Top 10 best stops on your Moroccan vacation

Morocco is a beautiful country, with so much to see and do. Here is the list of the top 10 spots and cities to include on your Moroccan vacation.

Morocco.  It seems like we just can’t get enough of it.  Mainly because we can’t!  We spent 17 days here, and it was still not enough to truly appreciate it to its full extent.  Although we saw a lot more than most do because of our private tour with Eco Desert Morocco, we know we will go back to this beautiful country that crept its way up our top 5.  So if you’re planning a holiday in Morocco, these are the best sights and cities to add to your itinerary.  Just don’t ask us to put them in a specific order, because they are all stunning and worth the time.



If you like quiet and quaint towns, Chefchaouen is the place for you.  The Blue Pearl of Morocco, situated in the North of the country, was by far our favourite city in Morocco.  It was also a local favourite too when we spoke to our guides.

It was founded in 1471 in the Rif mountains by Jews and Moors who were fleeing Spain.  We heard a ton of different reasons as to why the city is painted blue.  Some say it’s to keep the mosquitos away – that might have actually worked because we didn’t see any.  Others say it was painted by the Jews who settled here after fleeing Hitler.  Finally, there are those who simply say it represents the colour of the sea.

Chefchaouen blue streets
Lose yourself in the blue streets of Chefchaouen

Whatever the reason, it’s a beautiful place, especially nestled in the surrounding mountains.  The vibe here is just magical.  It’s such a chill place, maybe due to the fact that they produce and sell marijuana here.  The square is smaller than those of other cities, and blue narrow streets make for some fun exploring.

Chefchaouen hillside
A view of Chefchaouen from the Kasbah

We would recommend you stay in the old medina for two full days if you can.  There isn’t much to do here (visiting the Kasbah is a must and there are some hikes around), so if you just want to make a quick stop here, one day will do.  It gets pretty hot during the day, so if your riad has a pool, you should be all set.  Make sure you bring something to keep you warm, because it gets pretty chilly at night.


This town is definitely not on the tourist trail.  Tafraout (or Tafraoute) is known as the heart of Berber land in the Anti Atlas mountains.  You’ll notice how the women here are dressed differently than in the rest of the country.  The town, home to only 5,000 people, is situated in an oasis, surrounded by majestic mountains.  So majestic, that they are actually home to the Napoleon’s Hat and the Lion’s face rock formations.

But these are not the reasons why this town was a hit on our list.  About 4km out of town, you will find Belgian painter’s Jean Veran’s famous work of art: The Painted Rocks.  Make sure you head here around sunset to have a surreal moment of beauty.  Also, be sure to go with a 4×4 because the terrain is quite rough.

Tafraout painted rocks sunset wediditourway
Epic sunset at the painted rocks, Tafraout

Nothing can compare to what you will discover: the beautiful red sand background, with the dusty rose Moroccan sunsets, and these huge blue painted rocks scattered in the terrain.


Well obviously! How can we not include this crazy beautiful city in our top 10?  Marrakech is the fourth largest city in Morocco.  It’s one of the most important former imperial cities, and it’s just amazing.

Marakech Bahia Palace wediditourway
Bahia Palace, Marrakech

The vibe in the old Medina is electric.  The city vibrates to the beat of its people.  The vendors walking through the narrow streets with their donkeys, screaming Balak! (move out of the way!) to unsuspecting travellers.  The hustle and bustle of the famous Jemaa El Fnaa square that comes to life at night.  The maze that they call a souk.  And of course, all the beautiful places to visit like the Bahia Palace, Yves Saint-Laurent’s Jardin Majorelle, Koutoubia Mosque, Menara Gardens, Saadian Tombs, and so much more.

We spent 1 full day in Marakech, and it was just not enough.  When you go, make sure to spend at least 2 full days here.  If you could stretch it to 3, that would be even better!  There is so much to do and see, but the best thing is probably just to chill in the souk and to take it all in.


Fes, or Fez, or the second largest city in Morocco is up there in our favourites.  More hectic than Chefchaouen, but calmer than Marrakech, the highlight is the old medina.  It’s a vibrant city known for its mosaics, copper, tanneries and weavers.  It’s also home to University of Al Quaraouiyine, recognized by the Guinness World Records as the oldest existing educational institution in the world.

Fez Bab Boujloud gate wediditourway
Walking on through the Bab Boujloud gate in the medina of Fes

Beyond all this, it’s a beautiful city.  Mosaic fountains are all over the place, adding colour to the mud-tinted walls.  The medina itself is a feat and challenge as well with its 9,500 streets and alleys.  Back in the day, it was built like a maze to get invaders lost.  Today, it accomplishes this same mission with tourists.

Chaoua leather tannery, Fes
Chaoua leather tannery, Fes

You can spend a good two days in Fez.  Make sure to visit Bab Boujloud (the blue gate to the medina), Dar el Makhzen (the Royal Palace of Fez), Jnan Sbil Gardens, as well as the Tanner’s Quarters (the oldest tannery in the world), the locals weavers for your rugs, and the different pottery and ceramics stores.  So if you’re looking to shop some Moroccan goods, this is the place to do it.

Gnaoua village

After staying in the desert, we had a quick stop in a Gnaoua village in Erg Chebbi.  This small town has a population of only 390 people, mainly of Gnaoua or Berber origins.

In a small room, we sat and watched a dozen men with two really cute kids, perform their traditional music.  They moved to a rhythm and beat that was created by their ancestors.

Gnaoua village music
Listening to traditional Gnaoua music

This is slave music from central and west Africa.  Long ago, they fled their plight in caravans and settled in this part of Morocco with their families.  After their emancipation from slavery, they survived as nomads.  They moved around searching of better land for their herds.  They only settled here in the 50’s and 60’s and founded this town.

Hearing this music, the repetitive beats that create a sort of trance, you are truly transported to a different time and place.  This was a short visit, but it was so enjoyable.  We can’t recommend enough that you stop in the village and hear this music.

Once you are done, please head to Zafa Restaurant to have some traditional Berber pizza.  You’ll thank us later.


This is another city that’s not on many people’s list, but it should be.  Mirleft started to be a popular destination with hippies back in the seventies.  We can only imagine what the vibes back then were, because they are pretty chill these days!  A beautiful soft sand beach, amazing sunsets on the ocean, delicious food – this town has everything!

Mirleft beach camel
The beautiful beach of Miraleft

This city is small, and calmer than the ones near it, like Essaouira and Sidi Infi.  In fact, we much preferred it to Essaouira, that was too windy to actually enjoy the beach.  Peak seasons here are from Christmas until mid-January for Europeans, and July and August for Moroccans.

There’s not much to see here, except the kasbah and the beach.  Walking on the main road, you’ll get from one side of town to the next in about 20-30 minutes.  But if you’re looking for a chill town to hang out in and enjoy the beach, this is the place for you!


Sahara desert

Did you really think we were going to come all the way to Morocco and not go to the desert!?  This was probably one of the coolest experiences of our lives.  We though the desert would just be a huge sandy area, but the sandy part was actually not that big… or we didn’t go to deep into it.  Surprisingly, there is a lot of rocky landscape in the Sahara.

Watch the sunrise of the Sahara desert at the Luxury Sahara Camp
Sunrise over the Luxury Sahara camp

There are 2 ways to get to your camp here.  You can ride a camel there, just make sure they are being treated well if you do.  This means they have enough water, they have shelter and their owners are nice to them.  As exciting as it is to ride a camel, let’s not forget to promote an ethical way of treating animals.  If not, you can take a 4×4 there.  Your accommodations will probably give you this choice anyway.

Sahara desert music
Berber music in the Sahara desert

Once at the campsite, you will have a traditional Berber meal, enjoy some music by the fire pit, and then sleep in a tent.  If we have one word of advice here, it’s to sleep outside, under the stars.  First, the starry sky here is like nothing you’ve ever seen… unless you’ve been to New Zealand.  Next, how many other times will you get to sleep in the desert?  There is nothing like sleeping out in the silence of the desert and waking up with the first rays of light.  Don’t forget to watch the sunrise the next morning.

