- Explore the mythical magic of the Caves of Hercules
- Shop the souks in the blue city of Chefchaouen
- Sleep under the desert stars in traditional Bedouin tents
- Hike the panoramic vistas of Toubkal National Park
|Day 1||Arrive in Tangier, Visit the Caves of Hercules||Tangier|
|Day 2||Transfer to the Blue City of Chefchaouen||Chefchaouen|
|Day 3||Transfer to Fes via the Roman Ruins of Volubilis & Meknes||Fes|
|Day 4||Guided Tour of Fes Medina, Ramadan Meal with a Moroccan Family||Fes|
|Day 5||Transfer to Merzouga, Bedouin Experience & Camel Rides||Merzouga|
|Day 6||4WD Dunes Tour & Tea with Nomads, ATV Adventure||Merzouga|
|Day 7||Transfer to the Dadès Valley||Boumalne Dadès|
|Day 8||Dadès Valley Hike & Lunch, Rosewater Workshop & Rose Festival||Boumalne Dadès|
|Day 9||Transfer to the Imlil Valley||Imlil|
|Day 10||Hike Toubkal National Park, Berber Cuisine with Locals||Imlil|
|Day 11||Transfer to Marrakech||Marrakesh|
|Day 12||Guided City Tour of Marrakesh, Private Food Tour||Marrakesh|
|Day 13||Depart Marrakesh|
Day 1: Arrive in Tangier, Visit the Caves of Hercules
Welcome to Tangier! Your local driver and guide will collect you from the airport and transfer you to your riad (traditional Moroccan house), where you'll enjoy a welcome tea and have some free time to relax. Once you've had a moment to regroup, you can start your Moroccan adventure with a self-guided tour of the city. Considered the gateway between Europe and Africa, Tangier stretches along the Maghreb coast at the western entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar. You'll find a unique blend of cultures here, with multiple influences shaping the city over the centuries.
Start in the medina (old town) with its labyrinth of alleyways. Stroll Petit Socco Square, known for its markets, craft shops, and cafés, or for incredible views of the city, visit the cannons at Faro Square and see the medina, harbor, and Bay of Tangier. Then, head to the 15th-century Portuguese Tangier Kasbah. You'll pass through the historical gate of Bab Haha and enter Place du Mechouar. Later, join the locals for a paseo (stroll) along the palm-lined seafront promenade, Corniche de Tanger.
Day 2: Transfer to the Blue City of Chefchaouen
Today, transfer from Tangier to Chefchaouen. The 2.5-hour drive takes you through small towns, flat plains, and hills blanketed in springtime green before eventually heading into the rugged landscape of the Rif Mountains. After arriving and settling into your accommodations, it's time to explore! Nicknamed "the Blue City" for its many blue-washed alleyways and corridors, Chefchaouen was founded in 1471 as a stronghold against the Portuguese. The town expanded with the arrival of refugees from Granada, who subsequently built the Spanish-style homes and architecture that gives the city its distinctive Spanish flavor.
Head to the old medina and its red-tiled roofs, bright-blue buildings, and narrow lanes, converging on Plaza Uta el-Hammam and its restored kasbah. You can peruse the nearby souks (markets) or head to the Grand Mosque and Kasbah. Although non-Muslims can't enter the mosque, anyone can admire its structure and tour the gardens, museums, and old prison cells of the kasbah.
Wander through the colorful, winding streets of the Quartier Al Andalous, then end the day at Ras el Ma Spring, the town's primary water source, where some families still wash their clothes in the river. Take a break at one of the quaint riverside cafés for a traditional cup of tea, then make your way past the walls and historic gates to the Hotel Atlas for sweeping views across the city. If you have the time, continue up the path for another 30 minutes to enjoy the sunset from the Spanish Mosque.
