Morocco is a huge country and both nature and culturewise incredibly diverse. Seeing it all in a week is simply not possible. But if that is all time you’ve got the following itinerary is a great way to make your first acquaintance with the most popular destination of North-Africa. You’ll see some of its greatest cities, best nature and of course get to venture out into the Sahara. All without being too much in a hurry. Sound great? Let’s go.
– Practical Information –
The best time to travel to Morocco is either in spring (end of March to end of May) or fall (end of September to end of November). Think sunny days with pleasant temperatures (around 25 degrees Celcius). Traveling in the middle of summer should be avoided because it gets unpleasantly hot. Winter is fine but take into account that the days are short and you will probably be wearing a coat for most of your trip.
In, Out & Around
There are many cities that support international airports but the most used ones are Fez (as a budget hub for European cities) and Casablanca. For specific info check out my detailed articles on Fez, Casablanca, and Marrakech.
Morocco supports an excellent railway-system making it the preferred choice over bus travel for getting around. Another great option is renting a car and traveling around on your own wheels. Take into account that you will be charged a one-way fee if you do not return your vehicle to your starting point. Pack plenty of water in case of any breakdowns.
Morocco is not an expensive country. Dinner at a mid-range restaurant will set you back between 60-110 MAD (€5-10/$6-12). A budget Riad (authentic Moroccan boutique hotels) is about 400 MAD (€35/$40) the real beautiful ones double. A dorm can be found from 55 MAD (€5/$6) incl. breakfast and a non-alcoholic drink is about 15 MAD (€1.35/$1.50). The only expensive thing is alcohol. Since Morocco is an Islamic country it’s hard to get by – expect to pay 55 MAD (€5/$6) for a small beer.
– Itinerary –
More specific information on how to get from one place to another, entrance prices etc. can be found in my more detailed guides on the specific locations mentioned below. Clicking the respective header will take you there.
Day 1: Arrival in Marrakech
We’ll start of the itinerary in Marrakech – Morocco’s most visited city and rightfully so. If you arrived in Casablanca by plane you will most probably arrive by train. Take the bus from the railway station to Djemaa El-Fna and find your Riad. After checking in depending on how much time is left go out into the Old Medina and boggle over all the bustle in the Souqs and the Djemaa El-Fna. Have dinner at once of the streetside stalls and finish the day with an evening walk around the Koutoubia Mosque.
Day 2: Exploring Marrakech
After breakfast, it is time to explore the city some more. Take either a bicycle tour or a walking city tour. Strongly recommended is Marrakech Green Wheels that combines a cookery course with a bicycle tour. The latter tour includes lunch. If you did not have lunch included in your tour head to Le Jardin to have it there. Afterwards, visit Le Jardin Secret (quite nearby) which hosts the largest courtyard gardens in Marrakech. If there is still time visit the Bahia Palace with its beautiful woodcarvings and mosaic floors. When the sun goes down have dinner at Restaurant Jama which is located at Rue Riad Zitoune. Before going to bed, head to one of the rooftop-terraces overlooking Djemaa El-Fna for a evening drink with a beautiful view.
Get up early to take a day-trip to either Ouzoud falls or Ourika Valley. If the weather is great you can go for a swim at the pools underneath the waterfalls but if not, the nature and hikes make the visit worthwhile in cooler temperatures as well. To make deciding easier: the Ouzoud falls are more impressive but further away. If you do not care about snapping the perfect picture at the highest waterfalls in Morocco – Ourika Valley is the better option.
As the visit takes all day this is all the programme you need. You’ll arrive back in Marrakech around dinner-time. Try Jardin Majorelle. Have an evening mint-tea at your Riad before heading to bed early – as tomorrow is going to be a long day.
Day 4 – 6: Desert Tour from Marrakech to Fez
After a few days in the city its time to explore nature and get to see ‘the real Morocco’. You can either book an organized tour or hire a 4WD and go at it independently. Read this article for all pro’s and con’s of both options and to get a more detailed description of the route and the tour.
On day 4 you will drive through the Atlas-mountains, visit Ait Benhaddou, -where they filmed parts of the mummy, gladiator, and Game of Thrones -, see Ouarzazate (a pretty laidback town that was also featured in many movies) and finish the day in an authentic Berber Guesthouse where you’ll have dinner and spend the night.
The following day you’ll drive through Dade-country, venture out into Toudra Valley, see impressive gorges filled with lush palm trees, visit a weavery and a small Berber farming community. A few hours before sunset you arrive at Erg Chebbi where you exchange your wheels for a real-life camel and venture out into the desert. The night will be spent in a desert-camp in the middle of humongous sand dunes under clear starry skies. Pack a sweater as the night gets pretty frigid!
On day 6 you’ll get up before dawn to see the sunrise over the sand dunes. After breakfast in Erg Chebbi, you’ll head to the ‘cleanest town in the world’, Alpine Ifrane, where you can actually go skiing in winter. Nearby are big cedar-forests where wild Berber Macaque-monkeys roam. From Ifrane, it’s about an hour drive to Fez where you will arrive late in the afternoon, or maybe just after sunset.
Day 6 : Arriving in Fez
Find your way to your accommodation (read my article on Fez to find our how to find your way around) and go to Clock Cafe to sample western food with a Moroccan twist (its famous for its camel burger) while listening to some live music.
Sleep: Riad Dar Gnauoa
Sleep budget: Funky Fez
Day 7: Exploring Fez
On your last day its time for a throwback to medieval Morocco by exploring Fez’s old Medina. Get lost in the labyrinth of little alleyways, visit the Souqs for some shopping. Go see the Blue Gate, Karaouine Mosque, Rainbow Street and the Tanneries. if you’re feeling claustrophobic – take a fresh breath of air in the Jnan Sbil Bou Jeloud Gardens before diving back into the chaos that characterizes Fés El-Bali. On your last night allow yourself a luxurious dinner at Dar Roumana or The Ruined Garden.
A few days extra
And that ends the week! By now you have seen both cultural and natural Morocco, but sadly you’ve also skipped out on a lot of interesting sights. If you have a few extra days consider visiting Chefchaouen, a sleepy but beautiful city build up against a mountain with most of its houses painted in blue. Its a few hours north of Fez. Also worth an extra day is Volubilis, a Roman settlement about an hour’s drive from Fez. combine this visit with a few hours in Meknes, which is a quieter version of Fez and Marrakech – but equally beautiful.