This seven-day itinerary takes you through the sprawling cities, markets, and gardens of northern Morocco. Start with a wander through the port city of Tangier and the blue streets of Chefchaouen before heading to Fes, Morocco's cultural capital. Take a tour of the historic medina before you head to Rabat to enjoy its signature white architecture. Make your way to Marrakech, with an afternoon stop in Casablanca, to end your trip amid its humming streets.

Highlights

  • Relax in the peaceful Blue City of Chefchaouen
  • Tour the historic old town within the Fes medina
  • Admire the height of Casablanca's Hassan II Mosque
  • Feel the buzz of the markets of Marrakech

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Tangier & Explore Tangier Tangier
Day 2 Tangier to Chefchaouen Chefchaouen
Day 3 Chefchaouen to Fes via Volubilis & Meknes Fes
Day 4 Tour of Fes Medina & Transfer to Rabat Rabat
Day 5 Rabat to Marrakech via Casablanca Marrakech
Day 6 Tour of Marrakech & Explore Majorelle Gardens Marrakech
Day 7 Depart Marrakech  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Tangier & Explore Tangier

The City of Tangier
The city of Tangier

Welcome to the historic and vibrant city of Tangier, the gateway between Europe and Africa. Stretching along the Maghreb coast at the western entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar, Tangier offers a unique blend of cultures. Several influences have shaped the city for centuries, attracting artists, spies, and eccentric foreigners.

While not always a tourist hub, Tangier has undergone a makeover. Its new marina area (a nice place for a quick walk) and the refreshed old quarter now attract visitors worldwide.

Start in the Medina (old town) and explore its labyrinth of commercial and residential alleyways. Wander around Petit Socco Square, known for its buzzy markets, craft shops, and cafes. This is a great place to grab a bite to eat or people-watch. For an incredible view over the city, visit the cannons at Faro Square and savor scenes of the Medina, harbor, and Bay of Tangier.

The 15th-century Portuguese Tangier Kasbah (fortified castle) is small and compact enough for a self-guided walk. Pass through Bab Haha (a historic gate with sea views) and enter Place du Mechouar. If you like, you can pay for a guide to lead you on a tour. 

Lastly, stroll along the shopping street of Rue de la Liberté all the way to the Place de France. This busy plaza is the center of modern Tangier and features the famous Grand Café de Paris and the Hotel El Minzah. Once upon a time, this is where you could find artists and writers such as Tennessee Williams, Jack Kerouac, Muhammad Asad, Truman Capote, and William S. Burroughs.

In the late afternoon, join the locals for a paseo (stroll) along the palm-lined seafront promenade, Corniche de Tanger. Or, if you'd like to explore out of the city, visit Cap Spartel and the Cave of Hercules. Plan at least one hour to account for transfers and time to enjoy the sites. Interestingly, when seen against the Atlantic horizon, the cave's outline is thought to resemble the shape of the African continent.

Day 2: Tangier to Chefchaouen

Chefchaouen and the Rif Mountains
Chefchaouen and the Rif Mountains
Enjoy a comfortable private transfer from Tangier to your accommodation in Chefchaouen, which takes about two and a half hours. Enjoy the scenic drive as flat plains and springtime green hills transform into the rugged landscape of the Rif Mountains.

After settling into your accommodation, head out to explore Chefchaouen, or simply “chaoeun,” as the locals call it. Twist through the city's Medina and its winding maze of picturesque streets while appreciating the relaxed atmosphere.

Beautifully perched beneath the raw peaks of the Rif, Chefchaouen is one of the prettiest towns in Morocco, an artsy, blue-washed mountain village that feels like its own world. It was founded in 1471 by Idrissid shorfa, descendants of the Prophet Mohammed, as a stronghold in the fight against the Portuguese. However, the town expanded with the arrival of Muslim and Jewish refugees from Granada in 1494, who built the whitewashed houses, with tiny balconies, tiled roofs, and patios (often with a citrus tree in the center). This history gives the town its distinctive Spanish flavor.

The old medina is a delight of Moroccan and Andalucian influence with red-tiled roofs, bright-blue buildings, and narrow lanes converging on busy Plaza Uta el-Hammam and its restored kasbah. Peruse the nearby souks (markets) or head to the Grand Mosque and Kasbah. Although non-Muslims can't enter the mosque, anyone can admire its structure and tour the gardens, museums, and old prison cells of the kasbah. 

