Morocco is a land of dramatic contrasts—vast deserts, snowcapped mountains, ancient ruins, sacred mosques, imposing fortresses & spirited markets. Here, one can see the influence of Phoenicians, Romans, Berbers, Jews, Arabs, and the Portuguese & French.

Starting at: $5,879 * Includes airfare, taxes & all fees Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Sand dunes of Morocco  Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca  Ait ben Haddou  Colorful architecture in Rabat  Traditional spices in a Moroccan bazaar  Traditional tile decoration in Morocco  Roman ruins of Volubilis  Roman mosaics at Volubilis  Traditional architectural design of Morocco  Entrance to the Royal Palace, Fez  Smithsonian travelers relax on the sand dunes. Credit: Amy Kotkin  Berber village in the Atlas Mountains  Koutoubia Mosque, Marrakech  Djemaa El Fna at dusk, Marrakech

Splendors of Morocco

From Imperial Cities to the Sahara

14 days from $5,879 | includes airfare, taxes and all fees

Morocco is a land of dramatic contrasts—vast deserts, snowcapped mountains, ancient ruins, sacred mosques, imposing fortresses & spirited markets. Here, one can see the influence of Phoenicians, Romans, Berbers, Jews, Arabs, and the Portuguese & French.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

TOUR BROCHURE

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WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

This was an amazing trip to an exotic land. The Sahara alone is worth the trip, but to see Fez and the mountains on the same trip, in the same country is amazing. Truly a sublime experience that I will always treasure. 

- Melanie P.

Our trip wasn't a "trip" rather, it was an experience! Every logistical detail was attended to with complete professionalism. The quality of our accommodation, travel, and restaurants as well as entertainment and education was unrivaled. I have told all my friends how impressed I was with this experience! 

- Kristina P.

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

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SPECIAL VALUE

This tour is specially designed for a small group of 16 to 24 Smithsonian travelers and offers outstanding travel value. Prices include airfare, airline taxes, fuel surcharges, and departure fees.

Overview

Morocco is a land of dramatic contrasts—vast deserts and snowcapped mountains, ancient ruins and sacred mosques, and imposing fortresses and spirited markets. Here, one can see the influence of Phoenicians, Romans, Berbers, Jews, Arabs, and the Portuguese and French.

Highlights Include

  • Ancient Imperial Capitals and World Heritage Sites: One of Morocco's four ancient imperial cities, Rabat is the present-day capital. Here, discover the fortified Kasbah of the Oudaias, Andalusian Gardens, and the necropolis of Chellah. In Meknes, Morocco's youngest imperial city and a World Heritage site, visit the Bab el Mansour gateway and other sites, then travel to the nearby Roman ruins of Volubilis, known for its intricate mosaics. Spend two days in Fez, Morocco's oldest imperial city. In its medina,  a World Heritage site, view the artisans' quarters and madrassahs (religious schools). You'll also visit the royal gates, the Museum of Fez, and the old Jewish quarter with its 17th-century synagogue and home of the 12th-century Jewish scholar Maimonides. 
  • Atlas Mountains and the Sahara Desert: Cross the fertile plains to the Atlas Mountains, with its diverse terrain and Berber villages, and the Sahara Desert. Watch the sunset on the breathtaking sand dunes of Merzouga from atop a camel and stay at a kasbah-style hotel at the edge of the Sahara. Journey to the spectacular Todra Gorge and travel along the "Route of a Thousand Kasbahs," an ancient caravan route known for its fortified villages such as the captivating Ait ben-Haddou, a World Heritage site. 
  • Marrakech and Casablanca: In the imperial city of Marrakech, see the Koutoubia Mosque and in the main square of Djemaa el-Fna, a World Heritage site, watch snake charmers, entertainers, and vendors vie for attention. Other highlights include the Majorelle Garden and the Berber Museum. In the commercial center of Casablanca, a city tour features the harbor area and magnificent Hassan II Mosque.
  • Cultural Experiences: Meet with a family in Fez and with a local imam who discusses the Muslim faith. Enjoy dinner at a family-run riad, watch artisans make pottery, and attend a concert of enchanting Arabic music.

This was an amazing trip to an exotic land. The Sahara alone is worth the trip, but to see Fez and the mountains on the same trip, in the same country is amazing. Truly a sublime experience that I will always treasure. 

- Melanie P.

Our trip wasn't a "trip" rather, it was an experience! Every logistical detail was attended to with complete professionalism. The quality of our accommodation, travel, and restaurants as well as entertainment and education was unrivaled. I have told all my friends how impressed I was with this experience! 

- Kristina P.