Hassan II Mosque

There aren’t many mosques you can actually enter in Morocco as a non-Muslim person.  Luckily, Hassan II Mosque is one of them.  This is by far, the most beautiful mosque, or religious monument we have ever seen.  And it’s the only reason we actually drove into Casablanca (other than Rick’s cafe, which Derek’s parents had too see).

Hassan 2 mosque casablanca morocco arch details
Aches at the Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca

Some fun facts for you.  Hassan II Mosque is the largest mosque in Morocco, the second largest in Africa, and the 5th largest in the world.   The mosque was completed in 1993, and it was designed by Michel Pinseau and built by Bouygues.  The walls are made of hand-crafted marble and what’s cooler is that the roof is retractable.  You can fit a whopping 105,000 worshippers at the mosque: 25,000 inside the prayer hall and 80,000 on the grounds outside. 

Hassan 2 mosque casablanca morocco ablution fountains arch
Ablution room at Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca

Despite it size, this place is beautiful, peaceful and awe-inspiring.  You can enter the mosque and join a tour for a small fee.  Just make sure you check the times, so you don’t miss out on this.  Tours are offered in many languages like French, Spanish, German, and English.

High Atlas mountains

The High Atlas are North Africa’s greatest mountain range.  These mountains stand tall and beautiful, offering beautiful hiking trails for day-hikers or ambitious mountaineers.  Historically, and physically, they are the barrier between the northern plains and the pre-Sahara.  Driving through them is rough, long, treacherous even.  They are quite remote from the country’s mainstream or urban life, yet home to some beautiful Berber villages.

High Atlas mountains winding road
One of the crazy beautiful winding roads in Morocco, cutting through the Atlas mountains

You will need cross the Atlas many times in your journey through Morocco.  If you head to Ait Ben Haddou, you will be at their feet.  Just enjoy the ride through these impressive mountains and take it all in.  Be warned however, because if you have motion sickness, these roads will not be your friends.  For more about how to prepare for your Morocco holiday, check out our tips here.

Todra Gorge

Describing the Todra, or Todgha Gorges is nearly impossible.  It’s more of a feeling than anything else, and the feeling here is insanely good.

gorges of the Todra Boumalen Dades Morocco Africa jumping wediditourway
Jumping for joy at the Todra Gorge

Crossing the eastern part of the High Atlas Mountains, near the town of Tinerhir, this is a hot spot in the summer and dry season.  Surrounded by limestone cliffs that can reach up to 400 metres (1,312 ft), there is a peaceful little stream that runs through the Gorge.

Todra Gorge locals Morocco
Locals hanging out at the Todra Gorge

On hot summer days, it’s the perfect place for locals and travellers to cool off.  On one side of the Gorge, you will find locals setting up picnics, playing music, and bathing in the stream.  Don’t be surprised to find kids running around and jumping wherever the water is a little deep.

On the other side of Todra, vendors will set up shop, selling jewellery, rugs, dresses and whatever other beautiful things they have.  Take some time here if you can, just chill out and enjoy the beauty of this magical place.

There you have it.  Our top 10 favourite stops on our Moroccan trip.  These were the places that really struck us.  Of course, we had a great time in every other city we saw, but if we were to do this trip again, which we will, we would come back to these very special spots.  That’s how special they were!

Tour package promotion

If you are looking to tour Morocco in the same amazing way that we did, with Eco Desert Morocco, you can use send us an email at with your inquiry and we will put you in contact with Atman to ensure that you get 15% off your trip!

If you want to read about our full 17-day tour, you can check it out here.

If you’re heading to Morocco and want to get ready, check out our top tips here.

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Top 10 stops to include on your Moroccan vacation. These are the top 10 cities and sites we visited during our trip and fell in love with. Some more famous spots but a few off the beaten path.   www.wediditourway

Beautiful Moroccan tiles and mosaics – A photoblog

Morocco is a beautiful country. The stunning Moroccan tiles and mosaics mesmerized us during our holiday. These ceramic patterns made every place we visited a total charm. find the best ones here.

Morocco is undoubtably a beautiful country.  From the delicious food, warm people, and stunning architecture, there is something for everyone to enjoy and appreciate.  What struck us and totally mesmerized us during our 17-day holiday were the beautiful mosaic tiles.  These ceramics, commonly called zellige, made every single place we visited a total charm.  It’s just one of the 1,001 reasons we loved Morocco.

Beautiful mosaic fountain zellige fez morocco
One of the many beautiful mosaic fountains in Fez, Morocco

This type of tile dates back to the 10th century, the zellige is a piece of historic art that originated in the old city of Fez, in Morocco and parts of Spain.  In fact, Fez is still known to produce tons of tiles and ceramic pieces that are sold all throughout Morocco and the world.  For our trendy readers, the tiles have actually made a comeback over the last few years, so feel free to decorate your whole place in intricate geometric patterns and vibrant colours.  We know we sure will when we have another home one day.

Palace mosque mosaic patterns floor morocco
The hypnotic patterns on the walls and floors of the mosque in Morocco

We say the tiles are mesmerizing, because the signature Moroccan look is a web of complex geometric shapes in vivid colours, placed in a geometric pattern.  They incorporate a variety shapes that join together in a mathematical fashion, often, surrounded by a very symmetric frame.  They create a hypnotic effect, almost like a kaleidoscope.  Why all these mosaic patterns?  Because according to Islamic tradition, you could not portray living things in the rules of design.  Plus, the mosaic tiles act as an beautiful backdrop for meditation and religious ceremonies.  Win-win!

Hassan 2 mosque casablanca morocco ablution fountain
A fountain in the ablution room of the Hassan 2 Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco

Back in the day, the colours were your basic white and brown.  But today, you find mosaics, tiles and ceramics in all the colours of the rainbow.  Or actually, mainly in the colours that represent the four elements – fire, water, wind and earth, so basically, in tones of brown, white, green, saffron, blue and black being the signature hues.

Zellige is known as “the prince of tiles,” and can be viewed inside ancient tombs, palaces and temples throughout Morocco.  Still today, these patterns are regarded as a symbol of sophistication, wealth and power for royalty and religious establishments.  We sure saw a ton of it throughout the country, and can’t wait to decorate our next home in this style.

The beauty around Fes

Intricate details on a door Fez Morocco

Carvings on wall fez morocco

Yellow blue zellige Mosaic fez morocco

Star zellige mosaic fez morocco pattern

Zellige mosaic details floor fez morocco

Yamanda Fez riad mosaic details blue white morocco

Yamanda fez riad carving details patterns morocco

Yamanda fez riad lamp pattern details morocco

morocco pattern on doors mosaic

Bahia Palace, Marrakech

Marrakech morocco bahia palace mosaic ceiling

Marrakech morocco bahia palace mosaic carving ceiling

Marrakech morocco bahia palace mosaic floor

Marrakech morocco bahia palace mosaic pattern wall

Marrakech morocco bahia palace mosaic pattern

Marrakech morocco bahia palace mosaic pattern zellige

Marrakech morocco bahia palace mosaic fountain

Hassan 2 Mosque, Casablanca

Hassan 2 mosque casablanca morocco chandelier details

Hassan 2 mosque casablanca morocco mosaic patterns

Hassan 2 mosque casablanca morocco carving details patterns

Hassan 2 mosque casablanca morocco ceiling dome

Hassan 2 mosque casablanca morocco arch details

Hassan 2 mosque casablanca morocco arch hallway

Hassan 2 mosque casablanca morocco fountain

Hassan 2 mosque casablanca morocco zellige mosaic details

Hassan 2 mosque casablanca morocco ablution entrance

Hassan 2 mosque casablanca morocco ceiling details

Hassan 2 mosque casablanca morocco ablution hallway

Hassan 2 mosque casablanca morocco ablution fountains arch

Hassan 2 mosque casablanca morocco hallway

Hassan 2 mosque door sun casablanca morocco

Mosaic details hassan 2 mosque casablanca morocco

Hassan 2 mosque door casablanca morocco girl on phone

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Beautiful Moroccan tiles & mosaics. See all the different kinds of patterns that make Morocco beautiful to explore.

