This 6-day itinerary offers a nice balance of historic and modern cities in northern Morocco. Start and end in urban Casablanca before exploring Rabat and the "blue city" of Chefchaouen in the Rif Mountains. Continue south to explore Meknes, the well-preserved Roman ruins at Volubilis, and the cultural capital of medieval Fes.

Highlights

  • Visit the Hassan II Mosque and the world's tallest minaret in Casablanca
  • Roam the idyllic blue alleyways of Chefchaouen
  • Explore the far reaches of the Roman empire at Volubilis
  • Get lost in the 1000-year old medieval streets of Fes

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive; Morning in Casablanca, afternoon in Rabat Rabat
Day 2 The Blue City of Chefchaouen Chefchaouen
Day 3 Roman ruins at Volubilis and imperial cities of Meknes and Fes Fes
Days 4-5 Fes: Exploring the Imperial City and medieval Medina Fes
Day 6 Casablanca; Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Morning in Casablanca, afternoon in Rabat

Walk around the impressive Hassan II Mosque
Walk around the impressive Hassan II Mosque

Welcome to Casablanca! If you only visit one place in the commercial capital of Morocco, make it the Hassan II Mosque. Sitting in a picturesque location on the ocean, its 690 feet (210 m) minaret is the tallest in the world. While the exterior and surrounding area are impressive, what makes this mosque even more unique is it is one of the few mosques in the country where non-Muslims are permitted to enter. Join a morning tour and marvel at the fine artisanship: hand-carved stone and wood, intricate marble floor detailing, and gilded ceilings.

Venture north to the imperial city (and present-day capital) of Rabat. Explore the medieval fortification of the Chellah Necropolis and wander the Roman and Islamic ruins. Enter through the grand door of the Kasbah des Oudaias into Rabat's old city center. From there, visit the 20th-century Andalusian Gardens and enjoy the serene space away from the crowds. Discover the Hassan Tower, a minaret of the incomplete mosque and Mausoleum of Mohamed V: a 12th-century project that was abandoned, leaving only the minaret and some 200 columns.

Day 2: Blue City of Chefchaouen

Chefchaouen, Morocco
Chefchaouen's blue-painted streets will leave you charmed

Head north to the striking blue city of Chefchaouen in the Rif Mountains. You can stop on the way for a 2.5-hour hike through forest and small pools to the Cascades d'Akchour (Waterfalls of Akchour)—a hidden gem. In the afternoon, unwind in charming Chefchaouen. Mostly untouched since the 15th century, Chefchaouen offers a relaxed atmosphere with some of the friendliest people in the country and is known for its blue-hued buildings in its historic medina (old quarter). Explore its narrow streets and alleyways which cling to the northern hillside of the mountains. 

Discover Plaza Outa el-Hammam, the main square named for the number of hammams (public baths) which used to encircle it. Find a restaurant or café for a bite to eat, before browsing the many shops offering traditional wares. Visit the Grand Mosque and kasbah (old fortress or fortification) and tour the kasbah's garden, museum, and even some of its old prison cells. As the evening approaches, ascend the path leading to the abandoned white Spanish Mosque (20 to 30 minutes) to enjoy one last view over Chefchaouen as the sun sets behind the mountains.

Day 3: Roman ruins at Volubilis and Imperial cities of Meknes and Fes

Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail, Fes, Morocco
Meknes' Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail

Rise early to snap photos of the empty streets before leaving for Fes. Stop along the way at the UNESCO protected Volubilis ruins—the Roman empire's farthest reach in Africa. Wander the complex, exploring merchant homes with still-intact heating systems, temples, and many mosaics in situ. Continue on to Meknes for an introduction to your second historic imperial city. The two main points of interest are the Ville Impériale (Imperial City) and the medina. Be sure to visit the Bab al-Mansour gate, the Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail, and the Royal Stables.

Continue east to your third imperial city, Fes. With its impressively large medina, Fes is a city worth getting lost in.  Before venturing into the medina, drive up the hill to take the time to visit the Merenid Tombs located just north of the city and enjoy the all-encompassing view of historic Fes and the surrounding area. Descend the hill and find your way to your riad (a traditional Moroccan house with an interior garden) where you can enjoy a delicious meal and relax for the evening.

Days 4: Exploring Fes

Merenid Tombs, Fes, Morocco
The Merenid Tombs and Fes in the background

The oldest of the imperial cities in Morocco, and perhaps the most interesting and exciting to explore, Fes has undergone little colonial development adding to its medieval appeal. The most complete medina in the Arab world and a UNESCO World Heritage site, Fes is made up of three main points of interest: Fes el Bali (old Fes, the medina, and where you will spend most of your time), Fes el Jdid ('new' Fes), and the French-influenced Ville Nouvelle. Meet your guide to learn more about the history and culture of Fes, and most importantly, to help you navigate the medina.

Begin your tour in Fes el Bali, starting at the Bab Boujeloud gate welcoming you onto Talâa Kebira. Discover the wares for sale in the souks (markets) and shops as you pass the Spanish and Tunisian influenced architecture. One of the most unique sights in the old Medina is the tanneries and ChouaraTannery is no exception. Next, climb to the rooftop of a nearby leather shop for a better view of the 11th-century stone pots filled with dye and men working. Follow your guide to Al-Qarawiyyin Library and Mosque (859 CE). If you're lucky, you may be able to sneak a peek inside.

Day 5: Exploring Fes

Old medina in Fes, Morocco
Explore the old medina in Fes

Today, visit the Batha Museum. Housed in a 19th-century palace, the Museum is home to a collection of traditional Moroccan arts and crafts, including carved wood, zellij (mosaic tilework), and local pottery (its highlight). Spend time in the Andalusian-style gardens before walking to the Mellah (old Jewish quarter and cemetery). Take advantage of its location for a stunning panoramic photo of the city. Continue south to Ville Nouvelle and discover the dramatic change in architecture. 

Tour a ceramics and tile collective to learn how local artisans make wares, from shaping the clay to painting the designs. As well as watch the tile masters at work: fitting together small pieces of tile to form intricate mosaics. Return toward Fes el Bali, stopping along the way in Jnan Sbil (Bou Jeloud Gardens)—a halfway point between the Mellah and Bab Boujeloud. Spend some time relaxing in the gardens' grandeur and cool off in the central fountains or beside the lake.

Day 6: Return to Casablanca

Hassan II Mosque detail, Casablanca, Morocco
Hassan II Mosque detail

Rise early to shop for any last minute souvenirs before transferring to Casablanca. Depending on your departure details, you may wish to stroll along the Boulevard de la Corniche to Rick's Café, a bar, restaurant, and café influenced by the movie classic Casablanca before your return flight home.

Map

Map of Moroccan Cities of the North - 6 Days
Map of Moroccan Cities of the North - 6 Days