Morocco is a country of contrasts. This suggested two week Morocco itinerary includes coastline, mountains, busy cities, and desert. Regardless of where you are, one thing’s for sure: Morocco is magical.
Two Week Morocco Itinerary at a Glance
Start in Marrakech for history, shopping, and architecture plus a day trip to coastal Essaouira. From there, head through Ouarzazate, the Dades Valley, and Todra Gorge to spend a night in the desert at Erg Chebbi. Continue north to Fes, where you’ll either love or hate how busy it is. See the history at Meknes and enjoy the peace of Chefchaouen in the mountains and Asilah on the coast before finishing in Casablanca.
Before You Go to Morocco
You can’t see all of Morocco in two weeks, but it’s long enough to get a feel for the many different regions. Moving around lets you take in the different customs, fascinating history, culinary flavors, and incredible scenery.
For an overview, check out my FAQ on Morocco Travel (Costs, Weather, Language Barriers, and more!). Once you’re ready to book the trip, get an in-depth guidebook (I like Rough Guides Morocco) or set the mood by reading other books about Morocco. Unlike guidebooks that tell you what to see and where to go, these books will give you a greater context for why things are the way they are today.
Two Week Morocco Itinerary
Saturday – Arrival in Marrakech
Head directly from work on Friday to an overnight flight into Marrakech (similar to flying from the USA to Europe). Marrakech is my favorite place to arrive because it’s fascinating but has enough amenities for tourists to adjust to the atmosphere easily.
Go straight to the thick of things by heading to the medina. The stalls and shops you see directly around the main square are super touristy, but the farther you dive into the maze-like souks, the more authentic the market becomes. You’ll know you’re in the right place when the tourist numbers dwindle and prices plummet, but people-watching is fun even in the tourist area.
When the souks begin closing up, the Djemaa el Fna square becomes vibrant. Have dinner at one of the restaurants overlooking the square with a birds-eye view of the organized chaos below. If you’re up for an adventure, choose a tented restaurant in the square where the benches are lined by locals, where the menu is simple, and the pots of food are being turned over quickly rather than sitting there all night.
End your evening with the Moroccan equivalent of a bar crawl. Start at one of the fresh-squeezed orange juice stands and watch the street performers with your beverage. Continue to someone selling sweet cakes and watch locals try to win a bottle of soda by “fishing” for it. Lastly, find a stall offering a spicy ginseng infusion to drink while musicians nearby complete your night.
Where to Stay: Dar Al Assad, Marrakech (3 nights). You’ll love the private rooms that are a quick walk from the Marrakech medina. The price is right for air conditioning, wi-fi, and great hospitality.
Sunday – More of Marrakech
There is more to Marrakech than a bustling square. Spend today getting a little further from the medina.
A hop-on/hop-off sightseeing bus provides narration as it follows two routes through the city and is a convenient way to travel through the city, even though it is a bit removed from the local way of life. I recommend taking the palmerie/oasis route first, as it provides more commentary.
Along the historic route, I enjoyed getting off at the Jardin de la Menara for a stroll before walking back toward the medina. If your feet get tired, it’s simple enough to sit at one of the many cafes while nursing a cup of coffee for an hour the way Moroccan men do. You’ll also find historic sites of interest, including the Saadian tombs and El Bahia Palace.
This evening, get a more interactive look at local cuisine by joining a food tour. You’ll eat a lot of food — from local joints and street vendors — and learn about the spices, flavors, and Moroccan recipes. Doing this early in your trip is a good way to sample things and see what you like so you can order on your own later in the trip.
Monday – Day Trip to Essaouira
Essaouira is a well-known town on the coast, and a good escape from Marrakech if you need a more relaxing atmosphere. Hop on a Supratours or CTM bus for an easy, direct ride to Essaouira. From there, you can choose how you’d like to spend your day.
If the weather’s nice, you’ll find a large beach perfect for sunning and strolling. For more adventure, try a kitesurfing class. One last option is to delve into a half day walk to experience argan woods, waterfalls, or birdwatching before joining a Moroccan family for tea. Regardless, make sure to visit the harbor and enjoy a fresh seafood meal at Essaouira’s famous fish market before returning to Marrakech for the night.
The water in Morocco is not safe to drink. I recommend packing a Steripen, which sterilizes water using ultraviolet light so you don’t have to run to the corner store at midnight to get water to brush your teeth — just sterilize normal tap water in your reusable water bottle any time of day. See full review.
Tuesday – Visit Telouet, Ait ben Haddou, Ouarzazate, and Skoura Oasis
An early start will help you fit quite a bit into this day, though you’ll likely still have to do some prioritizing. Hire a car and/or driver for the next five days (highly recommended: Jalil of Morocco Unplugged) and head from Marrakech into the High Atlas Mountains via the Tiz n Tichka Pass. The scenery is fantastic, so I prefer it over flying to Ouarzazate.
Stop at Telouet, my favorite kasbah in Morocco due to beautiful views and an incredible interior. From there head to Ait ben Haddou. While an overrated structure (in my opinion), it has a beautiful natural setting and you’ll recognize it from movies like Gladiator, The Mummy, and Kingdom of Heaven.
