Imperial Cities Tour

About this tour

This exceptional 10-Day Moroccan Imperial Cities Tour via the Sahara Desert is a perfect opportunity to explore the imperial cities of Morocco and the dramatic dunes in the desert. Combine adventure and fun with intricate history into your individual or group holiday. Explore Casablanca, Rabat, Meknes, Volubilis, Fes, and Marrakech and be prepared for some spectacular pictures while meandering through the historical sites, stunning coastlines, and deep into the ancient walls of the age-old medinas. Experience the high dunes of Erg Chebbi, ride a camel through the Sahara Desert, experience a night under the glistening sky, and explore Morocco’s natural wonders along with way. When you return home, you will have life-long memories upon which you may reflect.

What to expect

  • Explore the Kingdom of Morocco and its famous imperial cities
  • Spend time in the sensational Djemaa el Fna Square in Marrakech
  • Visit exceptional walled cities erected in the desert on the Road of 1,000 Kasbahs
  • Explore the grandeur of the Sahara Desert and its renowned sand dunes
  • Meander through traditional bazaars to find unique, handmade goods
  • Discover the tremendous scenery, from desert lakes to rolling mountains
  • Visit the remarkable desert Kasbah of Aït ben Haddou, featured in films like Gladiator
  • Explore the treasured cultures of Morocco


Casablanca – Rabat

Welcome to Casablanca! Your professional driver will pick you up from the airport where you will depart to Rabat, the first stop along your Moroccan Imperial Cities Tour. Before reaching Rabat, you will go into the city of Casablanca where you will see Hassan II mosque the world’s third most considerable mosque. It’s flamboyant building reflects the modern Moroccan architecture, including exquisite zellij and gilded cedar ceilings. Together with your guide, you will see the lovey coastal Cornish seaside. Then, the tour will continue to Rabat, Morocco’s political capital, where you will visit the Mausoleum of Mohammed V. You will be in awe of this fascinating structure built in the traditional style using carved plaster, patterned zellij, and wooden cedar ceilings. Sightseeing will also include the adjacent Hassan Tower – an incredible wonder demonstrating the Medieval Moorish style of architecture – that overlooks the sea. You will continue on to the Oudaya Kasbah before checking into your accommodation in the city center.

Rabat – Meknes – Volubilis – Fes

After breakfast in your riad, your second day will begin with a departure from Rabat. This day will include travel to Fes via Meknes and Volubilis. Upon arrival in Meknes, another notable imperial city that is well-known as the Ismaili capital, the tour will begin with exploring the monumental Bab El-Mansour gate at the vast Lahdim Square. Then, a stop at the Moulay Ismaïl Museum and Sahrij Souani prior to lunch. Lunch will be followed by departure for Volubilis (the Roman city) where you will have a short stroll through the wonderfully preserved mosaic columns and Roman pathways. While traveling through the countryside, you will see Moulay Idriss’ Holy City and have an opportunity to stop and take pictures. Finally, upon arrival to Fes, you will spend the night in a traditional riad coupled with dinner.

Fez Medina

This day is dedicated to exploring the old world of Fes, a captivating UNESCO World Heritage Site. Fes’ ancient Medina remains the city’s most significant draw – containing snaking alleyways, jumbled souks, dotted palaces, madrassas, and mosques. After breakfast in your riad, you will begin exploring this dramatic ancient city. You will walk with your local guide deep inside the narrow alleyways of the Medina and learn about the histories and highlights, including: Al Quaraouiyine University (the oldest one in the world), Attarine and Batha Museums, Bou Inania Medresa (Islamic school), and Najjarine Fountain. You will visit the oldest operating tannery in the world, Moulay Idriss Mausoleum, the Jewish Quarter, local souks, and much more. A traditional Fassi lunch will be prepared for you, highlighting the savoriest cuisine in Morocco. You will then complete your day with a return to your riad

Fes – Ifrane – Azrou – Midelt – Ziz Valley – Merzouga

The day will begin with an early breakfast and departure from Fes to Merzouga. You will journey through the Middle Atlas Mountains where your first stop will be the beautiful city of Ifrane. Ifrane is home to Morocco’s winter ski resort and has exceptional French architectural designs and is lovingly called “Little Switzerland”. You will also visit the Cedar Forests in Azrou for an opportunity to see the monkeys in their natural habitat. Most of the day will be a journey through the picturesque springs, forests, and Berber villages. Lunch will be in Midlet, a Berber town renowned for rocks and fossils. After lunch, your journey will continue to Merzouga, passing by Ziz Valley (a massive palm tree oasis). From there, you will cross Erfoud and Rissani (the foundation of the Alaouite Dynasty, Morocco’s current ruling family) and arrive at your hotel in Merzouga where you will be greeted with dinner and also have breakfast the next morning.

