Morocco: Marrakesh + Essaouira

Select Experience Tour, Morocco: Marrakesh & EssaouiraSelect Experience Tour, Morocco: Marrakesh & Essaouira

Morocco

Marrakesh + Essaouira

overview

The very name Morocco conjures up images of exotic culture rich with Bedouin and French influence. Colorful Marrakesh is the most important former imperial city in Morocco’s history, and every footstep seems to echo with an ancient grandeur. Your historic hotel places you in the heart of the city’s fascinating medina—the ancient Arab Quarter filled with winding streets and intriguing shops. The cuisine, redolent with spices, is seductive; learn its secrets with a half-day cooking workshop. Other pleasures include famous souks, the Dar Si Said Museum of Moroccan Arts, and the Palais de la Bahia—a fine example of Moroccan architecture with beautifully carved woodwork, marble floors, tiled panels—and living quarters for 24 concubines!

 

On the second half of your journey, Essaouira welcomes with its laid back North African charm. A tantalizing town, it dazzles with endless shades of blue: from the deep blue skies and sea to its painted shutters, doors and tilework. Indulge in a bike or camel ride, a hammam spa experience, and the superbly fresh seafood of this former Portuguese port.

Activity Level
Activities vary and
are accessible to
most fitness levels;
see full itinerary
Meet
Marrakesh, Morocco
Depart
Marrakesh, Morocco
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7 days, 6 nights Trip Includes 

Trip Includes

  • Accommodations for six nights (with private bath)
  • Meals: 6 breakfasts and 2 lunches 
  • Full-day tour of Marrakesh with expert, local guide
  • Hands-on cooking lesson
  • Terres d’Amanar excursion and activities: bike ride or zip line
  • Guided tour of Argan cooperative
  • Guided tour of Essaouira with expert, local guide
  • Guided (or self-guided) bike ride, camel or horseback ride
  • Private ground transportation from the meeting point to the departure point
  • Entrance fees and special events as noted in the itinerary
  • The unbeatable and cumulative experience of the Country Walkers staff
Number of Travelers
Total in your party
Price From
per person double occupancy

Surcharges may apply for solo travelers as well as for trips during New Year’s, Christmas, or national holidays.

Call 800.234.6900 to book this trip.

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Itinerary and Accommodations

Days
Destination
1
Marrakesh
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2
Marrakesh
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3
Marrakesh
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4
Essaouira
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5
Essaouira
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6
Essaouira
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7
Essaouira
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Day 1

Marrakesh

Arrival in Marrakesh

Upon arrival in Marrakesh and checking in to your legendary hotel, a deluxe traditional riad in the heart of the pedestrian medina market quarter of the city, you are immediately enveloped in plush Moroccan décor—you may choose to unwind from your travels in the hammam spa, or step out to begin your independent explorations of this fascinating city.

Your hotel has three restaurants to choose from within its walls, or you may wish to venture out with your concierge’s recommendation to a restaurant in the nearby Djma el Fna square—truly one of the world’s most amazing public spaces—where an entertaining scene of storytellers, snake charmers, acrobats, restaurants, and vendors unfolds each evening.

La Maison Arabe

Marrakesh, Morocco

Ideally situated in the heart of the medina, or ancient quarter, this historic boutique hotel dating from 1946 boasts three restaurants, a piano bar, and a world-famous cooking school as well as a pool and spa (including two traditional hammam steam rooms), where natural products from the region are used during the treatments. Comfortable and luxurious with flower-filled inner courtyards, traditional Moroccan design and craftsmanship are evident throughout.

Day 2

Marrakesh

Guided walking tour of Marrakesh; easy city walking

A full-day guided walking tour takes you to Marrakesh’s famous sites as well as its lesser-known treasures. After a delightful breakfast that includes plenty of fresh fruit and tempting Moroccan cakes, you set out for a day of exploring the medina and its labyrinth of narrow streets and famous souks or markets on a private guided tour in Marrakesh. On the day’s route are the Dar Si Said (the Museum of Moroccan Arts), the Palais de la Bahia (a haven of shady courtyards and blue mosaic walls built for Bou Ahmed that also included quarters for his four wives and numerous concubines). You also visit the Jewish Quarter or Mellah where your guide points out the distinctive style of architecture used in this neighborhood in contrast to the Arab style. You continue on to the intricately carved Saadian Tombs, constructed during the reign of Sultan Ahmed El Mansour in 1557. Your final stop of the day is at the Maison de la Photographie, exhibiting photographs taken in Morocco from the 1870s to the 1950s, one of the few places open to the public that provides an overview of photographic history in Morocco. During this busy day, you have a break for lunch in the shady inner courtyard of the Café Arabe. Later in the afternoon, your guide returns with you to your hotel, where you may continue your own explorations into the evening.

La Maison Arabe

Marrakesh, Morocco

Ideally situated in the heart of the medina, or ancient quarter, this historic boutique hotel dating from 1946 boasts three restaurants, a piano bar, and a world-famous cooking school as well as a pool and spa (including two traditional hammam steam rooms), where natural products from the region are used during the treatments. Comfortable and luxurious with flower-filled inner courtyards, traditional Moroccan design and craftsmanship are evident throughout.

Day 3

Marrakesh

Cooking lesson; Afternoon, Terres D’Amanar, hike or zip line

A perfect introduction to Moroccan culture and a delightful lunch, this morning you proceed to a hands-on half-day cooking workshop, conducted either by a dada (traditional Moroccan cook) or a chef from the hotel’s legendary restaurant. A maximum of 10 participants work alongside a translator (Arabic/English/French), using easy-to-use equipment, so you can reproduce the recipes at home in your own kitchen. Your final product is your own lunch—preparing either an appetizer and a main dish, or a main dish and dessert.