From there, head onwards to Ouarzazate, the biggest city in the region. It’s a great place for a late lunch and is also home to Atlas Studios, if you’re a movie junkie. End your day by heading down the Route of 1000 Kasbahs to the palm grove of Skoura.
Where to stay: It’s worth the forty-five minute drive to stay in Skoura rather than Ouarzazate. You’ll find many kasbahs which have opened their doors to overnight guests, but the hosts at Kasbah Amridil are incredibly welcoming, making it my first choice.
Wednesday – Continue Eastbound from Skoura to the Dades Valley and Todra Gorge
History buffs may find the continued drive past kasbahs a perfect way to spend their morning. Shoppers will love the storefronts offering rosewater and other rose-scented products. Nature-lovers, like me, will instead prefer hiking through the fantastic setting of the Dades Valley.
No matter how you decide to spend your day, everyone will enjoy the spectacular pink-gray walls of the Dades Gorge and the windy road featured in national Cadillac advertisements. Drive just a bit farther to spend the night in the Todra Gorge.
Where to stay in Todra Gorge: Book now at Auberge Le Festival (2 nights), an amazing hotel with a friendly host. Splurge on a cave room, settle in, and enjoy great food and hospitality in the main building before a comfortable night’s sleep.
Thursday – Todra Gorge
You have no idea how good it will feel to spend the day exploring without having to spend hours in the car! Today is a quiet day to decompress and re-charge. The cave rooms are wonderful for reflection and it can be incredibly relaxing to sit in the outdoor hot tub, play with the resident dog, read a book, or stargaze long into the night.
However, you don’t have to take it easy if you don’t want to. This is an outdoor paradise and a photographer’s dream if you can spot nomadic tribes in the mountains. You can easily spend an entire day hiking, biking, or rock-climbing (guides are readily available). Ask your host about visiting local Berber villages or the nearby salt mines.
Friday – Into the Desert
Fridays are a quiet time of the week for Moroccans, making this a good day for travel. From the Todra Gorge, you can head toward Alnif, the “trilobite capital of the world”. While the landscape looks quite barren today, it’s not difficult to stumble upon literally hundreds of fossils simply by stopping the car and taking a brief walk, proving that this was once a much more hospitable environment.
From here, continue toward Merzouga, a town that has built itself on the tourism opportunities of the Saharan dunes of Erg Chebbi. If you arrive early in the afternoon, you might have time for birdwatching at Dayet Srji, riding an ATV in the sand dunes, or burying yourself in the sand which supposedly helps with joint pain. I’d absolutely recommend a camel trek into the desert for sunset: a quiet way to experience just how vast these sand dunes are.
Where to stay in Morocco Desert: Spending the night in a Bedouin-style tent for dining alfresco, a campfire and music, and incredible stargazing was a highlight of my week, though I know that’s not for everyone. Try the Hotel Riad Ali for air conditioning and a pool, if you prefer.
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Saturday – Drive to Fes
Assuming you spent the night in the desert, your day will start with an incredible sunrise over the sand dunes. Climbing up these dunes can be quite a feat, so come prepared for the challenge!
Another hour or two by camel will bring you back to Merzouga, where breakfast will be waiting and you can freshen up with a hot shower. Unfortunately, your day from this point forward includes quite a bit of time in the car. Start by driving past the town of Rissani and into Erfoud of the Ziz Valley. As of this writing, market day in Erfoud was on Saturdays, making the souks a perfect first stop for the day. These are far different from the touristy souks in Marrakech, and you’ll see butchers, livestock markets, and flea market type sales crowded with locals. Consider a snack of mejoul dates, spicy olives, and an avocado milkshake before heading north into the Middle Atlas.
You’ll continue through cedar pine forests and the home to Barbary apes, before driving through Ifrane, the “Switzerland of Morocco”, due to it’s alpine scenery and eventually arriving in Fes.
Suggestions for your hotel stay: By all means, drop everything and stay at Dar Seffarine. It’s gorgeous, comfortable, welcoming, centrally located, and affordable. You’ll stay here for four nights, so choose wisely!
Sunday – Relaxation in Fes
Do you remember riding a camel and sleeping in a tent only 36 hours ago? It’s time for some relaxation! You’ll find hammams, or bathhouses, scattered throughout Fes and you can choose your level of authenticity when it comes to scrubbing the sand off your body or staying for a massage.
You’ll find lots of other ways to relax for the day as well, including playing a round of golf, enjoying a day pass at the Sofitel’s (or other hotel’s) pool, or partaking in any interest of yours. In my case, that absolutely means a cooking class. There’s nothing like being in a kitchen to take away all my stress. Enjoy the day and then another relaxing night in Fes.
Monday – Fes
While relaxing in Fes may be enjoyable, the locals will tell you the city is a fast-paced and vibrant place. Fes is a well-preserved Medieval capital and a sprawling labyrinth that is amazing to get lost in. In fact, I’d suggest specifically not getting a guide because simply wandering is so enjoyable.
