If you have 12 days to spend in Morocco, you can see a wide swath of the country. Cover highlights on a classic itinerary that loops from Casablanca to Chefchaouen, Fes, the Sahara, and Marrakesh. Spend more time in Fes, Marrakesh, and along the Atlantic, skipping the desert, or consider a route focusing on the less-touristic locales of Erg Chigaga, Zagora, Taroudant, and Agadir. Then there's the option to explore Morocco from Tangier in the north to Merzouga at the Sahara's edge and Essaouria on the west coast.

Itinerary #1: Imperial Cities, Desert Grand Tour & Hiking in the Atlas

Consider this dynamic 12-day trip plan if you're looking to hit Morocco's highlights and enjoy unique experiences that will usher you away from the crowds and into some of the country's most sublime natural expanses. You'll explore all four imperial cities (Rabat, Meknes, Fes, and Marrakesh), ride camels, surf dunes, and meet Bedouin in the Sahara, and visit mountain villages in the High Atlas.

The Merenid Tombs overlook the imperial city of Fes
The Merenid Tombs overlook the imperial city of Fes
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Casablanca Casablanca
Day 2 Transfer to Chefchaouen via Rabat Chefchaouen
Day 3 Roman Ruins of Volubilis, Imperial Cities of Meknes & Fes Fes
Day 4 Explore the Imperial City & Medieval Medina Fes
Day 5 Into the Desert: Erfoud, Merzouga & the Sahara Erg Chebbi
Day 6 Desert Adventures Around Merzouga, Rissani Market, Todra Gorge Tinghir
Day 7 Dades Valley, Ouarzazate & Aït Benhaddou Kasbah Aït Benhaddou
Day 8 Tizi n'Tichka Pass over the High Atlas Mountains to Marrakesh Marrakesh
Day 9 Explore the Red City Marrakesh
Day 10 Hiking Around Amizmiz & the High Atlas Mountains Amizmiz
Day 11 Return to Marrakesh Marrakesh
Day 12 Return to Casablanca, Depart  

From Casablanca, you'll journey through the ages as you visit a cluster of cities that speak to Morocco's history: Rabat's ancient Islamic ruins and medieval architecture and Volubilis' sprawling remnants of the Roman empire. By the time you reach Fes on Day 3, you'll have built a solid foundation of Morocco's heritage and have some solid souk-shopping experience under your belt so you can brave the epic medina here. Watch artisans at work in the famed Chouara Tannery, take in the vibrant details of storied madrassas, and, if you like, cap your day with a hands-on cooking class to learn the secrets behind traditional local cuisine.

Then it's time to answer the desert's romantic call: you'll spend three days navigating to and from the Sahara, enjoying a variety of experiences deep in the sand sea and in the communities that pepper this iconic region. As you snake your way through the Atlas mountains, along ancient trade routes, and across ocher dunes on camelback, take in the tranquillity of your place in Morocco's remote expanse. Glamp under the stars near Merzouga, wake up to watch dawn on the horizon, soar over the sand on an ATV, and connect with local communities through their music, food, dance, and traditions. 

Trade desert serenity for buzzing Marrakesh on Day 8; you'll glide into town just in time to see Jemaa el-Fna Square—with its vendors, snake charmers, and excellent food stalls—come to life in the evening. After you explore the Red City's souks, madrassas, and Koutoubia Mosque, retreat to the Atlas mountains for a day in nature and community. After you hike the foothills, one Berber family will host you for lunch and a bread-making lesson, and another will welcome you for dinner and a night in their home. Round out your trip with one last day in Marrakesh, then return to Casablanca for your farewell. Learn more

Itinerary #2: Discover Morocco: Imperial Cities, Atlas Mountains & the Coast

Skipping the dunes of the Sahara, consider this cultural discovery tour of Morocco that circles you from Casablanca east through Morocco's heartland and mountains, then west and north along the Atlantic. You'll enjoy a food tour in Marrakesh, a cooking class and hammam spa experience in Fes, and time to connect with locals in Berber communities, like Ahinajen in the Middle Atlas. 

