Morocco is such a fascinating place that you’ll want to absorb every bit of it. Continue your journey on this post-trip extension and experience a different side of Morocco: Essaouira. Located on the Atlantic coast, this is a harbor town with miles of unspoiled coastline and a charming old quarter with blue doors and whitewashed houses. Its medina, an excellent example of a late 18th-century fortified town, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You may equate Casablanca with a famous film of the same name, but Morocco’s most cosmopolitan city is better known in North Africa as home of the spectacular Hassan II Mosque, with the world’s tallest minaret and a glass floor suspended directly over the ocean.
Depart Casablanca for Essaouira
Take a ride from Casablanca to the coastal city of Essaouira, a seaside enclave that offers a completely different side of Morocco. You’ll check into your hotel upon arrival with lunch on your own as you get used to your exciting new environs. Dinner is at the hotel tonight.
Experience Essaouira on a riveting guided tour
Set off on a tour of this city that is part rugged fishing village, part colorful port, part artist enclave, and a number of other parts that you’ll be able to discover as you go. Your guided tour takes you through the town’s narrow streets, as well as past the whitewashed, blue-door houses of the UNESCO-listed medina. You’ll see evidence of the myriad influences that have helped to shape this town, including the Portuguese, Jewish, French, and Berber cultures. Your afternoon is at leisure and dinner is on your own.
Immerse yourself in another culture at the Berber Market
This morning, you’ll visit the Berber Market, an open-air bazaar for Berber communities to gather for trade, exchange news, and simply talk. After free time for lunch on your own, you’ll learn about the intriguing process of making argan oil, which includes tree-climbing goats. In addition to learning about this useful oil (and stopping by a local women’s cooperative that makes it), we’ll get a chance to take photos of the goats. You’ll then travel back to your hotel, where your evening is at leisure.
Venture to Casablanca
After breakfast, we’ll drive to Casablanca, enjoying the ocean views and farmland scenery (and lunch at a local restaurant) along the way. We’ll have time on our own to discover Morocco’s largest city once we arrive. Dinner is at the hotel.
Depart for home
After breakfast, we’ll make our way to the Casablanca airport for our flight home.
Get an introduction to Morocco’s diverse landscapes and immense beauty with this comprehensive 5-night extension to some of its less visited (but no less captivating) cities. Discover infinite shades of blue along Chefchaouen’s streets, set in the shadow of the majestic Rif Mountains; explore the remarkably preserved medina of Tétouan, a UNESCO World Heritage site home to rich craft traditions; and savor the sea breeze in Tangier. You’ll be immersed in Moroccan traditions, too, with a two-night stay at a luxurious riad and a visit with a local family that includes a cooking demonstration and lunch.
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Fly to Casablanca
Today, you’ll board an overnight flight bound for Casablanca, Morocco, arriving on Day 2.
Arrive in Casablanca, Morocco’s largest city
Welcome to Casablanca! If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, you’ll be met at the airport by a representative who will transfer you to your centrally located hotel. Take the afternoon to rest or explore the city at your leisure. This evening, you’ll meet your fellow travelers for a Welcome Briefing at the hotel.
Explore the enchanting blue city of Chefchaouen
After breakfast, you’ll check out of your hotel and depart for Chefchaouen, with lunch en route at a local restaurant. Upon arrival, settle in at your elegant riad or guesthouse, then join your Adventure Leader on an orientation walk. Founded as a small fortress in the 15th century to defend against Portuguese invaders, Chefchaouen has become renowned for its distinctive blue-rinsed houses and alleyways. This evening, you’ll enjoy dinner at your guesthouse.
Dine with a local family, then explore Chefchaouen’s medina
This morning, you’ll head out to the countryside to meet a local family who will show you the secrets to cooking Moroccan cuisine! After a cooking demonstration in their home, you’ll enjoy lunch together and have the chance to learn more about life in rural Morocco. Later, return to Chefchaouen for a walking tour of its “medina,” or old city. The main landmark here is the Grand Mosque, with its unusual octagonal minaret, at the heart of the Plaza Outa el Hammam central square. You’ll also see the red-walled kasbah (fortress) from the 15th century, which today houses the beautiful Andalusian Gardens and a small ethnographic museum. You’ll want to take plenty of photos! You’ll then have the rest of the day at leisure to continue exploring Chefchaouen, with dinner on your own.
Discover the Andalusian city of Tétouan
Continue your explorations as you transfer from Chefachaouen to Tangier today. Along the way, you’ll discover a lesser-known gem of Morocco: Tétouan. The first thing you’ll notice about this city is its gleaming alabaster façade — with a history spanning 2,000 years, Tétouan was destroyed by the Castilians and raided by the Portuguese before being rebuilt by the Andalusian Moors, and the buildings of the medina remain unchanged from that period. You’ll enjoy a tour of the medina, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, stopping at the Royal Palace and wandering the various quarters where centuries-old local crafts such as mosaic tilework, pottery, and embroidery are concentrated. Visit an artisan school here to observe the craftsmen at work, then enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.
Later, upon arrival at Tangier, you’ll enjoy dinner at your hotel.
Get to know Tangier, the “City of Strangers”
Situated at the entrance of the Strait of Gibraltar on the northernmost tip of Morocco, Tangier has been settled by the Phoenicians, Romans, Vandals, Arabs, Portuguese, British, French, and Spanish over thousands of years. No wonder it’s known as the “City of Strangers”! You’ll set off on a walking tour of the medina with your Adventure Leader this morning, taking in the lilt of locals’ conversations mixing Arabic, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. Then, embark on a guided tour of the city. Visit the tomb of Ibn Battuta, a 14th-century famous traveler who was born here; Teatro Cervantes; the Grand Socco; the Tangier American Legation Museum, with its Paul Bowles Wing dedicated to the writer and composer; and the elegant Kasbah Museum, which was the former Sultan's palace and today houses a collection of artifacts from the Phoenician to modern times.
You’ll also visit Café Hafa, a local institution famed for its clifftop location that offers stunning views over the Bay of Tangier, as well as its celebrity patrons over the past century. Enjoy the scenery here along with a cup of refreshing mint tea.
Transfer to Rabat to begin your base program
After breakfast at your hotel, enjoy the morning at your leisure, with lunch on your own. We’ll then transfer to the Tangier train station for a high-speed train ride to Rabat, where you’ll begin your base tour.