From the Atlas Mountains to the red deserts of Merzouga, the landscapes of "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Gladiator" come alive on this 13-day Moroccan adventure. Get lost in Chefchaouen's blue streets and enter a sea of colors and scents in Fes's Medina. Take a 4WD jaunt through the desert, then hop on a camel to reach your Sahara camp for a night under the stars. Cool off in the surf at Essaouira, and end your trip watching a sunset over Marrakech's mesmerizing Jemaa el-Fnaa Square.


  • Explore a winding maze of blue streets in Chefchaouen
  • Ride a camel through the Sahara and fall asleep under the stars
  • Wander the Fes Medina and learn about its expert leather dyers
  • See the extravaganza of Marrakech's Jemaa el-Fnaa Square at sunset

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Tangier, Transfer to Chefchaouen Chefchaouen
Day 2 Chefchaouen Walking Tour & Sunset Chefchaouen
Day 3 Hike Akchour Waterfall & Rift Mountains, Transfer to Fes Fes
Day 4 Fes Walking Tour Fes
Day 5 Transfer to Sefrou Sefrou
Day 6 Transfer to Merzouga, 4WD Adventure & Desert Camping Merzouga
Day 7 Transfer to Dadès Gorge & Berber Villages Boumalne Dadès
Day 8 Transfer to Ouarzazate Ouarzazate
Day 9 Transfer to Marrakech via Aït Benhaddou Marrakech
Day 10 Discover the Marrakech Markets Marrakech
Day 11 Tranfser to Essaouira, Argan Oil & Jewish Heritage Essaouira
Day 12 Transfer to Marrakech, Free Day to Explore Marrakech
Day 13 Goodbye Morocco  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Tangier, Transfer to Chefchaouen

Sunset over Chefchaouen, view from the Spanish Mosque
Sunset over Chefchaouen from the Spanish Mosque
Welcome to Morocco! Upon arrival in Tangier, your driver will meet you for a 69-mile (112 km) drive south to Chefchaouen. Nestled beneath the Rift Mountains in northeastern Morocco, Chefchaouen is a visual delight in blue: walls, doors, windows, stairways, alleyways, and archways are all a combination of azure hues.
After you check in at your riad (a large guest house with an interior courtyard), explore the town at your own pace. Outa el Hammam is the main square to watch daily life, or you can walk along a side street away from the tourist crowds to explore. Ask your guide for recommendations for lunch or dinner, depending on your arrival time.  

Day 2: Chefchaouen Walking Tour & Sunset

Get lost in the maze of the Blue City
Chefchaouen, or Chaoeun, as locals call it, means "two horns" and was named for the twin peaks rising above the city. Your guided walking tour starts in its atmospheric medina (old town), which clings to the northern hillside. At the bottom of the slope explore Plaza Outa el Hammam, the main square named for its past as a center for hammams (bath houses). Order a tea or coffee at one of the many restaurants and cafés and settle in for an afternoon of people-watching.

Pass by the Grand Mosque during the call to prayer, and marvel at this architectural masterpiece from outside (non-Muslims can't enter). From the mosque, you can visit the kasbah (old fortification), its garden, museum, and prison cells—and head up to the roof for views. Then get to an ideal place to watch the sunset by following the streets east to Ras el Ma spring, where the Oued el Kebir river flows below the town. Follow an uphill path for 20 to 30 minutes to reach the Spanish Mosque for a spectacular view. 

Day 3: Hike Akchour Waterfall & Rif Mountains, Transfer to Fes

Akchour Waterfalls
Hike to the tranquil Akchour Waterfall
Grab your boots or sturdy sneakers to set off for Akchour Waterfall and the many Rift Mountain trails located about a 45-minute drive east of Chefchaouen. After an early breakfast, you'll meet your local guide and driver to learn more about the surrounding region and the day's adventure.
Start hiking along an easy well-marked trail (the roundtrip hike is approximately three to four hours), following your guide as you trek through dense forest. Stay alert because the area is home to Barbary macaques who might jump out to greet you. Spend some time marveling at the waterfalls, taking photos, or swimming in one of the many pools, then return to Chefchaouen for lunch. From there, your private transfer will make the approximately four-hour drive traveling 138 miles (223 km) to Fes, one of the largest medieval cities in the world.