This afternoon, you have the opportunity to get out of the city, just a 45-minute drive, and explore the countryside at the foothills of the High Atlas Mountains. You are welcomed at the Terres D’Amanar Estate, a lovely property bordering Toubkal National Park that offers outdoor activities from walking and biking to an exciting zip line—North Africa’s highest! A landscape of hills and valleys, open vistas and low forest, the estate is a successful “eco-tourism” project partnering with local villages and providing employment and good stewardship. You return in the early evening to your hotel, to enjoy a final evening in Marrakesh’s intriguing streets and squares, or in your hotel.

La Maison Arabe

Marrakesh, Morocco

Ideally situated in the heart of the medina, or ancient quarter, this historic boutique hotel dating from 1946 boasts three restaurants, a piano bar, and a world-famous cooking school as well as a pool and spa (including two traditional hammam steam rooms), where natural products from the region are used during the treatments. Comfortable and luxurious with flower-filled inner courtyards, traditional Moroccan design and craftsmanship are evident throughout.

Day 4

Essaouira

Transfer to Essaouira; Argan cooperative visit en route

This morning you bid farewell to Marrakesh and travel west (approximately 3 hours) to the Atlantic Coast and Essaouira, the white-washed port originally settled by the Portuguese in the 16th century. A brief stop before arriving into town offers an overview of the unique Moroccan product of argan oil. A 30-minute guided tour of the cooperative provides insight into its production from the crushed nuts of the argan tree.

Formally known as Mogador, you may proceed to Essaouira’s waterfront for a seafood lunch, and later an independent afternoon exploring its harbor, bustling with sardine-fishing boats, or perhaps indulging in your hotel’s amenities such as its rooftop pool, with a view over the medina and ocean, or its enticing spa. Later this evening, you may choose one of your hotel’s four restaurants such as the Moroccan gourmet restaurant, courtyard patio, or panoramic rooftop terrace.

L'Heure Bleue Palais

Essaouira, Morocco

A four-star Relais & Châteaux property in the heart of Essaouira reflects this crossroads of European and African cultures in its traditional Moroccan architectural design around a central courtyard, and its sophisticated colonial-style décor. Dining options include a courtyard patio, rooftop terrace, Moroccan restaurant, and English lounge. Additional amenities include a panoramic rooftop terrace and swimming pool and a spa with traditional hammam and private massage rooms.

Day 5

Essaouira

Guided walking tour of Essaouira; easy city walking

After breakfast, you meet your guide in the lobby of the hotel for a walking tour of this fortified town, including the medieval walled medina, the Jewish Mellah quarter, the port, and 18th-century “scala” harbor fortifications. You also visit the Moulay Abdellah museum with its small collection of jewelry, costumes, weapons, musical instruments, and carpets from the region. Concluding the tour by mid-afternoon, you are free to continue your explorations of this striking “blue and white” town for the remainder of the day and evening, enjoying your hotel and its central location. A wide sandy beach extends from Essaouira’s port to the south of the town, and just off shore lie the Iles Purpuraires, the islets from which the Phoenicians collected the seashells producing the famous royal blue dye. Returning to your hotel, you may choose a dining option within the property, or venture out to a nearby restaurant.

L'Heure Bleue Palais

Essaouira, Morocco

A four-star Relais & Châteaux property in the heart of Essaouira reflects this crossroads of European and African cultures in its traditional Moroccan architectural design around a central courtyard, and its sophisticated colonial-style décor. Dining options include a courtyard patio, rooftop terrace, Moroccan restaurant, and English lounge. Additional amenities include a panoramic rooftop terrace and swimming pool and a spa with traditional hammam and private massage rooms.

Day 6

Essaouira

Morning options, Diabat ranch: bike ride (self-guided or guided), camel ride, or horseback ride, 2½ hours total. Afternoon: independent exploration

After breakfast in the courtyard restaurant of your hotel, a 15-minute transfer takes you to the nearby coastal village of Diabat and the family-run Ranch de Diabat nestled near the dunes. In addition to a stable of well-cared-for horses and camels, the ranch is surrounded by a network of trails on which you can choose to walk, bicycle, try a camel ride, or enjoy a horseback-riding excursion. By horse or camel, you can saunter along the beach with wide Atlantic views and waves crashing. By bicycle, you can ride along the beach back to Essaouira and around its walls, or with a guide circle the ruins of the Sultan’s Palace and Fort Al Baroud. All options include a pause for traditional Moroccan mint tea.

In the afternoon, you can return to stroll through the medina and along the seawall at your leisure, perhaps bargaining for some last treasures, on your final night in this fascinating port.

L'Heure Bleue Palais

Essaouira, Morocco

A four-star Relais & Châteaux property in the heart of Essaouira reflects this crossroads of European and African cultures in its traditional Moroccan architectural design around a central courtyard, and its sophisticated colonial-style décor. Dining options include a courtyard patio, rooftop terrace, Moroccan restaurant, and English lounge. Additional amenities include a panoramic rooftop terrace and swimming pool and a spa with traditional hammam and private massage rooms.

Day 7

Essaouira

Transfer to Marrakesh for departure

This morning, after a leisurely breakfast, you make the return (3-hour) transfer to Marrakesh for your onward flight or travels.

Itinerary Disclaimer

Bear in mind that this is a typical itinerary, and the actual activities, sites, and accommodations may vary due to season, special events, weather, or transportation schedules. We reserve the right to alter the itinerary since tour arrangements are made up to a year in advance, and unforeseen circumstances that mandate change may arise. Itinerary changes are made to improve the tour and your experience. If you are currently booked on a CW adventure, an itinerary has been sent to you for your exact departure date. Please call CW at 800.464.9255 if you have any questions about the exact itinerary or hotels selected for any of our tours.

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