About Morocco Travel
Casablanca & Essaouira: The modern city of Casablanca has evolved through generations of outsiders. Settled by Berbers in at least the seventh century BC, it was used as a port by the Phoenicians and later the Romans. It has also seen the likes of Merenids, Portuguese, Spanish and French before gaining independence in 1956. Once a Carthaginian stronghold, it is the second largest city in Africa after Cairo. It is the most liberal and progressive of the country’s cities. Here, you see European influences. Protected by the trade winds, and awash with flowers, Essaouira is a charming town with a very special character due to its blue-shuttered houses. It enjoys a micro-climate that attracts summer visitors from the inland towns such as Marrakech. Many artists and musicians have settled here. It hosts music festivals in April and June.
Fes & Rabat: Two of Morocco’s four “imperial cities” (along with Marrakech and Meknes), both are quintessential Morocco. Fes is divided into three sections: the old walled city, new Fes, and the newest section, Ville Nouvelle, created by the French. Within new Fes is a mellah, a Jewish quarter, where the Jewish population was confined beginning in the 15th century, and especially in the early 19th century. The Medina of Fes el Bali is believed to be the largest contiguous car-free urban area in the world. The University of Al -Karaouine was founded in 859, making it the oldest continuously operating university in the world. A center of religious learning, Fes has many Islamic schools. The souqs, tanneries and Merinid Tombs have a mood evocative of Jerusalem 1,000 years ago. Rabat began with a settlement on the banks of the Oued Bou Regreg in the third century BC. Its history as a capital city dates from the 12th century. The medina is small but nonetheless interesting. The imposing royal palace is in the heart of the city and across from the king’s personal mosque. The elegant Hassan Tower was begun in the late 12th century. Other sites include the mausoleum of King Mohammed V, Kasbah of the Oudaias and Chellah Necropolis.
Marrakech: Marrakech is the third largest city in Morocco, and rests near the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. An entire day can be spent just wandering the markets filled with everything from spices to kaftans. Long a crossroads of cultures, it is home to medieval craft guilds that still operate by the old ways. Djmaâ El Fnaâ Square is jammed with the street theater of acrobats, fire eaters and snake charmers. The new European district of Gueliz plays host to fine restaurants and shops. The city has museums and historic architecture, including the stunning 14th-century Ben Youssef Meders. The royal Saadian Tombs, Saadi Dynasty, (1578-1603), were rediscovered in 1917. The ornate Bahia Palace offers a glimpse of life for a 19th-century nobleman in Morocco.
Middle & High Atlas Mountains: The Atlas Mountain Range stretches across a northwestern stretch of Africa extending about 2,500 kilometers/1,600 miles through Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. Jebel Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa. The area is well known to hikers, skiers and those interested in culture. The Berbers have played a role on the north coast of Africa for at least 5,000 years. The Arab invasion in the seventh century forced them to assimilate or take refuge in the nearby mountains. The villages are strongholds of Berber culture, preserving their music, lifestyle, spirituality and art. Aït-Benhaddou is a traditional mud brick ksar, a type of fortified village. The ruins of this UNESCO World Heritage Site have a unique geometric arrangement of the bricks.
Rif Mountains & Mediterranean: Surrounded by the jagged escarpments of the Rif Mountains, Tetouan was founded in the third century BC. Artifacts from both the Roman and the Phoenician eras have been discovered. The medina is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city is home to craftsmen such as weavers, jewelers, carpet makers and leather workers. Shop, sail, fish, swim and golf are options. Tetuan is one of the two major ports of Morocco. Charming Chefchaouen has distinctive blue-washed houses nestled on winding roads in the mountains. The city was founded in 1471 as a small fortress. The Mediterranean coast of Morocco is famous for natural harbors, ancient villages and pristine beaches.
Sahara Desert: The Sahara is the world’s largest desert. Only a small part of it is fertile, fed by underground rivers and oasis. The desert can be a magical experience. At night, the air is so clear and the stars seem close enough to reach out and touch. Among the desert’s tapestry of small settlements and villages, Erfoud is a French Foreign Legion outpost that retains its roots as a trade center. The main souq sells olives, henna, mint and other produce. But the jewels of the oases are the date palm trees that stretch far into the haze of the desert. The village of Merzouga is the gateway to Erg Chebbi, known for giant sand dunes that reach nearly 152 meters/492 feet. African traders sought to reach the rich northern cities in Morocco and Europe. Kasbah Taourirt is a preserved old-world market.
South Morocco: Taroudannt, “Grandmother of Marrakech,” features a medina, souqs and the culture of the Cheleuh Berbers. It is also an important argan oil producing region. Tafraout is laid out on a dramatic jagged landscape of parched pink granite, pale earth, red canyons and lush green oases. Fortified villages alternate with almond groves and fields edged by daunting prickly pear. Goats climb trees here. Souss- Massa National Park on the Atlantic Coast is great for bird watching.
Suggested Morocco Tour Itinerary
Day 1: Casablanca, Morocco/Rabat
Rabat is the capital and second most important city in the country after Casablanca.
Day 2: Rabat/Meknes/Volubilis/Fes
The imperial cities offer glimpses into Morocco’s character with old world medinas, stylish shops and ancient ruins.
Day 3: Fes
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Fes was founded on the banks of the Fes River in 789 AD.
Day 4: Fes/Middle Atlas Mountains/Marrakech
Cedar forests and traditional villages mark the path over the Middle Atlas Mountains to Marrakech.
Days 5/6: Marrakech
Marrakech is memorable for its old walled city, medieval souqs, Djmaa El Fnaa Square and ancient monuments.
Day 7: Marrakech/Depart
Custom Travel Options
Casablanca & Essaouira (4 days)
Casablanca merges old world culture with new world resorts, while Essaouira is rich in both Portuguese and Jewish heritage.
Middle & High Atlas Mountains (1-7 days)
Amateur trekkers and experienced climbers are drawn to off-the beaten-path Berber villages and North Africa’s highest mountain, Jebel Toubkal, 4,167 meters/13,671 feet.
Rif Mountains & Mediterranean (2-3 days)
Here, the “White Dove of Culture” is known for its blue-washed houses of Chefchaouen; and the Andalusian-style village of Assila with beaches and wealth of history.
Sahara Desert (2-4 days)
The Sahara covers most of North Africa, stretching from the Red Sea, including parts of the Mediterranean, to the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.
Southern Morocco (5 days)
The region is home to Berber tribes and Souss-Massa National Park, known for bird watching and stellar beaches.
Land price, per person, double occupancy: Approx. $400 - $1,200 per day.