Medinas to Mountains of Northern Morocco

About the Experience

On your 10 day journey, you will discover the rich culture and stunning natural beauty of Northern Morocco, from the famous Fes medina to the blue city of Chefchaouen, enveloped by magnificent ranges and valleys in the heart of the Rif Mountains.

The adventure begins in Casablanca with a tour of the Hassan II Mosque, one of the largest in the world, an architectural masterpiece on the shores of the Atlantic. We’ll travel to Fes and explore the largest medina in the world. The medina seems endless, overflowing with spices, colourful ceramics and leather on display from the Chouwara Tanneries, its huge, brightly-coloured bowls of dyes like an art kit for a giant.

You will trot along on horseback toward the sacred city of Mouly Driss Zerhoun, its creamy cluster of buildings hovering like an image from a fairy tale. We’ll visit the fantastical “Blue City” of Chefchaouen, a photographer’s muse with its striking blue-washed buildings with red tiled roofs and intricate tilework mosaics dancing along the edges of doorways throughout the medina.

We’ll head deeper into the Rif Mountains to discover a natural geological marvel-the Akchour Waterfalls and God’s Bridge. We’ll stay with a local Berber family and learn about the Jbala (mountain dweller) way of life. You will savour Moroccan tagine, chicken pastilla and sip mint tea with Berber families in their homes.

The journey will be complete in Marrakech, with a tour of the old Medina, now a UNESCO world heritage site. You will marvel at the ancient walled cities of pisé and the architecture constructed by the Berber clans dating back to 110 BC. In bold contrast, you’ll admire the elegant Islamic features found in the floral motifs, mosaic tiling and geometric designs of the fountains, mosques, plazas, palaces, courtyards and your riad accommodations. We’ll visit the brilliant blue urban oasis of the Marjorelle Gardens and feel renewed in a traditional Hammam spa.

Join Wild Women for a unique journey through the wilds and wonders of northern Morocco!

Click here to see the full itinerary!
Medinas to Mountains of Northern Morocco

About the Experience

On your 10 day journey, you will discover the rich culture and stunning natural beauty of Northern Morocco, from the famous Fes medina to the blue city of Chefchaouen, enveloped by magnificent ranges and valleys in the heart of the Rif Mountains.

The adventure begins in Casablanca with a tour of the Hassan II Mosque, one of the largest in the world, an architectural masterpiece on the shores of the Atlantic. We’ll travel to Fes and explore the largest medina in the world. The medina seems endless, overflowing with spices, colourful ceramics and leather on display from the Chouwara Tanneries, its huge, brightly-coloured bowls of dyes like an art kit for a giant.

You will trot along on horseback toward the sacred city of Mouly Driss Zerhoun, its creamy cluster of buildings hovering like an image from a fairy tale. We’ll visit the fantastical “Blue City” of Chefchaouen, a photographer’s muse with its striking blue-washed buildings with red tiled roofs and intricate tilework mosaics dancing along the edges of doorways throughout the medina.

We’ll head deeper into the Rif Mountains to discover a natural geological marvel-the Akchour Waterfalls and God’s Bridge. We’ll stay with a local Berber family and learn about the Jbala (mountain dweller) way of life. You will savour Moroccan tagine, chicken pastilla and sip mint tea with Berber families in their homes.

The journey will be complete in Marrakech, with a tour of the old Medina, now a UNESCO world heritage site. You will marvel at the ancient walled cities of pisé and the architecture constructed by the Berber clans dating back to 110 BC. In bold contrast, you’ll admire the elegant Islamic features found in the floral motifs, mosaic tiling and geometric designs of the fountains, mosques, plazas, palaces, courtyards and your riad accommodations. We’ll visit the brilliant blue urban oasis of the Marjorelle Gardens and feel renewed in a traditional Hammam spa.

Join Wild Women for a unique journey through the wilds and wonders of northern Morocco!

