Ancient in time, varied in styles, unique in social construction, and enriched in intellectual depth is the Moroccan culture, such that its intrigue drives straight to the heart, our wisest organ of knowledge. Initially, this could be a great place to celebrate the unfolding of the new year.
Start your exciting journey from New York to Casablanca on your non-stop flight, the national carrier, Royal Air Maroc.
Once you arrive in Casablanca, you will be greeted by your host and then transferred to Rabat. In the morning, after your breakfast, you will depart for Rabat, the capital of Morocco. This is a wonderful short drive of about 45 miles through the lush farms and exotic plants. Ultimately, you will reach Rabat. Rabat has an ancient legacy that spans hundreds of generations. Each civilization that has inhabited the city has left its mark, resulting in a wide variety of architectural styles, including those from the Phoenician and Roman eras. You will have the opportunity to visit the old-fashioned Moorish gardens, a traditional coffee house, and in between the Oudaya museum of tribal arts and crafts. A museum guide will introduce to you traditional Berber Textiles. We’ll continue our tour of Rabat by walking up the hill to visit the Hassan Tower, a quintessential example of Moroccan architecture in its best. From here we will drive through the boulevards and Gardens of Rabat visiting the Saint Pierre Cathedral, the Parliament, the Sounna Mosque. We will then enter the property of the Royal Palace through the magnificent ramparts and tower. Afterwards, we will reach the Necropolis of Chellah, Roman ruins that stand at the edge of the city. We will return to the hotel for dinner and other accommodations.
Today, we will discover traditions and sites from imperial Rome to the ninth century to the ninth century A.D. This temporal voyage will take almost the entire day. Of course there will be stops along the way. This first stop will be the ancient Roman city of Volubilis, which was a critical city in the imperial Roman department of Mauritania (modern day Morocco, and the Western Sahara) during the reign of Caracalla. Volubilis is impressively well preserved! The two central integral streets in every Roman castrum, the Cardo and Decumanus, are prominent. The cardo is the boulevard which runs north-south and the Decumanus, east-west. The intersection of the two is the heart of every roman city. There you will find the ruins of the ancient forum. Jumping forward in time and just few minutes away is the venerated citadel of Moulay Idris, founded in the 8th century by Moulay Idris Al Akbar, grandson of the Prophet Mohamed (s.a.w.s). This citadel is considered to be both the cradle of Sufism to Moroccan society, as well as the first Islamic capital for the premier Arab dynasty. Created primarily for the indigenous population, the citadel of Moulay Idris has become a central destination for those who cannot afford to make the pilgrimage to Mekkah for the Hajj duty. We will stop at the city of Meknes, before reaching our final destination: Fes, a ninth century city. In the evening, you will get a taste of the greatest of the Imperial Cities! We will visit the sights on the outside of great walled city which includes: the ramparts, the gates, and the Borjs (Moorish Forts). After this introductory aperitif to Fez, you will dine in your hotel and prepare for day three: more of Fez!
Undeniably fascinating, Fez stimulates the senses with its haunting yet beautiful sounds, visual splendor, and evocative smells. The most ancient of imperial capitals and the most complete medieval city of the Islamic world, Fez is reminiscent of a city suspended in time, unfazed by the constantly evolving world outsides its walls, owing nothing to the Western world save electricity. Time spent in Fez will reveal much about the sophistication of the Moroccan artisan, providing an unparalleled learning experience to those who cross its path. Your morning will be spent visiting the Medina. Your specialized guide will take you on an historic discovery of the city of Fez, starting at the Kings Palace and its Meshwar with ramparts and majestic gates in the Jewish quarter, a 15th century citadel with all its Moorish maze architecture and medieval glory. Visits to Sephardic synagogues and mausoleums of holy Rabbis will be the highlights of the part of town. Then, we will drive to the Merinids hill to visit their necropolis where you will enjoy the best panoramic view on the Old walled Medina!
