For people who wish to learn about Jewish heritage in North Africa, our Morocco Jewish Tours provide the perfect opportunity. This itinerary from the gate of Africa Tangier gives you an insight into Jewish way of living, practices, rituals and history you will also get to experience authentic and delicious Sephardic cuisine in traditional Jewish-Moroccan dishes.
Our Jewish Heritage tours to Morocco take you back in time to the cradle of Sephardic Jewry. You will visit the central medieval cities where Jewish communities and Jewish culture flourished. Starting from Tangier, Chefchaouen, Fes, Casablanca, and Marrakech you will further explore old Jewish history and traditions. You will have the chance to learn about the Jewish communities through old synagogues, cemeteries, and museums. You will also get to experience authentic and delicious Sephardic cuisine in traditional Jewish-Moroccan dishes.
Welcome to the gate of Africa Tangier where you will be greeted by your driver and transferred to your hotel in Tangier, the north capital of Morocco. Tangier is a city of historical strategic importance, guarding the entrance to the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean. The city also marked the entryway to Africa for those coming over from Europe across the Strait of Gibraltar. Begin sightseeing in colorful Tangier with a visit to its bustling Medina, Grand and Petit Socco, and Synagogues Street – whose very name attests to the rich Jewish presence here. Lunch is served during the tour. Next, visit Kasbah Square – which offers gorgeous views overlooking the ocean and Spanish coasts. Finally, experience the spectacular Hercules Caves at Cape Spartel. Check in at the hotel or Riad for the overnight with dinner.
After breakfast, we leave Rabat towards the town of Tetouan deemed as a center for Jewish community originating from the time of the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492, was for many centuries the intellectual and religious center of the North of Morocco. The city has a well kept Mellah built in the traditional Andalusian style in 1808. The Mellah quarter enjoys the distinction of being the only one that still houses a majority of the resident community, who faithfully maintain their Judeo-Spanish language, traditions and customs. The city’s large and preserved cemetery comprises another historical landmark of great interest, most particularly the Castilian section, the burial ground for the earliest settlers from Spain. In the Mellah are three active Synagogues. Among these, the Synagogue Rabbi Isaac Ben Oualid, on the ground floor of the Rabbi’s home, is the most historic, and its interior the most picturesque, and many legends surround this building. Tetouan is the site of the first Alliance Israelite Universal School, established in 1862 after Morocco regained control of the city from the Spanish. We continue the Jewish heritage tour towards the blue washed town of Chefchaouen for the overnight with dinner at the hotel.
Today you will explore Chefchaouen, Morocco's enchanting city beneath the striking peaks of the Rif Mountains. Whitewashed homes with red tile roofs line narrow, winding laneways, their walls painted in brilliant shades of blue. Then continue onto the holy city of Ouazzane to visit the sanctuary of a Jewish Saint venerated by both Muslims and Jews Rabbi Amram Ben Diwan. The Hiloulah takes place in Ouezzane and is considered the largest pilgrimage gathering for Moroccan Jews. The Jewish heritage tour continues to Meknes “the Moroccan Versailles” where the Jewish presence is evidenced by Hebraic epitaphs dating from the Christian era as well as Greek inscriptions that still appear in local Synagogues and a place of pilgrimage where the tomb of Rabbi’ David Benmidan, “The Patron of Meknes” is located. After lunch, you will tour Meknes starting from the ornamented gate of Bab Al Mansour to the old and new Mellah to see the past and new life conveyed through the historic Jewish names retained by many of the streets. We leave Meknes towards Fez with a stop at Volubilis, a well-preserved Roman city, where archaeologists found the first traces of Jewish settlement in Morocco. We send the overnight with dinner at the hotel or Riad in Fez.
Today is devoted to a guided tour of the ancient Fez Medina, fascinating old religious Morocco’s capital surrounded by nine miles of ramparts, strategically positioned on the old caravan trading crossroads which once connected the Saharan empires with Europe. Start your guided tour from the impressive Royal Palace with its magnificent seven glorious bronze gates. From here you walk to the Mellah with its intense atmosphere and fine Mauro-Hispanic architecture, continue to the nearby Jewish cemetery and the Ibn Danan well-kept synagogue, which testifies the importance of the Jewish community Fez. You will head south to enjoy the panoramic view of the old Medina. The next visit is the ceramics quarter where you learn about the unique local pottery handicraft and see the old kilns. The amazing part is to start your walking tour of the bustling labyrinth of the ancient Fez Medina, visit the colorful tanneries and explore the narrow streets lined with fresh fruit, mounds of spices, intricately woven Berber carpets, beautiful brassware, and Jewish-originated silverware, traditional and modern Jewelry. Visit El-Attarine, El Bou Inania Medersas, and the marvelous Karaouine university-mosque. Stop for lunch at a traditional restaurant in the heart of the medina, nearby the delightful Nejjarine Square famous with its fountain and caravanserai. We end up the sightseeing tour in the blue gate “Bab Boujloud”. You will be back to your hotel for the overnight with breakfast.
