Experience a balance of historic cities and Moroccan nature on this route. Firstly, explore Casablanca, the country’s largest city, moving on to the capital city of Rabat. Visit the Roman ruins of Volubilis and the lesser-visited historic capital city of Meknes before reaching the medieval city of Fes. Go on to see the fossil art of Midelt in the high plains of the Atlas Mountains, then the remote town of Merzouga in the Sahara Desert, where you can go on a camel safari or ride a four-by-four over the dunes. The next day, you will hike through Todra Gorge, whose walls reach a towering 400m high. Stop off to see the kasbahs of Ouarzazate before ending your journey by buying souvenirs in the souks of Marrakesh.

Key information

Destinations Destinations Rabat, Casablanca, Merzouga, Meknes, Fes, Midelt, Todra Gorge, Ouarzazate, Volubilis
Activity Activity Nature & Wildlife, Culture
Physical Level Physical Level Easy
Season Season January - December

Suggested itinerary

Casablanca’s history and grand mosque

Casablanca’s history and grand mosque

Day 1 in Casablanca

Morocco’s largest city and the country’s economic hub sits beside the Atlantic Ocean and has a distinctively different vibe from other cities across the Kingdom. Often reputed as having “nothing to see,” the city is full of surprises for those who dare to venture beyond what they are told.

The city started as what’s known as the ancienne medina, previously known as Anfa, before the city developed during the French Protectorate. The art deco lined boulevards and architecturally diverse city centre were built during this era, making it an architecture-lovers dream, along with the port. The Habous area is known as the new medina, and was also developed during the Protectorate.

It’s not hard to miss the Hassan II Mosque, the largest in Africa and the third largest in the world, with a 210m tall minaret that punctures the city skyline. It’s also the only mosque open to non-Muslims in Morocco, but by guided tour only.

Don't miss

Take a street art tour in Casablanca

Take a street art tour in Casablanca

Exploring Morocco’s largest city is best done on foot, and a great way to do this is by checking out its growing street art scene, which adds a touch of colour to the city’s old white buildings, with the help of a tour guide.

Have breakfast in Casablanca's modernist cafe

Have breakfast in Casablanca's modernist cafe

The former Villa Suissa designed by Jean-Paul Zevaco has been transformed into a trendy cafe belonging to the Paul chain of bakeries. Grab a seat inside to absorb the modernist architecture in all its glory and follow the sweeping staircase upstairs where the most divine bar awaits.

Experience urban life in Rabat

Experience urban life in Rabat

Day 2 in Rabat

Although it’s the capital city of Morocco, Rabat is often just a half-day stopover on most itineraries. With wide avenues for walking from the old city through the art deco downtown, passing by the Parliament building, exploring the city on foot is enjoyable.

The capital perfectly blends modern architecture and sites (the Mohamed VI Contemporary Art Museum for one is well worth a visit with world-class exhibitions) with historical sites dating back centuries. Kasbah of the Udayas, the Berber-era royal fort sits overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, and the Chellah ruins on the banks of the Bou Regreg River have links to the Roman Empire.

The city is an unexpected treasure for those who dare to add a few extra hours or even a day to their itinerary. Nearby Salé, just across the Bou Regreg River receives few visitors and home to a lovely Koranic school where travellers often have the place to themselves to appreciate the architectural beauty.

Don't miss

Explore modern art in Rabat’s Mohammed VI Museum

Explore modern art in Rabat’s Mohammed VI Museum

Experience modern and contemporary Moroccan culture at the Mohammed VI Museum in Rabat. Only opened in 2014, the stunning modern museum building itself took ten years to build, and inside it houses the works of Moroccan and international artists from the twentieth century onwards.

Take a street art stroll through Rabat

Take a street art stroll through Rabat

Large-scale murals by internationally acclaimed artists such as Okuda and local Moroccan artists dot Rabat, particularly in the centre thanks to the Festival Jidar, an annual street-art festival. Many installations are located in the downtown core making it easy to spot in between visiting historical sites.

