- Wander the world's oldest medina in Fes
- Witness the shifting dunes of Erg Chebbi
- Feel the intense beauty of Marrakech
- Explore Morocco's famous blue city of Chefchaouen
- Enjoy lunch with a local Berber family
|Day 1||Arrive in Casablanca, Transfer to Chefchaouen||Chefchaouen|
|Day 2||Roman Ruins of Volubilis & Meknes, Transfer to Fes||Fes|
|Day 3||Half-Day Guided Tour of Fes' Medina||Fes|
|Day 4||Transfer to Merzouga via the Atlas Mountains, Camel Ride & Desert Camp||Merzouga|
|Day 5||4WD Dunes Tour, Tea with Nomads||Merzouga|
|Day 6||Transfer to Dadès Valley via Todra Gorge||Boumalne Dadès|
|Day 7||Dadès Valley Hike & Lunch with Local Family||Boumalne Dadès|
|Day 8||Ouarzazate & Aït Benhaddou, Transfer to Marrakech||Marrakech|
|Day 9||Sights & Colors of Marrakech||Marrakech|
|Day 10||Depart Marrakech|
Day 1: Arrive in Casablanca, Transfer to Chefchaouen
Welcome to Casablanca! If you have time to explore the modern metropolis before your transfer to Chefchaouen, venture off the beaten path and go where the locals go. You could wander Hobous, Casablanca's "new medina", full of charming streets, 1930s Art Deco architecture, and artisan shops; hit the beach at Boulevard de la Corniche; or enjoy the tall palm trees and French Colonial architecture around the airy Mohamed V. Square and gardens, the perfect spot to people watch.
Later on, a private driver will transfer you to magical Chefchaouen, one of the country's prettiest towns. This artsy, blue-washed mountain village feels like its own world. Founded in 1471, the medina (old town) is a delight of Moroccan and Andalusian influence with red-tiled roofs, bright-blue buildings, and narrow lanes converging on busy Plaza Uta el-Hammam. Peruse the nearby souks (markets) before heading to the Grand Mosque and Kasbah. End the day at Ras el Ma Spring, the town's primary water source, where some families still wash their clothes in the river.
Day 2: Roman Ruins of Volubilis & Meknes, Transfer to Fes
Today is another big day on the road. After saying goodbye to the scenic Rif Mountains, your first stop on the journey to Fes is Volubilis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with Morocco's best-preserved Roman ruins. Wander through the massive complex, exploring large merchant homes with visible heating systems, temples, and many colorful mosaics. This town was one of the most remote parts of the Roman Empire, with the Romans ruling for about 200 years and leaving in 285 CE.
Continue to Meknes, the imperial city of Moulay Ismail. Under the Sultan's reign (1672–1727 CE), Meknes grew from a small town to a magnificent capital. Enjoy strolling through the compact medina, which is less busy than other cities and offers a more laid-back atmosphere. Other than the scattered souks, you can visit the Marinid-era architecture at the 14th-century Medersa Bou Inania and the impressive 19th-century palace of Dar Jamaï. In the Ville Impériale area, explore gardens, palaces, the impressive gate of Bab al-Mansour, the Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail, and the Royal Stables.
Your final stop is Fes. Before settling into your riad (traditional Moroccan house), drive up to the Marinid Tombs, where you can enjoy a lovely panorama of the old city. Make your way back to the bustling medina and enjoy navigating Fes' charming streets.
Day 3: Half-Day Guided Tour of Fes' Medina
Discover the vibrant and fortified medina of Fes, the cultural capital of Morocco and the country's oldest imperial city. A local guide will navigate the twisting maze of lively souks and teach you about medieval Marinid architecture. Pass through the Blue Gate (Bab Boujloud), and shop hand-crafted goods, including colorful rugs, jewelry, leather goods, spices, and dried fruits. Visit the famous Chouara Tannery to see the colorful leather dyes and traditional techniques from centuries ago. Offer a small tip to gain a rooftop view at a local tannery.
Next up, visit the ninth-century Al-Qarawiyyin Mosque and University, the world's oldest continuously operating university. You should also stop at either Bou Inania Madrasa or Al Attarine Madrasa, two 14th-century schools featuring beautiful Marinid and Moroccan architecture and zellij tiles. Afterward, wander through the Mellah (Jewish district and cemetery) or see the Royal Palace of Fes (Dar el Makhzen), the King of Morocco's residence built on the foundation of a citadel from the 13th-century Marinid Dynasty.
Of course, any visit to Morocco is a spice-laden adventure, and Fes is home to incredible local cuisine. Ask your guide for suggestions on where to taste dishes such as couscous, shakshuka, makouda (spiced battered potato cakes), slow-roasted mechoui lamb, and more. With a full belly and a grasp on the city, continue exploring the medina on your own.
Day 4: Transfer to Merzouga via the Atlas Mountains, Camel Ride & Desert Camp
Buckle up for an eight-hour transfer to the desert—your Bedouin-style tent accommodation in Merzouga awaits. Climb an elevation of 7,146 feet (2,178 m) over the Col du Zad Pass, and enjoy the scenery as you twist through the cedar forests of the Atlas mountains. Keep your eyes peeled for Barbary macaque monkeys! Stop for lunch in Midelt before continuing over the Tizi n'Talrhemt Pass and into the Ziz Valley, famous for its hidden oases and palm tree clusters.
