Morocco

Sea to Sahara: A Moroccan Journey£8,980.00

| Tailor-Made

From the labyrinthine alleyways of the ancient Moroccan medinas to the vast remoteness of the Sahara Desert; from the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean to the snow-capped peaks of the High Atlas Mountains. You’ll get to experience all of this on a journey through the fascinating kingdom of Morocco, staying in traditional riads and luxury boutique hotels along the way.

15 nights/16 days

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From the labyrinthine alleyways of the ancient Moroccan medinas to the vast remoteness of the Sahara Desert; from the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean to the snow-capped peaks of the High Atlas Mountains. You’ll get to experience all of this on a journey through the fascinating kingdom of Morocco, staying in traditional riads and luxury boutique hotels along the way.

Itinerary

Sea to Sahara: A Moroccan Journey

15 nights / 16 days from £8,980 per person (EXCLUDING INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS)

Day 1 – Arrival Casablanca
On arrival at Casablanca Airport, you will be met by your Avventura representative who will escort you through customs and introduce you to your driver. It will take approximately 45 minutes to get to your accommodation.

The rest of the day and evening is at leisure.

Accommodation: Four Seasons Casablanca in a Superior Room.

Day 2 – Casablanca and Rabat
Modelled on Marseilles, Casablanca is one of the most European of Morocco’s cities. The city’s French colonial legacy is seen in its downtown architecture, a blend of Moorish style and European Art Deco. You’ll have the morning free to explore the city, with the Majestic Hassan, Palais de Mechouar and the French district just some of the highlights.

At midday you will be driven to Morocco’s capital, the imperial city of Rabat, a journey time of approximately one hour. Located on the Atlantic coast in the north-west of the country, Rabat is home to the Moroccan Royal family. This impressive city is the result of a new town built under the French Protectorate which meticulously guarded the older parts of the city dating back to the 12th century. Spend time visiting some of Rabat’s famous sites, including the Challah, the spectacular Andalusia gardens of the Ouidaya Kasbah, the Mausoleum of Mohammed V and the Hassan Tower.

Accommodation: Euphoriad in a Suite.

Meal Plan – Breakfast.

Day 3 – Chefchaouen
This morning, depart to the once sleepy town of Chefchaouen, a journey time of four hours. The charming mountain town of Chefchaouen has now become a must for visitors to the north of Morocco. Known as ‘The Blue Pearl’ due to its sky-blue painted medina, it offers a relaxed alternative to the more bustling cities of Morocco.

This afternoon is at leisure to explore Chaouen (as it’s locally known) at your own pace. You may prefer to take a walk into the mountains that form the backdrop to Chefchaouen, passing through Berber villages and local farms with wonderful views of the blue town below.

Accommodation: Lina Ryad & Spa in a Junior Suite.

Meal Plan – Breakfast.

Day 4 – Akchour National Park
Today, you’ll leave the city and head to the Rif Mountains and the beauty of Akchour National Park. Explore the flora and fauna of the park as you hike to beautiful cascading waterfalls.
You will return to Chefchaouen late afternoon. The rest of the day is at leisure.

Accommodation: Lina Ryad & Spa in a Junior Suite.

Meal Plan – Breakfast & Lunch.

Day 5 – Chefchaouen to Fez via Meknes, Moulay Idriss and Volubilis
Today, you will leave Chefchaouen to head towards the mystical city of Fez. On the way you will stop in Meknes for a guided tour of the imperial city.

The next stop will be at the ruins of Volubilis, once the furthest outpost of the Roman Empire. It’s a 30-minute drive from Meknes to Volubilis.

Arrive into Fez where the rest of the day is at leisure.

Accommodation: Riad Fès in a Deluxe Room.

Meal Plan – Breakfast.

Day 6 – Fez
Today you will have a tour of Fez. Founded in the 9th century, Fez reached its pinnacle in the 13th–14th centuries under the Merinids when it replaced Marrakech as the capital of the kingdom. The main monuments in the medina all date from this period.

Accommodation: Riad Fès in a Deluxe Room.

Meal Plan – Breakfast.

Day 7 – Fez
Today you will visit a local family for an immersive lesson in the art of Moroccan cooking. You will help shop for the ingredients in the souk and assist in the preparation of the meal to be enjoyed with the family.

This evening, experience the energy and essence of Fez as it comes to life after dark on a night tour of the city.

Accommodation: Riad Fès in a Deluxe Room.

Meal Plan – Breakfast & Lunch with the family.

Day 8 – Fez
Today, you will join a local Fez food for a tour of the souks with plenty of tastings along the way.

Your afternoon is at leisure to relax in your hotel or explore more of Fez at your own pace.

Accommodation: Riad Fès in a Deluxe Room.

Meal Plan – Breakfast & Lunch as part of the tasting trail.

Day 9 – Fez to the Sahara Desert via Ifrane, Ziz Valley and Erfoud
This morning, your driver will meet you and drive you to the Sahara Desert. Along the way you will travel through the middle Atlas towns and cities such as Ifrane which is known as Morocco’s ‘Little Switzerland’ due to its cedar forest. Enjoy lunch (own expense) in Midelt before heading to the gorgeous Ziz Valley and Erfoud.

Arriving at Merzouga, it’s time for an adrenaline rush as you join a 4×4 adventure through the sand-dunes before arriving at your camp in the Sahara Desert. Enjoy the majestic scenery with waves of sand dunes before joining a sunset camel ride. After dinner, gather around the bonfire and enjoy Sahari entertainment.

Accommodation: The White Camel Acacia in a Luxury Tent.

Meal Plan – Breakfast & Dinner.

Day 10 – Dades Gorge via Todres Gorge
This morning you will leave the desert and head towards Dades Gorge. Along the way you will pass one of the highlights of the south, Todres Gorge. As you approach Dades Gorge you will see how the valley extends between the High Atlas to the north and the Jebel Saghro to the south. The palm trees and date trees are home to herds of sheep and goats, the valley dweller’s only riches.

Accommodation: Chez Pierre in a Suite.

Meal Plan – Breakfast & Dinner.

Day 11 – Skoura
After breakfast, you will leave Dades Gorge and head to the ‘Valley of One Thousand Kasbahs’. Skoura palmeraie, a fertile oasis lined with immense palm groves that provide great views of the Atlas Mountains alongside deserted landscapes. The palm groves were laid out in the 12th century by the Almohad Sultan Yacoub el-Mansour and named after its original inhabitants, the Berbers of the Haskourene tribe.
The most beautiful kasbahs (fortified cities) in southern Morocco can be found here, some are ruins, but others are still partially inhabited as the rivers keep this a verdant area making farming a possibility despite the arid surroundings. Once an important trading route to Fez for the blue-robed Tourag traders, the Skoura Valley now hosts a bi-weekly souk on Monday and Thursdays which is a good time to visit to see the modern-day traders selling their wares.

Accommodation: L’ma Lodge in a Suite.

Meal Plan – Breakfast & Dinner.

Day 12 – Skoura to Marrakech via the High Atlas Mountains
This morning, you will leave the valleys of the south and head for the High Atlas Mountains. Journey through spectacular landscape along the valley of the kasbahs. Located along the former trade route between the Sahara and Marrakech, it presents a majestic sight and has been featured as the backdrop in many films including ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ and ‘Jesus of Nazareth’.

Arrive in Marrakech where the rest of the day is at leisure.

Accommodation: Villa des Orangers in a Deluxe Room.

Meal Plan – Breakfast.

Day 13 – Marrakech
Marrakech is a city of immense energy and history and one of the most compelling of all African-Arab cities. Sitting in the shadows of the mighty snow-clad peaks of the Atlas Mountains, Marrakech is not only one of Morocco’s most aesthetic cities, but also one of its most lively and exciting. Founded almost 1000 years ago, Marrakech is a feast for the senses and has remained at the heart of Moroccan life ever since, acting as Sultanate capital on occasions, but now undoubtedly as the country’s cultural and artistic centre.

During a full day historical tour of the city, you will visit Majorelle Garden and the Yves Saint Lauren Museum.

This evening, enjoy a food and cultural experience that takes place in the famous Jamaa el-Fna Square.

Accommodation: Villa des Orangers in a Deluxe Room.

Meal Plan – Breakfast & food on tasting trail.

Day 14 – Marrakech
This morning, explore the emerging contemporary art scene of Marrakech visiting artists in their studios. In the afternoon, relax with a hammam experience at La Sultana Marrakech.

Accommodation: Villa des Orangers in a Deluxe Room.

Meal Plan – Breakfast.

Day 15 – Marrakech
Join your expert mountain guide for a hike through the majestic High Atlas Mountains. Along the way you will see rural life in Berber villages, where there are many co-operatives supporting in particular the local women. Lunch will be overlooking the incredible Ourika Valley.

Accommodation: Villa des Orangers in a Deluxe Room.

Meal Plan – Breakfast & Lunch.

Day 16 – Depart Marrakech
This morning, you will be driven to the airport where you will be assisted by an Avventura representative for your international flight home.

Meal Plan – Breakfast.

Location

Accommodation options

CASABLANCA

FOUR SEASONS

Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and just 10 minutes to the heart of Casablanca, Four Seasons Casablanca is a luxurious coastal retreat. Start your day with breakfast overlooking the ocean and, after exploring the city, you may want to take a signature hammam ritual in the spa, enjoy afternoon tea at Mint or cool off in the swimming pool. Four Seasons are renowned for their service and hospitality which you will experience from the moment you arrive.

RABAT

EUPHORIAD

Euphoriad is a charming boutique hotel located in the heart of Rabat’s medina. It was the former residence of the Pasha of Rabat and many of its original features have been lovingly restored to preserve the traditional Moroccan craftsmanship. There are just eight individually designed rooms and suites with contemporary furniture. Facilities include a restaurant, a traditional hammam and a Jacuzzi swimming pool on the terrace overlooking the narrow alleyways of the medina.

CHEFCHAOUEN

LINA RYAD & SPA

Lina Ryad & Spa is set in the heart of Chefchaouen’s colourful medina. The suites are bright and spacious, and many have views over the mountains or the medina. The spa has a heated indoor pool, hamman and Oriental baths offering traditional treatments using organic products. The views of the mountains from the vast terrace are spectacular.

FEZ

RIAD FÈS

Riad Fès, a member of Relais & Chateaux, is known for its impeccable service and excellent cuisine. Located in the heart of the ancient city of Fez, the rooms and suites are all individual in their décor and furnishings. As well as a restaurant and bar, leisure facilities include a Cinq Mondes spa, fitness centre and outdoor swimming pool. The panoramic terrace offers wonderful views of the medina and mountains, a great place to capture the sunset as you absorb the atmosphere and listen to the calls to prayer.

SAHARA DESERT

THE WHITE CAMEL ACACIA

Experience the Sahara Desert from the luxury of a tented camp. Despite its remote location amongst the sand dunes of Erg Chebbi, The White Camel Acacia is a magnificent desert oasis. The tents are equipped with modern conveniences, including en suite shower, feather down bedding and Berber furniture. After enjoying a three-course Berber dinner, head out onto the terrace for views of the shifting sands of the Sahara.

DADES GORGE

CHEZ PIERRE

Chez Pierre is located just below the dramatic ochre-red landscape of the Dades Gorge. Nestled on the hillside and shaded by fruit trees, Chez Pierre has been built in a traditional style using local materials. The en suite rooms have access to a patio and the gardens. There is a swimming pool and several terraces where you can relax after exploring the gorges. European-Moroccan fusion cuisine, using local produce and flavours, is served at the restaurant.

SKOURA

L’MA LODGE

L’Ma Lodge is located in the heart of Skoura Palmeria. Surrounded by pomegranate and palm trees, the gardens have a pétanque area and a swimming pool. Many guests like to relax on the scatter cushions under the shade of the olive trees, others go for a guided walk or mountain bike ride. Breakfast is a delicious buffet of pancakes, pastries and home-made jams whilst dinner is traditionally Moroccan with vegetables from the garden and produce from the local souk.

MARRAKECH

VILLA DES ORANGERS

Villa des Orangers is a luxurious boutique hotel in the heart of Marrakech. Located between the Royal Palace and bustling Jmaa El Fna Square, it is a beautifully restored riad, maintaining many original architectural features including open courtyards. A member of Relais & Chateaux since 2001, there are 27 beautifully furnished rooms and suites, some with private terraces. Facilities include Nuxe Spa and a restaurant serving Mediterranean and Moroccan cuisine.

Activities options

FEZ – A GUIDED WALKING TOUR BY NIGHT

Experience the energy and essence of Fez as it comes to life after dark. This night tour reveals the captivating appeal of the medina and the vibrant life that exists within this traditional city. Start from Bab Boujloud, onto the Jewish Mellah and through the gold souks to the Kings Palace. Walk along the boulevards discovering the famous fountains of Fez and soak up the atmosphere as the locals enjoy their own city after sunset.

FEZ – GO LOCAL COOKING CLASS

Immerse in Moroccan culture and family life with a traditional cooking class with a local family in their beautiful riad. You will be encouraged to take part in the daily activity of shopping and preparing a delicious traditional meal. This unique experience will take you to the local medina souk to shop for seasonal vegetables and your delicious feast will be shared with the family, Moroccan-style.

FEZ – CITY TOUR

Enjoy a guided tour of Fez exploring the ancient medina, with its colourful streets and souks and immersing in the rich tapestry of life that exists within its ancient walls. You will venture into the depths of the tanneries, observe weavers at their loom and discover hidden workshops as the artisans use traditional techniques of carving, copper bashing, weaving and leather dying. You will also explore the fragrant souks where the freshest of produce is on display.

FEZ – SOUKS TASTING TRAIL

Wind your way through the streets and souks with a local Fez food expert. Start by exploring the fresh food souks, before visiting the honey souk to taste an array of delicious honeys and find out why it is so important in Moroccan cooking and Islamic culture. You will also get to see traditional farnatchis (wood-fired ovens), the spice stalls and the henna souk. Along the way you will try traditional Moroccan foods including dried meats, harsha (semolina-based bread), spicy sardines, and fresh goat cheese. The tour ends with a visit to a traditional Moroccan tea house.

AKCHOUR NATIONAL PARK

Surrounded by the majestic Rif Mountains, Akchour National Park is one of Morocco’s hidden gems.
The day starts with a gentle hike by the side of the river to the beautiful waterfalls at the Bridge of God. As you walk through the moss-covered landscape listen for birds singing and the soothing trickles of the streams that cascade along the valley.

DISCOVER THE IMPERIAL CITY OF MEKNES

Meknes was once the capital of the kingdom during the rule of the notoriously cruel Sultan Moulay Ismail. During this two and a half hour guided tour you will learn about its fascinating history.
In the 18th century Christian slaves and local tribesmen laboured for years to create Moulay Ismail’s grandiose plan to build an imperial city to rival the Palace of Versailles, which comprised a complex of 24 royal palaces with mosques, barracks and ornamental gardens.

VOLUBILIS

Set in a sweeping valley filled with olive and almond trees, Volubilis was developed from the 3rd century as a Phoenician and later a Carthaginian settlement. Here you will find beautiful mosaic floors, uncovered, and brought to light by the Moroccan archaeologists. The ruins are well-preserved, and it is easy to imagine how the settlement would have looked.

EXPLORE TODRES GORGE

Todres Gorge is a massive fault in the plateau dividing the High Atlas from Jebel Sarhro. Walk through this immense oasis, with stunning landscapes of canyons and verdant gorges. The crystal-clear river emerging from the deep ochre and pink rock formations offers a dramatic setting for photographic opportunities.

MARRAKECH – STREET FOOD SCENE AND TASTING TRAIL

Join local Moroccan foodie experts who are passionate about sharing their culture and culinary expertise with you. The three-hour tour will guide you through the meandering streets of the medina and kasbah. Here you will discover mouth-watering delicacies that most travellers would not have access to. En route, you’ll experience a wide range of tastes and a variety of active ancient communal cooking facilities.

MARRAKECH – HISTORICAL TOUR INCLUDING MAJORELLE GARDEN AND YSL MUSEUM

French painter Jacques Majorelle (1886–1962) dedicated forty years of his life to the creation of the
luxurious gardens and Berber Museum. An amateur botanist, Majorelle included plants from all five continents in the gardens. Marjorelle’s studio, a Cubist-style villa constructed by architect Paul Sinoir, has since been transformed into the museum. Since 1980 the garden was owned by Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé. After Yves Saint Laurent died in 2008 his ashes were scattered in the gardens. The garden also houses the Islamic Art Museum of Marrakech, whose collection includes North African textiles from Saint-Laurent’s personal collection as well as ceramics, jewelry, and paintings by Majorelle

MARRAKECH – ART AND SOUL OF THE RED CITY

A unique opportunity to explore both the established and emerging contemporary art scene of Marrakech. This is the chance to get up-close to the art as well as engage directly with the creators and their diverse ways of interpreting and expressing the soul of this multi-faceted city and culture. Meet the likes of Lahrbi Cherkaoui in his studio, Hicham Bellaghzal in action and other protagonists now bringing the art of Marrakech to an appreciative international art audience.

MARRAKECH – HAMMAM EXPERIENCE

No visit to Morocco would be complete without a visit to a hammam, a wellbeing tradition dating back thousands of years. We have chosen La Sultana’s Royal Hammam where treatments using essential oils and local plants are performed in luxurious, pink-marbled surroundings.

HIGH ATLAS MOUNTAINS HIKE

Join an expert mountain guide for a hike through the majestic High Atlas Mountains. Visit some of the surrounding Berber villages to look at some of the working co-operatives. These co-operatives have been set up through independent and government funding allowing the women of the region to support themselves and be sustainably independent, as well as providing the opportunity for literacy education. For lunch, we recommend a botanical garden producing saffron, medicinal plants and citrus with magnificent views of the Ourika Valley.

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