Today we leave the imperial city of Fez heading to another part of Morocco crossing the Middle Atlas Mountains. We stop for a short break in Ifrane nicknamed the small Switzerland where is the first ski resort in Morocco. We will be surrounded by amazing sceneries and landscapes of Mountains and plains. A special species of native monkeys living in cedar forest called Maggot monkeys in Azrou. We will have a lunch break in Midelt celebrating the festival of apples every year. There is a big contrast of landscapes especially before we arrive to Errachidia main city named after the prince Moulay Rachid around 1971. Then we drive through Ziz Valley and the gate of the Sahara Arfoud. This town was the major Jewish population center of the Tafilalet, where Jews lived and financed the caravan trade with Sub-Saharan Africa from as early as the eighth century. Jews worked as merchants and artisans as late as the twentieth century. Highlights will include also the Jewish cemetery. We arrive to the Sahara Desert of Merzouga to ride camel or 4x4 Jeep to enjoy a superb sunset in the middle of Erg Chebbi dunes. Spend a celestial overnight with the gleaming stars in a desert camp with dinner.
After breakfast, we leave the magical dune Erg Chebbi in Merzouga and head towards the old irrigation system that was used in the oasis of Ziz. We continue driving through the arid landscapes to the small town of Tinghir where the fabulous Todra Gorges to enjoy a leisurely walk in and around the canyons and venture up between the high limestone cliffs with their exotic shaped erosions and beautiful green vegetation, Kasbahs ranging in colors from greenish black to dark red and startling lime-white. After lunch, we arrive to Tineghir to visit the gateway and the ancient and colorful Jewish quarter Mellah. This town is believed to have one of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in Morocco. We leave Tinghir towards the Rose valley where thousands of small, pink Damascene roses are grown and the palm’s grove of Skoura to reach the Hollywood of Africa Ouarzazate for the overnight with dinner at the hotel.
After breakfast, you will visit one of the world’s largest cinematographic studios of Atlas to learn how the nearby regions and breathtaking Desert landscapes have been portrayed in fiction and non-fiction movies. We drive to Ait Benhaddou village where you will go for a walk to visit this ancient village. An authentic site where a list of movies were filmed starting with the first movies “Lawrence of Arabia”, ”Jesus of Nazareth”, ”Gladiator” and the list is still going on. It is also listed in UNESCO as a site of the world and national culture in 1987. After lunch, we continue the Jewish heritage tour to Marrakech via the scenic landscapes of the Atlas Mountains with an optional excursion to the Rabbi David Oumouchy and to the Jewish saint, David Lachkar or Moulay Ighi. We reach the pink city of Marrakech. Spend the overnight with dinner at the hotel or Riad.
Today you will have a sightseeing tour of Marrakech, a home of a thriving strong community of native Jews, specialized in commerce and handicrafts, famed for their rabbinical schools and scholars. We will visit the Mellah with its synagogues, The Negidim synagogue built at the end of the 19th century, the other synagogue of the is the Salat el Alzama, built at the turn of the century. Then you will see the cemetery where Rabbi Hanania Ha-Cohen, the Lion of Marrakesh and Rabbi Pinhas Cohen are buried. Your guided tour continues on to the 19th Century Bahia Palace, and the 16th-century Ben Youssef Madrasa Islamic School to appreciate the exquisite Zellij, the carved cedar ceilings, and calligraphy. Wander around the labyrinth of narrow alleyways to indulge your senses and explore the colorful bustling souks of Marrakech. Then move next to the 12th-century Koutoubia Mosque and the lavishly-decorated 500-year old Saadian Tombs. From here drive to explore the Majorelle Gardens - one of the must-see attractions in Marrakech, famous for its botanical growing plants and trees from around the world. We finish your guided tour in the Djemaâ El Fnaâ Square before heading to the hotel for the overnight with breakfast.
