For our trip, we landed in Tangier Ibn Battouta Airport and left from Marrakesh Menara Airport. As these two cities were on opposite sides of Morocco, they became the optimal choices for entering and exiting the country. I’ve had people asking why I didn’t stop in Rabat-the Capital, or Casablanca, the setting of its same-name blockbuster hit, but I think that the journey along the North Atlantic Ocean will almost forgo the rich sceneries that define Morocco – the old medinas of Fes, the dramatic Ziz Valley, the Todgha Gorge-a string of river canyons, and of course, the Sahara Desert.
Most importantly, this route remains a diverse, untouristed heaven.
Day 1. Tangier – Chefchaouen (2.30 hours)
If your flight arrives early at the Tangier Ibn Battouta Airport, opt for the old Medina of Tangier for a half-day tour before driving towards Chefchaouen through the Rif.
Day 2.- Chefchaouen – Fes (3.30 hours)
Chefchaouen is a Berber city north of Morocco. The varying shades of blue houses are arranged in different planes that dot the green field surrounded by the Lau River. The color blue is said to have the magical power of repelling mosquitoes. Following a traditional breakfast and a visit to the town, drive to Fes, a beautiful city founded in the eighth century. Fes is the oldest of Morocco’s imperial cities, with a medina that dates back to the thirteenth century. Artisans gather by streets reminiscent of ancient guilds, forming marketplaces that offer a diverse range of craftsmanship.
Day 3 -Fez
Fez is the oldest of Morocco’s imperial cities, with a medina that extends back to the thirteenth century. From splendid palaces to religious sanctuaries, the city is often called “Mecca of the West.” Its artisans and activities are spread across maze-like bazaars. Begin the day by visiting the Royal Palace of Fez (Dar el Makhzen). Later, observe the impressive and ancient medina from Fez el-Bali. This ‘old wall’ provides a great view of the whole city. Head to the main market and discover mosques and religious sites along the way. After lunch, continue visiting the artisan neighborhood.
Day 4 – Fes – Midelt – Ziz Valley – Merzouga (Desert) (3.20 hours-2.05 hours – 2 hours)
The road between Fez and the Merzouga Desert is long and beautiful. There are many sites along the way that are worth a shortstop. The drive along N13 passes by the Cedar Forest, the Port of Midelt, the Errachidia Reservoir, the magnificent valley of Ziz, the town of Erfoud (the door of the desert) towards the Merzouga Desert. It’s a great idea to witness the sunset on top of Borj Adoumoue, a fort that offers a wonderful view of Erfoud. Afterward, continue along highway N13 to reach the dunes of Erg Chebbi (Merzouga). Then, join a camel escapade into the dunes for the night.
Spending a night in the desert is a must-do in Morocco! The experience was unforgettable. Our hosts, a group of Berbers played music and danced in the tent space that was provided for us. We had some of the most delicious couscouses and saw the most beautiful night sky.
Day 5 – Todra Gorges Desert – Dades Gorges (1.09 hours)
Following a night in the desert, drive out of the dunes towards Erfoud to reach Tinerhir and visit the Fougartas-an old sewer system of the 15th century. After lunch at Todra Gorge, cross Tinghir and the Dades Boumalne Valley to get to Dades Gorges, a place where over time, the river has eroded the rocks to form a peculiar scenery.
Day 6 .- Dades Gorges – Ait Ben Haddou – Marrakech (2.30 hours-3.20 hours)
Depart early and drive through the Valley of Roses and the Village of Boutghrart. Follow the Kasbahs Mille road and stop at various lookout points, including Kasbahs, valleys, caves and panoramic view spots. From Skoura, head towards Ouarzazate Ciudade, which is famous for its film studios. Visit the splendid Kasbah ait ben Haddou where some films like Lawrence of Arabia, The Mummy, etc were filmed.
Day 7: Marrakech
Arrive in Marrakech through the Tizi n’Tichka, a mountain pass linking Ouarzazate and Marrakesh with scenic High Atlas mountains.
