Take a seven-day spin across the sand with this itinerary that will take you from beach to city to desert to back. Visit the arts scene in Asilah, then put your newfound artist's eye to practice photographing the Blue City of Chefchaouen. Follow a guide through the medina of Fes, then trek into the Sahara on camelback before you make it back to the city amid the brightness of Marrakech.

Highlights

  • Explore the arts in the seaside city of Asilah
  • Perfect your photo skills in picturesque Chefchaouen
  • Trek on camelback through the Sahara desert
  • Wander the medinas of Fes and Marrakech

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Casablanca & Transfer to Asilah Asilah
Day 2 Asilah to Chefchaouen via Caves of Hercules Chefchaouen
Day 3 Chefchaouen to Fes Fes
Day 4 Fes to Merzouga Camel Trek Merzouga
Day 5 Merzouga to Dades Valley Boumalne Dades
Day 6 Dades Valley to Marrakech via Ait Ben Haddou Marrakech
Day 7 Guided Tour of Marrakech & Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Casablanca & Transfer to Asilah

In the streets of Asilah

Welcome to Morocco!

You'll land at the airport in Casablanca, then catch your transfer to the picturesque seaside city of Asilah. In this small walled city, art is everywhere, from the murals that can be discovered around every corner to the artists selling their work on the sidewalks.

Its walls are whitewashed anew every year for a fresh crop of murals, so there's always new art waiting around the corner. If you'd like to bring some home with you, pop into one of the many artists' studios in the medina, then sample the catch of the day at the nearby seafood stalls. Even children display their artwork for all to see. Be sure to head to the ramparts in the evening to watch the sunset over the Atlantic Ocean.

Day 2: Asilah to Chefchaouen via Caves of Hercules

Chefchaouen
Chefchaouen

Head to Chefchaouen, the Blue Pearl of Morocco. On the way, you can stop to visit the Caves of Hercules near Tangier. Myth has it that these caves are where Hercules rested before performing his 11th labor of the golden apples of the Hesperides. They have also been mined for millstones since the time of Phoenicians, which explains the circular cuts throughout.  

After a visit here, you'll continue inland to the Rif Mountains and the town of Chefchaouen. Find a soothing oasis in this much-photographed blue city. Despite its popularity, it’s a peaceful spot to take in the details of its Andalusian-Arab influences. Stroll through the steep, pebbled alleyways of the Old Medina and central Outa-el-Hammam square, visit the 17th-century kasbah and its gardens, or take in the views of the Tarik-Ben-Ziad Mosque and its highly artfully decorated octagonal minaret.

Day 3: Chefchaouen to Fes

Tannery of Fes
Tannery of Fes

Travel from Chefchaouen to Fes, where you'll find the largest old town in the world, and set out for a guided tour of the city with a local expert. You'll start at the Royal Palace and walk through the old Jewish Quarter, up to one of the Borj towers for a panoramic view of the medina. Next, you’ll head to a mosaic house where you will have a demonstration of the traditional pottery methods utilized by Fassi artisans – you’ll see every step of the process from the formation of the clay to the piecing together of the mosaics.

After the demonstration, the tour will take you into the medina of Fes where you will discover the ancient streets and neighborhoods, visit the various artisan sections (including the tanneries), and see the important historic monuments, including the tomb of Idriss II and the Al-Qarawaiyin University, the oldest continually operated university in the world. After your tour, you’ll have the rest of the afternoon and evening free to explore the medina. Don’t worry if you get lost—that is all part of the experience.

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Day 4: Fes to Merzouga Camel Trek

On camelback

Leave Fes to head into the desert. On the way, you will travel through the largest cedar forest in Africa, which is also home to the Barbary apes (aka Atlas Monkeys), which are sure to entertain. You’ll cross the Middle Atlas Mountains to Midelt, on the high plains between the Middle and High Atlas Mountains, where you will stop for lunch.

Continue into the High Atlas Mountains via the Ziz River Gorge to the large dunes of Erg Chebbi. Take some time to explore the area around the dunes before meeting your camels and trekking into the heart of the dunes to your luxury camp for the night.  (If camels aren't quite your style, you can opt for a 4x4 instead.) Once you arrive, you can climb the nearest dune to watch the sun go down and the stars come out. Enjoy dinner, traditional music, and stargazing into the evening. 

Day 5: Merzouga to Dades Valley

Kasbah in Dades Valley
Kasbah in Dades Valley

Get an early start to watch the sunrise over the dunes before you hop back on your camel and ride back to the edge of the dunes. From there, it's time to get on the road to the Dades Gorge.

Along the way, you’ll stop to visit the ancient irrigation system that once brought water to the desert from the distant Saghro Mountains, as well as a visit to the oasis town of Tinghir where you will have a guided walk of the palmeraie and old Jewish area. Next, you’ll visit nearby Todgha Gorge where you will walk through the most impressive part of the canyon, before you reach the Dades Valley.

Day 6: Dades Valley to Marrakech via Ait Ben Haddou

Ait Ben Haddou
Ait Ben Haddou


Take the road of 1000 Kasbahs on your way to the city of Ouarzazate, also known as the Hollywood of Morocco. You'll pass through Ouarzazate and continue to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Ait Ben Haddou. Explore this impressive ksar, before traveling over the High Atlas Mountains via the Tizi n’Tichka path, reaching an altitude of nearly 7,500 feet (2,286 m) above sea level. There will be plenty of stops for tea and photographs as you take in the breathtaking vistas before arriving in Marrakech.

The colorful oasis city of Marrakech offers up an old town tangle of bazaars with oriental lamps, woven carpets, and scents of spices, alongside Moorish riads and palm trees against colorful surroundings. Make your way through the alleys of the medina, where woven carpets, ceramics, parchment lamps, and huge spice stalls in all colors are stored up to the roof in the narrow, winding alleyways characterized by stairs and vaults.

Day 7: Guided Tour of Marrakech & Depart

The towering minaret of Koutoubia Mosque
The towering minaret of Koutoubia Mosque

After breakfast, meet your local private guide who will lead you through the old city of Marrakech. As you explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site, you will come across lively souks and maze-like alleys. You're sure to be dazzled by displays of djellabas, brightly colored babouches, intricately-pierced lanterns, conical mounds of exotic spices, and the intense hubbub of medina life. Along the way, your knowledgeable and energetic guide will regale you with the history and stories of the medina, the souk, and the Mellah neighborhoods of the Red City.

In the afternoon you'll continue your private tour, exploring places like the Koutoubia Mosque, Bahia and El Badii Palaces, and the Saadian Tombs.

Once your tour ends and you've gotten in any last souvenir shopping, it's time to transfer to the airport to catch your flight home or onto your next adventure.

Map

Map of Highlights of Morocco from Beach to Desert: Fes, Marrakech, Sahara & More - 7 Days
Map of Highlights of Morocco from Beach to Desert: Fes, Marrakech, Sahara & More - 7 Days