Sip mint tea overlooking Bou Regreg River

Sip mint tea overlooking Bou Regreg River

Just off the Andalusia Gardens in the Kasbah Udayas, the simple Café Maure serves sugary cups of mint tea and Moroccan patisseries with views of the Bou Regreg River. Water as small rowboats ferry locals between Rabat and neighbouring Salé.

Explore ancient Fes

Explore ancient Fes

Day 3 in Fes

Founded in the 9th century, the history of Fes is storied, with various dynasties passing through and making this their capital.

Home to the oldest university in the world, the city was once the centre of knowledge in the region. Thousands of families fleeing the Spanish Inquisition made Fes their home. The culinary and arts and crafts here are renowned across the Kingdom.

Behind closed doors, some of the finest palaces lie where the elite once resided and which open to the public or act as venues during the Fes Festival of Sacred Music.

Today the medina of Fes is the best-preserved medieval city in the Muslim world, with more than 9,000 alleyways and hundreds of workshops housing artisans producing handicrafts using traditional methods. Wandering here is an assault on the senses, but one that visitors tend to enjoy.

Don't miss

Hire an expert to explore Fes' alleyways

Hire an expert to explore Fes' alleyways

Start at the ornate Bab Boujloud city gate before wandering through the food markets, reaching the Bou Inania Medersa (a former Koranic school) to enjoy the Islamic architecture dating back centuries. Then admire artisans at work in their tiny ateliers — creating belts for kaftans and leather goods. Follow your senses to reach Place Seffarine where the metalsmiths hammer and solder brass goods before reaching the tanneries.

Grab a traditional Moroccan streetfood breakfast

Grab a traditional Moroccan streetfood breakfast

Just inside Bab Boujloud lie food stalls serving up all kinds of streetfood goodness. Opt for a bowl of bissara soup made from broad beans and topped with olive oil, paprika and cumin, scooped up with a loaf of fresh bread from the community oven. Or, try a savoury msimen slathered in spreadable cheese — another favourite way to fuel up for the morning.

Roman ruins at Volubilis and imperial Meknes

Roman ruins at Volubilis and imperial Meknes

Day 4 in Volubilis

Once one of the most remote outposts of the Roman Empire, partially-excavated Volubilis is an archaeologist’s dream. It’s a beautiful place to walk around and ponder what life must have been like in this bustling hillside city in the third century BC, when the settlement was developed on rich fertile grounds.

Today, the surrounding, rolling hills remain dotted with olive trees and wineries producing a huge range of red, white, rosé and gris that are largely drunk in Morocco itself. From the historical site, the Zerhoune mountain range is visible, with the nearby holy village of Moulay Idriss Zerhoune tucked within.

Don't miss

Bake Moroccan biscuits in the hillside town of Moulay Idriss

Bake Moroccan biscuits in the hillside town of Moulay Idriss

Escape the crowds with a visit to the charmingly picturesque hillside town of Moulay Idriss. The town is of national importance thanks to its religious history but still fairly quiet. It is welcoming to visitors and local guesthouses offer the opportunity to bake traditional Moroccan biscuits in community ovens.

Choose a greener way to get to Volubilis

Choose a greener way to get to Volubilis

Five kilometres from Volubilis, Moulay Idriss Zerhoune is the closest town where travellers can spend the night near the ruins. While it’s no problem catching a grande taxi (a taxi that seats up to six people) and negotiating a rate in advance, opt for a donkey ride one way and let a local lead you there.

Merzouga and the Sahara

Merzouga and the Sahara

Day 5–6 in Merzouga

Once you’ve arrived at Merzouga — the gateway to the Sahara — you will find yourself surrounded by dry heat and vast golden sand dunes. The main attraction here is the Sahara Desert, with mountainous dunes in hues of red and orange that hover above this small town. A night in the desert is a must for most travellers. Try arriving at your campsite for the evening on camelback for a truly Moroccan experience.

Despite being in the middle of nowhere, it’s common for camps to provide piping hot tagines, drumming and traditional music around the campfire under a starry desert sky. Hotels at the edge of the dunes with pools are available for those who want a bit more comfort.