The last day (or couple) should be spent touring Marrakech and all its beauties. As a former imperial city in Western Morocco, Marrakech is a major economic and historical hub that offers a splendid medina, numerous historical monuments (tombs and mosques), kasbahs, Jemaa El Fna Square, and other famous sites. Personally, the most enticing thing about this culturally-rich city its the number of eateries. From pizza to tajine, options are limitless.
Morocco remains one of my favorite road-trip destinations. With its diverse geography and welcoming people. it’s as if 5 different countries were rolled into one! For more of my Moroccan journey, feel free to read my 5 must-dos in Morocco or see what I did in Morocco for a week!
There is so much to do in Morocco. From admiring its beautiful architecture to visiting vibrant bazaars, the country offers both culture and sight seeing.
Below is a list of five things I found most representative of my trip to Morocco.
5. Experience the wind-whirl streets.
Most of the Morrocan cities I’ve visited had countless crisscrossing streets. Carts selling fruits and handcrafted jewelry appeared everywhere. It was a hot and enjoyable mess of people, noise, and traffic. While it might be somewhat overwhelming with the number of street vendors wishing to gain you as a customer, the experience was great. Nevertheless, it is extremely easy to get lost, and not the safest for those traveling alone.
4. Drink mint tea for water and enjoy lavish Moroccan breakfasts.
Mint tea accompanied breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We drank the overly sweet yet extremely addicting tea everywhere with anyone. The tea didn’t just serve as a symbol of Moroccan cuisine, but it defined the collectivist culture that Morocco happily embraced.
It was a form of relaxation after a day at work, a gesture for welcoming others to one’s lifestyle, a note of appreciation for those around.
Similarly, Moroccan cuisine is an experience. The breakfasts are massive and full of variety. Fresh jam and juice accompanied pastries and bread. Butter, cheese, and olives are some of the many accessories to the table.
3. Live in a riad
A riad is a traditional Moroccan house with an interior garden of sorts. They possess the designs of elegant Moroccan establishments. These stays are comfortable and homey. Similar to hotels, a riad provides well-equipped rooms and (usually) a full breakfast. However, unlike hotels, they are homier and less formal. Staying at a riad is like sleeping over at a good friend’s house, with their mother tirelessly serving you coffee and tea. In fact, a number of riads we stayed at are family businesses.
While it can be costly, riads are definitely worth a stay.
2. Ride a camel in the desert and spend a night with Berbers
Spending a night in the desert is a must-do in Morocco! The experience was unforgettable. While the 2-hour camel ride may not be the most appealing form of transportation, the serenity of the night sky amid miles and miles of sand should be enticing enough.
Our hosts, a group of Berbers played music and danced in the tent space that was provided for us. We had some of the most delicious couscouses and saw the most beautiful night sky!
1. Visit the bazaars
Bazaars are an enclosed marketplace that houses various vendors and merchants. The range of products is endless. From daily necessities to delicate crafts, there is a lot to see.
I absolutely loved the buzzing of the place. The flows of people walking around admiring others’ handiwork, loads of bargaining between buyers and sellers and the beautiful colors of the merchandise form an animated and lively atmosphere.
Needless to say, bazaars are a key element in Morocco culture. And Morocco really does them well. That is why this is #1 on my Morocco to do list.
For 6 days including ground transportation in and between cities, accommodation at beautiful riads (mini palaces) with half board (breakfast and dinner), excursion in the desert (camel, tents, and entertainment) and transfers to airport, we each paid €200. Considering the amount of traveling, we definitely got a bargain deal!
The rest of the money I spent was in bazaars. I couldn’t resist the temptation of buying souvenirs!
If you’d like to know the tour group I traveled with or have other questions, feel free to shoot me a message! Otherwise, you can read more of my 6-day adventure in Morocco here.
