Exploring Morocco's imperial cities including Fes, Meknes, and Marrakech.
15th May 2021 – 25th May 2021
- See website for other dates
Tour code: 20460
Last Modified: 22nd September 2020
See what's planned
Morocco is a cultural melting pot where Arabian, Berber, Jewish, Spanish and French influences are easily found. This holiday allows us to explore Morocco’s Imperial Capitals: Fes, Meknes and Marrakech. Delve into the bustling labyrinth of corridors in the souks, savour aromas of mint tea and apple shisha wafting, plus observe magnificent mosaic tilework.
We observe Fes from the heights of the city walls, however below we explore iconic monuments such as Merderssa Attarine and Foundouk Nejjarine. The extensive souks comprise of endless artisan shops, food and spice markets where you'll feel as though you’ve stepped back in time. Back when Europe languished in the Dark Ages, Fes witnessed the birth of the world’s first universities. Not far from the city of Fes is Sefrou, situated in the beautiful heart of the Atlas Mountains. This fertile land contains many springs and is also a former post for traders when crossing the Mediterranean to the Sahara. We explore rural Morocco with a visit to Bhalil Village, where traditional troglodyte houses are beautifully crafted into the picturesque mountains.
In Meknes, vast walls protect the narrow winding streets of the Kasbah and medina; where the sky meets with gold minarets and sand coloured buildings. Here we discover the country’s Roman past, as well as the foundations of Morocco’s Arab dynasty whilst wandering the charming streets of the old medina.
Heading off the beaten track, we will find the sacred pilgrimage village of Moulay Idriss, we explore on foot, of course, meandering through olive groves to the Berber city of Volubilis; an archaeological site of the former ancient capital of the kingdom of Mauretania. Continuing south we spend the night near Beni Mellal, enjoying a walk through the native forest of the Atlas Mountains, we may even encounter Barbary apes. Our final destination is Marrakech, a city which requires no introduction. Get lost in the old town, busy souks, alleyways and main square. Marrakech has an irresistible atmosphere and charm.
What's not included?
This is a Grade 3 leisurely holiday which includes countryside walking with plenty of breaks, normally taking up the whole day, and is likely to include an element of sightseeing. You are unlikely to walk more than 8 miles and the cumulative ascents and descents will be gradual and range from minimal to up to about 300m. See the 'Proposed Itinerary' section for more information.
Our bottom line is happy travellers, and to that end we trust our tour leaders to use the itinerary below as a basis for providing you with a great holiday. We expect our leaders to make adjustments to the itinerary if the weather, group ability or other local conditions make that necessary. There are normally more options available to our leaders than those listed below and one or more of these options may well be chosen. All distances, heights & timings are approximate.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we may unfortunately need to withdraw a tour that is currently confirmed to operate and we therefore reserve the right to cancel your booking. We would always do our utmost to give you plenty of notice should we have to do this. Selected elements of this tour, including local attractions and restaurants, may change at late notice. Please ensure you have valid insurance cover before you travel.
Hotel Fes Inn
Welcome to Morocco! Upon arrival into Fes airport, we will be met by our driver who will transfer us to our hotel in Fes. We will have a welcome meeting with our RWH Holidays tour leader at approximately 18:00. Dinner this evening will be at the hotel.
Breakfast & Dinner
Hotel Fes Inn
We’ll take a day to discover the city’s ancient quarter, the medina of Fes; one of the largest car-free urban zones in the world, so the perfect place to explore on foot. We will work our way through the intricate maze of streets, observing craftsmen practicing their daily traditional work, markets, beautiful tanneries and many mosques, while taking in the impressive monuments such us Merderssa Attarine and Foundouk Nejjarine.
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Hotel Fes Inn
We will escape the city and into the Middle Atlas Mountain region to Sefrou. A picturesque place where streams and springs are in abundance, and a mild four-season climate make this fertile land a place where nearly anything will grow. So perfect is this location that when Moulay Idriss II, (the second ruler of the Idrisid Dynasty) was building the city of Fes, he chose to live in Sefrou instead. Not just a pretty place, it was also a major trading post for traders crossing from the Mediterranean to the Sahara.
After this we will have an opportunity to visit a traditional Berber village, Bhalil village, and meet one of the local families that still live in the traditional troglodyte house. Later in the afternoon we drive back to Fes.
The walk to Bhalil takes around 1.5 hours on stony but easy ground with no significant ascents or descents.
Breakfast & Dinner
Today we’ll travel to Meknes (journey time around 1½ hours), the sixth largest city in the kingdom, and former capital of Morocco.
