Day 1: CASABLANCA – ARRIVAL + ½ DAY SIGHTSEEING
– Arrival at Casablanca Mohammed V airport
– Welcome by your English Tour escort guide and transfer to your Hotel FOR CHECK-IN
– In the afternoon proceed with a visit to Casablanca with your English speaking guide:
HASSAN II MOSQUE: the biggest mosque in the world after the one of the Mecca, with room for more than 100,000 worshipers. Inaugurated in 1993, it took 6,000 traditional Moroccan artisans five years to build this magnificent mosque, with its intricate mosaics, stone, and marble floors and columns, sculpted plaster moldings, carved and painted wood ceilings. Rising above the Atlantic, this magnificent monument – one of the world’s largest mosques – was designed by French architect Michel Pinseau. At 210 metres (689 feet), the minaret is Morocco’s tallest structure.
THE HABBOUS DISTRICT: This new medina was built according to the traditional model and is in the south of the city in the Habous neighborhood. You will have a pleasant time admiring its little squares, arcades and numerous craft shops. The mahkama (courthouse) of the Pasha is to be seen here too. This Hispano-Moorish style building, built entirely of marble and wood, has 60 rooms and was used as a courtroom and as a reception room by the ancient Pasha of Casablanca.
ART DECO BUILDINGS: If you can see past the traffic, fumes and general chaos of central Casablanca you’ll discover the city’s rich architectural heritage, a blend of French-colonial design and traditional Moroccan style known as Mauresque architecture. Developed in the 1930s and heavily influenced by the Art Deco movement, it embraced decorative details such as intricate carved friezes, beautiful tile work, and ornate wrought-iron balconies.
CATHEDRAL SACRE COEUR: Casablanca’s cathedral was built in 1930 when Morocco was still under the rule of Catholic France. Falling into disuse after Morocco’s independence in 1956, the Cathédrale Sacré-Coeur was used as a school and then a culture center. Today, it hosts fairs and exhibitions. The Sacré-Coeur Cathedral is a fascinating work of architecture. Designed by the French architect Paul Tournon, who also designed several churches in France, it represents an interesting experiment in the decorative use of cast concrete.
THE SEASIDE CORNICHE: The Aïn-Diab coast, the seaside annex of the city, is the traditional spot for inhabitants of Casablanca going out for the evening, especially at weekends. Trendy restaurants and popular pubs abound along the seafront. Some of these establishments, with or without seawater swimming pools, are there since the thirties, like an unusual restaurant built on piles. The atmosphere is so cosmopolitan that it is as easy to find a sushi restaurant as one specialized in Moroccan dishes. The discotheques open later on in the evening. Everyone will find one to his taste, from the latest techno to North African music. Boulevard Mohammed V, in the city center, is full of restaurants, some of which have kept their 1920’s decoration. Another curiosity: you can have a drink in a perfectly recreated copy of the famous café in the film Casablanca.
Dinner and overnight at the Barceló hotel.
Day 2: CASABLANCA / MEKNES / FEZ
Buffet breakfast at the hotel – Departure with your Tour Escort guide to Fez. On the way, Stop to visit Meknes, the Ismalian capital, famous for its 40 km long walls, visit of: – Bab (gate) Mansour: Dominating the southern end of the square is the monumental gateway of Bab Mansour, the crowning jewel of Moulay Ismail’s architectural legacy, commissioned by him but finished during his son’s reign, in 1732. Intricately decorated with richly colored tiles and flanked by two bastions supported in part by columns plundered from Volubilis, it marks the entrance to the vast precincts of the imperial court.
The huge Heri el Souani granary: This large 17th-century high-vaulted building served both as a granary and feed store for the 12,000 steeds in Moulay Ismail’s vast stables. These chambers are immense – Moulay Ismail was always ready for a siege or drought. Take the stairs to the pleasant rooftop café-garden, with a fine view of the city and the huge Aguedal Basin, once used to irrigate the imperial city’s gardens. The remains of Moulay Ismail’s stables are attached to the granary.
