Day 1: Arrive in Marrakesh
Jemaa el-Fna Square is a constant hub of activity.
Greetings from Morocco! Your driver and guide will meet you at the Menara Airport in Marrakesh and take you to your hotel so you can check-in. Before your busy week, unwind and get some rest, or go on a quick city tour to get to know the area.
Venture out in the early evening when Jemaa el-Fna, the city’s iconic central square, comes to life with performers, games, food stalls, snake charmers, and more. Wander around the souks (markets), booths, vendors, and performers to learn more about the Medina (old town) or observe it all from a distance. Take a seat in a café surrounding the square to take in the performance and a delectable meal.
Day 2: Sights & Colors of Marrakesh, Secret Gardens Tour
Marrakesh, the second-largest city in Morocco, earned the nickname “Red City” due to the natural red colour of its walls. Begin your tour today at the Bahia Palace, where you can explore the building’s interior, which features elaborate woodwork and ornamented ceilings, as well as its courtyard and gardens. The largest mosque in the city, the Koutoubia Mosque and Gardens, will be your next stop, according to your guide. Non-Muslims are not permitted inside, but you can still admire the grounds and the building’s exterior, which includes its distinctive minaret. Enter the Medina through one of its gates, then meander through its winding lanes to reach the souks and secret hotels.
With the help of your guide, stroll to a few of the best souks from Jemaa el-Fna. At Souk el Attarin, you can find renowned spice towers, and at Souk Smata, you can buy authentic Moroccan slippers. The Souk des Teinturiers is a must-visit location where you can observe locals dyeing and hanging cloth and yarn. Additionally, you have the choice of going to Le Jardin’s Secret. This sanctuary, a collection of palaces enclosed in a grand garden, is situated right in the middle of the Medina. The park, a magnificent display of Islamic art and architecture, provides refreshments and snacks and is the ideal place to unwind after sightseeing.
Today you can go to a hammam to unwind if you’d like (a traditional Moroccan spa). Enjoy the steam rooms, treat yourself to an energizing body scrub, relax with an argan oil massage, and take in the peaceful surroundings while sipping mint tea. Discover Marrakesh’s flavours later in the evening by taking an optional private food tour through Medina. Bustling Marrakesh is the ideal city to get lost in as you follow your nose and taste buds from one snack to the next because it is full of beautiful alleyways and vibrant squares.
Day 3: Transfer to Essaouira
After breakfast, travel a short distance to the impressive Volubilis in the direction of the north. Volubilis is a vast complex that has been extraordinarily well preserved for centuries and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was one of the most remote regions of the Roman Empire when it was founded in the third century BCE and was a thriving city in its day before it was abandoned nearly a thousand years later. Admire the merchant houses with their obvious heating systems, the temples, and the vibrant, almost-completely-intact in-place mosaics, such as the Labors of Hercules.
Continue travelling north and observe how the landscape transforms from flat plains and rolling hills to the rocky Rif Mountains. Enjoy the laid-back atmosphere and welcoming locals in Chefchaouen, also called the “Blue City,” which comprises winding, narrow streets and blue-washed buildings. Before visiting the kasbah, spend some time in the small Medina along the northern hillside and eat in Plaza Outa el Hammam (old fortification). Make your way to the deserted Spanish Mosque as the day ends to take in one final view of Chefchaouen as the sun sets behind the mountains.
Day 4: Enjoy the Beaches & Souks of Essaouira
Since today is free, why not go for a short stroll? Visit a variety of antique stores to find the ideal keepsakes. Visit the Spice Souk, where you can discover ghassoul, Berber lipstick, herbal medicine, and exotic spices (clay used in face masks). As you browse ceramics, herbs, artwork, leather products, shoes, jewellery, rugs, wood crafts, and other items, have a conversation with local artisans. View the hotels, restaurants, and shops that line Mulay el-Hassan Square, the city’s focal point.
There are some optional activities if you want more action. One of the most popular sports in the area is kitesurfing, which you could learn to do. Due to the constant winds along its bay, the coast is perfect for surfing. Try sand surfing on the impressive dunes nearby Essaouira if you’d prefer to stay dry. You could also ride a horse along the beach and take a leisurely trot while taking in the sea air and smells.
Day 5: Transfer to Taroudant
Your driver will take you on a beautiful coastal drive past Agadir and Essaouira beaches. You will make a five-hour pit stop in the village of Aourir for a seafood lunch by the water before continuing to Taroudant. You can experience the authenticity of this walled market town as you explore the area because it is far from the tourist trail. The rest of the evening is yours to do as you please after checking into your hotel. Before dinner, stroll through its ochre-coloured buildings, cobblestone streets, and charming souks to experience a sense of time travel.
Day 6: Explore Taroudant & Souss Massa National Park
Today is yours to explore the town’s main attraction, the historic Medina and surrounding ramparts of hospitable Taroudant. Consider looking at historic gates and walls like Bab Selsla, Bab Target, and Bab Ouled Bounouna. The walled town’s perimeter can be toured on foot or by bicycle. Then enter the souks to browse the artisan stores. Also present are tanneries resembling those in Fes and Marrakech. Eat something at a restaurant or café, or enjoy a cup of mint tea in one of the hotel gardens. Visit Agadir Tasguent, which is outside Taroudant. An old fortress with breathtaking views is accessible via a short hike.
Later, proceed to Souss Massa National Park, a picturesque region just south of Agadir along Morocco’s Atlantic coast, where you can enjoy the park’s stunning beaches, dunes, and forests. The Youssef Bin Tachfine Reservoir, Massa Valley, and Sidi Rabat Beach are just a few of the park’s highlights that you will visit. Be on the lookout for unusual bird species. The region is home to rare and imperilled northern bald ibis, pink flamingos, and Audouin’s gulls. You’ll stop in Tiznit, a market town, on the way back to Agadir. Take some free time to browse local shops or enjoy a delicious Moroccan lunch at a nearby restaurant.
Day 7: Transfer to Erg Chigaga Desert
Today, you will pass by a collection of breathtaking desert vistas mainly unknown to tourists. Discover the real Morocco at the intersection of the ancient caravan routes that once transported rice, cotton, and sugar across the country. You’ll travel to traditional and nomadic souks and visit Erg Chigaga, Morocco’s wildest desert. Drive a Jeep off-road through Lake Iriqui, a defunct salt lake in the Iraqi National Park that turns into a swamp during rainy seasons. After that, you’ll arrive at the magnificent Chigaga dunes, where you’ll spend the night in a camp of opulent tents beneath the starry skies of southern Morocco.
Day 8: Erg Chigaga Desert Adventure
You will join nomads as they search for grazing lands, water, and food preparation daily in the middle of the wild regs (desert plateaus). You’ll observe how they spend the night in wooden tents in a remote location while getting to feed camels and other animals, learn how to weave a carpet out of camel wool, and prepare meals over a wood fire with traditional utensils. After your nomadic experience, you’ll return to your camp on your camel and enjoy the setting desert sun before dinner and an evening spent under the stars.
Sandboarding is an exhilarating way to explore the dunes of the Erg Chigaga for those seeking more adventure. The ride down will take longer the higher the dune! With a sandboard you can rent, you can explore the dunes and take in the vastness of the Sahara Desert.
Day 9: Visit the Pottery Village of Tamgroute, Transfer to Zagora
Today, you’ll travel once more as your guide takes you to Zagora. You will pause en route to tour the nearby oasis and the desert settlement of Mhamid El Ghizlane. Visit the tiny village of Tamegroute, situated at southern Morocco’s entrance to the desert and 9 miles (15 km) from Zagora. Discover their pottery and a significant Draa Valley craft activity made using age-old methods imported from Fes, where you can see how this unusual green pottery is created and produced.
Then, as you continue driving to arrive in Zagora by late afternoon, stop at the Dunes of Tinfou, two tall dunes situated 16 miles (25 km) south of Zagora, for a brief taste of the desert. When you arrive in the ancient crossroads city and its surrounding oasis, you will check into your accommodation, and the evening is yours to relax.
Day 10: Transfer to Aït Benhaddou via Ouarzazate
take a beautiful ride from Zagora to At Benhaddou. You’ll begin by departing from the lush Draa Valley. The Tizi N’Tinifift Pass offers expansive panoramas of the valley, its lush palm trees, and its imposing mountain ranges. Visit Ouarzazate, dubbed the “Gateway to the Sahara,” a charming town. Investigate the Taourirt Kasbah from the late 19th century. You can take in the gorgeous surroundings from the peak. The green Draa Valley and At Benhaddou are visible in the distance on a clear day.
The town became well-known as a result of the movie business. By getting a close-up look at the sets and props from popular movies like “Black Hawk Down,” “Prometheus,” and “Game of Thrones,” you can learn more about the films made in the area by taking a studio tour or going to the Musée du Cinema. Along with a historic synagogue and several bustling souks, Ouarzazate also has a significant Mellah (Jewish quarter). You’ll eventually arrive at the ancient At Benhaddou Kasbah after getting back on the road. Upon checking in at your hotel, proceed to independently explore the deserted alleys and corridors of the old town.
Day 11: Explore More of Aït Benhaddou, Transfer to Marrakesh
During this morning’s tour, you learn more about At Benhaddou, the most well-known Kasbah in Morocco and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A vital position along the trans-Saharan trade route linking Marrakesh, Ouarzazate, and the southern desert was held by the old ksar, a fortified village, in the 11th century. These days, it is frequently used as a location for movies like “The Mummy,” “Gladiator,” and “Kingdom of Heaven.” For breathtaking views of the kasbah and old camel caravan routes, ascend to the top of the old granary.
Prepare yourself for a change of scenery as you ascend and cross the High Atlas. Observe the 13,671-foot Mount Toubkal in awe (4,167 m). As the Tizi n’Tichka Pass descends, take in the panoramic view of the mountain range. Visit Taddert and make a pit stop at an oil cooperative to discover how olives are prepared for different uses. After sampling, descend the mountains in a northwesterly direction into the plains, where river valleys have been carved out of the hillside. Return to Marrakesh after experiencing the peace of the desert and mountains. Check your hotel, unwind, and then say goodbye at Jemaa el-Fna.
Day 12: Depart Marrakesh
Today is the final day we will spend in Morocco. Take a private transfer from your Marrakesh lodging to the airport to catch a flight home or to your next location. Ma’a salam and good bye!