Islamic Tour of Morocco.
One Week tour of Morocco from Spain
This one week tour of Morocco from Spain is a great introduction to the diverse landscapes and rich culture that Morocco has to offer. You will begin your travel itinerary in Tangier North of Morocco arriving from Spain, to make your way South to Sahara, covering many major sites that vary in landscape, culture and peoples.
Explore the bustling streets of the Islamic imperial cities, then in the beauty of the natural surroundings of the Atlas Mountains, where you may encounter nomadic peoples and exciting wildlife. Then, of course, find yourself in the peaceful, serine dunes of the Sahara. This tour of Morocco will include mostly walking and mild hiking in small villages and natural sites with one night of camping in the dunes of the Sahara under the celestial Milky Way.
You will enjoy your nights in deluxe 4-Star Hotels and riads. Spend one morning watching the sunrise over the breath-taking dunes of Merzouga at Erg Chebbi. Join us on this exciting and enriching experience of Morocco, an exotic addition to your wonderful vacation in Spain.
Day 1:Travel from Spain to Fez - Ferry from Tarifa to Tangier
Upon your arrival at Tangier Port, you will meet your guide to begin your journey to Fez, stopping along the way at various noteworthy places. Today is the day of time travel! This journey will take you from imperial Rome to the ninth century A.D. Unlike the movies, this temporal voyage will take almost the entire day. (Of course there will be stops along the way.)
The first stop will be the ancient Roman city of Volubilis. Volubilis 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 and the genius of Roman urbanism is still intact. 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 MoulayIdris, founded in the 8th century by MoulayIdris 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. The city was created primarily for the indigenous population that migrated with MoulayIdris from the Middle East.
You will drive around 15 miles to the next stop, the imperial city of Meknes. Meknes is a 17th Century city built by The Pious Muslim King Moulay Ismail to rival Fez in it intellect and Islamic architecture. A city of so many beautiful gates and palaces, it is also considered to be the Versailles of Morocco. Visiting this sophisticated spiritual city of Meknes is a delight.
Finally, you have reached your destination, the ninth century city of Fez, spiritual and intellectual capital of Morocco. In the evening, you will get a taste of the greatest of the Imperial Cities. You will visit the sights on the outside of ancient walled city, including 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: Fez, The city of Islam and Sufism!
Day 2: City historic tour of Fez
This wonderful Imperial City is undeniably fascinating, Fez stimulates the senses with its haunting yet beautiful sounds, visual splendor, and evocative smells. The most ancient of the 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 of its walls. Fez owes 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. Our specialized guide will take you on a historic discovery of the city of Fez starting at the King's Palace and its Meshwar with ramparts and majestic gates.
Next, you will explore the citadel of Fez el Jadid, a 15th century citadel with all its Moorish maze architecture and medieval glory. Visits to Bab Semmarine its main gate that lead you to Bab Sbaa, among mosques and a vibrant souk, those are lights of this part of town.
Then, we will drive to the Merinides hill to visit their necropolis. Here you will enjoy the best panoramic view on the old walled Medina, brimful with its countless minarets to call for the prayers in a city that has responded to these calls for 12 centuries. Drive down the hills to the gate of Bab Guissa to leave your vehicle and enter an ancient world. Fez has preserved its Medina as it was centuries ago. Not even a bicycle is able to be used as tool of transportation. Only donkeys, mules and horses are able to help moving all what the city produces and needs as supplies.
The first guilds you will immediately encounter are the cobblers, the saddlers and black smiths interlaced by some caravansaries for tribesmen who come from the surrounding areas to trade and supply their needs. Down the hill to Juteya you 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 you to El Ashabine square with its variety of activities. From there, you will wind your way to the Sgha square which will lead you to Attarine then Souk el Henna and the Mausoleum of Moulay Idris, the founder of Fez. Next to it, you will visit the Nejjarine square with its famous fountain, its guild of carpentry and the museum of folk arts at the Fondouk.
You will walk to the tannery and on to visit the great Mosque university of Al Quarrawiyyine, passing by Shemma'ine, the market of dried fruits. After that, you will visit the Medersa Attarine and walk to Sbetryyine, a guild of book binders, which will lead you to the Seffarine Square, where the tapping of metalworkers is still deafening passerby as it was the case for centuries. You will break for lunch then continue exploring the marvels of Fez Medina. These will highlight the Dyers souk, Foundouk Tetouani and the shrine of Sidi Ahmed Tijani, a great Sufi scholar who is a venerated Holy man in Sub-Saharan Muslim countries.
Day 3: Travel from Fez to Erfoud
You will spend your day discovering the rural environs of the Atlas Mountains Berbers. Covered with evergreen pines, tall cedar trees, and poplars, and laced with flowing streams, your first view of the Middle Atlas will appear oddly un-Moroccan. Passing by Imouzzer, with a quick stop at the Swiss-like town of Ifrane, you will soon come across the first real town of the Middle Atlas, Azrou.
Azrou is an important market center for the region Berber tribes, located at a major junction of mountain routes. Your driver will take a little detour in a cedar forest to introduce you to one of the oldest inhabitants of this region, the Berber apes. This may also coincide with the encounter of an Islamic nomadic family in its temporary encampment. As Muslim nomads are very hospitable people, whenever we encounter them we are all invited at least for a mint tea under their tents.
