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Highlights
  • Learn about Islamic architecture in the heart of the oldest continuously functioning university in the world, Al Quaraouiyine.
  • Walk the food market of Fes before our Moroccan cooking session, and gain an up-close perspective on Moroccan cuisine.
  • Experience the mosques, palaces, gardens and markets of fabled Marrakech on expert-led excursions and independently.

No country conjures up images of ancient medinas and bustling bazaars, evokes the smell of mint tea and spices, or touches the spirit with the sound of the muezzin’s call to prayer like Morocco. From the sacred fountains and medieval souks of Fes, follow the ancient caravan routes to the trading city of Beni Mellal and then on to magical and mysterious Marrakech. Along the way university professors, Islamic scholars, activists and local experts illuminate Morocco’s captivating history, spirituality and modern identity as it strives to play its part in the world today.

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Flights & Transport
  • Only ground transport

29
Road Scholar Travel Reviews & Ratings
90% Recommend

4.6 out of 5
Excellent 23 Great 3 Average 1 Disappointing 1 Terrible 1
Value
4.6 Guide
4.7 Activities
4.6 Lodging
4.4 Transportation
4.5 Meals
4.4
The Best of Morocco: Ancient Medinas to Modern Identity

No reviews yet for this trip. Browse other reviews below for Road Scholar .

S

Does Not Recommend

They take advantage of the elderly May 2018

1.0
  • Value 1.0
  • Guide 4.0
  • Activities 1.0
  • Lodging 1.0
  • Transportation 1.0
  • Meals 1.0
I had high hopes for Road scholar. However, when I was diagnosed with cancer I got no sympathy from Road Scholar. The agents and management kept saying you should have purchased insurance. But the insurance was extremely expensive and would not have covered the cancellation fee either. I ended up attending anyways because I didn't want to lose my money. I felt sick the entire time and could barely complete the activities. The group leader was wonderful. But the program was very strict and I felt that they over charged for everything. They demonstrated shocking behavior for a non profit that is supposed to be all about education and supporting the elderly. Yet they constantly are sending catalogs and pushing expensive programs. I highly recommend taking your money elsewhere. They do not respect their customers and only care about money. They took advantage of a cancer patient and according to the others on my trip this is common.
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Operator Road Scholar

S

Does Not Recommend

A BIG DISAPPOINTMENT August 2017

3.0
  • Value 3.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 3.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 2.0
  • Meals 3.0
I would have enjoyed this trip much more if I felt I was being treated as an adult, the educated, enthusiastic traveler that I am.
Unfortunately, I took a fall and broke my arm near the end of the trip. I was shocked at the very insolent, uncaring attitude of Road Scholar. I received two calls from the insurance program my husband was encouraged to pay for for the trip (we usually use Travel Guard who is great). Both calls were very negative. Neither expressed concern about my condition and both apparently had called to state that ROAD SCHOLAR
WOULD NOT PAY FOR ANYTHING! WOW! A WAKEUP CALL FROM HELL. I WILL BE SHOUTING THIS FROM THE ROOFTOPS SO NO ONE ELSE
HAS THIS EXPERIENCE. DO NOT PURCHASE ROAD SCHOLAR INSURANCE -- IT IS A BOONDOGGLE!
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Operator Road Scholar

LG

Does Not Recommend

Don't go! March 2017

2.0
  • Guide 1.0
  • Activities 4.0
  • Lodging 1.0
  • Meals 1.0
  • Value 2.0
  • Transportation 2.0
I took a four day bridge class at Jekyll Island Club Hotel. The class was mediocre. And I came home with over 50 BED BUG BITES! Please beware.

