Morocco, a North African country bordering the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, is distinguished by its Berber, Arabian and European cultural influences.
Marrakesh’s medina, a mazelike medieval quarter, offers entertainment in its Djemaa el-Fna square and souks (marketplaces) selling ceramics, jewelry and metal lanterns. The capital Rabat’s Kasbah of the Udayas is a 12th-century royal fort overlooking the water.
4:00am10:30pm : Marrakech
10:00am-11:30pm : Palacio da Bahia
A royal complex of buildings and gardens, Palacio da Bahia dates back to the 1860s. The sprawling ensemble of courtyards and rooms boast ornamental flourishes all around, with intricate woodwork, stained glass, and gold decorations throughout. The harem stands as the most lavishly appointed area, in which the many wives and concubines of the resident grand vizier were once housed.
12:00pm2:30pm : Jardin Majorelle
Founded by a painter and developed by a fashion designer, Jardin Majorelle is a 4.8 hectare (12 acre) site in which nature and art intertwine. A striking blue villa sits at the heart of the botanical garden, filled with numerous water features and over 300 plant species from around the world. Developed over a period of 40 years by the painter Jacques Majorelle, and bought in 1980 by designer Yves Saint-Laurent, the garden includes a museum of Islamic art.
3:00pm-6:00pm : Jemaa el-Fna, Marrakech
The commercial and cultural center of the city, Jemaa el-Fna represents a UNESCO-designated Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. The square hosts daily performances by storytellers, actors, and musicians. Merchants come and go throughout the day, selling fresh orange juice, traditional foods, herbal medicines, traditional water bags made from leather, and brass drinking cups.
10:00am-11:30am : Maison de la Photographie de Marrakech, Marrakech
See the country from a shutterbug's perspective at Maison de la Photographie de Marrakech, featuring a collection of about 4,500 images taken between 1870 and 1950. Admire different photographers' views on numerous historical landmarks and landscapes, as well as a large number of portraits of ordinary people, rulers, and famous visitors, all working together to tell a visual history of the nation and photography as an art form.
11:30am-12:00pm : Le Musee de la Photographie et des Arts Visuels de Marrakech
12:30pm-1:00pm : Koutoubia Mosque
Stand in reverence of the artistry and scale of Koutoubia Mosque, constructed during the 12th century CE. The mosque includes a large courtyard and gardens, while the main sandstone and brick represents the traditional Almohad style, with minimal decorations taking the form of geometrical holes and inscriptions. The towering minaret stands 77 m (253 ft) tall, with a spire of gilded copper balls.
1:30pm-2:30pm : Saadian Tombs, Marrakech
Touring Saadian Tombs allows you to learn about the Saadi dynasty and the wealth and splendor enjoyed by its sultans. The mausoleum was constructed on orders of sultan Ahmad al-Mansur during the 16th century--the remains of around 60 members of the family have been interred here, including the sultan's mother, wives, and children. Each room has been decorated with great attention to detail, though the Chamber of the 12 Pillars boasts the finest marble, plaster, and gold ornamentation--a resting place fit for a royal, it contains the remains of Al-Mansur and his son.
3:00pm-4:00pm : Medersa Ben Youssef
Admire the artistry and soak up the hushed atmosphere of reverence and studiousness at Medersa Ben Youssef, once the largest center of Islamic learning on the continent. Founded in the 14th century as a complementary institution to a nearby mosque, the school underwent various refurbishments and changes over the years until closing in 1960. Opened to the public in 1982, the center still maintains its studious calm and ageless charm, its central courtyard decorated with wooden carvings and marble mosaics. The site contains many fine, ornamental entryways and arches, covered with geometric shapes and inscriptions from the Quran.
4:30pm-6:00pm : Menara Gardens and Pavilion, Marrakech
Take in the relaxing atmosphere of Menara Gardens and Pavilion, a set of botanical gardens offering locals and tourists a break from the lively activity and noise of the city. Originally created in the 12th century, the gardens wrap around a central artificial lake, which supplies water to irrigate the surrounding orchards and groves. A 19th-century pavilion stands on the shore, against the backdrop of the Atlas mountains. Stroll around the lake, taking in the pavilion from a number of angles, and explore the gardens of palms, fruit, and olive trees.
6:30pm-9:00pm : Essaouira
10:00am-11:30am : Galerie la Kasbah
11:30am-2:00pm : Essaouira Ramparts, Essaouira
Exploring Essaouira Ramparts allows you to gain a fresh perspective on the city and survey the area from atop fortified walls that enclose a World Heritage-listed medina. Constructed in the 18th century to protect the seaport from attack, the walls remain remarkably well preserved, with many original features, such as the old city gates, sturdy sea walls, and towers. Admire the layout of the medina from above, and take in the dramatic view of the Atlantic Coast, with rocky outcrops, an offshore bird sanctuary, and little wooden fishing boats heading in and out.
3:00pm-6:00pm : Medina of Essaouira
Stroll down the atmospheric streets of Medina of Essaouira, the old walled part of the city with historical landmarks and an ongoing sense of tradition all around. Incorporating influences from European military architecture into a typically North African style, the area features many of the usual elements of a medina, such as souks and city walls, while having wider streets and an intuitive grid layout. Take in the battlements around the harbor area, the cemetery in the old Jewish quarter, and the former consulates of European powers, indicative of the seaport city's outward looking nature and growing importance on the international scene.
10:00am-1:00pm : Port de Pêche d'Essaouira
Take a stroll around Port de Pêche d'Essaouira to see one of the primary commercial and cultural areas of the old town in full swing. Snap photos of the wooden fishing boats as they bob along the jetties and come back in with the day's catch. Flanked by the old city ramparts and the windy, wild Atlantic, the port represents one of the most scenic parts of town. Choose a freshly caught fish at one of the local stalls, where the cook will grill it for you on the spot, and serve with salad and a drink.
1:30pm-4:00pm : Horseback Riding Tours, Essaouira
Hop on a friendly and well-trained Berber steed and gallop across the smooth Moroccan sand on a horseback riding tour from Essaouira. Follow your local guide along sweeping beach, up and down golden dunes, and through desert shrubs. Less experienced riders start the tour with basic training lessons, which makes it a popular choice with families. The trip usually takes from two to four hours. If you opt for a 15-hour excursion, you'll get to spend the night at a Berber camp and enjoy traditional Moroccan dinner and breakfast.
4:30pm-5:00am : Cooperative Feminine de Tamounte
5:30pm-6:00am : Chaim Pinto Synagogue
10:00am-1:00pm : Kayaking & Canoeing
1:30pm-4:30pm : Nature & Wildlife Tour
5:00pm-5:30pm : Cooperative feminie TILILA d'huile d'argane
6:30pm-11:00pm : Casablanca
10:00am-11:30am : Spas & Wellness
12:00pm-3:00am : Hassan II Mosque
One of the largest mosques in the world, Hassan II Mosque is an impressive place of worship and a symbolic landmark of the city. Nearly 1,000 construction workers and 10,000 artists took nearly seven years to complete this structure, known for its highly decorated interior (viewable only as part of a guided tour), rich in Islamic artistic motifs, including geometric shapes and sections from the Quran. The 210 m (689 ft) tall minaret stands above the old town, while the main building looks out across the Atlantic Ocean.
3:30pm-4:00pm : Mooi
5:00pm-11:30pm : Philadelphia