North tour from Fez To Chefchaouen and Tangier 4 Days
Starting in one of Morocco’s gems, the Imperial City of Fez with its historic medina, maze of alleys and souks.
The itinerary moves onto Meknes, the former 17th century capital and current World Heritage sites before heading north to Chefchaouen, one of the prettiest towns in Morocco, set deep in the foothills of the Rif mountains, a charming, highly photogenic end to your tour.
Day 1: Fez City
You will be met by your guide after breakfast.
We’ll start the visit by exploring the royal palace and many interesting quarters including the Moulay Abdalllah Quarter, the Mellah (Jewish Quarter) and a little farther down south lies the Fez el-Jedid, a kasbah which functioned as Morocco’s administrative center until 1912.
Now we are moving to see the southern Tower including The Musée des Armes, a fortress that once protected Fez.
Enter the Fez el-Bali through the symmetrical horse shoe arches at Bab Boujeloud (The Blue Gate).
Fez el-Bali, best characterized as a sea of rooftops embellished with minarets and domes, is too narrow for cars.
Aside from walking, donkeys and mules are still the best way to travel within the cities old walls.
Upon entering Rue Talaa Kebira, the main street in the medina, you will see lines of shops covered by canopies.
Make your way to the Karaouiyine Mosque.
Located in the Karaouiyine quarter, the Mosque is one of the oldest in the world and functioned as the first university in Morocco.
After we will continue along the streets which will lead you to some of Fez’s most important buildings including Dar el-Magana, a fourteenth century water clock and Zaouia el Tijaniya, containing the tomb of Ahmed el Tijani, who spread his infamous doctrine Tariqqa el-Tijaniya (The Way) throughout Morocco.
We will also stop to visit the Ech Cherabliyine Mosque (Mosque of the Slipper makers) then browse the souks selling henna, slippers, caftans, silks, jewelry and spices.
Next onto the UNESCO recognized site, Fondouk el-Najjarine.
Within the foundouk’s three floors is the Wood Museum (Musée de Bois), which displays carved doors from the Bou Inania Medersa.
we will visit the Musée Dar el- Batha to view the great collection of pottery, leather-work, wood, books and manuscripts from the nineteenth century.
Explore the Andalusian quarter, a residential part of the medina laced with monuments.
Within the medina, we will the following historical sites:
Medersa Bou Inania: An (Islamic school) founded by Abu Inan Faris that is highly decorated from floor to ceiling.
The medersa is one of the few religious places in Morocco that is accessible to non-Islamic tourists.
Kairaouine Mosque: Morocco’s second largest mosque was built by Fatima in 857.
The Kairaouine Mosque became the home of the West’s first university and the world’s foremost center of learning at the beginning of the second millennium.
University of Al-Karaouine: Founded in 859, this university is one of the leading spiritual and educational centers of the Muslim world and is considered the oldest continuously operating institution of higher learning in the world.
Medersa el Attarin: A (Koranic school) that was named for local spice merchants known as attar.
Founded by Sultan Abou Saïd in the 14th century as a students’ dormitory, it is attached to the Kairaouine Mosque.
Zaouia Moulay Idriss II: A zaouia (shrine) dedicated to and the tomb of Moulay Idriss II, who ruled Morocco from 807 to 828 and founded the city of Fès for the second time in 810.
Dar Batha: A Hispano-Moorish palace dating from the end of the 19th century that houses admirable collections of traditional art from Fez City.
Spend the night in Fez.
DAY 2: Meknes City And the Roman ruins of Volubilis
Arriving in Meknes you will begin your tour of Bab Lekhmiss,then the jewish quarter calle El mellah.
Hri Souani : One of the prestigious Historic Monuments of Meknes, located about 500 m south of the Royal Palace and the place Mechouar, it dates from the time of Moulay Ismail in the early eighteenth century.
It groups a series of relatively cramped room around a spacious central hall 26m, 30 long / 10m, 70 of width. and 9m in height. It was a place for food storage. It contains 10 rooms with ten wells norias.
These well fed at the time as well as the building Souani basin, large water tank constituting the monument with a single entity.
It is a building composed of huge vaulted silos, built largely stores; it is covered terrace supported by huge pillars.
The thickness of the walls ensured a constant temperature that facilitated the preservation of food. Deep wells of several tens of meters provided, using a system of Norias powered by animals, water needed when the dominance of Dar El Ma (water house).
