12-day Morocco Tour: Morocco from North to South

Day 1: Tangier – Asilah

On the first day of this tour you will arrive in Tangier, where you will be met by our staff in a private vehicle, whether you enter the country by plane or by ferry from the other side of the Strait of Gibraltar. After the welcome, our driver will start this 12-day tour through the main attractions of Morocco.

And one of those attractions is very close, less than 50 km away: the small town of Asilah. Located on the Atlantic coast, it is for many the secret jewel of the area. Its waters acquire a special color here and its urban center has a genuine charm, thanks to the picturesque streets of the medina and the imposing military buildings from the Portuguese period. Its beauty, in addition, is amplified by the cleanliness of its streets and the whiteness of its houses, adorned with evocative blue tones.

For all this, it will be worth spending the rest of the day here: after enjoying free time to visit the town, you will rest in a charming riad in the heart of the medina.

Day 2: Asilah – Tetouan – Chaouen

If you found the white and blue notes of the medina of Asilah beautiful, then you will be fascinated by the other two cities that you will see on this second day. The first, Tetouan, and the second, Chaouen. We will leave for Tetouan after breakfast at the riad in Asilah. Tetouan is often known as the ‘White Dove’, since that is the predominant color of its old town, declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco. In addition, the visit to this city surprises by the Spanish influences that can be seen in it, and not by chance: it was the capital of the Spanish Protectorate of Morocco in the twentieth century.

After a free visit to Tetouan, we will leave for Chaouen, also known as Chefchaouen. More evocative is its nickname of ‘blue city’, since the medina of this town is tinged by this suggestive color. Its inhabitants contribute to create a unique atmosphere, with well-kept houses and establishments. Therefore, despite its small size, it is considered by many as one of the main attractions of Morocco.

On this day you can take a first contact with Chaouen, full of slopes and twisted streets, as it is located between the Rif Mountains. And after this free walk, you will rest in a charming riad located in the medina.

Day 3: Chaouen

After breakfast at the riad of Chaouen, the day ahead of you is also a free visit, ideal for touring the most emblematic places of this picturesque town. It highlights its kasbah, which houses a museum that can be visited. Its souks can also occupy your time, where handicrafts made by the local inhabitants are sold. Wandering aimlessly through the medina will be a pleasure, although many of its streets are steep. And if you reach the various viewpoints that are scattered around the surroundings and the highest points, you will discover panoramic views full of charm, both for the huddled hamlet of Chaouen and for the Rif Mountains that rise next to it.

In the evening, you will return to sleep in your riad in the medina, which will be very close to your walks in the center of this small town.

Day 4: Chaouen – Rabat

On the fourth day of this tour we will live an important contrast: after breakfast at the riad, we will go from a small and picturesque town like Chaouen, to one of the largest and most populous cities such as the capital of the country, Rabat.

Although it is not always included in the great tourist routes, the truth is that Rabat has reasons to be considered one of the main attractions of Morocco. At the monumental level, there are great buildings such as the Kasbah of the Oudayas, the mausoleum of Mohammed V or the Hassan Tower, which many will see similarities with the Giralda of Seville, and not by chance, because they are of the same era and architectural school. These and other buildings were key to the cataloging of the city as a World Heritage Site by Unesco.

These are the main monuments that should not be missing in your free visit to the city, but also very interesting are its museums, its souks or even its beach, which, along with that of neighboring Salé, is always full of local bathers in the summer season.

Such a wide range of proposals ‘forces’ to spend the night in the city, and for this you will stay in a riad in the historic center of Rabat.

Day 5: Rabat – Volubilis – Meknes – Fez

Rabat is considered ‘Imperial City’, for being the capital of the kingdom since 1912. And on this fifth day of the tour we will discover two more: Meknes and Fez. But until then, the program has other surprises in store.

After breakfast at the riad in Rabat, we will leave by road to the archaeological site of Volubilis, a city of Roman times when this territory was part of the province of Mauritania Tingitana. This site, declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco, preserves ruins of great historical value and, in some cases, of great monumental beauty, such as the columns of the Temple of Jupiter, the extraordinary mosaics and the Arch of Caracalla.

After visiting this archaeological site, we will leave for Meknes. It is another of the Imperial Cities and, therefore, one of the main attractions of Morocco. It earned this consideration in the time of Sultan Moulay Ismail, in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century, when this monarch made Meknes its capital. That is why his imposing mausoleum is here, as well as a beautiful medina and the remains of a great wall, with monumental gates such as Bab Mansour. For all this, its listing as a World Heritage Site is more than deserved.