Don't miss

Watch the sunrise over the Sahara

Watch the sunrise over the Sahara

It’s worth setting your alarm (and throwing on some extra layers) to watch the sunrise over the Sahara Desert as the skies light up in reds and oranges and the colour of the sand dunes changes.

Take a sunset camel trek in the Sahara Desert

Take a sunset camel trek in the Sahara Desert

Daytime temperatures can be quite extreme in the Sahara, so venturing out on a camel trek is best done around sunset when the skies turn magical hues of pink and purple.

Walk in Todra Gorge

Walk in Todra Gorge

Day 7 in Todra Gorge

No trip to Morocco is complete without a walk in the wadis.

The steep-cliff valleys of Todra Gorge are a series of limestone canyons that make for a unique walking experience and are often considered one of the must-sees when visiting Morocco’s south.

Hike along paths that have been carved out by rivers and enjoy spectacular views of pink rock as you pass through. The height of the canyon walls reaches 400m in some places.

Don't miss

Wander through palm groves meeting locals

Wander through palm groves meeting locals

For a gentle wander and insight into local agricultural systems, follow the marked paths through verdant palm groves where locals grow small crops and palm trees provide a bit of shade. Expect to see friendly locals going about their day, ready for a chat.

Marrakesh via Ouarzazate

Marrakesh via Ouarzazate

Day 8–10 in Ouarzazate

A gateway town to the vast Sahara desert, Ouarzazate is best known for the immense Taourirt Kasbah, a 20th-century palace built for Pacha Glaoui during the French Protectorate. Today, it’s largely an administrative centre, with the city thriving on the film industry and the tourists it draws because of it.

Ouarzazate's red earth landscapes have been the setting for several famous films, supposedly depicting Tibet, Egypt and even ancient Rome and the nearby film studios are open for film buffs. Many of the townspeople have been cast in or worked on the films shot in this region including Gladiator, Lawrence of Arabia, and Babel.

Given its location, this is the perfect jumping-off place for desert adventures. One night to break up the journey between the Sahara and Marrakesh is often enough.

Don't miss

Wander through a film set

Wander through a film set

Fans of The Hills Have Eyes 2 - or those who just appreciate unexpected sites - will want to make their way to the completely unexpectedly art deco, and largely abandoned, Gaz Haven located less than an hour from Ouarzazate. Left rather abandoned, visitors are free to wander freely, although a tip to the guardian is appreciated.

Visit a desert oasis

Visit a desert oasis

This little oasis called Fint, where women wash the laundry in the nearby river and mud-brick houses in the kasbah are home to the few locals who remain, is perfect for exploring village life in an oasis. With one hotel in town, guests can also stop for a mint tea with a view.

Return to Casablanca and depart

Return to Casablanca and depart

Day 11 in Casablanca

Return to Casablanca for your onward flight.

Where to stay

Classic

Riad Boussa

A firm favourite among visitors to Morocco, Riad Boussa is located in the heart of the lively Marrakesh medina, providing a calm oasis amid the hubbub of the souk. Enjoy the shaded terrace, cosy lounges and comfort of the well appointed bedrooms, and then set back out again to continue exploring this fascinating city!

Superior

Riad Myra

Ideally located in Fes, in the heart of the Medina, this 4* equivalent hotel offers the traditional welcome of a Moroccan Riad with the elegance of original Moorish architecture, antique furniture and a terrace overlooking the beautiful city of Fes.

Deluxe

Riad Fès

Located in the ancient city of Fès, the Riad Fès hotel serves undying beauty and impeccable service in a warm atmosphere. Discover excellence and get immersed into a new world defined by elegance and exclusivity.

Book this itinerary

This route booked with one of our specialist tour operators would cost from $2,535pp. Pricing varies by accommodation class, and can be tailored to suit your budget.

Pricing is typically inclusive of hotels, transfers, meals, and all guided excursions and activities.

Learn more

Contact us now and we'll connect you with a specialist tour operator with more information on how to tailor and book this itinerary.

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