Morocco is one of the most beautiful and interesting countries I have been lucky enough to visit. From the mesmerizing mountains to the serene Sahara Desert and everything in between, this country is a must visit for travelers.
Read this before planning your trip – 5 Tips for Traveling to Morocco
Getting There: There are a few different ways that you can get to Morocco. The first would be to fly into Tangier, Casablanca or Marrakesh Airports. If you are coming from the US, I would suggest flying into London, Madrid or Barcelona first instead of Morocco as the flights are much cheaper. Madrid has the cheapest flights to Marrakesh, Tangier and Casablanca. You can usually get very cheap flights from the US (Oakland, New York and Boston) to Madrid on Norwegian Air – check out their Low Fare Calendar if you have flexible dates.
I chose to take the ferry from Tarifa, Spain to Tangier and it was about $44 USD. The ferry travels across the Strait of Gibraltar about 24 miles and is the much more scenic way to travel into Morocco. I took the FRS ferry, which is high speed and it takes about an hour. You will leave Spain at the same time you arrive to Morocco because of the time change. There are 2 different ports that you can arrive to in Tangier – Tangier Ville is in Tangier itself while Tangier Med is located about an hour outside the city. All ferries from Tarifa will arrive to Tangier Ville but if you take the ferry from Algecires you will arrive to Tangier Med.
Suggested Morocco Itinerary:
Day 1: Travel to Tangier, Spend night in Tangier
Day 2: Spend morning in Tangier, Travel to Chefchaouen (2 hours drive)
Day 3: Spend morning in Chefchaouen, Travel to Fes (5 hours drive).
Day 4: Spend day exploring Fes, stay night in Fes.
Day 5: Leave for 3-day tour with Merzouga Tours at 8am, arrive for Camel Trek in Sahara Desert at 5pm.
Day 6: Return from Desert and spend day traveling to Dades Valley with Merzouga Tours.
Day 7: Travel Dades Valley to Marrakech with Merzouga Tours, spend night in Marrakech.
Day 8: Spend morning in Marrakech and travel to airport in evening.
Day 9: (Optional) Travel to Casablanca and fly out of Casablanca airport.
Day 1: Tangier
I was not able to spend much time in Tangier but I think that you should try to spend 1 day/night exploring Tangier.
Day 2: Travel Tangier to Chefchaouen
Transportation from Tangier: I highly recommend Tangier Taxi for all of your unguided transfers between cities. The cost is cheap and you will know that you have a reliable and safe driver. Plan to tip 100-200 Dirhams extra for each driver. For 2 passengers, the total is 89 euro and you will pay a 19 euro deposit. The rest you will pay in cash to the driver.
Stay: Casa Amina – Riad’s (the Moroccan version of hostels) are SO cheap. Plan to pay around $10 per night per person for a private room with a bathroom. Be sure to read all of the reviews on Riad’s before booking them. We were supposed to stay at Casa Amina but were moved to nearby riad due to occupancy and it was horrible. Something important to note is that most cars cannot drive into the town of Chefchaouen due to the size of the alleys, be prepared to carry your luggage to your Riad 3-8 blocks.
Chefchaouen was my favorite town that we visiting in Morocco, also known as The Blue Pearl. We learned that the buildings are all painted different shades of blue because flies cannot land on the blue paint. The streets are filled with shops and welcoming people everywhere you go. My best piece of advice for this mountain town, is to get lost. Every alley you turn down is going to be different and painted with different shades of blue, it is beautiful!
The town is centered around the main square, where you can find plenty of restaurants and shops to explore in. I warn you that often the restaurant promoters in every town/city can get rather aggressive and persuasive. If you are not sure if you are interested in eating there, you are better off not looking at the menu and walking straight past them.
For lunch, head to the tallest building in the picture above Restaurant Casa Aladin, for the best views of the city and delicious food. This restaurant is located in the main square.
It is traditional to be served bread and olives before your meal. One of my favorite things about Morocco was the serving of Mint Tea! This tradition signifies hospitality and friendship and can happen in shops, restaurants, people’s houses and pretty much anywhere you stand long enough. The tea is served in glasses and is only considered drinkable when there is foam on top. The tea is poured from a height of 12 inches and if the proper foam is not there, the server will put the tea back in the pot and serve again. Mint tea is often served with sugar which is delicious, but if you are looking for a healthier option ask for tea without sugar.
Couscous and Tagine are the two most common meals in Morocco. Both meals can be served with a variety of meat or vegetarian.
Day 3: Spend Morning in Chefchaouen and Travel to Fes
I would suggest eating breakfast in the main square. Traditional Moroccan breakfast consists of bread, mint tea and a variety of crepe, croissants and pancakes served with goat cheese, jam, butter and honey. The
The Moroccan people are very friendly and often speak English well. If you feel that you are lost are not going the wrong way, feel free to ask someone passing by.
