Moroccan Architecture Retreats 2019

The architecture in Morocco, due to its unique location, has been influenced by many cultures throughout the years. For centuries, the country was formed by the mixture of African tribes from the other side of the Sahara Desert, Islamic traditions from Arab neighbors, and European colonizers. All of these influences have created a culture unlike any other and nowhere is this more clear than in the country’s unique architectural style.

Morocco is fast becoming a leader in sustainable development and is giving priority to developing renewable energy and sustainable development by developing the largest solar power plant in North Africa. Marrakech in particular is committed to green tourism, a leading global tourist destination and Morocco’s top attraction, the city has recently hosted the COP22 climate change summit and is fast turning into a green city that encourages eco tourism. 

Months available: May, October, November and December 2019. March, April, May, October, November and December 2020. Flexible dates are available in these months for your group. Please note that the max group size is 10.

Retreat Itinerary:

Arrival day - Afternoon arrivals, airport pickups, meet & greet, check in to Riad, dinner.

Day 1 - Morning visit to the National School of Architecture in Marrakech. The Ecole Nationale d’Architecture Marrakech is responsible for training the next generation of architects in Marrakech.  After lunch visit a local architecture firm, time for meet and greet, discussion and questions about architecture in Morocco.

Day 2 - After breakfast we’ll begin our private medina tour of Marrakech to learn about the history of the area and some of the most notable buildings, exploring the derbs (streets) of the medina, including a visit to one of Marrakech's oldest creative spaces. During the tour we will have time for sketching the designs and details of each place we visit, as well as stopping along the way for sketching in the Medina. Back to the Riad for dinner.

Day 3 - We’ll travel outside of Marrakech to visit a zellige tile making workshop to watch the master craftsman making these beautiful traditional tiles by hand. Zellige is mosaic tile work made from individually chiseled geometric tiles set into a plaster base. We’ll have the chance to make our own tiles after watching how it’s done. This form of Islamic art is one of the main characteristics of Moroccan architecture. Enjoy lunch nearby before heading back to Marrakech. Free afternoon before dinner.

Days 4-6 - Leave Marrakech for the foothills of the High Atlas Mountains. We’ll make our way a beautiful guest house where we will spend two nights. We’ll enjoy a private, hands on, demonstration showing us how the house was built and the traditional building methods used. This guest house was designed to take advantage of the endless valley views. We’ll have time to do some sketching and photography of the details around the house before dinner. The next morning we’ll enjoy a hike with a mountain guide, in the beautiful Dades Valley which sits close to the desert in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains.

Day 7-8 - After breakfast we’ll leave Dades Gorge for Erg Chegaga,  one of two major deserts in Morocco, the other being Erg Chebbi near Merzouga. Chegaga is the largest, least visited and less touristy desert of Morocco. We’ll enjoy a traditionally inspired luxury desert camp, have time for a sunset camel ride or sandboarding in the dunes before enjoying dinner and traditional music around the fire. Wake up to the desert sunrise over the dunes before enjoying breakfast. We’ll take our 4x4s further into the desert to visit a nomad family. We’ll have the chance to see the temporary structures of the nomad families. Instead of having tents, these nomad families have portable houses made of wood and cane, covered with blankets. This way of covering the shack prevents heat and light from going inside. This impressive yet harsh lifestyle represents one of the most interesting and extraordinary aspects of Morocco. Time for sketching, questions and discussion about the nomad way of life. Lunch in the dunes before heading back to our camp for dinner and traditional entertainment around the fire.

Day 9 -  Enjoy a desert sunrise over the dunes before breakfast. After breakfast we’ll head to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Ait Ben Haddou near Ouarzazate. This ancient ksar (group of fortified Kasbahs) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and jewel at the gateway to the Sahara. We’ll get a private tour of the site, one of the family homes being restored using traditional building methods and an explanation of the history of this fascinating city, which is still inhabited by four families. After lunch at a nearby restaurant, we'll make our way to our riad for the night in Ouarzazate. 

Day 10 - Head back to Marrakech, dinner at the riad.

Day 11 - Free day in Marrakech. Enjoy our final dinner together.

Day 12 - Sadly, head home.

Price: $2295 double occupancy, $2695 single occupancy

What's included:

  • 2 Airport transfers

  • 3 meals per day (except travel day to/from Marrakech from home country.)

  • 4/5 star accommodation while on the tour

  • Private transportation while on the tour

  • Private guided tours

  • Time for shopping

  • Entry into historic sites, museums and gardens

  • Fun, incredible experiences and lots of bonding time!

