MOROCCO SUPREME TOUR
DAY 01 CASABLANCA
The trip begins this morning with a visit to the magnificent Hassan II mosque, the only one open to non-Muslims in Morocco. A visit to the charming flower and produce market will be followed by a delicious seafood lunch at the elegant Restaurant La Mer. After lunch we drive 3 1/2 hours east to Fes, the spiritual and intellectual capital of Morocco, founded in 789.
HOTEL RIAD LA MAISON BLEU or PALAIS JAMAIS LD
DAY 02 FES
Fes is the oldest intact Islamic city in the world. Our private guide will discuss the architecture and city planning to better understand this unique city. During our tour, we'll see the exquisite mosaic work and plaster carvings typical of Islamic architecture. We'll explore the medina – a labyrinth of 15,000 narrow, bustling streets, filled with donkey traffic (no cars allowed), local people taking their bread to the neighborhood bakery, mosques and fountains, and artisans practicing their crafts as in days of old – woodworking, brass, ceramics and the famous tanneries. This medina was declared a UNESCO Cultural Treasure in 1976. Lunch will be in a classic restaurant deep in the medina, dinner at the hotel – they both have outstanding restaurants.
HOTEL RIAD LA MAISON BLEU or PALAIS JAMAIS BLD
DAY 03 FES
Today is free for exploring on your own or continue with the guide. Dinner tonight at Al Firdaous. HOTEL RIAD LA MAISON BLEU or PALAIS JAMAIS BD
DAY 04 FES – VOLUBILIS – MARRAKECH
This morning our comfortable bus will take us for an hour and a half drive west of Fes to visit the unexpected and beautiful Roman ruins of Volubilis, once the breadbasket of the Roman empire. There is evidence of a Neolithic settlement, as well as a Phoenician one, before becoming the western capital of the Roman kingdom of Mauritania. We'll have a private guided tour of the ruins, admiring the many intact pavement mosaics, with plenty of time for photos and to admire the huge storks nesting on the columns. An elegant picnic has been arranged nearby. We'll continue our drive on the autoroute west towards Casablanca, turning south to Marrakech, passing through verdant fields filled with vibrant wild flowers, including rest stops and photo opportunities, approximately 4 ˝ hrs. Dinner at the hotel.
HOTEL JARDIN DE KOUTOUBIA BLD
DAY 05 MARRAKECH
A full day's exploration, with our guide, of the medina, quite different from the one in Fes. We'll visit a Berber pharmacy to learn about the lotions and potions and the myriad spices in use in Morocco for centuries, even today. Rugs and tribal jewelry and djallabas vie for our attention as we make our way to visit the Dar Si Said Museum. Lunch will be in a restaurant overlooking the famous Jma el F'naa Square. We continue on to the Maison Tiskiwin, a private collection of Bert Flint, a Dutch art historian, showcasing items related to Moroccan rural culture, from the High Atlas Mountains to the Sahara. Dinner will be at a delicious French restaurant, La Jacaranda We return to our hotel via a horse and buggy ride through the vibrant J'maa el F'naa Square.
HOTEL JARDIN DE KOUTOUBIA BLD
DAY 06 MARRAKECH – TOUBKAL – MARRAKECH
We drive for 1 1/2 hours into the beautiful High Atlas Mountains. Climbing high, we pass through tiny villages and admire the lush fields filled with crops and wild flowers. We arrive in a tiny town where leave our vehicle and choose between the 20 minute walk uphill on a tree-shaded dirt path, through lovely scenery, or the ride up on one of the mules awaiting us – either choice delightful. We arrive at the Kasbah du Toubkal, at approximately 6000 feet, with stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. We may choose to have a guided walk, continue on muleback along the narrow paths, or sit and contemplate the natural beauty from the comfort of this charming mountain retreat. We'll enjoy lunch here, with classic dishes of the area. If you prefer not to make the trek up to the Kasbah, arrangements can be made for lunch at a stunning Kasbah nearby, owned by Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic fame, and previously his private enclave. Making our way back to Marrakech, the rest of the afternoon and evening are free.
HOTEL JARDIN DE KOUTOUBIA BL
DAY 07 MARRAKECH
This morning we join our chef as we visit the produce market to choose ingredients for our private cooking class. We'll enjoy a hands-on experience in preparing several classic Moroccan dishes, which will be our lunch. Returning to the hotel, the rest of the day is free for personal exploration, or to relax at our marvelous hotel; it has an excellent spa, hammam (Turkish bath), massages, etc. Our guide is always available for suggestions and assistance.
