Indulge in a 10-day journey from Tangier that will leave you spellbound with Morocco’s rich culture, captivating history, and thrilling adventures. Traverse through imperial cities, quaint mountain villages, vast desert landscapes, and picturesque coastal towns. Begin your expedition at the enchanting locales of Tangier and Chefchaouen before venturing down to Fes for an unforgettable experience amidst the Sahara Desert. Next, cross over the majestic High Atlas Mountains towards Marrakech, then unwind at Essaouira – a serene seaside town! Join us on this remarkable odyssey as we unravel all that Morocco has to offer!
Step into another world when you visit Tangier—the gateway between Europe and Africa! This city is located close to the south of Spain. When you’re here, be sure to explore the Medina (old quarter), grab a cup of coffee in the Zoco Chico square, or take a leisurely stroll along the promenade. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, Take the scenic route to Chefchaouen in the Rif Mountains. The blue-washed city is a sight to behold, and you’ll want to stop along the way to hike to the Cascades d’Akchour. Chefchaouen is full of winding, narrow streets and picturesque buildings. When you need a break, head to Plaza Outa el Hammam for a bite. Sit back, relax, and people-watch as you enjoy your meal. Even though non-muslims are not allowed inside, the Grand Mosque is still worth a visit.
From there, you can explore the nearby kasbah (old fortification), tour the garden and museum, and see some of the old prison cells. Then, make your way to Hotel Atlas and climb up to the rooftop for an incredible panoramic view of Chefchaouen’s Blue City. For the more adventurous, follow the street east until you reach the Ras el Ma Spring. Then, take the path (20-30 minutes) upwards until you reach the abandoned white Spanish Mosque. Finally, enjoy one last breathtaking view of Chefchaouen as the sun sets behind the mountains.
If you’re looking to get some great photos of empty streets, be sure to rise early and head out before the city of Fes starts to fill up with people. Along the way, you’ll want to make a stop at the Volubilis ruins, which are protected by UNESCO. This is the farthest reach of the Roman Empire in Africa and is worth exploring. You’ll be able to see merchant homes with intact heating systems, temples, and many mosaics that are still in situ.
After Volubilis, you can continue to Meknes, a smaller and less crowded version of Fes. There are two main points of interest here: The Imperial City and the Medina are not to be missed. Also, make sure to visit the Bab al-Mansour gate, the Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail, and the Royal Stables while in Meknes.
Next stop, Fes! This city is definitely worth a visit, especially for its large and somewhat confusing old Medina. But before venturing into the Medina, make sure to check out the Merenid Tombs just north of the city. The views from up there are amazing and will give you a great overview of historic Fes and the surrounding area. After enjoying the views, head back down the hill to your riad. Step into this Moroccan house and be transported to a world of enchantment.
In the evening, the interior garden comes alive with lanterns aglow, flickering like fireflies in the night. The air is thick with fragrance from jasmine vines winding their way up trellises. Tropical plants cast shadows on walls painted in rich hues while fountains splash and cool the heated atmosphere. This is a place where time stands still, and every sense is indulged. Let yourself be seduced by this magical setting – it will be an experience you’ll never forget.
Fes is the oldest Moroccan imperial city, and its age lends a charm that few other places can match. A UNESCO-protected site, Fes has escaped much of the colonial development that has changed so much of the country, which makes it a must-visit for anyone interested in seeing authentic Moroccan culture.
The city is divided into two parts: the older Fes el Bali (where you’ll spend most of your time) and the newer Fes el Jdid. Both are well worth exploring, but in the narrow, maze-like streets of the former, you’ll get a sense of what life was like centuries ago. Your guide will be on hand to help you navigate these complex alleyways – something that would be impossible to do without local knowledge!
As you stroll through the vibrant souks (markets) of Fes, take note of the Andalusian-style architecture and the variety of goods on offer, from spices and leather goods to pewter.
The city is known for its tanneries, which produce a distinctive acrid smell. If you’re curious, visit the popular Chouara Tannery and climb to the roof of a nearby shop for a better view of the process. Then explore the 14th-century Al Attarine Madrasa, with its beautiful zellij tilework. And take advantage of the opportunity to see one of the oldest universities in the world, Al-Qarawiyyin University (founded in 859 CE). For another encompassing view of the city, be sure to visit the Mellah (old Jewish quarter) in Fes el Jdid.
As you continue your journey south, take in the stunning views of the Col du Zad pass (7,146 feet or 2,178 m). Marvel at the cedar forests of the Middle Atlas mountains as you make your way to Midelt (the “apple city”) for lunch. Keep an eye out for Barbary macaque monkeys in the trees and by the side of the road. Appreciate the scenery: The Moulouya River and apple orchards are a sight to behold!
Next, travel over Tizi n’Talremt Pass into picturesque Ziz Valley dotted with oases and palm tree clusters. Notice all around you ksars—fortified houses that merchants built long ago to protect their wares (gold, salt, and spices). The early signs of the Sahara sand dunes will start to appear as you near Erfoud. These shifting sands are never stationary and move as the winds change direction. If you’re lucky enough, you may come across one of the nomadic Berber families during your travels and have the chance to drink tea together. A visit to Erfoud will show you how fossil-rich rock from its mines is transformed into both decorative and practical objects. You can also see the extensive sea of sand dunes at Erg Chebbi – covering 13.5 square miles (35 square km), with some dunes rising to 656 feet (200 m). The color of these magnificent natural structures changes throughout the day as sunlight moves across them. Outside Merzouga, change the pace and prepare for a camel ride through some dunes.
You’ll arrive at your campsite just before sunset. Climb up to the top of one of the sand dunes nearby to watch an amazing display as the sun sets behind some colossal dunes. Return to camp for dinner around a fire and then enjoy traditional Berber music from locals under a blanket of stars. Finally, spend the night in a Bedouin-style tent!
If you wake up early, you can catch a beautiful sunrise in the desert. You might also want to try sandboarding. You can either join an Erg Chebbi dunes tour or an ATV adventure. Visit the nearby Khamliya, a traditional Saharan village, and experience Tam Tam drumming, music, and dancing. Then, walk around the village for a short time.
Leave Erg Chebbi behind and head to the market town of Rissani. Enter through its impressive gate. This town is known for its livestock auction, so finding the ‘donkey parking lot’ to snap pictures is worth your time. Welcome to Tinghir! This charming desert town offers stunning views of the neighboring towns along the length of the river oasis. With over 30 miles of palm trees, it’s easy to notice why this is a popular destination for travelers.
Today, we’ll be exploring the Todra Gorge, which is carved out of red limestone by the Todra River. At 300 feet high, it’s one of the tallest gorges in Morocco. You can enjoy a leisurely walk through the gorge and even take a dip in the shallow river below. So come on down and explore all that Tinerhir has to offer!
Discover Aït Benhaddou, Morocco’s most famous kasbah, along the Valley of a Thousand Kasbahs. As you make your way west, stop and admire the rose bushes in Kelâat M’Gouna. Visit a rosewater collective to see how rose petals are turned into rose water and oil.
In Ouarzazate, learn about the movie studios and how nearby regions have been featured in films such as Lawrence of Arabia, Gladiator, and Black Hawk Down. Join a studio tour and visit the Cinema museum to explore this area’s filmmaking process and history. Travel to Aït Benhaddou, a UNESCO World Heritage site located nearby. The old kasbah dates back to the 11th century and was an essential stop on the trans-Saharan trade route.
After you’re settled in your riad located in the old town, take some time to wander the empty streets and alleys. Nexct, climb to the top of the old Granary for a great view of the kasbah and it surrounding areas. Game of Thrones fans may want to walk down to the stream to take a close look at the gates featured in the popular series. Enjoy a quiet dinner overlooking the valley long after the day crowds have left.
As you leave Aït Benhaddou behind, begin your ascent over the beautiful High Atlas mountains. Keep your eyes peeled for Mount Toubkal, the range’s highest peak, which reaches 13,671 feet (4,167 m). Near the top, take a break to stretch your legs and enjoy a panoramic view of the majestic mountains. As you journey down from the High Atlas mountains, you will notice a drastic change in the climate and landscape..
Soon enough, you’ll find yourself in the midst of the noise and clamor of Marrakech. As night falls, the Jemaa el-Fna Square – the most popular square in all of Africa! – comes to life with musicians, performers, snake charmers, storytellers, and food stalls offering a variety of entertainment! If you want to watch the action from afar, pick one of the many cafes surrounding the square and have some mint tea and dinner while enjoying the view.
Welcome to the “Red City” Marrakech! This historic city is renowned for its beautiful red sandstone buildings and walls, standing for over 1000 years. It has always been a bustling city dating back to the Berber Empire (1062 ACE). Come with us on a half-day tour of the best souks in town! We’ll start at Souk el Attarin, where you can browse the stalls for spices. Then we’ll head to Souk Haddadine to see the blacksmiths at work. Finally, we’ll visit Souk Smita to find some beautiful slippers.. Next, visit Souk des Teinturiers (the dyers’ souk) and the Koutoubia Mosque. Along the way, note the open spaces extending off some alleys. These inns, once medieval Fondouks, provided trading caravan merchants with shelter for themselves and for their animals.
The Koutoubia Mosque’s towering minaret is a sight to behold in Marrakech. Relax in the adjoining gardens, and take in the beauty of Ben Youssef Madrasa. This 16th-century madrasa once housed students who came from near and far to study at the mosque. Admire intricate Moroccan artistry, including carved cedar, stucco plaster, and zellij tiling. For more examples of traditional art forms, be sure to visit Marrakech Museum or the Museum of Moroccan Art. South of Jemaa el-Fna lies Kasbah – an area rich with history and home to several noteworthy sights like Saadian Tombs, El Badi Palace, Bahia Palace, as well as Jewish Mellah and cemetery.
Bid farewell to the Red City and set out for Morocco’s west coast via a route that takes you across sweeping plains. En route, pass through an argan tree forest, which is only found in this part of the world. You may even see goats munching on argan fruit high up in the tree branches. Next, visit an argan oil cooperative to learn how argan oil is extracted from the tree and its use in both the food and cosmetic industries.
After arriving in the port city of Essaouira, spend the rest of the day exploring. First, walk along the Skala de la Kasbah (the 18th-century seafront ramparts) and enjoy views of the Atlantic. Next, visit the UNESCO-protected medina and then head to the windswept beach. Jimi Hendrix fans can take a short ride to Diabat at the end of Essaouira’s beach, where he reportedly spent some time. After enjoying all that Essaouira offers, walk back to town and enjoy a fresh seafood meal.
Take a peaceful stroll along the beach before returning to Marrakech’s bustle. If you have time, visit the Majorelle Gardens. These gardens are filled with sub-tropical plants, bamboo, lilies, and palms not far from the Medina. They provide the perfect place to escape the afternoon heat and noise before catching your return flight home.
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