the Ourika River just outside of Marrakesh makes for a popular day trip
The Ourika River just outside of Marrakesh makes for a popular day trip
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Casablanca Casablanca
Day 2 Transfer to Rabat, Visit the Town of Salé Rabat
Day 3 Transfer to Fes via Meknes & the Roman Ruins at Volubilis Fes
Day 4 Explore the Imperial City of Fes & its UNESCO Medina Fes
Day 5 Attend a Traditional Cooking Class, Relax in a Hammam Fes
Day 6 Day Trip to Ahinajen Berber Village Fes
Day 7 Transfer to Marrakesh via Beni-Mellal & the Atlas Mountains Marrakesh
Day 8 Explore Marrakesh, Evening Food Tour Marrakesh
Day 9 Day Trip to Ourika, Hike to a Waterfall Marrakesh
Day 10 Transfer to Essaouira, Stop at an Argan Oil Farm Essaouira
Day 11 Transfer to Casablanca via the Atlantic Coast & Portuguese Ports Casablanca
Day 12 Depart Casablanca  

You'll land in Casablanca, where you'll want to visit the famed Hassan II Mosque before hitting the road to explore Rabat the following day and touring nearby Salé's historic madrassa in the afternoon. Your private driver will lead you to Meknes and the impressively intact Volubilis on Day 3 en route to Fes, your home base for the next four nights. With the help of an expert guide, you'll get to know the city and preserved UNESCO-protected medina. Dive below the surface to glean what makes the food, history, and culture here unique: you'll visit artisan workshops, take a cooking class, and unwind with a traditional spa experience at a hammam.

Get a broader context of Fes and its environs with a day trip to Ahinajen, a Berber village in the Middle Atlas mountains, where you'll lunch with locals and connect with resident farming families. Your driver will then take you on a scenic route through the mountains to Marrakesh, stopping to visit historical villages and lunch in Beni-Mellal. Once in Marrakesh, you'll wander its streets, pausing to visit must-see souks and hidden corners, taking advantage of the Red City's status as Morocco's culinary epicenter via a delicious food tour. You'll get to walk it off the next day with a hike in the Ourika Valley to the waterfalls of Setti Fatma just outside of town. 

The latter portion of your Morocco adventures takes you to the western shores, where you can learn about coastal culture, historic fortifications, and ports once vital to the Portuguese. The seaside town of Essaouira also features great surfing, so if you're itching to catch a wave, rent a board and hit the water. Otherwise, enjoy the unique fresh seafood in town, take advantage of the more laid-back medina and souks, and find a spot with a great ocean view in time for sunset. Your driver will take you up the coast the next day, hitting El Jadida and Oud Er-Rbia when you return to Casablanca to end your trip. Learn more

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Itinerary #3: Morocco Coast to Desert Adventure

This culturally immersive and active 12-day itinerary crosses southern Morocco and offers you an authentic look into the country as you explore lesser-frequented destinations. Cycle around the walled city of Taroudant, seek out flamingoes in Souss Massa National Park, cross the dried-up Lake Iriqui, and accompany desert nomads in their day-to-day activities in Erg Chigaga.

beach in sunset, pastels, Morocco
Agadir Beach
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Marrakesh Marrakesh
Day 2 Sights & Colors of Marrakesh Tour, Secret Gardens Tour Marrakesh
Day 3 Transfer to Essaouira Essaouira
Day 4 Enjoy the Beaches & Souks of Essaouira Essaouira
Day 5 Transfer to Taroudant Taroudant
Day 6 Explore Taroudant & Souss Massa National Park Taroudant
Day 7 Transfer to Erg Chigaga Desert Erg Chigaga Desert
Day 8 Erg Chigaga Desert Adventure Erg Chigaga Desert
Day 9 Visit the Pottery Village of Tamgroute, Transfer to Zagora  Zagora
Day 10 Transfer to Aït Benhaddou via Ouarzazate Aït Benhaddou
Day 11 Explore More of Aït Benhaddou, Transfer to Marrakesh Marrakesh
Day 12 Depart Marrakesh  

With two nights in Marrakesh, you'll cover the highlights from the Koutoubia Mosque and Gardens to the souks and Bahia Palace before participating in a tour of Le Jardin Secret. Head to the west coast the following morning to laid-back Essaouira, where you can walk the centuries-old Skala de la Kasbah ramparts, visit the Spice Souk to pick up ghassoul (face mask clay) and dine in a restaurant at central Mulay el-Hassan square. The active might like to surf or trot the shores via horseback. Venture off the beaten track on Day 6 to the walled city of Taroudant, passing Agadir beach and lunching in Aourir along the way. 

