Embarking on a Morocco Grand Tour offers you the opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich history, diverse culture, and breathtaking landscapes of this enchanting North African country. Over the span of two weeks or more, you’ll have the chance to explore the beauty of its imperial cities, marvel at the architecture of ancient kasbahs, and traverse the vast Saharan dunes.
Your journey will likely begin in the vibrant city of Casablanca, where you can marvel at the magnificent Hassan II Mosque, before continuing to the capital city, Rabat, to visit significant landmarks such as the Hassan II tower and the Mausoleum of Mohamed V.
As you venture further into Morocco, you’ll experience the charm of ancient cities like Fes and Marrakech, roam the bustling souks, and uncover hidden gems that are waiting to be discovered.
Whether it’s hiking through the stunning High Atlas Mountains or relaxing in the laid-back coastal city of Essaouira, the Morocco Grand Tour ensures a unique and unforgettable experience; one that truly showcases the country’s fascinating history, rich culture, and diverse landscapes.
So, prepare to embark on an adventure of epic proportions and make memories that will last a lifetime.
Grand Tour of Morocco Itinerary
Discover the mesmerising beauty of Morocco on this comprehensive 14-day grand tour, exploring the country’s rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning landscapes. Embark on an unforgettable journey through ancient cities, sprawling deserts, and the breathtaking Atlas Mountains.
Day 1: Arrival in Casablanca
Begin your Moroccan adventure in Casablanca, where you can explore the city’s captivating highlights on the Atlantic coast. Marvel at the architectural masterpiece that is the Hassan II Mosque, standing tall on the coastline with its intricate tilework and lofty minaret.
Venture into the Royal Palace of Casablanca, where you’ll be captivated by its elegant Andalusian-style gardens and opulent interiors. As you wander through the city, immerse yourself in its French colonial charm, evident in the Habous Quarter and the bustling Central Market.
Day 2: Casablanca to Rabat
Embark on your journey to Rabat, the capital city steeped in history and culture. Begin your exploration at the UNESCO-listed Kasbah of the Udayas, a fortified citadel overlooking the Bou Regreg River.
Wander through its narrow, blue-painted streets, admiring the traditional Andalusian architecture. Proceed to the Hassan Tower, an unfinished minaret of the 12th-century mosque, and the nearby Mausoleum of Mohammed V, a stunning example of modern Alaouite architecture.
Discover the ancient Chellah necropolis, where you’ll encounter Roman ruins and medieval Merenid architecture intertwined with lush gardens.
Day 3: Rabat to Meknes and Volubilis
Set off towards the imperial city of Meknes, home to the expansive Royal Stables, capable of accommodating 12,000 horses. Explore the Bab Mansour Gate, a monumental entrance adorned with intricate tilework, and the impressive Dar Jamai Museum, housing a collection of Moroccan arts and crafts.
Continue your journey to Volubilis, the largest and best-preserved Roman ruins in Morocco. As you stroll through the archaeological site, be captivated by its stunning mosaics, basilicas, and triumphal arches, offering a glimpse into the ancient Roman city’s prosperous past.
Day 4: Fes City Tour
Delve into the heart of Fes, exploring the ancient medina, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wander through the narrow, labyrinthine streets, discovering the Bou Inania Madrasa, an architectural marvel adorned with exquisite woodwork and stuccowork.
Visit Al Quaraouiyine University, the world’s oldest continually operating university, and the Dar Batha Museum, which houses a rich collection of traditional Moroccan art. As you traverse the bustling souks, marvel at the vibrant displays of colourful crafts, textiles, and spices.
The Jewish Quarter, also known as the Mellah, is situated near the Royal Palace in the southern part of the city. It is known for its narrow streets, balconies, and distinctive architecture. Stop by the Fes El Bali a large medieval medina.
Day 5: Fes to Ifrane and the Middle Atlas Mountains
Journey to Ifrane, a picturesque town often referred to as “Little Switzerland” due to its alpine-style architecture and verdant gardens. Explore the Lion Stone, a carved rock sculpture, and the Dayet Aoua National Park, where you can take a leisurely hike around its serene lake.
Continue to the Middle Atlas Mountains, immersing yourself in the region’s natural beauty, from cedar forests teeming with Barbary macaques to the striking Ouzoud Waterfalls, cascading over 100 metres into a lush valley.
