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.
Depart on your flight to Morocco
Board your overnight flight bound for Casablanca.
Arrive in the Moroccan capital of Rabat
Arrive in Casablanca, then transfer to Rabat. If you’ve purchased your airfare with Vantage, a Vantage representative will greet you upon your arrival and assist you with the private transfer to your hotel — such a convenience after a long journey! Later, following a Welcome Briefing, you will enjoy dinner at the hotel.
Embark on a guided tour of historic Rabat
Your discoveries of the spectacle that is Morocco begins in its illustrious capital. On a guided city tour, see the exterior of the Royal Palace and its impressive Bab Rouah (Gate of the Winds). From there, visit the ruins and gardens of the Chellah, a 14th-century necropolis. You’ll also wander among the fountains, greenery, and fragrant air of the Andalusian Gardens, within the walls of the UNESCO-listed Kasbah of the Oudayas, as well as enjoy a stop at the unfinished 12th-century Hassan Tower. The Sultan Yacoub al Mansour commissioned the building of the tower in celebration of a great military victory, but construction was halted when he died. In spite of damage from a subsequent earthquake, this incomplete edifice remains. Discover some key Arabic words during a helpful language lesson. Your afternoon is at leisure, and tonight you'll join fellow travelers at the hotel for a Welcome Dinner.
Drift back to Roman times and arrive at the former home of the sultan
Ensconced in Africa, yet standing on the doorstep of Europe, Morocco has been a crossroads of cultures for millennia. En route to Fez, drive past the tree-covered slopes of Mount Zerhoun that mark the beginning of the Rif Mountains, and continue to Meknes, once the home of the Moroccan sultanate and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tour this ancient city of bustling markets, elaborate gardens, and the immense stables built for the 17th-century sultan Moulay Ismail. You’ll get a glimpse of the past when you visit the Roman city of Volubilis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the best-preserved Roman archaeological sites in North Africa. Discover incredible mosaics among the fragments of stone from ancient dwellings that are scattered throughout these historic ruins. Once you arrive in Fez, your afternoon is at leisure.
Visit the Medina of Fez and dine at a local family’s riad home
The impeccable preservation of some of Morocco’s top destinations never ceases to amaze travelers. You’ll enter the medina of Fez during a city tour of one of the world’s best-preserved medieval cities. A UNESCO World Heritage Site (one of an astounding 6 on this journey), this ancient quarter of the city is a network of narrow streets filled with the vibrant din of everyday life in bazaars, cafés, and shops. You will also explore the traditional Jewish quarter, the Mellah, to see the King’s Palace and the Nejjarine Fountain. Then, to get a sense of Moroccan craft traditions, you’ll visit a ceramic and carpet shop, as well as a pottery workshop. After lunch in a local restaurant, you’ll have free time to spend in the medina.
Join a local family for a home-hosted meal this evening and learn even more about daily life in this ancient city. Part of the charm of this experience will be the thoroughly unique and exotic setting of an authentic riad, or garden. These distinctive buildings are in fact traditional homes built around a courtyard that serves as a relaxing and enchanting place where you can enjoy meals and the company of your friendly hosts. You will not only enjoy the food and camaraderie, but also get a feel for the local architecture.
A day at leisure in Fez or a fascinating optional “Behind Closed Doors” tour
You have the entire day at leisure to explore Fez as you wish. If you prefer, you may join an optional “Behind Closed Doors” tour to a farm outside Fez to learn about the daily lives of the family living there. Your discoveries won’t end there, though — you’ll also visit a converted palace that is now a restaurant, where you’ll learn to make couscous, enjoy some mint tea, watch a demonstration of henna hand painting, and more.
Begin your stay at a luxury tented camp in the Sahara
Depart for Erfoud, the famed gateway to the Sahara, after breakfast this morning. En route, your Adventure Leader will share the story of the captivating “Blue Men” of the Sahara — the Tuareg — a group of nomadic camel herders. The Tuareg have inhabited the desert for thousands of years and are known for the indigo-dyed robes they wear. Enjoy lunch on the way to Erfoud, then prepare for a true highlight of your Morocco adventure: a stay at the Merzouga Luxury Desert Camp. You’ll be ensconced in comfort and style here in the shadow of Erg Chebbi dunes: the spacious, air-conditioned tents are fitted with handmade furniture and local craft décor, as well as an en suite bathroom. Your afternoon will be at leisure in this opulent oasis. Later, you’ll have the pleasure of a dinner under the Sahara stars before settling in for the night.