The best way to tour Morocco

We looked into a ton of options on how to visit Morocco with Derek’s parents. We found a great young company to tour with. Eco Desert Morocco was the best option out there for so many reasons.

When Derek’s parents told us they wanted to join us during our long-term trip, we knew exactly where to take them for their holidays.  We wanted to find a place that was out of their comfort zone, but still safe for tourists.  We wanted something off the beaten path, but easy to explore.  And we wanted somewhere that was budget-friendly and awesome.  So we decided to tour Morocco for 2.5 weeks.

When we started looking into it, we had a ton of questions.  Where were the best places to go?  Should we go with a tour group or explore on our own?  Should we go with a private tour, and if so, could we afford it?  So we started researching it all, until we came upon Eco Desert Morocco.  And then, the questions stopped.  We found the best way to tour the country.  We spoke to Atman, one of the owners, and after a few exchanges, we knew we wanted to see their country with them.

Our guide and driver from Eco Desert Morocco
Our guide and driver turned good friends, Ismail and Mustapha, from Eco Desert Morocco

We partnered with Eco Desert Morocco while we were touring Morocco, creating content daily for them, through posts and stories.  This post, however, is in no way sponsored or partnered.  We loved touring with them so much, that we figured that everyone should go with them too.  Simply put, there is no better way to experience this amazing country.  We started our 17-day tour with our guide Mustapha and our driver Ismail as “clients”, but end it as friends.

So here are the reasons you should do a private tour with our friends at Eco Desert Morocco.

No one likes to be crammed in a tour bus

This is probably the most obvious of the reasons and that’s why it’s on here.  NO ONE likes to be stuck on a tour bus.  They treat you like cattle, take you from one crowded tourist spot to the next and feed you the same boring information everyone else does.

There is nothing personal or different about that approach.  Worse of all, you can’t stop when you need to, like when you see a beautiful field of sunflowers or the hanger strikes.

Ismail packing up our jeep for the trip out of the desert
Ismail packing up our jeep for the trip out of the desert

The beauty of touring with Eco Desert Morocco is that you have a comfy vehicle all to yourself, with your group, and you can stop anywhere you want.  Derek’s parents have a strict eating schedule, and we were able to stop whenever we wanted.  Also, the guys were so nice, that they would stop every time we would see a herd of goats, so Carine can go play with them.  She was slightly obsessed!  They had no trouble just pulling over whenever we found a nice spot to take a picture or admire the view.  Thanks guys for helping us with the ‘Gram!

Make your own itinerary and schedule

From the get-go, this is something that we loved about working with Atman.  We were able to work out our own itinerary and schedule, with his guidance.  We wanted to see a lot of the country, from the usual tourist spots to some lesser known places.  He was quickly able to put together an itinerary that answered all our requests.  He also threw in some great spots we never would have found if we had done this on our own.

Flexibility along the way

Not only do you have the freedom to create your own itinerary and schedule, but you get the flexibility to decide what you want to do along the way.  If you don’t want to visit a certain landmark, they’ll skip it.  If you rather have a free day instead of exploring the city, it’s no problem.  If you want to go see the Hassan II Mosque but your parents prefer to get a coffee at Rick’s Cafe, they can arrange that too.

The main prayer room in Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca
The main prayer room in Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca

We had complete flexibility in what we did each day, the freedom to choose how we spent our time, and that is priceless.

See a side of the country you would never see otherwise

When touring a country, people often end up going to the same spots.  We all check the same blogs and Instagram posts and end up in the same places.  With Eco Desert Morocco, they were able to take us way off the beaten path, just as we wanted.

We saw some things that not many get to see.  The Painted Rocks in Tafraout during an epic sunset, sharing meals with their families,  listening to Gnaoua music in a Gnaoua village, all things we never would have done without them.  These were truly moments that made our trip unforgettable.

Again, these are moments that no other tour company could have offered.

Visiting nomads

Do we really need to say more?  We got to visit not one, but two nomadic families in Morocco.  The first family lived in the desert.  We were able to hang out with the children and have tea with one of the wives as Ismail and Mustapha translated and explained what their daily lives were like as nomads.

Later during our trip, we were able to visit another family who lived in caves in the mountains.  Once again, we were able to sit with the mother and sip some fresh mint tea while she made a traditional rug made of sheep’s wool.  We asked her daughter about her plans for the future, as the youngest, a 5-year old boy, was filming Boomerangs on my phone.


A nomadic family playing in the Sahara Desert while their mother prepares us some mint tea
A nomadic family playing in the Sahara Desert while their mother prepares mint tea

These were epic moments that can’t be bought.  Both these tribes are close to the families of the Eco Desert Morocco guys, as they come from nomadic pasts.  This is why we were able to visit them, with no one else around.

Support a young local company

You could opt for a larger, more known company who is run by private investors.  A nameless group, with people who you can’t connect with, or you can go for a local company who wants to show you how locals live here.  Eco Desert Morocco may be a young company run by young guys, but that’s what makes it even more amazing!  To be able to support a family business run by brothers who are following in their father’s footsteps is so rewarding.

The guys are awesome and inspiring

Entrepreneurship is admirable, no matter where it’s done.  When it’s a few young brothers and their cousins, inspired by their father, it’s even more inspiring.  That is what Eco Desert Morocco is.  Four brothers, who took after their father’s love of tourism, to show others a beautiful side of their country.

Our guides, Ismail and Mustapha, looking cool overlooking Agadir
Our guides, Ismail and Mustapha, looking cool overlooking Agadir

They’re young, hard-working, motivated and always in a great mood.  They work tirelessly, as most budding entrepreneurs do, and they love what they do.  You can feel it in their smiles, and in the passion that drives them every day.

See more than you ever thought possible

You know how we mention these guys are hard-working, well we’re not kidding.  The groups that they’re used to taking usually only spend 4-5 days with them and rush through the country doing 6-7 cities in that short time.  Yeah, we’re not exaggerating.  In 17 days, we stopped in 20 different cities.  Some we slept in, some we passed through and quickly explored.

We could have done a lot less, but we wanted to go off the beaten path, and on the winding roads of Morocco, that means a lot of driving.  It also means seeing more than you thought possible, because these guys work tirelessly at making your trip as amazing as possible.

Peace of mind

With Eco Desert Morocco, we never had to worry.  About anything.  Ever.  Seriously, we read long and hard about scams to watch out for, sketchy places and people, but with Ismail and Mustapha, we never saw a bit of that.  We didn’t have to worry about pricing, or getting lost, or making it on time.  It was a stress-free vacation.

Our trusted driver and buddy Ismail
Our trusted driver and buddy Ismail, getting us where we need to go!

Sure, part of the fun of an adventure is getting lost, and having to deal with certain frustrations, but when you take your elderly parents with you, you have an added stress level and inherent worry that is omnipresent.  Not having to worry about everything else was a welcome feeling!

They also knew where to bring us for the best food in the city!  Something often difficult to figure out when you are not from a certain place, we never left a restaurant wishing we found a better place.

Sustainable tourism

This is our favourite thing about Eco Desert Morocco… ok, maybe not favourite, but certainly what sets them apart.  It’s the fact that they promote a eco-friendly and sustainable mode of tourism.  They took us to various cooperatives, helped us meet nomads, took us to a Gnaoua village, and so much more.

Being from the sand dunes of Erg Chebi, it’s of utmost importance to Eco Desert Morocco to keep the fragile balance that exists between their beautiful country and those who wish to visit it.  It is for this reason that they strive to minimize the impact that tourism has on their socio-environmental landscape.

Tour package promotion

If you are looking to tour Morocco in the same amazing way that we did, with Eco Desert Morocco, you can use send us an email at with your inquiry and we will put you in contact with Atman to ensure that you get 15% off your trip!

We put a lot of time and effort into the content we create.  Please like, comment and share, every action on your part helps us out tremendously and is very much appreciated.

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Everything you need to know about the best way to tour Morocco as a private tour with Eco Desert Morocco. It's the best way to discover this beautiful country and help young entrepreneurs.

