With Fez as a starting point and Marrakech as the end of the trip, this 10-day tour will allow you to discover the most fascinating corners of the country. Some of the most important stops on the route are Chaouen, the Atlas Mountains, Ait Ben Haddou and, of course, the desert in its most varied forms: sand dunes, dirt tracks, wadis, rocky gorges… Take a look at this circuit and you will understand that 10 days are enough to bring back half of Morocco in your suitcase… and in your heart.
Morocco is a country of contrasts. And in 10 days you will have time to check it out, thanks to this circuit. The vibrant rhythm of the Jemaa el-Fna square in Marrakech has nothing to do with the peaceful atmosphere of a desert village. Nor the snowy peaks of the High Atlas with the arid valleys of the pre-Saharan area. Not even the humble adobe architecture in Berber style with the refined Islamic constructions of the Imperial Cities. So if you want to admire Morocco in its entirety, let us guide you and open your eyes wide to contemplate every detail.
This 10-day Morocco tour is designed to squeeze the most out of each day, but that does not mean that the program is rushed and superficial. On the contrary: its development offers enough time to enjoy during the trips and visits, which is why its duration is longer than other circuits with similar routes. Therefore, if you like to stop and admire the small details and want to have free time to spend it as you wish, this trip proposal is ideal.
From Fez Saiss Airport to Marrakech Menara Airport, with 10 days and 9 nights in between: here you have the detailed program of the circuit, in which we use a private vehicle with driver for all the displacements.
Our services start at Fez Saiss Airport, at the foot of the terminal: there our agency staff will be waiting for you with a private vehicle to transfer you to the riad, located in the medina of Fez. After checking in, you will be able to assess if there is enough free time to stroll around the historic center of this spectacular city, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
One of the most beautiful villages in Morocco is located less than 200 km north of Fez: it is called Chaouen and we include it as an excursion on this second day of the tour, which is an interesting plus compared to other shorter tours.
It is known as the ‘blue village’ of Morocco because its inhabitants have painted the walls of their houses in this color, in light shades. And as its medina extends along the side of a hill, its contemplation from any viewpoint is most special. Once inside its historic center, walking through its narrow streets full of slopes, nooks and crannies, arches and stairways will seem like a fascinating journey through time. The Uta el-Hammam Square and its 14th century kasbah are its main monumental spaces, which you will surely take with you in your memory… and in your camera’s memory.
After strolling and discovering Chaouen freely, we will return by road to Fez, to spend the night in the same riad of the previous night.
The third day of the tour begins with the long-awaited visit to Fez, considered the cultural and spiritual capital of Morocco. In fact, it has the largest historical medina, as well as mausoleums and mosques of reference in the whole country. A rich cultural and architectural heritage that can only be fully understood with the help of an official guide, such as the one we will provide you with during the morning.
With his help, you will tour the old medina and the new medina (Fez el-Bali and Fez el-Jedid, respectively), full of emblematic buildings such as the Karaouine Mosque (which houses what is considered by many to be the oldest university in the world) and the Andalusian Mosque, the mausoleum of Idriss II, the Najjarine Fountain and the Royal Palace. The medersa Bou Inania or the wall surrounding the medina are other historical buildings that can be part of the tour, as well as the mellah or the neighborhood of tanners (Chouwara).
After this walking tour of the medina, we will get into our vehicle to head south, with the Middle Atlas Mountains on the horizon. On the way to them and as we ascend to over 1,500 meters of altitude, we will pass through picturesque villages such as Ifrane, with an alpine air.
There will also be time to stop at the Ifrane National Park, a lung of 50,000 hectares with two great protagonists: the Atlas cedar and the Barbary macaque. These are two of the examples of Morocco’s biodiversity and of this nature reserve in particular, also called Monkey Forest or Cedar Forest.
This will be the last visit of the day, because shortly after we will stop our route in Midelt, another mountainous town, ideal for dinner and overnight, especially if it is in a charming riad like the one we will have booked for you.
The fourth day of the circuit will take us to the other side of the Middle Atlas, crowning the Tizi n’Talghemt pass. Once this natural barrier is overcome, the landscape will change, becoming from now on more arid. We will see it already in the first kilometers of the descent, but especially along the Ziz Valley, a long but not very fast-flowing river that dies on the way to the desert.
Precisely at its gates, in Erfoud, it is difficult to recognize the dry river, but the attraction of this small town is another: its fossils, which have given it international fame, and even dinosaur bones found in the surrounding deposits. Stores and museums follow one after the other in the city center, thus exploiting this international attraction.
Shortly after we will arrive in Merzouga, a milestone on our route because it will force us to change means of transport: we will leave the car to switch to camels. These animals are the most suitable for riding in the Erg Chebbi dunes, located on the outskirts of this locality.
It will be a walk guided by a Tuareg responsible for the camels, knowledgeable about the route and the behavior of these tame and noble animals. In this way we will arrive comfortably and safely to the tents camp, located in the middle of the dunes. Its canvas Berber tents are luxurious, with all the comforts a premium traveler could need.
Thus, with this mixture of tradition, humility and exclusivity, we will have a welcome Berber tea, dinner and sleep, under a sky sparkling with stars and immersed in a peace difficult to find elsewhere on the planet.
Having reached the halfway point of the circuit, it is the turn of one of the most fascinating natural spectacles of the route: the sunrise over the dunes. To contemplate it is necessary to get up early, but it will be worth it, for the colors and the silence that flood the place.