At Midelt, the Middle Atlas give way to the High Atlas Mountains, whose peaks are visible through the haze, soaring to over 12,000 feet. You will stop in Midelt for lunch, enjoying the dramatic sight before you. You will then continue to Erfoud, one of the most delightful southern regions consisting of a dry, red belt of desert with a sudden drop into the lush valley of Ziz, with copious date palm groves and flowing streams. Visit the gorges of Ziz and some of the oases and natural sites before you reach the magnificent oasis of Erfoud.
After you arrive in the oasis of Erfoud, you will meet a caravan of camels that you will ride to camp. You will conclude your day in your camp over the dunes of Merzouga where tents are pitched for you to enjoy a night under the African Skies. After dinner, the Rokba drummers will illuminate your night with their lively dances and moving chants. Enjoy this encounter of Man and nature at its best.
Day 4: From Merzouga Dunes to Tinghir to Sekoura
You will wake up early to reach the highest peak of the dunes and watch the sun rise over the expanse of the Merzouga dunes. This is an experience that should not be missed. Afterward, you will eat breakfast with the Tuaregs Muslim Bedouins of the Sahara and continue onward, transported in a 4-wheel drive vehicle to Tinghir in the Valley of Todra. Only 15 kilometers from Tinghir, you will find the Todras, the highest, narrowest gorges in the region.
You will travel through the Dades valley, where in the spring, thousands of Persian roses bloom in hedgerows, filling the air with their heavenly aroma. You will also see the thousands of Kasbahs scattered along the Dades River, majestic sandcastles with a visually appealing, timeless beauty.
After lunch, you will explore the Dades Valley, traveling through El Kelaa De Mgouna and Boumalne to view the inimitable natural vistas and unusual rock formations unique to this part of the desert. You will then continue onward to Sekoura, the large oasis that intercepts the flow of water between the Dades, the Draa valleys, and the majestic High Atlas Mountains. You will conclude your day with dinner and other accommodations in your Kasbah Ben Moro.
Day 5: Travel from Sekoura to Ouarzazate then Marrakesh
You will spend most of your day en route to Marrakesh, exploring the legendary Kasbah of Ait-Benhaddou, a renowned architectural marvel, and stopping in Taddart and Tizi Tishka pass, at an altitude of 11,000 feet. The pass divides the mountains into two distinct facets: the harsh, stark side acting as a shield that protects the hinterland from the dry expansion of the Sahara, and a lush side, soft and evergreen, which collects the moisture from the Gherbi winds of the Atlantic Ocean.
You will arrive in Marrakech, a city of pleasure for both visitors and locals, where southern tribesmen and Berber villagers bring their goods to market and find a variety of entertainment. To tourists, the city is a feast for the imagination, full of incomparable beauty, situated before the towering mountains that provide a thrilling backdrop. After a visit to the bustling Jemaa El Fna square, you will conclude your day with dinner and other accommodations at your hotel.
Day 6: Marrakech City Tour
You will devote your morning to the exploration of Marrakech many historical sites, starting at the Menara, a magnificent pool surrounded by flowerbeds, reflecting the image of an exquisite Moorish edifice. It was constructed in 1866 for dignitaries, who enjoyed glorious sunsets with the ethereal Atlas Mountains as a backdrop. The pool also functions as an innovative irrigation system that is serving dry life in the desert.
Your tour will cover many impressive sites, including the Koutoubia Minaret (which is identical to la Giralda, a tower found in Sevilla, Spain), and the Saadien tombs, which demonstrate Moorish architecture at its best. The tombs consist of sixteenth-century mausoleums, which had lain walled-in and undiscovered until 1917. Next, you will explore the Moorish gardens of the Agdal among other Islamic monuments, such as the great Mosque of the Kasbah and Ben Youssef Medersa Koran school, then the exotic gardens of Marjorelle. Finally, you will return to your hotel for dinner and other accommodations.
Day 7: Travel from Marrakech to visit Rabat
In the morning, after your breakfast, you will depart for Rabat, the capital of Morocco. You will reach Rabat, a city styled in a spaciously elegant European grid, yet slightly aware of its modernity. Rabat and its twin city Sala Colonia are separated by only a river but are historically worlds apart. They have an ancient legacy that spans hundreds of generations. Each civilization that has inhabited each of the cities has left its mark, resulting in a wide variety in architectural styles, including those from the Phoenician and Roman eras.
You will spend your day discovering the delights that Rabat has to offer. Your guide will take on a historical and lively tour of the souks in the Heart of the city starting at Place Sidi Makhlouf. The 12 century ramparts are best seen from this landmark. Walk up to Bab Chellah in the medina and cross Sidi Fateh St. This will lead you to the traditional Souk Laghzel (Yarn market). Your guide will introduce you to the importance of this guild on textile role in the Moroccan society.
Later, you will cross to the Islamic citadel of the Oudaya Kasbah entering from its 12th century main gate to explore an extraordinary Medieval Moorish marvel overlooking the delta of Bourgreg River. You will have the opportunity to visit the old-fashioned Moorish gardens, stop in a traditional Islamic coffee house for mint tea, and in between explore the Oudaya museum of tribal arts and crafts. A docent will introduce you to traditional Berber Textiles.
You will continue your quest exiting the Oudaya Kasbah and up the hill to visit the Hassan Tower and Mohamed the V Mausoleum, an emblem of the real Moroccan architecture at its finest. You will reach the Royal Palace and the Necropolis of Chellah at the end of your guided city tour. Finally, you will return to the hotel for Halal dinner and other accommodations.
Day 8: Day trip from Rabat to Tangier to Tarifa
Your guide will drive you up the coastal scenic road back to Tangier where you will take your ferry back to Spain. Thank you for visiting Morocco.