar and one of the world's oldest universities.
  • Fes: Experience the expert techniques of local artisans as they create pottery and make bread (khobz).
  • Marrakesh: Built around a lovely inner garden, explore the Bahia Palace with a Local Expert and see glimpses of a Moroccan kingdom's former opulence.

TOP RATED HIGHLIGHTS

  • Rabat: Visit the Mohammed V Mausoleum, a masterpiece of traditional Moroccan art and one of the very few Islamic religious buildings open to non-Muslims.
  • Todra Gorge: Experience ‘the Grand Canyon of the Sahara' where the orange limestone splits into a 300 metre deep ravine.
  • Aït Benhaddou: Visit the Kasbah, a giant clay-earthen fortification and one of the best examples of South Moroccan architecture.

ADDITIONAL INCLUDED HIGHLIGHTS

  • Casablanca: See the Hassan II Mosque, the largest in the country, on your sightseeing tour.
  • Rabat: See the Royal Palace and Hassan Tower.
  • Meknes: Admire the Bab el-Mansour Gate in the heart of the Medina.
  • Fes: Visit the walled Medina and shop for Moroccan carpets.
  • Dades Valley: See the castellated mud houses and oases.
  • Marrakesh: Watch the performers at Jemaa el-Fnaa Square. Explore the Medina and see the Koutoubia Minaret.
  • Scenic Drives: Ziz Gorges. View the spectacular scenery of the High and Middle Atlas Mountains. Tizi n' Tichka Pass.

AUTHENTIC REGIONAL FLAVOURS

  • Autumn: This is the perfect time to sample the local, freshly harvested dates. Enjoy a photo stop in Erfoud and witness the harvesting process.
  • Spring: In M'Gouna (on the way to Ouarzazate), as the roses blossom, sample fresh rose water. In Essaouira enjoy a unique photo stop of the goats climbing the Argan trees in search of food.
  • Fes: Join in the fun at a colourful Moroccan feast, complete with rhythmic music, writhing belly dancers and an array of local dishes and delicacies.
  • Dades Valley: Stop for a traditional Berber tea ceremony at a traditional Nomad house.
  • Casablanca: "You must remember this" ...a fabulous 4-course Celebration Dinner with drinks at Rick's Café, made famous by the 1942 film.
  • Included Quality Dining: 9 Buffet Breakfasts (BB), 2 Lunches (L), 3 Three-course table d'hôte Dinners or Buffets (D) all with tea or coffee; plus 1 Welcome Dinner (WD), 1 Signature Evening (SE) and 1 Celebration Dinner (CD) all with wine, plus tea or coffee. Departures on tour for New Year's Eve will enjoy festive Highlight Dinners which will replace an included meal.

STAY AT THE BEST ADDRESSES

  • Casablanca: Mövenpick Hotel Casablanca is ideally located within a short walk to the Old Medina with comfortable, contemporary designed rooms
  • Casablanca: The monumental Grand Mogador City Centre is close to both the Old Medina and the harbour. Its modern design blends traditional architecture with luxury and art déco influences.
  • Fes: The Palais Medina and Spa Fes is a perfect alliance between tradition and modern luxury. The hotel offers exquisite rooms and is set in a 5-hectare Andalusian garden.
  • Erfoud: Kasbah Hotel Xaluca is located in Arfoud, a city known as 'the Door to the Desert'. The Kasbah is listed as unique in Morocco due to its distinctive characteristics. It was built with adobes, the traditional Moroccan building bricks, and it is a great place to relax and enjoy the moment.
  • Ouarzazate: The recently renovated Le Berbère Palace Hotel offers 5-star luxury suites to all guests, along with fine food and a delightful swimming pool.
  • Marrakesh: The luxurious Atlas Medina & Spa is set amid lush, picturesque gardens in central Marrakesh, the perfect location for exploring this fascinating city.
  • Essaouira: Located beachfront in Essaouira, the Atlas Essaouira hotel features two swimming pools, a fitness centre and a spa with hammam.

