A visit to Morocco in summer offers plenty of opportunities for sunbathing on beaches, exploring windswept deserts, and relaxing in shaded gardens. On this laid-back, nine-day trip, you'll see some of Marrakech's most scenic sights, enjoy an easy hike in the Atlas mountains, ride a camel through the Agafay Desert, and cool off in coastal Essaouira—making for the perfect summer break.


  • Wander through the medina of the "Red City" of Marrakech
  • Meet a local Berber family in the Atlas Mountains
  • Stay in an outdoor camp in the Agafay Stone Desert
  • Learn how argan oil is made as you travel to Essaouira

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Marrakech Marrakech
Day 2 Guided Private Tour of Marrakech, Majorelle Gardens Self-Guided Visit Marrakech
Day 3 Free Day in Marrakech with Optional Activities Marrakech
Day 4 Transfer to Imlil, Mountain Hike & Lunch with a Local Family Imlil
Day 5 Transfer to Agafay Desert via Ourika Valley & Desert Camel Riding Agafay
Day 6 Transfer to Essaouira, Goats in Trees & Argan Oil Women's Cooperative Essaouira
Day 7 Guided Sightseeing in Essaouira Essaouira
Day 8 Free Time in Essaouira with Optional Activities Essaouira
Day 9 Transfer to Marrakech & Depart   

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Marrakech

Enjoy a glass of mint tea at your riad
Enjoy a glass of mint tea at your riad

Welcome to Morocco! Meet your driver at Marrakech's Menara Airport, then head to your riad (traditional guesthouse) in the city center. You'll be staying in Marrakech's medina (old town), a historic area filled with winding alleyways and bustling markets.

Typically, all rooms in a Moroccan riad are decorated differently. These stately homes are built around a shaded courtyard and often feature architectural elements such as scalloped archways, fountains, and zellige tiles. Upon arrival at your riad, enjoy a glass of mint tea in the courtyard or on the rooftop terrace and rest up for a busy day of sightseeing tomorrow.

Day 2: Guided Private Tour of Marrakech, Majorelle Gardens Self-Guided Visit

Koutoubia Mosque and Gardens
Koutoubia Mosque and Gardens

Marrakech is Morocco's second-largest metropolis and is known as the "Red City," thanks to the natural red pigment in its walls. Explore the city's vibrant sights, sounds, and smells as you wander through the bustling center on a guided tour. You'll visit sites like the Bahia Palace and Koutoubia Mosque, explore souks (markets) and hidden fondouks (historic inns which once hosted travelers and merchants), and see Jemaa el-Fna, the city's main square. 

Later, enjoy a self-guided visit to the Majorelle Gardens, a botanical garden and museum complex that offers a refreshing reprieve from the heat of sunny Marrakech. This space dates back to the 1920s when French artist Jacques Majorelle planted the garden and painted the surrounding buildings a brilliant shade of blue. Later, fashion designer Yves Saint-Laurent restored the gardens to their current splendid state. After your visit, return to Jemaa el-Fna for dinner on your own, or see more of the medina on a private food tour. 

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Day 3: Free Day in Marrakech with Optional Activities

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

Spend your third day in Marrakech getting to know the city on your own, or enjoy some guided activities of your choosing. If you'd like, you can start your morning with a hot air balloon ride, where you'll have the chance to watch the sunrise over the desert surrounding Marrakech. The pastel colors, soft lighting, and crisp early-morning air create a tranquil experience very different from the typical hustle and bustle of the city. After the sunrise, relax with breakfast and a Moroccan pastry in the air.

In the afternoon, you can take part in a three-hour cooking class, where you'll learn to prepare some of the country's most iconic foods. With a small group of two to four people, you'll bake bread and prepare a tasty starter, main course, and dessert. Once the food is ready, savor your creations with a good bottle of Moroccan wine. You could also cap off your day with a visit to a relaxing hammam (traditional bathhouse and spa), where you'll enjoy a calming wash and scrub with Moroccan black soap, as well as an argan oil massage. 

Day 4: Transfer to Imlil, Mountain Hike & Lunch with a Local Family

Views of the High Atlas Mountains
Views of the High Atlas mountains

Today you'll enjoy a comfortable private transfer from Marrakech to your accommodation in Imlil in the High Atlas mountains. After an early departure, drive through a picturesque valley known for its lush meadows and beautiful green gardens. Even in the winter months, you can catch glimpses of several varieties of plants, shrubs, and trees. Then, make a stop in the city of Asni. Although it's home to only 20,000 inhabitants, Asni plays an important role for the regional residents. Every Saturday, the city holds a weekly souk for those who need to exchange goods and stock up on food.

Next, drive between the hills of the Atlas Mountains and the Moulay Brahim Gorge, taking in the stunning scenery around you. Your next stop is Imlil in the heart of Toubkal National Park. Upon arrival, enjoy a glass of mint tea with your guide before starting your easy hike to Armed, the highest and largest settlement in Imlil Valley. Armed is a traditional Berber village with authentic farming techniques and building structures. Spend some time with a Berber family as you hike down through the village of Ait Souka and enjoy a traditional Moroccan meal in their home. 