Day 4: Fes Walking Tour

Walking through the Fes Medina is as if traveling back in time
The Fes Medina is a place to get lost with its winding streets, shops filled with detailed metal works and leather goods, and intricately-carved buildings. With twists and turns, you will be thankful to have a guide show you the way as you get acclimated to the city.
Plan your trip to Morocco
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Your guide will meet you at your riad and during the tour, you'll learn about the artisans who work in the city in leather, ceramics, and textiles, and visit their workshops. You'll have free time for lunch, and your guide can recommend a restaurant to try a tajine (vegetable and meat stew). Continue exploring Fes on your own in the afternoon, maybe going to a hammam for a soak and to relax. Your tour leader can recommend the best places and explain the details of the hammam experience—keep in mind that men and women bathe separately. Then spend the rest of the day wandering on your own. 

Day 5: Transfer to Sefrou

From Fes your road trip continues

Sefrou is located on the slopes of the Middle Atlas Mountains, about 17 miles (28 km) southeast of Fes, or about a 35-mile drive. In the morning, you'll get in the car to travel from Fes to Sefrou to learn about this city's history. A market town in the Roman era and stop for traders, the city pre-dates Fes and its mountainous terrain is ideal for cherry cultivation—today, it's known for its cherry festival during the early-June harvest. 

At the Sefrou Craft Center in the old city watch as artisans work on wood, ceramic, rug weaving, and even silk djellaba (tunics). Browse your favorite pieces and maybe take something home with you, before eating lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch, it's time to explore the landscape with a 3-mile (5 km) hike from the medina to some local waterfalls. Take a dip in the clear water and enjoy your peaceful surroundings before heading back to Sefrou for the evening, where you'll have free time to explore the town and try a local restaurant.

Day 6: Transfer to Merzouga, 4WD Adventure & Desert Camping

Reach your desert camp by camel
Reach your desert camp by camel
Make sure to eat a hearty breakfast in Sefrou to get ready for an approximately seven-hour road trip, traveling about 244 miles (394 km) south to Erfoud. There will be a few stops, including a pass through Azrou and the Middle Atlas forest, and maybe a spotting of Barbary apes. Travel over the Tizi-n-Talremt pass and into the Ziz Valley, an oasis brimming with palm trees and red stone ksars (fortified villages), which merchants built to protect and save their goods such as gold, salt, and spices. You'll continue on to reach Er Rachidia and then Erfoud, a city known for its date festival, fossils, and as the entryway to the Sahara Desert.

In Erfoud get ready for the ride of a lifetime as you climb on top of a 4WD vehicle for a one-hour jaunt across the desert to Merzouga. Then get hoisted onto your personal camel to ride to your camping spot in the middle of the Sahara. Enjoy a dinner under the stars, followed by an evening of traditional Berber music, and end the night settling into your tent for a restful sleep after a full day.

Day 7: Transfer to Dadès Gorge & Berber Villages

Weave your way into the Dadès Valley
Waking up well-refreshed in the middle of the Sahara, it's time to climb on your camel to ride to Erfoud and then take a 4WD vehicle to Merzouga. Once there, the next stop will be the Dadès Valley to see its rock formations, Berber villages, and lush landscapes. The area's rust-red and mauve mountains reveal zig-zagging layers of strata and colors. Take your time to walk around and explore the surrounding wheat fields, fig orchards, and almond and olive trees.
Then you'll have time to explore a series of crumbling kasbah and ksour (fortifications) that line the valley in the Berber villages of Aït Youl, Aït Arbi, Aït Oudinar, Aït Ouffi, and Aït Toukhsine. Take photos, welcome the hospitality of people in the villages, and try some of the local food and tea. At the end of a full day of exploring you'll settle into a Berber kasbah for dinner and to spend the night.

Day 8: Transfer to Ouarzazate

Boumalne Dades to Ouarzazate
 Ouarzazate may look familiar, as it's the setting for many major films
You may be surprised to learn that Morocco has its own Hollywood, and that's just where you're heading this morning. Get back on the road from the Dadès Valley to Ouarzazate where your guide will point out Atlas Studios, one of the largest movie studios in the world. Films such as "Gladiator," "The Mummy," "The Jewel of the Nile," and episodes of "Game of Thrones" all have scenes set in the studio. Ask your guide about touring the studios, time permitting.
Your journey through the eastern desert and High Atlas Mountains continues as you visit Kasbah de Taorirt, a property that was once owned by the Glaoui family, one of the richest and most powerful in the area. In the afternoon, check-in at your riad in Ouarzazate, and then you'll have the afternoon and evening free. 