The rest of the day is free at leisure, your tour leader can give you some suggestions about what you might like to do with your time.
Breakfast & Dinner
This morning our local guide will take us on a walking tour to discover the charming streets of Meknes old medina. We enter via Bab Berdaine the beautifully decorated northern gate. We can visit the shrine of Moulay Ismail who, in the 17th century, turned Meknes from a provincial town to a spectacular Imperial city, and the Ismail Mausoleum. Tonight, we have a traditional dinner at a local riad.
Relatively flat city walking with no significant ascents or descents.
Breakfast & Dinner
We take a day trip out to Moulay Idriss Zerhoune the sacred pilgrimage village. A holy and special place for the Moroccan people, as it was here that Moulay Idriss first introduced the religion of Shilism, when he arrived in 789 and a new dynasty was born. On approach you cannot help but be taken back by the striking and unique location, spread out over two hills at the base of Mount Zerhoun. Once in the heart of the Medina the familiar Moroccan layout of compact and narrow streets beckons further exploration, which we will do with a local guide. The walk continues through an olive grove to Volubilis; an archaeological site which once was the provincial Roman capital.
Our walk in Volubilis will be on good tracks, when we ascend Jbel Zerhoun hill, north of Moulay Idriss. We will descend a rough path leading through two small villages before we arrive at Volubilis. Expect spectacular views.
Breakfast & Dinner
Hotel Al Bassatine
Today we travel 240km to Beni Mellal situated among the foothills of the Middle Atlas Mountains. We will stop to stretch our legs in Ifran and walk (around 1.5 hours) through the cedar forest in the middle Atlas Mountains. We may be lucky enough to see some barbary apes, before continuing our drive to Beni Mellal. On arrival we begin our orientation walking tour of the city.
The walk through the cedar forest takes around 1.5 hours on stony but easy ground with no significant ascents or descents.
Breakfast & Dinner
After breakfast, we travel 290 km to Marrakech, an ancient city with a touch of European modernity. On the way we will stop at the Cascades d’Ouzoud and walk to the beautiful waterfalls. A guide will take us to the top of the falls, then down to cross over the river at the foot of the falls and then back up nearly 700 steps!, worth every step, as we are rewarded with spectacular views. A river crossing is required and is in home-made wooden boats/rafts, this is the way to do it and is lots of fun! We will continue to Marrakech and on arrival take a short orientation tour of the city. This evening we will venture out into the city for dinner at a local restaurant.
Breakfast & Dinner
Today we will explore Marrakech’s old medina. With a local guide we can amble the maze of bustling bazaars, palaces and mosques and soak up the electric atmosphere. Visiting iconic sites in the area of Place de la Kissaria, including the Ben Youssef Mosque, arguably the oldest and most important mosque in Marrakech. And the most famous and bustling square and market place in Marrakech's medina quarter, Jemaa el-Fnaa. The most influential place to observe Moroccan culture and traditions.
Breakfast & Dinner
For our final day in Morocco, we will escape the city in search of the calmer side of Marrakech. we will walk from our hotel to Minara gardens, an artificial lake surrounded by orchards and olive groves, whose lush existence, comes from the basin of water flowing from the High Atlas. Our walk continues along to Koutoubia Gardens where we stop and admire the beauty of Moroccan architecture, learning about the Marrakech founders and its famous mosque. The final stop on our peaceful walk is at Cyber park gardens where we can take some rest and enjoy the trees and plants.
After, we head back into the thrilling chaos of the Medina and with our local guide we will discover some hidden gems in Jemaa el-fnaa.
Day of departure. There are no activities planned for the final day, although we may have some free time for you to explore independently before travelling to the airport. If you have booked your own flights and the transfer times are similar to the group’s departure, then you are welcome to join the groups transfer. Please, however, advise us in advance.
Walks & Excursions
The majority of our walking during the week will be sightseeing in and around Fes, Meknes and Marrakech .
On our days out of the cities, and in the Atlas foothills, our walks take us through small villages, along a mix of cobbled and wide sandy tracks, and over a wide plateau. All the walks are taken at a relaxed pace, and walking times rarely exceed 5 hours.
Please see our daily itinerary for more detailed information regarding the walks.
Local Transport Costs
All local transport costs in conjunction with the advertised activity programme are included in the holiday cost. There may be occasions where additional visits or excursions are added to enrich your experience, these will be paid for locally by you if you choose to participate. Local transport can be a mix of private hire coaches, taxis, local buses and ferries depending on the itinerary.
A range of local excursions and activities may be available to book at your destination through a local operator. We have no involvement in such activities or excursions which are not run, supervised or controlled in any way by us. Your contract will be with the local activity supplier and we accept no responsibility for their actions or omissions.