For an exceptional view of the city, walk past the walls and through its historic gates, making your way toward the Hotel Atlas. Then, if you have the time, continue up the path for another 30 minutes to enjoy the sunset from the Spanish Mosque.

Day 3: Chefchaouen to Fes via Volubilis & Meknes

Meknes' Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail
Meknes' Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail
Enjoy a comfortable private transfer from Chefchaouen to your accommodation in Fes, which takes about four and a half hours. Along the way, your driver will stop in the imperial city of Meknes and the Roman ruins at Volubilis. To make the most out of your morning, wander the quiet streets of Chefchaouen for a final look at the "Blue City."

After saying goodbye to the scenic Rif Mountains, your first stop is Volubilis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site containing 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 about 200 years and leaving in 285 CE.
 
Next, continue to Meknes, the imperial city of Moulay Ismail. Under Moulay Ismail'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 (markets), 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 accommodation, drive up to the Marinid Tombs, where you can enjoy a lovely panorama of the old city. On the hillside below, you may see leather drying in the sun.
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Day 4: Tour of Fes Medina & Transfer to Rabat

Andalusian Gardens at the Ouydaya Kasbah, Rabat
Andalusian Gardens at the Ouydaya Kasbah, Rabat
Discover the vibrant and fortified Medina of Fes, the cultural capital of Morocco, with the help of a local. Your private tour guide will meet you in the morning and lead you through the twisting maze of cobbled streets as you pass markets, shops, mosques, and more. You'll explore lively souks, learn about medieval Marinid architecture, and visit historical monuments as you absorb Fes's old-fashioned charm.

Pass through the Blue Gate (Bab Boujloud), a Moorish gate with three arches acting as the old town's main entrance, and wander the bustling souks (markets). You'll find unique, hand-crafted goods in alleys, streets, and open-air squares. Enjoy the bright colors of rugs, jewelry, and leather goods, or indulge in the towers of spices, dried fruits, and culinary delicacies.

Admire the city's old walls and walk up to the Marinid Tombs, a hilltop archeological site hosting the ruins of two 14th-century mausoleums (and a great spot to return to for sunset). You can't miss the famous Chouara Tannery, with its large assortment of colorful leather dyes and traditional techniques from centuries ago. Next, head to the 9th-century Al-Qarawiyyin Mosque and University, the world's oldest continuously operating university.

You'll also stop at either Bou Inania Madrasa or Al Attarine Madrasa, two 14th-century schools featuring beautiful Marinid and Moroccan architecture and zellij tiles. Then wander to some of the other sites of Fes, such as the Mellah (Jewish District and cemetery) and 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. Or check out a museum, like the Borj Nord, with its collection of weapons and armor from several eras and incredible roof-top views.

Once you've finished your tour, you'll transfer to Rabat, which takes about two and a half hours. Upon your arrival, take some time to relax before heading out into the city.
 
Spend the afternoon and evening exploring the bustling city of Rabat, the capital of Morocco, since 1956. As the second-largest city in the country, it tends to attract fewer tourists than other Moroccan hubs. But thanks to its signature white architecture, Rabat earned UNESCO World Heritage designation in 2012, and there's much to do and see in the city.

Start at the Royal Palace of Rabat and the medieval fortification of the Chellah Necropolis, where you can wander the Roman and Islamic ruins. Stroll through the Medina (old town) to find the Hassan Tower and Mausoleum of Mohamed V. This abandoned 12th-century project features the minaret of an incomplete mosque and some 200 columns. 

Spend some time exploring the historic Medina and roam through the charming streets. Stop at the souks (markets) to peruse local crafts and goods, such as rugs, spices, slippers, jewelry, leather, and more. Remember that bartering is part of the fun!

Next, visit the 20th-century Andalusian Gardens and enjoy the serene space away from the crowds. The lush terraces filled with walking paths, exotic plants, flowers, and fruit trees are reminiscent of the famous gardens in The Alhambra in southern Spain. It's the ideal place to relax and escape the afternoon heat.

End your tour at the grand door of the Kasbah des Oudaïas, the gate out of Rabat's old city center. The Kasbah des Oudaïas is home to the city’s oldest mosque and Musée des Oudaïas handicrafts museum. Spend some time admiring the white and blue architecture of the neighborhood and learning about traditional regional crafts.

Day 5: Rabat to Marrakech via Casablanca

Sunset at the Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca
Sunset at the Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca
Enjoy a comfortable private transfer from Rabat to your accommodation in Marrakech, which takes about five hours. Along the way, you'll stop in Casablanca, Morocco's modern commercial capital. 

