Friday, March 1, 2024

How to Spend The Perfect 10 Days in Morocco Itinerary

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Last Updated on 15th March 2023 by Sophie Nadeau

If you are thinking about traveling to Morocco, this 10-days in Morocco itinerary is just what you need. And if you’re staying for less time, you can easily pick the days and activities you want and leave the rest for the next visit… because you will want to return at least one more time!

Land of contrasts and spectacular landscapes, Morocco is an outstanding destination in Northern Africa. Busy street markets, snow-capped mountains, and a vast desert where to live extreme adventures are part of the experience.

Traditional interior of cafe in Marrakech
Traditional interior of cafe in Marrakech/ Olena Znak/ Shutterstock

This 10-day Morocco itinerary begins in Marrakech and ends in Tangier. Here, you can either take a ferry to Spain or fly back to Morocco to get your final plane home.

Days 1-3 Amazing Things to Do in Marrakech

From the airport to the Medina

Once at Marrakech airport, don’t get distracted by taxi bargaining,  instead, it’s better to book a transfer online like this one before arrival to get directly to your hotel. 

Alternatively, you can arrange airport pickup with your accommodation. Many local riads offer airport transfer for free or for a small fee- check this when booking.

Accommodation in Marrakech

There are riads for all budgets inside the Medina, from very simple accommodations to luxurious lodgings with pools. These are the two options I recommend:

Riad Leila Marrakech: Affordable riad in the center of Marrakech, close to well-known attractions and featuring also a restaurant. Check prices and availability here.

Riad Farhan: A gorgeous riad with an indoor pool and comfy rooms with a seating area. Shuttle services to and from the airport are also offered. Check prices and availability here.

Once you’ve checked in, head out to the streets of the Medina, the old walled city, and start exploring this magic destination.

The Souk

The perfect place to visit first thing in the morning, even if you just have a few days in Marrakech, the souk is the giant street market located close to Medina’s main square, Place Jmaa el Fna.

In Marrakech, everything happens in and around the square, which is even more alive in the evenings, when dozens of street food stalls offer local food. So, since it’s still morning and the square is not yet at its best, let’s head to the Souk!

Once inside this colorful maze, use your bartering skills to buy local products, such as olives, dates, figs, and spices. You can also find decorative objects to take back home such as rugs, brass lamps, clay pots, and other handmade objects.

There are also leather bags and comfy slippers but also silk scarves, summer dresses, and even cosmetics made with rose oil or argan oil.

Having a quick lunch at the souk is not a bad idea, some alleys inside the market have food stands offering vegetable or meat tajines, cous cous, and other dishes and this is where most locals eat too!

Marrakech souk
Souk in Marrakech/ Maurizio De Mattei/ Shutterstock

Le Majorelle

In the afternoon, enjoy a cup of local tea at Le Majorelle, a beautiful garden located outside the Medina. It’s very easy to get there by taxi. 

Le Majorelle is a wonderful oasis featuring exotic plants, a cactus garden, fountains, and shaded paths surrounded by different species of birds and colorful architecture. The place became when French designer Yves Saint Laurent fell in love with it, bought it, and restored the garden architecture.

Riad garden in Marrakech
Riad garden in Marrakech/ Benjamin Merchant/ Shutterstock

Remember that to visit Le Majorelle, booking in advance is a must. Several interesting tours combine the visit to the garden with other activities, these two are our favorite ones: 

Majorelle Garden and Palmeraie Camel Ride Tour: The tour includes pick-up from your hotel. It features a visit to Majorelle Garden, the garden’s fantastic Berber Museum, and ends with an extra fun camel ride through the ancient palm grove of Marrakesh.

Majorelle Garden Visit and Hammam: Perfect to visit the garden but also to enjoy a restoring experience as, after the visit, your driver will take you to a local spa for the unique and relaxing experience of the Moroccan hammam.