Day 3: Transfer to Fes via the Roman Ruins of Volubilis & Meknes
After saying farewell to Chefchaouen, take your private transfer to Fes. The 4.5-hour drive skirts the scenic Rif Mountains, and your first stop will be at Volubilis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site containing Morocco's best-preserved Roman ruins. Tour the massive complex and see large merchant homes with visible heating systems, temples, and many colorful mosaics. This town was once part of the Roman Empire, with the Romans ruling for nearly 200 years.
You'll then travel to Meknes, the imperial city of Moulay Ismail. Under the sultan's reign, Meknes grew from a small town to a magnificent capital. Enjoy strolling the medina, and visit the Marinid-era architecture at the 14th-century Medersa Bou Inania, as well as the impressive 19th-century palace of Dar Jamaï. In the Ville Impériale area, explore gardens, palaces, the gate of Bab al-Mansour, the Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail, and the Royal Stables. Your final stop is Fes. Before settling into your accommodations, take a drive up to the Marinid Tombs for a lovely panorama of the old city.
Day 4: Guided Tour of Fes Medina, Ramadan Meal with a Moroccan Family
Discover the vibrant medina of Fes, the cultural capital of Morocco. Your private guide will meet you in the morning and lead you through the twisting maze of cobbled streets as you pass markets, shops, mosques, and more. Fes is the oldest and longest-running imperial city in Morocco, with a fascinating mix of sights to see. Start by passing through the Blue Gate (Bab Boujloud), a Moorish gate with three arches, and the old town's main entrance, walking into the bustling souks. Here, you'll find unique, hand-crafted goods such as bright rugs, jewelry, leather goods, and of course, huge towers of spices.
Make a visit to Chouara Tannery, with its large assortment of leather dyes and centuries-old techniques, then head to the ninth-century Al-Qarawiyyin Mosque and University, the world's oldest continuously operating university. You'll also stop at either Bou Inania Madrasa or Al Attarine Madrasa, two 14th-century schools featuring beautiful Marinid and Moroccan architecture. Visit the Mellah (Jewish district) and the Royal Palace of Fes, or check out a museum, like the Borj Nord, with its collection of weapons and armor from several eras and incredible rooftop views.
If you are in Morocco during the month of Ramadan, you won't want to miss the opportunity to participate in an Iftar, a traditional Moroccan breakfast that takes place after a day of fasting. There are many restaurants that offer an Iftar experience, but for something more personal, you can prepare Iftar with a local Moroccan family. Learn how to create this special meal and about the dishes served during Iftar, which include breads, fruits, harira soup, tajines, and dates. At the breaking of the fast, you'll sit down to eat with the family while learning about Ramadan traditions and beliefs.
Day 5: Transfer to Merzouga, Bedouin Experience & Camel Rides
It's an early start this morning, with your driver taking you from Fes to your Bedouin experience in Merzouga. This eight-hour drive will take you over the Col du Zad Pass and through various desert communities of the Sahara, twisting through the cedar forests of the Atlas mountains (and possible sightings of monkeys). You'll make a stop for lunch in the town of Midelt, known as the "Apple City" thanks to the nearby Moulouya River and its surrounding fruit orchards, before continuing over the Tizi n'Talrhemt Pass and into the Ziz Valley.
Make a stop in Erfoud, a bustling market town known for its annual Date Festival, fossil mining, and artisan factories. You'll see views of the hillside mines and visit a local artisan collective to learn about the area's fossils. As you make your way toward Merzouga, you'll spot the waves of Erg Chebbi in the distance—an extensive set of sand dunes covering almost 14 square miles (35 sq km), with some peaks rising over 650 feet (200 m). The color and shape change depending on the time of day and the wind, with particularly spectacular views just before sunset.Upon arrival near Merzouga, enjoy a short break as you prepare for a camel ride through the dunes, reaching your luxury camp in the early evening. After settling into your tent, climb up the nearest dune to watch the sunset display its color show across the sands. Head back to camp for dinner and a night by the campfire, enjoying traditional Berber music from the locals. Before climbing into bed, savor the stars strewn across the unhindered night sky.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 6: 4WD Dunes Tour & Tea with Nomads, ATV Adventure
Continue your exploration of Erg Chebbi today with a 4WD tour of the area. Your guide will take you to visit the Gnawa House in the village of Khamleya to explore the spiritual healing music. Traditionally practiced throughout Morocco and originating from the sub-Saharan region, Gnaoua or Gnawa music is spiritual at its roots, although popular maâlems (master musicians) are making the music quite mainstream. Have tea with locals before heading back to your tent.
