Days
18
Price from
FR2,425CHF

Explore Fes' world-renowned festival as you journey through Morocco

The location of Fes was chosen by Moulay Idriss based on the abundance of springs, which serves as the perfect metaphor for the river of culture that has since flowed from Morocco’s first capital. This culture now pools into a single event, the UNESCO recognised Fes Festival of World Sacred Music which serves as the heartbeat to Morocco’s artistic body. From Casablanca through to Marrakech with a stop at this world class festival, experience a rare insight into both Moroccan and world culture on this enlightening adventure.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Casablanca, Morocco
Finish
Marrakech, Morocco
Country
Morocco
Style
Peregrine
Theme
Limited Edition
Code
PGMF
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why we love this trip

  • Marvel at the size of the Mosque of Hassan II, which dominates the Casablanca skyline – this massive edifice is the largest in Africa and second only in the world to the great mosque at Mecca

  • Take part is World Sacred Music festival in Fes. Festival that helped to maintain dialogue with the sacred through its legendary forum and the highlighting of arts and music.

  • Uncover one of the most remote parts of the Roman Empire, and the most impressive Roman ruins in Morocco, at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Volubilis. Learn about the past from the knowledgeable local experts.

  • Explore Morocco’s first imperial city, Meknes, and discover the charming streets of the old medina that lead to the lovely Bou Inania Medresse (religious school)

  • Experience comfort and beauty of the Moroccan Riad, a traditional house with an interior garden and courtyard.

  • Discover Chefchaoune, city painted in all possible shades of blue.

  • Dive into Fes’ medina under a watchful eye of our local guide and be surrounded by the spiritual and cultural heart of Morocco, in arguably the world's most fascinating and confounding old city

  • Spend a night surrounded by the dunes of Sahara desert. Enjoy comfort of an exclusive tented camp with en-suite bathrooms and private tents. Feast under the starts on the freshly prepared dinner, listen to the Bedouin stories and admire the sun rising up over the dunes.

  • Enjoy a ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ moment while you ride a camel across the desert on your way back to the Auberge, with ever beautiful sunrise over the dunes of Sahara in a background.

  • Learn the tea making secrets of Berbers at the exclusive demonstration with a local family. Listen to their stories and discover the way of family life in M’goun Valley

  • Get into the laid back vibe of Essaouira, a Moroccan town with a European seaside twist – discover the best seafood markets only known to our local guides, walk the famed ramparts, embrace the beach, and explore streets of art galleries and workshops

  • Witness the evening transformation of Jemaa el Fna in Marrakech, when it becomes a living stage; where food, music and entertainment come together to make one of the world’s greatest public squares

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip includes several days in Fes during the Festival. It may get busy and loud at peak times

  • On Day 5 there is a full day tour around the Medina of Fes. You will be walking and on your feet at least five to six hours, this is one of the highlights of Morocco and well worth any weariness at the end of the long day.

  • On Day 10, the group will take a camel trek through the Sahara. This is a great way to experience the desert, but if you'd prefer, it's possible to walk alongside the caravan on the sand for about an hour. You'll need to walk back the same distance the next morning, but don't worry, as it is a gentle, relaxing walk.

  • On Day 11 and 12 you will stop in Dades valley. This remote area of Morocco is an amazing place to discover on foot, but to do so you'll need a moderate level of fitness and have the relevant footwear and clothing with you. Don’t worry if trekking isn’t really your thing, there are plenty of other activities to do in the valley.

  • The weather in Morocco can be extreme. Summer temperatures can be uncomfortably hot, especially for those who aren't accustomed to the heat, so please consider carefully what time of year you travel. If you do travel in the warmer months, pack layers to cover you from the sun, bring the necessary sun protection and drink plenty of water.

  • In 2018, Ramadan will take place from 15 May to 14 June. This is the holiest month of the year for Muslims around the world. Many festivals are marked as Islamic Holidays, which may cause some disturbance to your travels around this time. Some regular services may not be available or open during the daytime, such as restaurants or coffee bars. Please consider your travel arrangements carefully.

  • Although you shouldn’t expect any aggressive selling techniques in Morocco, please be aware that you may be approached by shop owners and street vendors offering their goods to you on regular occasions.