Marrakech Tanneries

Working with leather and making top-quality leather products are trademarks in the country. In Morocco, there are tanneries and leather artisans everywhere! Although there are bigger and more impressive tanneries to explore in other cities, the tannery in Marrakech is a small but interesting place to learn about the leather industry and the process that converting raw skin into beautiful shoes, bags, and jackets. 

Visiting the tanneries early in the morning ensures fewer crowds but also that the rather unpleasant smell resulting from the tanning process will be less pungent and more bearable.

Old Tannery of Marrakech
Old Tannery of Marrakech/ streetflash/ Shutterstock

Ben Yousef Madras

Since just a few hundred meters separate the tanneries from Marrakech’s Coranic School, it is a good idea to head to Madras right after. 

Ben Yousef Madras is a religious school that you can explore to learn more about Islam and its importance in the country. This particular school used to be the largest Islamic college in Morocco and it was built back in the sixteenth century.

Place Jmaa el Fna

Head to the main square in Morocco for lunch and a fun afternoon, you can either seek refuge from the sheer amount of street vendors in a tea house or you can venture to the center of the square to see the local water sellers, henna tattoo artists, snake charmers, and dancers performing.

Since scams are always in order, be careful and try to be polite (even when you get a bit stressed out with all the bargaining). The place is not dangerous, but it can be overwhelming.

Next up, have a traditional Moroccan dinner at any of the several food stalls that populate Place Jmaa el Fna. Over here, you can savor a variety of small snacks or even a full meal. Sweets are also part of the menu and they can range from simple nuts and dried fruit to more elaborate pastries.

Koutoubia

On the next morning, after your hearty riad breakfast, head just out of the Medina to visit the tallest minaret in town which is part of the biggest mosque in Marrakech, known as the Koutoubia.

Although access to the mosque is limited to locals and Muslims, the impressive construction surrounded by beautiful gardens offers you the opportunity to learn about the history and religious traditions of the country.

Marrakech Medina
Marrakech Medina/ Savvapanf Photo/ Shutterstock

Moroccan Food

Devote the last afternoon in town to enjoy a food tour with a local. These are the ones I suggest: 

Traditional Moroccan Cooking Class & Market Visit: Ideal tour to explore lesser-known parts of the market with a local, purchase all the ingredients, and roll up your sleeves to try your skills at authentic Moroccan dishes.

Street Food Tour by Night: Another great experience starting right after sunset, this tour is great to experience new flavors including sweet pastries or the traditional charcoal-baked tajine. You will even get a local recipe as a unique souvenir and check out the delicious almond drink that locals adore.

Moroccan handmade Brewat sweets
Moroccan handmade Brewat sweets/ Oumaima Bachiri/ Shutterstock

Days 4-7 Road Trip Adventure in the Sahara

Although it is possible to rent a car with a GPS and do this tour on your own, if you’re not a very experienced driver, I recommend doing the next three-day experience with an organized tour. 

There are quite affordable safari experiences that, through the high Atlas Mountains take you through the desert with incredible stops along the way, ending up with the incredible, once-in-a-lifetime experience of spending the night in the Sahara.

You can choose any of the tours we suggest down below, they all cover the same destinations, even if in a different order, that we describe in this section, however, doing them with a private safari or an organized group tour is often safer, more affordable, and we guarantee that you won’t get lost in a place where language barriers are often a risk.

Best Sahara tours and experiences:

3-Day Sahara Tour to the Erg Chebbi Dunes: The tour includes the pick up from Marrakech to embark on a 3-day tour of southern Morocco. During this adventure, you will sleep in the Sahara, see Ait Ben Haddou, and visit the Valley of the Roses. The trip includes crossing the Atlas Mountains and the Erg Chebbi dunes.

Merzouga 3-Day Desert Safari with Food: Another option of a similar tour in the Moroccan Sahara Desert. The is a 3-day safari from Marrakech to Merzouga that includes spending the night at a Bedouin camp in Erg Chebbi and riding a camel to watch the sunrise. It also includes stops in Ouarzazate.

