From north to south, from the high mountain peaks to the Atlantic beaches, from the humidity of the natural parks to the extreme aridity of the Sahara, from the most frenetic cities to the most peaceful villages, from modern Arab architecture to the most traditional and Berber. In this 16-day circuit, you will discover contrasts you never imagined and places of true beauty.
In this 16-day Morocco tour we use one of our premium vehicles to articulate the whole program. To move from one destination to another, we will travel by road: the main cities are connected by freeway, such as the imperial capitals Rabat, Fez, Meknes or Marrakech. But the long national roads are also mythical routes for those who travel them, such as those of the pre-Saharan valleys or the passes that cross the Atlas.
And to reach the most remote points of the desert, we will also use 4×4 vehicles to travel on dirt tracks, used in great adventure rallies. And as if that were not enough, we will ride on the back of camels to cross sand dunes, as did the ancient caravan routes of Tuareg nomads. The black village of Khamlia, the routes through Tazarine and Zagora or the environment of Erg Chebbi (Merzouga desert) are some of the places you will get to know this way.
The desert is a natural ecosystem full of beauty due to the purity of the environment, hardly modified by the hand of man, especially in its dune fields. But Moroccan nature is much more than that: cedar forests, waterfalls, fields populated with argan trees, oasis where palm trees and rose bushes abound … and a long etcetera.
In addition, culture will always be present in this trip: both the most elevated and the most popular. The imposing architecture of the mosques and kasbahs contrasts with the humble adobe houses, the refined modern cuisine contrasts with the humble local flavors, the most meticulous craftsmanship has nothing to envy to the most dazzling jewelry … And you will discover all this with our help or on your own during this half month in which you will feel like a Moroccan more.
The duration of this tour (16 days and 15 nights, starting in Casablanca and ending in Marrakech) makes it one of the longest in our catalog, with a rich program detailed below.
Casablanca Mohammed V International Airport will be your gateway to Morocco. And our staff will welcome you without leaving it: we will be waiting for you at the terminal to drive you to the private vehicle with which we will start the route.
The first stop is in the heart of Casablanca, on the shores of the Atlantic: the Hassan II Mosque, one of the most modern mosques in the world… and one of the few that can be visited by non-Muslims. Its minaret, moreover, dominates the scene with its nearly 200 meters high.
Rabat, about 90 km from Casablanca, will be the next stop on this first day. In the medina and its surroundings, also at the foot of the Atlantic, there are extraordinary historical monuments, such as the Hassan Tower: it is not as high as the mosque of Casablanca, but much older, dating from the Almohad period, in the eleventh century. The Mausoleum of Mohammed V, the monarch who was the architect of Morocco’s independence, is another space full of symbolism and majesty.
The riad in Rabat where you will rest for the night does not have the magnificence of these monuments, but it does have a lot of charm and premium facilities, where you will feel at home.
The Atlantic coast continues to be the protagonist in this second day of the circuit. But in this case, in Asilah, a town located much further north of Rabat and much smaller in size… but no less interesting.
Due to its origin, the defensive architecture of the fortress is reminiscent of the Portuguese maritime walls, the medina’s hamlet has something of Andalusian and the atmosphere of the place exudes art and bohemian spirit. This is because of the great cultural festival that is organized in summer and decorates the houses in the center, but which remains alive in different ways throughout the year.
In short: Asilah represents a very interesting and surprising getaway for those who wish to explore charming and uncrowded destinations in Morocco. Therefore, the riad where you will spend the night will be in tune with the place.
The third day of this circuit takes us through the most interesting destinations in northern Morocco: we leave Asilah and enter Tetouan (Unesco World Heritage Site), to conclude in the picturesque Chaouen.
Tetouan is very close to the Mediterranean Sea and was the capital of the Spanish Protectorate of Morocco. For this reason, it is one of the cities that most looks to its northern neighbor, especially Andalusia: its architecture and urban expansion are inspired by that region, but it also preserves buildings of great personality, such as the Royal Palace, still used by the king of the country to spend some summer periods.
From the White Dove (as Tetouan is known) we ‘fly’ to Chaouen: although we will travel by road the scarce 60 km that separate both localities, we will have to climb to reach Chaouen, as it is located between the Rif mountains, extended on the slope of one of them. But the most striking is its blue color, used to decorate the walls of the houses, which offers a unique stamp. From the inside, Chaouen gains a lot, with corners full of popular flavor and squares of rural taste, such as Uta el-Hammam.
The visit of Chaouen will be free in the afternoon, until the time of the night’s rest in a riad in the medina.
