Explore the beautiful Imperial Cities of Morocco
This trip is an excellent introduction to Morocco’s centuries-old culture in a remarkably short space of time. You’ll visit the country’s three most beautiful imperial cities, ancient strongholds with maze-like streets surrounded by towering walls. You’ll see colourful markets, grand mosques, Koranic schools and ancient palaces. You’ll visit splendid Roman ruins, Morocco’s most important pilgrim city, its capital city and the snow-capped mountains of the High Atlas. And you’ll return home feeling that you’ve not only observed all of this Eastern culture at arm’s length but that you’ve been immersed up to your neck in it!
Length: 7 days
Price: from €650
This trek is available throughout the year. You can start on any date you wish.Book Now
This first day we spend in Casablanca. If you arrive early you can visit the Hassan II Mosque, the world’s second largest and the only working mosque in Morocco that can be visited by non-Muslims.
Today we’ll drive via Rabat to the charming city of Meknes, with its yellow ochre houses and green tiles, situated amongst orchards and olive groves. Formerly an imperial city, it boasts a huge system of ramparts that form part of the ancient palace complex.
A short drive from Meknes will take us to the once-great Roman city of Volubilis, where we can pay a combined visit to its impressive ruins and to the nearby pilgrim city which holds the bones of the founder of Islam in Morocco, Moulay Idriss. We then drive further to Fes.
Today we pay a visit to the old medina of Fes is a particularly exciting experience because when you enter the sprawling labyrinthine alleys you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Donkeys and mules are the only form of transport in these steep and narrow streets. The most delicious scents come from the souk, where perfumes and spices are traded. But the most appalling stink from the leather tanneries, where men often stand up to their waists treating leather in noxious baths in much the same way as has been done for centuries, shouldn’t put you off going there too. Ethnic leather goods make great souvenirs!
Today we’ll leave for the largest of all the imperial cities and the southern capital, Marrakech, where we will spend the final three nights of the tour. Our journey will take us through the Middle Atlas Mountains, where cedar forests abound, and nearer to Marrakech we’ll be able to glimpse the even more imposing snow-covered peaks of the High Atlas Mountain.
Today you have a free day to explore Marrakech. Marrakech has a magical reputation because of its immense souks (bazaars), numerous landmarks and ancient Berber heritage. Its central focus is Djemaa El Fna, the famous square where young and old alike gather every day to enjoy arts and crafts, storytellers, snake-charmers, herbal doctors and jugglers. As darkness falls food-stalls appear and you would be forgiven for feeling that you’d stepped back a thousand years or more.
Marrakech is also famous for great gardens, of which the Majorelle Gardens, created in 1920 by the French artist of the same name, is probably the most beautiful. The bright blue villa contrasts perfectly with the surrounding tropical plants growing in enormous jars and pots.
Departure from Marrakech.
For Atlas Trekking you need to prepare as you would for walking in any mountain region; it can be warm and sunny during the day but the weather in the mountains can quickly change from sunshine to snow and cold winds (autumn through late spring). Please do not leave any rubbish behind you; carry out what you carry in.
Atlas Treks are tailored to match the season and your level of fitness. You have the choice of basing yourself in Berber Guesthouses, from where you can take daily walks, or you can Atlas Mule Trek for 2+ days. On mule treks you usually have the choice of staying in Berber Guesthouse/with families or wild camping in 2-person tents. In addition to regular packing, here is a Check List for Atlas Trekking:
Tend to be short day walks and rambles at low altitudes. Grade 1 walks can be enjoyed by anyone who leads a reasonably active life and no special preparation is required.
Will usually involve some longer walks (4-6 hours/day) at low altitudes (below 3000m). Some previous hill walking experience would be beneficial but these walks should be within the capabilities of those who lead a normal active life. Grade 2 walking tours may contain some optional strenuous days, and in order to get the best out of the trip we would advise that you tone up your fitness before you join.
Are for the more serious hill walker and a higher level of physical fitness is required. Walking days are normally 6-8 hours and may involve up to 900m or more of ascent and descent. You should be prepared for several consecutive days walking, often at higher altitudes, so stamina is important.