A round trip through Morocco is extraordinary, impressive, and delightfully active. Put it high on your bucket list if you’re interested in other cultures because Morocco will stimulate all your senses. You can fly there in just 3 hours and immediately notice that you’re on a different continent. It’s a country with beautiful and diverse nature, beautiful architecture, and perfect roads for a road trip. Along the way, you’ll drive through enchanting landscapes and extraordinary cities. We’ve been there twice and we’re sharing the ultimate travel itinerary for Morocco along with a bunch of handy tips.
Transportation for this itinerary through Morocco
In principle, you can complete this itinerary using public transportation, but it’s much more enjoyable and convenient to rent a car and go on a road trip. This way, you’ll have the freedom to go wherever you want, and along the way, you’ll come across many beautiful stops. The roads are incredibly good, and you can rent a car in Morocco starting from $25 per day, including full insurance. Beforehand, be sure to check out our tips for renting and driving a car in Morocco.
The starting and ending point of your journey
Most travelers start their journey through Morocco in the north and pick up their car in Tangier or Fez, and then return it in Marrakech at the end. This way, you begin your trip in the more relaxed cities and end in the wonderfully chaotic Marrakech. Therefore, you’ll need two separate plane tickets because you start and end your journey in different destinations. Depending on the flight ticket prices, you can choose to fly to Tangier or Fez. From there, it’s approximately the same distance to Chefchaouen, the first destination on the itinerary.
How many days do you need for this itinerary?
If you want to complete our entire itinerary, we recommend allocating at least 14 days for it, but adding a few extra days wouldn’t hurt. If you have less time, you’ll need to skip some places such as Essaouira and/or Chefchaouen, so you only have to travel between Fez and Marrakech, omitting these “detours.” We have written a separate article with tips for each destination on this itinerary so that you can get a good idea of what there is to do. This way, you can easily decide how many days you want to spend at each destination. We also mention the travel time between destinations and a few nice stops along the way below.
Depending on your arrival time in Morocco, after picking up your rental car in Tangier or Fez, you can drive straight to Chefchaouen or spend a night in one of these cities first. The blue city of Chefchaouen is a wonderful place to start your journey. The entire medina is painted blue and white, and there’s something beautiful to discover around every corner. The atmosphere is relaxed compared to other cities in Morocco, making it the perfect place to leisurely experience Moroccan culture! Check out our tips for Chefchaouen to find out what there is to do.
Travel time: 3 hours from Fez or 2.5 hours from Tangier
The vibrant city of Fez is the oldest royal city in Morocco. The medina is a maze of narrow alleys, and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a fairytale. In Fez, you can visit the largest tannery in Africa, where you can witness the centuries-old process of leather tanning firsthand. Here, you can find leather bags or typical Moroccan poufs at incredibly affordable prices. Don’t miss a visit to the Al-Attarine Medersa and Bou Inania Medersa, both built in the 14th century and adorned with exquisite details of mosaics and woodwork. Want to know what else to do? Read our tips for Fez.
Travel time: 3 hours by car
Merzouga and the Sahara
The drive to Merzouga is a long one, taking about eight hours. If you prefer a more relaxed pace, you can choose to stay overnight somewhere halfway, but most people travel straight through. Merzouga is a town located right by the Erg Chebbi desert, which is part of the Sahara. We spent a night in Merzouga, relaxed by the pool the next day, and then embarked on a camel ride into the desert to spend the night in a luxury tent. In the evening, you can marvel at the clear starry sky while sitting by the campfire and listening to the locals play their musical instruments. Instead of lounging by the pool to recover from the 8-hour drive, you can also go quad biking in the desert. You can find more information about sleeping in the desert in our tips for Merzouga and the Sahara.
Travel time: 8 hours with some short stops if you choose to drive non-stop
Morocco is known for its vibrant cities and the Sahara, but did you know that you can also go on incredibly beautiful hikes? The next destination is the Todra Gorge, a large orange canyon reminiscent of natural areas in the United States. Here, you can stay in a unique accommodation nestled in the canyon and go on an amazing hike lasting about three hours. If you depart from Merzouga at 9:30 am, you can do this hike the same afternoon. If you don’t make it, you can wake up early the next morning to do the hike. You can find all the information about the extraordinary eco-lodge and the hike in our article with tips for the Todra Gorge.
Travel time: 3.5 hours by car
Aït-Ben-Haddou with a detour through the Dades Valley
Today, a beautiful itinerary is planned, including a small detour through the Dades Valley and the Dades Gorge. Along the way, you’ll come across unique rock formations and various viewpoints, with the famous zigzag road as the endpoint. You can find the exact location of the zigzag road here, where there’s also a restaurant where you can enjoy a Moroccan tea. This is also the endpoint of the detour, and from here, you’ll take the same road back before continuing your journey to Aït-Ben-Haddou.
Aït-Ben-Haddou is perhaps the most beautiful ksar in all of Morocco. A ksar is a fortified village, and in this case, it’s entirely made of wood and clay. Aït-Ben-Haddou is unique because it’s partly built against a hill. The structure is reinforced with walls and watchtowers, and within these walls, you’ll find a labyrinth of narrow alleyways. We recommend staying here so that you don’t have to do anything after today’s road trip, and the next day, you can leisurely visit Aït-Ben-Haddou during sunrise. It’s a quiet and magical time to see Aït-Ben-Haddou at its best. Want to know the best spot to watch the sunrise? Read our tips for visiting Aït-Ben-Haddou.
Travel time: 5 hours, including detour through the Dades Valley
Through the winding roads of the Atlas Mountains, you’ll eventually reach the red city of Marrakech. You’ll immediately notice that it’s much more chaotic here. You can embrace the vibrant vibes at the Jemaa el Fna square or explore the busy souks with hundreds of shops. If you prefer to retreat and enjoy the sunshine, head to one of the rooftop bars or visit the famous Majorelle Garden early in the morning to capture beautiful photos. Of course, there’s much more to do, and you can read about it in our article “The Top 10 Things to Do in Marrakech.”
Travel time: 4 to 5 hours, including short stops at viewpoints
In the coastal town of Essaouira, you’ll experience a different side of Morocco compared to what you’ve seen so far. The atmosphere here is much less hectic. Essaouira is the perfect destination to conclude your journey. Visit the harbor where you can enjoy fresh fish or shrimp, or go horseback riding during sunset. In the medina, you’ll find some cool cafes and lunch spots, and you’ll encounter many street musicians. To find out more about what to do, check out our article with tips for Essaouira.
Travel time: 3 hours by car
Back to Marrakech
After Essaouira, it’s time to drive back to Marrakech because from there, you can catch a direct flight back home.
Our Favorite Places to Stay in Morocco
During our travels, we always search for the best and most unique hotels. These are places where you’ll feel right at home and that will make your trip even more special. In Morocco, we have discovered a number of amazing accommodations that we’d love to share with you. From riads that resemble small palaces to an eco-hotel nestled in the Todra Gorge. We have compiled a list of our favorite places to stay in Morocco for you.