Morocco – 20+ things to know before you go

If you are heading to Morocco, check out our travel tips before you go. We spent 3 weeks there and learnt so much. Click here so you don’t make some of the same mistakes we did.

After spending  an awesome holiday in Morocco, we quickly fell in love with the country.  The people are some of the kindest and most generous we’ve met.  The food is delicious.  The landscape is insane.  It’s safe for tourists and can be visited relatively cheaply.  We read quite a few travel tips before heading out, but nothing teaches you better than experiencing it all first-hand.  So, before you head out to Morocco on your adventure, here are some things you should know to make sure you have the best time ever!

1. Go to the desert

This is a no brainer.  When else will you have the chance to go to the Sahara Desert? Probably not for a while. if ever again.  Be warned, however, that it’s quite a trek to get here – through the mountains on crazy winding roads.  The road from Fes is about 7 to 8 hours away and Marrakech is about 10.  We broke up our journey back from the desert to suit Derek’s parents, and if you don’t like being in a car, driving down winding roads too much, we recommend you do the same.  You can check out our itinerary here for all the details.

Either way, we highly recommend you not skip this experience to sleep in the desert.  If you can, sleep outside your tent, under the stars.  This quickly became the highlight of our trip – the amount of stars we saw were similar to the skies in New Zealand, the starriest skies we have yet to see.

Having a blast in the Sahara desert
Don’t miss out on the Sahara desert

2. Money, money, money

Ok, get ready cause there are a few things you should know about the money situation in Morocco.

2.1.  You can only get dirhams in Morocco and in select airports

Don’t worry about not finding them anywhere before your trip, it’s normal.  Once you get there, you can exchange pretty much any currency you have at the airport at exchange desks for your dirhams (MAD).  Also note that you can’t enter or leave the country with more than 1,000 MAD in your possession.

2.2.  You can pull out money at ATMs, but it can get tricky

We tried to use a bunch of ATMs with the English setting, and they refused to give us money.  When we would switch to Arabic/French, they would work fine.  Luckily, numbers are written the same way, so they’re not hard to navigate!  It also doesn’t hurt that we speak French!

2.3.  Always have cash on you

There are very few places that accept credit cards so make sure to always have cash on you.  This applies as much for hotels, as restaurants and stores.  They say “Cash is king“, and this could not be more true than in Morocco.  The only places that might accept credit cards are high-end restaurants or hotels, and even then, only in the bigger cities like Marrakech or Casablanca.

2.4.  Always have the right amount of money

Like many places we’ve been to, it’s hard to get change in Morocco.  ATMs usually only dispense larger bills, but then no one has change to give you.  Our tip is to try and break the big money at a supermarket, and then spend the smaller bills in restaurants and stalls.  The number of times we had to wait for a vendor to break down a larger bill is insane.

2.5. Beware of pickpockets

We didn’t have any trouble with this, but you don’t want to be that guy.  When you’re in big cities, in souks or large crowds, just keep an eye out for pickpockets.  Keep your money in a front pocket, fanny pack or in your sock, and beware of your surroundings.  It is safe in Morocco for tourists, but it’s always better be safe than sorry.

2.6. Help often isn’t free

If a local is “helping” you find your way, helping you bargain a price, or offering to show you something cool, know that they are expecting a tip from you.  This help or advice is not just from a friendly local trying to help you out.  This help is from someone who will be harassing you for money as soon as he brings you where you want.  It’s best to avoid them and just ask a friendly shop or restaurant owner if you need help.

Luckily, we didn’t have trouble with this because we had our friends from Eco Desert Morocco with us, but we heard some horror stories.

3. The drinking water is safe… but only for locals

The locals have no problem drinking the water in Morocco.  They drink it straight from the tap, but it’s a different story for us travellers.  Although we didn’t have many problems with eating fruits and salads washed in the tap water, or even brushing our teeth, drinking the tap water was a big no-no for us.

We highly recommend you get yourself a Lifestraw so that you can drink the tap water too.  If not, you’ll have to resort to buying tons of plastic bottles, because in case you didn’t know, it gets crazy hot in Morocco.  And you know how much we hate using single use plastic.

Lifestraw water bottle
Can’t leave home without, our Lifestraw

There are some natural springs available on the side of roads, with fresh water from the mountains.  Those were fine to drink from.  Beware though, because the fountains in cities don’t have safe drinking water.  And just to be safe, make sure you have some Imodium with you.

4. Visa and flight out

You don’t usually need a visa to enter Morocco.  But to be safe, check with your local government to make sure (or just google it).  However, you may need a flight out in order to enter the country.

We may have forgotten to check this before we flew into Morocco, so we had to go on a rapid-fire quest to find a ticket the day before we got there.  We were lucky because no one checked in our case, but it may happen that they ask you to show proof that you are exiting Morocco.  Avoid being caught with hefty fees on a last minute ticket and buy it when the price is right.  Basically, learn from our silly mistake!

5. For your own sake, bring toilet paper with you everywhere

This one is self-explanatory.  The bathrooms in Morocco are not always pretty… or even actual bathrooms sometimes.  You may encounter a few holes in the ground.  You will need toilet paper for personal use, to wipe seats, or whatever.  Just don’t leave home without it, and make sure you have some with you every time you need to use a bathroom.  More than 90% of the toilets we visited did not have toilet paper available for use.

6. The wifi is terrible

This happens a lot in countries, especially those who have lots of mountains or islands.  They have wifi and internet available pretty much everywhere, like hotel, cafes, restaurants.  It’s also pretty cheap to buy data for your phone as well.  Make sure you check your data roaming plan before you commit because we got 5 Gb for 5€, and that’s dirt cheap.

The problem is that despite having access to data and wifi, it’s terribly slow.  Our phone data would drop out all the time.  Hotels would only have wifi in common areas and even then, it was fairly slow.

This is very similar to what we had in the Philippines.  If you know what to expect, you may find that it’s not that bad.  Just be patient and let your big data work run at night.

7. Everything takes longer than expected

This is true for the wifi and even more for meals.  Having supper is a long ordeal, which is fine when you’re on vacation, but less so if you’re in a hurry.

Once you sit at the restaurant, they will probably serve drinks, bread and salads. The food takes some time to prepare and cook, so expect to wait for your main meal.  After you’re done eating, restaurants often serve fruits for desert.  And only after that, will you get coffee or mint tea.

This whole ordeal should take you about 1 hour and a half or two hours, so be sure to make your future plans accordingly.

8. Most roads are in the mountains so see the above-mentioned point

The whole country has mountain ranges cutting through it.  The main ones are the Atlas mountains which we ended up crossing 3 or 4 times in the 3 weeks we were here.  This means that their roads are built around those mountains.  This also means that they are crazy winding roads that twist and turn like it’s nobody’s business.  If you have motion sickness, come prepared because you may not feel so great.

High Atlas mountains winding road
One of the crazy beautiful winding roads in Morocco, cutting through the Atlas mountains

What this also means is that trips take a lot longer than expected.  Our 300 km route ended up taking over 5 hours.  As we mentioned, things take a lot longer, road trips included!  Make sure you come prepared for that too with a well-stocked playlist and some snacks.

9. It’s probably best if you don’t drive

Driving here is pretty complicated and fairly expensive as well.  We looked into renting a car for 18 days and it cost near $2,250, and that didn’t include gas.  Luckily, we left all our driving up to Eco Desert Morocco, and we got to relax and enjoy the views.

Not only that, the roads are long and hard to drive on, often very narrow, so having a skilled driver is very important.

The great tour guides of Eco Desert Morocco
Our new friends from Eco Desert Morocco

Despite having a GPS, it’s very possible that it doesn’t work properly as we did come across quite a few closed roads or some under heavy construction.  Save yourself the trouble and either take a bus, taxi or a private tour.

10. Bargain but be fair

A few people asked us how the vendors were in Morocco, having heard that they can be quite aggressive.  Some may be a little harder to deal with than others, but we found it quite easy to work with them.