HOTEL JARDIN DE KOUTOUBIA BL
DAY 08 MARRAKECH
Today you have the entire day free. A special dinner is planned for this evening at Yacout, the most beautiful restaurant in Morocco; cocktails on the roof with the sparkling view of Marrakech by night is enchanting.
HOTEL JARDIN DE KOUTOUBIA BD
DAY 09 MARRAKECH – ESSAOUIRA
This morning we visit the lovely Majorelle Gardens, owned by French couturier Yves St. Laurent, whose villa is adjacent; it is also home to the Islamic Art Museum, a marvelous collection of textiles, ceramics, massive doors and other rare objects. Reboarding our bus, we drive west towards the Atlantic, approximately 3 hrs. We'll stop at a women's coop where argan oil is made, used for cooking, skin care and massage. Argan is a nut from the tree of the same name, indigenous to this area only.
We arrive in Essaouira, the charming blue and white town on the Atlantic coast, made popular by navigators in classical antiquity. Carthaginians were present in 630 BC, and during the 1st century, the area was renowned throughout the Roman empire for the manufacture of purple dye. It became a mecca for artists and musicians in the 1960's and continues today to attract them. After a delicious sea food lunch on the beach, we enjoy a guided stroll through the town, filled with cafes, art galleries, a tiny medina and wood working ateliers using the indigenous "thuja" wood, a beautiful burl. Our hotel is the lovely Palais L'Heure Bleu, housed in an ancient riad that was transformed into a palace at the end of the 19th century.
HOTEL PALAIS L'HEURE BLEU BLD
DAY 10 ESSAOUIRA
This morning we may visit some artists in their studios or visit a private collection of Moroccan artifacts. The rest of day is yours to explore at your leisure.
HOTEL PALAIS L'HEURE BLEU B
DAY 11 ESSAOUIRA – CASABLANCA
We bid farewell to this charming town and drive 3 hours north, along the Atlantic, to Oualidia, where we stop for lunch on the beach. We then continue another 3 hrs. to Casablanca. After checking into our hotel, there is time to relax and prepare for our farewell dinner at the hotel.
HOTEL ROYAL MANSOUR BLD
DAY 12 CASABLANCA – USA
After breakfast, we transfer to the airport for our flight home, bidding farewell to this intriguing country. B
Please note: The itinerary, content, hotels, etc. are subject to change due to circumstances beyond our control; we strive to give you equal or better, should the situation arise.
THE TRIP INCLUDES:
- Luxury accommodations in superior rooms
- All meals as noted
- Deluxe air-conditioned vehicle, with bottled water
- All entrance fees
- Special lectures and visits
- Private cooking class
- English speaking Moroccan guide throughout trip
- Taxes and service charges at hotels and restaurants
- Airport transfers
THE TRIP DOES NOT INCLUDE:
- Meals not included in itinerary
- Beverages with meals
- Items of a personal nature (i.e. phone calls, spa or hammam , alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.)
- Tips for guides and drivers
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: We can arrange for a longer stay, if you wish, and also add a superb trip into the Sahara for you.
EARLY ARRIVAL: Most of our travelers like to come in a day or two early to get over jet lag. We can arrange for your airport transfer and extra hotel night(s), if desired, at an additional cost.
HOTELS: There is a wide range of excellent hotels and riads available; we can make arrangements for your stay at the place of your choice, which we'd be happy to discuss with you.
FITNESS & HEALTH: the trip is not strenuous, and anyone who is reasonably fit and in good health should be able to participate. The maximum altitude you will reach on this trip is approximately 6000' on our day trip to the High Atlas. If you have any questions on your ability to participate in this trip, please contact us for more information. You should also be aware that medical services or facilities may not be readily available during all or part of the trip. This could include emergency medical care, presence of physicians or adequate medication.
INSURANCE: You must be covered by medical insurance that is valid overseas. We strongly recommend that you obtain travel insurance as well, including coverage for trip cancellation, loss and theft of baggage, and emergency evacuation. NJ/JNI cannot be responsible for these expenses. Noble Journeys recommends, but is not responsible for, policies through Travel Insured Interntional at www.travelinsured.com or (800) 243-3174. Our agency # is 46716.