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11 days from casablanca ending in Marrakech

Circuit from Casablanca to Marrakech, with imperial cities, desert and Essaouira

This 11-day tour of Morocco begins on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean (Casablanca) and ends very close to it (in Marrakech, after an excursion to Essaouira). And in between, an exciting tour that will take you to the country’s must-see destinations. Undoubtedly, an ideal option for all-terrain travelers who wish to combine culture and nature, big cities and the rural world, desert and sea in the same program.

A circuit with the essentials, but expanded

The program of this 11-day tour follows the guidelines of other itineraries starting in Casablanca and ending in Marrakech: it covers important cities and World Heritage Sites in the country (Rabat, Meknes, Volubilis, Ait Ben Haddou…), but also adds less known destinations that, for lack of time, have no place in other circuits of shorter duration.

This is the case of Essaouira, a pearl of the Atlantic just two hours from Marrakech. Or experiences in the heart of the desert, in small villages where folklore and semi-nomadic life are still alive and well. The ‘village of the blacks’ or the localities of the pre-Saharan valleys are some examples that will surprise you by their originality… and by the quality of the service offered to the traveler.

Guided tours and open air tours

In order to make the most of this 11-day tour, you will be accompanied by our staff in all the destinations to be visited. And in those places where it is necessary to go deeper, you will have a local guide certified by the Ministry of Tourism to receive the best explanations in your language. Specifically, in the cities of Fez and Marrakech, but you can also request this additional service in other visitable areas.

But we will also leave you free time to visit at your leisure, go shopping on your own or just have a drink and rest when you feel like it, especially in big cities where the commercial and cultural offer is wide and customizable. In this way, the trip adapts to your pace, and not the other way around.

Itinerary of this 11-day circuit

Below you can see a summary and a detailed description of this 11 days and 10 nights tour in Morocco, starting at Casablanca Mohammed V Airport and ending at Menara Airport – Marrakech, without intermediate flights and with all trips in premium vehicles.

  • Day 1: Casablanca – Rabat
  • Day 2: Rabat – Chaouen
  • Day 3: Chaouen – Volubilis – Meknes – Fez
  • Day 4: Fez
  • Day 5: Fez – Ifrane National Park – Erfoud – Merzouga Desert
  • Day 6: Merzouga Desert – Visit to nomads – Khamlia – Merzouga Desert
  • Day 7: Merzouga Desert – Rissani – Todra Gorges – Dades Valley – Ouarzazate
  • Day 8: Ouarzazate – Ait Ben Haddou – Marrakech
  • Day 9: Marrakech
  • Day 10: Marrakech – Essaouira – Marrakech
  • Day 11: Marrakech – Marrakech Airport

Day 1: Casablanca - Rabat

Upon arrival at Casablanca Airport, our staff will meet you at the terminal to start this 11-day tour. And the first planned visit is precisely in this city, considered the financial capital of Morocco: the Hassan II Mosque, a temple of great interest not only for its imposing architecture but also for being one of the few in the country and the Muslim world that allows the entry of people of other faiths.

After that, we will head for the political and administrative capital, Rabat: declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco, it has emblematic and beautiful monuments, such as the Mausoleum of Mohammed V or the Hassan Tower, which exemplify the splendor of the city’s past and present. At nightfall, you will rest in a charming riad located in the center.

  • Pick-up at Casablanca airport
  • Transfer by private vehicle and visit to the Hassan II Mosque (schedule permitting).
  • Road trip to Rabat
  • Visit to Rabat
  • Night in riad in Rabat

Day 2: Rabat - Chaouen

Both Casablanca and Rabat are cities bathed by the Atlantic Ocean, but on this second day of the tour we leave the coast to travel inland. Specifically to the northern Rif Mountains, where one of the most picturesque villages of Morocco is located: Chaouen, also called the ‘blue village’ because this color stains all the houses in the medina.

The visit to this suggestive destination is free so that you can savor its narrow streets and viewpoints at your own pace. But your steps will surely lead you to the square of Uta el-Hammam or the Kasbah, which is now an Ethnographic Museum. The riad to rest during the night is located, of course, in the medina to complete a day full of charm.

  • Breakfast in riad in Rabat
  • Road trip to Chaouen
  • Free visit of Chaouen
  • Night in riad in Chaouen

Day 3: Chaouen - Volubilis - Meknes - Fez

The third day of the tour takes us from Chaouen to the eternal city of Fez. But between one destination and the other, we will visit two places of great interest that, precisely for this reason, have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.

The first is Volubilis, an archaeological site from the Roman period that shows the importance of this territory in the times of that empire. It is the most spectacular pre-Islamic site in the country and it has impressive monumental remains, such as the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus or the Arch of Caracalla. Entrance to the site is included, but a guided tour of the site is optional.

After visiting Volubilis, we will drive about 20 km to the city of Meknes, which was the capital of the kingdom in the time of Sultan Moulay Ismail. Important vestiges of that period remain, including its mausoleum (which we will visit), as well as monumental parts of the wall, such as the spectacular Bab el-Mansour.

