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Morocco & The Three Imperial Cities

from £1299
Exploring Morocco's imperial cities including Fes, Meknes, and Marrakech. 

Morocco is a cultural melting pot where Arabian, Berber, Jewish and Spanish influences are easily found, not to mention the obvious French influence. A holiday to Morocco unleashes an exotic blend of flavours, aromas, tastes and experiences. This holiday allows us to explore Morocco’s Imperial Capitals: Fes, Meknes and Marrakech. Delve into the bustling labyrinth of twisting corridors in the souks, savour sweet aromas of mint tea and apple tobacco shisha wafting, plus observe magnificent mosaic tilework and incredible scenery.

Fes is best observed from the height of the city walls, and down below, we can explore the iconic monuments such as Merderssa Attarine and Foundouk Nejjarine, wander the medina and uncover medersas. The extensive souks comprise of endless artisan shops, food and spice markets where you often feel as though you’ve stepped back to a different 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 endless streams and springs and is also a former post for traders when crossing the Mediterranean to the Sahara. We explore the rural side to 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. If luck is on our side, we may encounter some Barbary apes before continuing through varied scenery and Berber villages.

Our final destination is Marrakech, a city which requires no introduction and awash with colour, culture and tradition. Get lost in the old town, busy souks, alleyways and bustling main square, all this against the backdrop of the High Atlas range. Marrakech has an irresistible atmosphere and charm.

Holiday Highlights

  • Experience vibrant souks and old-world charm of Morocco’s less discovered cities of Fes and Meknes.
  • A local guide will enhance our experience and introduce us to Moorish culture.
  • A contrasting walks programme, of exhilarating cities, walking in the lush landscapes of the foothills of the Atlas Mountains and traditional villages.
  • Take some free time to explore Marrakech medina and wander the maze of souks.
The holiday inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What's included in this holiday Items that are covered in the cost of holiday price.

      Flights are from Gatwick to Fes with Air Arabia and return from Marrakech to Gatwick with British Airways.
      Airport transfers
      Accommodation
      All breakfasts, dinners and one lunch
      Knowledgeable English-speaking local guide
      Ramblers tour leader
      All local travel and transfers
Whats not included in this holiday Items that are not covered in the cost of holiday price.

  • Entrance fees to some museums and historic buildings (unless otherwise specified)
  • Personal expenses (such as your bar bill)
  • Discretionary tips
  • Optional excursions
  • Insurance
Please select Departure Date to view:

Please see Holiday Information Sheet for this holidays individual departures itinerary (located under View Departures & Book tab)

Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised program, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.

This departure: Grade 3

  1. Day 1

    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.

    Accommodation: Hotel Fes Inn

    Meals included: Dinner

  2. Day 2

    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.


    On the menu tonight is a delicious meal of Fes: the chicken stuffed pastilla. An equally delicious option for vegetarians will also be provided. 

    Accommodation: Hotel Fes Inn


    Meals included: Breakfast & dinner

  3. Day 3

    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.

    Accommodation: Hotel Fes Inn

    Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

     

  4. Day 4

    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. 

     

    Accommodation: Hotel Swani

    Meals included: Breakfast & dinner

  5. Day 5

    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.

     

    Accommodation: Hotel Swani

    Meals included: Breakfast & dinner

  6. Day 6

    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. 

    Duration: 3-3.5 hours

     

    Distance 5 miles

     

    Ascent / Descent 230 / 335m

     

    Accommodation: Hotel Swani

    Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner

  7. Day 7

    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.

     

    Accommodation: Hotel Al Bassatine

    Meals included: Breakfast & dinner

  8. Day 8

    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.  

    Distance: 4.5 miles

    Ascent / Descent: minimal

    Duration: 1.5 hours

     

    Accommodation: Hotel Almas

    Meals included: Breakfasts & dinners

  9. Day 9

    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.

     

    Accommodation: Hotel Almas

    Meals included: Breakfasts & dinners

  10. Day 10

    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. 

     

    Accommodation: Hotel Almas

    Meals included: Breakfasts & dinners

  11. Day 11

    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.

     

    Meals included: Breakfast

Trip Map

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Our Accommodation on this holiday

Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday. If you are on a multi-centre holiday, these are highlights of the places where we stay. Please refer to your Holiday Information sheet (which can be found under View Departures & Book), for your departure date and for all your accommodation details.

Hotel Almas

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.

 

 


Hotel Fes Inn

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.

 

 

 

 

 


Hotel Swani

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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