Day 6: Midelt to Merzouga and Erg Chebbi
Travel through the breathtaking Ziz Valley, where palm groves and fortified villages pepper the landscape. Arrive at Merzouga, the gateway to the golden sands of the Erg Chebbi dunes. Embark on a camel trek across the desert, marvelling at the undulating dunes and unique flora and fauna.
As the sun sets, witness the sky transform into a kaleidoscope of colours, creating a truly magical atmosphere. Spend the night in a traditional nomad camp, learning about Berber culture.
Day 7: Merzouga to Tinghir and Dades Valley
Depart from the desert and journey towards Tinghir (one of the oasis towns), a picturesque town surrounded by the rugged High Atlas Mountains. Venture into the magnificent Todra Gorge, where towering limestone cliffs create a dramatic, narrow passage.
Discover the verdant palm groves of Tinghir, an oasis amidst the arid landscape. Continue to the Dades Valley, known for its distinctive rock formations and lush palm groves.
Explore the winding roads and traditional Berber villages that dot the valley, admiring the vivid hues of the landscape and the striking architecture of its fortified kasbahs.
An oasis town is a settlement that has developed around a natural water source in an otherwise arid region, often in the desert. These towns are characterised by their lush vegetation, palm groves, and agricultural activities.
Day 8: Dades Valley to Ait Benhaddou and Ouarzazate
Embark on a journey to Ait Benhaddou, a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its well-preserved mud-brick ksar. As you wander through the ancient fortified village, admire its distinctive earthen architecture, which has served as a backdrop for numerous films and television shows.
Proceed to Ouarzazate, known as the “Hollywood of Morocco,” where you can visit the Taourirt Kasbah, a former palace boasting a labyrinth of passageways and courtyards. Explore the Atlas Film Studios, home to film sets and shooting locations from iconic productions such as Gladiator and Game of Thrones.
Day 9: Ouarzazate to Marrakech via High Atlas Mountains
Cross the High Atlas Mountains via the Tizi n’Tichka Pass, a winding mountain road offering breathtaking views of the rugged landscape. Arrive in the vibrant city of Marrakech, where you can wander through the bustling Jemaa el-Fnaa square, teeming with street performers, food vendors, and local artisans.
Discover the Bahia Palace, a 19th-century palace showcasing exquisite Moroccan and Islamic architecture, and the Saadian Tombs, the final resting place of members of the Saadian dynasty.
Admire the towering Koutoubia Mosque, the largest mosque in Marrakech, and the enchanting Jardin Majorelle, a botanical garden filled with exotic plants and vibrant blue accents.
Day 10: Marrakech City Tour
Delve deeper into Marrakech, exploring the historic El Badi Palace, an opulent 16th-century ruin that once boasted over 300 rooms adorned with gold and precious stones. Wander through the winding streets of the medina, discovering artisanal workshops, traditional tanneries, and vibrant spice markets.
Visit the Dar Si Said Museum, home to a collection of Moroccan art, including intricate woodwork, textiles, and ceramics. Take a leisurely stroll through the Menara Gardens, where you’ll encounter olive groves, a picturesque pavilion, and a tranquil reflecting pool.
Alternatively, you can spend the morning discovering Marrakech’s souks or enjoying the amazing Moroccan architecture in the Marrakech Medina.
Day 11: Marrakech to Essaouira
Journey to the coastal city of Essaouira, a UNESCO-listed gem with a rich history of maritime trade. Begin your exploration at the historic ramparts, where you can admire the stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and the city’s picturesque port.
Discover the Moulay Hassan Square, a bustling plaza filled with lively cafes, seafood restaurants, and local artisans. Delve into the vibrant medina, where you can meander through its narrow, white-washed streets and discover traditional crafts, such as Thuya wood carving and local textiles.
Day 12: Essaouira Free Day
Spend a leisurely day in Essaouira, enjoying the city’s laid-back atmosphere and charming coastal scenery. Wander along the expansive sandy beach, take a refreshing dip in the Atlantic Ocean, or partake in water sports such as windsurfing and kitesurfing.
Day 14: Departure from Casablanca
As your Moroccan adventure comes to an end, take the time to reflect on your unforgettable experiences, from the bustling cities of Casablanca and Marrakech to the serene landscapes of the Atlas Mountains and the Sahara Desert. Depart from Casablanca’s Mohammed V International Airport, carrying with you the memories and experiences of a lifetime.
