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What’s the Best Tour in Morocco?

What’s the best tour of Morocco?

artisan in Fes MedinaLike anywhere, Morocco is a personal and subjective experience. This is a country that people either love or hate, there is rarely an in between. If you are looking for stunning sandy beaches, pristine wilderness, and great tourist infrastructure – Morocco is not the place to come. You will hate it if you come with those or many other expectations.

However, if you are coming for an experience in the authenticity of an exotic land and you aren’t looking to stay in a generic hotel or resort then you might find this to be one of the great stops in your travels.

High End Tours – Travel Like a Sultan

travel like a SultanThe thing is, you can find great high-end tours here that will take care of all the dirty work for you and make sure that you enjoy the most of your time. The thing is, you have to pay for it. For a lot of folks, that’s worth it. They fly into Marrakesh, get private luxury transfers to a private luxury riad or villa from which they have private tours and drivers that take them to each of their destinations. Along the way, they are kept fairly isolated from beggars, touts, merchants, and the normal everyday variety of Moroccan person, which is a shame because one of the great joys of Morocco is the hospitality and warmth of the normal people who lead every day lives.

If you want to travel like a sultan you can find fluent English language drivers and guides who will take you to the finest 5 star riads and hotels and show you mind blowing beauty and history. For this kind of trip, your guide will be your window to the Moroccan world and so top shelf guides are fluent in communicating language and culture and of course in knowing the best places to see and the most exciting things to do. All of this with confidence and security.Explore the ancient medina of Fes, trek across the Sahara by camel, or soak in the ambinace and eat the delicious gourmet food of Marrakesh.

Long Weekend Getaways and Short Trips to Morocco

tour of Casablanca Hassan II MosqueFor a tour of five days in Morocco, my recommendation would be to focus on one city and then to perhaps take an overnight trip to the desert. Something like this:

DAy 1) Fly into Fez – Guided tour of the Medina
Day 2) Private transfer day trip to Moulay Idriss and the
Roman ruins of Volubulis
Day 3) Private Transport to Merzouga
Camel Caravan to Oasis
Overnight at Oasis
Day 4) Back to Merzouga by Camel
Back to Fes by Private Transfer
Moroccan Hammam
Day 5) Explore Fez
Fly out of Fez

You see, the time goes very quickly. Less than five days and you should focus on just one spot such as Tangier, Tetuan, Agadir, Essouaria, Fes, Rabat, Casablanca, Meknes or Marrakech. A three day trip to any of these cities can make for a relaxing long weekend from Europe, Turkey, or the Middle East.

Longer Trips to Morocco 6-14 days

the best tour of MoroccoPersonally, I think a nine day tour of Morocco is a great way to get a feel for the country and to experience some of the best of what it has to offer. Starting in either Marrakech or Fez offers you the convenience of a flight in and a great starting point for visiting the kasbahs, the Atlas mountains, and amazing locations such as Djemma el Fna Square in Marrakech or the astounding Kasbah of Ait Benhaddou.

No tour of Morocco is complete without a visit to Fes el-Bali, the ancient medina of Fes or a visit to the magnificent Sahara desert and Todra Gorges.

Keep in mind that most flights from the U.S.A. arrive in Casablanca or Marrakech. Flights from Europe have more flexibility in terms of initial destinations. Still, in terms of first impressions, Casablanca and Marrakech will both give you the chance to relax and acclimatize while offering plenty in interesting history and picturesque sites.

Marrakech is an imperial city that has been continuously occupied since neolithic times. It was the capital of the Berber empires and is perhaps the most African city in Morocco. Djemma el Fna for nearly 2000 years has offered story tellers, snake charmers, acrobats, magicians, food, dance, and fortune telling to adults and children alike. Nowhere will you find a place like Marrakech. Outside of Djemma el Fna there are myriad Berber rug vendors, dried fruit and spice stalls, leather and ironworkers’ shops and a wonderful Berber pharmacy.

South of Marrakech the High Atlas Mountains send their peaks up as high as 7,400 feet and to reach the Sahara you must cross them. Crossing the Atlas is a highlight in itself as on the way you will see panoramic views of snowy peaks above and lush oasis below. Through the Atlas and past Toubkal and you come to the mountain fortress (kasbah) of Ait Benhaddou. If it looks familiar then perhaps you have seen Lawrence of Arabia.

Nearby, the valley or a thousand Kasbahs offers days of exploration of Berber and Arab culture while the Dades and Todra Gorges are a paradise for hikers and photographers. The red rock formations, precariously set villages, and magnificent kasbahs of the region allow vistors to step back in time. Soaring cliffs and sheer rock walls make for some of the best climging in Africa.

Barbary Macaques in AsrouCrossing back over the Middle Atlas, it is possible to see Barbary Apes climging in Cedars in the forests of Azrou or to visit an alpine ski resort at Ifrane.

And of course there is more. The Imperial cities of Meknes, Rabat, Fes, and Marrakesh all offer days of exploration. Chefchauen, the blue village of the Rif mountains is, in itself the experience of a lifetime. Then there are the cities of the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts, Berber villages, and the Spanish enclaves of Cebta and Melila. Morocco offers so much to visitors.

What’s the best tour of Morocco? Your tour. Let me help you put it together.

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Vago Damitio

Damitio  (@vagodamitio) is the Editor-in-Chief for Vagobond. Life is good. You can also find him on Google+ and at Facebook

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