Travel between cities, deserts, mountains, and oases on this exciting 16-day itinerary through Morocco. Start with a tour of the world's second-largest mosque in Casablanca, then transfer to the "Blue City" of Chefchaouen. Next, walk through the tiny streets of historic Fes' medina and stay overnight in a Bedouin-style camp under the desert skies. Finish with a hot-air balloon ride in Marrakesh, a seaside stroll in Essaouira, and a scenic drive back to Casablanca for one last meal at Rick's Cafe.


  • Let a local show you the iconic "Blue City" of Chefchaouen in the Rif Mountains
  • Get lost in the maze of winding streets of Fes's medina, the world's oldest
  • Ride a camel through the dunes of the Sahara to stay overnight at a desert camp
  • Take a guided food tour in Marrakesh and join a cooking class in Essaouira

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Casablanca, Guided Tour of Hassan II Mosque Casablanca
Day 2 A Scenic Journey: Transfer to Chefchaouen via Rabat Chefchaouen
Day 3 Guided Tour of Morocco's "Blue City," Hike to Akchour Waterfall Chefchaouen
Day 4 Transfer to Fes via the Roman Ruins of Volubilis, Moulay Idriss & Meknes Fes
Day 5 Fes Unveiled Tour, Traditional Dinner at Local Home Fes
Day 6 Transfer to Merzouga, Bedouin Experience & Camel Rides Merzouga
Day 7 Desert Adventures in Erg Chebbi Merzouga
Day 8 Transfer to Aït Benhaddou, Tour the Ksar of Aït Benhaddou Aït Benhaddou
Day 9 Berber Carpet Weaving Demonstration, Transfer to Marrakesh Marrakesh
Day 10 Explore Mystical Marrakesh, Tour the Majorelle Gardens Marrakesh
Day 11 Sunrise Hot-Air Balloon Adventure, Marrakesh Gastronomy Tour  Marrakesh
Day 12 Transfer to Essaouira via the Argan Oil Cooperative Essaouira
Day 13 Traditional Spa & Hammam Experience in Essaouira  Essaouira
Day 14 Horseback Riding on Essaouira Beach, Moroccan Cooking Class Essaouira
Day 15 Transfer to Casablanca via Safi, El Jadida & Azemmour Casablanca
Day 16 Culinary Nostalgia at Rick's Café, Depart Casablanca  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Casablanca, Guided Tour of Hassan II Mosque

Start your adventure in Casablanca with a visit to the largest mosque in Morocco

Welcome to Morocco! Your driver will be waiting for you at the airport to transfer you to the famous city of Casablanca. Settle into your hotel, then hit the streets to explore. Stroll through the old souk (market) and enjoy a delicious pastry on the terrace while drinking mint tea. Admire the Art Deco buildings in the Hobous and walk the scenic Boulevard de la Corniche along the Atlantic coast. 

You can also walk the gardens or people-watch from a bench amid the palm trees and French architecture in the airy Mohamed V Square or relax on the sandy beach in the Aïn Diab district before meeting an expert for a guided tour of the Hassan II Mosque. As the largest mosque in Morocco and second-largest in the world, the complex includes a museum, baths, a Quranic school, a library, a prayer room, and a 650-foot tall (200 m) minaret, which is the tallest in the world. 

This mosque is distinct because non-Muslims can enter (uncommon in the country); just be sure to cover your shoulders and legs. Once inside, admire the ornate mosaic tiles and the arched and ornamented ceilings. The roof is covered with emerald green tiles, and at night, the mosque glows orange, illuminated by lights that reflect on the ocean's waves. 

Day 2: A Scenic Journey: Transfer to Chefchaouen via Rabat

Explore the famous "Blue City" of Chefchaouen in the Rif Mountains

Today you'll make the hour-long trip from Casablanca to Rabat, Morocco's current capital. Start with a visit to the medieval fortification of Chellah Necropolis, where you can wander through Roman and Islamic ruins, then step back in time to the original city center. Continue to the Andalusian Gardens to enjoy a serene green space away from the crowds, then discover the Hassan Tower and the Mausoleum of Mohamed V.

