Explore Morocco's Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines with this 15-day itinerary. From Casablanca, head northward along the Atlantic coast, stopping at Spanish colonial sites and Roman ruins of Laracche and Lixus, and the quiet beaches of Asilah. Wander through brightly-painted towns, enjoy the views while hiking the Rif mountains, and relax by the sea in Al Hoceima and Marsdar Bay. Transfer to the imperial city of Fes, tour a winery, and see more of the region's delights before ending your adventure in bustling Marrakech.

Highlights

  • Explore the "Blue City" of Chefchaouen
  • Sample freshly caught fish straight from the sea in Al Hoceima
  • Soak in hot springs en route to Fes at Sidi Harazem
  • Learn about Moroccan winemaking traditions in the Guerrouane region
  • Wander through Morocco's best-preserved Roman ruins at Volubilis

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Casablanca, Transfer to Rabat Rabat
Day 2 Explore 3,000 Years of Antiquity on the Way to Asilah Asilah
Day 3 Hercules Cave & Cap Spartel Tangier
Day 4 See Tangier on a Self-Guided Tour  Tangier
Day 5 Tetouan & the Rif Mountains Chefchaouen
Day 6 Hike the Rif Mountains & Wander through the "Blue City" of Chefchaouen Chefchaouen
Day 7 Leave Chefchaouen and Travel to the "Rif Riviera" Al Hoceima
Day 8 Visit Al Hoceima and Relax by the Sea Al Hoceima
Day 9 Transfer to Fes via Taza Fes
Day 10 Explore the Imperial City of Fes  Fes
Day 11 Tour a Winery in the Guerrouane Region  Fes
Day 12 Day Trip to Meknes and the Roman Ruins at Volubilis Fes
Day 13 Travel from Fes to Marrakech Marrakech
Day 14 Marrakech Medina & City Tour Marrakech
Day 15 Half-Day Morning Medina Tour, Depart Marrakech   

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Casablanca, Transfer to Rabat

The Hassan tower in Rabat
The Hassan Tower in Rabat

Today, you will arrive in Casablanca and be picked up from the airport by your private driver. Head directly to Rabat to check into your accommodations. You'll have the evening free to rest after your flight, or you may consider exploring the area a bit on your own.

As you wander through Rabat, visit the Hassan Tower and the Chellah, a fortified medieval necropolis and archaeological site. The Chellah is an excellent introduction to the region's archaeology since it was originally built as a Phoenician trading post and repurposed by successive empires over thousands of years.

Day 2: Explore 3,000 Years of Antiquity on the Way to Asilah

Morocco's Atlantic Coast

The next day, enjoy a leisurely tour along the Atlantic Coast from Rabat to Asilah. Stop at the mouth of the Loukkos River to visit ancient Roman and Spanish colonial sites. First, check out Lixus, a well-preserved Roman city that features impressive views. Then, cross the river to the formerly-Spanish town of Larache, where you'll lunch on fresh seafood between the arches of the Plaza de España, visit the archaeology museum, and explore a ruined fortress.

A short detour inland will bring you to the Msoura standing stones. Msoura contains 167 monoliths arranged in an ellipse around a burial mound and is believed to have been built by the Mauritanian kings of the third or fourth century BCE. In the late afternoon, you'll arrive in Asilah, a city whose architecture dates from the 15th century when the town was a fortified Portuguese port. Today, Asilah is a relaxed artists' colony, famous for its clean beaches and extensive street art. Take the rest of the day to explore and have dinner.

Day 3: Hercules Cave & Cap Spartel

View of the old lighthouse at Cap Spartel
The old lighthouse at Cap Spartel

Follow the Atlantic Coast along a nearly unbroken chain of wide, sandy beaches until you reach Cap Spartel—the northwestern tip of Africa. If the weather is nice, ask your driver to stop anywhere you'd like to go swimming or boating in the ocean. After Asilah, the first beach you'll pass is Tahaddart Beach. This beach is excellent for those with small children, and you can rent paddle boats here, making the spot pretty popular with vacationing Moroccan families in the summer.

