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Overview
Itinerary
Fitness / Practicalities
Tour Director


  • Discover the delights of Marrakesh, including the 16th century El Badi Palace

  • Explore the citadel of the Chellah and the Kasbah des Oudaias in Rabat

  • Take an excursion into the High Atlas mountains with their snow-capped peaks

“We came away from Morocco having learned a great deal about the culture of the Moroccan people”

- ACE customer on a previous Morocco: Archaeology of the Western Kingdom tour

The spread of Islam, combined with the spirit of al-Andalus, gave birth in Morocco to an artistic and architectural legacy of enormous diversity. This tour provides an in-depth exploration of the country’s fascinating archaeology and art, as well as opportunities to take in its breathtaking landscape, as we journey from Casablanca to Marrakesh via Rabat, Tangier, Chefchaouen and Fez, staying at luxurious bases throughout.

 

Rabat, a captivating mélange of Moorish and European influences, is home to a wealth of monuments from the 12th to 14th centuries. The walled citadel of the Chellah, an abandoned ancient port that was transformed in the 14th century into a burial ground for the Marinid dynasty, today forms one of Morocco’s most beautiful ruins. We will then enter the medina through the 17th century Andalusian walls, and walk to the Almohad citadel known as the Kasbah des Oudaias, with its impressive 12th century gate and enchanting Andalusian-style gardens.

 

En route to Tangier, ‘Europe’s gateway to Africa’, we will visit Larache for the ancient city of Lixus, site of the legendary Garden of Hesperides, dating back to prehistoric times and boasting interesting Roman remains. We will also take in Asilah, one of the most elegant of the old Portuguese Atlantic towns. Highlights in Tangier itself include the walled Kasbah and the small Museum of Moroccan Arts, with ceramics from Fez and Meknès.

 

Our tour includes an overnight stay in the spectacularly situated mountain town of Chefchaouen, where we will walk through the medina with its magnificent views of the Rif Mountains and numerous houses built by the Moors and Moriscos fleeing Spain from the late 15th century onwards.

 

Fez, founded in the 9th century, is perhaps the most enchanting of all Arab cities. Custodian of the world’s oldest university, Fez reached its zenith under the Marinids, as witnessed by the elaborate profusion of souks, madrasas, mosques and minarets that date from the 13th century.

 

Meknès, meanwhile, founded in the 11th century and revitalised by Sultan Moulay Ismaïl in the 18th – reflecting his imperial ambitions – is an especially attractive example of the harmonious blending of Islamic and Spanish styles.

 

Marrakesh, the final stop on our tour, charms every visitor with its exuberantly Andalusian madrasa, breathtakingly intricate 16th century Saadian tombs and the vast and eloquent ruins of the El Badi Palace. We will also pay visits to the outstanding Museum of Moroccan Arts, housed in the charming Dar Si Said Palace, and the charming Majorelle Gardens and Yves Saint Laurent Museum.

 

Marrakesh will also be our base for a morning excursion into the snow-capped High Atlas, where the villages are strongly reminiscent of the settlements of the Alpujarra mountains of Andalucía.

 

As well as investigating Morocco’s bustling, labyrinthine medinas, we will unravel the mysteries of the beautiful Roman ruins of Volubilis, the capital of ancient Mauritania and one of the country’s most important ancient sites, with extensive remains dating from the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD.

 

The daytime visits will be complemented throughout the tour by lectures given by our expert Tour Director.

 

Accommodation

 
All the hotels on this tour are of a five-star standard, offering comfortable and relaxing bases, elegant design and modern amenities, in addition to being well situated for our visits. We begin with an overnight stay at the smart and contemporary Sofitel Casablanca Tour Blanche, followed by two nights at the prestigious La Tour Hassan Palace in Rabat, built in the Moorish-Andalusian style. We will then continue to Tangier for an overnight stay at the refined El Minzah Hotel, occupying a building dating from 1930. This will be followed by a night’s stay at Chefchaouen at the Hotel Dar Ba Sidi & Spa, with individually designed rooms and stunning views, and three nights in Fez at the Hotel Sahrai, a luxurious property set in a stone-built, Moorish-style building with exquisitely styled interiors. The Es Saadi Resort in Marrakesh, an upscale property located in the Hivernage neighbourhood, is our base for the remaining three nights of the tour. All hotels have been carefully selected for the comfort and convenience they offer, as we explore Morocco’s history and culture.

 

Tour Director

 
This tour will be led by Eireann Marshall, PhD, a Research Associate and Associate Lecturer with the Open University. Educated at Barnard College, Columbia, and the universities of Birmingham and Exeter, Eireann is an expert in the classical and ancient worlds and has published a number of articles on Ancient North Africa. She has led many tours across Europe and North Africa, and looks forward to introducing an ACE group to Morocco in 2024.

 

Tour Director Eireann Marshall writes:

 

“At the heart of my passion for Moroccan history is the longevity of its history and its cultural mélange. At the heart of the country are the Amazigh, more often called Berbers, who inhabited the stunning Roman colonies, such as Volubilis, and who much later founded the vibrant cities of Marrakesh and Fez. Due to its proximity to Andalucia and to its involvement in the Reconquista, Morocco also has a strong Spanish and Jewish heritage. It’s a country like no other.”

Days
12
Cost
£5295
Tour Code
MORO-24


Included: return airfare, accommodation based on sharing a twin or double bedded room, eleven breakfasts, five lunches, eleven dinners with water & coffee, excursions & admissions, gratuities & all taxes.


Not Included: travel insurance, double room for single use supplement £895.

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