In the final part of the day we will arrive in Fez, but on this day you will have only a first contact with the city, leaving for the next day the visit to the medina, which is the largest in the country. There, by the way, will also be the charming riad where you will rest.

  • Breakfast in riad in Chaouen
  • Road trip to:
    • Volubilis: free visit of the Roman archaeological site
    • Meknes: free visit of the imperial city
  • Road trip to Fez
  • Night in a charming riad in Fez

Day 4: Fez

Fez is a must-see city, especially for lovers of culture and art. It is a fascinating city, capital of the kingdom in different periods of the past and still today the spiritual capital of the country, reasons that earned its declaration as a World Heritage Site by Unesco. The list of places of interest is very extensive and therefore the services of an official guide are necessary for a guided tour in the morning.

Some of the most interesting places that could be part of the tour are located in Fez el Bali (old medina), where the main Koranic schools or medersas (Bou Inania, Attarine) and the Karaouine mosque, which houses what for many is the first university in the world. The new medina or Fez el Jedid also offers interesting attractions, especially the Royal Palace, although it can only be seen from the outside. The Mellah or Jewish quarter and the numerous souks are other places of interest that can be part of the day, either in the guided tour or in the afternoon at leisure, before resting back at the riad.

  • Breakfast in riad in Fez
  • Guided tour of Fez
  • Free afternoon
  • Night in riad in Fez

Day 5: Fez - Ifrane National Park - Erfoud - Merzouga Desert

If the fourth day of this circuit was marked by culture, history and art, on the fifth day we changed completely to enjoy the wildest nature of Morocco. A nature that, as we will see, is full of contrasts.

Shortly after leaving Fez we will stop in Ifrane, which surprises with its skyline of gable roofs, more typical of other latitudes such as the Alps. Between this town and Azrou is the so-called Monkey Forest, a national park full of cedars and Barbary macaques, which we will surely be able to see during our stop.

After that, we will cross the Middle Atlas and start a long descent through the Ziz Valley to Erfoud. This small town is one of the most interesting for geology lovers, due to its great variety of marbles and fossils, some of them from species that lived in the time of the dinosaurs.

Erfoud will be the last stop before reaching Merzouga, where we will transfer: at that time we will get on the back of dromedaries to make the next stretch through the dunes of Erg Chebbi to reach the tents camp. There we will be welcomed with a Berber tea, as tradition dictates, and later we will sleep under the starry desert sky.

  • Breakfast in riad in Fez
  • Road trip to:
    • Ifrane. Visit to the National Park (Monkey Forest)
    • Erfoud
  • Arrival in Merzouga: dromedary or 4×4 route to the dunes of Erg Chebbi
  • Overnight stay in a luxury tent camp in the middle of the desert

Day 6: Merzouga Desert - Visit to nomads - Khamlia - Merzouga Desert

On this sixth day of our tour of Morocco, we will learn first-hand about the harsh living conditions of those who live here, but also about their resilience and endless kindness. To do this, we will leave the tents camp (not before breakfast and admire the sunrise in this place), we will take a shower in Merzouga and start a 4×4 route through the dirt tracks of the desert.

Khamlia will be a very special stop: called the black village, its inhabitants of sub-Saharan origin are descendants of former slaves and today are admired for their skill in folk music, where percussion is a distinctive element.

After witnessing a concert of this music, which is protected as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by Unesco, we will continue along tracks that were part of the mythical Paris-Dakar. Abandoned French villages from the time of the Protectorate will be part of the tour, which will lead us to another enriching experience: our encounter with semi-nomadic families, who will welcome us with hospitality and show us their way of life based on itinerancy and shepherding.

On the way back to Merzouga and after stopping on a sand hill with privileged panoramic views, we will spend the night in a spectacular hotel that blends perfectly into the desert.

  • Sunrise on the dunes of Erg Chebbi
  • Dromedary or 4×4 ride to Merzouga
  • Shower and off-road route through:
    • Khamlia. Folk music concert
    • Paris-Dakar tracks
    • Meeting with nomadic desert families
  • Night in hotel in the desert of Merzouga

Day 7: Merzouga Desert - Rissani - Todra Gorges - Dades Valley - Ouarzazate

After spending two nights in the Merzouga desert, we leave this unique destination to explore other equally fascinating places in southern Morocco. This is the area known as the pre-Saharan valleys, which we will reach shortly after a brief stop in Rissani, known for the traditional scenes of its charming medina.

The day will be mainly a roadtrip, with landscapes on both sides of the road where rocky hills, palm groves and the ruins of ancient Berber kasbahs coexist. We will stop at the incredible Todra Gorges, a canyon chiseled over thousands of years by the course of this humble seasonal river.

And we will go up the Dades valley to its beginning, where the city of Ouarzazate is located, where the hotel awaits us to rest for the night.

