I embarked on a week-long exploration in Morocco, Africa with a tour group. I purchased a steal, all-inclusive, Groupon deal. I typically schedule a few tours or excursions for my trips but this one was exceptional. It included a comprehensive itinerary for the entire trip which allowed us to uncover the beautiful country succinctly.
DAY 1 was spent traveling to Morocco from Atlanta, Georgia.
DAY 2 – We arrived in Casablanca and traveled to Rabat.
Rabat, the capital of Morocco, is an approximate 1.5-hour drive from the Casablanca airport. A supplied tour bus transported us to our lodging and excursions. We settled into our hotel and later enjoyed a scrumptious Moroccan Welcome Dinner at the hotel.
DAY 3 – We went sightseeing in Rabat then traveled to Fes.
Our city tour of Rabat included viewing the Royal Palace, the ancient ruins of Chellah, the Oudaya Kasbah, the Hassan Tower, and the ancient ruins of the Roman city of Volubilis. The ancient ruins of the Roman city of Volubilis gave us a chance to see the wonderfully preserved original mosaics, Roman Road, and city layout. We also viewed the Holy City of Moulay Idriss. We witnessed a breathtaking view of the imperial city of Fes from a hill overlooking the medina.
DAY 4 – We spent a full day on a guided tour visiting a plethora of hidden treasures of the medina in Fes.
Fes, Morocco’s third largest city founded in the 8th century, houses the University of Al Karaouine, the oldest operating university in the world. Fes is particularly famous for its tanneries and the Fes el Bali Medina. The medina is a mazed, ancient bazaar. Bazaars are small markets selling miscellaneous goods. The Medina translates as an “old town.” It has been preserved over the centuries. It has ultra-narrow, vehicle-free alleys of bazaars where hundreds of artisans and merchants sell a variety of products such as Moroccan souvenirs, spices, produce, carpets, and local food.
Fes is world-renowned for its leather goods which are manufactured from the leather bazaar known as “souq.” The souq shelters three ancient leather tanneries. The Chouara Tannery, which is nearly a thousand years old, is the oldest and largest. The leather tanneries process the hides of sheep, camel, cows, and goats into quality jackets, bags, and shoes. The men employed in the tanneries complete the laborious transformation manually, absent of any machinery, as it has been done since its creation.
We also viewed the Attarine Medersa, Moulay Idriss mausoleum, and visited the Nejjarine Fountains and Museum. We had an intimate opportunity to shop for authentic Moroccan carpets, viewed the exterior of the Royal Palace, and walked through the famed Jewish quarter of the medina. We also walked through one of the few remaining Jewish cemeteries in Morocco.
DAY 5 – We basked in a tranquil 8-hour drive to Marrakesh.
Arriving late afternoon, we settled into our hotel then indulged in a scenic, horse-drawn carriage ride taking us through the night-lit streets of Marrakesh ending at a famous Moroccan restaurant. We enjoyed a four-course meal while listening to live music including an elegant belly dancing performance.
DAY 6 – We spent a full day exploring Marrakesh.
After an unrushed morning, we had brunch at a local French restaurant and enjoyed an impromptu horse-drawn carriage ride touring the city. Our guide took us to view another Royal Palace as there are many. We also met with an herbalist who educated us on various Moroccan products. We gained more knowledge of their traditional tea, which I consumed daily on the trip, as well as the history of Moroccan argan oil. We purchased a bountiful supply of Moroccan goods to enjoy at home. We also visited an artisan souvenir shop and a famous leather shop. The tour ended with a joyful and romantic camel ride. In the evening, we visited the Djemaa el Fna Square which is the lively center of the city then enjoyed live music, delicious food, and spectacular belly dancing at a local restaurant.
DAY 7 – We traveled to Casablanca.
Arriving in Casablanca, we spent half of the day sightseeing. We were wowed by the Hassan II Mosque, the largest Mosque in Morocco, and the beautiful Corniche seaside which exposes the serenity of the Atlantic Ocean. A short drive through the residential areas of Casablanca, the Mohamed V Square, the Habous quarter, and the Notre Dame de Lourdes Cathedral were additional sites to see.
DAY 8 – Post a continental breakfast, we departed Morocco and returned home.
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Do you like to keep an itinerary when you travel? Do you prefer to be spontaneous? What about a combination of both?
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