Morocco: colourful, vibrant, exotic, intimidating. This was one of the first Arabic countries that I travelled to, and this Morocco itinerary is one adventure that I hold the fondest memories of in my heart.
There are numerous variations of itineraries that you can choose for your Morocco adventure depending on your specific interests. The itinerary that I created, used and have oh so kindly shared here offers you a taster of the best of Morocco’s culture, history, nature and cuisine and makes a nice first introduction to the country. If you have a little longer, I would definitely recommend exploring Morocco at a more relaxed pace, however the beauty of this itinerary is also that you can cherry pick what interests you the most, in order to fit everything in to 10 days or even a week if you are short on time. I have suggested some alterations and add-ons at the end of this Morocco itinerary for those with more time or specific interests.
Day One: Casablanca
Casablanca isn’t really a major tourist destination on most people’s Morocco itinerary which was nice in a way because the markets, restaurants, and general atmosphere felt more authentic. It is known as the “Miami of Morocco” which should give you some idea as to the laid back, relaxed vibes you can expect upon arrival. Don’t miss the Hassan II mosque, the largest in Morocco which overlooks the sea and is a beautifully ornate structure to behold. Enjoy a mint tea, and a sticky Moroccan pastry at one of the nearby cafes as you look out across the Atlantic.
Find Hotels in Casablanca Here
Day Two: Rabat
Rabat, Morocco’s capital city can be reached in approximately one hour from Casablanca. It is often overlooked in favour of exotic city breaks in Marrakech and Fes but it definitely boasts some interesting sites that are worth a visit. Don’t miss the ruins of the Kasbah des Oudaias and the pale blue and white houses and alleyways that surround it which are every bit as beautiful as Chefchaouen yet without the masses of tourists.
Towering high above the city, the 144 foot Hassan Tower has been a symbol of Rabat since the 8th century. Pass through the eerie courtyard of broken pillars which were once grand structures surrounding the tower, and enter the turquoise Mausoleum of King Mohammed V. A rare privilege is on offer at this beautiful Islamic site in that Non Muslims are permitted to enter and the dazzling golden and jewel laden interiors that greet you are breathtaking.
Just outside the city limits await the Roman ruins of Chellah. The ruins are spectacular, and generally absent of tourists, however what was particularly interesting to me about the site was that its emptiness has made it the home of choice for storks whose nests and young had taken full run of the place!
The city of Rabat is essentially divided into two halves: the bustling souks and winding alleyways of the old town, and the cosmopolitan, trendy downtown district. If you have some time, it is worth adding an extra day in Rabat to your Morocco itinerary.
Find Hotels in Rabat Here
Day Three: Meknes
A UNESCO protected city, and former capital of Morocco, Meknes offers as many fascinating markets and beautiful Islamic architecture as its imperial counterpart cities of Fes and Marrakech, yet without the crowds. Many of the ancient fortifications that once stood to protect the city still stand intact, and the main plaza of el-Hedim is essentially a smaller, more intimate alternative to Marrakech’s Djemaa el-Fna square.
Find Hotels in Meknes Here
Days Four and Five: Fes
Comprised of an intricate network of some 10,000 narrow, twisting, turning alleyways that house bustling souks and fragrant spice markets, Fes is awarded the title of being Morocco’s cultural capital. Still surrounded by its original 13th century walls, stepping inside the old city of Fes feels almost like stepping back in time. This was my favourite stop on this Morocco itinerary. I won’t go into detail in this post, since I have written a separate guide of things to do in Fes, but you may want to consider adding an additional day in Fes to your Morocco itinerary so that you can spend more time exploring the old city and its medinas.
Find Hotels in Fes Here
Day Six: Moulay Idriss & Volubilis.
An easy day trip to make from Fes, Moulay Idriss and Volubilis are less than an hour away from the cultural capital. You can take the train to Moulay Idriss, and then a cab out to Volubilis and back, before taking the return train to Fes. This sounds like a bit of a headache, but the sites are absolutely worth the effort.
Moulay Idriss is a small white washed village perched atop a hilltop. The site is significant to Moroccans because it is home to the tomb of Moulay Idriss, a prominent Moroccan Saint. Annual summer celebrations held here known as ‘Moussem’ have transformed the village into a Moroccan alternative to mecca. One thousand steps lead you on a route to the top of the city and at their climax, offer an incredible view of Moulay Idriss and the Moroccan countryside below. Since the village tends to escape the radar of many international tourists, you are rewarded with authentic restaurants serving sumptuous cuisines, and a fascinating insight into Moroccan life.
Half a day here is sufficient, before taking a cab to Volubilis, the ruins of an ancient Roman trade post. From here you can either opt to stay the night in Moulay Idriss, or return to Fes and spend the night there. The next stop will be Chefchaouen in Northern Morocco, so opting to spending the night in Fes will lessen your journey time for the next leg of this Morocco itinerary.
Find Hotels in Fes Here
Days Seven and Eight: Chefchaouen
Departing from Fes, take the bus into the Rif mountains to the stunning town of Chefchaouen. The journey takes approximately three and a half hours, but the bus is a good option since it runs frequently and does not stop along the way. It’s better to stay here two days to enable you to take a more relaxed pace and to break up the long journey to and from Fes.