Operator Road Scholar

TCtssvawmc

Recommends

Excellent coverage of major cities and Guizhou Province January 2017

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Road Scholar (also known as Elderhostel) offers hundreds of tours worldwide, using local tour companies, sometimes universities. I have taken RS tours to Africa, China, and France and look forward to more. This was my first "tour" of China, but my 20th visit, with the rest on business. Our guide, Mei Mei, was one of the finest I've seen on tours. We started with Beijing and continued to Xian and then to Guizhou Province for a week in this fascinating area, which was new to me. We were able to meet the people in the villages, thanks to our guide, and enjoyed the chance to see and photograph such a variety of places in China. Hotels were excellent and appropriate to this type of tour (usually centrally located and very fine). Meals were family style and always good. Road Scholar makes its tours educational and doesn't push shopping as so many commercial ones do. Touring in China is very safe. You do have a lot of walking and RS tells you this in the tour, but it seems that a great deal of the walking is in those huge airports! I recommend Road Scholar and always turn to their catalogs to choose my next trip.
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Operator Road Scholar

WE

Recommends

A peaceful and green country with lots of history revealed by motor coach travel. January 2017

4.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 4.0
  • Activities 4.0
  • Lodging 3.0
  • Transportation 3.0
  • Meals 3.0
The trip was a good overview of the country. The Road Scholar guide was very knowledgeable. The motorcoach was very comfortable. The accommodations and meals were fine. Couldn't ask for a better overview of the place.
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Operator Road Scholar

Itinerary

Day 1: In Transit to Program

In Flight

Day 2: Arrival Morocco, Fes

Meals: Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Merinides

Dinner: At the hotel.

Day 3: Spirituality, Religiosity & Daily Life in Morocco

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Hotel Merinides

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Enjoy two introductory lectures, "Islam & Politics in Morocco" and "The Spirit of Fes through Women’s Narratives."

Lunch: At a restaurant.

Afternoon: Founded in the ninth century and home to the oldest university in the world, Fes reached its height in the 13th and 14th centuries when it replaced Marrakesh as the capital of the kingdom. Experience an expert-led exploration of the urban fabric and principal monuments in the medina — madrasas, fondouks, palaces, residences, mosques and fountains — that date from this period. Make your way through the narrow streets and alleys, exploring the oldest Islamic Arab architecture in Morocco, the Medersa, the Foundouq museum and the tanneries. Walk past the mausoleum where the founder of the first Islamic dynasty in Morocco is buried, as well as the Qaraouyine Mosque that was built by a woman in the ninth century.

Dinner: Enjoy dinner on your own.

Day 4: Explore Volubilis and the Town of Moulay Idriss

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Hotel Merinides

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Combine a group departure to Volubilis with a lecture, "Agriculture in Morocco." Volubilis is the site of the largest and best-preserved Roman ruins in Morocco. Dating largely from the second and third centuries, excavations have revealed that the site was originally settled by Carthaginian traders even earlier. At its peak, it is estimated that the city housed up to 20,000 people. Gain an understanding of why Islam succeeded in Morocco and why Christianity and the Roman culture left so little impact on Morocco.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Visit the town of Moulay Idriss, which is named after the Prophet Mohammed’s great grandson, who is considered the country's most revered saint. He came to Morocco from Mecca in the late eighth century, settled at Volubilis and converted the locals to Islam. He became their leader and also established Morocco's first imperial dynasty. Moulay Idriss is considered the holiest town in Morocco with the shrine of this saint causing it to be the location of the largest pilgrimage in the country as the town fills with Moroccans of all walks of life for the annual moussem in late August.

Dinner: Enjoy dinner on your own.

Day 5: Food Market of Fes, Moroccan Cooking & Cuisine

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Hotel Merinides

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Learn how to prepare Moroccan cuisine in Fes, considered the capital of Moroccan fine and delicate cooking. Begin with a grocery trip to the local souk, where participants will buy fresh ingredients and spices. The cooking lesson takes place at a Riad, a traditional Moroccan home, which has been restored to a beautiful guest house. Learn from a renowned chef who has been at the helm of the kitchens of some of Fes' best restaurants.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Enjoy a free afternoon, perhaps choosing to continue exploring Fes, the second-largest city of Morocco with a population of approximately 1 million. It has been called the “Mecca of the West” and the “Athens of Africa.” There is much to experience in Fes el Bali, the oldest walled part of Fes that was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981. It is believed to be the biggest car-free urban area in the world.

Dinner: Enjoy dinner on your own.

Day 6: Islamic Architecture Lecture at Al Quaraouiyine University, Fes

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Merinides

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Visit the University of Al-Karaouine, the oldest continually functioning university in the world. Discuss art and spirituality in Morocco during a lesson at the historic Bou Inania Madrasa.

