Tea, Sea & Tagines
Like the name says, when you've had your fill of mint tea and tagines, it's time to head for the sea for some well-earned R'n'R. Culture-vultures can absord as much as they like in Fes and Marrakech, but it's the last few days chilling out in Essaouira that will leave you hankering for more Morocco.
Day 1 - Casablanca
Seen the movie? No? Good. Because it will only set you up for disappointment. The city is nothing like the movie, which wasn't even filmed in Morocco. Rick's Cafe reflects Casablanca about the same way a Walkabout pub reflects Australia.
Today's an arrival day, so there's no activities planned
Get here whenever you like and head to the group meeting around 6pm - signs in the hotel lobby will say when and where.
Day 2 - Casablanca - Moulay Idriss
- See Casablanca's Hassan II Mosque in the morning
- Take the train to Meknes, before transferring to Moulay Idriss.
- Stay with a local family in Moulay Idriss, one of five Holy Cities in the Islamic world. Until 2005, non-Muslims weren't allowed to stay overnight and had to be out of town by 3pm. But that's all changed now and they'll welcome you with open arms (and a big home-cooked meal).
Day 3 - Moulay Idriss - Meknes - Fes
Nearby Volubilis is home to some Roman ruins, which you'll visit before returning to Meknes to visit the imperial city. Then you'll continue to Fes. Then you'll sleep well (we imagine).
- Morning visit to Volubilis in the valley below Moulay Idriss
- See Roman ruins etc, but a real highlight is the iconic shot of storks nesting on top of the Roman columns
- Back to Meknes for a walk with local guide
- Continue to Fes by train.
Day 4 - Fes
Start the day right with a krachel, bghrir or croissant from the bakery washed down with a milky Moroccan coffee. Take a tour of the carpet workshops and get your bearings in the medina, maybe grab some of the world's best pottery to take home.
Have a full day of touring Fes.
Visit pottery and carpet workshops before exploring the medina on foot with local guide.
Main highlights are Musee Belghazi and Funduq NejjarineBreakfast
Day 5 - Fes - Marrakech
Train from Fes to Marrakech via Casablanca. We like trains. Hopefully you do too. If you're travelling during Ramadan don't forget to bring your own snack cos the snack cart will be nonexistent. All other times, feel free to order to your heart's content.
Train from Fes to Marrakech via CasablancaBreakfast
Day 6 - Marrakech
Stroll the streets of the old medina, Djemaa el Fna. It's been named a world heritage site, which is due to a combination of its age, its cultural significance and the fact that it's continually in use. In other words, it's the architectural equivalent of Morgan Freeman.Explore Marrakech with a local guideIncludes visits to Bahia Palace, medersas and museums and the Djemaa el FnaBreakfast
Day 7 - Marrakech
More free time in Marrkech, during which you may shop 'til you drop. Or drink mint tea 'til you drop. Not literally, of course.
Free time to shop til you drop. Must-have Moroccan buys include pointy-toed slippers, jelabas, cushions and tajinesBreakfast
Day 8 - Marrakech - Essaouira
Take a three-hour bus ride to Essaouira and take an orientation walking tour with a local guide. It's a bit like exlploring on your own, but with someone who knows loads more about the place you're visiting than you do.
Transfer to bus station, three hours to Marrakech
Met on arrival, shown to hotel, taken on an orientation walking tour by local guide.Breakfast
Day 9 - Essaouira
Spend today exploring Essaouira as you please. This is usually best acheived by visiting the markets, hitting the beach or wandering around the old medina. Got it? Good.
Free time to explore Essaouira on your ownBreakfast
Day 10 - Essaouira - Marrakech
Hang out in Essaouira this morning, then take the bus back to Marrackech, where you can get reacquainted with your old friends madness and mayhem.
Free time in the morning for last-minute shopping before returning to Marrakech by bus in the afternoon
Hit the cafes overlooking the square for one last tagineBreakfast
Day 11 - Marrakech
The tour ends today after breakfast, but don't let that stop you hanging around Marrakech for a few more days. Or heading somewhere else in the world. You can do that, you know?Breakfast
What to Know
• Gecko's expert English-speaking local tour guide throughout the tour, and local guides at some sites.
• Sightseeing: Casablanca's Mosque of Hassan II; Meknes' old medina; Fes-El-Bali; Marrakech and Essaouira.
• Free time to explore Casablanca, Meknes, Fes, Marrakech and Essaouira.
• Trains from Casablanca to Meknes, and Fes to Marrakech.
- International flights, airport transfers, departure taxes, visas, insurance (compulsory on all trips), meals not listed (lunches and dinners), any optional tours or activities during free time, camera fees, excess baggage charges, tips and items of a personal nature.
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What to know
Entrance fees are not included, you pay these as you go along.
Please note the last few days spent in Essaouira are unescorted.