- Explore Morocco's Portuguese history at Tangier's famous Kasbah
- Walk the blue-washed streets of picturesque Chefchaouen
- Swim in the quiet green pools of Akchour Waterfall
- Surf across the ever-shifting desert dunes near Essaouira
|Day 1||Arrive in Casablanca, Transfer to Tangier||Tangier|
|Day 2||Self-Guided Tour of Tangier||Tangier|
|Day 3||Transfer to Chefchaouen, Guided Tour of the "Blue City"||Chefchaouen|
|Day 4||Day Trip to Akchour Waterfall||Chefchaouen|
|Day 5||Transfer to Fes via the Roman Ruins of Volubilis & Meknes||Fes|
|Day 6||Guided Tour of Fes||Fes|
|Day 7||Transfer to Marrakech||Marrakech|
|Day 8||Guided Tour of Marrakech & Majorelle Gardens||Marrakech|
|Day 9||Transfer to Essaouira, Argan Oil Women's Cooperative||Essaouira|
|Day 10||Guided Tour of Essaouira, Afternoon Kitesurfing||Essaouira|
|Day 11||Sand Surfing & Horseback Riding||Essaouira|
|Day 12||Transfer to Marrakech & Depart|
Day 1: Arrive in Casablanca, Transfer to Tangier
Your Morocco adventure begins here! Upon your arrival in Casablanca, your private driver will transport you to Tangier, a drive of approximately four hours. Prior to heading to Tangier, however, you may want to visit one of Casablanca's must-see sights, the Hassan II Mosque. The largest mosque in Morocco and second-largest globally, the complex includes a museum, baths, a Koranic school, a library, and a prayer room that holds 25,000 people. This mosque is unusual because non-Muslims can enter, which isn't common in Morocco.
Once you've gotten to Tangier and settled in at your accommodations, you'll have time to relax and enjoy a quiet dinner or head out and explore the city a bit. Stretching along the Maghreb coast at the western entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar, Tangier offers a striking blend of cultures. Several influences have shaped the city for centuries, attracting artists, spies, and eccentric foreigners.
Start with a stroll through the medina (old town), exploring its labyrinth of commercial and residential alleyways. Then, wander around Petit Socco Square, known for its buzzy markets, craft shops, and cafés. This is a great place to grab a bite to eat or people-watch. Close your first day in Morroco with a visit to the cannons at Faro Square, where you'll see views of the harbor and the Bay of Tangier.
Day 2: Self-Guided Tour of Tangier
Today, you'll have the opportunity to see more of Tangier and all it has to offer. While not always a tourist hub, the city has undergone a recent makeover, and its new marina area (a nice place for a quick walk) and the refreshed old quarter now attract visitors from worldwide. Depending on your personal preferences, there's plenty to see and do here.
Begin at the 15th-century Portuguese Tangier Kasbah (fortified castle), which is small and compact enough for a self-guided walk. You'll pass through Bab Haha (a historic gate with sea views) and enter Place du Mechouar. Continue with a stroll along the shopping street of Rue de la Liberté all the way to the Place de France, where you'll find the famous Grand Café de Paris and the Hotel El Minzah. Later, join the locals for a paseo (stroll) along the palm-lined seafront promenade, Corniche de Tanger.
If you'd like to explore outside the city, visit Cap Spartel and the Caves of Hercules. Located just 9 miles (14 km) from the city center in the region of Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceïma, these caves were thought to be dug in the Neolithic period. Mythology has it that Hercules retired there once his exploits were accomplished and that he created the Strait of Gibraltar by moving the mountains around. Inside the caves, you'll find the main corridor that leads to several separate rooms. There are openings cut into the walls that allow peeks of the ocean, and one opening resembles a map of Africa.
