Morocco ~ Land of Enchantment

Morocco ~ Land of Enchantment

Morocco’s cultural riches and historical legacy are yours to enjoy on this eight-night program featuring stays in Marrakech and Rabat. Immerse yourself in the age-old traditions and treasures of ancient Morocco, from its towering minarets to surreal scenery and humming markets. Begin with six nights in Marrakech where we’ll visit the subtropical Jardin Majorelle and explore vibrant souks and a centuries-old square filled with storytellers and musicians. Witness the dazzling Bahia Palace and Koutoubia Mosque, towering above the medina; then delve into Morocco’s authentic culture during a calligraphy lesson and culinary tour. Venture to the beautiful Atlas Mountains to share tea with a welcoming Berber family and learn about their life. Cap off this thrilling adventure in Rabat, home to the impressive Royal Palace. Plus, visit Casablanca, a showcase of brilliant architecture and the Hassan II Mosque, a spectacular minaret with a richly decorated interior. This small-group adventure features deluxe hotels and a generous meal program featuring wine with dinner.

Trip Itinerary:

March 10 Depart gateway city

AHI FlexAir passengers depart for Marrakech, Morocco. Please check your luggage from your gateway city to your arrival city. Your claim checks should have the following airport code: RAK.

March 11 Marrakech, Morocco

Arrive at Marrakesh Menara Airport. Proceed through immigration to the baggage claim area and retrieve your luggage. After completing customs, AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for the group arrival transfer and Land Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer should exit the baggage claim area and proceed to the Arrivals Hall, where an AHI Travel representative will meet you.

Transfer to the Sofitel Marrakech Palais Imperial. Please note, if you arrive before check-in time, your room may not be immediately available.

Gather for a Welcome Reception tonight.

March 12 Marrakech

Enrichment: Moroccan History. From the Berber dynasty to modern day Morocco, gain insight into the fascinating history of this remarkable country.

Discovery: Exploring the Monuments of Marrakech. Nestled against a stunning backdrop of the snowcapped Atlas Mountains, the exotic city of Marrakech has long been a melting pot of African, Arabian and European cultures. Today, begin your exploration at the Saadian Tombs, the burial place of royals from the Saadi Dynasty. After the fall of the dynasty, the tombs were sealed off, only to be rediscovered in 1971. The cemetery features more than 100 tombs scattered across the gardens! Continue your discovery at the shaded souks, a lively, colorful marketplace located in the heart of the city’s medina. Uncover local culture while wending the maze-like markets, passing stalls selling barrels of olives, piles of spices, and vials of herbs and potions. Next, thrill to the sight of Palais Bahia, a not-to-be-missed landmark. Constructed in the 19th century by architect El Mekki for Si Moussa, chamberlain of Sultan Hassan I of Morocco, the palace boasts an array of luxurious apartments, courtyards, zellij mosaic floors and serene gardens. (Active)

After your walking tour, relax over a delicious lunch, followed by some time to rest and reflect.

Begin the early evening at the beautiful Koutoubia Mosque, easily recognized by its towering minaret. Built in the 12th century, the mosque is a blend of Moorish and Islamic architecture. Continue to Jemaa el-Fnaa, a gathering place for locals and tourists and a performance space for fire-eaters, acrobats, storytellers and musicians. Over the years, this expansive main square has become the beating heart of Marrakech, showcasing a spectrum of daily life. Watch the action from above at a rooftop café; then join your guide for a walk through the square. From food stalls serving up aromatic grilled meats to amusing street performers to the melodic flutes of snake charmers, get ready to experience a feast for the senses!

Indulge in Moroccan cuisine tonight during dinner.

March 13 Marrakech

Discovery: Gardens and Souks. Relish the tranquil Jardin Majorelle, a peaceful oasis bursting with colorful flora, reflecting pools, bubbling fountains and vivid cobalt architecture. Created by French artist Jacques Majorelle in the 1920s, the garden was later purchased and restored by Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé. After a stroll through this botanical retreat, visit the nearby Yves Saint Laurent Museum. The genius designer lived in Marrakech for more than 40 years, and the newly opened museum features an extensive collection of his haute couture and accessories, plus a library. Then, treat your senses to the aromas and flavors of ancient Moroccan culture during a special culinary journey through Marrakech’s souks and medina. Join a local guide to sample almonds, dry fruits and more, and learn even more about Moroccan spices, marinades and herbs. (Active)

Enrichment: Moroccan Culture. Learn how a blend of Arab, European and African influences, religions and traditions created Morocco’s captivating culture.

Discovery: Moroccan Feast. Savor a special banquet tonight when you gather for an authentic Moroccan dinner accompanied by traditional music.