If you want to add a little excitement to your desert stay, you can also hit the dunes on an ATV/quad adventure. With the help of a local guide, you'll zip through the sandy peaks and visit stunning viewpoints and panoramic vistas of the shifting dunes. Small four-wheel vehicles are an excellent way to discover Merzouga's extraordinary environment, allowing you to immerse yourself in the various wild landscapes and an atmosphere of total silence for an unforgettable experience.
Day 7: Transfer to the Dadès Valley
It's time to head to your next destination, the town of Boumalne Dadès. You'll make a few stops during the 4.5-hour drive, including the village of Rissani, where you'll spend some time observing the donkey "parking lot" and walking around the town's popular market. Shoppers can browse nearby Maison Tuareg, a storehouse filled with traditional arts and crafts, including carpets, jewelry, leather goods, and more.
Continue to the desert town of Tinghir to find fantastic views of neighboring villages along an extensive river oasis that features 30 miles (48 km) of palm trees. Don't miss the ancient and colorful Jewish quarter of Ali Ait el Haj for a glimpse into Morocco's rich Jewish history. Your next stop is the Todra Gorge at 984 feet (300 m) high, where you can take an easy walk through the gorge or relax in the cool shallow water. As you pass through the Valley of a Thousand Kasbahs, be on the lookout for nomads tending their animals.
You'll then enter the Dadès Valley, where cultivated farmland plots border rose bushes used to make rose water and rose oil. On the roadside, you may even see vendors selling various crafts made from flowers. Your final stop is your accommodation in Boumalne Dadès, which welcomes you to a lush stretch along the Dadès River. You'll be able to relax here for the evening before exploring the valley further tomorrow.
Day 8: Dadès Valley Hike & Lunch, Rosewater Workshop & Rose Festival
Immerse yourself in culture today with a walking tour that includes a visit to an authentic Berber village to talk to locals and learn about the regional traditions and way of life. Your local guide will lead you through the area on an easy four-hour walk, stopping in a few different villages. You'll hear stories straight from the locals about regional history, observe traditional farming techniques, enjoy live entertainment, and more. You can also join a family for lunch in their traditional house, which ends with a tea ceremony before your return to Boumalne Dadès.
If you'd like to learn more about the area's rosewater and rose oil industry, you can visit a nearby cooperative for a rosewater demonstration and workshop. Rose oil and rosewater from this region have been sold to perfumeries around the world for centuries. You'll learn more about this seasonal activity, where women of the cooperative pick buds and petals weighed down by the dew, transporting their harvest to the farm in large sheets that they carry on their backs. Pick some rose petals yourself, watch the distilling process, and get your own bottle of rosewater to take home.
Springtime in the Dadès Valley also brings the annual Rose Festival, which takes place in the nearby town of Kelâat M'Gouna after the harvest. The three-day celebration has stalls selling flower-related wares, including perfumes, cosmetics, and food items. Thousands of Moroccan tourists from larger cities attend, and you can enjoy traditional song and dance as they parade through the streets. The festival includes the selection and crowning of the "Miss of Roses," with a professional on flower-decked floats, and don't be surprised if you get sprayed with rosewater along the way!
Day 9: Transfer to the Imlil Valley
Today you'll transfer from Boumalne Dadès to your accommodation in the village of Imlil. During the approximately six-hour drive, your driver will stop at a few cultural spots, and you can savor the vast and extensive views across a unique landscape. Enjoy the desert plains, high mountains, and endless plateaus.You'll take a break in the picturesque town of Ouarzazate, which has gained popularity thanks to the film industry. You have the option to tour a movie studio or visit the Musée du Cinema. Learn about films and television shows produced in the surrounding region, such as "Black Hawk Down," "Prometheus," and "Game of Thrones." Ouarzazate also has an important Mellah (Jewish quarter) close to the souks and kasbahs.
