Arrival at our hotel in the evening.
We set off on a guided tour in the morning (on foot) to see the spectacular sites of Marrakech. Our city guide will take us to the Bahia Palace, the Saadian tombs, which date back to the 16th century, and the Dar Si Said Museum. There is then some free time to visit the largest mosque in Marrakech, Koutoubia, and venture through the old streets of the medina to the Koranic School and the Museum of Marrakech. Our evening is for visiting Djemma el Fna, the open-air central square around which Marrakech revolves. The name literally means 'place of death' as it was the place where the Sultans used to display the heads of their enemies. Now, with the food stalls, snake charmers, travelling acrobats and musicians, it is a noisy and lively place of entertainment at night.
Transfer through stunning scenery to the road head village of Imlil, in the High Atlas Mountains. Here we leave the bus, put on our walking boots, and enjoy a walk of about an hour and half on well-defined paths to the small Berber village of Tamatert. We enjoy this peaceful and beautiful landscape in the shadow of Mount Toubkal, the highest mountain in North Africa. We spend the night in a beautifully restored and comfortable mountain lodge. The bedrooms sleep up to 4 people, the welcome is warm and this is a truly authentic rural experience in a traditional Berber village.
Today we enjoy a full day's walk through the beautiful valleys of Ait Mizan and Ait Souka. We take a slow ascent to the Tamatert col which offers rewarding and breathtaking views over this magnificent mountain range. We stop for delicious picnic lunch en-route, enjoying some shade and the calm and peace of these beautiful mountains.
We say goodbye to our wonderful hosts and enjoy a short 1-hour walk back to Imlil, where we take our transfer to the Atlantic Coast. We arrive in the early evening for a relaxed evening in the comfort of a beautiful Riad Hotel in Essaouira.This settlement dates back to the 15th century, but the present town was constructed around 1760 by Sidi Mohammed ben Abdullah, who needed a base from which to suppress a revolt from Agadir. Today, Essaouira is extremely relaxed and its whitewashed houses with painted shutters, artisan's workshops, boatyards and fishermen provide a marked contrast to Marrakech.
In the morning, our knowledgeable guide takes us on a short tour around this pleasant Portuguese fishing port. Our afternoon is free to head off exploring this charming old town. There is time for some shopping in the heart of the old walled city, a relaxing walk (or camel ride!) along the picturesque beach, a walk to the harbour and ramparts, or perhaps a boat trip. There are also many pleasant cafes and some outstanding seafood restaurants to sample before we return to our traditional Riad Hotel.
Today we transfer 3 hours back to Marrakech to explore the many other activities available and absorb the vibrant atmosphere of the city. Simply enjoy a freshly squeezed orange juice in one of the many rooftop cafés overlooking the Djemma El Fna, or perhaps take a Calèche ride (a bright green horse drawn carriage) to the peaceful Majorelle Gardens. These small but tranquil gardens are decorated throughout in Indigo Blue and house a small Museum of Islamic Art in the grounds. A final treat would be to go for a hammam, a traditional Moroccan steam bath.
For those on group flights, these depart in the morning and will arrive in the UK the same day.