After visiting Meknes freely, we will leave for another Imperial City recognized by Unesco as a World Heritage Site. This is Fez, which we will reach at the end of the day. For this reason and because of its enormous interest, we will wait for the next day to know it in depth, since it is one of the main attractions of Morocco at the tourist and cultural level. Therefore, after some free time to get in touch with the city, you will spend the night in a charming riad to recharge your batteries.

Day 6: Fez

As in the other days of this tour, your riad includes a breakfast that you will taste before leaving to discover this fascinating city. You will be assisted by an official local guide, who will organize the best possible visit to make the most of your time together.

The list of monuments that can be visited in the old town of Fez is very extensive, highlighting its Karaouine mosque, its prestigious medersas or Koranic schools, such as Bou Inania or its neighborhoods of artisans, such as the tanners. The Mellah or Jewish quarter, which hosted a large Sephardic population after their expulsion from Spain in 1492, is another possible stop, as well as the exterior of the Royal Palace, where the golden doors of the complex shine.

If there is no time to see some of these or other places of interest, the afternoon may be the right time for it: it will be free to be configured according to the tastes of each group, for example for shopping, to visit monuments or to learn more about the life of this city, considered the cultural and spiritual capital of the country. And at the end of the day, the riad of the previous night will welcome you back to rest a stone’s throw away from the great monuments and places of interest.

Day 7: Fez – Ifrane – Monkey Forest – Erfoud – Merzouga Desert Dunes

On this seventh day of the circuit, we will travel through some of the main attractions of Morocco on a natural level and we will reach the long-awaited desert. It will be a day of long mileage, which will start after breakfast at the riad and pick up our vehicle.

On the way to the desert, we will discover amazing places. The first of them, Ifrane, a town nestled in the Middle Atlas. It is popularly known as the ‘Moroccan Switzerland’, since it receives abundant rain and snow in the wet season, causing its buildings have gable roofs, something very rare in Morocco.

Between Azrou and the town of Ifrane is the National Park of the same name, although it is also known as Cedar National Park or Monkey Forest. Its attraction is easy to imagine: it is a huge natural extension full of these trees so characteristic of the country, where the largest population of Barbary macaques, a species of native primate, lives.

After crossing the Middle Atlas, our road heads south along the Ziz Valley. In Erfoud we will already notice the presence of the desert, although the fame of this small city is given by its wealth of fossils and marbles, as we will know during the route. And about 50 km further south, we will reach Merzouga, a town that gives its name to one of the most beautiful portions of the Sahara Desert.

In Merzouga we will change means of transport: we will get off the 4×4 and we will get on the back of camels (one per person), as they are the best way to cross the huge sand dunes of Erg Chebbi. In them is the tented camp where we will have dinner and spend the night, all after a welcome tea, enjoy the sunset in the desert and admire the breathtaking starry sky of the Sahara.

Day 8: Merzouga Desert – Black Village – Merzouga Desert Dunes

Among the main attractions of Morocco is, of course, its popular culture and ancestral traditions. And in this eighth day of circuit, we will be involved in them. It will be after contemplating a beautiful sunrise over the dunes of Erg Chebbi, after breakfast at the camp, return by camel to Merzouga and take a refreshing shower (at the camp or at the hotel in Merzouga, depending on the package).

Our first ethnographic visit will take us to Khamlia, also called the ‘black people’, since most of the population has black skin color because their ancestors were slaves and came from the distant Sudan. Therefore, sub-Saharan rhythms are in their blood, as we will see in a performance of gnawa, an indigenous musical genre declared Intangible Heritage of Humanity by Unesco.

After that, we will travel on 4×4 tracks that used to be part of the Paris-Dakar rally, adding a touch of adrenaline to the day. We will also visit Khol mines and the remains of ancient desert villages. We will find the ideal place to scan the horizon and enjoy a panoramic view of the dunes of Erg Chebbi.

Shortly after, we will have a new encounter with local people, in this case a group of desert nomads in the process of sedentarization. We will have tea with them and learn about their way of life. And after this pleasant time, we will head back to our accommodation. There will still be some free time in the afternoon. Dinner and a good night’s rest will be in a hotel.

Day 9: Merzouga Desert – Rissani – Todra Gorges – Dades Valley – Ouarzazate

At the beginning of this day we will be lucky enough to repeat one of the main attractions of Morocco: the sunrise in the dunes of Erg Chebbi. We will also repeat the breakfast in the tents camp and the camel ride to the town of Merzouga.