They will probably approach you while you’re walking down the street, and suggest that you buy something.  They need to make a buck to survive, after all.  If you refuse firmly, chances are, they will leave you alone.  If you want to buy something, the bargaining dual will begin.

Marrakech market Souk copper goods Morocco
One of Marrakech’s many souks

You should definitely bargain, but you have to be fair.  Like with any good negotiation, both parties should leave happy.  What do things cost?  We often found that everyone was happy when we paid a little over half of the initial price they suggested.

Be warned however.  Moroccan goods are beautiful.  From rugs and clothes to jewellery and leather, whatever you want, their products are beautiful.  You will want to buy everything in sight, so work on those negotiating skills.  Otherwise you will leave here poor, but with very beautiful things.

11. Accommodation costs

As food was pretty cheap in Morocco, we were expecting the accommodations to follow the same trend.  We were so wrong on that point.

You can find hostels with dorms for less than $15 a night, but they are very basic accommodations.  They often come with shared bathrooms and no breakfast included.

For a private room, with ensuite, and breakfast included, we were looking at $30-40 a night, for pretty basic accommodations in riads.  For anything nicer, you’re looking at $50 or more.

Relaxing on the rooftop terrace of Yamanda Riad in Fes
Relaxing on the rooftop terrace of Yamanda Riad in Fes

12. Limited food selection

Don’t get us wrong, we loved the food in Morocco!  They have delicious tajines, couscous, and vegetables.  The flavours are amazing and cooking them takes time, skill and patience.  However, that is what the food selection seems to be limited to, when it comes to budget eats.  Sometimes, they will throw in some fish or pizza in the mix, but often, we would walk past 10 restaurants at suppertime, each offering the exact same menu.

If you want to eat a different variety of food, it will end up costing you quite a lot more.

13. Heaven for bread lovers

Also, Morocco may be known as “hell for people on a no carb diet”.  Every meal here is served with a delicious doughy bread called “Khubz” in Arabic.  Very often, they use the bread as a means of eating their meal, scooping up whatever the dish of the day is.

Also note that often, the left hand is seen as being dirty, so they will eat with their right one.

14. Take your pick of language

There is no shortage of ways you can communicate with Moroccans.  They speak a mix of Arabic, Berber, French and English.  In most larger cities, you should be fine with English, but outside the bigger hubs, you’ll probably need a translator… even if you speak French like we do.  Our guides would even tell us that there are certain dialects that even they don’t understand.

There are a few basic Arabic words that are practical to know:

  • Hello (Peace Be With You): Salam Alikome (salaam a eleikum), to which you can respond “Alikome Salam”
  • Thank You: Choukran (shokran)
  • No Thank You: La Choukran (la shokran). This one is best used with street vendors hassling you to buy something, beggars and if they want to serve you more food
  • Watch Out: Balak. You’re going to hear this in the medinas or souks, as locals rush by you with a mule, motorcycle, or cart.  Basically, it means, get out of the way because he’s not stopping!
  • Ali Baba: This is a term of endearment for anyone who has a beard, especially if it’s as long as Derek’s.

15. Put your vices on hold

Morocco isn’t a dry country but it’s close enough to it.  It’s very hard to find alcohol and when you do, it’s very expensive.  Usually, drinks are sold in hotel bars and restaurants and they cost a fortune.  You can find some liquor stores in certain larger cities but they are few and far between.

As for drugs, you will be offered hashish in every city, by many locals.  Although it is tolerated, it is still illegal to smoke the special herb, so steer clear of it.

If you’re looking to party, we were offered many flyers for bars in Marrakech, but our guides advised us not to go.  They are usually expensive to get into, drinks cost an arm and a leg, they are sausage-fests and a popular hangout for prostitutes.  Just wait to get back home to party.

16.  Tipping is always appreciated

This is a growing trend in Morocco, so encourage the good service you receive and tip the waiter.  Often, they make barely enough to get by.  In general we tipped about 10%, which is the expected norm.  Beware, as sometimes, the service fee is included in your overall bill.  If it is, it will always be written clearly.  If you’re in doubt, just ask your waiter.

17. What you wear is important

There’s a few points to note here.  The weather is quite different from one city to the next.  In the north and on the coast of the country, it gets a little chilly and windy at night, sometimes even during the day.  The sun is intense, so you will notice a significant temperature difference between being in the sun and in the shade.  In the centre of the country, as well as in the desert, it gets hotter than you can imagine.  At least it’s a dry heat.  The best thing to do is to dress in layers.  But still, in the 3 weeks we spent here, it was almost always quite hot.

Another trick is to stick to a basic colour palette, either black or white.  Because it gets hella hot in Morocco, you will sweat.  We went in the middle of July, and there were days that were insane.  If you wear black or white, your sweat marks won’t show as much.  Also, white is great to help you keep cool.  You’re welcome!

We also found it practical to have a shall handy at all times.  Not only to cover up when it gets cold, but also, to cover up when you enter a religious or important landmarks.  This bring us to our next point.

18. Dress conservatively as a woman

This point actually comes with a caveat.  I wasn’t sure what to expect or how to dress when in Morocco.  I’d read many articles stating that you should be dressed more conservatively and cover shoulders and knees.  While talking to locals, they said we can dress however we wanted.  So our advice would be to play it by ear and adapt to your surroundings.

In larger cities like Marrakech, where they are used to seeing tourists, you won’t be too bothered by men, scandalized looks or advances.  Other times, you will stop to have a meal on the side of the road, and get people who will stare at you for days.  That’s one of the reasons we kept a shall handy.  If you’re in a conservative city, like Tafraout and Taroudant, use it to cover up, or simply wear clothes that are less revealing.  Either way, the locals will appreciate you making an effort to dress appropriately.

19. Always have your swimsuit close

Despite the fact that Morocco is home to the Sahara Desert, it is on the coast of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean, and home to many rivers, lakes and waterfalls.  After spending so many hours in the car, driving around in the scorching heat, you’re going to want to cool down.  So just trust us, and always have your bathing suit handy!

We got to sooo many places, where locals were having a blast in the water, and all we could do is dip our toes in, and watch them.

20. Mosques here are beautiful… from the outside

We were spoiled in Malaysia, because we were able to walk into any mosque outside of prayer time.  This was even encouraged there, as they give you traditional robes to wear.  However, in Morocco, you can only admire mosques from outside.  The only mosque we were able to visit was Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, which we highly suggest taking the time to visit.

View of Hassan II Mosque from outside
The beautiful Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca

21. Make sure you ask a local permission before taking a picture

The reason for this is quite simple, they will ask you to pay.  It happened to us so many times.  Walking down a street, we spot a beautiful mural on a wall, we snap a pic and a man rushes down to ask us for money.  We tell him we’re going to delete the pictures and he laughs it off saying it’s ok.  We got lucky that time.  Usually, if you spot anyone with a monkey, bird, snake, even a donkey, they will ask you to pay.

A local nomad on the side of the road in the High Atlas mountains
A local nomad on the side of the road in the High Atlas mountains

If you spot anyone with an animal, please don’t pay to take a picture with it.  This is a cruel form of animal abuse.  These people don’t deserve your money, and those animals surely don’t deserve the harsh treatment they are getting to “behave” in unnatural conditions.

22. CATS!

They are everywhere!  And they are all adorable, and we would take them all home with us if we could!  Be careful because they are quite endearing, and you will want to feed them.  This may cause a frenzy with other cats, or even frustrate restaurant owners.  Some are quite scared and skittish, but most are longing for affection.

Kitty taking a break in his busy day

You will notice that these cats often hang out around food vendors, restaurants and markets, as the locals often do feed them, affectionately adopting some of them.

If you do give them love, make sure you wash your hands after touching them, as most food is eaten with hands and in a communal plate.

If you are allergic, you may want to have some allergy medication handy.

23.  Don’t encourage the begging children

Like most places that attract tourists, you will see a bunch of children begging in the streets.  In Morocco, they would sell you packs of tissue paper, pens, or flowers.  Most of the time, these kids are forced by their parents to beg.  As heartbreaking as it is to see them, please don’t encourage them.  This only creates a negative cycle that needs to be broken.