DAY ONE: WELCOME TO MOROCCO

Upon arrival at the international airport in Casablanca (CMN), you will be greeted and driven to your hotel for your first night in Morocco. Depending on when you arrive, this day will be at your leisure.  In the evening you will meet your group and tour leader, who will brief you about the trip and afterwards she will take you to dinner at Rick’s Café. This restaurant was designed to recreate the bar made famous by Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in the classic movie “Casablanca”.

 

DAY TWO: MAGNIFICIENT MOSQUE 

You will be picked up at the hotel and your first visit will be to the Hassan II mosque – Casablanca’s landmark building designed by the French architect Michel Pinseau. It is an extravagant symbol not only of the city but also of Morocco itself. Hassan II Mosque is one of the largest mosques in the world with a gigantic glass floor that can hold over 24,000 worshippers. Its minaret is the world’s tallest at 210 meters and its location looking out over the Atlantic gives it an exceptional beauty. Intricately carved marble pieces, vibrant mosaics and zellige tile details pay honour to traditional Islamic architecture, and yet it still manages to feel contemporary.

You will have lunch in Casablanca and then transfer to Fes – your home for the next few nights. 

You will overnight in a riad.  Originating from the Arabic term for ‘garden’ a riad is a Moroccan traditional house, normally two or more stories high, built around an inner courtyard with a garden and a fountain.  Dreamy!

 

DAY THREE: THE MAGICAL MEDINA OF FES

After your breakfast, you begin your exploration of the magnificent old medina of Fes, a maze of streets that have been left intact since the Middle Ages. Classified as a world heritage site in 1981 by UNESCO, the Fes medina is considered the largest medina in the Arab world, surrounded by 24 kilometres of walls.  The medina encloses 9500 houses, 176 mosques, 83 mausoleums, 11 madrasas dating from the Merenids dynasty and 40 hammams. The medina also encloses magnificent palaces.

After enjoying your lunch, continue your visit by visiting the Fes tanneries referred to as the Chouwara Tanneries. The tanneries, made of numerous ditches filled to the brim with an incredible variety of pigments, process skins for production of sheep, cow and goat leather in the traditional manner. You will have the opportunity to view the proceedings from a neighbouring rooftop terrace – a giant artist’s palette in all its colourful splendours.

You will then visit the ceramic cooperative and have a demonstration of this art. You will be fascinated by the gorgeous fountains, vases, dishes, cups and tilework.

Continue on to the Fes Jdid district, starting with a visit to the Royal Palace, the main monument of Fez el-Jdid. It offers impressive views over its finely carved doors. The creation of Fez el-Jadid marks the full development of the city and the climax of Moorish art illustrated by the construction of magnificent buildings.

At the end of your tour, return to your boutique riad in the old medina and enjoy a Moroccan dinner at your riad.

 

DAY FOUR: HORSEBACK RIDING IN MEKNES

Rise and have an early breakfast. We’ll then drive an hour to Meknes for a Moroccan horseback riding experience.  Divided into beginner and experienced horse riders, one group will take a 2-hour ride and the more experienced riders can go for a longer ride towards Mouly Driss Zarhoun. If you prefer not to go riding, an alternative activity will be offered.

Afterwards, drive to Mouly Idriss Zarhoun passing by Volubilis which is located in the foothills of the Zerhoun Massif. Volubilis takes its name from the Berber word Oualili, the name for the colourful flower of the convolvulus, a plant to be found in abundance in the region. Included on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1997, Volubilis is Morocco’s largest archaeological site.

Continue to Moulay Idriss, the oldest town in Morocco, founded by Moulay Idriss I in 789, after fleeing Mecca because of religious and tribal conflicts. It is located twenty kilometres north of Meknes, situated on a rocky peak overlooking the Oued Erroumane Valley – the plain upon which the Ancient Romans built their city Volubilis. This holy town holds a special place in the hearts of the Moroccan people. In addition to founding the town named after him, Moulay Idriss I also initiated construction of Fes, continued later by his son, Moulay Idriss II.

Lunch will be in Mouly Driss Zarhoun in a traditional restaurant. You’ll then return to Fes and your Riad for dinner and overnight.

