This 10-day guided tour takes you through southern Morocco and the wonders of the desert during the (slightly) cooler winter months. Your adventure begins in the colorful city of Marrakech, where you'll stroll the medina and take a food tour of Moroccan cuisine. Then, it's off to Essaouira to see argan oil in production and tree-climbing goats! Visit Berber nomads and spend a night in the desert, before closing your tour with an invigorating spa day at a traditional hammam.


  • Shop until you drop in the vibrant and lively souks of Marrakech
  • Camp in Bedouin tents under the stars of the desert's night sky 
  • Tour the panoramic mountain views of the High Atlas
  • Relax and revive with a spa experience at a traditional Moroccan hammam

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Marrakech Marrakech
Day 2 Marrakech Full-Day Tour Marrakech
Day 3 Transfer to Essaouira, Argan Oil Tour & Women's Cooperative Essaouira
Day 4 Transfer to Taroudant Taroudant
Day 5 Free Day in Taroudant, Transfer to Foum Zguid Foum Zguid
Day 6 Transfer to Erg Chigaga Desert, Explore Erg Chigaga Desert
Day 7 Transfer to Zagora Zagora
Day 8 Transfer to Ouarzazate, Free Day in Ouarzazate Ouarzazate
Day 9 Tour the High Atlas, Transfer to Marrakech, Hammam Spa Experience Marrakech
Day 10 Depart Marrakech  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Marrakech

Marrakech's Jemaa el-Fna Square

Welcome to Morocco! Upon your arrival at Marrakech International Airport, you'll be met by your driver and guide, who will transfer you to your hotel for check-in. A winter tour of Morocco means you'll be avoiding some of the rather oppressive heat of other seasons, but with temperatures ranging from 46°F to 63°F (8°C-17°C), you'll also want to make sure you're dressed for the weather before you head out to explore the city.

Start your visit with a private food tour. Bustling Marrakech is filled with picturesque alleyways and vibrant squares. It's the perfect city to get lost in as you follow your nose and taste buds from one snack to the next. This tour takes you on a culinary journey to some of Marrakech's beloved hot spots, where you'll experience the delight that is Moroccan cuisine.

Visit local chefs and taste various delicacies, including traditional sweets, savory tajines, and more. Along the way, learn about the country's essential ingredients, cooking techniques, and culinary culture. Together, these influences inspire the work of chefs as they produce flavorful dishes. Tonight, relax at your hotel for the evening in anticipation of tomorrow's in-depth tour of the city. 
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Day 2: Marrakech Full-Day Tour

Shopping in the souks

Explore the sights, sounds, and smells of Marrakech today. This lively metropolis was founded in the 11th century, quickly becoming a popular trading center for tribes in the nearby Atlas mountains. Its historic red sandstone walls and buildings earned it the nickname the "Red City," and the local markets, or souks, remain as vibrant today as they were in the city's early days. 

Your guide will lead you through the colorful central medina, starting at Jemaa el-Fna Square, a historic plaza filled with markets, street food, and performers. From here, you'll stroll to a few of the best souks. Find famed spice towers at Souk el Attarin, traditional Moroccan slippers at Souk Smata, and see locals dyeing yarn at Souk des Teinturiers. Next, head to the Medersa Ben Youssef, a beautifully renovated Koran school, before making your way to the Bahia Palace for a walk through its lush gardens and beautiful interiors. You'll also visit Dar Si Said Museum to see Moroccan handicrafts and art.

Your tour continues to the Saadian Tombs and Badi Palace, then to three of the city's scenic gardens. You'll see Koutoubia Mosque & Gardens, the city's largest mosque with its elegant grounds featuring fountains, pools, palm trees, and various flowers, and Menara Gardens, a 12th-century park and UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you can enjoy a peaceful break in front of the famed lake and pavilion. End at the Majorelle Gardens in the Ville Nouvelle neighborhood with its sub-tropical plants and colorful buildings. This evening, enjoy a meal from one of the food stalls back at Jemaa el-Fna Square.

Day 3: Transfer to Essaouira, Argan Oil Tour & Women's Cooperative

Goats in the Argan trees en route to Essaouira

Travel to Essaouira today, a town made popular by its excellent surfing beaches. The three-hour drive takes you over extensive, 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! Local 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 an association of local women that 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. Later, you'll have time to see some of the beaches Essaouira is known for, such as Plage Tagharte, located right in town, or Cap Sim, with its crashing waves and sparkling waters. And tonight, you can hang out at the town's central square, where you'll find plenty of dinner options at the surrounding restaurants and live performers to keep you entertained. 

Day 4: Transfer to Taroudant

The city walls of Taroudant

Enjoy a coastal tour of the beaches along Essaouira and Agadir as you transfer to the city of Taroudant. The drive takes just under four hours, and along the way, you'll get to see views of the Moroccan coastline and make a stop in the village of Aourir for lunch. Upon your arrival in Taroudant, take some time to settle in at your hotel and relax for the evening. If you want to get out into the city for a bit, take a sunset stroll along the city walls. Built in the 1500s, the walls create a stunning reflection of the setting sun and are a popular hangout for locals and visitors. 

Day 5: Free Day in Taroudant, Transfer to Foum Zguid

Shop in the Souks (Markets) for Artisan Goods
Shopping the souks of Morocco

Make use of your free time this morning with a walk through Taroudant. Known as the "Grandmother of Marrakech," its surrounding ramparts and historic medina make it look like a mini version of bustling Marrakech. And similar to the big city, it has much to see within its walls. You'll start your self-tour in the medina, walking or renting a bike to view the perimeters of the city. Then, head into the souks, where you'll find a variety of crafts, including metal goods made with silver and copper, ceramics, jewelry, leather goods, and woven baskets and rugs. 

Stop for a bite to eat at one of the restaurants or cafés or sip on a glass of mint tea in one of the hotel gardens. If you'd like to explore a bit outside of the city, visit Agadir Tasguent. An easy hike takes you to this old fortress with exceptional views. Or visit the mansion of Palais Claudio Bravo. Now a hotel and restaurant, it was once the home of Claudio Bravo, a Chilean artist. View artifacts, interesting interiors, serene gardens, and some of the artist's paintings.

This afternoon, your driver will transport you to your next destination, which takes you all the way to the edge of the Sahara and the desert town of Foum Zguid. You'll pass through the amazing landscapes of southern Morocco, including small traditional villages, palm groves, and soaring desert mountains. After a stop in the town of Tata for a local lunch, you'll continue to Foum Zguid, where you can relax at your hotel or step out for a local meal. 

Day 6: Transfer to Erg Chigaga Desert, Explore

Transfer to Erg Chegaga
A camel in the Erg Chigaga Desert

Discover the majestic desert of Chigaga, starting with an off-road drive through the dry lake of Iriqi. You'll meet with Berber nomads and enjoy a cup of tea under the Bedouin tents, then settle into your own desert tent at the foot of the dunes of Erg Chigaga

You'll get a full immersion into nomadic life, accompanying the Berbers into the heart of the desert and assisting with their daily search for grazing lands and water. You'll help with food preparation for the evening and get a chance to feed the camels and other animals. Learn how to weave a camel wool carpet, cook using traditional utensils and wood fire, and just before sunset, jump on a camel and take a tour of the dunes. You'll then head back to camp for dinner and spend the night in your tent under the clear night sky of the desert. 

Day 7: Transfer to Zagora

Morocco's green pottery

It's time to hit the road again as your guide takes you to the city of Zagora. Formerly a historic trade hub, the city is a popular stopover point for visitors heading into the Sahara. On the drive, you'll stop to explore the desert village of Mhamid El Ghizlane and its surrounding oasis and visit the small town of Tamegroute, home of the Koranic School of Ezzaouia Ennaciria. You'll have a chance to visit a pottery manufacturer and see how Morocco's unusual green pottery is made. Your driver will have you in Zagora by later afternoon, where you'll be able to rest and regroup or see some of the sights of the city.

Stroll the Draa River, or lose yourself in the city's giant palm grove, which stretches out for miles and boasts more than 30 varieties of dates. If you manage to be in the city on a Sunday or Wednesday, visit their traditional souk, where you'll find a large market dedicated to the many kinds of dates grown in the area, household wares, and assorted food items. Later, grab dinner at a local restaurant before heading back to your hotel. 

Day 8: Transfer to Ouarzazate, Free Day in Ouarzazate

The Picturesque Town of Ouarzazate
The picturesque town of Ouarzazate

Enjoy a comfortable private transfer from Zagora to the town of Ouarzazate, known as the "Gateway to the Sahara." The drive takes approximately 2.5 hours, and you'll pass through the Draa Valley and cross the Tizi N'Tinifift Pass, enjoying the sweeping panoramic views, lush palmeraies, and surrounding mountains. After settling into your accommodations in Ouarzazate, you can visit some of the interesting landmarks around the city. 

For centuries, people from the Atlas and Dadès Valleys converged to do business at Ouarzazate's sprawling Taourirt Kasbah. You can visit the kasbah, following the maze of stairwells to the top floor and finding a prayer room, keyhole archways, and an original Tataoui ceiling (a local design made of intricately inlaid tree branches). Afterward, wander through the village inside the kasbah walls, where you might also find deals on local crafts in backstreet shops. Ouarzazate also has an important Mellah (Jewish quarter) with an old synagogue and plenty of lively souks to peruse.

In recent years, the town has gained the interest of the film industry. Visit the Musée du Cinema and learn about the films produced in the region, with an up-close look at props and sets from hits such as "Black Hawk Down," "Prometheus," "American Sniper," and "Game of Thrones." You can also opt to tour a movie studio, such as Atlas Film Studios, which was established in 1983. Displays, sets, and props from movies filmed here include "Jewel of the Nile" and "Kingdom of Heaven." Take a guided tour and see the on-site stages, sets, and workshops. Who knows, you may even get discovered by a talent scout!

Day 9: Tour the High Atlas, Transfer to Marrakech, Hammam & Spa Experience

Unwind in a Moroccan hammam

Prior to your transfer back to Marrakech today, you'll take a driving tour over the High Atlas. See the peaks of Mount Toubkal towering above at 13,671 feet (4,167 m) and the picturesque image of the road ahead, snaking down the mountainside. You'll make a stop in the town of Taddert, and visit an argan oil cooperative to learn how the olives are processed for a variety of uses (and sample a few). From there, you'll travel back down the north-facing slopes of the High Atlas. Here, you'll notice a dramatic change in climate and landscape, with river valleys carved into the hillsides.

After all the tranquillity of the mountains and desert, head back to the hustle and bustle of Marrakech. You may want to spend the rest of the afternoon at a slower pace, and enjoying a spa session at a traditional Moroccan hammam would definitely fit the bill! Traditionally, visitors partake in a steam session followed by a scrub, which is based on historical Roman bath practices. During the Arab conquest, the entire Mediterranean coast adopted these traditions, and a visit to a hammam eventually became common before prayer.

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. Later this evening, visit one of the many cafés surrounding the main square of Jemaa el-Fna, where you can enjoy a meal while watching musicians and other entertainers perform.  

Day 10: Depart Marrakech

Beautiful Marrakech at sunset

Your tour of magical Morrocco comes to a close today as your driver transports you from your accommodations in Marrakech to the airport. Have a safe and comfortable journey home or to your next destination!

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