And if you prefer to skip the night in the desert, but still want to visit Ait Ben Haddou and other stunning landscapes in the south of Morocco, check out this Overnight Sahara Tour to Zagora & Ait Ben Haddou. 

This 2-day experience includes a first day traveling through the sandstone city of Ouarzazate, a stop at the Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou, passing through the Draa Valley, and, after a camel ride, spending the night in the Zagora dunes. The next day, you will travel back to Marrakech through the Atlas Mountains.

Stops along the Sahara Adventure

As we mentioned before, most organized tours take you to visit the following areas before reaching the Sahara:

  • Ouarzazate: This is an important Moroccan city often described as the gate to the desert, it is a must-stop for any safari heading to the Sahara. In town, you can visit the huge Taourirt Kasbah, home to a  well-preserved 19th-century palace. Ouarzazate is known for its film studios yet the best thing to see is the clay town of Ait-Ben-Haddou, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Todra Gorge: During any tour heading to the desert, you will check out this spectacular gorge and the Tinghir Oasis, a beautiful palm garden right at the entrance of the gorge. Along the way, you can admire ancient clay villages, old kasbahs, and the dramatic rocks that shape the breathtaking canyon.
  • Draa Valley: The Draa is Morocco’s longest river (1100 kilometers) formed by the Dates and Imini rives The Draa forms a spectacular valley that is usually part of any desert safari adventure.
  • Merzouga Desert (Sahara): A highlight of every Morocco experience, almost every desert tour includes camel trekking with an overnight stay at the dunes of the Sahara. Also known as Erg Chebbi dunes, they can reach incredible heights of up to 180 meters!
  • The Atlas Mountains: Extending for more than 2500 km across northwestern Africa, this series of mountain ranges separate the Atlantic and Mediterranean coast from the Sahara Desert. They feature diverse terrain and climates, and are dotted with traditional Berber villages that you will often visit during the trip.

Days 7-10 Travel North: Chefchaouen, Tangier

As most Sahara tours end up back in Marrakesh, you can get on a bus, a train, or a plane and travel to Chefchaouen where you can start the last leg of your Morocco adventure.

Chefchaouen
Chefchaouen/ Olena Tur/ Shutterstock

How to get from Marrakech to Chefchaouen

  • By car: The total distance is 575 km, therefore it can be quite a tiring trip with an average travel time of around 7 hours.
  • By train: Although a bit longer than by car, the trip is comfortable and can take about 10 hours, the journey is not direct though, you will board a train to Tangier, and, from there, you can connect to Chefchaouen either by bus or taxi.
  • By plane: There are several affordable daily flights connecting both cities, and the flying time is about one hour.
  • By bus: Probably the easiest and cheapest way to go from Marrakech to Chefchaouen with a travel time of 12 hours and ticks available from about 45 euros.

Checfchaouen

Considered by the locals the most relaxing spot in the country, this hippie-vibe town known also as Chaouen is located in the Rif Mountains in the northwestern area of the country. The city is also the main cannabis production area in the country, so don’t be surprised if locals approach you to buy marijuana.

Where to stay in Chefchaouen

The best option is to stay at a traditional riad which in Chefchaouen is also known as dar.

Dar Hannan: This authentic riad is located in the heart of the Medina with impressive views over the blue city. The hotel also features a restaurant and a shuttle to Tangier airport. Check prices and availability here.

Dar Yakout: A colorful riad in the old town close to the Kasbah, featuring a restaurant, family rooms, and airport shuttle services. Check prices and availability here.

Old Town

Devote the first day in Chefchaouen to visit the city’s old town, featuring pastel blue homes all over its old town, but also known for typical crafts such as leather and weaving with artisan workshops lining many of the steep cobbled lanes of the city. 