Essential Travel Information
Before traveling to Morocco, it’s important to check whether you need a visa. Most tourists from the United States, Canada, European Union, and several other countries can enter Morocco without a visa for up to 90 days. However, always confirm this information with the Moroccan embassy in your country to ensure a hassle-free journey.
Currency and Banking
The official currency of Morocco is the Moroccan Dirham (MAD). You can exchange your currency at airports, banks, and authorized currency exchange offices. Keep in mind that it is illegal to take Moroccan Dirhams in or out of the country, so be sure to exchange your money back before leaving.
ATMs are widely available, especially in larger cities, and accept most international debit and credit cards. It’s always a good idea to inform your bank before traveling to avoid any issues with your cards while in Morocco.
Climate and Weather
Morocco has a diverse climate, which largely depends on the region and time of year. The best time to visit Morocco is during the cooler months, from September to November and March to May.
Coastal areas have milder temperatures, while the interior can experience hot summers and cold winters. It’s crucial to pack appropriate clothing according to the region and season you plan to visit.
Language and Culture
The official languages of Morocco are Arabic and Amazigh, but French is widely spoken, especially in urban areas. Some Moroccans may also speak English and Spanish. It’s always a good idea to learn a few essential phrases in Arabic or French to enhance your travel experience and better interact with locals.
Moroccan culture is a mix of Berber, Arab, Mediterranean, and African influences. It is rich in history and traditions, and you’ll find a unique blend of architecture, arts, music, and cuisine throughout the country. Be respectful of local customs, dress modestly, and always ask for permission before taking photos of people.
As you wander through Marrakech, you’ll soon discover its lively and colorful atmosphere. The city is known for its vibrant souks, such as the famous Jemaa el-Fnaa market square, where lively street performers and enticing food stalls await.
Spend time exploring the beautiful palaces and stunning gardens hidden within the city’s ancient walls.
Fes, another imperial city of Morocco, offers a rich cultural experience. You’ll be captivated by the ancient architecture and intricate details of the city’s Medina, a UNESCO World Heritage site. As you venture through the narrow streets, you’ll stumble upon traditional tanneries and vibrant Moroccan artisan workshops.
In Casablanca, you’ll be amazed by the modern influences and French architecture of Morocco’s largest city. The city is home to the Hassan II Mosque, an architectural marvel perched on an outcrop over the Atlantic Ocean, with the capacity to hold 25,000 worshippers. Don’t forget to explore the Royal Palace of Casablanca for a complete experience.
Tangier, a port city on the northern coast of Morocco, serves as an essential gateway between Africa and Europe. As you stroll through the city’s historic Medina, you’ll notice a unique blend of cultures and artistic styles.
Take in the breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea and the Strait of Gibraltar from the city’s hilltops.
Last but not least, Chefchaouen, known as the Blue city or Blue Pearl of Morocco, is a must-visit destination for its stunning blue-washed buildings. This enchanting city provides you with the perfect opportunity to relax and enjoy stunning views of the Rif Mountains.
Immerse yourself in the city’s peaceful atmosphere as you explore its narrow, blue streets and take in the local culture.
Morocco offers an abundance of natural wonders waiting for you to explore. In this section, you will discover some of the most stunning landscapes and remarkable sights, including the Sahara Desert, Atlas Mountains, Dades Gorge, and Ouzoud Waterfalls.
Embark on a journey to the majestic Sahara Desert, where you can marvel at the endless sea of golden sand dunes. Experience a breathtaking sunset camel trek and immerse yourself in the tranquility of the desert under the glittering stars.
Desert camps offer a unique opportunity to spend a magical night in the heart of the Sahara, surrounded by its enchanting beauty.
The Atlas Mountains are a mountain range spanning across Morocco, offering picturesque walking trails and stunning natural landscapes. Discover charming Berber villages and experience the warm hospitality of the local people. The diverse flora and fauna in the region create wonderful opportunities for nature lovers, those who love hiking and photographers alike (or go skiing there in the winter!)
Located in the High Atlas Mountains, the dramatic Dades Gorge is a must-see destination on your Morocco grand tour. Carved by the Dades River, this gorge boasts spectacular rock formations and steep cliffs, giving you a glimpse of the powerful forces of nature.
Don’t miss the chance to trek through the gorgeous landscapes and capture stunning photographs to cherish for a lifetime.