Now, our route by car will take us through other landscapes of great beauty and towns that maintain a special charm. This is the case of the city of Rissani, which retains a beautiful medina, a traditional market and a unique donkey parking.

The next stop will be the Todra Gorges, a rocky canyon well known among climbers for its vertical walls of about 200 meters. But they are also admired by any type of traveler, since its appearance is breathtaking, both from the road and on foot.

The road itinerary continues through the Dades Valley, the Valley of the Roses and what is commonly known as the Route of the Thousand Kasbahs: palm groves and Berber fortresses will flank the road until the arrival in Ouarzazate, where we will spend the night.

But first, there will be time to visit the Kasbah of Taourirt, once the residence of the Lord of the Atlas and Pasha of Marrakech. And if the program allows it, we will visit the famous film studios of this city, which have earned it the nickname of ‘Hollywood of Morocco’. Accommodation will be in a hotel, where dinner will also be taken.

Day 10: Ouarzazate – Ait Ben Haddou – Marrakech

In the morning of this tenth day, we will visit one of the main attractions of Morocco: the ksar of Ait Ben Haddou. We will reach this walled village after breakfast at the hotel in Ouarzazate and a distance of about 25 km by road.

This huddled and picturesque conglomerate of houses and walled structures is already spectacular from its surroundings, while its interior holds corners full of magic, as we will discover during the visit. For all this and for being one of the best examples of Berber architecture in adobe, this set was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco. And also for this reason it is often chosen for the filming of movies and series, as happened in the third season of Game of Thrones.

After this visit, we will return to our vehicle and cross the High Atlas through the Tizi n’Tichka pass: this natural pass is one of the main attractions of Morocco for lovers of high mountains and will give us spectacular panoramic views of the surroundings (over 2,200 meters above sea level), with small Berber villages during the ascent and descent. And soon after, we will arrive in Marrakech: in this city you will have the afternoon free, which will serve as a contact for the in-depth visit that will be made the next day. In the evening, you will stay in a charming riad in the medina.

Day 11: Marrakech

The penultimate day of this tour of the main attractions of Morocco is devoted entirely to Marrakech. After breakfast, which will be served at the riad, you will meet our official local guide, who will take you to see the best monuments of the city and discover the most charming corners of its historic medina, declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco.

This route will surely include emblematic places such as the Kutubia Mosque, the Saadian Tombs, the Ben Youssef Medersa or the Bahia Palace. You will also visit the most populous neighborhoods and streets of the medina, as well as the Jemaa el-Fna Square, authentic nerve center of the ‘Red City’ and declared Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO thanks to the characteristic hustle and bustle of its traditional stalls.

In the afternoon you will again enjoy free time, which you can use to visit other places of interest in Marrakech, such as museums or gardens. You can also take the opportunity to shop in its artisan shops or in the modern stores of other neighborhoods outside the medina, such as Gueliz. And at the end of the day, you will spend the night in the same charming riad.

Day 12: Marrakech – Airport

Our tour of the main attractions of Morocco comes to an end on this twelfth day, which will begin with the mandatory breakfast in the medina. After that, and depending on the time of your flight back home, you will have free time for last minute shopping or you will go to the airport of the city. Whichever you choose, our driver will be on time at the agreed place for the transfer to the airport. And at the terminal we will say goodbye with gratitude and hope for a future reunion to discover other tourist destinations of interest, other than those visited on this tour but which are also among the main attractions of Morocco.

TOURIST PACKAGE INCLUDED

  • Transfers to and from the airport (or port, if arriving by boat to Tangier)
  • Private vehicle with English-speaking driver for the entire trip
  • One night in riad in Asilah on breakfast only basis
  • Two nights in a riad in Chaouen on breakfast only basis.
  • One night in riad in Rabat on breakfast only basis
  • Two nights in a riad in Fez on a bed & breakfast basis
  • Two nights in a tent camp in the desert dunes on half board basis (dinner and breakfast)
  • One night in hotel in Ouarzazate, half board (dinner and breakfast)
  • Two nights in a riad in Marrakech on breakfast only basis.
  • Dromedary excursions (one per person) in the dunes of Erg Chebbi
  • Official local guide in Fez and Marrakech
  • Travel insurance

TOURIST PACKAGE EXCLUSIONS

  •    Plane tickets
  •    Drinks
  •    Lunches
  •    Tickets


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