The Hassan II Mosque is Casablanca's premier attraction, sitting scenically on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. Its massive complex includes a museum, baths, Koranic school, library, and prayer room supported by 78 granite and marble pillars. As the second-largest mosque globally, the prayer room holds 25,000 people, and the outside courtyard can accommodate an additional 80,000 worshippers. The mosque's 650-foot (200-m) minaret is the tallest structure in Morocco and the tallest minaret in the world.

Casablanca is the country’s most modern city and a conglomeration of stark-white buildings. The present city, known colloquially as “Casa” or “El Beida,” was founded in 1912. Straddling east and west, it's the commercial and financial capital of Morocco where tradition and modernity co-exist.

The city's handsome Moresque buildings, which meld French-colonial design and traditional Moroccan style, are best admired in the downtown area. Visitors who spend time there in the Quartier Habous and the beachside suburb of Ain Diab will enjoy a blend of local flavors, historic charms, and modern amenities. This old pirate lair continuously looks toward the future, embracing the European-urban sophistication underpinning life here for the past century. 

Upon arrival in Marrakech, settle into your accommodation and relax before heading out into the city. Enjoy a stroll in the gardens near the stunning Koutoubia Mosque, then head to the lively Jemaa el Fna Square as the sun starts to set. Here, you'll find musicians, performers, and food stalls. Wander the buzzy square (an important trading bazaar for many centuries) or watch the show from above at a quieter café situated over the plaza.

Day 6: Tour of Marrakech & Explore Majorelle Gardens

Bahia Palace
Bahia Palace
Marrakech is Morocco's second-largest metropolis, known as the "Red City," thanks to the natural red pigment in its walls. Explore the vibrant sights, sounds, and smells as you wander through its bustling center. Start with one of the most beautiful palaces and monuments in Marrakech, the Bahia Palace. Built at the end of the 19th century, the name means "brilliance," and you'll quickly understand why! Enjoy its beautiful courtyard and gardens and the building's interior with intricate woodwork and ornamented ceilings.

Next, your guide will take you to the Koutoubia Mosque and Gardens, the city's largest mosque. Although non-Muslims can't enter, you can still admire the grounds and exterior, including its remarkable minaret. Pass through one of the Medina's historical gates and meander its twisting alleyways to the souks (markets) and hidden Fondouks (historic caravanserai once used as hotels for travelers and merchants).

Head to Jemaa el Fna Square, the city's landmark plaza filled with markets, street food, and performers. From here, you'll stroll to a few of the best souks, with your guide leading the way. You'll find the famed spice towers at Souk el Attarin and traditional Moroccan slippers at Souk Smata. But don't miss Souk des Teinturiers, where you can watch locals dyeing and hanging cloth and yarn.

Once your tour is finished, relax in the quiet Majorelle Gardens, a botanical garden offering an incredible reprieve from the unrelenting heat of Morocco. The brightly colored buildings complement the various species of sub-tropical flowers, plants, and trees. Although not lush (this is the desert, after all), you'll find plenty of interesting and unique vegetation to admire.

Acting almost like a sanctuary, the Majorelle Gardens surrounds visitors with exotic plant species, like bamboo, lilies, and palms, plus fountains and pools. You'll find over 300 types of plants derived from five different continents. You'll also find its famous bright blue and yellow house. once the home of the French Orientalist artist Jacques Marojelle. The house itself was designed by the French architect, Paul Sinoir, in the style of a Cubist villa. Today, you'll find the Berber Museum and the Yves Saint Laurent Museum inside.
 
In the evening, follow your nose to the wonderful smells that waft from food stalls back in Jemaa el Fna Square. Watch locals prepare authentic delicacies and taste the flavors of Marrakech as the sun goes down and the street performers come out to entertain. If you prefer a quieter eating experience, choose from one of the many cafes sitting above the square and simply watch the action below.

Day 7: Depart Marrakech

Jemaa el Fna Square in Marrakech
Jemaa el Fna Square in Marrakech
Time to wave goodbye to Morocco with your transfer to Marrakech Menara Airport (RAK) to catch your flight home or onto your next adventure.

Map

Map of Explore Northern Morocco: Tangier, Chefchaouen, Fes, Rabat, Casablanca - 7 Days
Map of Explore Northern Morocco: Tangier, Chefchaouen, Fes, Rabat, Casablanca - 7 Days