Did you know that 5 days are enough to discover the highlights of Morocco? To make the most of this short period of time, you can start in one city and end in another: from Tangier in the far north to Marrakech in the south, passing through the most iconic places in the country. In this way, we integrate into the route the most spectacular monuments and the most fascinating natural corners, including the Sahara Desert. Impossible to know more in less time!
This circuit that crosses Morocco by road from north to south allows you to discover the incredible natural contrasts existing in the country. The pleasant Rif Mountains, the imposing Atlas mountain range on the wetter side (Middle Atlas) and on the harsher side (High Atlas), the desert of
south of the mountain range, the fine sand dunes of Erg Chebbi, the oasis of palm trees in the pre-Saharan valleys, the rocky canyons of enormous geological interest… As you can see, the list of landscapes is very long, and it all fits in this 5-day circuit.
Although nature is a great tourist attraction in this circuit, culture, history and art also have a prominent place in it. We will discover three Unesco World Heritage Sites (Tetouan, Fez and Ait Ben Haddou), which is the best guarantee of architectural beauty. In addition, other places that do not have this distinction but are equally beautiful, such as the ‘blue village’ of Chaouen or the picturesque Rissani, in the heart of the desert, are also part of the route.
This 5-day, 4-night tour starts in Tangier and ends in Marrakech, with travel by road (and in some sections, off-road). Here you can consult the complete development of the program:
To optimize the timing of this 5-day tour, the route can start at the port or airport of Tangier, or at another point to be agreed upon in the city center. After meeting our staff, we will depart by road to Tetouan to discover its picturesque medina, known as the ‘White Dove’ because of its color and its location on a hill, from which it seems to fly away. In addition, its expansion or new neighborhood has an Andalusian touch that reminds us of the historical relationship of this city with Spain, as it was the capital of its Protectorate.
From the white of Tetouan we will go to the green of the Rif mountains and the blue of the village of Chaouen. This suggestive locality, whose medina also extends uphill, fascinates by the pleasant color of its houses, located between labyrinthine alleys, slopes and stairs. Its inhabitants carefully preserve this sign of identity, adding color with flower pots and humble handicraft stores. The Uta el-Hammam square is the nerve center of Chaouen, where there is also the kasbah, now the Ethnographic Museum. The charming riad where you will spend the night will also be located in this environment.
After breakfast in the riad of Chaouen, we will resume the route by road. After three and a half hours, we will arrive in the city of Fez, which can be considered the cultural and religious capital of Morocco. Its medina is the largest in the country and houses monuments of great interest. For this reason, an official guide will be waiting for us here for a guided tour of the historic center.
The Karaouine Mosque (exterior only), the medersa Bou Inania, the Nejjarine Square, the tanners’ quarter or the surroundings of the Royal Palace with its mellah are some of the places that can be part of the tour, which will depend on the criteria of our ‘Cicero’.
After this guided tour there will be some free time left, which can be spent visiting other places of interest, such as museums (Dar Batha, Borj Nord), or shopping in the souks of the medina, since Fez is also the most important city as far as handicrafts are concerned. At the end of the day, you will sleep in a nice riad.
On this third day of the circuit, the route will offer an extraordinary change of environments: from the historical-artistic richness of Fez we will pass to the wettest mountains of Morocco to conclude in the most arid area of the whole country.
The first stop will be made, briefly, in Ifrane, a mountain village (1,700 meters altitude) whose houses with peaked roofs are reminiscent of the Alps. It is no coincidence that it is nicknamed the ‘Moroccan Switzerland’. The next stop on the way will be in Ifrane National Park, known as the Monkey Forest because its cedars are home to the largest population of Barbary macaques in the country.
Kilometers ahead we will crown the mountainous massif of the Middle Atlas to begin a long descent through the Ziz Valley, arid and desert-like, with sporadic oases along the way. Arriving in Erfoud, a city famous for its fossil trade, we will understand that the Sahara desert is already relentlessly surrounding us.
And a little further on, in Merzouga, we will confirm this feeling: here we will leave the vehicle to take dromedaries and start a ride through the dunes of Erg Chebbi, the most fascinating of Morocco. In the heart of this sea of sand, which is about 25 km from end to end, is the tented camp that will serve as our home for the night. There we will have a welcome Berber tea, a traditional dinner and a rest in a luxury Berber tent under the starry desert sky.
The start of the fourth day of this circuit will be very special: in the dunes of Erg Chebbi, a magical sunrise will bid us good morning, with its characteristic play of light and a moving silence. After that, we will have breakfast at the camp and head back to Merzouga, to take the car again and the road route.
On our way back to civilization, we will stop in Rissani, a small town whose medina retains a very picturesque touch: not only for its walls and historic buildings, but also for its donkey parking and its traditional market, with bulk spices and products of the most varied.
Our vehicle will take us into the Dades Valley, with localities of Berber population and a humble life still based on agriculture that survives in its oases. At the height of Tinghir, one of its most iconic cities, we will take the detour to the Todra Gorges: this narrow gorge surprises by the perfection and height of its rock walls, which in some cases exceed 100 meters high.
The last part of the day will take us to Ouarzazate, famous for its film studios. The hotel-riad that will host us for dinner and a good night’s rest is located there.
In addition to its prestige in the film industry, Ouarzazate has another great tourist attraction, as we will discover: its kasbah of Taourirt. This castle was, at the same time, the residence of the El Glaoui family and is a beautiful example of the Berber architecture of the region: crenellated towers, Islamic decoration inside and materials taken from the environment, such as wood and, above all, adobe.
But the kasbah of Taourirt will be just an appetizer of what comes next: the ksar of Ait Ben Haddou, a spectacular fortified village located about 30 km from Ouarzazate, where time seems to have stopped. Its imposing walls constrict the hamlet, huddled on a hill from which the ruins of its kasbah stand out. It is no coincidence that major blockbusters such as Game of Thrones have set some of their most important scenes here.
After visiting this ksar, we will head for the High Atlas, the highest mountain range in Morocco. We will cross it through the Tizi n’Tichka pass, at an altitude of 2,260 meters, snowy for several months of the year. The descent will be made through the fertile valleys of the north face, which will take us to Marrakech. And in this city the circuit will end with the transfer to the agreed place: hotel or airport.
In order to configure such a complete circuit in so few days of route, the package is supported by the following premium quality services:
These services are not included in the travel package: