Experiencing an unforgettable 2-week Morocco itinerary has been at the top of my travel bucket list for as long as I can remember. I came so close in March 2020 but.. well, you know. But finally the time came in March 2023 when I booked a 2-week tour of Morocco with Intrepid Travel.
And I am so thankful that I did! This 2-week Morocco itinerary is perfect for getting to see and do all the amazing things this beautiful country has to offer.
The perfect 2-week Morocco itinerary
I personally spent my 2 weeks in Morocco on a tour with Intrepid Travel, but you can (and should) definitely follow this same 2-week Morocco itinerary even if you’d rather travel independently.
I’ll cover everywhere I went and every awesome thing I did during my two weeks here. I will also make note of the activities that are exclusive to traveling with Intrepid that you can’t do on your own, so you can plan accordingly.
I’ll also point out which days and/or activities you can nix if you need to condense your itinerary. (Yes, everything we did was amazing and I wouldn’t trade any of it for a boatload of sugar-coated pastries, but there are certainly areas where you can trim things down if you have to.)
My objective here is to:
- Show you how amazing and diverse this country is
- Detail what I personally did on my own trip
- Reveal what all you can do and see in Morocco (I had very little clue about this myself before I went)
- And encourage you to visit Morocco if you’re still undecided
So, here are all the unforgettable ways I filled my 2-week Morocco itinerary.
My 2-week Intrepid Morocco tour
Throughout this post I will reference the Intrepid Travel tour I took in Morocco. In case you’re interested in the same experience, this is the exact tour I took in February/March 2023: Premium Morocco in Depth.
I can’t say enough great things about this entire experience top to bottom. Definitely worth every penny. (Actually, way more pennies. They should be charging double for this.)
Get all the details here on all the awesome Morocco riads, hotels, kasbahs, and desert camps I stayed in during my 2 weeks in Morocco.
Day 1: Arriving in Morocco & Casablanca
To get to Morocco I flew overnight from Boston and landed in Casablanca the next afternoon. Intrepid picked me up at the airport and drove me to our hotel in Casablanca. (But you can book a private transfer here if you need one.)
Day 1 of my 2-week Morocco itinerary was pretty low key since it was just a half day. I was able to rest a bit and freshen up at my hotel then hitch a ride to dinner at Dar Dada.
Dinner at Dar Dada
What an incredible welcome to Morocco! This place is as beautiful as I always dreamed Morocco to be. The food and service were fantastic. There was live music and just an overall atmosphere of fun and excitement.
After dinner, we were walked back to the main road through the dark alley by a man with a lantern (for real), then back to the hotel to catch up on sleep.
2-week Morocco itinerary – Day 1 summary
- Cities visited: Casablanca
- Restaurants visited: Dar Dada
- Where to stay in Casablanca: Gray Boutique Hotel
Day 2: Casablanca, Rabat, & Meknes
We finally got to explore more of Casablanca on day 2 since we had a full day and a full night’s rest. Even though this is Morocco’s largest city, there’s still not a whole lot to see and do here for tourists, so we didn’t stay that long anyway. After an awesome breakfast at our hotel, we headed out.
Hassan II Mosque
The most famous place to visit in Casablanca is the grand Hassan II Mosque. This is one of the largest mosques in the entire world and definitely the largest in Morocco. (Max capacity of around 100,000!) It’s also the only mosque in Morocco that non-Muslims are allowed to visit.
We were given plenty of free time to explore the outside and take tons of pictures. The entire massive Hassan II Mosque is gorgeous and half of it actually sits out over the Atlantic Ocean.
We then met with a lovely local guide who gave us a tour around the inside. We learned all about the construction of the building (incredible, I tell ya), all the different areas, lots of fun facts, and all about the rituals that take place there.
Visiting the Hassan II Mosque is an incredible experience and I highly recommend a visit here if you decide to start your 2-week Morocco itinerary in Casablanca. And if not, it’s still well worth a trip just to visit the mosque.
Hassan II Mosque tours
If you’d like to book a tour of the Hassan II mosque while you’re here (I definitely recommend this), check out these available day tours:
- Skip-the-line guided Hassan II Mosque tour w/ hotel pickup
- Casablanca half-day city tour including Hassan II Mosque
- Casablanca Old Medina walking tour (finishes at Hassan II Mosque)
After leaving the mosque we headed over to Rick’s Café – the famous bar from the movie Casablanca. Unfortunately, it wasn’t open yet when we arrived so we decided to move on. Here’s looking at you, outside of Ricks Café.
But if you’d like to learn more about visiting Rick’s Café while you’re in Casablanca, check out this post on my other site about WWII sites in Morocco you can visit.
Rabat, Morocco’s capital
We then left Casablanca and drove for about two hours before arriving in Rabat – Morocco’s current capital.
Lunch at Le Capri
We stopped for a quick but satisfying lunch at Le Capri before heading deeper into the city. Yeah, it’s weird that it’s named after Italy’s Isle of Capri, but the Moroccan food was still great and the location is convenient.
Also read: 10 Things I Learned in Morocco I Hope to Never Forget
Rabat Royal Palace
From there, we visited the Royal Palace in Rabat. The King of Morocco actually has royal palaces all over the country, but this is the “main” one if you will, the administrative headquarters, where he works, kind of like the White House.
It is not recommended to visit here on your own (pretty serious security measures and all) but if you visit with a guide you’re allowed to get close and take pictures. (Otherwise, things could get dicey.)
Our local guide explained a lot about Moroccan politics and history, the lifestyle of the King’s son, and a lot more. I highly recommend visiting here with a guide so you can get the most out of your visit.
Mausoleum of Mohammed V and the Hassan Tower
Our next stop was the beautiful Mausoleum of Mohammed V and the unfinished but still important Hassan Tower.
Mohammed V was the Sultan of Morocco during the World War II years and has long been revered for his humanitarianism, his resistance to Nazi Germany’s puppet regime, and his protection of the Jews during the Holocaust.
He was the father of King Hassan II, namesake of the mosque in Casablanca, who is also entombed there. The mausoleum is open daily for viewing but was closed during my most recent visit.
Photography of police/guards in Morocco is strictly forbidden. The Mausoleum of Mohammed V is the only place where you are generally allowed to photograph the guards. When you see photos of guards at other places in my photos, it’s because we had express permission to take them. Always always always ask first. I will not bail you out of Moroccan jail.
Across the Yacoub Al Mansour Square from the mausoleum is the half-finished Hassan Tower and the ruins of the incomplete mosque. It was commissioned in the 12th century to be the largest minaret in the world but abandoned shortly afterwards.
Regardless, the Hassan Tower is still viewed as an important structure to Moroccans. The plaza surrounding the tower and fountains out front are beautiful.
Kasbah of the Udayas (Oudaya Kasbah)
Next up in our 2-week Morocco itinerary was a walk through the Kasbah of the Udayas. This 12-century kasbah is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site that makes up historic Rabat and the first of many we would visit during our two weeks in Morocco.
We entered through the stunning Bab Oudaia (gate) and wound our way through the maze of white-washed streets inside. We got to see local artisans and their shops, learn all about the area’s fascinating history (a pirate hangout!), and meet lots of local kitties of course.
Then we got to check out the awesome views from the ramparts that jut out over the spot where the Bouregreg River meets the Atlantic Ocean. (And watch the surfers with their apparent death-wishes.)
We finished our tour at Café des Oudayas to enjoy our first of many many many mint teas and giant plates of sugary pastries (and more great views)(and more cats).
Optional Rabat tours
If you’d like to book a tour of Rabat to enjoy a similar experience, check out these available day tours:
- Rabat medina half-day walking tour – includes all the spots mentioned here!
- Private guided city walking tour of Rabat – includes all the spots too but it’s just your group.
- Rabat food tour in the old town – maybe try something that I didn’t do!
Dinner in Meknes
From Rabat, we drove about 3 hours to Meknes where we checked right into our gorgeous riad and had a little bit of time to rest and freshen up.
For dinner, we visited the home of a local family that our tour leader knew. They prepared a full meal for us with starters, deserts, tea, couscous, and more. All in their own home! It was too precious.
This was one of the activities that made traveling with Intrepid such a pleasure. We were blessed with so many opportunities to interact with local families who welcomed us into their homes where we could learn about their culture directly from them.
2-week Morocco itinerary – Day 2 summary
- Cities visited: Casablanca, Rabat, Meknes
- Attractions visited: Hassan II Mosque, Rabat Royal Palace, Mausoleum of Mohammed V, Hassan Tower, Kasbah of the Udayas
- Restaurants visited: Rick’s Café, Le Capri, Café des Oudayas
- Intrepid-only activity: Dinner with a local family in Meknes
- Where to stay in Meknes: Riad Ritaj
Day 3: Meknes, Volubilis, & Chefchaouen
Day 3 of our 2-week Morocco itinerary began with a traditional Moroccan breakfast at our riad in Meknes (a city I’d never heard of before this trip) then we met up with a local guide to explore the city.
Though we did see some very cool things here, it wasn’t my favorite part of this two-week trip. If you need to condense your itinerary a little bit, I would skip Meknes altogether and head straight for Volubilis.
Meknes Royal Palace
You’ll notice a theme here where we visit the royal palace in each city because these buildings have some of the coolest and most unique architecture and design. So even though you can’t enter them, they’re still very cool to check out. (And the doors just keep getting bigger and BIGGER!)
We started our time in the historic city of Meknes (another UNESCO site) at the Royal Palace where we not only learned about the functions of this place but also about the storks!
Storks in Morocco
This was the first time we saw large groups of huge storks buildings their nests. I’ve seen storks before having lived in Florida, but never on this scale.
At certain times of the year, European storks migrate down to Morocco and build huge nests all over the country. Seriously, everywhere—on mosques, on houses, on royal palaces. And they are believed to bring good luck so they have free rein of wherever they want to post up. Keep your eyes peeled throughout your 2 weeks in Morocco and you’ll see them everywhere.
Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail
Now even though I said you can skip Meknes, I will admit this city had one of my favorite buildings—the Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail. Moulay Ismaïl ibn Sharif served as Sultan of Morocco from 1672 to 1727 and is known for having actually built the city of Meknes and turned it into the new capital.
While non-Muslims can’t enter the tomb room, they can explore much of this building which is widely known for its incredible design. And I agree; this was probably the most beautiful of all the buildings I saw in Morocco.
Optional Meknes tours
If you’d like to book a guided tour of Meknes too, check out these available day tours:
- Meknes medina walking tour – See the city’s biggest sights with a local guide.
- Or see Meknes on a day trip from Fez (along with Volubilis).
Archaeological site at Volubilis
From there, it was just an hour’s drive to Volubilis—an ancient Roman capital from the 3rd century BCE and one of the words I had the most trouble saying the entire trip (even though it’s pronounced exactly like it’s spelled). Vo-lu-bill-iss.
At Volubilis (another UNESCO site) you’ll get to explore a huge complex of Roman ruins, see the very well preserved mosaics, and learn all about the culture of this key ancient city.
If you enjoyed visiting Pompeii or Herculaeum in southern Italy, you’ll love it here at Volubilis. You will have to remind yourself that you’re actually in Africa at some point. After our tour of the ruins we had a nice lunch at the on-site restaurant.
Guided Volubilis tours
If you’d also like to take a guided tour of Volubilis, know that most guided tours leave from Fes and include a tour of Meknes as well. In case you’re interested, here are some popular day trips:
Dinner and djellabas in Chefchaouen
From Volubilis it was about 4 hours (including stops) to Chefchaouen, Morocco’s famous “blue city.” Before entering the city, we stopped for photos at a panoramic viewpoint overlooking the city. This is also a great place to pick up a djellaba if you’ve been eyeing them since you arrived in Morocco.
Djellabas are the full-length hooded robes worn by Moroccans. They come in all colors, materials, and weights. They have no religious connections but are simply Morocco’s traditional outfit and everyone wears them. Including yours truly, now.
At the viewpoint, there’s a man who sells them out of the back of his van and I am so happy I found him. I bought the traditional djellaba of the Chefchaouen area because it’s super heavy and great for winters in Boston, where I live. I regret nothing.
When we arrived to the city, we made our way through the labyrinth of streets to our riad in the main square. We checked in, rested up, and took a thousand photos from our incredible penthouse panoramic suite.
Dinner at Riad Hicham
For dinner, we decided to eat at our very own hotel based on our tour leader’s recommendation. He says that even when his tours stay at other hotels, he still sends them here for dinner because the food is so good.
And he was right! The food, service, and atmosphere at Riad Hicham is the best. Highly recommend for dinner, even if you don’t stay here.
Also check out: All About Alcohol in Morocco: What You Need to Know Before You Go!
2-week Morocco itinerary – Day 3 summary
- Cities visited: Meknes, Volubilis, Chefchaouen
- Attractions visited: Meknes Royal Palace, Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail, archaeological site of Volubilis
- Restaurants visited: The restaurant at Volubilis, the restaurant at Riad Hicham
- Where to stay in Chefchaouen: Riad Hicham
Day 4: Chefchaouen – Morocco’s “Blue Pearl”
We began our 4th day in Morocco the same way we did all the others – with a traditional Moroccan breakfast at our hotel. Unlike the other days though we stayed in this one town the entire day.
Walking tour of Chefchaouen
After breakfast we set out with our tour leader who took us on a walking tour of the town. Chefchaouen is Morocco’s famous blue city—painted top to bottom in blue paint. The houses, the restaurants, the streets and walls, everything. Da ba dee da ba di, everything here is freaking blue.
We wandered the streets for a couple of hours doing little more than taking photos every ten seconds. While there isn’t much to actually do in Chefchaouen, it’s still a cool place to see. Everything here is so photogenic, even in the rain.
For your time in Chefchaouen, that’s exactly what I would recommend anyway. Just wander the streets without any agenda whatsoever.
On our tour we met the town baker who welcomed us into his shop. Town residents bring him their dough in the mornings and he bakes the bread for them. He let us watch as he cooked it and even let us take a loaf to try fresh from the oven.
Lunch and goat cheese tasting
After our walking tour we ended up at an adorable restaurant called Bab Ssour. We tasted some local goat cheese (something the area is known for) and had a relaxed lunch and tea. After lunch my friend Amanda and I went back to our riad to freshen up after our slightly wet walk.
After we were showered and dressed and the sun had come out, we set back out for more walking around town to get some brighter, drier photos. A few hours later, we headed back to our riad for another amazing dinner at the same restaurant.
Sunset hike & Spanish mosque
We were too hungry by the time we were done walking around that we went straight to dinner, but many from our small group opted to hike up to the Spanish mosque to watch the sunset.
There’s a super easy to follow trail that goes straight up to the Spanish mosque, high above Chefchaouen. From there you can get excellent sunset views of the Blue City and its surroundings. If you’re not too tired or hungry by this point, definitely do this. (Or don’t even wait for sunset, just go whenever you want!)
Guided tours in Chefchaouen
If you’d like to take a guided tour of Chefchaouen to see the best parts and get your answer to Why the blue? Check out these available Chefchaouen tours:
- Private walking tour of Chefchaouen with a local guide
- Here’s a Chefchaouen guided food tour for something a little different
2-week Morocco itinerary – Day 4 summary
- Cities visited: Chefchaouen
- Activities: Walking tour of Chefchaouen
- Restaurants visited: Bab SSour
- Where to stay in Chefchaouen: Riad Hicham
Day 5: Chefchaouen & Fes
On day 5 of our 2-week Morocco itinerary Amanda and I began at the most significant historical site in Chefchaouen that just so happened to be right across the square from our riad.
The Kasbah of Chefchaouen
The Kasbah of Chefchaouen (also known as the Ethnographic Museum) was built in the 15th century and is just off the main square. Inside is a small museum (with no English translations unfortunately) and a beautiful courtyard of flowers, palms, and orange trees. The best part though is that you can climb to the top of the tower for great views of the city and surrounding countryside.
After our brief time here, we hit up the streets of Chefchaouen again for an ATM run and to pick up some souvenirs before it was time to leave.
Drive to Fes
From Chefchaouen we took off for Fes—a drive that, including a handful of longer stops along the way, took about 5 hours. We stopped for lunch at a super chill rest stop and restaurant, stopped for snacks and drinks at another, then stopped at a shopping mall outside the main city to pick up beer and wine.
And when I say we stopped for lunch at a rest stop—curb your judgment. Rest stops in Morocco are legit. They have swimming pools and lounge chairs, dressed up waiters, tablecloths, and actually really good food. So, don’t always be in such a rush to get to your next destination here. (The one I’m talking about here is the restaurant at Motel Rif.)
Arrival and dinner in Fes
Once in Fes, we checked into our next riad which was basically a small palace. Again, we had time to chill out, clean ourselves up, and get ready for dinner.
Tonight was another exclusive dinner experience at a local family’s home. Only this family’s home was extravagant. Quite a change from the last home we dined at, but interesting all the same.
Dinner was another fabulous experience with traditional “Moroccan salad,” soup, entrée, deserts, fresh fruit, tea, and more. For dinner we had pastilla—a traditional Fes dish that consists of chicken, onions, and almonds in a flaky crust that’s covered with cinnamon and sugar. ‘Twas probably my favorite Moroccan meal of them all.
2-week Morocco itinerary – Day 5 summary
- Cities visited: Chefchaouen, Fes
- Attractions visited: The Kasbah of Chefchaouen
- Restaurants visited: The restaurant at Hotel Rif (rest stop)
- Intrepid-only activity: Dinner at a local family’s home
- Where to stay in Fes: Palais Houyam
Here’s your reminder that if you want to get all the details (and stunning photos!) of all the Moroccan hotels I stayed in, click that link!
Day 6: The best of Fez
Day 6 of our 2-week Morocco itinerary began with breakfast at our riad, as per usual, then we met up with our lovely local guide Hakima.
Fes Royal Palace
Our guided tour of Fes started at the Royal Palace – my favorite Moroccan royal palace thus far because it has the best doors and the most beautiful tile and metal work. It even has honest-to-goodness soccer balls on it. We learned things about it too of course.
We then hopped back in our car and headed up to the Borj Nord, a large fortress from the 16th century. From the top you can get awesome views of Fez – all the parts of it, old and new, including the University of al-Qarawiyyin, the oldest university in the world.
Fes Mosaic and Pottery
Next was a visit to Mosaique et Poterie de Fes, a local mosaic and pottery studio where we got to watch the potter making vases (as fast as lightning). We were then treated to tea and shown how they cut the mosaic tiles and craft amazing things from them, how they melt and attach silver, how they hand paint the pieces, and more.
We got to spend some time in the shop (if we wanted) and many people took home beautiful locally-made artisan souvenirs. I wanted the $1,000 mosaic tile fountain but conceded to the fact that it just wouldn’t fit in my carry on. Maybe next time. (JK, they totally ship if you want to buy a mosaic tile fountain for your backyard.)
The Fes el Bali Medina
We then began our guided tour of the famous Fes medina (another UNESCO site). The Fez medina is believed to have 10,000 streets and it is every bit a disorienting maze. Luckily, we had Hakima to make sure we weren’t lost and never seen again.
We began with a walk through the Mellah, the historic Jewish quarter, to see some of its unique architecture and learn a bit about Moroccan culture while passing shops on the main road.
Inside the medina, we passed through the food market, visited the section where the garment dying takes place, and then on through the insanely busy souks.
Next, we stopped at the famous Chouara Tannery—stinking up the Fez medina since the 9th century. This place was so fascinating and not only because you see pictures of it anytime you search for Morocco-related content.
We got to see all the stripping and dying vats, learn how leather products are made the traditional way here in Fes, and feel all the different products too. I even went home with a custom-made leather jacket (after they delivered it to my riad a couple hours later).
Fun fact: The Chouara Tannery uses pigeon poop and cow urine to strip the animal hides so that’s why the whole area stinks. They give you fresh mint leaves when you enter in case you just can’t stomach it. It wasn’t so bad when we were there in March but I imagine it’s unbearable in the hot summer.
From there, we wandered deeper and deeper into the medina, passing all the beautiful Moroccan shops along the way full of leather shoes, metal lanterns, carpets, and more. I almost got ran over by mule only once.
Lunch at Le Patio Bleu
We stopped for lunch at Le Patio Bleu, somewhere inside the medina. Hakima said that if we liked pastilla, this would be a great place to get another, so I did. And yeah, somehow it was even better than the one I had the night before.
Funduq al-Najjarin (Nejjarine Museum of Wooden Arts & Crafts)
After lunch we visited the Nejjarine Museum of Wooden Arts & Crafts to see some very cool and unique architecture in an 18th century building. This building, a traditional funduq, was once used as a kind of hotel by merchants and traders who visited Fes. Be sure to head to the rooftop terrace for cool views over the Fes el Bali medina.
Shrine of Moulay Idris II
After leaving the Funduq, we stopped at the Zawiya of Moulay Idris II, a shrine and mausoleum to the man who ruled Morocco from the years 807-828. As a non-Muslim, I wasn’t allowed in, but I was still able to peak my head (and camera) through.
The architecture and design (as it goes in Morocco) were stunning, and there was a long line of people waiting to take their picture with the shrine. All-in-all, a memorable cultural moment.
After some more of the Fez labyrinth, we visited the Al-Attarine Madrasa, a Qur’anic school from the 14th century. This place was basically a live-in learning institution for Muslim children studying the Qur’an. It had room for around 50 students as well as teachers, an imam (someone who leads Islamic worship services), and muezzins (the people who do the call to prayer).
We got to explore the main areas plus the “dorm rooms” and other parts of the Madrasa. We were here for the afternoon call to prayer and it was surreal.
Some more medina-wandering took us to a silk studio where we learned the traditional way of weaving silk in Morocco—from agave cacti! We had heard this mentioned a few times over the previous week, but this was the first time we got to see how it was made.
You really can tell the difference between worm silk and agave silk, and agave silk is much softer and stronger (and cheaper and easier to acquire). After a bit of a haggle-off, I left with an agave scarf.
Dinner and drinks at Palais Houyam
After our crazy day inside the Fez medina, we made our way back to our hotel for the night. A few of us started the night off with beer and wine on our riad’s beautiful rooftop terrace. We then had dinner at the hotel restaurant out of sheer convenience, but it was still delicious!
Guided Fes tours
If you’d like to experience even half of what we did today, you’ll need to book a guided tour. (Honestly, you might never make it out of the medina without one!) Check out these available Fes tours:
2-week Morocco itinerary – Day 6 summary
- Cities visited: Fes (Fez)
- Attractions visited: Fes Royal Palace, Borj Nord, Fes Mosaic and Pottery, Fes el Bali medina, Chouara Tannery, Funduq al-Najjarin, Shrine of Moulay Idris II, Al-Attarine Madrasa, agave silk studio
- Restaurants visited: Lunch at Le Patio Bleu, dinner at the Palais Houyam restaurant
- Where to stay in Fes: Palais Houyam
Day 7: Ifrane, Zaida, & Erfoud (Gateway to the Sahara)
We spent the majority of day 7 en route to the Sahara Desert, but we still made a lot of interesting and delicious stops along the way.
Ifrane – the Switzerland of Morocco
After leaving Fes, we drove for about an hour to the town of Ifrane for a quick stop. Ifrane is known as the “Switzerland of Morocco” because of its architecture and location in the Atlas Mountains, but also because of how green, clean, and expensive it is. Again, this didn’t feel like Morocco.
We spent some time walking around, some got coffee and snacks, made an ATM run, and checked out the famous lion sculpture meant to commemorate the last wild lion seen in these parts (in the 1920s). On the way out we drove through Ifrane National Park which is actually a large cedar forest home to a population of Macaque monkeys.
A couple hours of driving and some short breaks later we arrived in the town of Zaida in Morocco’s Midelt region—the apple capital of Morocco.
Zaida is a small town that’s big on BBQ and ready-to-cook animals were hanging from every single storefront here. The entire town is filled with a constant stream of smoke and baskets of apples. Queasy vegans, keep on driving.
We had a delicious lunch of fresh lamb and kefta meatballs at Xaluca Barbecue, strolled the local shops, and took our time enjoying the whole experience.
Heading to Erfoud
We spent the rest of the day commuting towards Erfoud, the town known as the Gateway to the Sahara. Along the way, we made a handful of beautiful stops—to photograph the snow-capped peaks of the High Atlas Mountains, to check out a beautiful oasis, and again for snacks and drinks.
Gateway to the Sahara
Eventually we landed at our hotel for the night—L’Hotel by Chateau de Sable. We spent the time before dinner roaming the property and watching the sunset from the roof terraces. We finished the night with an incredible buffet dinner that was about as far from tajines as you could get.
2-week Morocco itinerary – Day 7 summary
- Cities visited: Ifrane, Zaida, Erfoud
- Activities: Mostly driving today
- Restaurants visited: Xaluca BBQ
- Where to stay in Erfoud: L’Hotel by Chateau de Sable
Day 8: Khamlia, Merzouga, & Sahara Desert
Possibly my favorite day of this entire 2-week Morocco itinerary was day 8 – the day we spent in the Sahara Desert.
After just about an hour of driving we started our day at Morabit Fossils to learn about Morocco’s insane fossil production. Having been under the ocean some gazillion years ago, Morocco’s land is just full of fossils. Cut open a slice of rock here and you’ve got yourself some trilobites.
We learned how they find them, collect them, and then polish them to make all sorts of things. We spent some time in the shop as well—I left with a soap dish and a serving plate. #Geologyrocks
Khamlia village & the Gnaoua
Less than an hour later we arrived at the village of Khamlia on the edge of the Sahara’s Erg Chebbi dunes. This small village is home to the Gnaoua people—direct descendants of Sudanese slaves brought to Morocco centuries ago. Today, the Gnaoua welcome visitors into their village and groups like the Pigeons du Sable Group Zaid continue their musical traditions.
We were greeted with music and shown into their kitchen to learn about Medfouna (also known as Berber pizza) and watch how it’s made. We relaxed and drank deliciously sweet tea in the sun then enjoyed an unforgettable desert picnic complete with a Gnaoua serenade.
Afterwards, we went into what I’m going to call the music room where they treated us to some singing and dancing performances. The whole thing was such a delight and a day I will never forget.
Heading into the Sahara
From there we drove a quick 10 minutes to the town of Merzouga to pick up some scarves and water for the desert. Our brilliant tour leader wrapped my head for me in what I should really adopt as my signature look.
There in Merzouga we transferred to some 4wd trucks driven by the staff of our desert camp. They drove us from Merzouga deep into Morocco’s Erg Chebbi sand dunes in what will forever be remembered as the most intense ride of my life.
Camel ride through the Erg Chebbi dunes
We ditched the trucks and hitched a ride on some camels to get to our desert camp. The ride took about an hour and it was the most fun I’ve had in a long time! The camels dropped us off at our camp where we checked in and threw our stuff into our tent.
We beelined it back up the dunes and spent the next hour hanging out, watching the sunset, and pinching ourselves because we couldn’t believe this wasn’t just a mirage.
Dinner and drums
We made it back to camp just in time for a delicious dinner in the main tent with all the usual courses. After dinner, everyone staying at the camp went down to the fire pit to chill out under the stars and listen to the guys play their surprisingly spectacular drum beats. At some point I was handed some bongos and joined in.
Our day in the Sahara was the highlight of my trip and involved so much more than I covered here. But don’t worry – a full write-up on my time in the Sahara is coming with all the delicious details from the entire day (and part of the next). Be sure to subscribe below so you don’t miss it.
Sahara Desert tours
You don’t need to be with Intrepid to experience all the amazing stuff we did today. If you’re interested in a similar experience, check out these available Sahara tours:
- Here’s a popular overnight at a desert camp and a camel ride to get there.
- Here’s a round trip desert excursion from Fez.
- Or check out all the available Sahara tours here.
2-week Morocco itinerary – Day 8 summary
- Cities visited: Erfoud, Khemliya, Merzouga, Sahara Desert
- Attractions/activities: Fossil tour, Gnaoua village visit, desert camel ride
- Restaurants visited: Bivouac Gnaoua Chez Zaid, Golden Camp Merzouga
- Where to stay in the Sahara Desert: Golden Camp Merzouga
Day 9: Sahara Desert, Erfoud, Tinghir, Todra Gorge, & the Dades Valley
The 9th day of our 2-week Morocco trip was another filled with drastically changing landscapes, lovely people, delicious food, and unforgettable experiences.
Sunrise in the Sahara
After our night in the desert, a couple of us got up early to spend the morning in the desert. We hitched our camels again for a trip up the dunes to watch the sunrise. Back at our camp, we traded in our camels for trucks and took off back through the Sahara towards Merzouga.
Erfoud date market & desert khettaras
From there, we drove about a half hour to Erfoud’s date market. Erfoud is famous for their dates and I couldn’t wait to buy a kilo of the best dates money could buy. Dates on dates on dates. We explored the whole (small) market, learned all about the different kind of dates, and left on a sugar high.
We drove about another hour before stopping in what was essentially the middle of nowhere. Only here, the area is absolutely packed with underground irrigation tunnels (khettaras) of yore.
We got to see how water was transferred through the desert a very long time ago and even go down through some of the tunnels.
Berber lunch in Tinghir
Our next (major) stop was the town on Tinghir for lunch. Besides being absolutely gorgeous, this town has a predominately Amazigh (Berber) population. For lunch, we visited a traditional Berber home of a local family and were treated to soup and starters, tea and pastries, goat tajines, and more.
After lunch we drove another 20 minutes or so to the jaw-dropping Todra Gorge. This massive canyon is just 33 feet wide but over 500 feet deep. It was really interesting walking through it, seeing the local’s selling their carpets and scarves, and watching the eagles circle us above.
An hour and a half and a couple of beautiful photo stops later we pulled into our hotel in the Dades Valley. Tea and cookies awaited us, naturally, and we checked in and chilled out until dinner.
We had dinner at our riad that night and it was fantastic! The food here is so different from what we’d been eating every other day and so creative. Plus, the service at this place was the best and most fun of the entire trip!
2-week Morocco itinerary – Day 9 summary
- Cities visited: Sahara Desert, Erfoud, Tinghir, Dades Valley
- Attractions/activities: Sunrise camel trek, Erfoud date market, lunch in local Berber family home, Todra Gorge
- Restaurants visited: Lunch at a local family’s home, dinner at Hotel Riad Bahammou
- Intrepid-exclusive activity: Lunch with a local Berber family
- Where to stay in the Dades Valley: Hotel Riad Bahammou
Day 10: Dades Valley – hiking, tea, & scenery
Our second day in the Dades Valley was a nice relaxing break that included some casual hiking, a traditional tea ceremony, and some light sightseeing.
I loved everything we did today, but they weren’t what I would call must-do activities. If you need to condense your trip, skip this day altogether and head straight for Aït Benhaddou instead.
Dades Valley hike
After breakfast we met up with a local guide who led us on a pretty casual hike around the valley. We passed through farming plots, small villages, and over rivers and through woods.
After our hike, our tour leader Mohamed brought us to the home of a local Amazigh (Berber) family to learn about and partake in a traditional tea ceremony. It was so fascinating to learn all about Moroccan tea culture and preparation. (And then drinks lots and lots of it.)
They followed that up by showing us around their property and giving us a glimpse into local Amazigh life. It was such a heartwarming experience offered by this beautiful family.
Lunch and relaxation
Afterwards we headed back to our hotel and opted to have lunch there on their beautiful terrace since we liked the food so much the night before. After lunch we went and hung out by the pool for a little while and took naps in the sun.
A little bit later we took off for the Dades Gorge, another huge canyon you can walk through. We took our time getting from one end to the other, then caught a ride a little further up the road to one of the most famous viewpoints in Morocco.
Just outside the Hotel Timzzillite is a panoramic viewpoint overlooking a set of switchbacks that descend into the valley. This famous road has been featured in car commercials and Mission Impossible movies. (Watch Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation here! It takes place all over Morocco.)
After a while taking photos, we then walked that road alllll the way down into the valley and back to our hotel. We had another great dinner at our hotel’s restaurant and some more fun music to end the night.
2-week Morocco itinerary – Day 10 summary
- Cities visited: Dades Valley (Boumalne Dades)
- Attractions/activities: Local hike, tea ceremony, Dades Gorge, panoramic view
- Restaurants visited: Lunch and dinner at Riad Bahammou
- Intrepid-exclusive activity: tea ceremony at local family’s home
- Where to stay in the Dades Valley: Riad Bahammou
Day 11: Rose Valley, Skoura Oasis, Aït Benhaddou
Day 11 of our 2-week Morocco itinerary saw us go from a Mission Impossible set, through the Valley of a Thousand Kasbahs, to what they call “Mollywood”—the area of Morocco known for all the movies that are filmed there.
The Rose Valley
After leaving the Dades Valley, we made our way through the Rose Valley—the part of Morocco famous for its roses. We made a couple quick stops for snacks, drinks, and all the rose-scented products you could dream of. (Unfortunately, the fields and fields of rose bushes weren’t in bloom yet.)
We stopped at a local market to learn more cool stuff about Moroccan culture, food, and products. Many of the villages here have weekly markets where locals and nomads all come to buy and sell just about anything you could want. I picked up a teeny-tiny tagine.
Kasbah Amridil in the Skoura Oasis
A little bit of driving took us to the Skoura Oasis where we made a stop at Kasbah Amridil. We took a tour of this historic 17th century fortress for a glimpse into what it was like living in this giant sandcastle once upon a time.
Lunch at the women’s cooperative
Next up was another unforgettable lunch. We had planned on visiting the women of the Tawesna Tea House—an organization that provides opportunities for local women to earn an income. However, their space was undergoing renovations so they hosted us at their home instead (which turned out to be better than we could have imagined).
After our amazing lunch, we continued on to the Ksar of Aït Benhaddou. This centuries-old fortified village is another UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as the filming location for many movies and TV shows. (The Mummy, Lawrence of Arabia, Gladiator, and Game of Thrones, to name a few.)
We walked through the entire village, up to the very top, and then all the way back down. We watched a man paint with tea and sugar and then burn the paper to reveal the images. Then we walked clear to the end of the site and back along the river.
Across the river, we stopped at the Akhnif Glaoui Cooperative, another women’s cooperative where they make traditional Berber rugs. They showed us how the rugs are handmade and all the different designs they produce.
From there, we drove just a wee bit further to our hotel for the night – another historic kasbah. We got there in time to catch an amazing sunset from the rooftop terrace then had another great dinner at the hotel.
Optional guided tours
If you’d like to check out any of the activities from the previous three days on your own, check out these guided tour options:
- Private Day Trip to Dades and Todra Valley including lunch – Includes visits to the Todra Gorge, Dades Gorge, Kasbah Amridil, and the Rose Valley.
- Private Excursion from Ouarzazate to Gorges Dades, Valley of Roses and Skoura – A slightly different itinerary but similar to the above.
- Ouarzazate Full-Day Tour from Marrakech with Lunch – If you’re looking to visit Aït Benhaddou on a day trip from Marrakech, here you go.
- Guided tour of Aït Benhaddou – Just a simple guided tour of Aït Benhaddou if you’re already there.
2-week Morocco itinerary – Day 11 summary
- Cities visited: Rose Valley, Skoura, Aït Benhaddou
- Attractions/activities: Kasbah Amridil tour, Aït Benhaddou tour, carpet cooperative visit
- Restaurants visited: Lunch at Tawesna Tea house, dinner at Kasbah Cigogne
- Where to stay in Aït Benhaddou: Kasbah Cigogne
Day 12: Atlas Mountains & Ouirgane
The next morning after breakfast we took off in the direction of Marrakech. Most of today was filled with driving and some interesting road stops along the way, but ended with a pretty cool hike.
This is another day that you can omit if you need to condense your schedule. If so, you can head from Aït Benhaddou straight to Marrakech. You’ll save at least an hour of driving but still get to see all the cool things along the way.
Atlas Mountain views
Today’s drive was beautiful as we drove through the Atlas Mountains, over the Tizi n’Tichka Pass, the highest mountain pass in Morocco, and with views of Mt. Toubkal, Morocco’s highest peak.
After settling into our hotel, a few of us headed out with a local guide to check out Ourigane Dam, one of Morocco’s largest dams.
Our hike took us through some simple villages, around farmland, and over green hills to a high viewpoint over the Barrage Ouirgane (lake). We then walked down to the lake and around until we met up with our driver to head back to our hotel where we had an enormous couscous dinner at the hotel’s restaurant—a Friday tradition.
Optional Ouirgane tours
If you’d like to get out of the craziness of Marrakech for a day, check out these day trips to the Ouirgane area:
- Day Trip to Ouirgane and Atlas Mountains – Includes many great activities in the area!
- Ouirgane Private Tour with Mountain Views – Similar to the above but private for your group.
2-week Morocco itinerary – Day 12 summary
- Cities visited: Ouirgane
- Attractions/activities: Hiking in Ouirgane
- Restaurants visited: Lunch at Café Restaurant Oued Ezzat, dinner at Ksar Shama
- Where to stay in Ouirgane: Ksar Shama
Day 13: Cooking class, hammam, & the madness of Marrakech
The second to last day of our 2-week Morocco itinerary was full of surprises. From a cooking class I actually enjoyed, to a traditional Moroccan hammam, to the madness of the Marrakech’s Jemaa el-Fna square.
Moroccan cooking class
Look, I hate cooking. I would never purposely opt to take a cooking class, so I wasn’t super excited about this being on the itinerary. However, I would not call our day at Atelier Chef Tarik a “cooking class;” this was a whole Moroccan culinary experience.
Atelier Chef Tarik
Our “cooking class” in Tahanaout started out by meeting the lovely women who run the place. We drank tea while they taught us even more about Moroccan tea. We learned about spices and Moroccan food, then set off to make our own.
Eventually we split into small groups and helped make a chicken tagine, a vegetable tagine, a lentil dish, and a couple of salads. And we didn’t destroy anything! While the tagines cooked, we sat down for some fresh bread.
For lunch we ate the surprisingly delicious meals we created followed by a surprise dessert prepared by the chefs. We finished with more tea and sharing some of our favorite experiences from our time in Morocco. All in another stunningly gorgeous outdoor dining space!
From there, we headed into Marrakech and checked into our hotel. We had just a little bit of time before we were to leave for dinner in the medina, so I opted for a traditional Moroccan hammam right there in the hotel spa.
If you don’t know about that hammam life, check out my post on my Turkish hammam experience in Istanbul to get an idea. I’ll be writing about my Moroccan hammam too which was it’s own experience.
Djemaa el-Fna Square
After what turned out to be a stressful spa experience (story of my life), a few of us got a cab to Jemaa el-Fna Square, basically the Times Square of Marrakech.
We arrived and quickly zig-zagged our way through the crowds of carpet salesmen, story tellers, snake charmers, and other nonsense to the restaurant where we were having dinner. From the rooftop terrace at Amornakoch Café we were treated to awesome views of the setting sun over the busy square.
