TASTES OF MOROCCO
Embark on an 11-day adventure to some of Morocco’s most alluring destinations and experience the delicious culinary specialties of each with our “Tastes of Morocco” itinerary. These include Rabat, Fes, and Marrakesh (with many fascinating day trips in between!). Lastly, you’ll wrap up your trip in the High Atlas Mountains with a relaxing stay at one of Morocco’s most luxurious Kasbahs. With everything from learning about the exotic history of the imperial cities to an unforgettable dinner in the desert, bargaining in the souks, and enjoying beautiful beaches and remote mountain communities, this will be an unforgettable cultural and culinary experience.
Pastilla, tagines, couscous, tanjia, harira, mint tea, flavorful argan oil, exotic spices, preserved lemons, rich sweets. Moroccan cuisine is one of the most interesting of the countries that touch both the Mediterranean sea and the Atlantic Ocean. With multiple cultures that influence the country’s evolution, you can find traces of Southern Spanish, French, and Jewish culinary traditions in addition to the traditional Berber and Arabic styles. The country’s geography includes the Atlas mountains, the Sahara desert, lush forests, and miles of Mediterranean and Atlantic coastline. Thus, allowing for an incredible variety of ingredients and dishes. Also, though a predominately Muslim country, Morocco produces some fine wines, made in the French style.
Accompanied by a private driver and guide for your entire voyage, you will experience a “taste” of what this amazing and exotic country has to offer.
RABAT- 1 NIGHT
Welcome to Morocco! The first destination of your Tastes of Morocco itinerary will be amazing Rabat. Upon your arrival in Casablanca, your private concierge will greet you as you get off the plane. He/she will assist you in getting through fast-track customs and immigration. He’ll then help you with your luggage and accompany you to meet your private driver.
Time permitting, you’ll visit Casablanca’s mosque of Hassan II, the largest mosque in Africa and one of the few open to non-Muslim visitors. Situated on the edge of the Atlantic in the easternmost point of Morocco the mosque is truly an architectural masterpiece. Afterward, you will drive to the Imperial “garden city” of Rabat where you will enjoy a relaxing evening before continuing your adventure. Your first full day in Morocco will start with:
- A Half-day Highlights Tour of the Capital of Morocco. The well-planned city consists of broad tree-lined avenues, a landscaped central park, and impressive quarters for the foreign embassies and ministries. First, you will visit the Kasbah of the Oudayas. Secondly, visit the unfinished Hassan Tower and Mosque. Then, you move on to the distinctive and elegant Mausoleum of Mohammed V. He was the revered former King, and grandfather of the present King Mohammed VI. You will enjoy the wonderful stroll through labyrinth streets full of color and life.
FES – 3 NIGHTS
After your tour, your private guide and driver will accompany you on to the next destination of your Tastes of Morocco, historical Fes. There will be interesting stops along the way before arriving at your very special accommodations. From the hotel, you’re a short walk from many of the amazing sights and landmarks the city is so famous for. During your stay in Fes, we will arrange the following special experiences:
- A Private Guided Tour of the City of Fes. Fes was founded by Idriss I in 789. Its history of long, complicated, and colorful. It is considered one of the most important centers of learning in the world for centuries. Fes is also home to the oldest university in history. The city started as two separate cities or medinas, stretching on both banks of the river Jawhar, facing each other. They were made into a single one in 1070 by the Almoravids, who erected the city ramparts that can be seen today. With your guide, you will visit both sides of the city. Furthermore, it was influenced by many cultures: the Almohads, Andalusian expatriates expelled from Spain, Merinids. Under Merinids rule, construction began on the new town outside the walls, which was called Fes Jdid. New Fes and the old part became Fes El Bali or ancient Fes. Today, Fes el Bali (Fes the ancient) is a UNESCO Heritage Site. It is also the largest car-free urban area in the world. You will spend the majority of your tour here. You will see the works of the city’s world-famous artisans. These skills range from metal and leatherworking, to ceramics, wood carving, silk, and tapestries. Your guide will help you discover the highlights of the city and understand its importance history. Yet, she will also accompany you through the winding streets of the souks to understand the heart and sould of the city.
