Discover tiny Essaouira, an 18th century gem set on the Atlantic coast. With its ancient ramparts above the sea, Essaouira has a decidedly medieval atmosphere. We also visit Marrakesh, an ancient city of immense charm and beauty, with the High Atlas providing a beautiful backdrop.
Meet your private driver in the morning for a scenic 8-hour drive from Fez to Marrakesh. Overnight at the Hotel Es Saadi. With a convenient location in the new section of the city, the Es Saadi is a 15-minute walk from the bustling medina.
Meet your guide for a three-hour morning drive to Essaouira (pronounced essa-weera), a charming seaside town enclosed within 18th century ramparts. After checking in at your hotel, enjoy a typical seafood lunch at the fishermens’ market hall at Essaouira’s small port. Fishermen sell their catch here and you can have it cooked in small stands nearby. The just-caught fish on display range from fresh scampi to sardines. After lunch, enjoy a guided tour (approx. 2.5 hours) that includes the waterfront, where wooden fishing boats are still built the traditional way, and the old fort, with its cannons and battlements. The Portuguese built a fort here in the 16th century. Much of the town you see today was laid out in the 17th century by a French architect at the request of Sultan Sidi Mohammed ben Abdallah. Essaouira’s whitewashed houses, with their blue shutters and ornate doors under the bright Moroccan sun, give it a picturesque Mediterranean atmosphere. Orson Welles filmed scenes for Othello in this town in 1949, and on your explorations you may see a small bust of him in a tiny garden square. Jimi Hendrix spent time in Essaouira in the 1960s—Essaouira is said to have inspired his song Castles Made of Sand. Overnight at the Riad Al Madina, a restored mansion set within the ancient medina
Morning transfer to Marrakesh, with a half-day tour of the city this afternoon. Known as the “red city” for its rose- tinted buildings, the city has Berber rather than Arab origins and for centuries has been the central marketplace for Berber tribes. At its heart is an 11th century medina and the compelling Djemaa el Fna, the central square, replete with snake charmers, fire eaters, and fortune tellers. Our explorations may include the magnificent Saadian Tombs, Bahia Palace, or the Dar Si Said, a beautiful 19th century house that now serves as an arts and crafts museum. Overnight at the Hotel Es Saadi.
Transfer to the Marrakesh airport and depart on homeward-bound flights.
All meals except 1 lunch and 2 dinners
Cultural Adventures, Walking
A visa is not required for U.S. citizens visting Morocco.