Enjoy a day exploring the ramparts, historic medina, and gates like Bab Selsla, Bab Targont, and Bab Ouled Bounouna, perhaps by bike, then enjoy an easy hike to visit Agadir Tasguent for impressive views. Later, discover the beaches and forests of Souss Massa National Park along the Atlantic coast. You may see colorful flamingoes before heading into the lesser-known Erg Chigaga, Morocco's wildest desert. By Jeep, you'll drive through Lake Iriqui, a dried-up salt lake in the Iriqui National Park, until you reach your luxury-tented camp amid the desert dunes. Rest well under the starry desert sky.

Enjoy culturally immersing yourself as you accompany nomads searching for grazing lands and water, feeding camels, and weaving carpets, or for something more active, choose to rent a board and glide down the dunes for a thrill. Farther south, you'll wander Mhamid El Ghizlane, a desert village, and its surrounding oasis, stop to check out Tamegroute, a desert gateway, and overnight in Zagora. Exploring more of the desert, you'll leave the Draa Valley to visit iconic Aït Benhaddou, stop in Ouarzazate to learn about movies like "Gladiator" filmed here, then continue over the High Atlas to return to Marrakesh once more. Learn more

Itinerary #4: Morocco Highlights from North to South

If you're inspired to see it all, check out this trip plan that takes you from Tangier in the north through Fes and Marrakesh, into the Sahara, and finally west to the coast. While the speed of this itinerary isn't breakneck, you'll be switching up destinations daily. Still, your hustle will be rewarded with desert vistas, mountain villages, lush ravines, and fascinating landmarks and towns. This itinerary is perfect for travelers who want to make the most of 12 days but also prefer independence, self-guided exploration, and flexibility. 

Essaouira's Skala de Kasbah and old fishing port
Essaouira's Skala de Kasbah and old fishing port
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Tangier Tangier
Day 2 Explore Tangier & Caves of Hercules, Onward to Chefchaouen Chefchaouen
Day 3 Transfer to Fes via the Roman Ruins of Volubilis & Meknes Fes
Days 4-5 Explore the Imperial City & Medieval Medina Fes
Day 6 Over the Middle Atlas to Erfoud, Merzouga & the Sahara Merzouga
Day 7 Desert Adventures Around Merzouga, Rissani Market & Todra Gorge Todra Gorge
Day 8 Transfer to Aït Benhaddou via the Dades Valley & Ouarzazate Aït Benhaddou
Day 9 Transfer to Marrakesh, Tizi n'Tichka Pass over the High Atlas Marrakesh
Day 10 Explore the Red City Marrakesh
Day 11 Transfer to Essaouira Essaouira
Day 12 Return to Marrakesh, Depart  

You'll start in Tangier, the gateway between Europe and Africa, to discover its eclectic heritage. Your private driver will then take you to Chefchaouen by way of some excellent coastal spots like the Caves of Hercules. If time allows, trek to the Cascades d'Akchour (Akchour Waterfalls) outside of the Blue City, ending the day taking in the setting sun from the abandoned Spanish Mosque. You'll explore imperial cities, including Fes, where you'll have a couple of days to lose yourself in the beautifully-preserved medina and its labyrinthine network.

You'll then spend three days in the desert and the communities that border the Sahara, including Erfoud, Merzouga, and Rissani. You can trek out on the dunes and spend a night camping under the stars. Adventure around them on ATV or sandboard, visit villages like Khemliya, ride a camel, or shop varied markets. You'll also see cinematic landmarks, lush oases, kasbahs, and a stunning gorge. 

Enjoy epic views as you travel the Atlas mountains en route to Marrakesh, where you'll stay for two nights. Travel the city solo, get a guide for a half-day tour, or hire one of the Calèches (horse-drawn carriages) found at the southwest corner of Jemaa el-Fna square until the city's epicenter springs to life when the sun sets. On Day 11, you'll venture out to the coast for a day in Essaouira on the Atlantic. Head to the beach to enjoy your last sunset in Morocco; in the morning, you'll return to Marrakesh for your flight home. Learn more

More Great 12-Day Morocco Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Morocco? Check out these other 12-day Morocco itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights. 


Map of 12 Days in Morocco - 4 Unique Itinerary Ideas
Map of 12 Days in Morocco - 4 Unique Itinerary Ideas