What's not included:

  • Airfare

  • All tips

  • Alcohol

  • Souvenirs

  • Activities or food on free days

  • Travel insurance

  • Transfers/transportation for activities on free days

A non-refundable deposit of $500 is required to reserve your space. The remaining balance can be divided into 3 equal payments, with final payment due 2 months before the trip date. 

Cancellation Policy: Your deposit and subsequent payments are a commitment and each payment becomes non-refundable at the time it is received. If you cancel prior to 2 months before the start of the trip and your reserved spot can be transferred to another person, we will refund any previous payments less the $500 deposit. No refunds or transfers will be available after your final payment.

*By registering for this trip with your deposit, you agree to the above Cancellation Policy and to purchase your own trip insurance.

Drop us an email to sign up or get more information!


Escape to the Sahara Tour - October 1 - October 11, 2019

Day 1 - Arrivals in Marrakech.

Day 2 - After breakfast enjoy a full day tour of the Marrakech medina, including Bahia Palace and the Saadian tombs. Stop for lunch then continue with a tour of the old souks.

Day 3 - Pick up at Riad in Marrakech after breakfast to experience cooking in the Atlas Mountains. Food is an integral part of any culture and it’s one of the best ways to get to know a country, it’s people and its culture. Join us as we explore the fundamentals of Berber cuisine through this exclusive day of cooking in the Atlas Mountains. Tagine, Zalouk and traditional bread making. Spend a relaxing day learning how to properly prepare and cook the vegetables, meat and spices of each dish in a beautiful setting overlooking a gorgeous valley in view of Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa.

Day 4 - Pick up at Riad in Marrakech after breakfast to visit the beautiful Dades Valley. Crossing the High Atlas Mountains through Tichka pass we will leave the main road and take the side road to the Telouet Kasbah which once belonged to the lords of the Atlas. Once owned by the Glaoui family but now stands in ruins after the last Pasha fled the country following the departure of the French. We will continue to Dades Gorge and the Valley of Roses before we reach Dades Gorge and our home the night. 

Day 5 - After breakfast we’ll travel to Zagora, a gateway city to the sahara. We’ll spend lthe night in a beautiful riad and have dinner. We’ll visit some of ancient shops and markets in this beautiful little town. 

Day 6 - After breakfast, we’ll continue our desert adventure in Erg Chegaga. Erg Chegaga is one of two major deserts in Morocco. The dunes are located in the Drâa-Tafilalet area about 50 km west of the rural town of M'Hamid El Ghizlane, itself located about 98 km south of the town of Zagora. We’ll spend the night in a traditional luxury camp.

Day 7 - Wake up to the desert sunrise over the dunes before enjoying breakfast. We’ll continue our trip, exploring Chegaga, visiting the nomad families and the surrounding area. Spend the night a traditional luxury camp and enjoy dinner.

Day 8 - After breakfast we’ll head to Ait Ben Haddou, where we’ll spend the night sleep. This ancient ksar (group of fortified Kasbahs) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and jewel at the gateway to the sahara. We’ll get a private tour of the site and explanation of the history of this fascinating city, which is still inhabited by a four families. After lunch at a nearby restaurant, we'll make our way to our riad for the night.

Day 9- After breakfast we’ll make our way to back to Marrakech.

Day 10 - Enjoy a free day in Marrakech. Hammam, shopping, lunch, museums, etc. 

Day 11 - Depart for home

Price: $2195 double occupancy, $2595 single occupancy

What's included:

  • 2 Airport transfers

  • 3 meals per day (except travel day to/from Marrakech from home country.)

  • 4 and 5 star accommodation while on the tour

  • Private transportation while on the tour

  • Private guided tours

  • Time for shopping

  • Entry into historic sites, museums and gardens

  • Fun, incredible experiences and lots of bonding time!

What's not included:

  • Airfare

  • All tips

  • Alcohol

  • Souvenirs

  • Activities or food on free days

  • Travel insurance

  • Transfers/transportation for activities on free days

A non-refundable deposit of $500 is required to reserve your space. The remaining balance can be divided into 2 equal payments, with final payment due 2 months before the trip date. 

Cancellation Policy:

Your deposit and subsequent payments are a commitment and each payment becomes non-refundable at the time it is received. If you cancel prior to 2 months before the start of the trip and your reserved spot can be transferred to another person, we will refund any previous payments less the $500 deposit. No refunds or transfers will be available after your final payment.

*By registering for this trip with your deposit, you agree to the above Cancellation Policy and to purchase your own trip insurance.

Drop us an email to sign up or get more information!