History. A lot of history. This will be one of the main ingredients of this day, perhaps the most interesting for lovers of the civilizations of the past. After leaving Chaouen, the route will take us to two stops very close to each other (about 20 km), each declared World Heritage by Unesco.
One stop is Volubilis, which stands out as the most important Roman archaeological site in Morocco. It is an enclosure with spectacular vestiges of this pre-Islamic city, which may have had 20,000 inhabitants, according to some sources. The Triumphal Arch, from the time of Emperor Caracalla (3rd century A.D.) is one of its main monuments, but the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus and the mosaics that decorated some of the pavements are also of great interest.
About fifteen centuries later, Meknes, the other stop of the day, reached its peak: it was the city chosen by Sultan Moulay Ismail to rule his kingdom. For this reason, he is an omnipresent character here, and we will discover him in first person when we visit his mausoleum. The remains of the wall and its monumental gates, such as Bab el Mansur, are other major attractions.
In the last part of the day we will arrive in Fez for a short walk and rest in the riad of the medina, facing the intense day of the next day.
On this fifth day of the tour we will not need the vehicle to travel to another destination: we will stay in Fez to discover the many attractions of this city, declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco and considered the spiritual and cultural capital of Morocco.
Reasons are not lacking: it has the largest medina in the country which, in fact, is divided into old medina (Fez el Bali, since its foundation in the eighth century) and new medina (Fez el Jedid, since the thirteenth century). The Bou Inania and Attarine medersas attest to the importance of religious studies in Fez, as does the Karaouine University (inside the mosque of the same name), considered the oldest in the world. The golden gates of the Royal Palace, the Jewish mellah quarter or the tanners’ quarter complete other places that are very popular here.
In the afternoon, during free time, you can complete the day with visits to museums or shopping in the traditional souks (full of high quality crafts), among many other proposals, before resting in the riad in the medina.
From the history and culture of the last days of travel we now move on to the purest and most genuine nature: the one found in the Middle Atlas Mountains, around Fez, and the one that covers everything south of this mountain range, with landscapes of extreme aridity.
Shortly after leaving Fez we will come across Ifrane, a mountain village with an alpine appearance, and the National Park of the same name. The latter is home to the most populous colony of Barbary apes, as well as its large refuge of cedar trees, so closely associated with this mountain range.
Passing to the southern side of the Atlas, the desert conquers everything, with stony landscapes and rocky hills, and turns the oases of vegetation into sporadic oases. Following the Ziz valley we will arrive at Erfoud, which has earned its prestige thanks to the fossil deposits in its subsoil.
And a little further south, we will reach Merzouga. This locality gives its name to a part of the Sahara desert, famous for the Erg Chebbi dunes. Towards them we will ride camels to reach a Berber tent camp, which will be our comfortable home for a night.
The start of the seventh day will bring us one of the greatest spectacles of the circuit: the sunrise on the dune field, with a light only comparable to that of the previous sunset. With it, the early risers will say goodbye to the brightness of the stars at night, another spectacle worth admiring.
Once recovered from this genuine dawn, we will return to Merzouga to take a quick shower and continue along other desert routes, this time in 4×4 off-road vehicles. Now the route will take us along Paris-Dakar tracks to unique villages, such as Khamblia, where we will witness a concert of black folk music. It will also be very enriching to meet nomadic families in the process of sedentarization, as it will allow us to learn first-hand about daily life in such a complicated natural environment.
After that and some more stops between the remains of abandoned villages and elevations with panoramic views, we will arrive back to Merzouga to spend the night in a cozy and comfortable hotel-kasbah.
The Sahara desert in Morocco hides many surprising and unique places. Therefore, a third day here is well worth it. In this case, from Merzouga we will head for the Anti Atlas Mountains, the southernmost and most arid mountain range of the entire Moroccan mountain range.
Now, the desert becomes a hammada, with stony terrain and a much darker color, to the point that it is called the ‘black desert’. Here is Tazarine, the town of reference in this environment, through which we will pass on our way to the other great attraction of the day: the huge palm grove of the Draa River, of which we will only see a small part, as it is a green tongue that extends for more than 200 km in the desert.
Small Berber villages have sprung up in the shelter of the palm grove since time immemorial, but the main town here is Zagora, which preserves vestiges of the past and houses our charming riad at night.
On this ninth day we leave the heart of the desert to head north and visit other areas marked by the contrast between the extreme aridity and the surprising explosions of greenery and humidity of the pre-Saharan valleys.
This can be seen, for example, in the Todra Gorges: as we shall see, this rocky canyon looks like a magical work of art due to the perfection, verticality and height of its rocky walls, a real paradise for climbers. The Todra River, seasonal and of scarce flow, is responsible for having created such a unique landscape, very close to Tinerhir.
