DAY 1: ARRIVE IN FEZ
On arrival at Fez airport you're met by a local representative and taken to your hotel. Situated in the heart of the city, Riad Fes is built around 4 courtyards, each decorated in a different style and with plenty of comfy chairs and sofas where you can relax. The hotel is member of the esteemed Relais & Chateaux group and its impressive facilities include 2 pools, a roof terrace and spa, ideal for unwinding in comfort.
DAY 2: TOUR OF FEZ
You have a full day guided tour of Fez. Fez was Morocco's capital city for over 400 years from its beginnings in 789. It is the country's leading cultural and religious centre. There are two distinct towns within Fez: the old town of Fez el Bali which is largely mediaeval, and the 'new' town of Fez el Jedid. Fez medina, the largest in Morocco, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and walking through it is like walking back in time. Your tour includes a visit to the famous tanneries in the heart of the old town, and your guide is on hand to give you background information and answer questions you may have.
DAY 3: MEKNES & VOLUBILIS
Today you travel by car to Meknes. This historic town was built by the tyrannical Sultan Moulay Ismail (1672-1727). In the course of 50 years, some 50 palaces, many gardens, shops, mosques and 15 miles of walls were constructed. Today you can still see the imperial city of palaces and gardens, barracks, granaries and stables. Later, you continue to the Roman ruins of Volubilis, dating back to the 3rd century BC, where there are some impressive mosaics and a strking entrance gate. Strolling around the site you get a feel for life in this once thriving city. After this visit you return to your riad in Fez.
DAY 4: TO ERFOUD
Today you set out with your driver to Erfoud, a small town on the edge of the Sahara Desert. The drive takes about 7 hours through spectacular mountain scenery, with stops along the way to take photos and stretch your legs. Water and snacks are provided in the vehicle, but you can stop for refreshments en-route, too. Tonight you're staying in Kasbah Xaluca, an impressive hotel with an inviting swimming pool, hammam and a choice of restaurants for dinner.
DAY 5: DESERT PICNIC & DESERT CAMP
Travel out into the desert this morning on an exciting 4x4 drive. It's a thrilling way to experience the dunes and gain a sense of the scale of the Sahara. By lunchtime you reach the oasis of Tisserdimine where you'll have a tasty picnic lunch. Return to the hotel for a restful afternoon, and later you're driven out into the desert again to your very own camp beside the impressive sand dunes of Erg Chebbi. There's time to rest and take in your surroundings, enjoying the spectacle of a desert sunset before sitting down to a delicious dinner. Then it's time for bed, a night in your traditional tent in the Sahara.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner
DAY 6: TODRA GORGE, TO DADES
Leave the camp after breakfast and drive to Todra Gorge. This is a magnificent sight with lofty cliffs towering over the narrow canyon, offering great photo opportunities. The journey continues to Dades and your hotel, Xaluca Dades. Facilities include a large swimming pool, sun terrace, heated jacuzzi, a hammam and a sauna. Tonight you dine in the restaurant with a choice of Moroccan and international dishes.
DAY 7: DADES GORGE, TO SKOURA
This morning you visit Dades Gorge. It starts as a wide valley with lush vegetation, but soon narrows as the limestone cliffs close in. Leaving the vehicle behind you have the chance to explore on foot, with a guided trek enabling you to experience the scenery first hand. The drive then heads to the desert oasis town of Skoura, with its slender palm trees and many kasbahs. Check in to your hotel, an impressive kasbah offering comfortable and characterful accommodation. There's a pool, terrace and cosy lounge. Dinner tonight is eaten by candlelight in the courtyard.
DAY 8: TO MARRAKECH
Today you have a tour of Skoura before beginning the drive to Marrakech. En-route, stop for a guided tour at Ait Benhaddou, a World Heritage Site. It is a collection of kasbahs making up a small village or ksar (a collection of kasbahs) set on a hill. Continue to Marrakech and check in to your lovely hotel near the Saadian tombs. La Sultana is one of the 'Great Hotel of the World', with top quality facilities and service, and you have 4 nights to enjoy here. Sitting on the roof terrace you can hear the lively chatter in the streets below as you enjoy views of the city.
DAY 9: MARRAKECH TOUR
Today a guide shows you round the city's many sites. Explore the narrow alleyways, the busy souks, squares, and gardens. Spare some time to enjoy a drink and snack at one of the cafes in the main square, the Djemmaa el Fna. You might want to visit the Dar si Said Museum with its collection of arts, crafts and jewellery, or one of the palaces. When you've had your fill of the city, return to the peace and tranquility of La Sultana. maybe treating yourself to a massage in the spa or a swim in the courtyard pool. Tonight you can head back to the Djemmaa el Fna to watch the acrobats and snake charmers and sample some freshly cooked food at one of the busy stalls.
DAY 10: IN MARRAKECH
You have a full free day in this exciting city. There is plenty to see and do. You may opt to visit the Koutoubia Mosque, or the Saadian tombs near the hotel to see the richly decorated mausoleums, with their fine mosaics, magnificent domed ceilings, stalactite plaster work, intricate carvings and marble pillars. You could take a caleche (horse drawn carriage) to the beautiful Majorelle Gardens, owned by Yves Saint Laurent, a wonderful place to wander. Back in the medina you can try out your bargaining skills in the souks as you pick up a few gifts and souvenirs. Later you can relax in the hotel after a busy day.
DAY 11: WALKING IN THE ATLAS MOUNTAINS
A short drive takes you away from the city into the Atlas Mountains and a morning's gentle walking through some lovely scenery. This is an area of fertile valleys, where various different crops grow and it is home to numerous Berber communities. On conclusion of the trek you have lunch in the mountainss before returning to the city and your final evening in Marrakech. You might want to venture back to the Djemmaa el Fna for some more excitement, or opt for the charms of your hotel and savour dinner in the restaurant.
DAY 12: TO ESSAOUIRA
After breakfast, you have a drive of 2 hours or so to the coastal town of Essaouira, probably the most attractive of Morocco's coastal resorts. Formerly known as Mogador, Essaouira is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The long and often wind-swept beach leads up to a walled town of narrow streets with white and blue painted houses. You have guided tour to explore the ramparts and souks, visit workshops and watch fishermen bringing in their catches at the harbour. Your hotel, Heure Bleue, has a gorgeous courtyard, cosy lounges and a roof terrace with a pool, sundeck and shaded seating. This is another prestigious Relais & Chateaux property with the high levels of comfort and service you'd expect.
DAY 13: IN ESSAOUIRA
You have a free day to explore the old town, harbour and beaches of Essaouira, as well as plenty of time to savour some fresh seafood and go shopping for souvenirs. You have the chance to enjoy a cleansing hammam at the hotel, or a pampering beauty treatment. Top up your tan on the rooftop terrace or find a quiet corner in the courtyard where you can catch up with some reading. Tonight you can dine in the hotel or head into town with its selection of restaurants for your final dinner of the holiday.
DAY 14: TO MARRAKECH, DEPART
It's time to head for home. After breakfast, bags packed, you have a drive of around 2 hours to Marrakech airport, arriving in time to check in for your homeward flight.