  • Breakfast at hotel in Merzouga desert
  • Road trip to:
    • Rissani
    • Todra Gorges
    • Dades Valley
  • Arrival in Ouarzazate
  • Overnight in hotel in Ouarzazate

Day 8: Ouarzazate - Ait Ben Haddou - Marrakech

On the eighth day of the tour we retraced the ancient caravan routes, so important centuries ago not only for the country’s economy, but also for the whole of Africa. On this route kasbahs or Berber fortresses were built, a good example being Taourirt, which was also the residence-castle of the Pasha of Marrakech in the early twentieth century, as we will understand during the visit.

But the great exponent of this military, commercial and popular architecture is the ksar of Ait Ben Haddou, which we will visit as it deserves. Declared a Unesco World Heritage Site, this fortified village seems frozen in time and allows us to admire its adobe structures and its picturesque urbanism, on the side of a hill and at the foot of a defensive kasbah.

With the image of this fortified village still in our minds, we will resume the route and cross the High Atlas through Tizi n’Tichka, and then start a pleasant descent to Marrakech. Upon arrival, there will be free time before resting at the riad in the medina.

  • Breakfast at hotel in Ouarzazate
  • Visit of the kasbah of Taourirt
  • Road trip to:
    • Ait Ben Haddou. Visit
    • Passage of the High Atlas by the Tizi n’Tichka pass
    • Descent by road to Marrakech
  • Free time
  • Night in riad in Marrakech

Day 9: Marrakech

If Casablanca is the financial capital, Rabat the administrative and Fez the spiritual, Marrakech is undoubtedly the tourist capital of Morocco. It is the most visited, and not by chance: its splendorous past has bequeathed us monuments of great interest, which we will get to know thanks to a guided tour with a professional certified by the Ministry of Tourism.

Before our eyes will appear the Koutoubia Mosque, the Jemaa el Fna Square, the souks of artisans and other places, some of which are visitable, such as the Bahia Palace or the Saadian Tombs. The afternoon will be free and is an ideal time to visit one of the many local museums, do some shopping or lose yourself in the palm groves and gardens that give a touch of freshness to the center. And in the evening, another rest in the riad.

  • Breakfast in riad in Marrakech
  • Guided tour of the city
  • Free afternoon
  • Night in riad in Marrakech

Day 10: Marrakech - Essaouira - Marrakech

On this tenth day of travel comes the differential element of this circuit compared to others of shorter duration: the excursion to Essaouira. This beautiful city on the Atlantic coast, which is also a World Heritage Site, holds interesting surprises that you can enjoy at your leisure throughout the day.

Its Skala or maritime fortress is one of the best examples of Portuguese architecture in the country, since during the 15th and 16th centuries, this city (then called Mogador) and others in the surrounding area were fundamental for the commercial travels of that European country. The interior of the medina is very picturesque, with mosques and synagogues of the most amazing, which tells us about the rich and multicultural past of this city.

During the round trip by road, we will have the opportunity to cross the argan tree fields, emblematic tree of the country, where there are cooperatives that extract its oil in a traditional way. Getting a first-hand look at how it works can be a very enriching experience. And at the end of the day, you will spend the third and last night in the riad of Marrakech.

  • Breakfast in riad in Marrakech
  • Road trip to Essaouira
  • Free visit of the city
  • Return to Marrakech by road
  • Night in riad in Marrakech

Day 11: Marrakech - Marrakech Airport

The eleventh day of the tour is the last day, and we will organize it according to the departure time of the plane that will take you back home. Breakfast will be served at the riad, as usual on the trip, and our driver will pick you up at the agreed time to reach the airport in time. There we will say goodbye, with all our gratitude and wishes for future reunions.

  • Breakfast in riad in Marrakech
  • Transfer by private vehicle to Menara-Marrakech airport
  • End of our services

Services included in this 11-day tour from Casablanca

The services included in this circuit will make your travel experience much more complete and comfortable. Here we list them:

  • Transfers from Casablanca airport and to Marrakech airport
  • Chauffeur with private vehicle during the entire tour
  • One night in a riad in Rabat, on a breakfast-only basis
  • One night in a riad in Chaouen, on breakfast only basis
  • Two nights in a riad in Fez, on a breakfast-only basis
  • Night in tents camp in the dunes of the Merzouga desert, half board (dinner and breakfast)
  • One night in a hotel in the desert of Merzouga, half board (dinner and breakfast).
  • One night in a hotel in Ouarzazate, half-board (dinner and breakfast)
  • Three nights in riad in Marrakech, on breakfast only basis
  • Dromedary excursions in the Erg Chebbi dunes
  • Official local guide for visits to Fez and Marrakech

Services not included

Despite the completeness and variety of the package, the following services are excluded and must be paid separately by the client:

  • International flights to and from the country
  • Dinners in Rabat, Fez, Marrakech and Chaouen. In return, advice will be given on interesting restaurants for each case.
  • Midday lunches
  • Beverages
  • Entrance fees to museums and monuments
  • Free day activities
  • Tips

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