March 14 Marrakech | Atlas Mountains

Discovery: Atlas Mountains. Encounter another side of Morocco during an excursion to the gorgeous Atlas Mountains, North Africa’s greatest mountain range, and delve into the fascinating Berber culture. Berbers, whose civilization reaches back more than eight millennia, are the original inhabitants of these mountains. Their lives are closely intertwined with the land and they make a living herding livestock and using age-old farming methods. The Berbers are known for their warm, kind, generous nature, which you will encounter today while visiting with a local family in their traditional home. Over authentic Berber bread and tea, learn about their fascinating traditions and culture. After, enjoy lunch complemented with stunning views of the mountains. (Moderate)

March 15 Marrakech

Discovery: A Lesson in Cooking and Calligraphy at Amal Women’s Center. Launched in 2012, this Marrakech-based non-profit Amal Women’s Center helps disadvantaged women learn cooking skills, gain roles within the catering and hospitality industries, and prepare for financial independence. Treat your palate to the flavors of Moroccan cuisine and learn about the country’s storied food culture during an insightful, authentic cooking lesson. Learn how to prepare a selection of Moroccan recipes — such as salads, bread, tagine and dessert — using traditional ingredients.

While your lunch is cooking, enjoy a lesson on the incredibly intricate art of Arabic calligraphy. Recognized as an art worthy of special reverence, calligraphy is considered an artistic expression of the highest rank in the Islamic world. Discover the aesthetically appealing elements and elaborate methods of calligraphy, and try your hand at reproducing the beautiful patterns, lines and curves. (Moderate)

Discovery: Dar El Bacha Palace. At Dar el Bacha Palace, visit the Museum of the Confluences, which features outstanding examples of craftsmanship. The palace was built in the late 19th century for the warlord Pasha Thami el Glaoui and his harem. Admire the palace’s woodwork, with twisted columns and carved doors, and notice the abundance of colors — jade palm trees, scarlet rose bushes, saffron columns and vivid zellige mosaic tilework. (Moderate)

Enjoy dinner with your fellow travelers this evening.

March 16 Marrakech

Free Time: Spend a full day at leisure to make your own discoveries. Your AHI Travel Director will be available to offer suggestions. You may wish to spend time people watching by the square with a mint tea or fresh orange juice in hand. Or, pick up a variety of special souvenirs and spices to take home.

March 17 Marrakech | Casablanca | Rabat

Following an early breakfast, depart for Casablanca by motor coach.

Discovery: Casablanca Tour. Explore the cosmopolitan city of Casablanca. Morocco's largest city is centuries old but looks modern, with its wide boulevards, public parks and white Art Deco architecture. Experience the vibe of city life in Casablanca’s central piazza, Place Mohammad V. Surrounding the square are excellent examples of the city’s unique Mauresque architecture. Among the beautiful structures to be seen include the Bank of Morocco, the Justice Palace, the French Consulate and the Post Building. Pause to admire the facade and stunning stained-glass windows of the Church of Notre-Dame de Lourdes.

Enjoy lunch at Rick’s Café, a re-creation of Rick’s Café Américain, the timeless nightclub in “Casablanca.”

Continue to the Hassan II Mosque, one of the most spectacular religious buildings in Morocco with its 690-foot minaret and richly decorated interior. Nestled on a promontory on the edge of the city, the structure stands like a beacon against the horizon and the Atlantic Ocean. (Mild)

With images of Casablanca dancing in your mind, transfer to Rabat and check in to the Sofitel Jardin des Roses.

March 18 Rabat

Discovery: Rabat Walking Tour. Discover the highlights of Rabat today. View the impressive façade and French-style landscaped gardens of the Royal Palace, the residence of Morocco’s royalty. Witness two of Morocco’s treasures located near the Bou Regreg River: the Mausoleum of Mohammad V and the Hassan Tower. Step inside the striking Mausoleum of Mohammad V, the resting place of past kings, to marvel at its opulent interior. Then gaze in wonder at the impressive minaret of Hassan Tower, rising above the ruins of its mosque. Continue to the Kasbah des Ouidaïas, a picturesque and quiet neighborhood with whitewashed houses and soul-stirring views of the Atlantic Ocean and Sale, Rabat’s sister city. Visit the Citadel of Chellah, which has been abandoned since the 1100s. For a thousand years before that, the enclave thrived as a port and city. Explore the grounds filled with Roman ruins, Islamic artifacts, gardens with fig and orange trees, and a magnificent doorway decorated with Arabic calligraphy. Enjoy lunch during your excursion today. (Moderate)

Tonight, gather for a Farewell Reception at the hotel.

March 19 Depart for gateway city

Bid farewell to Morocco. AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for a group transfer and Land Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer depart for Casablanca Airport for your return flights home. Your Travel Director will provide the details.


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