At some point, you’ll likely stumble upon the tanneries, a great place to learn about one of the city’s major industries as well as do some shopping. Also worth finding are the lovely architectural wonders of Bou Inania madersa (a fourteenth century college) and the exteriors of the Moulay Idriss II shrine, Qaraouyine library and the al-Tijani mosque.
Should you still have time, head into the Jewish quarter for an entirely different feel of the city or to the Merenid Tombs for panoramic views of the city. Spend your evening in the new city for a more modern dinner and night out.
Tuesday – Day Trip to Meknes
Heading to Meknes as a day trip retraces some of the distance you’ll cover the next day to Chefchaouen, but it’s much easier to visit as a day trip rather than pack up and move. Trains ply the 1-hour route from Fes to Meknes frequently.
Another imperial city, Meknes has a slower pace than Fes and is great for shopping or exploring. Make your first goal of the day a trip to the Roman ruins of Volubilis before it gets to hot in the afternoon. You can find a guide there to explain some of the history or you can simply imagine how things were and enjoy the beautiful mosaics on site.
On your way back to Meknes, stop in Moulay Idriss (a 45-minute walk or short taxi ride from Volubilis), one of the country’s most important places of pilgrimage due to the tomb of Moulay Idriss, a prominent Moroccan saint in the late 8th century and a great grandson of the prophet Mohammed. Enjoy lunch in Meknes and spend a few hours to stop in historical sites, the central pedestrian square, or shop in the souks before returning by train to Fes.
Wednesday – Northbound to Chefchaouen
Today, head north to the Rif mountains. A bus is a comfortable and sensible option from Fes, providing an affordable journey on a route you likely won’t stop along the way anyway. The drive is a decent distance, and even a morning departure means you’ll likely not arrive until lunch (though if you are enjoying Fes, you can certainly choose an afternoon departure instead). Stop by your hotel to check in and drop off your bags before enjoying a meal in the lively Plaza Uta el Hammam and watching merchants offer toys, candies, or henna tattoos.
The food — and culture — in Chefchaouen feels more European than anywhere else in Morocco, and the variety is a refreshing change of pace. Chefchaouen’s gorgeous blue-washed alleys are calming, and it’s easy to just spend the entire afternoon walking through the medina and enjoying the ambiance. Consider a stop at the Hotel Atlas for mint tea at sunset.
Where to Stay in Chefchaouen: Book two nights of a peaceful stay at Hotel Dar Sababa, with an excellent location.
Thursday – Chefchaouen
Another day in Chefchaouen provides the opportunity to really explore the surrounding area. My choice is, unsurprisingly, a hike through Talassemetane National Park for waterfalls and other hillside scenery on the outskirts of town.
Another popular option is to travel by car about 30 minutes to God’s Bridge, a rock arc that looks beautiful. You’ll also find opportunities to learn more about the local culture, including tours of authentic markets or seeing potters at work in small villages. Take tonight for more quiet, including fireside or candlelit dinners.
Friday – to Asilah
Heading to Asilah is easiest done by private car, but can be done by bus or train with a transfer if you prefer to save some money. As a contrast to Chefchaouen, Asilah is a white-washed village on the sea rather than a blue-washed town in the mountains. Take advantage of the Iberian feel and paella-style meals: this is the last “European” feel town you’ll stay in.
Since Friday is a day of prayer for Muslims, enjoy your time along the shore and take it easy. The main attraction of town is Paradise Beach, reachable by donkey cart. After an afternoon of soaking up the sunshine, walk along the ramparts for a stunning sunset.
Where to Stay in Asilah: Book a night at Hotel Al Alba to be spitting distance from the beach.
Saturday – Ride the Rails to Casablanca
After the sea breeze in Asilah, take the train south for the final night of your Morocco itinerary. It’s about a four-hour journey to Casablanca, and ideally you’ll arrive in time for the final tour of King Hassan II Mosque at 2:00pm. This mosque is the largest in Morocco, the third largest in the world, and the tallest minaret in the world. More interestingly, though, is that it is one of the few mosques in Morocco open to non-Muslims. Enjoy the beautiful interior as a way to return to Morocco’s architecture and culture and then stroll the corniche in the late afternoon for a final glass of mint tea, some people-watching, and an insight into the busy imperial city of the country.
(If you have an afternoon flight on Sunday, you can instead consider a stopover in Rabat for the afternoon and a visit to Casablanca’s mosque first thing Sunday morning).
Where to Stay in Casablanca: By the end of vacation, I’m yearning for familiar, and luckily the Hyatt Regency has an excellent location, making it a suitable choice for one last night in Morocco.
Sunday – Fly home
Returning home is a breeze, with a train connecting the city center to the airport for your flight home. By this point, hopefully you’ve enjoyed the many different sides of the country through this Morocco itinerary, with plenty of stories to share with family and friends.
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Have you visited Morocco? Are there any destinations I didn’t mention that you recommend?
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Read More to Plan Your Morocco Trip:
Taking Care of Your Travel Health: Food poisoning is very common in Morocco, but some other medications, vaccines, and general preparations are also a good idea.
Travel Gear Recommendations: Be prepared with the right clothing, luggage, and travel accessories so your trip is a success!
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