cities of Morocco

7 days trip between the imperial cities of Morocco

The smells no longer come out of the nostrils, the fiery sunsets do not leave the eyes, the noise does not abandon the ears: welcome to Morocco, a hard, fascinating, mystical land. I had been planning a trip to the imperial cities of Morocco for some time and some time ago I finally left for those places I had long dreamed of. Was it what I expected? No, it was more; amplified and excessive compared to what I had imagined.


We leave from Rome with Royal Air Maroc. After a three hour flight we land at Casablancaone of the imperial cities of Morocco, where the private van awaits us that will accompany us on all the trips planned for the following seven days.

I will say straight away that among the cities visited, it is certainly the one I liked least of all but an honorable mention goes to Hassan II Mosque, one third built on the ocean, from whose waters the 240 meter high minaret seems to emerge. The dimensions are exaggerated, the square in front can contain up to 80,000 people, the iridescent green tiles make their way between the light ones of the religious building, which unfortunately we are unable to visit inside due to a misunderstanding with our guide. The city center doesn’t offer much and we limit ourselves to a walk in a small market, a sightseeing tour along the seafront, where the perception is that of a 1950s Italy, of neglect and decadence.

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Read also: Two weeks in Morocco – Travel Itinerary


After lunch served in a restaurant with a typical Arab style, based on couscous for some, tajine for others, we set off towards the elegant Rabat, another imperial city in Morocco, surrounded by kilometre-long ocher fortifications. It is immediately clear that the King resides here, taking the enormous, well-kept green avenues that lead to the royal palace of epic dimensions.

Let’s visit the mausoleum dedicated to Mohammed V, located on a square crowded with columns, with the Hassan Tower in the background, the minaret of a mosque that was never built. The tour of the city continues in kasbah, perched on a rocky spur, protected by mighty walls. The white lime buildings, stained by the light blue of the doors and windows, rise and fall through the narrow alleys, united in the panoramic terrace overlooking the Atlantic.

We sit at the tables of a restaurant, arranged in a small square, crowded with locals and some tourists. They bring us huge trays full of Moroccan sweets, we choose some, including the unforgettable coconut ones and we drink the Mint tea piping hot (the first of many), served in narrow glass glasses, trying not to burn our fingers. The secret is to hold it with your thumb on the bottom and your index finger on the top edge.

After quenching our thirst there is still time to visit the beauties Oudaya gardensbefore returning to the hotel for dinner.


Meknes from Volubilis

The following day’s destination is Meknes, whose most important monuments are unfortunately under restoration. We still manage to visit the Mausoleo in Moulay Ismail which is accessed from the imposing Porta Bab Mansour. We pass through a series of elegant courtyards decorated with colored tiles and elaborate stucco, before reaching the heart of the sanctuary. We take off our shoes, walk on the carpets, fully enjoy the place and listen to our guide Serghini about the centenary story of the final resting place of one of Morocco’s most famous sultans, buried here together with one of his 500 wives and 800 children.

In the surroundings of the imperial city, in a valley full of olive and almond trees which to me suggests Sicilian atmospheres, we discover the remains of Volubilis, Roman city built in the 3rd century. ac It is not Pompeii (sorry for the parochialism) but its mosaics, columns, the triumphal arch dedicated to the Emperor Caracalla deserve to be known.


We’re back on the road heading towards Fez, the spiritual capital of Morocco, as Serghini continually repeats to us like a mantra and among the imperial cities of Morocco. The following morning we admire it first in the distance, from a promontory in front of the city center, then we get closer by visiting the outside Royal Palace and in the end we enter its beating heart: the medina. It is actually the largest market I have ever seen.

brown concrete building

The market of Fez

We pass through the food stalls, those selling fabrics, clothes, tin objects, between climbs and descents, smells that mix, narrow streets that are crowded to the point of preventing passage, children who chase the tourists and propose, in change of a few dirhams, like ferrymen from one point to another in this infinite maze. You can’t see the sky, you can only glimpse it in the rays that filter through the wooden roofs.

The university and the Koranic school

You turn the corner and you find a mosque, the university, the Koranic school where we stop for a long time to listen to its history, experience the spaces and take some photos.

