Itinerary #1: Marrakech & Grand Tour of the Sahara Desert
Explore Marrakech and the expanse of the Sahara on this trip plan, which bookends desert exploration with time to discover the souks, history, culture, and cuisine of Morocco’s “Red City.”
|Day 1||Arrive; Marrakech: Exploring the Red City||Marrakech|
|Day 2||Over the High Atlas mountains to Ouarzazate and Boumalne Dades||Boumalne Dades|
|Day 3||Boumalne Dades, Tinerhir, Merzouga, and the Sahara||Merzouga|
|Day 4||Aït Benhaddou (via Alnif)||Aït Benhaddou|
|Day 5||Return to Marrakech||Marrakech|
Begin your adventure with a day of exploration in Marrakech, nicknamed the "Red City" for its rust-colored sandstone architecture. From there, head to the buzzing labyrinth of souks (markets), ending at Jemaa el-Fna Square as the sun sets and the marketplace springs to life.
On day two, trade urban bustle for expansive landscapes when you venture over the High Atlas Mountains. Visit Ouarzazate — an iconic movie location with a great museum dedicated to local cinematic history — and onto Boumalne Dades, where you’ll end your day relaxing at your riad.
The desert calls for the next two days; you’ll pass through unique villages en route to the sand sea of Erg Chebbi outside of Merzouga (the town closest to the Sahara). Ride a camel on the dunes to reach your accommodations for the night: a traditional Bedouin tent out in the sand.
On day five, explore the empty streets of Aït Benhaddou, Morocco’s most famous kasbah and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, before returning to Marrakech for a final day and night in the city. You can relax back at your hotel or take in some more sightseeing, perhaps visiting the picturesque Majorelle Gardens, the fascinating Saadian Tombs, or the 17th-century El Badi Palace. Learn more
Itinerary #2: Moroccan Cities of the North
This whirlwind trip plan takes you through the urban centers in the north, where you’ll discover centuries of history, gorgeous architecture, and stellar cuisine.
|Day 1||Arrive; Morning in Casablanca, afternoon in Rabat||Rabat|
|Day 2||The Blue City of Chefchaouen||Chefchaouen|
|Day 3||Roman ruins at Volubilis and imperial cities of Meknes and Fes||Fes|
|Days 4-5||Fes: Exploring the Imperial City and medieval Medina||Fes|
|Day 6||Casablanca; Depart|
Your journey through the northern cities of Morocco begins when you land in Casablanca, the commercial capital of the country. You’ll then head to Rabat, an imperial city with much to explore: ancient ruins, an old city center, contemporary gardens, and the medieval fortification of the Chellah Necropolis.
On day three, you’ll venture to Chefchaouen, the Instagram-worthy “Blue City,” known for its azure architecture, wonderful medina, and friendly community. From here, travel through Volubilis (known for its Roman ruins and mosaics) and Meknes to Fes.
In the morning, you’ll tour the UNESCO-protected medina, which is the most complete of its kind in the Arab world. Your expert guide will escort you through the medina, including the Chouara Tannery and the 9th-century Al-Qarawiyyin Library and Mosque. For ideas of other places to visit, check out this list of some must-sees in the city.
Your exploration continues on at the Batha Museum, housed in a 19th-century palace, where you’ll see an incredible collection of local pottery, as well as carved wood and striking examples of mosaic tilework. As you make your way back to the old city, cool off beside the lake in the beautiful Jnan Sbil (Bou Jeloud Gardens). In the morning, return to Casablanca where you can, perhaps, grab a pre-flight cocktail at Rick’s Café, a replica of Humphry Bogart’s establishment from the famed movie. Learn more
Itinerary #3: Marrakesh to Casablanca: Agafay Desert & Atlantic Coast
This trip plan takes you from the excitement of Marrakech to Casablanca, by way of the desert and charming towns on the Atlantic coast.
|Day 1||Arrival in Marrakesh||Marrakech|
|Day 2||Marrakesh: Medina & City Tour||Marrakech|
|Day 3||Camping in the Agafay Desert||Agafay|
|Day 4||Agafay to Essaouira: Argan Oil & Seafood||Essaouira|
|Day 5||Essaouira to Casablanca: the Atlantic Coast & Portuguese Ports||Casablanca|
|Day 6||Departure from Casablanca|
Your first two days will be filled with delights in the “Red City” of Marrakech, home to a stunning old city and the best food in Morocco. Get your bearings with this article, which is bound to give you ideas for places to eat, shop, and explore. On day two, an expert will give you a private tour to navigate the bustling souks and maze-like alleys then will take you to the Bahia and El Badii Palaces, Majorelle Gardens, and Saadian Tombs.
You’ll trade urban life for desert expanse on day three when you head to the stunning sands of the Agafay Desert; ride a camel across the elegant dunes, dine al fresco by a campfire, then spend the night in a traditional tent here. After breakfast at camp the next morning, you’ll head toward the coast, stopping en route to learn about Morocco’s famous Argan trees, which only grow in one geographic spot in the world. Visit a women-run association that harvests the precious (and multi-useful) oil and keep an eye out for the local goats who notorious climb up the Argan’s high branches to feast on the tree’s fruit.
Then, travel along the coast, stopping through some gorgeous towns: Safi features amazing Atlantic views (and great surfing), El Jadida is home to a beautiful Portuguese cistern, and picturesque Azemour will inspire you with its crumbling yet romantic 16th-century medina. Learn more
Itinerary #4: Moroccan Cities - Casablanca, Rabat, Fes & Marrakech
This trip plan takes you through standout cities in the north — including the imperial Meknes, the ancient Volubilis, and the seaside town of Rabat — but allows you to devote more time exploring the charm and history of Fes and Marrakech.
|Day 1||Morning in Casablanca, Afternoon in Rabat||Rabat|
|Day 2||Rabat to Fes via Volubilis & Meknes||Fes|
|Day 3||Fes: Exploring the Imperial City & Medieval Medina||Fes|
|Day 4||Fes to Marrakech||Marrakech|
|Day 5||Marrakech: Medina & City Tour, Jemma el Fna Square||Marrakech|
|Day 6||Marrakech and Departure|
Casablanca is your first stop; this commercial epicenter shows you modern Morocco, and the highlight is certainly the impressive Hassan II Mosque; inaugurated in 1993, this mosque is open to people of all faiths and can hold over 100,000 worshipers on its grounds. You’ll then head to Morocco’s capital, Rabat, home to Islamic and Roman ruins, the medieval Chellah Necropolis, and the contemporary Andalusian Gardens.
The next morning, continue your tour through Morocco’s evolution with stops at Volubilis (where you’ll find the nation’s best-preserved Roman ruins) and Meknes, a beautiful city with imperial roots. End your day getting settled in Fes.
You’ll have the next day to explore Fes el-Jdid (home to the Jewish quarter and Royal Palace); Fes el-Bali (the heart of the Medina); and the Ville Nouvelle (the administrative area). You can use an expert guide for a half-day or full-day tour. This article has some ideas to inspire your journey.
On day four, you’ll travel to Marrakech. Foodies are in luck, as Marrakech is the culinary epicenter of Morroco: from street vendors to upscale dining options, you’ll be treated to epicurean delights. In the morning, you’ll hit the streets on a guided tour of the old city, a UNESCO World Heritage site; you’ll learn about the Medina, the Souk, and the Mellah, as well as the Bahia Palace, El Badii Palace, and the Tombeaux Saadiens. After sunset, it’s time to wander the stalls, sights, smells, and tastes of Jemaa el Fna Square; watch acrobats, musicians, and snake charmers and sample local delicacies. Learn more