Day 9: Transfer to Marrakech via Aït Benhaddou

Aït Benhaddou, a UNESCO world heritage site in Morocco
Aït Benhaddou is a UNESCO world heritage site
From Ouarzazate, you'll hit the road to Marrakech with time to visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Aït Benhaddou along the way. Here, you'll find another walled town protected by a kasbah. If you are a "Game of Thrones" fan, you may also recognize Aït Benhaddou from the final scene of season three. 

From Aït Benhaddou, you can stop in Telouet and eat lunch with a local Berber singer. The next leg of the journey goes over the High Atlas Mountains on the zig-zag of Tiz n Tichka pass, eventually arriving in Marrakech to watch the sunset over Jemaa el-Fnaa Square. Spend the evening tasting from the dozens of food stalls with specialties in soups, fish, sweets, juice, and grilled meats. With a full stomach, stand with the crowds listening to storytellers and musicians, or maybe visit a fortune teller—whatever you choose, get ready to be entertained and amazed. 

Day 10: Discover the Marrakech Markets

Get lost in the warren of Marrakesh's markets

Brace yourself for full immersion in the sounds, smells, and sights of the medina's markets with a guided tour. To get oriented, look for the striking minaret of Koutoubia Mosque, the city's largest mosque, west of Jemaa el-Fna.

Next you'll head for the souks clustered north of the square. Attarin is known for its spices, Haddadine for metal goods, and Smata for slippers, rugs, and leather. For clothing, Souk des Teinturiers is where dyers work and you can watch people dipping cloth and yarn in bright colors and hanging them to dry above the streets. As the sun sets on Jemaa el-Fna, settle into one of the many cafés circling it with rooftop terraces, to enjoy a meal or tea while you watch the crowds below.

Day 11: Transfer to Essaouira, Argan Oil & Jewish Heritage

Fortressed Essaouira
Essaouira is a seaside break from Morocco's busy cities
Today you'll leave the chaos of Marrakesh for the calm of Essaouira's beaches. The area is known for its waves, which are popular with surfers, and its clear water for swimming. To get there from Marrakesh, travel for approximately three hours through argan forests. Argan oil is a major Moroccan import, as a local association that produces oil from the argan fruit will explain during your tour. The oil is known for its health and beauty benefits and you may want to take some home with you. While you are in the forest, see if you can spot the local goats that climb argan trees to graze on their fruit.

The next part of your tour is focused on the area's Jewish heritage, and in the afternoon, your guide will take you to one of the best-preserved Jewish quarters in Morocco. Visit the newly opened Jewish cultural center, Bayt Dakira, and visit its museum, synagogue, and research center. At the end of your tour, you'll have a free night in Essaouira. 

Day 12: Transfer to Marrakech, Free Day to Explore

Perch yourself above Jemaa el-Fna to watch the action
Even one week isn't enough to see the major sites in Marrakech and explore its many markets, but today you'll get a chance to explore at your own pace and check off some of the highlights. To ease back into the city, start with a walk in Majorelle Gardens in the Ville Nouvelle neighborhood, which is known for its sub-tropical plants and colorful buildings.
Learn more about the city's history at the 16th-century Koran school Medersa Ben Youssef, and at the Marrakech Museum with its art collection inside Dar Mnebbi Palace. At the Museum of Moroccan Arts and Crafts see woodwork and traditional palanquins on display. Spend one last night in Jemaa el-Fna, and see how the square evolves with new characters and experiences each evening. At the end of a full day, settle into your riad to get ready for a morning departure. 

Day 13: Goodbye Morocco

Farewell Morocco!

Savor your last Moroccan breakfast and sip of mint tea before your driver takes you to the airport. From there it's on to your next destination. Safe travels!

More Great Morocco Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Morocco? Check out these other Morocco itineraries, explore different ways to spend 13 days in Morocco, or discover the best time to visit Morocco.


Map of Treasures of Morocco: Chefchaouen to Marrakech - 13 Days
Map of Treasures of Morocco: Chefchaouen to Marrakech - 13 Days