OUR FIVE-STAR SERVICES

  • Our highly-skilled Insight Tour Director will ensure your journey is seamless, serving as your expert guide, consummate organiser, and friend in a foreign land.
  • Enjoy the comfort of Insight's luxury, air-conditioned, 40-seat touring coach, with extended Business Class legroom and on-board restroom.
  • Personal radio headsets give you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights, without missing any of your Local Expert's fascinating commentary.
  • We carry your bags for you and promptly deliver them to your hotel door.
  • Hotel and restaurant tips are included; you'll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency. Plus, we include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
  • Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel Wi-Fi.
  • From time to time, your Tour Director will enchant you with an Insight Flourish - a local tidbit representing authentic food or beverages unique to the destination.
  • Complimentary airport transfers from/to Casablanca Airport are available at scheduled times only, on arrival and departure days. Should your flights not coincide with complimentary transfers, charged transfers are available on arrival and departure days, or when additional accommodation is booked through Insight Vacations. Alternatively, please make your own way from/to the airport.

Optional experiences

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.

Accommodation

 

Palais Medina & Spa

Fez (Contemporary) - Morocco

The Palais Medina & Spa is set in a 5-hectare Andalusian garden, with the perfect alliance between tradition and modern luxury.

Xaluca Kasbah

Erfoud (Scenic) - Morocco

Kasbah Hotel Xaluca is located in Arfoud, a city known as 'the Door to the Desert'. The Kasbah is listed as unique in Morocco due to its distinctive characteristics. It was built with adobes, the traditional Moroccan building bricks, and it is a great place to relax and enjoy the moment.

Le Berbère Palace

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.

Atlas Medina and Spa

Marrakesh (Contemporary) - Morocco

The luxurious Atlas Medina & Spa is set amidst lush, picturesque gardens in central Marrakesh, the perfect location for exploring this fascinating city.

Atlas Essaouira & Spa

Essaourira (Contemporary) - Morocco

Located beachfront in Essaouira, the Atlas Essaouira & Spa features two swimming pools, a fitness centre and a spa with hammam.

Movenpick

Casablanca (Central) - Morocco

The monumental Grand Mogador City Centre is close to both the Old Medina and the harbour. Its modern design blends traditional architecture with luxury and art déco influences.

Guest Reviews & Experiences

Our guests rate us 4.5 out of 5 based on
11509 independent user reviews received during the past year.

  • 19 March, 2019

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    Trip: Casablanca hotel was in a terrible position

    Service: Bus luggage space was unacceptable, breakfast was unacceptable

  • 18 March, 2019

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    Trip: Covers the most important points and cities I wanted to visit

    Service: Reduce shopping time

  • 18 March, 2019

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    Trip: We went to Chefchouen on our own after and wish it had been included. The other stops were good.

    Service: The trip was well organized. We enjoyed the itinerary. We didn’t enjoy visiting all the expensive high pressure stores like leather, herbs, etc. We liked the other travellers. We learned a lot from our guide.

  • 18 March, 2019

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    Trip: It is inclusive itinerary. It allows us to see many places in Morocco and experience the culture and food.

    Service: The itinerary for best of Morocco is inclusive. We had an opportunity to see many places and to experience the culture and food in Morrocco. Wish we could have spent an extra day in Essauoira to rest a bit before we headed back to Casablanca to depart. Our tour director is very knowledgeable and very passionate about his country. Unfortunately, he seems to be easily provoked by delinquent travellers and acts arrogantly. I am a bit surprised that he did not know which travellers have prepaid gratuity. From my previous experience on another Insight Tours, the tour director received a list of prepaid travellers in advance. The driver is very skillful. He maneuvered through the Atlas Mountain on a rainy day with poor visibility at ease! Beside a few difficult travellers have tarnished our trip a bit. Nonetheless, it was a great tour!