Embark on an exciting Sahara safari by 4x4, on camelback, and on foot
After breakfast, you’re in for some true thrills, including a 4x4 safari in the desert. We’ll then board 4x4 vehicles and set off on an invigorating ride through the desert: traversing the dunes in this way is both unique and utterly exhilarating. You’ll drive to a local village, where you’ll step into the home of a local family and learn about their traditional way of life. You’ll also have a chance to hike alongside the dunes and then ride through the desert atop a camel — the way people here traveled for centuries. Lunch will be in a ceremonial tent in the midst of the timeless dunes. We’ll have yet another chance to interact with a local family later today, allowing us to experience the Moroccan daily life and gain another perspective of the country’s rich cultural tapestry. Later, venture back to your hotel, where dinner will be served this evening.
Venture along the "route des mille kasbahs" to the “Hollywood of Morocco”
Travel along the Route des Mille Kasbahs, named after the many ancient fortress towns (many still in use) lining the way. Stop for lunch at the Todgha Gorge, a narrow canyon in the eastern High Atlas. Here at the canyon's mouth, a flat, paved path winds alongside the rushing Todgha River, where the walls on either side rise hundreds of feet above us. From Todgha, continue to the desert town of Ouarzazate, or the “Hollywood of Morocco,” an African traders' outpost known as a picturesque setting for many notable films. After checking in to your hotel, your afternoon is at leisure.
Ouarzazate city tour and the Moroccan hub of the movie industry
This vibrant desert oasis blends old and new, as you see during your city tour featuring the old Taourirt Kasbah. Then, visit the nearby Atlas Film Studio, where many major movies were filmed, including Lawrence of Arabia, Jewel of the Nile, Jesus of Nazareth, and Kingdom of Heaven. Lunch is on your own, but dinner is at the hotel. You have the afternoon at leisure.
Otherworldly Ait-Ben-Haddou awaits
On the way to Marrakesh, stop to visit Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou, a fortified village (known as an ighrem) that is as exotic-looking as it is historically fascinating. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has been the setting for scenes of many films, including Lawrence of Arabia, Gladiator, and the television series Game of Thrones, and you’ll see why this village is so visually appealing when you visit it. Take some time to wander through the meandering alleys, revel in the uniqueness of this place, and enjoy lunch on your own. From here, proceed to Marrakesh, with time to relax at your hotel before dinner.
Experience the captivating colors of Marrakesh
The souks, the snake charmers, the minarets and Old Medina . . . Marrakesh is a dizzying spectacle of seemingly unlimited discoveries. The fashion icon Yves St. Laurent once said, “Marrakesh had ‘taught me color,’” and you’ll see firsthand what he meant as we set off on a tour of the city. We’ll start at the aforementioned Old Medina, as we venture back in time in places like the 14th-century Ben Youssef Madrasa (Koranic school) and the 12th-century Kubba El Baroudyine with its Almoravid-style dome, as well as the Musée de Marrakesh and the Spice Market. Learn about the mysteries of Morocco, from local superstitions to the role of fakirs (Muslim ascetics), on a unique tour that includes a chance to have your fortune told. Later, head to Djemaa el Fna square, an expansive and frenetic place that transforms into a cultural extravaganza of sellers, performers, and more as day turns to night.
An optional Berber Village tour and a picture-perfect, horse-drawn carriage ride through Marrakesh
You’ll have the morning at leisure, or you can opt for an insightful tour of a Berber village. Then, a delightful experience awaits: a ride on a calèche, or horse-drawn carriage, that will take you to some picturesque private gardens where you will watch the setting sun paint the sky as you gaze out over the city. You’ll want to bring your camera and GoPro along on this tour — the pictures you’ll be able to take at the “golden hour” and as night falls will no doubt be destined for framing!
Travel to Casablanca, Morocco’s largest city
You’ll venture to Casablanca today, where you’ll enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and take a short orientation walk around the city. After checking in to your hotel, you’ll have the rest of the day at leisure. If you’d like to explore Casablanca, consider seeing the Hassan II Mosque (built by over 6,000 Moroccan artisans), exploring Quartier Habous (a “new medina” that blends French and traditional Moroccan influences), strolling along the Corniche (a vibrant oceanfront boardwalk), or visiting any of the other impressive sites here. Tonight, gather with your fellow travelers for a Farewell Dinner at the hotel.
Transfer to the Casablanca airport for your flight home or continue your discoveries on a post-trip extension to Essaouira.
Important Notice: The above day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Vantage Adventure Leader or local representatives at the destination.
Please Note: The hotels listed are preliminary and subject to change. Although we contract our hotels a year in advance, unforeseen situations do occasionally occur. Should it be necessary to change a hotel, one of equal quality and value will be substituted. You will receive verified hotel information with your final itinerary.
Note: That hotel ratings are based on the hotel and a leading travel industry authority on hotels throughout the world.