When budgeting for your holiday, you will need to consider drinks, any meals not included in the holiday price, non-included entrance fees, optional excursions you may choose to participate in locally and any souvenirs or additional services such as laundry. A general guideline for lunches and drinks is £10-£20 per person per day.
Currency in Morocco
The currency in Morocco is the Moroccan Dirham. Please note that it is not possible to change Scottish or Irish banknotes in Morocco. If changing sterling banknotes at banks or currency exchange points in Morocco these should be in pristine condition; banknotes which are torn, crumpled or have writing on them will not be accepted.
As you are probably already aware, tipping or “backsheesh” is a way of life in north Africa. In order to take the hassle out of tipping, we strongly recommend that you allow your leader to take care of making sure tips are given to hotel and restaurant staff & to local guides and drivers. This will be done using some funds provided by Ramblers Walking Holidays plus a contribution from you, which your leader will collect during the holiday. We suggest an amount of £2-£3 per person per day, although this is discretional.
Tour Leaders & Local Guides
Your tour leader makes the world of difference to your holiday and ours are as passionate about discovering the world on foot as you are. They're resourceful, organised and widely travelled. They will handle all the local administration and other needs that might arise to ensure that you don't have to worry about planning your days and you can enjoy your holiday. Although leading group holidays, they won't forget that every group is made up of individuals. Each tour leader has their own individual style, talents and professional backgrounds and all are trained, qualified, experienced and dedicated to making your holiday as enjoyable, interesting and inspiring as possible.
Leader's Evening Briefing
Each evening, your tour leader will discuss with you the programme for the following day. This will be your opportunity to discuss the details and ensure the planned activities suit your walking ability. If you have concerns on clothing or equipment, this can be discussed then also. If you do not wish to join the organised group programme, please let the leader know.
Your Travel Details
We fly into Fes airport with Air Arabia and out of Marrakech with British Airways.
Travel between Fes Airport and our hotel in Fes is around 30 minutes and between our hotel in Marrakech to Marrakech airport takes approximately 20 minutes, both transfers are by road. During the holiday we will travel by private coach / minibus.
Booking Your Own Travel Arrangements?
If you wish to organise your own flights from a non-UK or provincial airport or travel by rail or car to your holiday destination, 'land only' reductions are often available. Please contact us for details.
Before finalising any independent travel arrangements, please check with us first - especially if doing so 12 weeks or more before your intended date of travel. If you do intend to join your holiday locally please do tell us at least 14 weeks in advance.
If you are joining and leaving your holiday overseas we assume, unless you advise us otherwise, that you will join and leave the holiday at your hotel.
Although airport transfers are not included for those making their own independent travel arrangements, if you wish to join the group at the overseas airport, depending on your flight arrival time, you may be able to be included on the group's transfer. Please contact us at least 5 weeks before departure for more details.
Please note that your flight must arrive within 30 minutes of the group flight to be able to join the group transfer. We also need your flight number, arrival time and departure point so that the group leader is able to meet up with you.
Luggage Allowance & Travel Documents
For all those booking a flight or rail inclusive holiday, details of your travel arrangements and baggage allowance will be confirmed in your travel documents, sent to you approximately 10 days prior to departure.
Personal Details Check
To ensure that we can accurately administer your holiday arrangements, please confirm that the personal details we hold for you are up to date and that you have provided the information we need to secure your holiday travel and accommodation arrangements. Please check your passport details, date of birth and any other important details necessary for us to properly manage your holiday booking. You can view and update information already provided, and add details not yet asked for, by using the Manage My Booking facility on our website www.ramblersholidays.co.uk, or by calling our Sales and Reservations team on +44 (0)1707 331133. When you receive your booking confirmation please check the details as soon as possible.
Passports and Visas
General Passport Advice
It is a good idea to carry photocopies of the personal details pages of your passport. Should you lose your passport, this may assist with the issue of replacement documents and your return to your home country.
Passport and visa requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements.
Passport Information for Morocco
British passport holders do not need a visa to enter Morocco. Passports should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay in Morocco. Your passport does not need any additional period of validity beyond this. When entering Morocco you should ensure that your passport is stamped to avoid any difficulties on departure. It is necessary to complete an immigration form on both arrival and departure in Morocco for presentation to the Immigration Control officer.
You may be given the form on your outbound flight or can find the forms in the Arrivals Hall at Marrakech airport. You may wish to take an additional blank form from immigration with you to complete for presentation at customs on your departure flight. You will also find the forms at the entrance to passport control on your return journey.
Where are we going to stay?