Drive down the hills to the gate of Bab Guissa to leave your vehicle and enter a world that belongs to an ancient time. Not even a bicycle is a feasible mode of transportation. Only donkeys, mules and horses are able to help moving all what the city produces and needs as supplies. The first guilds we will encounter are the cobblers, the saddlers and black smiths, interlaced with some caravansaries for tribesmen, who come from the surrounding areas to trade and supply their needs. Down the hill to Juteya, we will encounter all sorts of crafts, but noticeably carpenters and leather workers, as one of the traditional tanneries is not far. This walk will lead us to El Ashabine Square with its various activities. From there, we will wind our way to the Mausoleum of Moulay Idris, the founder of Fez. Next to it, we will visit the Nejjarine square with its famous fountain, its guild of carpentry, and the museum of folk arts at the Fondouk. We’ll see the traditional tannery and be on our way to visit the great Mosque University of Al Quarrawiyyine. After which, we’ll pass by the market of dried fruits, the Medersa Attarine to Sbetryyine book binders, and the Seffarine Square, where the tapping of metalworkers is still deafening to a passersby. We’ll break for lunch, then continue exploring the marvels of Fez Medina. This exploration will highlight the Dyers souk, Foundouk Tetouani, the shrine of Sidi Ahmed Tijani. After a long day of exploring, we’ll make our way to foundouk Lihoudi, where a family will host you for a traditional mint tea in their home!
The route to Marrakech is a long one, but once again there will be beautiful stops along the way. We will travel to the village Azrou, after which we will cross the middle Atlas Mountain, pausing for lunch in Khenifra. After lunch, we’ll descend the Atlas Mountains finally arriving in the foothills which overlook the magnificent oasis city of Marrakech Alhamra. Some of the aforementioned stops will include visits to Berber villages, scenic views, and traditional markets. We will conclude the day with dinner Gala at your hotel where you will celebrate New Year’s Eve. Celebrate with good food, good music, and good company in Morocco!
The morning will be at leisure before we start our historic visit. We will visit the historic Menara: a complex of a magnificent pool surrounded by flowerbeds, and a beautiful building built in the Moorish style. This building, constructed in 1866, was designed specifically for dignitaries. It’s ideal location and position allowed visitors to simultaneously enjoy glorious desert sunsets with the snow-capped Atlas Mountains as the backdrop. The actual pool of the Menara is also notable. It is both an aesthetically pleasing and a functional irrigation system based on a traditional and local method. After the Menara, we will visit several other impressive sights, including the Koutoubia Minaret (the twin to la Giralda, a minaret located in Sevilla, Spain), and the Saadian tombs—examples of Moorish architecture at its finest. The tombs, a cluster of sixteenth century mausoleums, were long hidden behind the surrounding walls and were not discovered until 1917. Lunch will be at your hotel after which you will tour the colorful souks (markets) of Marrakech. After a tea at sunset, overlooking the bustling Jamaa El Fna Square, you will conclude your day with dinner at a typical Moroccan restaurant, which includes local entertainment.
Other interesting in Marrakech sights include:
- The museum of Dar Si Said, equipped with a display of Berber arts and crafts from all over Morocco.
- The remains of the Badii Palace, a historical monument which is host to the Annual National Festival of Popular Art, beginning the second Friday in June.
- The Bahia Palace, which exemplifies Moorish splendor at its finest. It is situated in the heart of the Mellah, and continues to host dignitaries to this day.
Today, your last full day in Morocco, we will continue to explore Marrakech and visit the botanical gardens, better known in Marrakech as Les Jardins Majorelles. The gardens, initially designed by a well-known painter, Mr. Majorelle, were remodeled by their later owner, fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent. Other activities will include shopping in the colonial district, Gueliz, and dinner at your hotel.
Early morning transfer to the Airport, connect flight at Casablanca to New York/ JFK with a memorable trip of a life time.
- RT New York/Casablanca, via Royal Air Maroc
- 6 night accommodations in 4 star hotels
- Full board Half board as indicated
- Land transportation in A/C chauffeured vehicle
- Services of English-speaking guides and escort
- Fees to monuments and museums
- Hotel tax and service charges
- Rabat 1 night, Hotel Chellah
- Fez - 2 nights, Hotel Pickalbatros Fez
- Marrakech - 3 nights, Hotel El Andalous
Cost per person based on double occupancy: $2475.00
Group rates available for parties of four or more