Markets and lively squares: Meknes has one of the busiest medinas in Morocco. The Place El-Hedime, located exactly between the old town and the Imperial part of the city, houses the covered market and becomes busy at dusk: fire-swallowers, storytellers, animal trainers, and jugglers create an atmosphere different from anything you are used to. – Lunch included at a local restaurant in Meknes – Continuation to Fez & stop to visit Volubilis Volubilis Ruins: The Roman ruins of Volubilis stretched out over 40 hectares, and are the most well-preserved ruins in Morocco. Volubilis was the administrative center of the province in Roman Africa called Mauretania Tingitana. The fertile lands of the province produced many commodities such as grain and olive oil, which were exported to Rome, contributing to the province’s wealth and prosperity. Archaeology has documented the presence of a Jewish community in the Roman period
Arrival to Fez by the end of the afternoon – Check in dinner and overnight at Barcelo Fes 4*
Day 3: FEZ
Buffet breakfast at the hotel – Departure with English speaking tour escort guide to a city-sightseeing of Fez, the spiritual capital of Morocco, you’ll visit:
The oldest university: the Karaouiyine mosque is one of the most imposing in Morocco. It houses a university which is thought to be the oldest in the world and which was founded in the middle of the 9th century
Bou Inania Madersa: a breathtaking 14th-century religious college. The best example of Islamic architecture a non-Muslim can see in Fez, with wooden walls elaborately carved with geometric patterns and Arabic calligraphy, and a beautiful minaret. In the courtyard, there is a portico with a still-functioning mosque, separated by the rest of the courtyard by a small moat. The view from the hills surrounding the old city is spectacular- there are two fortresses overlooking the old city, the Borj Nord which contains an armaments museum, and the Borj Sud, which is being developed for tourism.
Fondouk el-Nejjarine: also known as“Wood Museum” faces the old Place el-Nejjarine or the “Carpenter’s Square.” The fondouk was constructed in the 18th century and originally served as a “caravanaserai” or “roadside inn” for travelers and traders. Visitors will want to spend an hour or so in this wonderfully restored fondouk learning about the woodwork indigenous to the region while viewing artifacts dating from the 14th century. Make sure you leave time to visit the rooftop terrace, one of the best views of Fez.
Tanneries: You will probably hear people asking you if you want directions to the tannery. On warm days, you don’t need directions. You only have to follow the smell. There are a couple of shops that sell good dyed in the local tanneries that have terraces where you can, without cost, look down on the terraces. The cost is free, but you may get guilted into buying some handmade Moroccan leather goods.
Lunch included at a local restaurant inside the medina.
In the Afternoon: continuation of the visit of Fez: Souk shopping: Continuing along the Talaa Kebira, at the foot of a hill, you will find the Souk el Attarine (the perfume or spice market). Pause here to look over the shops full of spices, cosmetic and herbal goods; tree bark and incense, snake skins, twigs, roots, charms, and potions are all on sale. Among the traditional herbalist shops are some specializing in souvenirs and Moroccan crafts. A few are set up in beautiful old mansions, and a shopping expedition here gives you the bonus of a tour through a traditional Moroccan house. Just off Souk el Attarine is the shady Souk el Henna, where you can buy henna leaves and powder, kohl and other cosmetics.
The Mellah, or Jewish Quarter, of Fez, was established in 1438. It is the oldest of the mellahs in Morocco though very few Jewish people live here today, most of them having moved to the Ville Nouvelle, France or Israel. The Mellah section today is well worth a stroll with its ornate balconies and wrought-iron windows. There is a great view from the terrace of the Danan Synagogue on rue Der el-Ferah Teati and the Jewish cemetery is worth a visit, though be wary of faux guides and people asking for money at the cemetery; it’s best to go with a knowledgeable guide if you want to avoid.
– Back to the hotel at the end of the visit and time to rest – Dinner and overnight at the hotel
Day 4: FEZ/BENI MELLAL /MARRAKECH
Buffet Breakfast at the hotel – Departure to Marrakech via Ifrane, Immouzzer & the cedar woods of the Middle Atlas – Lunch and a moment of relaxation in Beni Mellal, one of the agricultural centers of Morocco. – Continuation to Marrakech, that you will reach by the end of the day – Check-in & Overnight at the Atlas Medina & Spa.
Day 5: MARRAKECH – FULL DAY SIGHTSEEING
Buffet breakfast at the hotel – 09h00 Meet with your English speaking guide at the hotel’s Lobby and start your Visit of Marrakech – the red Pearl:
The Koutoubia Minaret: One of the best example of the Hispano -Mauresque art, which combines apparent simplicity with superb craftsmanship and restrained luxury. With its minaret rising 252 feet into the sky it is certainly one of the most impressive sights in Marrakech.
The Bahia Palace: The Bahia Palace is a palace and a set of gardens located in Marrakech, It was built in the late 19th century, intended to be the greatest palace of its time. The name means ‘brilliance’. As in other buildings of the period in other countries, it was intended to capture the essence of the Islamic and Moroccan style. There is a 2 acre (8,000 m²) garden with rooms opening onto courtyards standing in a 2-acre garden, is a haphazard arrangement of luxury apartments opening on to inner courtyards.