During the four-hour transfer to Chefchaouen, pass through plains, forested hills, and villages before entering the Rif Mountains. After you settle in, head out to discover Morocco's famed "Blue City." The old medina (historic quarter) is a delight, with bright-blue buildings and narrow lanes converging on the busy Plaza Uta el-Hammam. Next, head to the Grand Mosque and Kasbah to tour the gardens, museums, and old prison cells, then climb to the roof for a fantastic view.

End the day at Ras el Ma Spring and take a tea break at a quaint riverside café. Then, for an exceptional view of the city, walk past the walls and through its historic gates toward the Hotel Atlas and continue up the path to enjoy the sunset from the Spanish Mosque.

Day 3: Guided Tour of Morocco's "Blue City," Hike to Akchour Waterfall

Guided Exploration of the
Learn more about the "Blue City" on a guided tour through the charming streets

Join a guide to explore more of Chefchaouen, or "Chaoeun," as the locals call it. Beautifully perched beneath the raw peaks of the Rifs, Chefchaouen is one of the prettiest towns in Morocco, an artsy, blue-washed mountain village that feels like its own world. Founded in 1471, it's known for its winding maze of picturesque streets, relaxed atmosphere, and some of the friendliest people in the country. 

Explore more of the medina and peruse the nearby souks to shop for local handicrafts. Then, wander into the Quartier Al Andalous, a district with distinctive white, green, and blue houses, decorated doors, and wrought-iron railings. The buildings follow the steep gradient of the terrain, which makes for many exterior stairways and entrances at various levels.

In the afternoon, meet your driver for a quick 45-minute drive to a nearby hike. Begin the four-hour roundtrip trek to the gorgeous Akchour Waterfall, a scenic cascade with many trails to explore. Trek along the easy, well-marked trail, passing through dense forests, home to local Barbary macaque monkeys. Once you arrive at the end of the trail, marvel at the waterfalls, take photos, swim in the pools, and then return to Chefchaouen.

Day 4: Transfer to Fes via the Roman Ruins of Volubilis, Moulay Idriss & Meknes

Journey of Colours: Roman Ruins of Volubilis, Moulay Idriss & Meknes
Visit the impressive, well-preserved Roman ruins of Volubilis

Wake up early to enjoy a quiet walk through the "Blue City" before leaving the charming streets behind. Begin a four-hour transfer to the historical city of Fes, making several stops along the way. Your first stop is Volubilis, Morocco's best-preserved Roman ruins. As you wander through the once-great city, you'll encounter impressive merchant homes, ancient temples, and vibrant mosaics that offer a glimpse into the ancient Roman civilization. 

Continue down the street to the picturesque town of Moulay Idriss, one of Morocco's holiest cities. This hilltop town offers panoramic views and narrow streets lined with green-roofed buildings. Next, transfer to Meknes, founded in the 11th century. Explore the Meknes Medina, the city walls, and the Ville Impériale area, where you'll find iconic landmarks such as the magnificent Bab al-Mansour Gate and the Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail

Finally, your journey concludes in Fes, a city renowned for its rich cultural heritage. After you settle into your riad (traditional courtyard house), descend into the bustling Old Medina, exploring the labyrinthine streets and bustling markets. End your day watching the sunset from the Marinid Tombs, where you'll find fantastic views of this dynamic city.

Day 5: Fes Unveiled Tour, Traditional Dinner at Local Home

Inside the Al Attarine Madrasa
Admire the intricate tilework at the 14th-century school of Al Attarine Madrasa

Meet your guide this morning for an immersive tour of the UNESCO-listed Old Medina of Fes. As the city never experienced much colonial influence, entering the Medina feels like stepping back in time. Wander the twisting cobbled streets and stop to peruse the souks for various spices, leather goods, ceramics, shoes, scarves, medicines, and more.

Visit the famous Chouara Tannery, with its extensive 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, and stop at Al Attarine Madrasa, a 14th-century school featuring beautiful 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). 

Meet a local family for dinner in the Medina to experience Moroccan food at its finest in their home. Witness a tea ceremony and taste the famous mint tea, try a local version of Morocco's national dish, tajine (braised meat stew), and enjoy that famous Moroccan hospitality and generosity. 