Once you reach Cap Spartel, check out Cap Spartel Park. This pine-forested mountain has relaxing drives and hiking trails, a scenic lighthouse, and restaurants where you can eat lunch overlooking the ocean. Next, visit the Caves of Hercules. These caves have a long history of human use, and legend has it that Hercules slept here while traveling to the Garden of the Hesperides (in the ruins of Lixus). Cliffs border the nearby Achakkar Beach on either side, so it's a protected, scenic, and popular swimming destination. Later, you'll drive to Tangier, your final stop for today. 

Day 4: See Tangier on a Self-Guided Tour 

A view over Tangier, Morocco
A view over Tangier and the Straits of Gibraltar

Tangier's medina (old town) is truly magical and full of traveler's treasures, from glimpses of traditional living to the more material rewards of the souks (markets). Start your self-guided tour by wandering through the medina, then explore the American Legation Museum. This beautiful palace, where George Washington established the first diplomatic mission to Morocco in December 1797, is now a museum that preserves the heritage of the United States and Morocco.

Next, head over to Petit Socco. This square in the city center was once home to many notable writers and affluent people and lies in the area where the forum of the ancient Roman city of Tingis once stood. If you ascend to the hills above the medina, you will reach the old kasbah (fortification). Here, you will find stunning views of the Mediterranean and the worthwhile Kasbah Museum of Mediterranean Cultures, which has artifacts, antiques, and statues from the local area.

Day 5: Tetouan & the Rif Mountains

Houses in Tetouan's medina
Houses in Tetouan's medina

After breakfast, make your way toward Chefchaouen. On the way, you'll go through Tetouan, a jewel of a town nestled between the Rif Mountains and the Mediterranean Sea. Tetouan's ancient medina, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, looks like it has not changed in several centuries. 

Continue to Chefchaouen, a visual delight in blue. Walls, doors, windows, stairways, alleyways, and archways—everything is a combination of soft pastel blue and deeper, more bold hues. After checking in at your riad (traditional house with a courtyard), explore the town at your own pace. Watch the world go by at Place Outa el-Hammam, the city's main square, or walk up the tiny alleyways leading away from the more tourist-oriented areas to find the everyday life of the town. 

Day 6: Hike the Rif Mountains & Wander through the "Blue City" of Chefchaouen

A winding slope in the Rif mountains
A winding slope in the Rif mountains

Chefchaouen's blue buildings glow in the morning light. You may want to wake up early to watch the sun rise over the mountains from the Spanish Mosque. Since many shops don't open until 10 am, you can take this time to wander the serene town. 

Afterward, depart for a guided hike in the Rif Mountains. Here, you'll get the chance to explore the wilderness of cedar trees and hike to the Akchour Waterfall and God's Bridge natural rock formation. Once back in Chefchaouen, spend your evening relaxing or visiting the medina. 

Day 7: Leave Chefchaouen and Travel to the "Rif Riviera"

The "Blue City" of Chefchaouen
A typical alleyway of the "Blue City" of Chefchaouen

Rise early and enjoy the quiet as you wander the streets of Chefchaouen, using this time to snap unobstructed photos. Next, travel north beneath the limestone cliffs of the Laou River Gorge. Be on the lookout for barbary apes along the cliffs as you go. Upon reaching the coast, enter the city of Oued Laou. Notice the unique local clothing style, especially the distinctive hats. Stop for lunch in the port town of El Jebha, and explore the area. Two hours of round-trip walking (or a chartered fishing boat) will take you to the iconic crater of Marsdar Bay, where you can swim and explore one of Morocco's more isolated beaches.

