Morocco Self Drive 3 - Imperial Cities

The Historic Heart of Morocco

About Morocco Self Drive 3 - Imperial Cities


A classic holiday in central Morocco, including the Imperial Cities of Rabat, Meknes & Fez, finishing up in Marrakech after a wonderful drive through the Mid Atlas Mountains.

Activity code: MORFD03

Duration: 9 Days

START - Casablanca / FINISH - Marrakech

This is the classic Morocco self drive itinerary - explore the impressive Imperial Cities. Starting in Casablanca the route includes Rabat, Meknes, Fez and Marrakech with opportunities to visit the Rif and Atlas Mountains and all the sights along the way such as ancient Volubilis and the incredible waterfalls at Ouzoud.

We have many years of experience putting together practical and interesting journeys for our customers and we recommend this route to make the most of your time in this fascinating country. We are happy to discuss any reasonable modifications to tailor-make a holiday to suit your requirements for any or all of the following - number of persons travelling, preferred accommodation type, UK departure airport, overall duration, pre-booked activities and much more.

We can easily arrange for this holiday to start and finish in Marrakech or equally to start and finish in Casablanca without increasing the duration if this is more convenient.

Highlights of the Imperial Cities Fly Drive Holiday:

  • RABAT: Rabat is the current capital of modern Morocco and has well designed boulevards which are a perfect setting for the culture and grandeur a state capital should offer. Sights include the Royal Palace, the unfinished mosque with its striking Hassan Tower, the necropolis at Chellah and the grand Mauosoleum of the Kings.
  • MEKNES: Meknes was made the capital of Morocco in the 17th century by Sultan Moulay Ismail, known as the Louis XIV of Morocco. In this respect Meknes can be compared to Versailles for its grandiose and extravagent monuments laid down for history to judge.
  • VOLUBILIS: The largest Roman archaeological site in Morocco - The Triumphal Arch, capitol building, house of Bacchus – everything testifies to the city's ancient splendour. The site contains the villa where you are able to view the mosaic of the Labours of Hercules, the Baths of Gallienus and the House of Orpheus with its Dolphin mosaic and Orpheus Myth.
  • FEZ: Historically, the first of the Imperial Cities and made up of three centres, Fez deserves a couple of days of any visitor's time in Morocco. Described as "the most perfectly preserved and working mediaeval city in the world".
  • OUZOUD:Half way between Fez and Marrakech are the impressive natural waterfalls of Ouzoud, an exceptional site. A 100m drop cuts through the middle of a luxuriant chasm which then takes the river for 2km to the deep gorges of El Abid wadi.
  • MARRAKECH - Nestled on a large plain at the foot of the snow-capped High Atlas Mountains, it is the perfect city to begin your visit to Morocco. Surrounded by its original fortified city wall Marrakech entices you into its midst to explore the historic and labyrinthine Medina. Today, Marrakech has become a thriving metropolis with chic night spots, top restaurants and a very modern atmosphere in places. All of which emphasises the immense historical context of the Medina and its focal point, the Djemma el Fna.
  • RIADS: Many treasures, especially the now-famous riads are hidden away in Marrakech and other cities in Morocco, such as Fez and Essaouira. Riads are houses, built around a central courtyard patio, whose outside walls are entirely closed. They are often converted into guesthouses or restaurants and are a symbol of the Moroccan art of fine living. We recommend riads in our programme where the local staff are integral to the experience and all food and drink and many other materials involved with your stay and the building itself are all sourced from the local area.

Why book with Rediscover Morocco ?

We have all driven extensively around Morocco and will be happy to share our experiences with you if you are at all unsure about self-drive or your chosen routes. Roads around the country are improving all the time and are actually pretty good in most places, even in the mountains and desert areas they are now mostly asphalted. We do not recommend driving at night though as headlights can be optional and safety barriers on some mountain roads are non-existent.

Accommodation: the hotels in this itinerary are generally small, independent or family-run, properties which add significantly to your travel experience in this fascinating country. In the list below we have included suggestions for upgrades to "boutique" riads and deluxe options (please do not hesitate to request alternative hotels).

Transport: to take the stress out of arriving and departing we offer a private airport transfer service; we can deliver and collect your hire car from your hotel (or riad) at no extra cost. All our vehicles have a/c and come with a full tank of fuel, we provide driving directions and parking information for all accommodation (where relevant). The new highways linking Casablanca with Marrakech, Rabat and Fez will cut down journey times when you wish to get from A to B quickly but this also means that the other roads will be quieter and a pleasant alternative for sightseeing and travelling at a gentler pace. (NB. tolls apply on the highways).