Day 6: Transfer to Merzouga, Bedouin Experience & Camel Rides

Transfer to  Merzouga, Bedouin Experience & Camel Rides
Ride a camel through the dunes to get to your desert camp

Wake up early and meet your driver for the long, eight-hour transfer from Fes to a Bedouin-style tent accommodation in Merzouga. Your driver will stop along the way to show you the desert communities in the Sahara Desert. Enjoy the scenery as you twist through the cedar forests of the High Atlas mountains, and keep your eyes peeled for local Barbary monkeys.

Continue through the Ziz Valley, famous for its hidden oasis and palm tree clusters, before reaching the market town of Erfoud, where you'll catch your first glimpse of the Saharan dunes. Stop to watch an ancient method of water mining, chat with nomadic shepherds, stroll through settlements, and, if time allows, enjoy a cup of tea with a local Berber family.

You'll soon see the ever-changing sand waves of Erg Chebbi in the distance, an extensive set of dunes covering almost 14 square miles (35 sq km). Switch from car to camel for a ride through the dunes to your luxury camp in Merzouga, arriving at sunset. After settling into your tent, climb up the nearest dune to watch the rest of the sunset. Head back to camp for dinner by the campfire, accompanied by traditional Berber music and jaw-dropping views of the starry skies.

Day 7: Desert Adventures in Erg Chebbi

Harmonies of the Dunes: An Experiential Desert Odyssey in Erg Chebbi
Adventure through the dunes of Erg Chebbi on the back of an ATV

After a traditional breakfast at your camp, head to Erg Chebbi for several memorable (and sandy) adventures. Embark on an ATV Quad adventure and unleash your inner adventurer as you zoom across the sandy peaks, guided by a knowledgeable local expert. Meet with a local nomad family for a cup of tea, and visit the Gnawa House in Khamliya Village to discover the traditional, spiritual music often used for healing.

Experience the life of a local nomad as you accompany them through the desert plateaus, assisting them in their daily mission to search for grazing lands and water and helping with food preparation for the evening. You'll also get to feed the camels and other animals, learn to weave a camel wool carpet, and cook using traditional utensils and wood fire.

In the afternoon, rent a sandboard and test your skills on the dunes. Glide down the golden slopes and enjoy the soft, warm sand beneath your feet. If you're up for a challenge, tackle the steeper hills and attempt to carve your way down the larger dunes. In the evening, climb up dunes to watch the colorful display as the sun sets, then head back to camp for another campfire dinner under the starlit desert sky.

Day 8: Transfer to Aït Benhaddou, Tour the Ksar of Aït Benhaddou

The Ksar at Aït Benhaddou
Wander through the charming streets of the Ksar of Aït Benhaddou

Wake up early to catch the sunrise over the dunes, then make the six-hour transfer from Merzouga to Aït Benhaddou. Along the way, your driver will make a few stops, starting in Khamliya, a village known for its farming plots in the sand. Next, go to Rissani, home of Maison Tuareg, a house filled with traditional arts and crafts. Continue through the Draa Valley, a rich riverside area filled with endless date palms—stop by a stall to pick up a small box of sweet dates for the drive!

Take a break in the picturesque town of Ouarzazate, known as the "Gateway to the Sahara." Explore the town's UNESCO-listed 19th-century Taourirt Kasbah. The city has been the site of many famous movies and shows, including "Game of Thrones." See sets and props at the Musée du Cinema, or take a guided tour at a film studio for more memorabilia. 

Once you arrive in Aït Benhaddou, settle in and head out to explore the spectacular Ksar of Aït Benhaddou. This UNESCO World Heritage Site dates back to the 11th century and is one of the most incredible human-made sites in the region. While you walk through the center, explore the old town's alleys and passageways. Then, hike up to the old granary for incredible views of the kasbah, surrounding areas, and historic camel caravan routes. 

Day 9: Berber Carpet Weaving Demonstration, Transfer to Marrakesh

Carpet Weaving With Berber Women
Learn the art of Moroccan carpet weaving from Berber craftswomen

Say farewell to Aït Benhaddou and head nearby to a women-led Berber carpet weaving cooperative. Witness the process of this ancient art, a cornerstone of the Berber culture and vital to the survival of these communities. Watch the craftswomen demonstrate the traditional techniques, and try some weaving yourself. 

Hop aboard your transfer to Marrakesh, which takes about 3.5 hours, through the scenic Tizi n'Tichka Pass and over the High Atlas mountains. Near the top of the pass, enjoy sweeping vistas over the peaks, including Mount Toubkal, which sits at 13,671 feet (4,167 m). 

