Discover the rich cultural heritage of Morocco, where many distinct peoples have left their indelible mark—from ancient Romans to the Arabs to the French–and encounter the living legacy of North Africa’s indigenous Amazigh, or Berbers. Explore the atmospheric souks of Marrakech and Fez, witnessing age-old crafts like damascening and hand-painted ceramics; venture to the ancient adobe village of Aït Ben Haddou, used as a filming location for many Hollywood productions; and enjoy lunch with an Amazigh family in a small oasis village. Then head to Essaouria, the windy Atlantic city that was a onetime haven for pirates—and now musicians.
Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer is included.
Casablanca to Fez
Set out on a guided tour of two UNESCO World Heritage sites. venture to Volubilis and discover the soaring columns and remarkably well-preserved mosaic floors of this ancient Roman outpost. Then, visit the remains of the medieval city of Meknès, which served as Morocco’s imperial capital in the 17th century. Then, enjoy lunch at a G Adventures–supported women’s cooperative. Continue to Fez and check in to our hotel.
Step back in time on a walking tour of the medina of Fez, a spellbinding World Heritage site dating back to the 9th century. Skirt past donkey carts as you take in the dazzling sights, from colourful mounds of spices to vividly painted ceramics, and observe Fez’s famous tanners treating and dying hides in the traditional manner. Pay a visit to the breathtaking Madrasa al-Attarine, a masterpiece of intricate Islamic architecture, and pass by the famed Al-Karaouine Mosque—home to the longest continually operating university in the world. We’ll meet a local calligraphy expert at a café later this afternoon for a demonstration of Arabic writing.
Fez to Marrakech
This morning, travel to Marrakech, a melting pot of Amazigh, West African, Mediterranenan, and Arab influences. Immerse yourself in the colour and chaos of Djemaa el-Fna, the city’s main square, where storytellers and magicians captivate passersby and vendors of all kinds peddle their wares. Enjoy mouthwatering street food for dinner: consider sampling harira, a traditional Moroccan soup, or tangia, a slow-cooked meat stew.
Set out in the maze of tiny streets and alleyways and view the Koutoubia Minaret; then head to a spice shop to discover an array of Moroccan spices. After, visit a converted riad or traditional house for a hands-on cooking class, learning how to prepare a delicious tagine and a variety of salads, and enjoy your creations for lunch.This afternoon, take a historical walk of the ancient medina with our local guide, including visits to the enchanting Bahia Palace and the Saadian Tombs, the 16th-century mausoleum where the Saadian dynasty ruler Ahmed al-Mansour and his family are interred.
Marrakech/Aït Ben Haddou
Drive to Aït Ben Haddou, an ancient mudbrick settlement and UNESCO World Heritage site located in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. Explore this fascinating ksar, or fortified village, and compare the vistas of the city with scenes from the Game of Thrones series, Lawrence of Arabia, and Gladiator—parts of which were filmed here.
Aït Ben Haddou/Erg Chigaga
Travel through the Draa Valley towards the Sahara. Venture into the desert on 4x4s, making your way to the great dunes of Erg Chigaga. Settle into our comfortable desert camp and set off on a camel ride. Then climb to the top of the dunes to catch an unforgettable sunset over the Sahara, the world’s largest desert. Enjoy a traditional dinner back at the camp and gather around a fire beneath the stars for an evening of storytelling and traditional music.
After breakfast, head out from the desert and pause at the small town of Tamegroute to visit a library of ancient Islamic texts. Then drive to the oasis town of Zagora, where a colourful regional market is held twice a week. Enjoy a talk on the history of the Draa region, centered around the Draa River—the longest river in Morocco—and unwind at our beautiful riad. Take a dip in the swimming pool, or relax with a drink on the patio.
Head off the beaten path towards the Anti-Atlas or Lesser Atlas mountains. Stop at the town of Taliouine, a thriving centre for harvesting saffron—the world’s most expensive spice—and continue to our stunning riad in Taroudant.
Concealed within striking red walls and framed by snow-dusted peaks, the market town of Taroudant is often called “Little Marrakech.” Wander through the old town at leisure and browse its lively shops. Spend the afternoon at our riad, exploring its flower-laden paths or enjoying a book by the pool.
Venture deeper into the Anti-Atlas region, known for its spectacular natural rock formations and stark, lunar landscapes. Visit Aït Mansour Gorge, a stunning valley of pink-hued cliffs that harbour lush palm groves. Take a walk through the valley in the shade of towering palms and have lunch at the home of a local family. Later, hike to the rock formation known as Le Châpeau de Napoléon, or Napoleon’s Hat, before continuing to Tafraout for the evening.
Travel to the beautiful port town of Essaouira on the Atlantic coast. Stroll the windy beaches, soak in the leisurely atmosphere of the medina, and watch the hustle and bustle of fishermen at the port. Opt to experience a Moroccan hammam, a traditional spa and steam bath; or check out the city’s happening live music scene.
Enjoy a day of leisure in this charming coastal city, where Jimi Hendrix, Cat Stevens, and Frank Zappa all famously travelled for inspiration. Walk along the 18th-century ramparts overlooking the Atlantic, and buy fresh fish from the market, which we’ll take to a local restaurant to cook up for our lunch. Opt to browse the colourful shops and art galleries that line the white-washed streets of the medina, or take a surfing or windsurfing lesson.
Return to Marrakech and visit the ornate 12th-century Menara Gardens and the Majorelle Gardens, once owned by legendary French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent. Opt to view the beautiful collection of Amazigh artifacts at the Berber Museum, or visit the nearby Yves Saint Laurent Museum. Enjoy a farewell dinner with the group tonight.
Depart at any time.