NORTHERN MOROCCO TOUR
Northern Morocco Tour from Tangier allows you to discover Chefchaouen, the Blue Town, Fez Intellectual Capital of Morocco, Volubilis, Rabat, Marrakech and Essaouira.
About this Northern Morocco Tour
Day 1: Tangier (Sightseeing)
Welcome to Morocco! Arrive into Tangier either by boat or plane and transfer to your hotel in Tangier. Tangier is an ancient port steeped in history as it used to guard the entrance to the Mediterranean. It has a very busy medina and new town. Overnight in Tangier.
Day 2: Tangier – Tetouan – Rif Mountains – Chefchaouen
Leaving Tangier, you head west along the coast and the hilly road towards Ceuta (Sebta to the locals). There are good views to the sea and it’s possible to climb up Jebel Musa, opposite the rock of Gibraltar (Jebel Tarik). After lunch in Tetouan, continue your journey along the coast, passing the small fishing port of Cabo Negro and then heading into the mountains to Chefchaouen. This town, founded in 1471, was very isolated until the early 20th century. High up in the Rif mountains, Chefchaouen is painted in lovely shades of blue, legacy of the Jewish population that lived there. Overnight in Chefchaouen.
Day 3: Chefchaouen – Rif Mountains – Fes
Today you journey through the Rif mountains to Fes. The Rif mountains are still relatively unexplored by visitors, partly because they are quite remote, and partly because of the hashish that is grown in fields in the hidden valleys. However with your guide and driver, you will be able to relax and see the unspoilt Morocco. Overnight in Fes.
Day 4: Fes sightseeing escorted by an official local guide
We will enjoy all that Fes has to offer, a guided city tour to visit the old Medina of Fes; a particularly exciting experience because when you enter the sprawling labyrinthine alleys you feel like you have stepped back in time. Donkeys and mules are the only form of transport in these steep, narrow streets. Delicious scents come from the souk, where perfumes and spices are traded. In contrast, however, the most appalling stink emanates from the leather tanneries, where men often stand up to their waists treating leather in noxious baths, in much the same way as has been done for centuries – don’t let this put you off visiting there too; ethnic leather goods make great souvenirs!. Overnight in Fes.
Day 5: Fes – Volubilis – Moulay Idriss – Meknes – Rabat
After breakfast we travel to Volubilis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to housing the largest and best preserved Roman ruins in North Africa. Despite the damage caused by the 1755 earthquake, this important Roman town managed to retain some detailed and very beautiful mosaics. Our next destination is another city that was part of the Roman Empire – the Imperial city of Meknes, originally known as Miknasa after the Berber tribe who settled here in the 10th century. We delve further into this country’s amazing history as we journey from the old capital, Meknes, to the current capital of Morocco, Rabat. We visit the famous Mohammed V Mausoleum, Hassan Tower and enjoy a short break at the pretty walled Kasbah of Oudaias. Overnight in Rabat.
Day 6: Rabat – Casablanca – Marrakech
This morning we visit the exteriors of the impressive Hassan II Mosque, which displays the finest work Islamic craftsmen can produce, and we learn how historically important Casablanca was for Morocco. We then board our train in the early afternoon for our four-hour journey to Marrakech. This wonderful experience gives us time to reflect on the historically rich North and prepares us for a completely different aspect of Morocco. There is time in the evening to stretch our legs and visit the famous Djemaa el Fna Square, around which Marrakech revolves. The name literally means ‘place of death’, as it was where Sultans used to display the heads of their enemies. Now, with the food stalls, snake charmers, water-sellers, travelling musicians and acrobats, it is a place of entertainment for both Moroccan and overseas visitors. Overnight in Marrakech.
Day 7: Marrakech sightseeing guided by an official local guide
We set off on a guided tour in the morning (on foot) to see the spectacular sites of Marrakech. Our city guide will take us to the Bahia Palace, the Saadian tombs, which date back to the 16th century, and the Dar Si Said Museum. There is then some free time to visit the largest mosque in Marrakech, Koutoubia, and venture through the old streets of the medina to the Koranic School and the Museum of Marrakech. The afternoon is free to explore the labyrinth of souks off Djemaa el Fna Square and try some bartering techniques or simply enjoy a freshly squeezed orange juice in one of the many rooftop cafés overlooking the square. Overnight in Marrakech.
Day 8: Marrakech – Essaouira
This morning we take the bus to the town of Essaouira for an orientation tour around this delightful old Portuguese fishing port by the Atlantic Coast. The settlement dates back to the 15th century, but the present town was constructed around 1760 by Sidi Mohammed ben Abdullah, who needed a base from which to suppress a revolt from Agadir. Today, Essaouira is extremely relaxed and its whitewashed houses with painted shutters, artisan’s workshops, boatyards and fishermen provide a marked contrast to Marrakech. The afternoon allows time for some shopping, a relaxing walk (or camel ride!) along the beach, a walk to the harbour and ramparts and perhaps a boat trip. Overnight in Essaouira.
Day 9: Drive back from Essaouira to Marrakech
Today is free to continue exploring the winding back streets and coastal ramparts of Essaouira. We transfer back to Marrakech around midday leaving time for last minute shopping in Marrakech. Other activities include a Calèche ride (bright green horse drawn carriage) to the peaceful Majorelle Gardens, which are decorated throughout in Indigo Blue and house a small Museum of Islamic Art. A final treat may simply be to try a hammam, a traditional Moroccan steam bath – a nice reward for our busy Moroccan experience. Overnight in Marrakech.
Day 10: Marrakech at leisure – Transfer to the airport
Today we will try to benefit our time as much as we can, maybe wander around Marrakech souks to get some souvenirs for friends…, then transfer to the Marrakech Menara airport.