After breakfast at the bivouac, we will return to Merzouga, this time to resume the motorized route, although not always on asphalt. Khamlia is one of the stops of this day: the reason, to meet the black community of the village, descendants of former slaves brought on the caravan routes. They are the best performers of Gnawa music, declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, and will delight us with an exciting live performance.
The other great experience of the day is the encounter and coexistence with the nomads of the desert: we will visit them in their most personal and private environment, with the mediation of our driver-guide, who already knows them thoroughly. Seeing their lifestyle up close and immersing yourself in their way of understanding the world will be most enriching. And although they have taken on some of the habits and resources of the modern world, they are one of the few ‘Gallic villages’ resisting globalization.
To get here there is no choice but to drive along desert dirt tracks, as if it were a rally. In fact, the Paris-Dakar used them as a race course. Today, in addition to the adrenaline they generate, they allow you to see some vestiges of the French domination era, such as some abandoned kohl mines.
And although in this route we do not cross the dunes, we will have the opportunity to contemplate them from above: one of the viewpoints of the environment will offer us a panoramic view of this sea of fine golden sand, with more than 25 km in length.
As a finale, we will dine and stay in a desert hotel in Merzouga, whose atmosphere and interior design are impregnated with the magic of the desert and the Berber culture that has survived here to this day.
At some points during the previous day, the border with Algeria was 10-20 km away as the crow flies. But on this sixth day, we move away from it again to travel through the valleys that stretch between the Sahara desert and the Atlas Mountains.
The first stop will not be long in coming: Rissani, a town that, despite its small size, exemplifies some of Morocco’s attractions. Its historic medina, its mausoleum in honor of the founder of the Alaouite dynasty (Moulay Ali Cherif), its market with local food stalls and handicrafts … and even a parking lot in the vicinity where they do not park cars, but donkeys.
Back on the road, the landscape is populated by palm groves, but also by ruined kasbahs and humble villages where life moves at a different pace. Already in the Dades Valley, Tinghir will be noted for its adobe buildings, its cultivated fields and its palm trees, sheltered by a rocky mountain.
Not far from here are the Todra Gorges, one of those enclaves that seem to be taken from a fairy tale but are simply the product of the forces of nature. Specifically, the erosion of the Todra River, which has carved this canyon with walls up to 200 meters high in some places. We will not climb them, as climbers from all over the planet do, but we will admire them from below, walking along the walkway provided for this purpose.
After this walk, we will return to the road and, later, we will stop in Boumalne Dades: in this peaceful village of the Valley of the Roses will be our riad for dinner and rest for the night.
Despite the aridity and high temperatures that often characterize this region, the cultivation of the damascena rose has made its way decades ago in the humidity and vegetation offered by the Dades River. Therefore, in spring, summer and even autumn you can see these beautiful flowers, which are also a source of wealth for their use in the cosmetics industry.
Kilometers ahead, we will arrive in Ouarzazate, a city known for its film studios. For us, however, it offers another ‘movie’ attraction: the kasbah of Taourirt, which represents one of the best preserved castle-palaces of Berber architecture, with adobe on the outside and a combination of humble but refined materials on the inside (ceramics, wood, etc.).
But the main monument of the day comes a little later: Ait Ben Haddou, a fortified Berber village that is also closely related to fiction, serving as a location for Game of Thrones, among other titles. Centuries ago, it was a strategic stop for the caravan routes to Marrakech. And after a period of decline, it is now experiencing a revival thanks to tourism, with such charming and premium accommodations as the one that will host us for the night.
Leaving Ait Ben Haddou, the road gets more and more uphill. And that will be a plus for lovers of panoramic views. Its climax will be at the Tizi n’Tichka pass, at an altitude of 2,260 meters, from where the High Atlas shows all its majesty.
The descent from this point is very different, with snowy valleys in the winter season and radiant vegetation after the thaw. Its villages and farms represent interesting excursions for the inhabitants of Marrakech, due to their proximity.
In fact, our arrival in this city will take place shortly after, so that the rest of the day will be free, after check-in at the riad in the medina. This is an ideal occasion for shopping, whether luxury or traditional handicrafts, or for other leisure activities, for example gastronomic, given the variety of local Marrakech.
Whichever option you choose, the pleasant riad in the medina will offer the comfort you need to rest tonight and the next night.
Touring Morocco in 10 days and not visiting Marrakech at leisure would be an unforgivable mistake: this city, capital in times of Almoravids, Almohads and Saadis, is home to a long list of monuments worth knowing, either for its beauty, its historical importance or its popular atmosphere. It is no coincidence that its old town has been declared a World Heritage Site.
The choice of places to visit will be in the hands of our official guide, who will take you on a tour of the medina in the morning of this ninth day. The Saadian Tombs, the Bahia Palace, the exterior of the Koutoubia Mosque, the Ben Youssef Medersa or the Jemaa el-Fna square will be some candidates to be part of the route.
And if something of your interest remains after the visit, you can add it to the afternoon, which is free. Craft museums like the one in Marrakech, refreshing gardens like Majorelle or chic neighborhoods like Gueliz will not disappoint before returning to the riad to rest.
On the tenth and last day of the trip, we will pick you up at the agreed time at the riad in Marrakech to take you by private transfer to the airport. The departure time of the plane will determine if there is free time on this day for last minute shopping. In any case, we will keep our appointment punctually and bid a fond farewell at the terminal.
This travel package is not only very complete because of the wide variety of destinations on the route, but also because of the diversity and quality of the services included. Here you can consult them:
As usual in this type of tours, the following services are not included: