The northern half of Morocco is a whirlwind of blended cultures. The cities explored in this itinerary have played host to civilizations since before Ancient Rome, and the result is a deep, rich life full of tastes, smells, sights and sounds. From Chefchaouen, to the modern capital of Rabat, this itinerary is a fantastic introduction to it all.
In the morning, you will be picked up at the airport and transferred to your hotel. (This service is on a private basis.)
Asilah used to be the base for pirates in the 19th and 20th centuries and it paid the price in 1829 when the Austrians punitively bombarded it because of its piracy. From 1912 to 1956 it was part of Spanish Morocco and in 1978 a major plan to restore the town was undertaken.
Today Asilah is a popular seaside resort that hosts annual music and arts festivals, including a mural painting festival. The best paintings remain on the medina walls for years following.
This morning you can explore more of the sights that Asilah has to offer before heading to Chefchaouen.
Chefchaouen is a small charming city of about 40,000 inhabitants located in northeastern Morocco near the Mediterranean Sea about 3 hours drive from Asilah.
(Travel Time = 3-4 Hours) (This service is on a private basis.)
Enjoy this free time at your leisure.
Chefchaouen is one of the most easily recognizable towns in Morocco, thanks to its blue "theme." Locals have taken to blue-washing most buildings, creating a dream-like sense as one walks through its streets. Chefchaouen is both old-school enough to offer an authentic Moroccan experience, yet modernized enough to make travel here a little easier. The medina has recently been renovated thanks to foreign investment, and what was once just a backpacker's destination is now also a good family option.
Today, you'll depart Chefchaouen following breakfast and head south to the Roman ruins of Volubilis. Volubilis is the most important and extensive remains of a Roman city in Morocco, and one of the most distant of the Empire’s domain, thanks to the powerful Berber tribes who showed themselves to be more than a match for the conquering legionnaires. Once one of the most important regions producing grain to feed the voracious Roman appetite, and wild animals to keep the crowds entertained as they tried to devour gladiators in the arena, this prosperous provincial city was home to some 200,000 residents at the height of its glory.
The fascinating sights here are overseen by the nearby village of Moulay Idriss, which looks like a camel sitting from a distance. The oldest town in Morocco, it was founded by Moulay Idriss I in 789, having fled Mecca because of religious and tribal conflicts. It was here that the Idrisid dynasty was founded, and the town has the only round minaret in Morocco. Then, you'll head to the Imperial City of Fez to prepare for tomorrow's full day.
(Total travel time: 4-5 hours) (This service is on a private basis.)
In Fez, you will be able to explore the UNESCO protected Fez Medina with a private guided half day tour. Since this can be confusing due to well over 9,000 streets and alleyways, your guide will take you to the most worthwhile parts, including the Fondouk Nejjarine, the tanneries and the various craft souks. Lunch is included today on the tour. (This service is on a private basis.)
An old and noble city, Fez knows that it is the center of culture and intellectualism in Morocco. Many of Morocco's important historic movements began in Fez, and Fez has seen ruler after ruler come and go, and has stood strong for 1,200 years. This history is plain to see as one navigates its medina's narrow passages, smells its smells, and hears its sounds. Tourism money has poured into Fez in the past couple of decades, adding fantastic modern riads to compliment an ancient lifestyle.
Today, from 10:00am to 2:00pm, you'll enjoy a cooking workshop* and have the afternoon free to explore more sites in Fez. Some other sites of interest in Fez are the King's Palace, the Pottery Complex, the Batha Museum, and the Mellah/Jewish Quarter since the Merenid period. The Jews lived here and received protection from the sultan. The main street is especially interesting with its balconies and Art Deco Zellij mosaic.
*You need to walk to Café Clock from your hotel. We recommend you leave at 9:30am (This service is on a private basis.)
Today, you will be taken to Meknes, one of Morocco's impressive Imperial Cities. You can explore this city on your own, or enjoy a private guided trip to see the main sites (not included). Some sites of interest in Meknes are the famous gateway known as "Bab Mansour" and the Hedim Square, the Granary & stables, as well as Moulay Ismail's tomb. Following, you'll continue on to Rabat for the night.
(Travel time = 4-6 Hours) (This service is on a private basis.)
Though it may come as a surprise if you've never heard of it, Rabat is Morocco's capital. Most tourists haven't discovered Rabat yet, but those who have, have found a beautiful, cosmopolitan city rivaling Casablanca for modernity and activity. Monuments found within the city date back to ancient Rome, and are well-kept. All this results in a destination where foreigners are a novelty, and you can enjoy a modern Moroccan city all on your own.
Today, you will be picked up at your hotel and transferred to the airport. (This service is on a private basis.)
This boutique hotel is just 325ft from Asilah’s beach. It offers air-conditioned accommodations and several terraces. Rooms at Al Alba feature traditional Moroccan architecture and décor. They are equipped with a private bathroom, shower and free Wi-Fi. Al Alba serves a continental breakfast each day and traditional Moroccan cuisine for lunch and dinner. Guests can dine in the air-conditioned dining room or on the terrace. Al Alba is a 5-minute drive from the medina (historic quarter) and a 20-minute drive from Tangier Airport.
A beautiful riad in the heart of the Chefchaouen medina, Riad Casa Perleta offers amazing decor and a friendly staff. The rooms are elegant with custom tadelakt bathrooms, air conditioning, and carved wood doors. The rooftop is amazing with views of the countryside and a cute little kitchen for guests to enjoy tea or breakfast. The center of Casa Perleta is a sunny atrium full of plants and inhabited by the riad’s resident pet dog. Perfect for a quiet, romantic getaway in Chefchaouen.
This Riad was built at the beginning of the last century by Mohammed Chergui, aristocrat of that period. Due to its location, in between the two mains street of the Médina, the Riad Salama is really a small enchanting oasis. It has a beautiful open mosaic courtyard - different from traditional riads, with a small pool and a lovely seated area with lots of natural shade. With two regular rooms, two luxury rooms and two suites it's never going to be crowded and can be a real sun trap in the afternoon. Tasteful stained glass windows provide character, and each of its rooms features a balcony or patio with a view over the garden, traditional Moroccan décor, lots of light, and a private bathroom with a hairdryer and amenities.
The Kalaa is a Kasbah from the Almoravide dynasty built by the Emir Ben Tachfine on the banks of the Bouregreg river. It was constructed in 1140 AD for protection against enemy forces. A recent archeological dig near the Oudayas excavated sections of the original Kasbah. Constructed in 1815, in the heart of the medina ramparts, only a few steps from the ocean, the Riad Kalaa has undergone a thorough and lengthy restoration, using artisanal workmanship traditional to Morocco. The Riad is unusually large with 11 rooms and suites, all en suite with central heating, Wifi and a safe-deposit box. Some of the rooms have an open fire. The architecture of the Riad is quite unique, with nooks and crannies, terraces, alcoves and salons, ensuring an intimate, harmonious and restful ambiance for all guests.