Itinerary

Day 1 — Depart the U.S. for Casablanca, Morocco

Day 2 — Casablanca and Rabat

After arriving in Casablanca, the commercial center of Morocco (and of all North Africa), proceed to Rabat, and check into your hotel near famed Hassan Tower. Tonight enjoy dinner at the hotel. (D)

Day 3 — Rabat

One of Morocco’s four ancient capitals, or imperial cities, Rabat is the present-day capital, at once historic and contemporary as you discover on today’s tour. Visit the fortified Kasbah of the Oudaias, the peaceful Andalusian Gardens, and the necropolis of Chellah, built on ancient Roman ruins. Cross the river to Sale for lunch in a private home followed by a visit to the new Mohammed VI contemporary art museum and a walk through the medina (old city). Late afternoon return to your hotel before enjoying dinner together at Dinarjat, an acclaimed restaurant in Rabat’s Old Town. (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Meknes, Volubilis, Fez

Depart Rabat for Fez this morning, stopping along the way in Meknes, Morocco’s youngest imperial city (and World Heritage site). Visit the Bab el Mansour gateway and the ruins of the imperial stables before lunch in a local restaurant. Continue to the ancient Roman ruins at the site of Volubilis, known for its intricate and colorful mosaics. Upon arrival in Fez check into your elegant hotel adjacent to the medina, another World Heritage site. (B,L,D)

Day 5 — Fez

Explore Morocco’s oldest imperial city, considered the “Athens of Africa.” Begin with a walking tour of Fez’s fascinating medina, focusing on the artisans’ quarters, the 14th-century Koranic schools, and Al Karaouine, the medieval theological university.

Return to the hotel for lunch and some time at leisure, then tour the old mellah (Jewish quarter) and its 17th-century synagogue, the royal gates, and the Museum of Fez. Tonight enjoy a private dinner at an intimate family-run riad in Fez. (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Fez

This morning return to the medina to discover some hidden treasures, including the Blue Gate; the medieval school of Bouanania; the 12th-century home of Jewish scholar Maimonides; and the Museum of Fez. Also, visit the traditional quarter to watch artisans craft the acclaimed Fez pottery and ceramics. After lunch, enjoy a concert of enchanting Arabic music. Have free time to relax late afternoon before dining this evening at the hotel’s restaurant. (B,D)

Day 7 — Midelt and Erfoud

Cross the fertile plains beyond Fez to the Middle Atlas mountain range. Densely forested slopes of cedar, cork, and pine give way to arid steppes on these historic routes, where Berbers once fled Arab invaders. Stop in the small town of Midelt for lunch, then cross the Ziz River, passing rows of sky-scraping palm trees and fortified villages before reaching your kasbah-style hotel in Erfoud late in the day. Dinner tonight is at the hotel. (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Erfoud, Rissani, Merzouga

Visit the city of Rissani and explore its 18th-century ksar, a virtually impenetrable warren of alleys. Conclude the day with a sunset excursion to the breathtaking sand dunes at Merzouga. In the enormous silence of the Sahara Desert, watch the sunset over the endless dunes from atop a camel. (B,L,D)

Day 9 — Tinehir, Todra Gorge, Ouarzazate

One impressive scene unfolds after another on today’s journey to the snowcapped High Atlas. See the terraced riverside village of Tinehir and spectacular 984-foot Todra Gorges, home to rare bird and plant species. Following lunch, visit El Kelaa des Mgouna, Morocco’s “rose capital,” then set out on the fabled “Route of a Thousand Kasbahs” ancient caravan route, a region of fortresses with elaborately decorated façades. Spend the evening in the town of Ouarzazate the “door of the desert”. (B,L,D)

Day 10 — Ait ben-Haddou and Marrakech

En route to Marrakech, tour Ait ben-Haddou, a World Heritage site. In its old section, deep red kasbahs are packed together so tightly they appear to be a single unit. Descend from the High Atlas, passing through typical fortified villages with stone houses and earthen roofs. Arriving in Marrakech in the late afternoon, enjoy some leisure time before dinner at the hotel. (B,L,D)

Day 11 — Marrakech

The imperial city of Marrakech, once the capital of southern Morocco, becomes the focus for today. Begin with the beautifully proportioned Koutoubia Mosque with its distinctive 282-foot minaret, then continue to the Andalusian-style El Bahia Palace, followed by the ruins of the 16th-century Palais El Badii. In the city’s main square, Djemaa el-Fna, a World Heritage site, snake charmers, entertainers, and vendors vie for attention. Weave your way through stall after stall of Marrakech’s souk, to view the carpets, leather, and other goods created by local artisans. Dinner tonight is on your own in this exotic city. (B,L)

Day 12 — Marrakech

Travel by horse-drawn carriage from Menara Park to Majorelle Garden, a private botanical garden with some 15 species of birds native to North Africa and known for its cobalt blue accents. Visit the newly renovated Berber Museum, with art and artifacts reflecting Berber culture in Morocco.

This afternoon, enjoy an exciting meeting when you visit the home of a local imam to discuss the Muslim faith. Dinner tonight will be at a local restaurant in the city’s Old Town. (B,D)

Day 13 — Casablanca

Return to Casablanca and take a city tour in the afternoon, featuring the harbor area, city hall and tribunal, and the magnificent Hassan II Mosque. Tonight celebrate your Moroccan adventure during a farewell dinner at a festive and lively restaurant. (B,D)

Day 14 — Casablanca and the U.S.

Depart Casablanca for the U.S. on individual flights. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)