 

DAY FIVE: THE BLUE CITY

Today is a transfer day and after breakfast, you’ll drive about three hours to Chefchaouen, a city in the cool Rif Mountains of northwest Morocco.

Upon arrival check-in to your riad.  You’ll have lunch in the medina followed by a guided tour of the blue city.  Chefchaouen is known for its striking blue-washed buildings with red-tiled roofs in the old town. Leather and weaving workshops line the steep cobbled lanes converging on the Plaza Uta El Hammam and its restored kasbah.

Return back to your riad for dinner and accommodation.

 

DAY SIX: HIKING TO AKCHOUR WATERFALLS

After breakfast, you will drive into the Rif Mountains for a day of hiking. Once there, you will have a couple of options.

Option 1: God’s Bridge Hike: The majestic God’s Bridge, also known as “Pont de Dieu” is a place of great natural beauty with geological formations and rolling hills surrounded by mountains that offer a superb view of the area’s magnificent natural history.  This trek takes about 2.5 hours round trip, is moderately difficult and may involve some stream crossings.

Option 2: Akchour Waterfalls: This hike will take you along the shade of the river, passing by trailside stalls operated by locals serving tagine, mint tea and freshly squeezed orange juice.  The waterfalls cascade over the local geology into pools below – a beautiful place to cool off and soak in the beauty of the region. Be sure to bring your swimsuit! This trek takes about 5 hours round trip, is moderately difficult and may involve some stream crossings.

You’ll enjoy a picnic lunch while hiking and then transfer back to your riad in Chefchaouen where you’ll have free time to explore the city. We’ll have dinner in a local restaurant.

 

DAY SEVEN: THE RIF MOUNTAINS

Today we leave Chefchaouen and head deeper into the Rif mountainside.  We will enjoy another trek with a local guide in the Talassemtane National Natural Park, which extends over 75,000ha and includes several mountainous massifs and the unique fir forest of Morocco. During the hike, which will last about five hours, you will be surrounded by striking nature as well as the Jbala daily life.  Jbala means ‘mountaineers’ or ‘Inhabitants of the Rif Mountains’.

We will reach our accommodation on foot and enjoy a typical lunch with a rural family. The family will share their knowledge and traditions. You’ll be invited to learn local cuisine and make your own Moroccan tagine.

Take a walk through the village to see the local daily life and then enjoy an overnight stay at Gite Talassemtane- an eco-guesthouse designed with sustainable tourism in mind. This gite was built using the traditional materials of the region and promotes the preservation of local culture, heritage and traditions, as well as provides a direct source of income for the community.

 

DAY EIGHT: TRAVEL TO MARRAKECH

After breakfast, you’ll transfer back to Chefchaouen and then on to Marrakech where you will conclude your Moroccan journey.

This is a long transfer day, but definitely worth the drive.  Part way, you will stop in Rabat for lunch. The capital of Morocco, Rabat is a modern town with a vibrant culture that has conserved its authenticity and historical grandiose.  Here, you will also have the opportunity to see the architecturally striking Hassan Tower and Med V Mausoleum.

Once in Marrakech, you’ll check in to your riad in the old medina and enjoy dinner.

 

DAY NINE: MYSTICAL MARRAKECH

Rise and enjoy your breakfast at the riad and then explore the old medina of Marrakech. Wander into Jemaa el Fna, the living heart of the city designated by UNESCO as ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage’. Its fame is related to its size, its bustle of activity and its unique atmosphere. 

You’ll enjoy lunch at a women’s cooperative and then visit the beautiful Majorelle Gardens. These gardens are filled with exotic flowers and plant life created by the French painter Jacques Majorelle, who came to live in Marrakesh in 1922. The artist painted the walls of his Art Deco villa and garden a vibrant and luminescent ultramarine.

Afterwards, you’ll enjoy a traditional hammam and massage at the luxurious La Maison Arabe.

Enjoy dinner in the medina and overnight at your riad.

 

DAY TEN: FAREWELL MOROCCO

There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time or book an additional night if you’d like to stay in Marrakech another day.  Transfer can be provided to Marrakech airport today if needed.

 

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