After breakfast, we will leave to the fresh and artistic coastal city of Essaouira as one of the loveliest cities in Morocco and also a multicultural artistic center, which has captivated people like Jimi Hendrix, Orson Welles and the Rolling Stones were drawn to Essaouira’s idyllic charm, which continues today to lure musicians and artists alike to the sparkling whitewashed fishing village trimmed with the brilliant azure of its skies. You will stroll around the Jewish quarter Mellah which covers 10 percent of the town. Jewish stars on the doors to the Mellah show the degree to which Jews were in Essaouira, to the point that some of the richer Jews did not even live in the Mellah. Essaouira’s Medina was built in the 18th century. Nowadays the city is a World Heritage Site protected by UNESCO and is the favorite place for most Moroccan artists and musicians. The city is also the stage of the famous music festival Gnawa, an old spiritual art form of North-African Islamism. Former inhabitants of Essaouira, most of them Jewish, formed a committee to rehabilitate the town. The Jewish cemetery, just outside the city gates, is extremely well-kept. Two historical synagogues should be renovated soon “Slat Rabbi Haïm Pinto and Slat Attias”. Spend the overnight with dinner at the hotel or Riad.
We leave the coastal city of Essaouira to Casablanca via the picturesque coastal road. There were Jewish communities in the ports of Safi and El Jadida, who were active in commerce and handicrafts. Your journey will stop in Safi to visit the Mellah in the Northern part of the medina, the sanctuary of Oulad Ben Zmirou and the Portuguese fortress. We continue to Oualidia for a fish lunch in a local restaurant with a view over its superb bay. We reach the city of El Jadida to visit the 18th century Portuguese citadel later served as the Jewish quarter. We arrive to the economic capital Casablanca by the evening. Check in at the hotel for the overnight with dinner.
We depart towards the blue and white coastal city of Asilah, one of the most beautiful cities in northern Morocco. It has one of the best preserved medinas in Morocco. According to the descendent of one Asilah Jew, the community there had mostly emigrated from Spain following the Alhambra Decree, which expelled Jews from the Iberian Peninsula. Though there may be some Jews left in Asilah, the seaside cemetery on the outskirts of town has been left to the elements. The graves lie there still, abandoned and surrounded by weeds. The gravestones are mainly simple and have epigrams, written in Hebrew and in Spanish as were common in the Sephardic communities. The graveyard also holds one mysterious and ominous gravestone for an unknown young girl named Simi located at the very edge of the cliff overlooking the Atlantic. The text on the stone reads, “Simi Roiff, died in the 06 July 1944. After lunch in local fish restaurant, the journey continues towards the starting city Tangier. Check in at the hotel for the overnight with dinner.
Transfer to the Airport or port to take your flight or ferry home with a good an amazing experience and best memories about Jewish Heritage Tour in Morocco.
* These are sample Jewish Heritage itineraries, customizable for each customer, prices are on request and depend on dates, accommodations level and activities Optional kosher meals can be arranged in Casablanca and Marrakech.
Discover Tangier Jewish Heritage and the city’s Jewish community during your tour to the old Mellah and the flagship synagogue of the city.
The pearl of the north Chefchaouen was once home to a sizeable Jewish population credited with starting the tradition of painting the blue-hued structures which still line the narrow streets.
Explore hundreds of years of history as you tour the important imperial cities of Rabat, Fes, Marrakesh and Meknes.
Discover the oldest existing synagogue, the Ibn Danan Synagogue, in the medieval city of Fes.
Have a unique sensory experience in Fes, watching the dyeing skills of tanners on display as they use age old techniques to soak and dye skins.
Discover the hidden delights of a desert camp in the desert of Merzouga. Savor a magical sunset and dine under the stars while enjoying a musical performance by a local band.
Spend time in the small village of Tinghir once home to the Ancient City of the Jews, situated near the oases of Todra Gorges.
Visit the ancient Kasbah of Benhaddou that was used as a backdrop for legendary Hollywood movies like Gladiator, Lawrence of Arabia and Jewel of the Nile.
Travel through the High Atlas Mountains; enjoy the lush forest area and the sight of Berber homes.
Explore the Jewish quarter Mellah of Marrakech, home to an exceptional spice bazaar and gold trade.
