Arrive Casablanca, Morocco
Arrive in Casablanca, where, after clearing customs and immigration, you are transferred to your hotel. Settle in and spend the rest of the day at leisure in this romantic city, its exotic setting the inspiration for the eponymous, 1942 Humphrey Bogart film. Gather tonight for a special cocktail reception.
Rabat & Fez | Ancient Traditions, Rich Heritage
Begin the day exploring the port city of Casablanca, Morocco’s largest metropolis and its industrial hub. Visit the stunning Hassan II Mosque, which accommodates up to 25,000 worshippers; its minaret stands as the tallest religious structure in the world. Then, travel to the Moorish city of Rabat, capital of Morocco, to visit the Mohammed V Mausoleum, dedicated to Mohammed V, the founder of modern Morocco and grandfather of the current king. View the Mauresque-style Hassan Tower and Oudaya Kasbah, along with its scenic Andalusian garden. Continue to Fez for a special welcome dinner hosted by Abercrombie & Kent.
Fez | Timeless Medieval City
Explore Fez el-Bali (Old Fez), the cultural heart of Morocco. Founded in the eighth century by Moulay Idriss I, this imperial capital was a renowned center of medieval learning. Stroll the labyrinthine old quarter, with its 9,000 narrow lanes, alleys and souks, on a Market Visit of exceeding authenticity. Watching local craftsmen in action, working with bronze and pottery, makes for an engaging artisan visit as well. Next, proceed to the intricately detailed 14th-century Karaouine — one of the oldest, still-functioning universities in the world, and Nejjarine Square. You also see the Royal Palace, madrasas and mellah (Jewish quarter) in Fez el-Jadid.
Volubilis & Meknes | Roman Ruins & Mausoleums
Journey overland to explore the Roman ruins of Volubilis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to some of the bestpreserved Roman ruins in North Africa. With its triumphal arches, basilicas and capitals, the Volubilis skyline brims with iconic examples of Roman architecture. Among its greatest treasures, however, are the amazing mosaic floors of former family dwellings, which include depictions of Orpheus charming animals with his lyre, nine dolphins signifying good luck and a portrait of Amphitrite in a seahorse-drawn chariot. Upon completing this glimpse into antiquity, visit Meknes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the imperial cities of Morocco. Its impressive monuments recall the splendor of a fortified city, first built in the 17th century by the powerful sultan Moulay Ismail, to rival the court of his contemporary, Louis XIV of France. See the monumental Bab Mansour gateway — considered one of the finest great gates of Morocco — as well as the Granaries and the massive Royal Stables, which were built to accommodate 12,000 horses. Enter Moulay Ismail’s Mausoleum, one of the few shrines in Morocco that non-Muslims may visit. Return to Fez for an evening at leisure.
Erfoud | Desert Oasis
Travel to small, desert-fringed Erfoud, pausing for lunch in Midelt en route and marveling at everyday life as you pass Berber villages, endless palm plantations and the majestic Atlas Mountains. Settle into your hotel, set amid dunes and lush vegetation, with the remainder of the day to spend at leisure. Gather for dinner this evening.
Merzouga | Saharan Desert Dunes
This morning, discover the fortified desert town of Rissani. Continue to the desert dunes of Erg Chebbi by four-wheel-drive vehicle, where a reception with mint tea and pastries awaits at your nomadic tented camp. Erg Chebbi’s stunning dunes can reach up to 500 feet high, creating an otherworldly landscape. Experience it like a local on camel back. As the sun sets over the dunes, celebrate your unforgettable desert foray with a Scenic Sundowner. Return to your camp for a traditional meal before a campfire, along with distinctively Moroccan entertainment. Then, slumber in comfort as the sounds of the Sahara lull you to sleep.
Ouarzazate | Road of a Thousand Kasbahs
Journey overland to Ouarzazate, once a stopping point for African traders travelling to the cities of Morocco and Europe. En route, absorb views of the High Atlas’ southern slopes, intersecting the Dades Valley’s flourishing crops, irrigation canals and palm trees. Travel along the “Road of a Thousand Kasbahs” and make a stop to visit an amazing, small private museum that houses exhibits showcasing local art, culture and history, before proceeding to Ouarzazate and your delightful oasis of a hotel.
Ouarzazate | Door of the Desert
Begin the day by exploring Ouarzazate, a city originally built as a French garrison in the 1920s. Today, the city is a regional trade center, known for its pottery and carpets. See the Taourirt Kasbah, which now consists of simple clay houses and crenellated towers that are beautifully decorated with geometric motifs. Continue to elaborate Aït Benhaddou, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home of the region’s most exotic kasbahs, some of which have been featured in famous films, including Lawrence of Arabia and Gladiator.
Ouarzazate | On the Road to Marrakech
Today, proceed to the fascinating “Red City” of Marrakech and settle into your luxurious hotel. Enjoy a Chef’s Table experience tonight at the hotel restaurant, when you meet with the chef to discuss the nuances and secrets of Moroccan cuisine.
Marrakech | Exploring the Red City
Begin unearthing the secrets of Marrakech, starting in the medina, the old walled section of town and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Marvel at its architectural jewels, including the soaring Koutoubia minaret and Dar Si Said; housed in a palace, it is among the most beautiful of its kind in the world. Continue to the Bahia Palace, an exemplary specimen of privileged life in the 19th century. Visit Djemaa el-Fna, Marrakech’s main square, which is filled with orange juice stalls and vendors, along with fire-eaters, mime artists, snake charmers and street musicians performing at every turn. You may also wish to explore the city’s fabled, labyrinthine souks.
Marrakech | Historic Gardens
Ride Like a Local this morning — by horse-drawn carriage — to Jardin Majorelle, a picturesque garden created by French painter Jacques Majorelle and later restored by design legend Yves Saint- Laurent. The remainder of the day is at leisure. Tonight, attend a special farewell dinner with entertainment by a local gnaoua band.
Transfer to the Marrakech airport and board your international flight home, or join an Essaouira Post-Tour Extension.