A magical small-group tour
Join us for a few unforgettable days in a place that’s just a short hop from Europe, offers all the modern conveniences you’d expect from a major city, and yet still remains a world away. In Marrakesh and its surroundings, beneath the High Atlas mountains, you’ll be transported to another realm - of warm sunshine even in the depths of winter, of maze-like half-roofed souks lined with a million different merchant’s stalls, of hidden squares, ancient buildings and unforgettable food. Stay in the tranquil surroundings of a traditional Riad, where life behind the closed walls offers an oasis of calm around a garden courtyard, and head out to immerse yourself in Marrakesh’s mesmerising melting pot of colour and sound.
WHAT DOES THE PRICE INCLUDE?
Day One: Fly to Morocco
Fly to Marrakesh, meet your Tour Manager and transfer to your Riad. Relax or, depending on the time you arrive, perhaps head out for your first taste of the city’s enchanting, exotic atmosphere this evening.
Day Two: Included Marrakesh Medina tour
Join your guide for an unforgettable tour of Marrakesh’s historic centre. Step into another world as you explore the city’s ancient Medina. Here, within the protective circle of the Medina’s red ochre walls, you’ll find the soaring tower of the Almohad Koutoubia Minaret, the exquisite carvings and mosaics of the Saadian Tombs, the dazzling tiled courtyards and elegant gardens of the Bahia Palace, the vast expanse of the city’s great square, Djemâa El Fna, and – of course – the souks.
Immediately north of Djemâa El Fna you’ll enter this maze of narrow streets and alleyways, filled with sound and colour, that house a fascinating collection of traditional markets, all arranged by craft or trade. Your guide will introduce you to the centuries-old ways of the souks, and you can look forward to returning to them under your own steam.
You’ll then return to Djemâa El Fna as it comes alive at the end of the day, changing from market-place into one of the world’s most colourful night markets, with countless foodstalls and a mesmerising mix of snake-charmers, acrobats, monkey-trainers, dancers, henna-tattoo artists, traditional storytellers and musicians. The atmosphere is heady, hypnotic and not-a-little hectic, but there’s always the chance to rise above it and take in the view from the terrace of the Café de France or the aptly named Café du Grand Balcon.
Day Three: Included Atlas Mountains tour
This morning we’ll head away from the city, and take a short drive into the foothills of the Atlas. This region of streams and waterfalls is dotted with Berber villages and hamlets that are homes to farmers and herdsmen whose lives have remained largely unchanged for centuries in this beautiful, but harsh environment. You’ll stop at a Berber souk to enjoy some mint tea and to take in the views. The mountains above are a favourite playground of Marrakshis, who flock to the valleys to escape the summer heat, and to the peaks in winter to indulge in the improbable pastime of skiing in Africa.
Back in Marrakesh this afternoon, why not explore one of the city’s wonderful gardens, like the Jardin Agdal, the Jardin Menara or the exquisite Jardin Marjorelle, which the late Yves St Laurent so lovingly restored? There’s also the chance to enjoy a traditional meal of tagine and be royally entertained by folk musicians and dancers.
Day Four: Optional day trip to Essaouira
Today you’ll have the chance to head west to the Atlantic resort of Essaouira. Here you’ll be free to take a dip in the ocean or a camel ride along the sandy beach; wander streets lined with white-washed, blue-shuttered houses; take in the views from atop the harbourside ramparts; and browse the goods on offer in Essaouira’s own souks, craft workshops and galleries.
You’ll return to Marrakesh via the celebrated Val d’Argan winery, founded in 1994, and already steadily building a reputation for excellent vintages. You’ll arrive back with plenty of time to return to Djemâa El Fna this evening.
Day Five: Optional Moroccan cookery course or massage
Head back into the Medina for some final shopping and sightseeing, or treat yourself to one of a range of very special optional experiences. Take a cookery course in the kitchens of the famed La Maison Arabe Hotel, relax in a hammam, or unwind with a rejuvenating Berber massage. This evening, head back to Djemâa El Fna one last time or join us for an optional 1001 Nights evening of music and traditional food served amid nomad tents and palm groves.
Day Six: Fly back to the UK
Say goodbye to Marrakesh, today, and return to the airport to board your flight home.
A Traditional Riad
Hotel transfer times
The transfer time from the airport to your hotel is approximately 30 minutes.
Hotel room tax
A room tax of approximately 26-28 Moroccan Dirhams per person per night is payable directly to the Riad/Riad Hotel on check-out.
If you have notified us of any special requirements, please check that they have been noted and acknowledged. This is especially important with any dietary needs you may have.
The majority of our tours involve a certain amount of walking, including a short walk from the coach stop to the town, attraction or venue you're visiting. If you are bringing a wheelchair, please let us know at the time of booking so that appropriate arrangements can be made. In many developing countries access is sometimes not as easy as at home. Should you have walking difficulties, getting around monuments and attractions may be harder and, in some cases, impossible. Should you have any concerns whatsoever please do contact us prior to travel.
Occasionally, for operational reasons, we may have to change the order of the excursions on your holiday. The final day-by-day itinerary will be confirmed on your Final Travel Documents, which you will receive approximately three weeks prior to your departure.
Requirements and advice can vary over time, and from person to person, so please contact your GP about eight weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or any other preventive measures.
Foreign Office Travel Advice
Visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice to find out the latest Foreign And Commonwealth Office travel advice for your holiday destination, as well as information about passports and visas.
In developing countries road networks are continually being improved and expanded, which can mean that, from time to time, roadworks and rough road surfaces can extend journey times. Some journeys are made on winding mountain roads and passes, which may also make for slow travelling - although the scenery is usually worth it! Many roads do not have separate pavements or safety barriers, and great care should be taken when crossing or walking alongside roads.