Morocco for Culture
Marrakech is the gateway to Morocco. It is the perfect introduction to the country’s infinite charm and its intoxicating chaos. From the moment you arrive at one of the city’s riads, greeted in true Marrakshi style with a steaming cup of mint tea and a platter of honey nut biscuits, you will be enveloped by the sounds, smells and sights of Morocco. From the roof terrace of your riad, gaze out across a horizon punctuated by towering minarets and soak up the tranquillity of your surroundings as you overlook the hubbub of daily life below.
Marrakech’s famed souks are at the heart of the city. Navigate the labyrinth like alleyways, wander through the tangle of cubbyholes fit to bursting with hand cut tiles, brass lanterns and woven textiles before mastering the art of haggling as you root around in the alcoves of a craftsman’s atelier. All roads lead to Djemma el-Fna; a bustling square alive with the murmurs of storytelling, the calls to prayer of the Koutoubia, and the hullabaloo of astrologers, snake charmers and Gnawa acrobats all jostling to play their part in the spectacle of the Medina.
A trip to Marrakech is incomplete without parting with a few dirhams in return for a Berber rug, ornately carved pottery or a handful of fresh mint. However, beyond the souks, discovering the hidden gems of the city makes for an equally enchanting experience. Visit the famed Jardin Majorelle gifted to the city by Yves Saint Laurent, Bahia Palace with its intricate marquetry or hydrate desert scorched skin in a Hamman to round off a stay in the city.
Let the blue Fassi tiled Bab Boujoud gate welcome you to Fes. It’s the entrance to the impressive, bustling labyrinth of this historic city’s expanse of streets and alleyways. Being in Fes feels like you’re stepping into another world. It’s a sprawling city with no motor transportation, the only thing you’ll have to keep an eye out for are the donkey carts bustling around. Smaller than Marrakech, Fes is still offers a wealth of culture in Morocco. From gardens, Kasbahs, mosques and souks, to the vibrant blues of Chefchaouen, Fes and Northern Morocco are an excellent sampling of all this diverse country has to offer.
Perhaps one of the most unique places in all of Morocco, maybe the world, is Chefchaouen. It’s the perfect, serene escape from the chaos of Morocco’s larger cities. There are lots of different fascinating legends why the city is painted in bright shades of blue, but the most popular is that Jewish settlers tinted it blue as a reminder of sky and heaven, and to live a spiritual life. The “blue pearl” is also photographer’s dream, one thing you must do while in Chefchaouen is wake up early, just as day breaks, when the streets are calm and vacant. Walk around and take photos of the alleyways, staircases, and blue walls contrasted with the bright pastel flowerpots that line them. It’s an evocative and beautiful vantage point of the city. And probably the best introduction to Morocco you could have.
Fes’ medina is full of hidden cultural surprises. Behind the city’s ancient walls, you’ll find a maze of colorful streets leading to lush Islamic gardens punctuated by glistening tiles the color of the sea and traditional tanneries. Our guides have exclusive access to the best viewpoint in town of the Chouara tannery. You’ll be led up crumbling steps to the roof for a perfect birds-eye view of giant, inky paint pots, holding murky liquids of spicy reds, rich oaks and steely blues to dip leather into. Don’t let the pungent smell of the tannery deter you, sniff on a fresh mint sprig and you’ll be rewarded with an unbelievable experience. For history and culture buffs, Fes is home to the world’s oldest university (founded in 859) and the longest functioning library in the world. Another must stop is Volubilis. These scenic ancient Roman ruins are surrounded by olive groves and hot red poppies. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing lunch, while admiring relics of Morocco’s historical past.
Riad Fes is a stunning luxury property that has been lovingly restored and is hidden in one of the oldest Medinas in the world. A stay here allows you to enjoy the splendor and majesty of the lifestyle of the Fassi nobility who once inhabited the region. Riad Fes has kept its traditional feel and its 30 rooms and suites have been thoughtfully and lavishly decorated. Fes has a maze-like medina that is easily accessible from Riad Fes. While staying here, days can be enjoyed wandering and enjoying the souks where there is a vast array of shopping and dining experiences on offer. Further afield, the cities of Meknes, Moulay Idriss and Volubilis are fascinating.