Day 3: Transfer to Chefchaouen, Guided Tour of the "Blue City"
Your driver will transfer you from Tangier to Chefchaouen today, a 2.5-hour drive that goes through small towns, flat plains, and green hills before eventually heading into the rugged landscape of the Rif Mountains. After arriving and checking in at your accommodation, it's time to explore! Nicknamed the "Blue City" for its azure 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 a distinctive Spanish flavor.
Take a guided tour to learn more, starting in the old medina, where you'll see red-tiled roofs, bright-blue buildings, and narrow lanes, all converging on Plaza Uta el-Hammam. 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 visit the exterior sights. Enjoy walking through a garden, museum, and some of the old prison cells used during Spanish rule. Then, get an amazing view of Chefchaoeun from the roof.
Wander through the colorful, winding streets of the Quartier Al Andalous, ending 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 4: Day Trip to Akchour Waterfall
Step outside the city and discover the enchanting beauty of Akchour Waterfall, a scenic cascade near Chefchaouen. After an early breakfast, you'll meet your local guide for a fun day exploring nature. A quick 45-minute drive takes you to the trailhead, and the hike takes a total of about four hours.
Walk along an easy and well-marked trail, following your guide as you trek through the dense forests of the Rif Mountains, sharing information about the region. The area is home to the Barbary macaque species of monkey, so keep an eye out for these curious characters. After arriving at the cascades, you're free to enjoy the scenery, take photos, or swim in the refreshing pools. Later, return to the city for a final evening. You can go back to the medina and visit the souks for some more souvenir shopping, grab dinner at a nearby café, or just relax at your riad (traditional Moroccan townhouse) for the night.
Day 5: Transfer to Fes via the Roman Ruins of Volubilis & Meknes
After saying farewell to the Blue City, sit back and enjoy a private transfer to Fes. The 4.5-hour drive goes along 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.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 6: Guided Tour of Fes Medina
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 Jewish district of Mellah 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.
Stop in at a local restaurant to sample some Moroccan cuisine before returning to your riad for the night, or if you'd like to go the extra mile and truly immerse yourself in the local gastronomy, join a local family for dinner in the medina. This is an incredibly unique opportunity and one that not many visitors get to experience. You'll learn the history of various cuisines, recipes, and ingredients from the direct source as you chat and mingle with a joyful Moroccan family. This is an excellent way to understand Moroccan culture, and the family's hospitality and generosity will, without a doubt, touch you.
Day 7: Transfer to Marrakech
This morning, transfer from Fes to the bustling city of Marrakech, a drive of just over five hours. After arriving and settling into your riad, feel free to venture out into the city. Marrakech is Morocco's second-largest metropolis, nicknamed the "Red City" thanks to the natural red pigment on its walls. It's a high-energy place with an explosion of colorful sights, sounds, and smells at every turn.
Wander through the main square of Jemaa el-Fna, 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! You can also stroll the grounds of the lovely Koutoubia Mosque, the largest mosque in the city. Later, relax in your accommodations for the evening in preparation for another full day tomorrow!
Day 8: Guided Tour of Marrakech & Majorelle Gardens
This guided tour begins with a visit to the beautiful gardens of Bahia Palace, followed by a walk through twisting alleyways to find souks and hidden fondouks (historic inns which once hosted travelers and merchants). See 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 cloth and yarn. Later, escape the hustle and bustle of the city with a tour of Majorelle Gardens. Here, you'll find over 300 species of flora from five different continents and a quiet afternoon reprieve.
The foodies in your group will love the option of taking a private food tour through the medina. On this culinary journey to some of the city's beloved local hot spots, you'll taste traditional delicacies that range from Morocco's distinctive sweets to an authentic and savory tajine (stew cooked in a clay pot). Along the way, learn about the country's essential ingredients, cooking techniques, and culinary culture. Together, these influences inspire the work of local chefs as they produce flavorful dishes.
