The Imperial Cities of Morocco tour takes you to, Fez, Marrakech, Meknes and Rabat (collectively known as the Imperial Cities). Fez, built on a grand scale with the surrounding walls that extend 10 miles was first established in the 9th century. The Medina still houses half of the population and is a veritable maze of narrow alleyway. Horses and donkeys have right of way here, as they deliver supplies to the little shops in the souk. Meknes, a much more relaxed city, is a 17th century fortified city with several palaces mosques and dungeons. Rabat, founded in the 12th century and the current capital of Morocco, where the old and new has been carefully and sensitively blended together. Parts of Rabat look more Andalusian than Moroccan. Finally Marrakech, the Red City, with the frenetic Medina, and world famous Jmaa el-Fna square and beautiful gardens.
9 o’clock in the morning
The tour of the Imperial Cities of Morocco Marrakech, Rabat, Fes and Meknes starts with Marrakech.
The starting point of any Moroccan adventure, Marrakech a vivacious city, combines the lively Jmaa –el Fna square and the throbbing heart beat of the medina with a cosmopolitan city centre.
Rabat, the capital city, blends beautiful seaside views with ancient architecture and picturesque Kasbahs.
Fes with its mind boggling medina which 70,000 people call home, From delicious fresh fruit to its tantalising spices, hand-made leather goods and glowing silver lanterns, Fez retains its medieval history and remains the world’s largest car free central urban area.
Meknes – is packed with cultural history and is packed with some of the most remarkable architecture seen in Morocco. Such as the Bab-el-Mansour, the grandest gateway in Morocco. Inscribed above the gate in Arabic are the words. ‘I am the most beautiful gate in Morocco. I’m like the moon in the sky. Property and wealth are written on my front.
Arrive in Marrakech with a private transfer to your luxury hotel and spa. A genuine oasis set in 8 hectares of Gardens in the heart of Marrakech and situated close to the bustling medina. You will spend two nights here with time to explore the City, and indulge yourself in the largest Spa in Marrakech, A 3000-sqm oasis of holistic luxury featuring the Oriental Thermae®, Dior Institute, Hammam, Signature massages—the only treatments and concepts of their kind in Marrakech.
Today you are met at your hotel in a car, by an English Speaking driver, who will take you on a tour of the Imperial cities of Morocco. He will be at your disposal during your tour. He will take you on a journey to some of the gardens and museums of Marrakech. The Jardin Majorelle was designed by the French artist Jacques Majorelle who took up residence in Marrakech and turned his garden into a tropical paradise, surrounded by vivid cobalt blue building with verdant exotic groves, lily-covered pools, huge and sculptural cactuses. The Menara gardens are set in an extensive olive grove. At its centre is a rectangular pool with a fabulous view of the Atlas Mountains. Hidden away behind the high walls of the Agdal orchards, one of the most delightful spots in Marrakech, the park comprises 3 km of olive groves, nourished by an underground channel system of irrigation, central pool and small pavilions. Lunch followed by a visit to the Dar Si Said Museum. The Dar Si Said Museum is actually a sumptuous old palace with stunning Hispano-Moorish ceilings, plaster work and carved cedar woodwork. It’s worth visiting just to see the architecture and interior decoration. The palace houses the Museum of Moroccan Art and the exhibits includes clothes, weaponry, objects of beaten copper, all types of furniture and fittings.
Depart after breakfast for the 3 and half hour drive to Rabat – the current capital city of Morocco. Lunch at your hotel, freshen up and then a guided tour of Rabat which includes the medina, where the Hassan tower and mausoleum of Mohammed V are located. You will also visit the town across the river – Salé is one of Morocco’s many hidden gems – it is not on the traditional travel agenda for most who go on Morocco tours, but by taking a trip to this laid-back, ancient city you will see a side of Morocco that the guidebooks often miss and have a chance to discover the friendly ambience of a traditional Moroccan working-class town.
Depart after breakfast, for the 2 hour drive to Fes, arrive in time for lunch at the sumptuous Riad chosen by us for its history, authenticity and gastronomic delights. Indulge yourself in a centuries old Palace. A short tour by a local guide around the City walls follows in the afternoon. A drive around the ramparts and discover Fez el Jedid: Visit of Batha Museum and Boujeloud gardens, stop at the gates of the Royal Palace combining grandeur and elegance. Passing through the main street of the Mellah (Jewish Quarter) with its beautiful Andalusian balconies. Towards the potters quarter where you can see the techniques used by craftsmen for the manufacture of pottery, ceramics and Zellij and finally a stop for a panoramic view of Fes medina.
After Breakfast a short 1 and half hour drive to visit the Roman city of VOLUBILIS which was the capital of Mauritania in King Juba II. You can see the House of Orpheus, the Baths of Gallienus, the Temple of Venus and the famous Arch of Caracalla. Visit of the imperial city MEKNES founded by Moulay Ismail in the late 14th Century, whose gigantic building across Morocco sparked a huge echo that came to Europe at the Court of Louis XIV King of France. And discover impressive monuments such as the Bab El Mansour, the Bab el Khemis, the ramparts, Moulay Ismail’s attic and Lehdim Square.
Take the morning to relax and enjoy the ambience of your luxury Riad for the last time or have a Hammam,. We will depart from Fez after an early lunch for the drive back to Marrakech. Arrive early evening at the Resort and Spa in Marrakech
A day to yourself, enjoy the facilities at the hotel. With 8 restaurants and Bars, a Spa that surpasses excellence and boasts one of the most comprehensive selections of unique treatments in Morocco. If you feel lucky enter the games in the First Casino of Marrakech. An area of 900 m² entirely dedicated to the games of lady luck and chance, with more than 180 slot machines and table games, dine in style in the Epicurean restaurant and listen to the excellent Live Band.
After breakfast a day in the Atlas Mountains with a short trip of 30km will show you that nature is on the doorstep in the Ourika Valley. The Ourika river descends from the High Atlas, passing by Asguine, Aghbalou, Oulmes and finally the village of Setti Fatma. From here it is possible to follow the river up-stream with a local guide showing you the way. It takes about two hours to the last of seven waterfalls and to descend again. The wild life includes painted frogs, the Moorish gecko, falcons, the crimson winged finch, poplar trees and weeping willows. Alternatively you can spend more time trekking in the hills before returning to Marrakesh in the late afternoon. On your way back the driver can bring you to the restaurant Ramuntcho which has a terrace with wonderful views of the river and the high, red mountain behind
Transfer to the airport for your return home.