Continue onward past the mountainous coastline of Al Hoceima National Park, which provides sanctuary for rare avian and marine wildlife. If you want to take a detour to explore the park, you can visit the tiny port of Bades to observe the iconic Spanish military enclave of Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera. Soon, you'll reach Al Hoceima, a beautiful, whitewashed town straddling the clifftops around a picturesque bay. Al Hoceima's culture is a fusion of Spanish and Rifi Berber influences. As you wander past the town's old villas, you'll hear the city's inhabitants speak Rifi Berber (Tarifit). 

Day 8: Visit Al Hoceima and Relax by the Sea

The cliffside city of Al Hoceima
The cliffside city of Al Hoceima

Take the morning to explore Al Hoceima. Start with the old town, which sits atop the cliffs overlooking the bay. Spanish forces built the area, and it maintains a colonial atmosphere. It's only a short walk to a clifftop overlook where you can watch fishers working in rowboats and, on a clear day, see Spanish mountains on the horizon. Stop for coffee and take in the spectacular view before heading down to the port for lunch. Fishermen bring in their catches all day long, and you can buy fresh fish next to the water before having it cooked in a restaurant next door. 

After lunch, you'll be driven to Sfiha Beach. Wander along the beach and swim in sight of the spectacular Spanish island fortress of Peñón de Alhucemas. This and two neighboring islands were ceded to Spain in 1559, and maintain a military presence to this day. Once you're finished at Sfiha Beach, return to Al Hoceima and use the rest of the afternoon to explore and relax.

Day 9: Transfer to Fes via Taza

View over the Rif Mountains

Leave the dry, sunny Mediterranean coastline behind, and enter Morocco's imperial heartland. Once you cross the Rif mountains through the spectacular Tizi Ouasli Pass, you'll find yourself in the High Eastern Rif, a landscape that is distinctly colder than the Mediterranean coast. You'll see pine forests and almond plantations until you reach the city of Aknoul. This peaceful town is in the center of almond cultivation in the north. In April, the entire landscape is covered in white and pink blooms. Stop for coffee and visit the monument commemorating the Rifi revolt that helped end the protectorate period. 

Leaving Aknoul, cross the Tizi n'Taïda Pass with its dense pine forests and abandoned French military outposts and descend into a landscape of steep, barren valleys. Continue south until you reach an opening in the mountains. Here sits the mountain city of Taza, where you'll stop for lunch and explore the clifftop medina. From Taza, enter the highway to quickly reach Fes. On the way, you'll pass the town of Sidi Harazem, where you can bathe in hot springs before continuing to Fes

Day 10: Explore the Imperial City of Fes

Tanneries in Fes
Tanneries in Fes

Meet your tour guide after breakfast to start your day of exploration in Fes' medina. This UNESCO-protected medina is full of arms-width alleyways and donkey-width roads. Your guide will share hidden stories and show you the secluded corners of the medina. You'll observe both the minutiae of daily life and the magnificence of Fes' madrasas (religious schools) and palaces. You'll also meet local artisans to learn about the history and importance of their trades and visit tanneries and mosaic workshops to observe traditional crafting methods still in use today.

In the afternoon, return to your riad and relax, then finish the day by bathing in an authentic Moroccan hammam (traditional bath). Learn about the history of the hammam, and enjoy a rejuvenating experience at one of Fes' most highly sought-after spa experiences. Most hammams provide various services, including massage, baths, and an extensive treatment menu using locally-sourced products like argan oil. 

Day 11: Tour a Winery in the Guerrouane Region

Grapes growing in a vineyard
Grapes growing in a vineyard

Enjoy a fun and decadent day trip out of the city today when you venture into Morocco's unique Guerrouane agricultural region, just beyond Fes. Spend the day learning about the region's crops, history, traditions, and flavors with a winery tour and private tasting. Since the Roman era, Moroccans have been cultivating and refining wine grapes for large-scale production. The winemaking tradition can be traced back to the region's Jewish communities and was later expanded by French settlers. Growers and vintners focus on red blends, rosé, vin gris (a variant of rosé made from red grapes), and local brandies called mahia (water of life).  