Hotel Fes Inn
47, Rue N°2 Sidi Brahim Fes Fes-Meknes 30000
00212 5356 40089
Hotel Fes Inn is situated outside of the city centre but only a 10-minute drive to the Old Medina and other city sites. The hotel has plenty to allow you to relax or keep you busy, with a swimming pool surrounded by sun loungers, a hammam and a rooftop terrace. Free Wi-Fi can be accessed in common areas throughout the property. Rooms are equipped with Satellite TV, telephone and air-conditioning unit. Some of the rooms also have a seating area and a minibar.
6 Rue numero 1 Quartier Belair Meknes Fes-Meknes 50010
00212 5355 15032/33
The Hotel Swani is centrally located in Meknes and is a typical city hotel. Rooms are equipped with a flat screen TV and an air-conditioning unit. Free Wi-Fi can be accessed throughout the hotel. Facilities include a restaurant and a coffee shop.
Hotel Al Bassatine
Route Fqih Ben Saleh Beni Mellal 23000
00212 5234 86805
Located in Beni Mellal, in the former residence of a villa, there are plenty of green spaces surrounding the property. Facilities include an outdoor pool and sun terrace, which is open year round. Rooms are equipped with ensuite facilities, satellite TV, and most rooms have either a terrace or balcony.
Boulevard Moulay Rachid Marrakech 40000
00212 5244-25540 (212)
We stay in the Hotel Almas located in central Marrakech, this hotel combines traditional Moroccan style and contemporary design. It offers a terrace with views of the Gueliz district and free Wi-Fi access. Rooms at Hotel Almas are air conditioned and furnished with antique pieces. They have a private bathroom and a flat-screen TV with cable channels. Hotel guests can enjoy a buffet breakfast, which is served each morning. The hotel has a swimming pool, sun terrace and lounging area, plus a 24-hour reception. The Hotel Almas is 600 yards from Marrakech railway station and a 15-minute drive from Marrakech Menara International Airport. A single supplement can be purchased when staying at this hotel.
Breakfasts, dinners and one lunch is included in the holiday charge. Buffet breakfasts are taken at the hotel, while some dinners will be at the hotel and others will be at local restaurants. Tagines of chicken or lamb are the more traditional meal served and these are generally served without vegetables. Desserts generally aren’t eaten in Morocco and meals usually consist of a starter and main course and finishing with something simple such as fresh fruit, yoghurt or cake. Vegetarians can be catered for on this holiday. A lunch is included on day 3, on other days lunches are not included in the holiday cost but are easily bought locally.
Footwear & Kit List
Good quality waterproof walking shoes or trail shoes with a thick, moulded sole with a good tread and a low heel are likely to be all that is required for these holidays. If you are a frequent walker and are comfortable in good quality hiking sandals, these may be adequate for some walks. You can wear lightweight walking boots if you prefer.
General Kit List
Outdoor activities are always safer and more enjoyable if you are prepared.
If you have not travelled with us before the following list might be of use:
This list is not exhaustive and every walker is different and may have their own preference.
Travel Documents Checklist
Documents and Information to take with you:
Electricity in Morocco
The electricity supply in Morocco is 220V, although older buildings may be 110V or a mix of both. You will need a 2 round pin plug adaptor to use electrical appliances.
Water To Go
An alternative to bottled water from single-use sealed water bottles is filtered water from a refillable bottle containing its own water filter such as a Water-to-go bottle available from www.watertogo.eu. Just fill up from any water source and save the environment from disposable plastic bottles.
We have negotiated an exclusive 15% discount with our partners Water-to-Go for you as a thank you for helping the environment. Please go to their website at www.watertogo.eu and enter the code RWH17 when ordering. In addition, Water-to-Go will match the discount with a donation to our charity, Heart & Sole, which will allow us to continue to make a difference in the countries you visit on our holidays.
Maps, Guidebooks & Other Information
The Map Shop
Maps and guidebooks relating to the areas you will be walking in may be bought before your holiday from The Map Shop at www.themapshop.co.uk
Find out more
Visas and Passports
No visa required for a stay of up to 90 days
Staying Healthy On Holiday
Health requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements at least 6 to 8 weeks before departure. Advice on vaccinations is available from your GP.
Health Advice for Morocco
No compulsory immunisations are required for visits to Morocco.
You should be up to date with the usual immunisations recommended in the UK.
Tetanus, Hepatitis A and Typhoid immunisations are recommended.
You may also wish to consider immunisations against Hepatitis B and Rabies.
Dengue fever exists in Morocco; please take normal precautions against mosquito bites.