Chefchaouen Main Square and Kasbah

Head to the gorgeous main square of Place Outa el Hammam to explore the red-walled Kasbah that dated back to the fifteenth century. Over here, it is also possible to visit the ancient fortress and dungeons that are part of the structure. Inside the premises, you can spend a bit more than an hour admiring the exhibits at Chechouen Ethnographic Museum. 

Grand Mosque

Also in the main square, you can admire the spectacular minaret of the Grand Mosque of Chefchaouen which is the oldest and main historic mosque in town. The building probably dates back to 1471, the same year the city was founded.

The mosque also has a madras or Coranic School that used to offer lessons in religious sciences and Islamic jurisprudence and also featured a dormitory for students.

Chefchaouen Medina

Nestled in a gorgeous valley of the Rig Mountains, this ancient Medina has often been described as one of the most picturesque in the country. 

Its main characteristic is the striking combination of different shades of blue that decorate the facades of houses and shops, but also alleyways and passages. This amazing feature has earned the city the nickname of the Blue City of Morocco.

End the day by climbing up the hill to the Spanish Mosque, also known as Mosquée Bouzâafar, this is a favorite spot where the amazing views of the blue city combine with spectacular sunset views that color the surrounding hills.

Shopping in Chefchaouen

On your second and last day in town, do some Souk shopping. The city is the most convenient and exciting place in Morocco for souvenirs and local products.

Over here, you can barter for incredible quality soaps, creams, and organ oil but you can also find unique elements to decorate your home, such as spectacular homemade carpets and lamps, as well as clothing and leather products.

Chefchaouen Gastronomy

End your unique Chefchaouen experience by tasting the best north Moroccan food with a food tour. This is the best way to leave taking with you the most authentic impression of the city.

This particular experience, Guided Food Tour with over 6 Tasting Stops, features a stroll through the picturesque streets of the Old Medina, a  stop at delicious vendors to taste the flavors of the region, and a visit to a traditional restaurant for lunch or dinner.

Tangier

The last day of the tour starts with a transfer from Chefchaouen to Tangier either with a private company or the public bus (from 2 to 3 hours). Check transfer prices here.

Once in Tangier, you can fly back to Marrakech or even take a ferry to reach the south of Spain.

Tangier is a Moroccan port on the Strait of Gibraltar as well as a gateway between Africa and Europe. The city features a gorgeous whitewashed hillside Medina where you can visit the Dar el Makhzen, a former sultan palace that currently hosts the Museum of Moroccan Artifacts. 

Since your time in town might be a bit limited, why not have a quick panorama of the city by walking around the center of the old Medina, then enjoy a traditional lunch, and finally head to the airport to board your plane?

This particularly affordable Highlights Private Tour of Tangier includes visits to the markets as well as the Caves of Hercules, inhabited since the Neolithic period. You will also visit the Kasbah, the Archaeological Museum, and the Mendoubia Gardens.

If you have more time…

Fès, also spelled Fez, is located in northern Morocco and is best-known for its UNESCO World Heritage listed medina. The city is also famous for its traditional crafts, such as leatherwork and pottery, and its delicious cuisine.

Some of the best things to do in Fes include exploring the medina and its many souks, visiting the historic Al-Qarawiyyin University, and admiring the intricate tilework and architecture of the Bou Inania Madrasa.

Fes also happens to be a great base for exploring the surrounding countryside and experiencing traditional Moroccan hospitality in the form of home stays and guided tours.

Panoramic view of Fez
Panoramic view of Fez/ Maurizio De Mattei/ Shutterstock
Bou Jeloud Gardens in Fes
Bou Jeloud Gardens in Fes/ Mitzo/ Shutterstock

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How to Spend The Perfect 10 Days in Morocco Itinerary

Gabi Ancarola is a journalist and travel writer who has lived over 20 years in Italy, and has been living in Crete for the last five years. She hosts culinary tours, translates and writes for her Crete travel blog The Tiny Book. She’s written for Greek Reporter and published several travel guides about Greece.

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