If downtime is what you're after, slow your pace with a relaxing spa experience at a Moroccan hammam (bathhouse). Visitors partake in a steam session followed by a scrub, which is based on historical Roman bath practices. Hammams typically include three steam rooms with different temperatures. You'll start in the hottest room and work your way down, all of which is followed by a wash and scrub with traditional eucalyptus soap and a kessa glove. Finish with a rinse of cool water, then enjoy a relaxing massage using argan and essential oils to soothe and soften the skin.
Day 9: Transfer to Essaouira, Argan Oil Women's Cooperative
Say goodbye to the Red City and travel to Essaouira today, a 2.5-hour drive that takes you over vast rolling plains and into an unusual forest, the only ecosystem where argan trees grow and produce the popular fruits. You're also likely to catch a glimpse of something unexpected: goats in the trees! Goats love the fruit of the argan trees and will actually climb up into the thorny branches to pursue this tasty treat. Your driver will make a stop at a cooperative where local women make argan oil, known for its health and beauty benefits. See the ins and outs of the production process and maybe pick up a sample.
After arriving in laid-back Essaouira, a nice contrast to frenetic Marrakech, the rest of the day is free. Essaouira is known for its beautiful beaches and surf culture, and you can explore stretches of coast such as Plage Tagharte, located directly in the city, or Cap Sim, with its crashing waves and sparkling waters. Walk along the Skala de la Kasbah, the 18th-century seafront ramparts. Designed by European engineers, old brass cannons line the walls and offer views over the Atlantic. Explore the UNESCO-listed medina before making your way back to Essaouira and enjoying a meal of fresh-caught seafood.
Day 10: Guided Tour of Essaouira, Afternoon Kitesurfing
Explore the charming city of Essaouira with the help of a local today. Meet your private tour guide under the clock tower inside the walls of the city's medina, where you'll start your three-hour excursion. As you walk through this small city on the Atlantic coast, which is known for its well-designed layout, you'll learn about its long history of different influences. The city has been occupied by Indigenous Berbers, Phoenicians, Romans, and Portuguese, who built its fortress and ramparts in 1506.
Take this opportunity to stroll into various traditional shops, where you'll find perfect souvenirs. In particular, stop at the Spice Souk, the place to go for herbal medicine, Berber lipstick, exotic spices, and ghassoul (clay used in face masks). You can also buy argan oil products here, as well as amlou (a mixture of honey, almonds, and argan oil). After exploring Essaouira's central plazas and historic neighborhoods, your guide will leave you at the long and sandy Essaouira Beach. Here you can walk along the shoreline, soak up the sun, and catch glimpses of surfers in the wind.
If you want to give some of the local water sports a try, take a private kitesurfing lesson right on the beach! Your guide will take you to one of Essaouira's best surf spots, Sidi Kaouki Beach, and after you don your wetsuit and go over the equipment, you'll be able to learn basic kitesurfing techniques on how to hold, maneuver, and guide the kite. Practice a bit with your instructor by your side, then later, you'll be able to test your skills independently while still having your instructor nearby. After a fun day on the waves, head back to Essaouira's city center.
Day 11: Sand Surfing & Horseback Riding
If you're feeling adventurous today, head out of the city and into the desert and learn to surf and sandboard down the region's magnificent desert dunes. You'll be in control of how steep or speedy you'd like to go and take in pretty views of the surrounding scenery along the way. Stick around after you're done to cap the day off with an evening sunset over the desert.
For a more tranquil Essaouira experience, take a guided horseback ride on the beach. After meeting with your guide, you'll learn a few basic techniques and get acquainted with your noble steed. Trot along Essaouira's long stretch of sand, enjoying the ocean breeze and smell of the sea. Your guide will lead you along the beach to quieter areas, leaving the busy tourist scene behind and seeing more of the region's natural beauty. Feel free to gallop on the sand or stick with a gentle walk along the surf. If you opt for an afternoon excursion, enjoy watching the sun melt into the ocean as you return to the city.
Day 12: Transfer to Marrakech & Depart
Your Moroccan journey ends today with a private transfer from Essaouira to Marrakech airport, about three hour's drive. Safe travels home or to your next destination!