Lunch: On your own.

Afternoon: Enjoy a free afternoon.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: Delight in a Malhoun musical performance led by a female singer that demonstrates the artistic combination of Andalusian music and melodic, medieval Moroccan poetry.

Day 7: Rural Weekly Market, Beni mellal

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Chems

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Depart for Beni Mellal via Khenifra in the heart of the Atlas Mountains and visit a rural weekly market, called a souk, where villagers come to shop, trade, socialize, and visit a doctor or healer. Traditionally ancestral, souks are evolving to include contemporary consumable products and services.

Lunch: In Khenifra.

Afternoon: Arrive in the inland trading city of Beni Mellal, at the foot of Mount Tassemit and next to the plains of Beni Amir. The walls of the city of 163,000 date to 1688, but most of the city is quite modern and is an important economic center for the region. Textile manufacturing is the backbone, but local agricultural products such as oranges, olives and figs find their way to market via Beni Mellal.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: Enjoy an Ahidous performance, a traditional dance performed by Berber tribes from the Atlas Mountains in which men and women, side by side, dance in soft and undulating rounds, accompanied by singing punctuated by bendir instrument (a small drum). The choreography of Ahidous brings the community together in order to “speak” and sing the issues of daily life, be it social, economical or political.

Day 8: Diverse Cultures Merging in Marrakech

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Hotel Sofitel Lange and Spa

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Depart to Marrakech, Morocco’s fourth-largest city after Casablanca, Fes and Rabat. Like many Moroccan cities, Marrakesh comprises both an old fortified city packed with many people working in stalls — the medina — and modern neighborhoods, the most prominent of which is Gueliz. Near the foothills of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains and a few hours from the foot of the Sahara Desert, its name originates from the Berber words mur (n) akush, which means “Land of God.”

Lunch: At the hotel.

Afternoon: Enjoy a free afternoon to begin your fascinating orientation to Marrakech.

Dinner: Enjoy dinner on your own.

Day 9: Koutoubia Mosque & Saadian Tombs, Marrakech

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Hotel Sofitel Lange and Spa

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel

Morning: Begin today’s exploration of Marrakech in the Djemaa el Fna square viewing the Koutoubia mosque — dating to 1200 — whose beautiful minaret rises nearly 70 meters and can be seen from much of the city. Then experience the 16th-century Saadian Tombs, resting place of Saadian Sultan Ahmed el-Mansour ed-Dahbi, whose tastes included imported Italian marble and archways gilded with pure gold. The tombs lay hidden and mostly forgotten until 1917, when they were discovered during an aerial survey.

Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant

Afternoon: Enjoy a free afternoon, perhaps visiting the Museum of Marrakech, housed in the 19th-century Dar Menebhi Palace. Carefully restored by the Omar Benjelloun Foundation in 1997, the museum holds exhibits of both modern and traditional Moroccan art, as well as fine examples of historical books, coins and pottery of Moroccan Jewish, Berber and Arab cultures.

Dinner: On your own

Day 10: Archeological Site Aghmat in the Suburbs of Marrakech

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Hotel Sofitel Lange and Spa

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Depart for the archaeological site of Aghmat, 30 kilometers southeast of Marakech. As you interact with site excavators and local residents, learn how Aghmat was built around a former Arab Andalusian king (Mouatamid Bnou Abbad) who had been exiled from Sevilla in southern Spain to the south of Morocco until his death. Aghmat was an important city for routes through the Atlas Mountains on the trans Saharan trade. Locals detail how such a site intertwines with the reality of the inhabitants.

Lunch: Experience a lunch with locals.

Afternoon: Return to Marrakech.

Dinner: On your own.

Day 11: Expert-led Explorations of Marrakech Gardens, Marrakech

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Sofitel Lange and Spa

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Experience an expert-led visit to two renowned, enchanting gardens — beginning with the Majorell Gardens, home to French artist Jacques Majorelles in the 1920s. Majorelles built houses on the property and surrounded them with pools, banana trees, coconut palms and bougainvilleas. Later, the French couturier Yves Saint-Laurent bought the property and transformed part of it into a private museum of North African artifacts and opened the garden to the public. Then continue to Menara Gardens, a 16th-century pavilion surrounded by an immense, ornamental lake. This idyllic setting has offered a pleasant escape from Marrakech to its inhabitants for centuries.