These are some of the tips we found helpful and some we would have liked to know before we got to Morocco.  Hopefully, they will help you have a smoother trip as well.

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20+ tips and trick to know to make the best of your trip to Morocco. Everything you need to know to have the best holiday.

Morocco – the ultimate 2-week itinerary

Are you looking for the best 2-week itinerary for travelling through Morocco? Click here to see where to go, what to do and what the best stops along the way are.

So you decided to explore Morocco?  Well, that’s a really good decision, so get ready for the best holiday of your life!  This beautiful country is not only safe for tourists, it has so much to offer in terms of history, food, culture and scenery.  Oh, and in kindness and hospitality!  The people here are some of the sweetest we’ve met along our way.  So read on and see where to go, what to do in your ultimate 2-week Morocco holiday!

We chose to do an 18-day trek through the country, but you can easily adapt this to 2 weeks.  We explored much more than most would see, and this was all thanks to Eco Desert Morocco.  This young company, run by 3 brothers, wants to encourage visitors to see a different side of Morocco.  Sure, they showed us the usual “things to do and see” on the tourist trail, but we got to experience things that we never would’ve seen had we chosen to travel the country on our own.  From eating at all the best local eateries, including many meals with their families, to visiting various cooperatives and having tea with nomadic tribes, Eco Desert Morocco took care of everything for us.

Get comfy because you’re about to go through our 18-day itinerary.  Grab a cup of mint tea with some fresh mint sprigs (like the one you’ll be drinking in Morocco) and enjoy the ride.  If you’re not heading to Morocco for this amount of time, fret not, there are easy ways to tailor this to the length of trip you are looking to take.  We’ve made some recommendations for you at the end.  Don’t miss out on our Moroccan travel tips here.

Day 1: Tangier

Tanger medina gate
Welcome to Tangier’s old medina

We chose to come in through Tangier, as we were already in Spain.  There are 2 ports that you can get to: Tangier Med or Tarifa.  If you want to arrive close to the city proper, you will want to choose Tarifa as your arrival point.  Know that the ferry ride is about 2h30, and it will probably leave late.  This means a later arrival in your hotel so take it easy and just walk around the medina.  The old city is probably the best place to stay in this part town.  If you are up for it, and if it’s not too late, you can also head to the beach.

Day 2: Tangier to Chefchaouen

Today will be filled with travel and exploration.  Start out early if you want to check out the must-see sites in Tangier.  If not, just start making your way to Chefchaouen.  The journey should take you about 2-3 hours by car.  You can also take a bus or grand taxi from Tangier to Chefchaouen that should take between 3-4 hours.  You will be crossing the beautiful Rif mountains so get ready for some winding roads and awesome views.

Cap Spartel, Tangier, Morocco
Welcome to where the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean meet, Cap Spartel

On your way out of Tangier, be sure to check out Cap Spartel, where the Mediterranean and Atlantic seas meet.  Apart from being able to see the physical difference of the two massive bodies of water, you will also find the next point.

Hercules cave, Tangier, Morocco
Peek through the opening of the Hercules cave to see the Atlantic Ocean

Hercules cave was discovered in the 19th century.  This cave is part man-made by Phoenicians, and part natural.  Our favourite part of the cave is the opening to the sea from inside the cave.  If you were to look into the cave from the sea, the opening looks like a map of Africa.

Next on the list of “things to do” is to stop at the Akchour Falls, on the route to Chefchaouen.  Be sure to take a break here if you can (something traveling by bus wouldn’t have allowed us to do, yay Eco Desert Morocco!).  You can bring your bathing suit and jump in.  For the ladies, know that this spot has mainly men swimming, so if you aren’t comfortable being in your bikini in this modest country, wear a full bathing suit.  You can also take some time here, there are plenty of souvenirs and doughnuts being sold on the side of the road.  For those who are more adventurous, you can hike up to the big falls. This will take you about 2-3 hours return.

Akchour Falls Tangier Morocco
Taking a break at the Akchour Falls

After this stop, you will arrive in Chefchaouen in the afternoon, so unwind at your riad or take some time to explore the medina.  Again, the heart of the old city is the best place to stay.  Be sure to pick a riad that has a rooftop terrasse because the sunrises and sunsets here are epic.

Also, know that Google maps doesn’t really work here, so if you need help finding something, ask a local.  But to be honest, if you aren’t a worrier, just get lost, and find your way back by asking some locals.

Day 3: A day in Chefchaouen

Today is your day to explore our favourite city in Morocco.  They call it the Blue Pearl of Morocco, and you will quickly understand why.  They say there are many reasons for the blue houses.  Some say it is to keep the flies away, others that it was the Jews who made the walls blue when they took refuge from Hitler in the 1930’s.  One thing is for sure though, it’s blue everywhere and it’s beautiful!

If you’re looking for a few things to do, here’s what we recommend.  We’re not really morning people, but we highly advise you to wake up for the sunrise. If you’re like us, you can just go back to bed after.  A sunrise tip though, is the sun rises from the East (crazy, I know…) and there are mountains right to your East, so the sun crests the top of the mountains quite later than what Google will tell you is sunrise time.

Get lost in the blue Medina of Chefchaouen

If you want to set out early to go get some shopping done, don’t!  Most shops and restaurants don’t open until later, this is a common thread throughout Morocco.

The best thing to do in Chefchaouen is walk the streets, getting lost and marveling at the beauty of the city.  The streets are lined with vendors if you are looking for things to buy or eat and they stay open quite late.

Other things you can do are visit the Kasbah museum in the centre of the medina, check out Plaza Uta el-Hammam, or our favourite, go eat some traditional Moroccan food, like tajine or couscous, and hope you are lucky enough to be visited by the wandering musicians the medina has to offer.  If you eat near the plaza, you are sure to encounter them.  And as a side note, this really grinds my gears…  If you take pictures, or a video of musicians performing their hard practiced craft, give them a tip.  If you are too cheap for that, keep your phone in your pocket.  Thank you!

Chefchaouen hillside
The hillside of Chefchaouen

Make sure you also take some time to chill in the blue city.  The pace here is a lot slower… and it may or may not be due to the fact that they grow and smoke a lot of hashish here.  In fact, they are the world’s biggest producer of this “medicinal” plant.  We don’t encourage you smoke it though.  It’s still illegal in Morocco, but highly tolerated in the north of the country.

If you have time to spare, or if you want to move at a slower pace, stick around for an extra day here.  Chefchaouen was one of our favourite cities, but also a fan favourite amongst Moroccans.

Day 4: Chefchaouen to Fes

Today, you will head to Fes.  You will still be in the mountains for the first part but you will eventually get to the fields where they grow sunflowers, olives and most of their fruits and veggies.  You might even get lucky and see some goats and sheep on the way!

Goats Morocco
Carine told me this was the 3rd best day of her life!  First was our wedding, second was leaving on this trip, the next few are all goat related!

On your way, you’ll pass through Moulay Idriss Zerhoun, which is one of the important religious site in Morocco.  It is the site that Moulay Idriss I, regarded as the founder of Morocco, arrived in the year 789 and brought with him the religion of Islam.

Volubilis Arch of Caracalla
The arch of Caracalla at Volubilis

Then, continue on to Volubilis, an 3rd century BC archaeological site, featuring the best preserved Roman ruins in northern Africa.  Take a good hour touring the site, then head on to Meknes where you can visit the famous gates Bab el-Mansourand Bab el Khamis.  In the late afternoon, you will arrive in Fes.

Bab el-Masourand gate, Fes
The majestic Bab el-Mansourand Gate, Fes

We highly recommend staying at Yamanda Fes Riad.  Not only is it situated in the heart of the Medina, it’s also beautifully decorated and has an amazing rooftop where you can watch the sun rise and set.  The food was amazing, even offering vegetarian options, which is tough to find in Morocco.  The rooms were beautiful, probably the nicest rooms we have laid our heads down in, period.  They also boast a huge rooftop terrace with breathtaking views of Fes.

Yamanda Riad, Fes
The amazing beauty of the inner courtyard of Yamanda Fes Riad, in Fes, Morocco

Day 5: A day in Fes

This day is especially dedicated to Fes, one of the oldest imperial cities.  Fes was Morocco’s capital for more than 400 years and is still considered the religious and cultural centre of the country.

the view of Fes
The view of Fes from the top of the panoramic viewpoint

First, discover the extraordinary medina el Bali, a labyrinth of streets lined with shops selling goods and food galore.  The streets were built like a maze in order to disorient any attacking armies. Today, it only serves to get tourists lost!  You can literally spend days walking these streets.  They are so full of life.

Other highlights include the Merenid tombs, the Royal Palace, the Medersa Bou Inania or Al-Attarine Madrasa, place Nejjarine with its splendid mosaic fountain and the Jewish quarter, called Mellah.

Chaoua leather tannery, Fes
14th century leather making processes at work at the Chouara tannery, Fes

Also be sure to visit the many cooperatives around the city.  The Art de poterie ASH is a great place to buy mosaics that are true works of art and help support local artisans.  Chouara Tannery is also must, they have been using the same process and vats to produce their leather since the 14th century.  They use only natural ingredients like saffron, mint and indigo to colour their skins.  The smell isn’t great at times, but they will give you mint to help mask the odour.

After touring the medina for most of the day, you can head back to your riad to watch the sunset and chill out.  We set out for the desert on the next day, but if Fes is your scene, take an extra day here.  We wish we would have!

Day 6: Fes to Merzouga

Today, you will be making your way to the Sahara Desert!  It’s a long journey, over 8 hours, so brace yourselves.  On your way, enjoy the beautiful views of the Mid-Atlas Mountains as you are passing through them on breathtaking winding roads.  You will drive through cedar forests and the gorgeous towns of Ifrane and Azrou.

High Atlas mountains, Morocco
Breathtaking views driving through the High Atlas mountains

On your way to Merzouga, you’ll also cross the High Atlas mountains and drive through the gorges of the Ziz.  The highlight of the drive is the impressive Oasis of Eit Chakir.  Words cannot describe, and we certainly never expected to see a grove of palm trees sprouting out of the desert.

The Eit Chakir oasis, Morocco
Oasis in the desert, Eit Chakir

The best, and only way to experience the Sahara Desert, is to stay for 1 night at the Sahara Luxury Camp.  Once you arrive at the famous dunes of Merzouga, known as Erg Chebbi, you will have two options to get to the Sahara Luxury Camp.  You can ride a camel there or continue by car.  Derek chose to ride on a camel for a good hour and 15 minutes while I went in the car.  I always struggle when it comes to riding animals.  I wasn’t feeling it at this place so skipped it.

Camels walking through the Sahara desert
Camels in the Sahara desert

Tonight, you will be sleeping in the desert.  The camp setup is 2 rows of tents, but to really take your experience to the next level we suggest asking to have your bed taken out, so you can sleep amongst the stars!  Although the tents are beautiful, most of them very spacious and equipped with bathrooms and showers, they do get quite hot.

Sahara desert music
Berber music in the Sahara desert

Later, you will enjoy delicious berber food as well as a music show by the fire. Then cuddle with your love under the stars.  Make sure to get up for sunrise, it’s epic as you see the sun come out over the dunes.

Watch the sunrise of the Sahara desert at the Luxury Sahara Camp
Sunrise over the Luxury Sahara camp

Day 7: A day in Erg Chebbi

This next day was very special, and only possible thanks to Eco Desert Morocco.  They arranged for us to visit a nomadic tribe in the desert.  The family we met is lead by a husband and his 3 wives.  Although we do not necessarily promote this kind of lifestyle, we can understand its benefits when living in this environment.

In this scenario, everyone has their role, whether tending to the herd of sheep and goats, taking care of the many children or baking and cooking.  It was fascinating to see how this family lives in tents in the middle of the desert, with a handmade shower and kitchen (basically mud huts).

After, you can make a quick pit stop in Mephis, the abandoned city of the bears, to get a great view and see the quartz mine.

Then, you will make your way to a Gnaoua village, known locally as the ‘village of the blacks’.  The Gnaoua were originally slaves from Sudan, Mali and Nigeria.  In the village, you can listen to a group of Gnaoua men play their music and perform their dance.  There were even 2 little kids playing along, cute as hell!  Although it is free to do so, we encourage you to leave a tip for them.  Don’t be that guy…

Gnaoua village music
Some more music in the Sahara desert, this time courtesy of the Gnaoua men

For lunch, we highly recommend you stop at Restaurant Zafa where you can have a traditional berber pizza.  This was Derek’s favourite meal in Morocco.

Because it gets scorching hot in the afternoon, like 50 degrees Celcius, we recommend you stop after lunch and head to nicest hotel in the desert, Nomad Palace.  A true oasis in the middle of the desert, Nomad Palace will let you get out of the scorching heat with not one, but two pools.  True to it’s name, it really is a palace in the desert.

Nomad Palace Sahara desert
Cool off in the Sahara desert and camel watch at the same time, at the Nomad Palace

Day 8: Merzouga to Boumalen Dadès

The road out of the Sahara desert is a long one.  Many people choose to go directly to Marrakech from here but we took our time to get there.  The direct road would be about 10 hours of driving.  Not only is it long, but it’s winding and gruelling as you’ll be driving through the Tishka hills.  Instead of taking the long road, we decided to stop in Boumalen Dadès.

If you choose this route, you will have the chance to stop at the beautiful gorges of the Todra.  Be sure to bring your bathing suit and your wallet because this place has it all.  On one side of the gorge, there is a river where you can cool down from the desert heat, where there are tons of locals and nomads playing in the water, chilling and playing music.  It’s really a gem.  On the other side of the gorge, there is a small market setup where people sell all sorts of goods, from jewellery to rugs and clothes.

Kasbah Tifawen, Boumalen Dades
The amazing view from our balcony at the Kasbah Tifawen

Once you’ve had enough, you can head to your accommodations in Boumalen Dadès.  We loved our stay at the Kasbah Tifawen.  It boast the best view of the surrounding city and Oasis of Boumalen Dadès.  You will be plenty comfortable with air-conditioned rooms and plush beds.  The rooms even have a balcony where you can sit back, relax and take in views of the city.  They also have a restaurant for breakfast and dinner, so they really do have everything you need to unwind from your long drive.

Day 9: Boumalen Dadès to Ouarzazate

If you are touring with Eco Desert Morocco, before leaving Dadès, you will have the privilege of visiting nomadic tribes that live in caves in the mountains.  You will probably meet with the mother of the family of 11, her 18 year-old daughter as well as her 6 year-old son.  Her other children will either be out tending to the herd of sheep and goats, or working construction in the city.

You’ll be able to sit with the mom in the living room as she weaves a rug, or clothes, made of sheep wool.  This was one of the coolest experiences we’ve had and again, it would not have been possible without the guys at Eco Desert Morocco.  Seeing how a nomadic family lives in the mountains is a memory we won’t soon forget.  A real highlight of our trip.

After this, or first thing in the morning, you’ll head to the Valley of the Roses, specifically the village of Hdida.  Legend has it that the roses were brought here centuries ago by a Berber merchant from Damascus.  If you come during April-May, you will see them in full bloom.

Taourirt Kasbah Ouarzazate
The Taourirt Kasbah in Ouarzazate looks like a giant sandcastle!

After visiting this village, continue your journey to Ouarzazate.  Close to town, you will be able to visit the famous monument Taourirt Kasbah (one of the most attractive and beautiful sites in southern Morocco). There is also the opportunity to visit the movie studios of Ouarzazate, known as Moroccan Hollywood.  This is where they shot many of the famous movies like The Mummy, Ali Baba and the 40 thieves (Derek’s Moroccan moniker), Babel, Passion of the Christ, Gladiator, and many, many more.

Day 10: Ouarzazate to Marrakech

Today, you continue your journey to the beautiful city of Marrakech, one of the four imperial cities in Morroco. On your way way there, be sure to stop at Aït Ben Haddou, an old Kasbah and UNESCO world heritage site. This is where they shot parts of the movie blockbuster Gladiator, and our personal favourite show, Game of Thrones.