Your next stop is the medieval Aït Benhaddou Kasbah, Morocco's most famous kasbah and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The old ksour dates back to the 11th century when it held an important position along the trans-Saharan trade route. Explore the old town's alleys and passageways, or climb up to the old granary for incredible views. From here, you can see the kasbah, its surrounding areas, and historic camel caravan routes. You'll arrive in the village of Imlil in the early evening, and you can check in at your riad and have dinner there.
Day 10: Hike Toubkal National Park, Berber Cuisine with LocalsHead to Toubkal National Park today and discover the incredible scenery of the Atlas mountains and Mount Toubkal, which stands at 13,671 feet (4,167 m). Your private guide will take you on a three to four-hour hike within the Imlil Valley, sharing the area's history as you pass scenic forests, streams, and mountain views. The hike will also take you through a couple of traditional Berber villages, where you can sit with the locals and hear their stories.
Day 11: Transfer to Marrakesh
You're back on the road today for the 5.5-hour drive to Marrakesh. Leaving Boumalne Dadès, you'll pass the fragrant rose fields of Kelaat M'gouna, then continue along the Atlas mountains and to the town of Taddert, where you can stop at an oil cooperative to learn how olives are processed for a variety of uses. Taste a few products, then get back on the road—leaving the tranquility of the mountains and desert to enter the hustle and bustle of vibrant Marrakesh.
After you check in at your Marrakesh hotel, you'll have time to relax, or you can venture out into the city. Marrakesh is Morocco's second-largest metropolis, nicknamed the "Red City" thanks to the natural red pigment in its walls. It's a high-energy place with an explosion of colorful sights, sounds, and smells at every turn. You can walk through Jemaa el-Fna Square, where you'll find food stalls, souvenirs, and other local wares, or walk another 10 minutes or so and see the historic ruins of El Badi Palace, once the home of sultan Ahmed el-Mansour, and now mostly inhabited by wild storks!
Conclude your busy day with a visit to the botanical gardens of Jardin Majorelle. Conceived by the French painter Jacques Majorelle, this walled sanctuary features exotic flowers from all over the world, planted amid quiet waterways and beautiful Art Deco and Moorish-styled buildings.
Day 12: Guided City Tour of Marrakesh, Private Food Tour
Today's guided tour begins with a visit to the beautiful courtyard and gardens of the 19th-century Bahia Palace and Koutoubia Mosque. Afterward, pass through the medina's historic gates and meander through twisting alleyways to find souks and hidden fondouks (historic inns which once hosted travelers and merchants). Later, you'll head to Jemaa el-Fna Square for some street food and live entertainment.
From here, your guide will take you to a few of the best souks. You'll find the famed spice towers at Souk el Attarine and traditional Moroccan slippers at Souk Smata. And don't miss the Souk des Teinturiers, where you can watch locals dyeing and hanging cloth and yarn. Although it can be fun to barter, your guide will also be happy to help you make a purchase. Later, you can head to Jemaa el-Fna Square for some street food and live entertainment or choose from one of the many rooftop cafés above the square for quieter dining.If you're a foodie on the hunt for the culinary delights of Moroccan cuisine, take a private food tour through the medina. Filled with picturesque alleyways and squares, Marrakesh is the perfect city to get lost in as you follow your nose and taste buds from one snack to the next. You'll be guided to some of the city's beloved local hot spots, tasting traditional delicacies that range from sweet to savory. Along the way, learn about the country's essential ingredients, cooking techniques, culinary culture, and how these influences inspire the work of local chefs as they produce their dishes.
Day 13: Depart MarrakeshIt's time to wave goodbye to Morrocco. You'll take a private transfer from your Marrakesh accommodation to the airport. Have a safe and comfortable journey home or to your next destination!
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