For dinner I had a tanjia Marrakchia – a typical Marrakech dish of slow-cooked meet in a clay urn. It was one of the best meals I had the entire trip!
After dinner, Amanda and I split off to explore the crazy busy fast loud souks of Marrakech on a Saturday night. Having survived that madness, we took a cab back to our hotel for the night.
Looking to experience something similar to my day 13? Check out these similar experiences and tours:
- I highly recommend booking a day at Atelier Chef Tarik, but if that doesn’t fit your schedule, here are many Marrakech cooking classes to choose from.
- Private Tour: Marrakech Medina By Night – The best way to experience Jemaa el-Fna at night is with a local guide.
- Mouassine Traditional Moroccan Hammam – Treat yourself to a traditional hammam here.
2-week Morocco itinerary – Day 13 summary
- Cities visited: Tahanaout, Marrakech
- Attractions/activities: Cooking class, hammam, Jemaa el-Fna Square
- Restaurants visited: Atelier Chef Tarik for lunch, dinner at Amornakoch Café
- Where to stay in Marrakech: Bab Hotel
Day 14: Marrakech & goodbye
Our last day of our 2 weeks in Morocco was also one of my favorites. Marrakech is such an icon of Morocco and I was so excited to finally explore it.
Our day started with a local guide who began our tour of Marrakech at the city’s most iconic spot—the Koutoubia Mosque. This imposing structure has been around since the 12th century.
Unfortunately for me, the Koutoubia Mosque is closed to non-Muslims, so we did all of our learning about it from the outside. Our guide clued us in to a lot of its history and symbolism as well as that of Islam in general.
From there we wandered through Jemaa el-Fna Square which was shockingly calm in the early morning, then arrived at our next stop—Bahia Palace.
Bahia Palace is one of Marrakech’s most famous landmarks and was the grand home of a grand vizier. It’s known for its exquisite architecture, design, and artwork and was also the most crowded place we visited in all of Morocco in two weeks.
Natural pharmacy / herbalist
From the palace, we wandered further into the medina of Marrakech (another UNESCO site) until we came upon Koutoubia Herbal, a “natural pharmacy” our guide called it. We were treated to a presentation that explained how herbalists use herbs, spices, and other ingredients as natural remedies.
I left here with a whole bag of goodies. Argan oil, natural perfumes, tons of spices, natural cold remedies, and much more. The ladies running the place were so nice and the tea was delicious. I am totally judging places by their tea now.
Our tour ended back in Jemaa el-Fna where we got some fresh juice from a local juice stand. If you haven’t heard this yet, the fresh squeezed orange juice in Morocco is amazing. In fact, so are all the fruits and juices. We hit this place up twice in one day actually.
Lunch at L’Mida
After our tour split up, Amanda and I decided to have a non-traditional Moroccan lunch for a change and popped into L’Mida. This cozy little spot inside the medina was so good and so different from what we had become accustomed to. I got the L’Mida burger which was still deliciously Moroccan in flavor.
The Secret Garden
After lunch we strolled over to Le Jardin Secret (the Secret Garden), an oasis of calm within the Marrakech medina. This 19th century garden is virtually hidden among the buildings and contained a giant gazebo, some small art galleries, a café, and some historic buildings as well.
Shopping in Marrakech
Next up was our chance to check off our Morocco shopping lists. Unlike all the other trips I take, I actually had a long list of things I wanted to take home from Morocco: a leather pouf, some tea glasses, maybe a carpet? All the lamps!
We spent the next few hours just wandering through the souks and haggling for all the stuff we wanted to buy. My final purchase was a suitcase with which I rolled all the things I bought that day back to my hotel.
Other options for Marrakech
There’s actually quite a lot to see and do in Marrakech. We chose to be chill and just wander and shop mostly, since we’d already been on the go for two weeks now. If you want to see more of this awesome city though, check out:
- Majorelle Gardens – Yves Saint Laurent’s mansion and botanical gardens are bright and beautiful.
- Saadian Tombs – A beautifully-designed and historic necropolis from the 16th century.
- Hot air balloon ride over Marrakech – Some people from our group did this and their photos are amazing!
Guided Marrakech tours
If you’d also like to take a guided tour of Marrakech, check out these available options:
- Private half-day sightseeing tour of Marrakech – Includes the medina, Bahia Palace, Majorelle Gardens, Koutoubia mosque, and more. Excellent reviews!
- Marrakech Nighttime Street Food Tour – There’s a tanjia in the photo; that’s promising!
- Actually, there are too many good options. Check out all the best Marrakech guided day tours here.
Dinner at Le Caspien
A short walk from our hotel was Le Caspien hotel and restaurant. I had yet another tanjia and our small group talked about our trip and some of our favorite parts. After dinner we all said our goodbyes before calling it a night.
2-week Morocco itinerary – Day 14 summary
- Cities visited: Marrakech
- Attractions/activities: Koutoubia Mosque, Bahia Palace, Koutoubia Herbal, Jardin Secret, medina tour and shopping
- Restaurants visited: Lunch at L’Mida, dinner at Le Caspien
- Where to stay in Marrakech: Bab Hotel
My flight to Paris was at 7 the next morning so I had to leave the hotel at 4am. That was a couple of weeks ago already and I’m still aching for how much I enjoyed my 2 weeks in Morocco. I absolutely cannot wait to return to this endlessly enchanting country!
More info for your 2-week Morocco itinerary
- Heading to Morocco? Read reviews and find more great places to stay here.
- Want to take a tour? You can book my exact Morocco tour here.
- Looking for day tours while you’re there? Check out these great options from Viator and Get Your Guide.
- Don’t forget a Morocco guidebook and this must-have customs and culture guide!
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