After a long day on the road, settle into your accommodation in Marrakesh and spend the rest of the afternoon as you like. Enjoy a relaxing stroll in the gardens near the picturesque Koutoubia Mosque, then head to the lively Jemaa el-Fna Square as the sun sets, which comes alive with musicians, performers, snake charmers, games, and food stalls in the early evening.

Day 10: Explore Mystical Marrakesh, Tour the Majorelle Gardens

Mystical Marrakesh: Unveiling the Allure of Morocco's Vibrant Jewel
Discover the beauty of Marrakesh, the "Red City" of Morocco

Embark on a half-day tour of Marrakesh, Morocco's "Red City" (named after the rusty pigment in the walls), with a local expert. Begin in the city's center at Djemaa el-Fna, Marrakesh's vibrant central square. Witness the bustling energy as your guide shares fascinating anecdotes and historical insights about this iconic gathering place.

Venture into the Old Medina of Marrakesh, a UNESCO World Heritage site, with its maze of narrow alleyways lined with traditional riads, souks, and artisan workshops. Your guide will share the history and stories of the Medina, the souk, and the Mellah (Jewish) sections, all within the city's rose-pink walls. See the Bahia Palace, a sprawling complex dating to the late 19th century, and explore the ruins of El Badi Palace, built in 1578. End your tour at the Saadian Tombs, the historic royal necropolis.

Plan your trip to Morocco
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
In the afternoon, take a break from the heat in the beautiful Majorelle Gardens, the former home of a French artist. The brightly colored buildings complement the 300 species of subtropical flowers, plants, and trees. After strolling through the idyllic setting, enjoy a refreshing drink in the charming coffee shop.

Day 11: Sunrise Hot-Air Balloon Adventure, Marrakesh Gastronomy Tour 

Rise with the Sun: A Majestic Hot Air Balloon Adventure over Marrakech
Get a birds-eye view over Marrakesh and its surroundings on a sunrise balloon tour

Wake up before the sun and go to the fields outside Marrakesh for a hot-air balloon ride in the fresh morning air. As you soar over the city and the surrounding high plains, spot distant Berber villages, the faraway sands of the Sahara Desert, and the looming mountains. During the flight, your pilot will share fascinating insights about the landmarks, history, and culture of Marrakesh. After an hour-long flight, the balloon descends back down, where you'll enjoy a traditional Berber breakfast.

Later in the day, embark on an immersive culinary journey through Marrakesh's Medina with a three-hour food tour. Pass vibrant market stalls brimming with fresh produce, fragrant spices, meats, and olives. Taste dishes such as couscous, shakshuka, makouda (spiced battered potato cakes), slow-roasted mechoui (lamb), and more.

Along the way, your guide will share fascinating anecdotes and stories, providing a deeper understanding of the cultural significance of food in Moroccan society. Learn about the traditional cooking techniques passed down through generations and the importance of communal dining in Moroccan households.

Day 12: Transfer to Essaouira via the Argan Oil Cooperative

Coastal Beauty Awaits: Transfer from Marrakech to Enchanting Essaouira
Take in the fresh sea air in the lovely coastal town of Essaouira

Bid farewell to the vibrant Red City and settle in for a scenic 3.5-hour drive to Morocco's west coast. Keep an eye out for the remarkable argan forest, endemic to this region and known for the goats that climb the trees, feasting on the fruit. Stop at the Women's Argan Oil Cooperative and learn how local women extract precious oil from the argan nut for use in the health, food, and cosmetic industries (and also visit the famous goats).

Continue your drive before arriving in Essaouira, Morocco's "White Pearl." Once you settle in, enjoy strolling along the Skala de la Kasbah, a centuries-old seafront rampart that graces the coastline, discovering delights in the Old Medina or people-watching in the active fishing harbor. Visit one of the best-preserved Jewish quarters in Morocco, home to Rabbi Haim Pinto, a well-preserved synagogue and historical site dating back to the early 18th century.

Essaouira is also a prime destination for surfing, with trade winds that prevail year-round. Grab a board or just lay on the sand of Essaouira Beach. You can also purchase locally-produced argan oil and grab a drink in Mulay El-Hassan Square, the city's central hub. Head down to the port at dinner to purchase fresh fish or sample the famous grilled sardines. 

Day 13: Traditional Spa & Hammam Experience in Essaouira

Visit the Spice Souk and look for vendors selling mounds of spices (and olives)

Begin your day with the ultimate pampering escape in a hammam (bathhouse). Begin with a traditional hammam session, an ancient Moroccan bathing ritual that combines heat, steam, and meticulous body cleansing. Then, enjoy a relaxing massage using argan and essential oils to soothe and soften the skin, followed by a nourishing body mask and a cup of soothing herbal tea. 

Use the rest of the day to relax or explore more of Essaouira. This quaint city has a long history of different influences, including Berbers, Phoenicians, Romans, Portuguese, and French, which is evident in the architecture, food, customs, and language. Enjoy the city's charm as you twist through the Medina's wide and bright streets, filled with souks, street vendors, leafy plazas, and whitewashed houses with ornate wooden doors.

Dramatic, wave-lashed ramparts surrounded the Medina and were famously used in the opening scene of Orson Welles' 1951 film Othello, with part of its old walls still standing today. As you stroll, stop into various traditional shops, like the Spice Souk, the place to go for herbal medicine, mounds of spices, and amlou (a mix of honey, almond, and argan oil). Finally, head down to the beach for surfing, sun, relaxing, or even kitesurfing.

Day 14: Horseback Riding on Essaouira Beach, Moroccan Cooking Class

Ride a horse along the picturesque Essaouira Beach before taking a cooking class

This morning, embrace the tranquility of Essaouira with a serene horseback riding excursion on the beach. After meeting with your guide, learn a few basic techniques and get acquainted with your animal. As you trot along Essaouira's long stretch of sand, enjoy the ocean breeze and smell of the sea. Feel free to gallop on the sand or walk along the surf—the horses are happy to have the coolness of the water on their legs! 

Later in the day, explore Morocco's incredible and flavorful cuisine with a cooking class at a traditional riad in Essaouira. With a local chef, you'll learn how to prepare one of Morocco's most popular and authentic dishes: tajine. This dish is named after the signature ceramic pot used to cook it and typically features meats, vegetables, and fruit, such as dates or apricots, to add sweetness.

When finished, sit down with your host to enjoy the fruits of your labor and a cup of traditional mint tea.

Day 15: Transfer to Casablanca via Safi, El Jadida & Azemmour

El Jadida
Sit back and relax while transferring from Essaouira to Casablanca

This morning, your driver will transfer you back to Casablanca, driving along the coastal route for around five hours. You'll stop in some of Morocco's most picturesque seaside cities along the way. Your first stop will be Safi, known for its excellent beaches and Atlantic views. Your next stop is El Jadida, where you can tour the haunting Portuguese cistern. Spend some time walking the ramparts and visiting the Church of the Assumption, then have lunch at a charming restaurant. 

Your final stop is Azemmour, known for its artist enclave. Get inspired by the crumbling 16th-century Medina, squeezed between the Oud Er-Rbia (Mother of Spring River) and the ocean. Once you arrive in Casablanca, check into your hotel and relax before venturing into the city for dinner and some evening exploration.

Day 16: Culinary Nostalgia at Rick's Café, Depart Casablanca

Culinary Nostalgia: Indulge in Timeless Charm at Rick's Café
Walk in the footsteps of Bogart and Bergman at Rick's Café in Casablanca

Indulge in the timeless charm and iconic ambience of Rick's Café, a legendary establishment that pays homage to the classic film "Casablanca." Follow Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart's footsteps in the romantic atmosphere of the iconic gin joint from the movie. The interior exudes a blend of Moroccan and European influences, with beautiful arches, intricate tilework, and a central courtyard adorned with lush greenery.

Enjoy a fusion of Moroccan and international cuisine in the 1940s atmosphere, accompanied by live piano music. The rooftop terrace of the café offers a view of the city, making it an ideal spot to sip on a cocktail or savor a delicious meal. This vista, coupled with the old-world charm of the café, makes you feel as if you were in the film. 

After your meal, it's time to say farewell to Morocco. Your driver will take you to the airport to catch your departing flight. Happy and safe travels!

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Map of Grand Tour of Morocco: Cities, Desert & Mountains - 16 Days
Map of Grand Tour of Morocco: Cities, Desert & Mountains - 16 Days