Day 5: Transfer to Agafay Desert via Ourika Valley & Desert Camel Riding

Dromedaries in the Agafay Desert
Dromedaries in the Agafay Desert

Set off from Imlil and transfer to your accommodation in the Agafay Desert near Marrakech. This journey takes about two hours. Along the way, discover the natural beauty of Morocco's High Atlas mountains and the region's scenic valleys. First, pass through Ourika Valley, known for its famous waterfalls. Enjoy an easy 1.5-hour walk to the waterfalls with the help of an experienced mountain guide. Next, visit with the Berber women who work to extract oil from the argan nut. Your driver will follow a secluded mountain road that weaves through traditional Berber villages built from adobe and stones.

Discover the authentic life of Berber people and enjoy a delicious lunch in a typical Berber home with an amazing view over Sidi Fares Valley. Then, before heading to the Agafay Desert, visit the Asni Valley, which is famous for its apple, walnut, almond, and peach trees. Gaze over snowy summits as you take in the beauty of the Tahnaout Valley. After settling into your desert camp, enjoy a welcome tea and camel ride through the arid plateau. You'll experience complete serenity and a beautiful sunset far away from the busy city. Return in time for dinner and a campfire under the stars.

Day 6: Transfer to Essaouira, Goats in Trees & Argan Oil Women's Cooperative

Goats on Argan trees in Morocco
Goats in argan trees in Morocco

Wake up to catch the sunrise and head back to your camp for breakfast before hitting the road and making your way to Essaouira, a journey of about three hours. En route, you'll catch a glimpse of goats hanging out on the branches of argan trees, nibbling on some argan fruit. Many animals wouldn't bother trying to climb this prickly, thorny tree, but these goats are willing to risk it for the sake of a tasty snack. The highlight of this journey is the stop at a women's cooperative for a guided tour of the argan oil production circuit.

After settling into your accommodation in Essaouira, spend some time exploring this quaint city, which offers a peaceful contrast to frenetic Marrakech. Peruse the medina and shop for traditional products in the souks, relax in central Moulay El Hassan Square, watch fishermen at work at the city's historic port, explore the Rabbi Haim Pinto Synagogue and Jewish Quarter, or soak up the sun at Essaouira Beach—the choice is yours. 

Day 7: Guided Sightseeing in Essaouira

Sunset along the old city walls and ramparts
Sunset along the old city walls and ramparts

Explore the charming city of Essaouira with the help of a private tour guide. Learn about Essaouira's long history of different influences, including Indigenous Berbers, Phoenicians, Romans, and Portuguese, who built its fortress and ramparts in 1506. You can also take this opportunity to stop at the Spice Souk, the place to go for herbal medicine, Berber lipstick, exotic spices, and ghassoul (clay used in face masks). After wandering through the city's central plazas and historic neighborhoods, your guide will leave you at the long and sandy Essaouira Beach. 

Later in the day, you can enjoy an optional private kitesurfing lesson. The windy coast of Essaouira attracts kitesurfers, windsurfers, and wave surfers from around the world. Your guide will take you to one of the best surf spots near Essaouira, Sidi Kaouki Beach. Learn a few basic techniques and how to hold, maneuver, and guide the kite, then take some free time to practice and improve your skills independently. 

Day 8: Free Time in Essaouira with Optional Activities

Essaouira's fortress and ramparts
Essaouira's fortress and ramparts

Spend today discovering Essaouira at your leisure. If you'd like, walk the Skala de la Kasbah (the 18th-century seafront ramparts) along the coast. Old brass cannons line the walls and offer viewing access over the Atlantic. Then, return to the medina before making your way to the windswept beach. Later, enjoy a lunch of fresh-caught seafood.

If you'd like to do some guided activities, there are several interesting options for you to try. You could discover Essaouira's incredible and flavorful cuisine with a cooking class at a traditional riad. Together with a local chef and culinary enthusiast, you'll learn how to prepare one of the most popular and authentic dishes in Morocco: tajine. Another option is to embrace the tranquility of Essaouira with a serene horseback riding excursion on the beach. As you gallop along, you'll leave the bustling tourist area behind and discover the beach's lesser-known areas. 

Day 9: Transfer to Marrakech & Depart 

Say goodbye to beautiful Essaouira
Say goodbye to beautiful Essaouira

After checking out of your hotel, enjoy a comfortable private transfer from Essaouira to Marrakech Menara Airport (RAK), which takes about three hours. Depending on your flight time, you can opt to spend a final relaxing morning in Essaouira. Your driver will ensure that you arrive at the airport in plenty of time for your flight. Have a safe and pleasant trip home or to your next destination!

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 Morocco Summer Adventure: Marrakech, Atlas Mountains, Desert Glamping & the Coast - 9 Days
Map of Morocco Summer Adventure: Marrakech, Atlas Mountains, Desert Glamping & the Coast - 9 Days