- A Full Day Tour to Meknes and Volubilis with Lunch and Wine Tasting. Meknes is known as the“Moroccan Versailles”. It was founded in the 17th century by King Moulay Ismail and known for its 25-mile-long walls. You spend a bit of time strolling the streets and walls with your guide. Afterward, you’ll visit the Roman ruins of Volubilis, a UNESCO heritage site. The ruins were excavated by the French in 1915. They actually date back to the 3rd century AD and are an interesting glimpse into Morocco’s varied past. You will also enjoy a traditional Moroccan meal with a wine tasting during your excursion. Eventually, you will return to your lovely accommodations in the late afternoon.
- a Private Sufi Dinner Experience. Sufism is a dimension of Islam. Sufis see themselves as on a spiritual journey towards the Divine during their lifetime. Whether it’s singing, listening or rhythmic whirling dances, Sufi music reaches the soul of the mystic and awakens the soul’s consciousness. A rich body of literature and poetry has been written to guide mystics on their spiritual journey. They describe feelings of love, the deepest aspects of the human soul, and encounters with the Divine. Sufi brotherhoods (tarikas) are common in Morocco. Their music is an integral part of their spiritual tradition and is an attempt at reaching a trance state which inspires mystical ecstasy. You will experience a wonderful Sufi expereince first-hand. Afterward, you’ll enjoy a private meal with a local family. This is truly a unique chance to have a glimpse of daily Moroccan life.
- A Special Fassi Cooking Class. Located within the walls of Fes’ ancient Medina, you’ll enjoy a traditional Fassi (Fes style) cooking class. Together with your local chef, you’ll start the day by browsing the bustling Fes food market for the freshest seasonal ingredients. As you choose what you will be cooking, our chef will give you insight into the different foods and local customs. You’ll then slip into a luxurious centrally located Riad for a 2-hour rooftop hands-on cooking workshop. Afterward, round off your cooking class with a relaxing lunch or dinner under citrus trees. Taste the fruits of your labor with a newfound understanding of what Moroccan cuisine is all about.
MARRAKESH – 4 NIGHTS
Continue your Tastes of Morocco adventure on to the country’s most vibrant city, Marrakesh. En-route, we’ll arrange for you to stop for lunch in Moulay Idriss, a small but culturally important city and famous for its unique sweets. Here you can explore the daily market before walking up to lunch in a private home looking over the city. Your welcoming host will be pleased to share with you the secrets of how the traditional dishes you are served are prepared.
Arriving in Marrakesh, you will be delivered to your spectacular accommodations in the heart of the Medina. We have several wonderful choices to consider based on your travel style and wishes. Marrakesh has been a city of history and culture for more than a thousand years. It is one of the most evocative and exotic places in the world. The name alone evokes images of this cultural melting pot, its dusty streets, colorful souls, sandstone buildings, and towering minarets against clear, blue skies.
During your visit to Marrakesh, you will enjoy the following special experiences:
- A Full Day Private Discovery of Marrakesh. Marrakesh enjoys a legendary status that conveys the ideas of mystery, sensuality, and exoticism. The city was founded in 1062 by one of the chieftains of the Almoravid king Youssuf ibn Tashfin. Then, the Almoravids were desert warriors, very much attached to their Islamic religion; the original garrison developed very quickly into a city where numerous mosques and madrasas (Koranic schools) were built. Subsequently, the Andalusian craftsmen built and decorated several palaces. Merging their style with the Saharan and African traditions, which gave the city a distinctive architectural flavor. The Almoravids also erected the city walls. They also created a complex system of underground irrigation canals to bring water from the High Atlas. The khettara a system still in use to water the several gardens of the city. Nowadays, Marrakesh is a vibrant city that exhibits a curious blend of the ancient and the modern. It permits travelers the chance to experience the genuine medieval atmosphere of the old medina. Your guide will transport you through the alleyways and tree-lined streets for a true review of this magnificent city. Afterward, you can visit the trendiest bars, art galleries, and restaurants in the French Quarter, Guéliz. Highlights of your visit will include Koutoubia Mosque, Saadian Tombs, El Bahia Palace, and of course, the souks. Finally, you will finish off at Jemaa el-Fnaa square. Here, she/he will point out the best rooftop terraces to watch the sunset in the evening. At dusk, the square starts to bustle with food stalls, snake charmers, magicians, and people selling their wares. If you are feeling adventurous, do as the locals do for dinner! Order one of the traditional food dishes from the street vendors, grab a seat, and enjoy!