Through the Dades valley, between Berber villages, palm groves and abandoned kasbahs, we will arrive at the riad that will host us tonight, in a most charming rural setting.
Although it lacks big cities and monuments, traveling by road through the Dades valley and other collateral valleys is an unforgettable experience for lovers of the mythical routes on asphalt.
One of those collateral valleys that is well worth a visit is that of the Roses, especially if it is in spring, when the fields are more in bloom and a festival is held with the rose as the central element. But if you travel at any other time of the year you will discover that this flower is the main raw material to produce cosmetic, gastronomic… and tourist products, as it is a real attraction.
The Skoura Oasis is another island of vegetation and humidity in the Dades Valley, and its dense palm grove is one of the most picturesque in the country, especially if viewed from an elevated position, which allows it to contrast with its arid surroundings.
From Skoura, there will be relatively little time left to reach Ouarzazate (just 40 km), where our hotel will be waiting for you to rest and recharge your batteries for the next day’s visits.
Ouarzazate is the main city south of the Atlas Mountains and is known for its film studios, the Atlas Studios. Instead, our program takes us to the kasbah of Taourirt, without leaving the city: it is a magnificent example of Berber architecture in adobe, with decorative games in chiaroscuro.
But for traditional and imposing Berber architecture, nothing like the ksar of Ait Ben Haddou, recognized as a World Heritage Site by Unesco. It is a fortified village under the kasbah on a hill, and still serves as home to many families, although not as many as in its heyday, when it was an obligatory stop for traders on the caravan routes coming to Marrakech from south of the Sahara.
After a walk inside and outside Ait Ben Haddou, we will ascend to the Tizi n’Tichka Pass to cross the High Atlas and start the photogenic descent to Marrakech. Here, the afternoon will be free and the night will be spent resting in a riad of the highest category.
Its past as the capital of the kingdom and its present as the tourist capital of Morocco place Marrakech in a privileged position, which could not be missing in the program of this 16-day tour. For this city, called ‘red’ because of the color of its brick buildings, we reserved a full day… although it has attractions to fill several more days.
The first part of the day will be in the form of a guided tour, with a local guide accredited by the Ministry of Tourism. The Saadian Tombs, the Bahia Palace, the Koutoubia Mosque (exterior only) and the Jemaa el Fna square are some places of interest that could be included in this guided tour.
In the afternoon, however, you will again have free time, perhaps for shopping for handicrafts or to visit one of the museums of interest in the city, before resting again in the riad. In this regard, highlights the Museum of Marrakech, the small but surprising Orientalist Museum or the modern Yves Saint Laurent Museum, dedicated to this designer linked to the city.
In a circuit as long as this, more than two weeks, there is time to make some excursions from Marrakech. And in this program, the chosen one is the Ouzoud Waterfalls, a very popular destination among Moroccans themselves.
It is the largest waterfall in the country, just over 150 km from Marrakech. It seems to have arisen by magic, since the surrounding environment is not exactly very humid. And it is not uncommon to see Barbary monkeys, already accustomed to the company of tourists, who come here to cool off or simply enjoy the view of the fall.
Another common excursion from Marrakech is the one that takes us to Essaouira. But in this case, because of the enormous interest of this coastal city, we dedicated two days and one night to it in our travel program.
We will arrive in Essaouira between argan fields and cooperatives that extract its precious oil. We will see this if we visit some of these organizations that, in this way, generate work around a symbol of Moroccan nature.
Once in Essaouira, the day will be free to visit at your own pace this city declared World Heritage by Unesco. The Portuguese maritime fortress Skala is the great monument to discover, where, by the way, scenes from Game of Thrones were filmed. Its fishing port, its synagogues or the most lively corners of the medina can complete the day, until the time to rest in the riad of the medina.
On this trip you will have the privilege of enjoying two days in Essaouira. This is the second and may be the most suitable for some organized activity in the city, such as dromedary or horseback riding along the beaches or practicing some of the water sports in vogue in the area, such as kite surfing.
A swim in one of its beaches will always be another pleasant option, as well as gastronomic tasting or folkloric music, if there is an occasion for it. And so we arrive at the last night of the circuit, in the riad of the medina, as usual.
Depending on the schedule of the flight home on the sixteenth day of the tour, we will set up the specific program for this day. Whatever the detail, our driver will pick you up punctually at the agreed time to arrive smoothly at the Marrakech-Menara International Airport, where we will end our services, between words of gratitude for the trust placed in the agency.
Such a complete circuit in terms of destinations is also complete in terms of the services included. Below are the details for your information:
Finally, these services are not included in the circuit package, so they have a separate cost: