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8 days circuit from north to south

Tour from Tangier to the desert, ending in Marrakech and visit of the Imperial Cities.

Do you have a little more than a week for your trip? Do you love culture and nature in equal parts? So, this circuit starting in Tangier and ending in Marrakech is an unbeatable proposal. The tour includes archaeological sites and natural parks, cities with history and mountainous landscapes, charming villages and the most absolute desert… All in 8 days that you will remember for the rest of your life.

A circuit full of history and culture

Morocco’s historical and artistic wealth is much greater than one might imagine. And in this 8-day tour you will discover it. The program includes guided tours of Fez and Marrakech, to get to know both destinations in depth. But it also includes other towns of maximum interest such as Tetouan or Meknes, as well as sites and buildings of high historical value, such as Volubilis and Ait Ben Haddou. All this is declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco, to which are added villages without this distinction but equally fascinating, such as Chaouen and Rissani.

Desert, mountains and other natural gems

Morocco not only possesses man-made masterpieces: it is also full of jewels created by nature, which we will be able to enjoy in our days because they are preserved in a practically untouched state. This is the case of the sand dunes of Erg Chebbi, in the Sahara desert, but also the Ifrane National Park, the oases of the Dades Valley or the Todra Gorges, home to a biodiversity adapted to the climatic conditions of the environment: cedars, date palms, birds of prey, Barbary macaques … So if you like nature, open your eyes and enjoy this circuit that, for 8 days, offers you the wildest side of Morocco.

Itinerary of this 8-day circuit from Tangier

The 8 days and 7 nights of this Morocco tour are distributed as follows, prioritizing the quality of the experiences and the comfort of travel, always by road (except for the ride through the sand dunes in the desert):

  • Day 1: Tangier – Tetouan – Chaouen
  • Day 2: Chaouen – Volubilis – Meknes – Fez
  • Day 3: Fez
  • Day 4: Fez – Ifrane – Monkey Forest – Erfoud – Erg Chebbi dunes
  • Day 5: Erg Chebbi Dunes – Rissani – Todra Gorges – Dades Valley – Ouarzazate
  • Day 6: Ouarzazate – Ait Ben Haddou – Marrakech
  • Day 7: Marrakech
  • Day 8: Marrakech – Marrakech Airport

Day 1: Tangier - Tetouan - Chaouen

This 8-day tour starts in Tangier: our staff will be waiting for you at the airport, at the port or at the hotel of your choice, to pick you up and start the road trip.

The first place to visit will not be long in coming: Tetouan. This small northern city was in the 20th century the capital of the Spanish Protectorate of Morocco, and continues to maintain ties with this neighboring country. Its widening, without going any further, is reminiscent of some neighborhoods in Andalusia. But the most charming area is the historic medina, with interesting buildings such as the Caliph’s Palace.

After a free visit to Tetouan, we will continue our route to Chaouen. This is a very picturesque village because its medina has a blue color, thanks to the fact that its inhabitants have been painting the walls of their houses in this way for a long time. Its location between mountains favors the presence of viewpoints, which provide panoramic views of the town. Its most outstanding monument is the 14th century kasbah, which now houses a museum on local traditions and crafts.

The riad where you will rest the first night of the tour is located in the medina of Chaouen, so it will be easy to move around and walk back to the accommodation at nightfall.

  • Meeting in Tangier (port, airport or other point of the city)
  • Beginning of the route by road:
    • Tetuan
    • Chaouen
  • Night in charming riad in Chaouen

Day 2: Chaouen - Volubilis - Meknes - Fez

The second day of this tour starts in Chaouen and ends in Fez, but in between it proposes to discover two places of maximum historical and cultural interest: Volubilis and Meknes, located very close to each other.

As for Volubilis, it is the most important archaeological site in Morocco, as it is an ancient Roman city that is very well preserved. Today you can admire such impressive remains as the columns of a temple dedicated to Jupiter, the mosaics of residences of high society or a triumphal arch, from the time of Emperor Caracalla (3rd century AD).

Meknes, meanwhile, is a city that reached its zenith in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when Sultan Moulay Ismail declared it the capital of the kingdom. This makes it part of the so-called ‘Imperial Cities’ of Morocco, along with others that we will see in this circuit. Here, in fact, is his imposing mausoleum, as well as other historic buildings of his period, such as Bab Mansour, the most monumental gate of the wall surrounding the medina.

After visiting both places of interest, we will move to Fez, where the riad where you will rest tonight is located. If the arrival in this city is not delayed, you will have free time before that moment.

  • Breakfast in riad in Chaouen
  • Continuation of the route by road:
    • Roman archaeological site of Volubilis
    • Meknes
  • Arrival in Fez. Free time
  • Night in riad in Fez

Day 3: Fez

Because of its great interest, this circuit devotes a full day to the visit of Fez. One part will be guided and the other will be free, allowing you to discover in depth this city that is also ‘Imperial’ thanks to its capital in the time of the Idrisids and Wattassids.

During the morning guided tour we will discover the attractions scheduled by our official guide. The range of possibilities is very wide: from its spectacular medersas (Attarine, Bou Inania) to the medieval mosques (Karaouine, of the Andalusians, only open to Muslims), through its charming squares (Nejjarine, of the Alaouites) and its lively neighborhoods (mellah, Chouwara).

In the afternoon, you will have free time to spend as you wish. One suggestion is to visit some of the interesting museums in the center, including the Borj Nord and the Museum of Crafts and Wood. Another option is, precisely, to know the craftsmanship at street level, touring the stalls of the souks of the medina.

Whichever option you choose, in the evening you will rest again at the riad to recharge your batteries for the next day.

  • Breakfast in riad in Fez
  • Guided tour of Fez, with official guide
  • Free afternoon
  • Night in riad in Fez

Day 4: Fez - Ifrane - Monkey Forest - Erfoud - Erg Chebbi dunes

The fourth day of the tour is a radical change of scenery: we will leave Fez by road and cross the Middle Atlas Mountains to, many kilometers later, enter the purest and wildest Sahara desert. And on the way, numerous places of interest.

The first of these places is Ifrane, a mountain village at an altitude of about 1,700 meters. It is very striking for its buildings with gable roofs to better protect against the heavy rains and snowfalls that fall here during the cold season.

Another stop of interest is in its surroundings: the Ifrane National Park, which happens to be the nature reserve with more cedars and Barbary macaques in the whole country. And best of all, these sociable primates can be seen very easily, effortlessly. For this reason, this park is popularly known as Monkey Forest.

Shortly after we will cross the Middle Atlas and go to meet the Ziz river: it is a modest watercourse that, nevertheless, has formed a huge valley that leads to Erfoud, where its course is lost. A quick glance at this locality will make us understand its fame among fossil collectors, because here they sell ancient pieces that date back to the time of the dinosaurs, when the landscape of this area was completely different.

Today this landscape is distinguished by its extreme aridity. And the best example of this will be shortly after, in Merzouga. The Erg Chebbi dunes extend here, covering some 20,000 hectares. To walk through them we will ride on camels and, guided by a professional caretaker, we will reach the luxury tents camp that awaits us, in the heart of the dunes.

A Berber tea, a dinner with traditional desert food, a bonfire to warm up the atmosphere and a spectacular collection of stars in the sky are the ingredients of the evening on our arrival, before sleeping in the Berber tents of maximum comfort.

  • Breakfast in riad in Fez
  • Resumption of the road route:
    • Ifrane
    • Ifrane National Park (Monkey Forest)
    • Half Atlas
    • Ziz Valley
    • Erfoud
  • Merzouga: camel ride to the tents camp in Erg Chebbi
  • Dinner and night in luxury tent camp in the dunes of Erg Chebbi

Day 5: Erg Chebbi Dunes - Rissani - Todra Gorges - Dades Valley - Ouarzazate

If saying goodbye to the fourth day of the circuit was special, welcoming the fifth day will be no less so. And for that you have to get up very early. That way we will get to see the sunrise, which has a special color on the dunes of Erg Chebbi. And by the time the sun is well installed in the sky, we will have breakfast at the camp and return to Merzouga.

Ahead of us lies a day of great mileage and many places of interest. The first of these is Rissani, which not only attracts travelers by a picturesque medina with historical monuments, but also by the popular atmosphere that reigns in its streets. Its flea market and its donkey parking are two of its most genuine corners.

Leaving Rissani behind, the road takes us through the Dades Valley, which is also called the Route of the Thousand Kasbahs because of the numerous Berber castles that mark the route, many of them in ruins.

A key stop on this tour is the Todra Gorges: its small river has been carving the rock in this area to create a narrow gorge where you can walk today. Some even dare to climb its walls, which are almost 200 meters high at some points.

Back to the Dades Valley, we will continue the route to Ouarzazate, where we will have dinner and spend the night.

  • Sunrise on the dunes of Erg Chebbi
  • Breakfast at the Erg Chebbi tents camp
  • Return to Merzouga and continuation of the route:
    • Rissani
    • Dades Valley
    • Todra Gorges
  • Dinner and night in Ouarzazate

Day 6: Ouarzazate - Ait Ben Haddou - Marrakech

Ouarzazate is an important city in the global film industry, as it has studios where many films set in the desert are shot. However, our attention will be focused on the Taourirt Kasbah, one of the best preserved Berber fortresses in the country. The imposing austerity of its exterior contrasts with a refined interior and the taste of its powerful owner: Thami El Glaoui, Pasha of Marrakech a century ago.

Back on the road, we will drive 30 kilometers to another key destination: Ait Ben Haddou. It is a fortified village that preserves its high walls and an adobe hamlet where some families still live. Strolling through its interior and contemplating it from the outside is a journey back in time, specifically to the time of the caravan routes that crossed the Sahara and passed through here.

Almost all of these caravan routes marched to Marrakech, and that is where we will also be heading. To do so, we will have to cross the High Atlas through the Tizi n’Tichka pass (2,260 meters of altitude) and descend through the fertile valleys of the north face.

Once in Marrakech, you will have some free time to have a first contact with the city, before spending the night in a nice riad in the center.

  • Breakfast in hotel-riad in Ouarzazate
  • Kasbah of Taourirt
  • Continuation of the route by road:
    • Ksar of Ait Ben Haddou
    • High Altas (Tizi n’Tichka pass)
  • Arrival in Marrakech. Free time
  • Night in riad in Marrakech

Day 7: Marrakech

Like Fez, this 8-day tour devotes one of them entirely to this city, which is also considered “Imperial” for having been the capital of the Almoravid, Almohad and Saadid dynasties centuries ago. And in the same way, an official guide will take us through the most emblematic places of the center.

Squares like Jemaa el-Fna, mosques like the Koutoubia (exterior only), medersas like Ben Youssef or palaces like the Bahia are some of the attractions that can be part of the tour, at the discretion of our guide.

And what you don’t have time to visit in the morning can be left for the afternoon: the Majorelle Gardens, the Marrakech Museum or the El Badi Palace are some possibilities, as well as the modern and modernist Gueliz district, with its luxury stores. On the other hand, those who want more traditional shopping can lose themselves in the souks of the medina, in search of high quality handmade articles.

After an intense day of sightseeing, the riad will offer the last and refreshing night’s rest of the circuit.

  • Breakfast in riad in Marrakech
  • Guided tour, with official guide
  • Free afternoon
  • Night in riad in Marrakech

Day 8:Marrakech - Marrakech Airport

The eighth day of the tour is the return home. After breakfast and check-out, we will pick you up at the riad to transfer you to Marrakech Airport. And at the terminal, before boarding, we will finish our services and say goodbye until, hopefully, the next time.

  • Breakfast in riad in Marrakech
  • Check-out and transfer to the airport
  • End of our services

Services included in this 8-day tour from Tangier

These are the services included in the travel package, with premium quality level and designed to develop the program smoothly and comfortably:

  • Pick up in Tangier at the beginning of the tour (port, airport or other point of the city)
  • Transfer to Marrakech Airport at the end of the tour
  • Private vehicle with chauffeur for all the trips along the route.
  • Night in riad in Chaouen, on breakfast only basis
  • Two nights in a riad in Fez, on a breakfast-only basis
  • Night in luxury tents camp in the dunes of Erg Chebbi, half board (dinner and breakfast)
  • Night in hotel-riad in Ouarzazate, half-board (dinner and breakfast)
  • Two nights in riad in Marrakech, on breakfast only basis
  • Dromedary ride (one per person) in the dunes of Erg Chebbi
  • Guided tour in Fez, with official guide
  • Guided tour in Marrakech, with official guide

Services not included

These other services are not included in the travel package. On these and any other aspect not indicated, our staff can offer you advice, before and during the trip:

  • International flight (or ferry ticket) for the arrival in Tangier
  • International flight back home (from Marrakech)
  • Dinners in Chaouen, Fez and Marrakech
  • Midday lunches
  • Beverages
  • Tips
  • Entrance fees to monuments and museums

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