Visit one of the most picturesque towns in Morocco, Chefchaoen. With bright blue buildings, red-tiled roofs and beautiful architecture, you'll enjoy exploring the bustling old medina. Taste local delicacies and relax in this stunning mountain village.
Discover the intricate medina of Fes, a winding maze of colorful streets hidden behind the city's ancient walls. As you explore, you'll come across the vibrant life that makes up Morocco's oldest imperial city. Explore Fes' medina and discover the hidden side of the city with your knowledgeable private guide. You'll be able to get up close and personal with the city's ancient tanneries, marvel at palaces and Islamic gardens, and learn about the art of weaving on a loom.
Marrakech’s famed souks are at the heart of the city. Navigate the labyrinth like alleyways, wander through the tangle of cubbyholes bursting with hand cut tiles, brass lanterns and woven textiles before mastering the art of haggling as you root around in the alcoves of a craftsman’s atelier. All roads lead to Djemma el-Fna; a bustling square alive with the murmurs of storytelling, the calls to prayer of the Koutoubia, and the hullabaloo of astrologers, snake charmers and Gnawa acrobats all jostling to play their part in the spectacle of the Medina.
The luxurious Riad Farnatchi is a stylish and contemporary all-suite riad in the heart of Marrakech, with easy access to the bustling Medina. With only ten sumptuous suites and a fabulous spa, it offers the ultimate in boutique comfort and service. Riad Farnatchi is a true haven from the bustle of Marrakech and offers a hammam with a fantastic range of treatments, as well as a swimming pool in which to relax after your sightseeing and shopping. Riad Farnatchi is also a superb riad to take over exclusively for a special occasion and we will help plan a memorable selection of events for your whole party.
Discover the Moroccan tradition of Hikayat, or traditional storytelling, in both Arabic and English in the comfort of your hotel. Meet master storyteller Ahmed Ezzarghani and be transported back in time as you listen to his ancient tales. Enjoy an insight into one of Morocco's ancient traditions, which sadly is now only practiced in Djemma el-Fna square. Storytelling dates back almost 1,000 years and was previously found in cities all over Morocco.
Journey across the Agafay Desert and Atlas Mountains on this adventurous day trip. Located 40km outside Marrakech, the Agafay Desert is a deserted plateau stretching for miles and giving the impression of being completely disconnected from civilization. Travel by camel on this authentic experience to visit a traditional Berber house and take in the breathtaking landscape as you cross the semi-lunar terrain.
The Royal Mansour is an elegant palace located on the edge of the Medina. Boasting a selection of luxurious private riads, each has their own private terrace and plunge pool and is the ultimate in lavish luxury owned by the King of Morocco. After visiting the bustling Medina, the Royal Mansour offers an oasis of calm for you to escape to and enjoy having your every need being taken care of. This exquisite retreat has an air of tranquillity and elegance, and the individually-designed riads are accessed by the staff via a series of underground tunnels for complete privacy and unrivalled service.
Discover the rich historical past and colorful present of Marrakech, which, founded in 1062, is the second oldest imperial city in Morocco. Explore the winding streets and spice-scented souks of Marrakech with your expert private guide. Discover the history and culture of the city as you visit some of its most iconic and ancient sights, including the Koutoubia Minaret, El Badi and El Bahia Palace, the intricate and opulent Saadian Tombs and the Dar Si Said Museum.
The Atlas Mountains showcase Morocco’s incredible diversity. Within a matter of hours, you will leave the pastel pinks of the bustling Medina in the dust and arrive in the country's heartland, a mosaic of snow capped massifs, famed for its kasbahs and world class trekking routes. Encounter the renowned hospitality of the Berber people, stay in a Kasbah, soar over the foothills in a hot air balloon or soak up local life with a cookery class - arguably the only place to master the perfect tagine.