Just before reaching Erfoud, you'll start to see the ever-shifting Saharan dunes of Erg Chebbi. If you're lucky, you'll find a nomadic Berber family and share tea together before reaching the town, known for its fossil-rich rock and artisans. Continue to the wavy sand dunes that cover almost 14 square miles (35 sq km). Some peaks rise over 650 feet (200 m), and the color and shape change with the sun and wind. Just outside of Merzouga, swap the car for a camel and take a ride through the dunes.
Finally, you'll reach the luxury camp. Settle into your tent before climbing the nearest dune to watch a spectacular sunset play out across the colossal dunes and shifting sands. Return to camp for dinner beneath the stars and a campfire evening with traditional Berber music.
Day 5: 4WD Dunes Tour, Tea with Nomads
Board a Jeep and kick up sand as you discover the hidden secrets of Erg Chebbi. This morning you will explore the dunes, meet nomads, and enjoy tea with a local family before visiting Gnawa House in Khemliya village. Gnaoua or gnawa is a style of spiritual healing music traditionally practiced throughout Morocco. It originates from the sub-Saharan region, and recently popular maâlems (master musicians) have been making the repetitive, lively beats quite mainstream.This afternoon venture back to the dunes. You can rent a sandboard and surf down the slopes or join a quad bike tour. As the sun starts to dip, climb the nearest dune and watch the colors shift across the sea of sand once more. This evening is another night to enjoy around the campfire with traditional Berber music and spectacular starry skies.
Day 6: Transfer to Dadès Valley via Todra Gorge
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Rise early to catch a striking desert sunrise before heading to the Saharan village of Khamleya. Experience traditional music, drumming, and dancing before exploring the unique farming plots. Stop at Rissani on the 4.5-hour drive to Boumalne Dadès. Enter the town's impressive gate to see the donkey parking lot and roam the town's popular market before continuing to the desert town of Tinghir. Soak in views of neighboring villages dotted along a 30 miles (48 km) river oasis of palm trees and explore the ancient Jewish quarter (Ali Ait el Haj) before returning to the road.
Your last stop is the 984-foot-high (300 m) Todra Gorge. Take an easy walk through the gorge or relax in the cool shallow water before continuing through the Valley of a Thousand Kasbahs. Be on the lookout for nomads tending to their animals! Finally, enter the Dadès Valley, where you'll spot fragrant fields of rose bushes. Every May, a rose festival takes place to celebrate the year's production. Make a quick stop at a women-run rose cooperative to see the process of converting the petals into water and oil, and sample some products.
Day 7: Dadès Valley Hike & Lunch with Local FamilyStart your day in the Dadès Valley with an easy half-day walking tour that immerses you in local life. At the foothills of the mountains, a green oasis of vegetation allows Berber villages to thrive, and along the way, you can stop in a few villages to marvel at the architecture, listen to stories, see local farming techniques, and get to know Berber culture and traditions. At lunchtime, join a local Berber family at their traditional house to feast on Berber and Moroccan cuisine. End your meal with a tea ceremony before returning to your accommodation.
Day 8: Ouarzazate & Aït Benhaddou, Transfer to Marrakech
On the 5.5-hour drive to Marrakech, you'll stop at Ouarzazate, a town made popular by Morocco's growing movie industry. Tour a local film studio for an up-close look at the props and sets before continuing on to UNESCO-listed Aït Benhaddou, the most famous kasbah in Morocco. It's believed the old ksar (castle) dates from the 11th century when it held an important position along the trans-Saharan trade route. More recently, it's provided the backdrop to film and television classics, including "Lawrence of Arabia," "Gladiator," and "Game of Thrones."As you climb up and over the High Atlas mountains, look out for Morocco's highest summit, Mount Toubkal, which stands at 13,671 feet (4,167 m). You might even witness the first snow of the year covering the peak! Near the top of the Tizi n'Tichka Pass, you'll be greeted with incredible panoramic views over the mountain range and the winding road ahead. The first town after the descent is Taddert, where you can stop at an oil cooperative to learn how olives are processed for a variety of uses. Return to the road and wave goodbye to the tranquility of the mountains and desert as you enter vibrant, buzzing Marrakech.
Day 9: Explore Marrakech
Morocco's second-largest metropolis, Marrakech, is an onslaught of exciting sights, sounds, and smells. Start the day with a calm wander through the courtyards and gardens of the beautiful 19th-century Bahia Palace. Admire the building's ornate interiors with intricate woodwork and spectacular ceilings. Next, your guide will lead you past the Koutoubia Mosque and Gardens, the city's largest mosque. Although non-Muslims can't enter, taking a photo with the distinctive minaret is a must.
Jemaa el-Fna Square, the city's landmark plaza, is always bustling—by day, find markets and juice stalls, and by night find rowdy entertainers, vivid storytellers, and authentic street food. From here, your guide will lead you into the best souks, from the famed spice towers at Souk el Attarine to traditional Moroccan slippers at Souk Smata to Souk des Teinturiers, where you can watch locals dyeing and hanging cloth and yarn. Visiting Marrakech in autumn is perfect—you can pick up souvenirs and tick off your holiday shopping. Bartering is hard work but your personal guide can help you navigate the custom!
Day 10: Depart Marrakech
Marrakech Menara Airport is only a 25-minute drive from the center of Marrakech, so relax and enjoy your final hours in the Red City before a fast transfer to the airport. Have a safe and comfortable journey home or to your next destination!