- A Private Moroccan Cooking Class and Lunch. One of the most pleasant aspects of Morocco is its closeness to nature. Organic food and vegetables a luxury in most Western countries are easily available in Morocco. Indeed the only kind of food available in large areas of the Kingdom. With today’s private hands-on cooking class, you’ll have a close-up experience of traditional Moroccan cooking. Your culinary experience takes place in the Amizmiz Valley. An area still populated by Berbers who still stick to their traditional way of life. Just a short ride from Marrakesh, this valley has been little affected by tourism and modernity. Your chef has a long experience running the kitchens of many well-reputed hotels and restaurants, both inside and outside Morocco. His elegant eco-farm is set amongst 15 hectares of olive groves, vegetable gardens, and orchards, in a traditional Berber hamlet, called a douar, with the imposing silhouette of the High Atlas Mountains dominating the landscape. Seizing on the knowledge transmitted to him by the elders, your chef is an expert on aromatic herbs. Seasoning is an art more complex than it seems. Then, you will learn about this (and much more) using the ingredients you have selected from the chef’s gardens. Then, preparing a typically Moroccan two courses’ meal, and even baking your own bread. Following your class, you’ll enjoy the fruits of your labor under the shady trees of the garden- a truly unforgettable experience! Your afternoon is free to enjoy on your own. As always, your private guide and driver are at your disposition should you need them.
- A Full-day Excursion to Essaouria. Your guide and driver will accompany you to this charming village on the Atlantic coast. En route, you can choose to stop and visit a women’s argan oil co-op, producing culinary and beauty products from this indigenous nut. Afterward, you will be on your way to the coast! Long known as Mogador, from the Phoenician word Migdal, or lookout tower, Essaouira has been home to Phoenicians, Romans, Portuguese, and a large Jewish population. Essaouira is charming: a clear blue sky accent the white shops and houses. Motorized traffic is not permitted in most of the narrow streets. We’ll stroll through town and along the colorful harbor, stopping to admire the plethora of crafts spilling out of tiny shops and the many art galleries. Additionally, you can join the guide to visit a silver jewelry workshop and a thuya wood (unique burled wood indigenous to this area) workshop. You should also enjoy a delicious seafood lunch along the oceanfront. You will be returned to Marrakesh in the early evening.
HIGH ATLAS MOUNTAINS – 2 NIGHTS
Last but not least, on your Tastes of Morocco tour is a trip back in time to the village of Asni in the High Atlas Mountains. You will have a direct transfer from Marrakesh. If a day in your stay in the Atlas Mountains coincides with the local markets, you’ll have a fascinating glance at a truly local’s-only activity. Then, your guide can accompany you to visit the stalls, which sell spices, housewares, baked goods, animals, and, if needed, you can even get your hair cut!
During your stay in Asni, we can arrange for you to enjoy a visit to the larger village of nearby Ilmil, where you will enjoy a donkey ride to the village peak. Here you can enjoy a panoramic traditional lunch overlooking the mountains at a local Kasbah or continue trekking through the valleys and enjoy a Moroccan picnic lunch surrounded by beautiful and uncontaminated nature.
We can also arrange for other activities including visiting a berber home, cooking lessons, or hiking. Otherwise, you can simply enjoy your 5 star hotel and its fantastic amenities and views. Your guide and your trip manager will be happy to provide you with ideas!
On your departure day, you will have a private transfer to the Marrakesh Airport for your flight home or beyond.
If you are not yet ready to go home, we can add several options to your Tastes of Morocco tour. You can extend your vacation in Morocco with visits north to the ‘blue city’ of Chefchaouen and the international port city of Tangiers. You could also immerse yourself in the deep Sahara desert for camel trekking and stargazing. Or why not head north across the Strait of Gibraltar to visit Spain or Portugal? The choice is yours and we would be happy to design your trip as you wish.