Lunch: On your own.

Afternoon: Enjoy a free afternoon.

Dinner: Enjoy dinner and a musical performance at Soulayman Palace.

Day 12: Elegant Bahia Palace, Renowned Hotel & Palace la Mamounia, Casablanca

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Ibis Casa City Center

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: This morning, explore the Bahia Palace and gardens, built in the late-19th century and intended to be the greatest palace of its time — the name means “brilliance.” As the black slave Abu Ahmed rose to power and wealth, he had the Bahia palace built by bringing in craftsmen from Fez. The structures tell a lot about the taste of the nouveau-riche of its time. Continue to the la Mamounia Hotel — an elegant palace that is a mythical landmark of the city. It faces the Atlas mountains and is at the heart of the old city of Marrakech. It is owned by the railways (ONCF), the city of Marrakech and the "caisse des dépôts Moroccain." Winston Churchill loved to winter here and the daughter of Russian Prime Miniester Vladimir Putin was married here in January 2013.

Lunch: At the hotel.

Afternoon: Departure to Casablanca

Dinner: Check-in at the hotel. Farewell dinner.

Day 13: Program Concludes, Casablanca

Meals: Breakfast

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Group departure to Mohamed V Airport, Casablanca.

Dates & Pricing

Price From

$ 3,855

Price Per Day:

$ 297 per person
 
  • Select Custom Arrangements to get to and from Road Scholar-provided airfare for your program
Prices may vary due to local taxes and trip seasonality. Click "Request Info" to inquire directly with the tour operator for the final trip price.
Details
Trip Includes
  • 11 nights of accommodations
  • 8 expert-led lectures
  • 9 expert-led field trips
  • 1 hands-on experience
  • 3 performances
  • An experienced Group Leader
  • Customary gratuities throughout the program
  • The Road Scholar Travel Protection Plan, 24-hour-a-day emergency assistance coverage
  • Taxes
Meals Included:

13 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches and 5 Dinners

Flights & Transport
Only ground transport
Group Size:
Small Group - 24 max
Maximum Number of People in Group: 24
Accomodations

Hotel Merinides: 5 nights  Fes

Located on the heights of the oldest city Fes, the Merinides Hotel is a few minutes walking distance from the Merinides dynasty tombs and other main sites to be visited during the program. Its proximity to Al Karaouiyine Mosque, Dar Batha Museum, the Andalusians mosque and the Thermal baths of Moulay Yacoub contribute to make of Merinides Hotel an address of charm for a stay for discovering and relaxation.

 

Hotel Chems: 1 night  Beni Mellal

The Chems of Beni Mellal is located in a priviliged position offering stunning vistas of the middle Atlas mountains, yet in close proximity to the bustling city of Beni Mellal.

 

Hotel Sofitel Lange and Spa: 4 nights  Marrakech

In the heart of the most elegant part of town, the Sofitel Marrakech Lounge & Spa is where you find the fashionable luxury boutiques, casinos, nightclubs and restaurants. The hotel is a short walk from the Jema El Fna square and 10 mins from the airport.

 

Ibis Casa City Center: 1 night  Casablanca

The Ibis Moussafir Casablance City Center hotel is a newly opened hotel in the heart of Casablanca. Its unique features are it proximity to the old medina, and its location by the main train station in Casablanca casa-Port. Its is also located 30 minutes away from Mohamed V airport and is a short distance from the sea shore, the old downtown, business district, Hassan II mosque, shopping centers, musems and the port

Start City
Fes
End City
Casablanca
Guides

Rachid Qasbi

Rachid Qasbi joined the Center for Cross Cultural Learning (CCCL) in 2006 as full time Arabic instructor, as well as a coordinator of several programs. He teaches Fu’sha (standard Arabic), Darija (Moroccan dialect), and Tamazight (Berber language), while also assisting in summer abroad studies. His interests include traveling, cross-cultural exchange, and peace and justice issues. Rachid holds a bachelor’s degree in English linguistics from Ibn Tofail University in Kentira, Morocco.

Trip ID#: TheMorRoa

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