Eco-friendly Kasbah Bab Ourika is perched majestically on a hilltop at the apex of the Ourika Valley, guarding the gateway to the snow-capped Atlas Mountains with awe inspiring 360 degree panoramic views. Days can be spent simply lounging by the Kasbah's pool and enjoying the tranquil surrounds, but those curious to see more of Morocco can visit the large Monday Berber market at the nearby town of Tnine Ourika or help at some of the local farms that grow herbs and flowers in the valley for the perfumers and herbalists who sell a wide variety of exotic perfumes in the Medina. For the energetic there is also hiking, trekking, biking, rafting, and riding from the Kasbah or even skiing nearby in the Atlas mountains.
The perfect way to explore the Atlas mountains is on foot. Trekking can be anything from a four-hour morning walk to a three-day expedition, staying in trekking lodges on route. Trekking is available throughout the Atlas Mountains, although Toubkal National Park is probably the most accessible and beautiful region to trek. The trekking is with a guide and is usually accompanied by a mule and mule herder who will walk ahead carrying your luggage and preparing your meal while you trek. The walks typically visit remote Berber villages, fruit farms and mountain cols, where the shepherds graze their sheep.
Skoura & the Desert
To the southwest of Marrakech, the Agafay Desert is a sun baked, moon-like expanse, easily accessible from the city, ideal to add on to a whistle stop tour of the country. The luscious oasis of Skoura is a true sight to behold thanks to the spectacular desert scenery that encompasses it. Further afield, the Sahara is made of the stuff of Moroccan legend, it is the home of camels, Arabian horses and Bedouin camps. Venture as far as the last outposts of Morocco before the Sahara’s endless rolling dunes tumble into Algeria for a truly authentic experience, unequivocally off the beaten track.
Dar Ahlam is one of the most luxurious properties in Morocco, located in a stunning 19th century Kasbah in Skoura. With superb food and accommodation, Dar Ahlam is the perfect exotic retreat. Inside the imposing red brick Kasbah there are 13 suites– all stunningly furnished, blending Moroccan chic with French influences – a perfect harmony of old world charm and modern luxury. Activities abound, from chauffeured 4X4 excursions to the Dades or Draa valleys or the stunning Valley of the Roses - or take a donkey, camel, horse, quad bike or motorbike - the methods of transport around this fascinating and expansive region are endless. For those wanting a peaceful day nearer to home, take a cooking class, a stroll with a picnic in the surrounding area or simply enjoy the pool, treatments and hammam.
The majestic tents of Dar Ahlam Nomad Camp stand alone in southern Morocco's Sahara Desert. At this exclusive camp you can enjoy an authentic desert experience with all modern luxuries as you admire the sight of the golden dunes and starry night sky. The billowing white tents at Dar Ahlam Nomad Camp allow guests to have the true desert experience, yet provide all necessary amenities. Beautifully decorated, the tents use local furnishings and products to offer an authentic Moroccan atmosphere. This is the perfect place to sit back and relax with a drink and admire the rolling peaks of the dunes.
Les Jardins de Skoura is a fantastic unassuming retreat set in magical gardens in Skoura, a short drive from the town of Ouarzazate. The hotel was lovingly restored from a dilapidated farmhouse and now has eight rooms, each one with individual charm. There are a number of cozy areas to sit out and enjoy a mint tea – or an afternoon reading a book in a hammock is equally as reviving. The gardens are simply delightful and are home to a refreshing unheated swimming pool. The hotel is a perfect base to explore the local area where the tourist numbers are much fewer than around Marrakech and where you can visit ruined Kasbahs or head into the Atlas Mountains.
The Private Desert Camp in Erg Chebbi offers one of the most memorable and unique experiences to be had anywhere in Morocco. A night under the stars after a glorious sunset camel ride through the golden dunes is simply unforgettable. Your Private Desert Camp is tucked away with high dunes enclosing you on all sides. There is a central courtyard which is draped in colorful Moroccan carpets, cosy sofas, tables and chairs. In the late afternoon your camels will arrive and take you higher into the dunes where you can climb up and watch the desert change color against the changing glimmering-red sunset. You will return to a hearty Moroccan feast, prepared by the camp staff, with a range of drinks on offer. As the night goes on, the stars come out, and a quick walk up the nearby dunes will expose a terrific display of shooting stars and crystal clear constellations.