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!