Now we move to The mausoleum of Moulay Ismail : The visit to the mausoleum of Moulay Ismail is permitted for non-Muslims (except access to the tomb of the ruler).
This mausoleum was built in 1703 and shows a particularly beautiful cedar painted ceiling mosaics on which figuent Koranic scriptures.
Now we will pass through the triumphal arch.
Standing at sixteen meters high with an eight meter long arch, the intricately patterned triumphal arch is argued to be the most beautiful in Morocco.
Enter Place El-Hedime (Square of Ruins) which links the medina and the kasbah.
The square is lined with modern residential buildings and a covered food souk (market).
Among the most impressive elements of this imperial city is the grand gate named after the architect, El-Mansour, a Christian renegade who converted to Islam.
The design of the gate plays with Almohad patterns.
It has zellij mosaics of excellent quality.
The marble columns were taken from the Roman ruins of Volubilis.
Now We move to Moulay Idriss city, where there is the mausoleum of Moulay Idriss Zerhoun the founder of Fez city, one of the holiest cities in Morocco.
Now it’s time to explore the breathtaking archaeological ruins of the Roman city of Volubilis Founded in the 3rd century BC, after a quick stop in road for some panoramic views.
The ruins remained substantially intact until they were devastated by an earthquake in the mid-18th century and subsequently looted by Moroccan rulers seeking stone for building Meknes.
It was not until the latter part of the 19th century that the site was definitively identified as that of the ancient city of Volubilis.
During and after the period of French rule over Morocco, about half of the site was excavated, revealing many fine mosaics, and some of the more prominent public buildings and high-status houses were restored or reconstructed.
Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, listed for being “an exceptionally well preserved example of a large Roman colonial town on the fringes of the Empire”.
Continue the road until you arrive in the region of the Rif Mountains which is the heart and location of the quiet blue and white washed city of Chefchaouen.
Once you enter the poetic Rif Mountains and see a dramatic entrance of a wide set valley full of blue-washed buildings, you will recognize Chefchaouen.
Enjoy the panoramic view of Chefchaouen.
The night in Chefchaouen.
DAY 3: CHEFCHAOUEN City
After the breakfast, explore and tour Chefchaouen, the blue-washed town (old medina) by foot along with your guide who will share stories of Chefchaouen’s history.
Start your tour with the kasbah museum in the medina.
The kasbah of Chefchaouen belongs to the early 18th century, and was built by the legendary ruler Moulay Ismail.
It is fairly simple without architectural surprises however it is surrounded by gardens on the interior and exterior.
Inside the Kasbah, you can visit the ethnographic museum containing antique weapons, musical instruments, and photographs of the old town.
Step onto the museum’s roof and take pictures of a panoramic view of the Hispanic flavored town lined with blue and white washed houses, tiny balconies, tiled roofs and patios embellished with citrus trees.
Next, visit the cobbled main square, Plaza Uta el-Hammam and where the striking 15th century Grand Mosque sits.
The Mosque and its nearby buildings were built by Jewish refugees, who alongside Muslims escaped the Spanish persecution to Chefchaouen.
The night in Chefchaouen.
DAY 4: TANGIER City
After breakfast we’ll head to Tangier city.
While in Tangier we’ll start with a city overview at the vantage point of the Colline de Bella-Vista.
Then, drive to see the Grand Succo, a popular nighttime square close to the Mosque of Sidi Bou Abib and the link between Ville Nouvelle and the medina.
Enter the medina at Rue Es-Siaghinie, the busiest part of this Roman medina lined with cafes and bazaars, a Spanish church, jewelers’ shops and an arts center displaying works depicting Tangier’s social history.
Walk Petit Socco which was once the heart of the medina where businessmen and bankers frequented cafes, hotels, casinos and cabarets that have relocated to Ville Nouvelle.
Move on to visit the Grand Mosque, built on the site of a Portuguese cathedral.
Walking north, you will then visit the kasbah decorated with mosaics, ornamental stucco and woodcarving.
Next to the Kasbah you will walk the ramparts and take a short break to relax by the breathtaking view of the port.
Explore Marshan quarter, once an attractive residential area west of the Kasbah.
In the evening enjoy the amazing sunset while having a drink in a cafe with a terrace or a garden that overlook Gibraltar.
This ends your Tour of Morocco, Now it s time to the transfer to your destination of choice Casablanca or Fez to your home country.