Once you’ve had your fill, continue towards Marrakech.  The road is long and winding.  You will pass through the highest road pass in North Africa, at over 2,220 metres.  The view from here is simply insane.

High Atlas mountains winding road
Wind through the High Atlas mountains on your way to Marrakech, Morocco

You should be getting to the city sometime around 5-6 pm, a perfect time to unwind at your riad and head out toward Djemaa el Fna square when it comes to life around sundown.  For your riad, be sure to stay in the medina as most sights will be just a short walk away.

The square is full of food merchants, and various stalls selling all sorts of souvenirs.  Just beware of your belongings as it is quite crowded.  And please don’t encourage any of the merchants with animals, like the snake charmers or monkey handlers.  This is an evil form of animal cruelty.  But like all the medinas we visited, just stroll through it and in the words of the great Eminem, just lose yourself!

Day 11: A day in Marrakech

El Bahia Palace courtyard Marrakech Morocco
The courtyards at the El Bahia Palace, Marrakech

Marrakech is such an interesting and vibrant city.  It was one of our favourites, so much, that we could have spent a whole extra day here.  Be sure to explore the city’s many sights and highlights including Koutoubia mosque, Saadian tombs, El Bahia Palace, Jardins Majorelle.  Take the time to walk through and get lost in the huge souk as well.

Vendors selling 1,000 different things, this is truly what Ali Baba must have felt like in the cave of wonders.  The souk is where you see every day life in full HD.  The bargaining, the warm heartfelt greetings, the alleys busy with motorbikes whizzing through, donkeys drawing carriages and a ton of people everywhere.

If you can afford the time, we recommend spending an extra day here.  It will allow you to truly immerse yourself in the beauty and bustle of the city.

Day 12: Marrakech to Taroudant

Today, you will leave Marrakech and make your way towards Taroudant, also known as Little Marrakech.  You can stop along the way to take in some beautiful panoramic views and see the berber villages.  You will arrive to your destination in the mid-afternoon.

Panoramic view on the way to Taroudant, Morocco
Panoramic view on the way to Taroudant, Morocco

Taroudant is a beautiful city within a fortress wall.  This wall is one of the largest in the world.  It is a formidable 6 kms long with 9 gates to get in and out of the city.  Also, it’s impressive for the fact that it has 3 layers of walls before you make it into the old medina.

It felt like one of the busiest cities we’ve seen with its streets full of cars, bikes, motorbikes, pedestrians and horse-drawn carriages.  It seems that the horses are the encouraged way to visit the town, but considering the roads are paved and so busy with cars, we would advise you to just walk.  This is too stressful of an environment for the horses, with many cities worldwide reconsidering their stances on having horse drawn carriages.

For your riad, we highly recommend Riad Taroudant.  It’s located in a great spot within the walls and it has a wonderful pool to help you cool off in the sweltering heat.  It’s also beautifully decorated and the caretakers are the sweetest guys ever, always attentive and kind.  They also serve a wonderful homemade breakfast on their splendid rooftop.

Day 13: Taroudant to Tafraout

You will then make your way over the Anti-Atlas mountain range to Tafraout.  This traditional Berber village is usually not on the tourist route, but well worth the visit.  The area is known for its argan and almond oil, and production of traditional Moroccan leather slippers.  If you need any of these things, be sure to stop and stock up on your way.

Sunset at the painted rocks, wediditourway
Coming to the painted rocks in Tafraout is a must, especially at sunset

Once you arrive in the city, there aren’t tons of things to do.  You can relax for a bit, but be sure to check out the various rock formations like the famous Lion head, Napoleon’s hat, and our favourite, the painted rocks or Blue Rocks. They will make you feel like you’re on a different planet.  If you can, make your way there at sunset, the light is gorgeous and the view is indescribable.  Even the route to get there is gorgeous so take your time and take in the views.

Day 14: Tafraout to Mirleft

Today will be a shorter day, this way you can take full advantage of the beach.  If you want to move around less, you can actually make your way to Essaouira directly, but we found the beaches in Mirleft to be one of the best in Morocco.

Mirleft beach camel
Camels on the beach of Mirleft, we can’t stress enough not to ride these guys

Mirleft is one of the most relaxed cities in the south of the Atlantic coast, with its European vibe.  Spend your afternoon at the beach, relax on the fine sand and have some of the tajine they have cooking on the side.  A little tip to save you from hanger – make sure you order your tajine in advance as it takes a good hour for it to be ready.  We learnt that hard way, and one of us may have gotten a tad bit hangry…

Mirleft beach sunset
Come to the beach to check out an epic sunset at Mirleft beach

Day 15: Mirleft to Essaouira

This day will be a little long, almost 8 hours depending the stops.  You will continue toward Essaouira.  It’s also known as the windy city, and true to its name, it is freakin’ windy, which makes it ideal for fishing, windsurfing and kite surfing.  The harbour is a delightful diversion, filled with colourful boats that have been carefully decorated by local fishermen.

Kasbah Essaouira
The entrance to the medina of Essaouira

Essaouira also had a decidedly European vibe, with restaurants and shops more akin to the streets of Spain and Italy, than to those of Morocco.  The medina is also a great place to wander with tons of stores selling everything and anything moroccan.  If you’re missing any souvenirs, this is the place to get them.

Day 16: Essaouira to Assilah

This will be your last full day in Morocco (also where you begin to sob uncontrollably).  You’ll be heading back towards Tangier, with a final beach town stop on the way.  Brace yourself because this is the longest day of travel you’ll have.

The first stop on your way is Casablanca.  This will take you between 4 and 5 hours. Then, you’ll head to Assilah, which will be another 4 to 5 hours. If this is too long for you, you may want to include a night in Casablanca or Rabat.

Although there is not much to see in Casablanca in terms of tourism, all you Humphrey Bogart/Casablanca fans can get ready to stop in the famous Rick’s Café.  Just beware as the opening hours are peculiar.

The piece de resistance though, is without doubt, the Hassan II Mosque.  This mosque is the 2nd largest one in Africa outside of Mecca (5th largest in the world) and one of the few you can actually visit as a non-Muslim in Morocco.  Hassan II blew our minds, it is probably the most beautiful single building we have ever stepped foot in.  Yeah.. so don’t skip this… please.  Also, it’s free to visit the mosque from the outside, but you must pay to go inside.  Make sure to check tour hours before getting there.  We may or may not have gotten there late, but were still able to get in.

Finally, once you’re done, head to Assilah, where you can enjoy a night in the medina.  If you still have juice left in you, you can go all the way back to Tangier, depending on when your flight leaves.

Do it your way

If you want to cut down the number of days on this trip, we recommend skipping the night in Tangier and making your way directly to Chefchaouen on the first day.  You can also skip the nights in Ourzazate and Tafraout by driving a little longer on those days.

Morocco mosaic Yamanda Riad Fes.jpg
Pretty mosaics at Yamanda Fes Riad in Fes

Another option is to arrive in one city and leave from another.  Fes, Marrakech and Casablanca are great options with international flights from all over the world.  By doing this, you can spend a few more days in each city, or see more cities without circling back.

If we did it again

Although we loved seeing all the cities on this route, if we were to do this again, we would spend less time in the car and more time in the cities.  We could have easily spent 2 full days each either chilling in Chefchaouen, exploring the medinas in Fes and Marrakech, or lounging by the beach in Mirleft.  By leaving from different cities, this would have been much more enjoyable.  But like they say, “you live, you learn”

Sunset at the painted rocks Tafraout
Taking in the sunset at the painted rocks near Tafraout

There you have it folks, our amazing itinerary from Morocco. It was a whirlwind 3 weeks, but we loved every single moment of our trip.  The food was amazing, the people were kind and the landscape was beyond anything we expected.  The country is safe to visit and it quickly became one of our favourites.  But can you blame us?  We had an amazing time here.

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Your ultimate 2-week itinerary to visiting Morocco. Where to go, what to see, where to stay and everything you need to know to have a great holiday.