English-speaking Driver Services: This itinerary can be taken with the services of one of our excellent team of English-Speaking drivers. They will drive a comfortable air-conditioned 4WD vehicle and at a flat daily rate which includes their food, lodging and fuel. Hotels are personal suggestions but there is usually a choice of styles and budget at each location.

Extra Information: all our holidays have a recommended route with suggestions for sightseeing; we are able, through our local agency, to book activities and specialist sightseeing, particularly in Marrakech - such as cooking, quad bikes, caleche rides, day hikes, etc.

NB. extend this holiday easily by adding nights in any or all of the locations.

What's included in your Fly-Drive holiday?

  • Private round trip airport transfers.
  • 8 nights accommodation at a choice of small hotels. (NB. hotels outside cities are on HB)
  • 5 days fully-inclusive car hire with a/c
  • Private guided half day city tour in Marrakech.
  • Private guided half day city tour in Fez.
  • Sightseeing suggestions and driving directions
  • FREE travel app with all your documents, maps, weather and much more
  • All taxes, full 24 hour representative services.

NB: Flights available to book through us with a range of airlines, from various UK airports.

Our recommended hotel choices for this fly drive:

  • Casablanca: - Kenzi Tower Hotel, Hyatt Regency
  • Rabat: - Riad Kalaa, Hotel Belere
  • Mid Atlas: - Riad Cascades d'Ouzoud
  • Fez: - Riad Dar Chrifa, Riad Myra, Hotel Barcelo Medina
  • Marrakech: - Riad Mur Akush, Riad Hikaya, Boutique Hotel Le Kech, Les Jardins de la Koutoubia

Click on the location to view our whole selection.

Contact us now to book this self drive holiday for any date.


  • Day 1 - Arrival in Casablanca

    Arrival into Casablanca and private transfer to your chosen hotel.

    • stay 1 night on B&B at Hyatt Regency or Kenzi Tower Hotel.

  • Day 2 - Casablanca - Rabat - Volubilis

    A brief visit to the Hassan II Mosque then take delivery of hire car at your hotel. Visit the nearby capital of Morocco, Rabat, and then onwards across the plain to Moulay Idriss in the Rif Mountains.

    NB. if you have time before it closes it would be a good opportunity to visit Volubilis; however, you will also have time in the morning.

    • stay at La Colombe Blanche in Moulay Idriss - 1 night.

  • Days 3 & 4 - Meknes & Fez

    Visit the fabulous Roman site of Volubilis first thing before the tours arrive; then a short drive down to Meknes for a visit of the old town and other sights before heading to Fez.

    Next Day sightseeing in Fez (* a half day private guided city tour is included).

    • stay 2 nights on B&B (e.g. Riad Dar Chrifa, Riad Myra, Barcelo Hotel).

  • Days 5 & 6 - Mid Atlas - Ouzoud - Marrakech

    Drive southwards (in the direction of Marrakech) through Mid Atlas; don't miss the Barbary Apes in the Cedar Forest near Azrou. Once through the Mid Atlas you will skirt the northern edge of the High Atlas where we recommend a small detour to visit the stunning waterfalls at Ouzoud.

    Next day you have the option for a visit to the Berber town of Demnate and to see the natural rock arch nearby before your onward drive to Marrakech; drop off hire car at end of day.

    • stay 1 night HB at the Riad Cascades d'Ouzoud (or Kasbah Tizouit)
    • stay in Marrakech at a riad or hotel of your choice - e.g. Riad Mur Akush, Riad Hikaya

  • Days 7 & 8 - Marrakech

    Two full days for sightseeing in Marrakech (* a half day private guided city tour is included).

    If you keep the car then you could visit the High Atlas south of Marrakech (e.g. Ouirgane, Imlil) or head west to the Atlantic coast at Essaouira for a day trip. Alternatively, these places can be visited on an excursion arranged through our local representative.

  • Day 9 - Departure Morocco

    Private transfer to Marrakech airport for flight home.

  • Prices & Departure Dates

    Prices are on request and depend on your chosen accommodation, room availability as well as time of travel. Please take this into consideration when comparing prices; we always aim to match a high quality experience with exceptional value for money. Please note that discounts will apply if there are 4 or more people in your travelling party as fixed costs such as transportation and guides will be shared equally between the group.

    NB: Flights available to book with us through a range of airlines, from various UK airports.


All prices are per person


Independent Holidays for all budgets since 1998