On this nine-day itinerary, starting in Marrakech, go off the beaten path to explore Morocco's culture and landscapes. Cross the Atlas Mountains and enjoy an off-road adventure to discover Ouzoud and the country's tallest waterfalls before riding a camel to your desert camp near Zagora. Next is Taroudant, a fortified town with excellent souks that are easier to navigate than those in bigger cities, ending your stay in the laidback coastal city of Essaouira.


  • Explore Marrakech's history, architecture, and food
  • Visit Morocco's tallest waterfall in Ouzoud
  • Trek through the desert on a camel to sleep under a desert sky
  • Visit Essaouira, a quaint seaside town and enjoy fresh-caught seafood

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Marrakech Marrakech
Day 2 Explore the Red City Marrakech
Day 3 Transfer to Demnate via High Atlas Mountains & Ouzoud Demnate
Day 4 Off-Road Dadès Valley to Boumalne Dades via Bouguemez Boumalne Dades
Day 5 Transfer to Zagora via the Saghro Mountains & Draa Valley Zagora
Day 6 Cross the Anti-Atlas Mountains to Taroudant Taroudant
Day 7 Transfer to Essaouira Essaouira
Day 8 Explore Essaouira Essaouira
Day 9 Return to Marrakech, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Marrakech

Jemaa el Fna Square in Marrakech
Jemaa el Fna Square in Marrakech

Welcome to Marrakech! Your specialist will pick you up from the airport and transfer you to your cozy riad, where you'll spend the night. After check-in, your tour manager will make help you get settled; you can unwind at your riad or hit the streets of Marrakech to explore at your leisure. 

Day 2: Explore the Red City

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

After breakfast, your local city guide will meet you at your riad and show you all around Marrakech, where you'll have the opportunity to see such highlights as Bahia Palace, the Saadian Tombs, and the Koutoubia Mosque.

Your guide will then escort you through Marrakech's busy souks, where you'll have a chance to visit various artisans and learn about their crafts. Your tour will end by midafternoon, so you'll have the rest of the day to explore on your own. Accomplish some souvenir shopping back at the souks, sit down to a delicious traditional meal in one of Marrakech's restaurants, or wander the stalls of Jemaa el-Fna square, where you can feast on incredible street food as you watch musicians and snake charmers perform for the crowds. 

Day 3: Transfer to Demnate via High Atlas Mountains & Ouzoud

The waterfalls in Ouzoud
The waterfalls in Ouzoud

After breakfast, you'll depart from Marrakech and make your way into the High Atlas Mountains to Ouzoud. This spectacular multistep waterfall towers 330 feet (101 m), the tallest in Morocco, and its banks are home to the Atlas monkeys (Barbary apes), who never cease to entertain. Climb to the top of the falls for a spectacular view, then make your way down to the bottom of the cascade, where you can swim (weather permitting), take a boat ride under the falls, or enjoy the view from one of the many terraces.  

Wander around the beautiful enclave and enjoy lunch, then hit the road to reach today's final destination: Demnate. Before retiring for the evening, be sure to take a walk around Imi n'Ifri, a natural bridge.

Plan your trip to Morocco
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 4: Off-Road Dadès Valley to Boumalne Dades via Bouguemez

Boumalne Dades in the High Atlas Mountains
The town of Boumalne Dades in the High Atlas mountains

Enjoy breakfast, then get ready to use your hands! This morning you'll head to a nearby eco-lodge in Bouguemez for a traditional Moroccan crafts workshop; you'll learn carpet weaving or olive pressing.

Journey off the beaten path on an epic off-road adventure deep into the High Atlas mountains to Dadès Valley, where you'll enjoy a scenic picnic lunch, perhaps with a local nomad family. You'll also have a chance to stretch your legs with some light hiking in this beautiful area of the country, arriving at your accommodations in the evening in time for dinner.

Day 5: Transfer to Zagora via the Saghro Mountains & Draa Valley

Learn about weaving in today's hands-on workshop
Stop to snap a selfie in Kasbah Tamnougalt

Say goodbye to Boumalne Dades and head over the Saghro Mountains to the Draa Valley using a less traveled road. Stop to visit Kasbah Tamnougalt, a kasbah that dates to at least the 17th century, and take a tour of the grounds before continuing to Zagora, where you'll meet your next form of transportation: a camel.

Climb aboard your ride and trek to your desert camp for the evening. You'll enjoy dinner under the stars before settling in for a night under the stars in the comfort of your tent. 

Day 6: Cross the Anti-Atlas Mountains to Taroudant

Fortress wall Taroudant
Taroudant's fortress wall

Get up early this morning to take in a desert sunrise from your camp. Soak up the serenity, then enjoy breakfast before heading out. Today you'll make your way through saffron country in the Anti-Atlas. If you're visiting in October, you can stop at a local cooperative to learn about this expensive spice's painstaking collection process during the harvest season.  

You'll continue to the bustling market town of Taroudant, arriving by early afternoon. Check into your riad, then meet your local guide for a tour of this friendly city, known as "Marrakech's little sister"—a great place to shop without Marrakech's "big city" pressure!

Day 7: Transfer to Essaouira

The coastal town of Essaouira
The coastal town of Essaouira

After breakfast, you'll head to the charming beachside city of Essaouira. Archaeological evidence shows that this area has been inhabited since prehistoric times, but the city as it is now was designed in the 18th century by the French engineer Thédore Cornut.

On the way to Essaouira, you will see groves of argan trees from which Morocco's "liquid gold" (argan oil) is produced—with the unique help of local goats. You will arrive around lunch, just in time to make your way to the shore for an incredible meal of freshly caught local seafood. After, you will have the afternoon to discover this beautiful city and its adjacent beach.

Day 8: Explore Essaouira

A fortified wall in Essaouira
A fortified wall in Essaouira

Today, you'll have the day free to explore this charming little town. You may wish to head to the wharf to pick out your lunch from the fresh catch of the day and then take it to a local restaurant to have it grilled Moroccan-style, or you may just wish to sit at a café and watch the world go by.

Be sure to head to the ramparts in the evening to catch the sun setting over the Atlantic Ocean. Your specialist will be available to you should you need transportation, guidance, or suggestions.

Day 9: Return to Marrakech, Depart

Rampart walls of Essaouira
Rampart walls of Essaouira

This morning after breakfast, depending on your flight schedule, you may be able to enjoy one last stroll by the sea and explore more of Essaouira before transferring to the Marrakech Airport in time for your departing flight.

More Great Morocco Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Morocco? Check out these other Morocco itineraries, explore different ways to spend nine days in Morocco, or learn about the best time to visit Morocco.


Map of Marrakech, Atlas Mountains & Essaouira - 9 Days
Map of Marrakech, Atlas Mountains & Essaouira - 9 Days