Fez tanneries

We resume the path that takes us to tanneries overlooking the rooftops of the city. The smell of the leather is acrid, too much for us, but with mint leaves under our noses, we enjoy the spectacle of the white lime tanks dyed red, yellow and blue from above.

Blue Gate of Fez

We visit a shop that makes lamps, mirrors and silver objects. Someone goes shopping, someone else just admires the craftsmanship. Let’s look for it Blue Doorwe don’t find it but we will find it later that same day, when we return with taxis to the nerve center of Fez, in search of souvenirs and a ceramic vase spotted in the morning, but not promptly purchased…And not even in the afternoon, when we arrive at the shop too late to find it still open.


I leave Fez and the first nostalgic notes begin to fill my heart but we are going to Marrakech, my destination (I always have one for every tour). During the journey of over 500 km we cross the little Switzerland green and lush, and the rusty landscapes of Middle Atlanteanin the continuous contrast between richness and aridity that is Morocco.

people walking on street during daytime

Piazza Jemaa El Fna

At the end of the long journey there it is, Marrakech, dressed in red clay. We need to get to know each other straight away, tomorrow would already be too late. We split into three taxis and arrive at the Piazza Jemaa El Fna. It’s what I imagined multiplied by a thousand. I hear the sounds of the snake charmers’ flutes, the clicking of the horses’ hooves, the excited rhythm of the drums, I see the monkey trainers for the first time in my life, all lit by the lights of the night. It’s chaos, or rather no, it’s vital energy, it’s electricity, it’s the essence of Morocco, capable of conveying the complexity of an entire country on a single stage.

We decide to enjoy all this from above, from the terrace of a bar where they allow us to consume alcohol (not all places serve it) and the show is that of the Arabian Nights. The moon, the illuminated minaret, the music and sounds that are lost in the distance.

El Bahia Palace

The following day we visit the El Bahia Palacewhere the green, blue, red and yellow of the ceramics are composed and decomposed into geometric shapes on the walls of the royal residence.

We cross Moorish-style portals that lead to courtyards inhabited by fountains, trees and plants, and inlaid wooden gazebos. I’m really impressed by it. Followed by a visit to Dar Si Said Moroccan art museum, worthy more for the building itself than for the collection housed. In the afternoon we discover the soukwith its maze of streets where getting lost is inevitable, as is finding the main road again, guided by Koutoubia minaret.

In the evening we opt for a restaurant where they serve dromedary meat in the city center. From the terrace we watch the sunset and the sun go out over the roofs, but not before having painted them in all shades of orange and pink, while the muezzin calls for prayer.

Majorelle Gardens

On the last day in Marrakech we have the morning free. We don’t want to leave the city without visiting the Majorelle Gardensdesigned by the French artist Jacques Majorelle in the 1930s and which became a ‘retreat’ for Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergèwho defined them: “An oasis where Matisse’s colors mix with those of nature”. And it actually feels like living in a painting for a few hours. The electric blue buildings in Moorish and Art Deco style, now a museum and boutique, contrast with the green of the cacti and plants from all over the world. Here and there fountains and waterways make their entrance, encountered following the terracotta-colored paths, punctuated by enormous yellow vases.

After this visit we are ready to return to Casablanca, the beginning and end of a growing tour, where we will spend the last evening together with friends we have just met, sipping a bottle of Pinot Noir from a window overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

Useful tips

When to go to Morocco? The best period is spring, when the daytime temperature does not exceed 30 degrees while in the evening it settles at around 20 degrees. The weather is always sunny.

On your own or with a tour operator? I started with Kuda Tour, purchasing a package including flights to and from Italy, overnight stays, travel, guide, half board in 4 or 5 star hotels and entry to museums. Advised!

Necessary documents. The identity card, although valid for traveling abroad, is not sufficient; A passport is required but no visa is required.

Moving around the city. Getting around the city center by taxi is very easy and quite cheap.

Money question. Most clubs, restaurants and shops do not accept payment by credit cards, so you must always have cash with you. You can change euros into dirhams directly in hotels, where a very small commission is applied, or in offices located in the main cities.

Tickets for I Majorelle Gardens in Marrakesh they can only be purchased on the official website. Do this at least the day before the visit, choosing the time you prefer. There are different types of tickets which also include a visit to the Yves Saint Laurent museum.

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Read also: 11 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Casablanca

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