On your way down from the wall, you will stumble upon multiple plazas and alleys with markets. Nomads and residents of Chefchaouen come from all over to sell their produce, meat, fish and eggs.
For lunch, head back to the main square and look for a rooftop restaurant on the other side of the square. You will have a magnificent view of the Place Outa el Hammam & Kasbah.
Transportation from Chefchaouen to Fes: Once again, I recommend Tangier Taxi for this transfer. For 3 passengers, the total is 177 euro and you will pay a 19 euro deposit. The rest you will pay in cash to the driver plus a tip of 100-200 Dirhams. The drive from Chefchaouen to Fes is a 5 hour windy drive through the mountains. Ask your driver to stop and take pictures once you get outside the town of Chefchaouen.
Stay: Riad Verus – This Riad was amazing! Perfectly located and the the rooms, rooftop and common area were superb! The manager, Mel, was extremely friendly and helpful and her dog was just the cutest! Expect to pay around $15 per person, per night for a private.
Eat: I noticed that the restaurant promoters in Fes, were extremely aggressive and it made our group not interested in eating in any of the restaurants. Instead, we found one of these corn stands and had a few each.
Day 4: Spend Day in Fes
We were unable to spend the day in Fes due to a time crunch but check out these 1 day guide – 24 Hours in Fes. We were able to see the Bab Bou Jeloud (pictured above) and be sure to visit the Fes Royal Palace gate.
Day 5: Travel to Sahara Desert from Fes
We booked our tour with Merzouga Tours and they were phenomenal! The cost of the tour varies depending on how many days and what places you will visit, but hotels, breakfast and dinner are included in the total price. Contact Merzouga tours to book a tour and they are happy to customize tours.
Pickup from Riad at 8am. We spent 4 days and 3 nights with our tour guide Abdou and learned so much about Morocco and about the Nomadic Berbers. On our first day, we traveled to the Sahara and made many stops along the way to take pictures.
We stopped near the City of Ifrane to feed monkeys and take pictures with horses. The city of Ifrane is known to be the Switzerland of Morocco as it is very expensive and has the largest university in Morocco.
We stopped in the Valley of Ziz to take pictures of it’s amazing scenery.
We began our camel trek to camp around 5pm and arrived at camp around 7:30pm. Our Berber was Mohammed and he was a hoot! He has been working in tourism for 10 years so he is well accustomed to American’s and their excitement when riding a camel into the Sahara Desert, but really is anything more exciting than that?
You will be asked to pack items needed for one night’s stay and to leave the rest of your luggage with the guide. It is important to bring a daypack/purse for this. The groups can range anywhere from 5-30 people, we were lucky to be with just another couple.
The guides are happy to take photos on one phone for the group. My camel was Bob Marley and he was 14 years old (the older of the bunch). He was Mohammed’s first camel and Mohammed was constantly kissing him and scratching him on the trek, it was so cute!
Our camp was so much more luxurious than I thought it was going to be. I had pictured a tent with no pillows or blankets, but I was so wrong! This is my idea of glamping.
Eat: For dinner, they served a bunch of different salads and vegetables with bread and then a feast of fries, cooked vegetables and skewers. This was only the beginning! – after 2 full tables of food they brought out 2 huge tagines for each table. After dinner, the Berber’s played music and sang by the campfire for an hour or so.
For breakfast, the Berber’s prepared a typical Moroccan breakfast. After eating, we returned to Erfoud on camels. During this day, you will make visits to various shops and factories including fossils, rose water, argan oil and the Berber depot where you can purchase goods that are typically sold in shops straight from the Berbers who make them. Plan to have cash for this leg of the tour – you will want to purchase a few things at the visits.
After a day, full of visits and driving, you will arrive to the Dades Valley which is absolutely breathtaking. The picture above is the view from our hotel.
Stay: Kasbah Auberge Tifawen
Day 6: Travel from Dades Valley to Marrakesh
We were only able to spend a few hours in Marrakech, but it is a beautiful city!
We were able to visit the El Badi Palace and the La Katoubia (Mosque) in our brief time there, but there is so much more to see!
Day 7: Travel from Dades Valley to Marrakesh
I recommend that all of my friends and family try to visit Morocco. I know that some of you are nervous to visit (so was I!!!), but I could not have been more surprised by the hospitality of the Moroccan people. Random people passing us on the street giving us advice on where to eat and where to take the best pictures, helping with our bags and saying welcome (Marhaba!) as we walk by are just a few examples I have from this trip. I was suspicious of everyone in the beginning and assumed they were trying to scam me but I was totally wrong, the Moroccan people are actually just that nice!!
If anyone needs recommendations or helping planning your trip please feel free to ask any questions!