  • 15 March, 2019

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    Trip: Very complete and comprehe

    Service: We were very pleased with the tour director who was very informative about Morocco, the people, their customs, etc. a tour director can make or break a tour by his attitude and attention

  • 10 March, 2019

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    Trip: Tour itinerary was generally okay, but would have preferred fewer shopping stops. Some of the hotels are disappointing with poor housekeeping, e.g. sewerage smell in rooms (Casablanca), torn curtains which could not be drawn (Marrakesh), and trash not cleared daily, etc. We expect Insight Vacations to do a lot better than this when it marketed itself as a "better" packaged land tour.

    Service: We travelled with Insight Vacations twice before, and on both occasions, the travel directors did not prepare the coach sitting arrangement on a daily basis, and this resulted in some tensions among the guests. They also did not prepare a contact list for the travellers to keep in touch. At least, this time, the travel director completed these two basic duties. It was also very annoying when the batteries for our Vox failed in the middle of the commentary when they were used for the first time. Please ensure that only fresh and new batteries are used at the start of the tour. Insight Vacations should not recommend nor expect a higher tipping rate from its guests for its travel directors, as compared to Trafalgar's which we joined 7 times, when the services it provides are not consistent. The duties and responsibilities for travel directors are all the same. The hotels provided are also inconsistent in standards, despite the higher tour prices paid as compared to Trafalgar. On the other hand, the coach drivers have performed consistently well in their safe driving skills. The only advantage in joining Insight Vacations is the extra legroom coach seats. We therefore recommend purchasing Insight Vacations tours during promotion periods or offers for better value, otherwise the tour prices are generally over priced.

  • 27 February, 2019

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    Trip: JUST DID PREVIOUS PAGEEEE

    Service: YES. LOVELY HOTELS GREAT TOUR LEADER HASSAN EL G. SAW ALOT ALOT OF EXTRAS WOULD REALLY RECOMEND "THE BEST OF MOROCCO" OFF SEASON WAS A PLUS WEATHER IN 60'S F NO SWEATING. HAMMAN IN MARRAKECH WAS SUPER. GOOD FOOD.

  • 25 February, 2019

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    Trip: Excellent. We covered everything.

    Service: Excellent. Hassan was knowledgeable and vey accommodating f To everyone.

  • 24 February, 2019

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    Trip: Morocco was so different from other places I have visited. There was so much to see and do and taste. Our guide, Hassan was excellent and very knowledgeable. His love for his country was very obvious.

    Service: Customer service was great. All my questions and concerns were taken care of. This was my second Insight tour. I am sure I will travel with Insight again. I have already recommended Insight to my friends.

  • 22 February, 2019

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    Trip: Great itinerary which allowed us to see all the sites.