Guerrouane is Morocco's agricultural heartland, where good soil, rain, and sun combine to provide excellent conditions for orchard fruits like apricots, plums, and oranges, as well as the region's prized grapes. This hidden gem is also home to Morocco's only AOC wine—Coteaux de l'Atlas 1er Cru. After a fun and informative vineyard tour, sit down to an afternoon of tasting flights featuring various local styles of wine. Afterward, return to Fes for the night. Relax in the courtyard of your riad, and crack open your favorite bottle from the day's wine discovery. 

Day 12: Day Trip to Meknes and the Roman Ruins at Volubilis

Colorful houses and narrow streets in the Meknes medina
Colorful houses and narrow streets in the Meknes medina

Leave early for your day trip to Meknes, stopping at the Roman ruins in Volubilis. Although Meknes is just a one-hour drive from Fes, the two cities are vastly different. Meknes' medina is smaller and less busy, with shopkeepers who are much less pushy than in Fes. Tour the Ville Impériale and medina and the impressive Bab Mansour gate, the Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail, and the Royal Stables before stopping for lunch. 

Next, travel to Volubilis, passing through the town of Moulay Idriss along the way. At Volubilis, you'll have the chance to explore the best-preserved Roman ruins in Morocco. This UNESCO World Heritage Site includes large merchant homes with visible heating systems underneath, temples, and many colorful mosaics in good condition. Wander through the ruins, finding little moments for photos and memories. Once done exploring, head back to Fes for dinner and spend the rest of the night at your leisure.

Day 13: Travel from Fes to Marrakech

Fresh seafood at a market in Casablanca
Fresh seafood at a market in Casablanca

Depart from Fes and travel back through Rabat and Casablanca, stopping in the latter for lunch. Take advantage of your perch on the sea with some incredibly fresh fish from the Atlantic, prepared with traditional Moroccan flair. After lunch, get back on the road and travel across the plains to Marrakech, nicknamed the "Red City" for the vermillion-hued clay used to construct its buildings. Check into your riad, and spend the rest of the afternoon at a slower pace.

In the early evening, Marrakech's main square, Jemaa el-Fna, comes alive with musicians, performers, snake charmers, games, food stalls, and more. Jump into the spectacle and taste the delights from street vendors. Or, if you want to enjoy it from a distance, sit down at a café overlooking the square: you can watch the show over a wonderful meal. Whichever dining option you choose, you'll be treated to fantastic flavors, as Marrakech is regarded as Morocco's culinary capital. Enjoy!

Day 14: Marrakech Medina & City Tour

A fountain in the courtyard of the Bahia Palace in Marrakech
A fountain in the courtyard of the Bahia Palace in Marrakech

After breakfast, head off on a tour to explore the stunning old medina of Marrakech, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In Marrakech's vibrant souk, you'll see displays of djellabas (traditional robes), colorful babouches (slippers), intricate lanterns, exotic spices, and the hubbub of life in the spiderweb of alleys. Your guide will entertain you with history and stories of the medina, the souk, and the mellah (Jewish quarter), all contained within the city's rose-pink walls. Once the tour is finished, head to a local restaurant for lunch. 

In the afternoon, continue your private tour to explore more of the city. Visit the Bahia Palace, El Badi Palace, Majorelle Gardens, and Saadian Tombs. Most of the top chefs who work for the Moroccan royal family are from Marrakech, and this city has some of the best food in the country—especially the street food, which you surely shouldn't miss. 

Day 15: Half-Day Morning Medina Tour, Depart Marrakech

Dried flowers in a souk in Marrakech
Dried flowers in a Marrakech souk

Spend one last morning wandering through Marrakech on a half-day tour before transferring to Menara Airport for your departure after lunch. Bon voyage!

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Map

Map of Mediterranean Morocco: Tangier, Al Hoceima & Imperial Cities - 15 Days
Map of Mediterranean Morocco: Tangier, Al Hoceima & Imperial Cities - 15 Days