Feel the unique pulse of Africa in the mythical Djemaa el Fna square of Marrakesh where snake charmers, acrobats and story tellers breathe in the sweet aromas of spices wafting through the air.
Essaouira is the site of an annual pilgrimage to the grave of the renowned Rabbi Chaïm Pinto,known for many miracles during his lifetime.
Experience the largest remaining Jewish community of Morocco in the thriving city of Casablanca.
Walk through cosmopolitan Casablanca, marveling at the stunning art deco buildings before heading to see the glory of the King Hassan II Mosque.
Tripadvisor previous guests reviews
We were booked and had paid a deposit for a trip late March of 2020, which was canceled due to the pandemic. Said, the owner of MD, went to extraordinary lengths to refund the deposits for our travel group of six from the U.S. Apparently the Moroccan banking system is not "user friendly" when it comes to wire transfers for reasons unclear to me. Nevertheless, Said managed to refund all our money using a very creative approach. We would DEFINITELY travel with MD in the future given this level of honesty and effort; but we do hope that MD will accept credit cards rather than wires in the future. Thank You Said & Morocco Discovery!
Three of use booked a 19-day with Moroccan Discovery Holidays for March, 2020 and paid a 50% deposit. When Morocco closed its borders due to Covid. Initially we put our trip on hold and asked Said to hold our deposit. Said agreed to this. When it appeared holiday travel would likely go on for many months we asked for a refund. Said again agreed but the Moroccan banks, being what they are, refused to release all of our deposit. With some pressure on the bank from us and Said's help we did receive 100% of our deposit.
We planned our April-May 2020 trip to Morocco in the late fall of 2019 and worked with Said at Morocco Discovery. We were taking our adult children and their partners and Said was patient and added everything we wanted and more. One month prior to travel we were surprised by the pandemic, with flights cancelled, borders closed and no idea when we could travel again. Said remained as diligent, helpful and honest throughout the arduous process of refunding our downpayment. We were thrilled with Said, and his company's commitment to customer service and would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone travelling to Morocco. As soon as it is safe again it is our intent to rebook with them!
From their already outstanding reviews when I started working with Sayd, this was an amazing experience. I got prompt friendly responses to every question I had and as this was our first trip to Africa I had a lot of questions. The price was incredibly reasonable - I don’t know how they can put the trip together on this budget. We stayed at amazing Riads in every city with excellent food every evening and great breakfasts - our driver was AMAZING- he was always ready wherever we were 1 minute before we needed him. The prearranged guides were the best. If you are going to Morocco - you want to go with Morocco Discovery and you definitely want a driver.
I have to admit, when I first started looking at using a local Moroccan tour company for our trip I was very nervous. After having toured Morocco for 11 days with Morocco Discovery Holidays, I would HIGHLY recommend them without any hesitation. Said worked with me for over a year to come up with a customized trip that included everything we (2 couples) wanted to see and more. Every change I made to the itinerary was completed within hours of my request.. and I made many. Said is very prompt at responding to e-mails and questions. Having a private driver was definitely the ideal way to see Morocco. Our driver, Mohamed was amazing. From the minute he met us at the airport (with sweets to welcome us) until he dropped us off at the port for our journey to Spain, Mohamed could not do enough for us. Mohamed is funny, engaging, very knowledgeable and was totally flexible and I felt very safe at all times, even on the curvy, narrow road. If I wanted him to turn around so I could take a picture, he would…and Did!! LOL Our Riads were beautiful and the meals that were included were some of the best meals we had in Morocco. I cannot say enough about the 5* service and attention we received from Morocco Discovery Holidays and Mohamed during our trip.
Mr Said provided us with a very pleasant and safe driver (Mustafa) as well as a new van, so we had a very enjoyable round trip Casablanca-Rabat-Fes- Marrakech-Casablanca. Local guides accompanied us in Fes and Marrakech, and we could have had other tours but we opted to spend more time walking around the towns. The Riads selected for us were very satisfactory and service all round was great. No hesitation at all in recommending Morocco Discovery.
Said arranged an excellent holiday for us. We began with one of the standard trips as our starting point and adapted it to better suit our needs with an added night here and there and starting in Marrakesh rather than Casablanca. Everything went very smoothly from start to finish.The choice of the Riads in which we stayed was great, as were the guides that were arranged for us. Abdoul proved to be a first rate driver - safe, dependable, friendly and very professional. We felt very comfortable being driven by him and we enjoyed his company.