    Service: Tips to make the best of your Insight tour of Morocco. ( This has not been shared with Insight, their review process is not as structured as Bunnick and did not facilitate free form feedback). We thought we would put down some thoughts and tips on our most recent Insight tour of Morocco. We were Australians travelling as an adult family of four in January 2019. We normally travel independently however due to security and logistics we did a Bunnick tour of Jordan and Egypt (reviewed separately) and an Insight tour of Morocco. Insight was chosen more to fit in with our schedule than any deep research. The first thing we would note is that the Insight tour participants are retirees from Australia, NZ, USA, Canada. I think a reason they have a large following is that most people are of similar demographics. We had no issues but we clearly didn’t suit this demographic. Insight also seem to like to have a full bus. We were a group of 29, and our tour director pointed out several times he prefers more people on the tour. Having just done a Bunnick tour where the maximum is 20, and we had less, we are in no doubt a smaller group suited us significantly better. Overall we thought the tour was great. It was well put together but also flexible to accomodate requests or unexpected impacts (our bus broke down and the driver did a fantastic job to fix it). The Insight tour director was immensely knowledgeable (not always factually correct) and had great energy. He made a great effort to ensure everybody with a request had this request met. Insight like most tours have optional tours. In the case of Insight they didn’t seem optional but rather a core part of the tour. We believe the 4x4 trip to the Sahara to see the sunset is core to the tour, however was optional - make sure you budget for it. On the same option is a Camel ride which we think is an optional extra and was somewhat overpriced and disappointing. We didn’t do some of the other optional tours because they covered areas which included shops (eg ceramic shop) we had already seen on our Bunnick tour. Be prepared for a hard sell from the carpet makers. It would be great if the optional tours were related to the shops. I don’t expect this will happen as I understand the tour directors or Insight get a 15% kickback. I suppose this is somehow factored into the overall cost. Morocco felt much safer than Jordan and Egypt, and the sell in the Souk’s and tourist attractions is not as hard. The best thing is that you can get to understand the culture much better by talking to people ( as they are not trying to take your money all the time). The Insight guide excelled in helping us get an understanding of the Moroccan culture. 1. The Airport process at Casablanca was ok. It is probably best to be aware that we found Moroccan customs one of the most officious we have experienced - they wanted the full name of the hotel we were staying in and the city. In terms of Insight you might need to hunt around for your guide outside the terminal in the designated times. It is a long trip to the hotel from the airport so we suggest you arrive at the designated times. 2. The tour director posted the timetable in the hotel. This was fantastic, so easy to follow. We took a photo of it. 3. The tour excels in looking after your bags. Great system. 4. When we reviewed our itinerary prior to departure we noted a lot of relaxed starts. Ignore this, there are virtually no relaxed starts. The tour crams an amazing amount in, we had no complaints with this approach, you have time to relax on some of the bus trips. 5. Like other areas in North Africa wifi/internet can be slow. We were amazed to be told our bus had wifi. It didn’t always work so don’t rely upon it, but we thought it was great. 6. You have to drink bottled water so they organised water for €10 per person. We had some debate on this. It is very convenient, but you can clearly buy water cheaper. We thought it would be nicer for it to be included. I note the bus driver and tour guide probably make a little extra money on this and on the locations where we are taken when we have to buy our own lunch or dinner. 7. You will need to pay to use the restrooms, but this doesn’t mean they will be clean and have paper. Make sure you carry paper and wipes and of course hand sanitiser and also small coins. 8 Alcohol - you are in religious countries that forbid alcohol. Most hotels have limited alcohol and it is expensive. It was great to have a glass of wine watching the sunset at the Sahara which we were able to purchase thanks to the tour director. 9 Smoking is pervasive. In most places including restaurants smoking is allowed. It also means that most hotel rooms even non smoking rooms smell of smoke. If like us you don’t smoke, make sure you ask for a non smoking room - even non smoking rooms smell, so you may need to request another room, and be seated in non smoking area of restaurants. 10 You are still in charge. We went to same great markets and our guide bought some local food to try. Several people were not well. Remember you are responsible for what goes in your mouth. Our guide also set the time for our bus trip to the airport, he said he had been doing this for a number of years and no one had missed their plane. We didn’t miss our plane but we were rushing to get through all the checks. 10 Stop and pinch yourself - the sites are amazing and these notes and tips are to help minimise irritations so that you can take it all in. We hope our notes and tips makes your trip more enjoyable.

  • 22 February, 2019

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    Trip: We saw so many different things while visiting many of the regions of Morocco. The history, heritage, culture, people, and daily living were exciting to see and learn about. It was a unique and worthwhile trip. Our tour director, Hassan, was so proud of his country and people and made sure we experienced Morocco to its fullest. He insured we had an in depth experience and appreciated this fascinating country.

    Service: The customer service was great when planning this trip. They accomodated all the requests I had, especially about flights that help make this a very enjoyable and worthwhile trip.

  • 18 February, 2019

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    Trip: A great variety of locales. A good cross-section of the country.

    Service: Our driver an TD provided exceptional service and information. Information we received for arrival at Casablanca airport was inaccurate and frustrating.

*Trip prices and dates are correct at the time of the website going live, however are subject to confirmation at the time of booking. Prices displayed reflect available discounted rates such Early Payment Discount or Last Minute Deals (discounts are not combinable). Discounts may be withdrawn at anytime, book early to confirm space. All trip information is correct at time of trips going live, however is subject to change, please confirm all details at time of booking. For full terms and conditions, please refer to our Booking Conditions page.