Marrakesh and the Atlas Mountains
Six days from only £569 per person
Thursday 31 March 2011
Visiting Morocco really is like stepping back in time and it's everything you imagine it to be - and more. This is a country of great contrasts: it has had many influences, with some of the earliest records from Phoenician times, then coming under the sway of Carthage, the Romans, from the 7th Century the Ottomans and finally the French. All have left their own mark, creating a unique country which today, though relatively near, still remains delightfully exotic, mysterious and unspoilt.
Morocco’s most vibrant city, full of myths and mystery, is ochre-coloured Marrakesh. Today it's an anachronism: one of the most exciting and romantic places you will ever visit, with one foot in the present and one firmly in the past. It was once an oasis on the ancient caravan routes to the south, thus becoming a natural centre of commerce and consequently, during medieval times, Morocco’s capital.
Vast wealth poured in from nearby Moorish Spain and skilled artisans built the city you see today. Surrounded by almost intact medieval ramparts, it has some amazing buildings. Dominating the traditional low-rise skyline is the amazing Koutoubia Minaret, over 200 feet high, visible for miles around and a classic example of Moorish architecture. Then there are the Saadian Tombs, the intricately decorated final resting place of the descendants of Mohammed, plus the Royal Palace and a host of other things to experience. The city’s maze of tiny streets is interspaced by tranquil gardens watered for centuries by an ingenious underground water system, still functioning after all these years.
At the centre of it all though is the Djemma el Fnaa, a huge square and site of one of the world’s greatest spectacles. Here, especially atmospheric at dusk, street restaurants serve all kinds of delicacies with mouth-watering aromas filling the air, surrounded by what can only be described as a medieval circus. Storytellers recount tales of old, whilst fire-eaters and skilled acrobats entertain the crowds. Scribes write letters, whilst open-air dentists and barbers are busy at work. You can have your shoes cleaned, watch snake charmers and see herbalists dispensing ancient remedies.
Permeating the whole scene is the heavy drumbeat of musical troupes playing their instruments, the sights and sounds of which are enchanting. The balmy warmth of the Moroccan evening adds to the atmosphere and all this under an ocean of stars: what a fabulous experience!
To book, call: 0844 571 1980 and quote the offer code "The Independent website", or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Fully escorted price includes:
- Return flights to Marrakesh
- Five nights half-board accommodation in a four-star hotel
- Guided tour of Marrakesh - including the famous souks
- Coach tour of the city and surrounding area
- Visit to the Saadian Tombs
- Tour to the foothills of the stunning Atlas Mountains (at certain times of the year and in very exceptional circumstances, heavy rain or snow may mean some of the mountain passes are closed, in which case this particular tour will not be possible)
- Visit to the delightful coastal town of Essaouira
- All transport as mentioned
- Escorted by our experienced tour manager
- The price of this holiday is per person, based on two people sharing a twin room
- Single rooms are subject to availability at a supplement of £79 per person
Visas and Health
UK passport holders do not require a visa, but other passport holders should check with the relevant embassy. Please consult your GP regarding the appropriate inoculations at least a month before departure.
Terms and conditions
Prices are per person, based on two sharing and subject to availability. Operated by Riviera Travel Atol 3430 protected, Abta V4744, a company independent of Independent Print Ltd. Single rooms are subject to availability and at a supplement. Optional insurance available at a supplement. When you respond to offers we may use your information to contact you with offers/services that we believe will be of interest. Please give your mobile or email details if you wish to receive offers by sms or email. We will not give your data to other companies without your permission; please let us know if you are happy for us to to so. Prices are correct at the time of publishing. Please call or email for details. 0844 calls charged at 5ppm from BT landlines.
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