Experience the very best of what Morocco has to offer from its historic cities, vibrant and colourful culture, beautiful mountain and desert scenery and coastal charms. Start in the culturally rich city of Fes, followed by a unique personal tour of the Atlas Mountains and Sahara desert before spending a few nights in bustling Marrakech and then wind down in the charming coastal town of Essaouira. We also offer a slightly different routing that combines Fez with the “Moroccan Circle” using the rail network and you should consider both options before confirming
From the Fes aiport or train station it is only 10 -20 minute transfer and then a short walk through the Medina to your riad. The are many to choose from and our favourite is Ryad Mabrouka for style and service
As Morocco’s third largest city and with an established role as a leading cultural and intellectual centre, Fes boasts more sites and historical attractions than all the other cities of Morocco put together. You will therefore have plenty to keep you occupied in this intoxicating town which is less affected by the tourist influence than many other parts of Morocco, including Marrakech. A trip to the tanneries, a visit to the nearby thermal springs and the site of the largest Roman ruin in Morocco at Volubilis are all highly recommended.
Your English-speaking driver will collect you from your riad to take you on your 4 day Atlas Mountain and Desert tour. You will leave Fes for the Middle Atlas mountains, passing through the cedar forests of the Barbary Apes before heading to the desert in Merzouga, home of 300m high sand dunes. You can choose to stay in a traditional local auberge or rest under the stars in a desert bivouac, approached by camel. We recommend one night in the auberge and one under canvas. Yasmina is a good option.
As well as the obvious delights of the sand dunes, Yasmina is famous for it’s lake which appears after rainfall – picture this – the bleak hammada, blue lake water, pink flamingos and the red dunes – everyone suddenly becomes a professional photographer. Stay the night under canvas in a desert bivouac arriving at dusk and leaving again at dawn – the most beautiful times.
After the night in the desert, return to the auberge to wash away some of the sand and have breakfast before heading towards the Atlas Mountains. A good lunch stop is the Todra Gorge with its switch-back roads and river chasms. You will then arrive in late afternoon at the Ait Ben Haddou rock village and fortress. This is Morocco’s most famous backdrop and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. You will stay a few minutes further on at Kasbah Ellouze.
The journey on to Marrakech takes you through the Tiz n Tickha pass, leading to Telouet, the old Berber stronghold in the Atlas Mountains. After Telouet, the route climbs to over 6,000 feet, then winds down into Marrakech where you will check into your riad. We have loads of fantastic riads, a client favourite is Riad Les Trois Mages for its beautiful roof terrace
Spend the next 2-3 days enjoying everything Marrakech has to offer. Take an early morning visit to the Majorelle gardens before it gets too hot and all the bus loads of tourists arrive. Spend afternoons visiting the various mosques and historical sites, not forgetting to indulge yourself with a traditional Moroccan exfoliation and massage in a local hammam.
Lastly, and not to be missed is the main square at night where you can wander amongst the snake charmers, storytellers and henna tattooists before sitting atop a rooftop bar with a chilled glass of wine watching the action unfold beneath you.
Day 10 Your driver will collect you from your riad and take you to Essaouira to arrive around lunchtime.
A firm favourite with our clients is the stylish Madada Mogador in the medina with fantastic ocean views.
Use these days to relax, pottering around the souks, strolling along the seafront and eating great seafood in the port. Alternatively, Essaouira – although offering a quieter pace of life – is also perfect for those seeking more active thrills, being famed for its water sports and seafront attractions such as horse riding and quad-biking in the dunes.
Depending on the time of your return flight, either stay your last night in Essaouira or return to Marrakech if you have an early morning flight.
Cost for the 14 nights is £1250 per person B&B in mid season (excludes flights) based on 2 sharing a double room. Includes all transport and accommodation on B&B basis.
Note 1: This itinerary is best if you fly directly into Fes but there are not many flights and we can also arrange a rail or road transfer from Marrakech to start the trip which adds little to the cost.
Note 2: If you have a day or two more we recommend adding a day in the town of Taroudant rather than going to Marrakech on day 7 and instead leaving Marrakech to the end after Essaouira. You see more of the country and have the satisfaction of never travelling the same road twice! It adds around £150pp for 2 extra days.
You can get flights from as little as £100 per person return and do ask us for advice. Alternatively we can book the flights for you but a booking fee may apply.