Itinerary

Welcome to Morocco! On arrival at Casablanca Airport, you will be met by a Peregrine representative and transferred to your hotel. While this is an arrival day and you may arrive at any time, please note that hotel rooms are generally only available after midday, and that there will be an important welcome meeting with your leader tonight. If you arrive with time to spare, then a great option for your limited time in Casablanca is to visit the art deco Villa des Arts. This gorgeous gallery dates back to 1930s and holds numerous exhibitions of contemporary Moroccan and international art. If you are looking for a different type of cultural experience, then you can discover a unique and fascinating part of Moroccan history at the Museum of Judaism.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Kenzi Basma or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Dinner
This morning you will visit one of the most impressive sites in Casablanca – the massive edifice of the Mosque of Hassan II. Opened in 1993, and second only in size to the great mosque at Mecca, the huge building is part on land and part on sea, and in one area water can be seen through a glass floor. It can accommodate 25,000 worshippers and the main roof is retractable to create an open courtyard. It is one of the only religious sites open to non-Muslims. Later, you will leave Casablanca and drive north along the coast to Rabat (approximately 1.5 hours), the elegant capital of Morocco and its first Imperial city. It contains numerous fine Arab monuments, some dating from the 10th to 15th-century Almohad and Merenid dynasties, and others that are far older. The earliest known settlement is Sala, occupying an area now known as the Chellah, where you will visit the remains of the citadel. You will also see the vast minaret of the Hassan Mosque and explore the lovely walled quarter known as the Kasbah des Oudaias. In the late afternoon, continue on to Meknes (approximately 2 hours), the sixth largest city in the kingdom, and former capital of Morocco.
Accommodation
  • Riad Ritaj or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Casablanca - Guided Tour of Hassan II Mosque
  • Kasbah Les Oudayas Rabat
  • Chellah - entrance
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning you will discover the charming streets of Meknes’ medina – the old walled section of the city. Enter via the northern gate, Bab Berdaine, and walk to the shrine of Moulay Ismail who, in the 17th century, turned Meknes from a provincial town to a spectacular Imperial city. You will explore the elaborately decorated public buildings hidden in these winding streets, including the lovely Bou Inania Medresse (religious school). Take some time to soak up the bustling atmosphere of the old souk before driving out of the city to the ruins of Volubilis (approximately 45 minutes). Volubilis was once a provincial Roman capital, a distant outpost of the empire, and the remains make an undeniably impressive sight. Volubilis is the foremost Roman site in Morocco and was declared a World Heritage Site in 1997. Upon arrival you will take a tour around the ruins with a local guide. Please remember to pack drinking water, hat, sunglasses and sun cream for this tour as it may get hot and you will be exposed to the sun. And, of course, don’t forget to take your camera as the town is filled with fantastic mosaics along the Decumanus Maximus, many of which remain intact. After time spent imagining Volubulis as the bustling city it once was, make the three-hour drive to Chefchaouen, or the ‘blue city’, which is arguably one of the prettiest places in Morocco.
Accommodation
  • Chefchaouen hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Guided walking tour - Meknes
  • Entrance and guided tour Volubilis
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Set against a wide valley and nestled between two peaks in the stunning Rif Mountains, Chefchaouen may take you by surprise. Its medina has been lovingly cared for with striking blue and whitewashed houses, red-tiled roofs and artistic doorways. Much of Chefchaouen was recreated by Andalusian refugees escaping the Reconquistia, so you might feel like you're in the hills of Spain while exploring its streets. Ease into the relaxed pace of life in this rural retreat. Take an orientation walk through the ancient medina and shop for handicrafts, or simply sit at a cafe and enjoy the pleasure of time passing by. If you're feeling peckish, the goats cheese on offer is a popular treat enjoyed by many visitors. Regroup for included home cooked dinner this evening.
Accommodation
  • Chefchaouen hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Arrive at Fes, the spiritual and cultural heart of Morocco. This vibrant, fascinating and near overwhelming city is a feast for the senses. While most of your time here will be spent exploring the sights and sounds of the World Sacred Music Festival, there may be some time to explore the city before the events. You may want to explore the well-preserved medieval old city, known locally as Fes el Bali – the mother of all Medinas. Medieval Fes was one of the world's great centres of education and culture, both Islamic and Jewish. Its religious institutions and libraries are legendary, its mosques of great renown. The twisting streets and alleyways are full of passing donkeys piled high with goods, hiding specialty sections that divide the souk. Medresse el Attarine, the local tanneries and the splendid Funduk Nejjarine, a beautiful 18th-century inn, are all worth inspecting as well.
Accommodation
  • Riad Tafilalet or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mederassa Bou Inania
  • Guided walking tour Fes
  • Fondouk Nejjarine
  • Sacred Music Festival all day pass
  • Exclusive oud music performance and lecture
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Running since 1994, the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music has long served as a forum that emphasises the importance of the musical arts. Each year the event adopts a different theme to which the performances adhere to – no two festivals are the same. The festival has described by UNESCO in 2001 as a major cultural event on the world stage and remains crucial in pushing forward the ideas of liberty, openness and curiosity.

The performances often showcase the talents of an incredible range of international talent, ensuring a taste of cultures and styles as far ranging as Chinese opera performances all the way through to American expatriate blues musicians. Parades of ancient rites from rural Italy with ghostly costumes, excerpts from acclaimed novelists at readings, moon rituals and films dedicated to the lives of unique townships have all featured in the past, contributing to a collage the festival paints as one of the most culturally influential gatherings in the world. There’s little to no doubt that you’ll come away from the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music with a greater understanding of the art, culture and society that lives in the world around you.

Concerts are held in the afternoon in the tree-lined Jnan Sbil Gardens, and larger more spectacular events take place in the open-air parade grounds of Bab al Makina, sitting at the foot of the iconic fortifications of the Royal Palace. These locations offer a place for light and sound to flow freely, a crucial part of a festival where projections and sprawling soundscapes are so often employed to produce a feeling between awe and poignancy.

There are certain considerations to take in while exploring the festival - read the special information section below for more details.
Accommodation
  • Riad Tafilalet or similar (3 nights)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (3)
Special Information
Seats are not reserved. Get to the venue ahead of time if you want a good seat.

Seats are raked at Bab al Makina; elsewhere they are on the flat. There are usually no or few chairs at the Nights in the Medina or Sufi Nights venues, but carpets on the floor.

Weather can be variable: it can rain, be very cold and windy at Bab al Makina, or stiflingly hot. It’s best to bring layers, something waterproof, a sunhat and a fan. 

Seats are not particularly comfortable. If necessary, bring a cushion.

Many restaurants serve dinner early and/or later so that you can attend evening concerts. You may want to consider looking around ahead of time to find the best places or ask for suggestions from your leader.
Today, leave the intensity of the city behind for the simplicity of the High Atlas Mountains. Drive south, inland through a variety of spectacular scenery – fertile valleys, cedar and pine forests and barren, rocky landscapes – to the small town of Midelt (approximately 3.5 hours). Midelt is a market town, originally built as a base for mining in the area, and is nestled in the high plains surrounding the Moulouya River, between the Middle and High Atlas mountain ranges at an elevation of just over 1500 metres. It's a perfect spot to break up the journey to the Sahara, and is a great base for some easy walks. Many of the locals are Berber, and the town can offer an insight into their way of life. After lunch, stretch your legs for a few hours on an easy hike in the nearby hills. Be prepared for some astonishing views of the Atlas Mountains, with snowy peaks almost touching the sky. Wander through plantations of apple trees on the way back to your accommodation for a relaxing evening, resting up before the Sahara tomorrow.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Taddart or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
This morning there's time to haggle for carpets (mainly Kilims), take another refreshing walk, or visit a nearby Franciscan convent where local girls and women learn weaving, tapestry and embroidery. Drive through changing scenery, from barren mountainsides to fertile valleys, on the journey to Merzouga. With a backdrop of the orange-coloured Erg Chebbi sand dunes, the charming Saharan village of Merzouga feels wonderfully isolated, like the modern world has left it behind. The Erg Chebbi dunes are the most stunning in the country and an essential part of any visit to Morocco. An erg is a vast sea of shifting wind-swept sand that's formed into picturesque, undulating crests and valleys. The Erg Chebbi is one of the world's iconic landscapes, with towering dunes up to 150 metres in height. Located at the end of a sealed road and just 20 kilometres from the Algerian border this really feels like frontier country. You will leave your gear at a simple auberge and then ride camels into the edge of the Sahara Desert, enjoying a spectacular sunset along the way. The dunes are stunning, especially as the evening light plays across them and sets off the colours. Tonight you will camp out in traditional style, with the chance to try some fantastic local cuisine while you sit around an open fire. Stay late after the dinner, enjoying lively music, drumming, Bedouin stories and dancing under the stars.
Accommodation
  • Yasmina Desert camp or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Enjoy a real Lawrence of Arabia moment this morning with a sunrise camel ride across the desert on the return journey to the auberge. Then drive to Todra Gorge (approximately 3.5 hours), a massive trench that rises over 250 metres to form one of the most dramatic and spectacular natural sights in Morocco. The limestone stacks make a perfect area for trekking, and so today you will take a short walk through the sheer cliffs. Then continue on to the beautiful Dades Valley (approximately 1 hour). Enjoy some time to take in the remarkable scenery – sprawling green valleys and rocks sculpted into stunning formations by the wind.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Xaluca Dades or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Today set out for an included hike around this beautiful surroundings. Enjoy included picnic lunch on the way. Rest of the day is free to delve in the atmosphere of Moroccan countryside.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Xaluca Dades or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Guided half day trek at M'goun Valley
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Leaving the Dades Valley today, set off on the fabled ‘Road of 1,000 Kasbahs’. The first stop is at Skoura Oasis (after approximately 1 hour), home to several privately owned kasbahs. Visit the Kasbah Ameridhl, with its extravagant decorations and mud-brick fortifications. Continue on your journey to Ait Benhaddou (approximately 1 hour). Perched on a hilltop and almost unchanged since the 11th century, Ait Benhaddou is one of Morocco's most iconic sites. Its grand Kasbah is one of the most beautiful in Morocco and the fortified village is a fine example of clay architecture. If you think you recognise the place, you probably do as the town has a long list of film and TV credits including Lawrence of Arabia, Game of Thrones and Gladiator. Enjoy a walk through the winding streets of old town, making your way to the top of the hill where you can enjoy the views across the surrounding plains. After heading to the nearby hotel for the night, maybe sit back on the roof top terrace and watch the sun setting over the magical Kasbah.
Accommodation
  • Riad Maktoub or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kasbah Skoura
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
After breakfast, depart for Essaouira – a city where the medina brushes up against the Atlantic Ocean. The narrow streets of Essaouira are ideal for casual exploration. Their size discourages cars and walks through the town feels as though little has changed since the days of sea pirates. Sandstone walkways contrast with the whitewashed houses, bright blue skies and the sand of the surrounding beaches and dunes. It is one of North Africa's most attractive places, and you will soon find yourself slipping into its easy-going rhythm of this Moroccan town with a European seaside twist. The fishing port is a serious commercial operation and there’s much fun to be had observing the daily catch and its subsequent auction. Elsewhere there are numerous shops and several fine art galleries to distract a visitor, along with a wide variety of restaurants. Your tour leader will help guide you through the maze of options. In the afternoon enjoy cultural tour if Gnawa music. Essaouira is well known for its Gnawa heritage and hosts on of the biggest festivals of that kind. This evening you might like to indulge in a luxuriating massage and hammam in a spa.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Miramar or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Gnaoua Music tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
The name Essaouira means image, which is appropriate since it's such a picturesque town. This artists' town was once home to sizeable British and Jewish populations, and its charm has seduced people like Orson Welles and Jimi Hendrix, who (according to local legend) spent much of his time here in the 1960s. On this free morning perhaps grab a traditional Moroccan breakfast and wander the streets, giving way to the cart-haulers calling ‘ballak, ballak’, pass the harbour filled with colourful boats which go out early every morning for the day's catch, see camels and surfers sharing the beach, and perhaps explore the fish souk. Here you will choose a catch of the day and take it to a local-filled restaurant – follow their lead and hand over your market purchase for it to be grilled for the freshest of meals. Your leader will also take you to the fresh vegetables markets where you will choose your salads and veggies to accompany your seafood lunch. Enjoy delicious meal together with the rest of your group. After lunch, take a chance to search the less hectic medina, discover the Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdallah Museum and its collection of artefacts, woodwork, carpets and stringed instruments, enjoy cafe life on the main square, or sit back and watch the kitesurfers ride the crashing waves. You can also discover the taste of Morocco in a cooking class, or head outside of the city to the beautiful surroundings on a daytrip.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Miramar or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Seafood Market Lunch - Essaouira
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
The morning is free for you to explore further before driving back to Marrakech (approximately 2.5 hours) in the afternoon. Once you have settled in to your hotel, you will likely be drawn to the Djemaa el-Fna, and its surrounding medina. Eating out at one of the many outdoor restaurants lining the square is a great way to begin exploring the last stop of this adventure.
Accommodation
  • Riad Challa or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Food tasting Marrakech
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
After breakfast today, meet your local guide and set off on a morning tour of the old medina, wandering through the bustling souks that serve as the lifeblood of the city. Explore tranquil courtyards filled with the scent of orange blossom, then weave through the many salons and chambers that make up Bahia Palace. This splendid mansion was built in 1866 for a former slave who rose to power within the government. Continue to the Marrakech Museum, itself a former palace, which houses a fine collection of Moroccan art and sculpture. Stop by the Koutoubia Mosque; its famous minaret is the prototype for others of its kind around the world, including La Giralda in Seville. Then walk back through the streets of the old medina to the Jemaa el Fna. The rest of the day is free to explore further or shop in the bazaar. Perhaps visit the tropical gardens of the French painter Jacques Majorelle or check out the ruins of the Palais Badi, once one of the most beautiful palaces in the world. Otherwise, perhaps head back into the medina, where every step brings a new smell, a new sight or a new gift to buy. Watch skilled artisans perfect their craft, practice your haggling skills or take a break from the hustle to sip on tea or share a tajine, filled with the pure scent of Morocco. For your final evening, join again with the group, and go behind the scenes of the markets in Marrakech with a local guide who will provide an insight into Moroccan specialities at hidden stalls in the medina. Perhaps continue feasting with new old friends in one of the many great restaurants lining the square.
Accommodation
  • Riad Challa or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Marrakech - Guided walking tour
  • Saadian Tombs
  • Photography Museum
  • Marrakech - Palais Bahia
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Your trip ends today after breakfast. Check-out time is usually around midday and you are free to leave at any time. If you have arranged a private airport transfer you will be advised of the pick-up time. Additional accommodation can be pre-booked if you wish to spend more time exploring here. Speak to your leader about the wealth of extra activities to do around Marrakech.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

17 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 5 dinners

Transport

Camel, Private vehicle

Accommodation

Traditional riad (6 nights), Comfortable Hotel (9 nights), Feature stay (1 night), Desert camp (1 night)

Included Activities

  • Casablanca - Guided Tour of Hassan II Mosque
  • Kasbah Les Oudayas Rabat
  • Chellah - entrance
  • Guided walking tour - Meknes
  • Entrance and guided tour Volubilis
  • Mederassa Bou Inania
  • Guided walking tour Fes
  • Fondouk Nejjarine
  • Sacred Music Festival all day pass
  • Exclusive oud music performance and lecture
  • Guided half day trek at M'goun Valley
  • Kasbah Skoura
  • Gnaoua Music tour
  • Seafood Market Lunch - Essaouira
  • Food tasting Marrakech
  • Marrakech - Guided walking tour
  • Saadian Tombs
  • Photography Museum
  • Marrakech - Palais Bahia

Dates & availability

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Important notes

This trip can be enjoyed by just about anyone with a reasonable level of fitness.
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT:
A Single Supplement to have your own room is available on this trip with exception of Desert Camp, day 6.
COMMISSION:
The receipt of commissions or kickbacks in exchange for recommending particular shops, services or activities is ingrained in the culture of the Moroccan tourism industry. In an effort to best control and monitor shopping and activities with an aim for the best experience possible, Intrepid has established a system of carefully selected shopping experiences and activities based on positive feedbacks from our previous travellers. On occasion these will be as part of included walking tours or outside of included activities in free time. Please note that if you feel that you do not wish to join in on these shopping experiences we assure you there is no obligation and if you indicate your desire to not partake your group leader will help to facilitate a suitable alternative during this time.
Peregrine have set up a centralised system of receiving payments from these recommended suppliers, of which are then distributed towards local Responsible Travel projects (such as 'say no to plastic' cotton bags for our travellers and drinking water refilling stations), traveller information packs, and leader bonuses. Further details of these arrangements can be provided by your group leader on request.
While Peregrine endeavors to ensure that these suppliers and services maintain reasonable levels of quality, please note recommended suppliers are chosen based on past travellers feedback and experiences and Peregrine cannot explicitly guarantee the quality of the product. A priority in establishing this fund is that the experience of you our traveller is not compromised in any way. Please let us know via the feedback after your trip if we are successfully meeting this objective.

Essential trip information

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