Happy Travels xx
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To be honest, Africa in my mind has always been a region populated by wild animals and natural habitat. Of course, I knew there’d be cities and urban living. But the thought of a country like Morocco, with its Middle Eastern infused lifestyle, has never crossed my mind.
Morocco has become one of my favorite destinations. With its magnificent architecture, welcoming people and lavish lifestyle, I often miss the days sipping on overly sweet mint tea and jogging around maze-like medinas.
Chefchaouen is a city north of Morocco. The whole city is in varying shades of blue, a color said to have the magical power of repelling mosquitoes. As the capital city of pot production, it was offered everywhere. People rolled joints in little cafes by the streets and sold them by the bundle.
The city was small. We were able to tour the town within a day and even had time to hike up a mountain for the full view of mismatching blues. While we felt relatively safe in a group of 9, our guide did tell us to be extra cautious at night.
Fez is the oldest of Morocco’s imperial cities, with a medina that extends back to the thirteenth century. From splendid palaces to religious sanctuaries, the city is often called “Mecca of the West.” Its artisans and activities are spread across maze-like bazaars.
We began the day by visiting the Royal Palace of Fez (Dar el Makhzen). While the gardens of the palace have restricted access, the magnificent gates were worth the visit.
After visiting the palace, we were driven across the city towards a view from Fez el-Bali. This ‘old wall’ provides a great view of the whole city. But a tour guide is a highly recommended. The sprawling streets and constant hustle of Fez were really confusing.
Merzouga Desert, Morocco
There are no words to describe the incredible experience of lounging in the middle of the desert overnight!! The starry nights and light drinks, the Moroccan meal and Barbar talks, loved it through and through. Despite how cold the night was, it was while worth the chats in the sand.
Following our two-day stay in Fez, We went through the cedar forest, the port of Midelt, Errachidia Reservoir, and the valley of Ziz towards Erfoud, the city to our desert stay.
We weren’t able to stop at every location on the road, but every spot mentioned is a must see. I really can’t stress how different the landscape and weather between the various Moroccan regions can be. At one point, we had mountains full of snow behind us while heading towards eye-distant desert!
We spent the fourth night in the middle of the desert with some Berbers. They were happy go-lucky people that drummed and danced with us the whole night.
The night was completed by millions of stars, a bottle of wine, and a tribe of camels dozed a few feet away.
Alas, the February night sky was bone-shattering, so we spent the rest of the night crawled up in sleeping bags on mattresses inside pre-prepared tents.
Ouarzazate Ciudade, Morocco
This is where movies like Lawrence of Arabia and The Mummy were filmed. The set is still intact, and there weren’t many tourists around the area. Unfortunately, our itinerary only provided an hour or so here so I didn’t have the chance to go inside.
By mid-afternoon, we were on route to Morocco’s crown jewel–Marrakesh.
Marrakesh is as lively as you’d think a metropolis can be. It buzzes with life day and night, with thousands of henna artists, hustlers, musicians, tourists and vendors strolling through the old city center.
There was an infinite number of cuisines. The city center provided western cafes, traditional Moroccan tea shops, Chinese, curry, steak, you name it. I’ve always thought that Italy was home to the best pizza, but it definitely has some competition in the markets of Marrakesh.
One of my favorite places was Bari’s Pizza. They are located just at the outskirts of Jemaa El Fna (main square). Their margarita pizzas are amazing :’) Morocco also makes a mean avocado milkshake, which is basically heaven’s gift to earth and a must have!
No need to say, a week in Morocco was definitely not enough. For 6 days including ground transportation in and between cities, accommodation at beautiful riads (mini palaces) with half board (breakfast and dinner), excursion in the desert (camel, tents, and entertainment) and transfers to airport, we each paid €200. Considering the amount of traveling, we definitely got a bargain deal!
The rest of the money I spent was in bazaars. I couldn’t resist the temptation of buying supposed cashmere scarves and cotton shirts.
Happy Travels xx
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