There is a risk of schistosomiasis, a parasitic infection (also known as bilharzia) that is transmitted to humans through contact with fresh water.
Diarrhoea & Boiled Water
Don’t forget to exercise caution with what you eat to avoid upset stomachs and stay away from unpeeled fruit and vegetables, salad and do not have ice in your drinks. Hot, fresh cooked food, where possible, is best.
Hand washing facilities may be poor or unavailable when travelling, we therefore strongly advise you to carry antibacterial sanitizing gel and / or hand wipes at all times and use to them regularly.
Drinking or cleaning teeth in un-boiled water is not recommended. Bottled pure water is inexpensive and widely available in shops, at hotels, and on the coach. Make sure you only buy sealed bottles.
Further Travel Advice
For further advice please visit:
You might wish to take a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you for times when you're unable to wash your hands.
You must be adequately insured to join our holidays. We do not insist that you insure with us but we require that you are adequately insured for the nature of your holiday. You will be unable to participate in our local walking and other activity programmes without being able to demonstrate that you have valid travel insurance.
Please ensure that as a minimum your travel insurance policy covers you for travel to your holiday destinations (country and geographical region) and for medical expenses, mountain rescue (including helicopter rescue) and emergency repatriation to your home country in the event of illness or injury. Your policy should also provide adequate cover for the activities, included and optional, you are likely to participate in during your holiday.
See our brochure or website for further advice regarding holiday insurance.
Whoever you insure with, please ensure that you take full details, and ideally the policy itself, with you on holiday and provide our tour leader with your insurer's name, the policy number and emergency assistance contact numbers.
Please note that it is very difficult to obtain travel insurance once your holiday arrangements have started.
The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office provides up to date information on security and local laws for travellers, together with current passport and visa information, at www.gov.uk/travelaware. Please take a few minutes to look at the current advice on your planned destination.
Please be aware of what's going on around you, take sensible precautions with your credit cards and passport and avoid displays of wealth such as wearing expensive jewellery or watches. Do not carry more cash on you than you will need for each day, and we recommend that a money belt is used.
We're committed to ethical tourism in all our destinations. Our holidays are designed for you to discover the essence of the country you are visiting. Travelling in small groups not only gives you an up close and personal experience of your destination, but minimises your impact on the immediate environment. We feel that the most important starting point to protect the environment is to be out in it. For more details visit our website.
The Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust
Unlike many tour operators we have our own trust through which RWH Travel’s profits are channelled back into a variety of outdoor, walking-related or environmental conservation projects in the UK. The focus of the Trust’s financial support is Britain’s leading walking charity, The Ramblers, and their role in promoting the benefits and importance of walking to the British public. In addition the Trust welcomes applications for small grants from local organisations in the UK who need support for walking-orientated activities. This includes the establishment of footpaths and bridleways, funding for rebuilding bridges and renovating huts, as well as bursary funding for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for children who could not otherwise afford to do it. Please visit the ‘About Us’ section of our website and click on the Charitable Trust link for more details.
Heart and Sole
We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able to use our profits to help make a difference to people's lives. Heart & Sole is a venture managed by our office staff, whose aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries we visit. Through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way. See our website for more information and details of some of the projects we support.
Staying In Touch
Please do provide us with a mobile phone contact number. We will only use this to contact you with important information relating to your holiday arrangements.
Do keep your mobile phones switched on and readily available when travelling to the airport or if delayed in transit so that we can contact you with any last minute information relating to your travel arrangements.
As a matter of courtesy, please switch off your mobile phone during walks, or endeavour to minimise its use. Please also try to minimise the use of mobile devices during group meals.
We welcome all comments about our holidays and value ideas for the future. If you have provided us with an email address we will invite you to complete an online questionnaire or to add feedback to our page on the independent review site 'Feefo'.
Please note that this Holiday Information sheet may be periodically updated and reissued.
In most cases the revisions will be minor and the overall nature of the holiday will remain unchanged. Should we make a major change to your holiday arrangements between you booking your holiday and your date of travel we will notify you to specifically draw your attention to any significant change.
You may wish to review the latest version of this Holiday Information Sheet online prior to travel.
Please note that any advertised offers, benefits or initiatives may be discontinued at any time.
Our office is open and our Sales & Reservations team are available to speak to you from:
Please quote your Booking Reference number and Tour Code whenever contacting us.
We wish you an enjoyable holiday!
Our holiday walking grades
Easy countryside walking with plenty of breaks, normally taking up the whole day.
Most of these holidays have an element of sightseeing.
You are unlikely to walk more than 6 miles and the cumulative ascents and descents will be gradual and range from minimal to 300m.