Chefchaouen is the town that you’ve likely seen plastered across Pinterest and Instagram whenever you research Morocco – an entire town painted an incredible shade of blue, with every twist and turn providing an enviable photo opportunity. Arriving here is a dramatic contrast to what you have experienced in Morocco so far. The town has a more relaxed, almost European feel and is a far cry from the cramped, crowded streets of old town Fes.
Upon arrival, head across to the main plaza, Plaza Uta el-Hammam for lunch. The restaurants that circle the area offer a great opportunity to people watch, but if experimenting with local street food when you travel is more your thing, you have plenty of opportunity to do so here at the traditional markets. (Related: 10 Steps to Haggling Like a Pro)
While in town, outdoorsy types may be interested in hiking in the stunning nearby Talassemetane national park, or at Akshour, a local town where natural waterfalls and curious rock formations await.
Find Hotels in Chefchaouen Here
I would recommend heading back to Fes in the evening of day seven, in order to prepare for your onward journey tomorrow.
Days Nine and Ten: Merzouga
Where nomadic Berbers roam freely and travellers can navigate their way over sprawling, golden sand dunes as far as the eye can see, the small town of Merzouga, and the adjacent dunes of Erg Chebbi are precisely the Arabian desert fantasy that you dream about. From Merzouga, you can literally walk to the sand dunes making this place perfect for independent travellers who want to experience the Sahara without the expense and hassle of having to go on an organised tour.
It takes around ten hours to get to Merzouga from Fes, meaning that you either have to get up early and spend most of the day travelling, or travel on the night bus. The scenery as you make the journey to Merzouga is incredible so though the bus isn’t the most comfortable or luxurious, it’s all part of the travel fun (or so I like to assure myself!)
Most hotels in the area can help you in organising camel treks and camps into the Sahara, and the price is relatively good (circa £30/$37 for an all day trek including dinner with Berber locals).
Recommended Hotel: Riad Mamouche (Note: the hotel can arrange a free collection and drop off at Merzouga station if you contact them in advance and let them know your arrival time)
Browse Alternative Hotels in Merzouga Here
Day Eleven: Ait Ben Haddou
Made of a red clay brick, the buildings at Ain Ben Haddou blend into the desert scenery perfectly and appear to be almost rising out from the ground. The crumbling ancient city is hundreds of years old and was once an original stopping point for caravan traders who carried gold and other luxurious goods and commodities on the route from Sudan to Marrakech.
Fellow Game of Thrones fans may recognise Ait Ben Haddou as the city of Yunkai where Daenerys started out on her slave freeing spree (nerd moment, I’m sorry!). The city has also been the site of numerous other Hollywood movies such as Gladiator and the locals are incredibly eager to point out the sites of various movie scenes as you make your way around.
Find Hotels in Ait Ben Haddou Here
Days Twelve to Fourteen: Marrakech
The Djemaa el-Fna is without a doubt, the centre of the action in Marrakech. Once the sun begins to set, the city is encapsulated by a haze of smoke as Moroccan chefs finesse such “delicacies” as camel’s heads and sheep hearts, crowds gather to watch Arabian snake charmers work their magic, and fascinated travellers wait in line to meet with gypsy fortune tellers.
It can feel a little touristic at times, but Marrakech boasts plenty of activities to keep you occupied, whether you want to pick up some last minute souvenirs from the seemingly infinite number of souks, or unwind at the end of your adventure in a hammam.
Browse Hotels in Marrakech Here
Getting to Morocco
The great thing about travelling to Morocco is that the country has several international airports dotted throughout. I flew into Casablanca, and out from Marrakech, but you can do the itinerary in reverse, or even do a loop from Fes depending on what is the most convenient for you. Numerous budget airlines now offer routes to Morocco so the trip does not have to be expensive. I recommend using budget flight checker Kiwi.com to browse the most affordable options.
Find Cheap Deals on Hotels in Morocco!
I completed this entire Morocco itinerary using local public transport. Public transportation in Morocco is actually pretty good, and you can work your way through the country (and this itinerary!) by rail and bus. The only time I took a cab was to get from Moulay Idriss to Volubilis and back. If you do any portion of your trip by cab/private driver then check with a local what price you should expect to pay beforehand.
If you are confident enough to do so, you could also consider renting a car to drive around independently. The beauty of this means that you can also stop at smaller towns, villages and places of interest that are less easily accessible by public transport alone (For example, the Todra Gorge on the route from Merzouga)
Morocco Itinerary: Possible Alterations
- If you want to spend some time getting a little R&R by the sea, Morocco boasts plenty of beautiful beach towns which sadly I didn’t have time to visit. Essaouira, Tangier and Agadir are popular with both international and Moroccan tourists alike.
- Consider stopping at the High Atlas Mountains en route from Ait Ben Haddou to Marrakech if you have the time.
Pin it For Later!
I only spent a few weeks in Morocco, so I am by no means an expert, but I always research my trips thoroughly beforehand and I was very pleased by what I was able to cram into my itinerary. Have you been to Morocco? Are there any alterations or further suggestions you would add to my Morocco itinerary?
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