Merzouga – Khamlia – Nomad Family – Desert Adventure – Camel Trekking In Erg Chebbi Dunes

This day is dedicated to exploring the local life in the Sahara Desert and nearby nomadic towns. After breakfast at the hotel, you will board your air conditioned vehicle and begin a discovery of the Berber villages. You will visit Khamlia, a village whose people originated in Mali and Sudan. There you may visit them in their homes and learn about the intricacies of nomadic life. Then, your day will process to Rissani, an ancient town where caravans used to meet. It has a bustling souk (market) which operates on Tuesdays and Sundays. From there the journey continues to Erfoud where you will explore the fossils and have lunch before returning to your hotel in Merzouga and having a little time to relax before your camel caravan and desert adventure in the sunset. When you reunite for your adventure, you will venture deep into the far-reaching dunes of Erg Chebbi and enjoy the final hours of daylight as it transitions from dusk to dark. You will climb the dunes and be blown away by the beauty of the sunset as it disappears into the sand. After which time, you will trek back to the desert to enjoy a delicious dinner, followed by heart-felt music played by Berbers as you enjoy your first night under the stars.

Merzouga – Tinghir – Todra Gorges – Dades Valley – Ouarzazate

After an early morning wake-up to watch the sunrise, you will begin the day with a camel ride. Once again, you will have the opportunity to enjoy Merzouga’s beautiful scenery. Following an exhilarating breakfast and shower, the trip will continue to Tinghir, a town of lush oases that covers 30 miles of palm trees. The tour will continue through stunning landscapes and Berber villages to the Todra Gorges. There you will stop for lunch and enjoy a short hike in this stunning, deep canyon. From there, you will depart for Ouarzazate through The Road of a Thousand Kasbahs that rise like turreted sand castles along the old caravan trading route. In fact, this area is a popular location for Hollywood movies such as Jewel of the Nile and The Last Temptation of Christ. Before arriving at Ouarzazate, the journey will take you past the most romantic destination nestled along the Rose Valley and Dades Valley where you will stop and gaze upon the dramatic escarpment. You will arrive in Ouarzazate in the afternoon where you will have dinner and an overnight stay.

Ouarzazate – Ait Ben Haddou – Tizi N Tichka Pass – Marrakech

Your day will begin with breakfast in the hotel followed by a visit to the Kasbah of Taourirt and the Cinema Studios, the largest and most famous in all of Africa. From there, your journey will continue to Ait Ben Haddou Kasbah, the largest and most well-known sand castle – also declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This location is the scene of movies like Gladiator, Lawrence of Arabia, and Babel. The journey continues in the afternoon with travel through the Atlas Mountains via Tizi n Tichka Pass (up to 2260 meters above sea level) and various Berber villages. Then you will arrive in Marrakech where you will check in to your accommodation.

Marrakech Guided Tour

After a filling breakfast in the riad, you will meet your driver and begin exploring the “Pearl of the South”. Your guided tour covers the nineteenth-century Bahia Palace, Koutoubia Mosque (reaching 230 feet high), Saadian Tombs, and stark towers. Next, you will visit the Majorelle Gardens, designed by the French painter, Jacques Majorelle. You will then be led on an escorted tour of the old Medina and discover the numerous artisanal handcrafts from leather, copper, wood and much more in the vibrant souks. After lunch, you will finish your day at Jemma El-Fna Square, the greatest place for spectacle shows and outdoor entertainment. You will find snake charmers, dancers, storytellers, and fire players (I’m not quite sure what these are). This electric medley makes Marrakech the most vibrant and exciting city. Once you retire for the evening, you will spend the night in the riad/hotel with dinner that night and breakfast the following morning.

Day Trip From Marrakech To Essaouira

Breakfast this morning will be followed by departure from Marrakech to the coastal city of Essaouira, a three-hour journey to paradise. On this Moroccan Imperial Cities Tour, you will visit Essaouira, including: a visit to the Skala Fortress, alleys of the Medina viewing hundreds of handicrafts, and stroll along the beach. Essaouira is known as the city of winds, which attracts surfers from all parts of the world. It has served as the convergence point for many civilizations, including the Portuguese, who had the most architectural impact. Your day trip will also include a visit to the women’s co-operative for Argan oil to discover how the contents are extracted and used for medicinal, cosmetic, and culinary purposes. Lunch will be traditional Moroccan fresh grilled fish, made to order, in the fish market. And your day will conclude with a return to Marrakesh in the afternoon and a night in your riad/hotel.

Marrakech – Casablanca Airport

Your breakfast will be served in the hotel, followed by departure for the Mohammed V Airport in Casablanca, or we can drive you to the Marrakech Airport for your flight back home.