Considered one of Morocco’s most beautiful natural wonders, the Ouzoud Waterfalls are an impressive sight. Admire the cascading waters as they plunge into a deep gorge, creating a lush, green paradise filled with playful monkeys and diverse bird species.
Make sure you take the time to appreciate the mesmerizing beauty of these falls, and enjoy the unique atmosphere they evoke.
During your Morocco grand tour, immerse yourself in the rich history of this captivating country. In the ancient cities, visit awe-inspiring historic sites such as the Roman ruins at Volubilis, the well-preserved kasbahs of the scenic south, and the imperial cities of Rabat, Meknes, Fes, and Casablanca.
Experience the vibrant colors and lively atmosphere of Morocco’s traditional markets, or souqs. Lose yourself in the bustling streets of Marrakesh and Fez, where you can discover artisans at work, haggle for unique souvenirs, and admire the intricate patterns of Moroccan handicrafts.
Festivals and Events
During your visit, participate in local festivals and events. Morocco has a rich cultural calendar, with celebrations like the Rose Festival in El Kelaa M’gouna or the Gnaoua World Music Festival in Essaouira. These festivities provide unique opportunities to witness traditional dance, music, and rituals.
No Morocco grand tour is complete without indulging in the country’s delicious cuisine. Feast on dishes like tagine, couscous, and pastilla, all brimming with bold flavors and aromatic spices. For an authentic experience, consider a cooking class with a local chef to learn the secrets behind Moroccan culinary traditions.
As you plan your Morocco grand tour, consider including these fascinating alternative destinations to enrich your journey.
Known for its beautiful beaches and vibrant atmosphere, Agadir is an ideal destination to unwind and soak up the Moroccan sun. While in the city, explore the following attractions:
- The Agadir Marina with its line-up of charming cafes and restaurants
- The Souk El Had, where you can shop for authentic Moroccan souvenirs
- The historical Agadir Oufella Ruins, which offer panoramic views of the city
An imperial city steeped in history, Meknes is quite the cultural gem. During your visit, don’t miss these exciting sites:
- The impressive Bab Mansour Gate, one of the largest and most notable in the country
- The Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail, a significant historical and architectural site
- The expansive Dar Jamai Museum, featuring traditional Moroccan arts and crafts
- The city walls of Meknes are over 25 km and have amazing gates along them.
Explore the ancient Roman ruins of Volubilis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as you uncover the remnants of a prosperous city dating back to the third century BC. Key highlights include:
- The beautiful mosaic floors found throughout the archaeological site
- The well-preserved basilica and triumphal arch
- The interesting House of Orpheus, showcasing intricate mosaics
A charming port town with a unique blend of history, art, and culture, Essaouira is a must-visit on your Morocco grand tour. Be sure to experience these captivating attractions:
- The historic Essaouira Medina, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- The vibrant Essaouira harbor, filled with traditional wooden fishing boats
- The lively souks, where you can shop for local crafts and souvenirs
FAQs for Morocco Grand Tour
What is the best time of year to go on the Grand Tour of Morocco?
The ideal time to embark on the Grand Tour of Morocco is during the spring (March to May) or autumn (September to November) months, when the weather is pleasant and mild. These seasons offer comfortable temperatures for sightseeing and outdoor activities, avoiding the extreme heat of the summer and the colder temperatures in the winter months.
How do I prepare for the Grand Tour of Morocco?
To prepare for the Grand Tour of Morocco, make sure to pack appropriate clothing for the various climates you will encounter. Lightweight, breathable clothing is suitable for warmer locations, while layers and warm clothes are necessary for cooler regions, especially in the mountains.
A comfortable pair of walking shoes is essential for exploring cities and historic sites. Additionally, ensure that you have a valid passport, travel insurance, and any necessary vaccinations for your trip.
Is it safe to travel in Morocco?
Morocco is generally considered a safe destination for travellers. However, as with any country, it is essential to take precautions and be aware of your surroundings.
Practice common-sense safety measures, such as securing your belongings and avoiding walking alone in unfamiliar areas at night. Respect local customs and dress modestly to avoid unwanted attention.
What type of accommodation can I expect on the Grand Tour of Morocco?
During the Grand Tour of Morocco, you can expect a range of accommodation options, from traditional Moroccan guesthouses called riads to modern hotels and desert camps.
Riads often feature a central courtyard, intricately decorated interiors, and a warm, welcoming atmosphere. Desert camps provide a unique opportunity to experience Berber culture and enjoy the beauty of the Sahara Desert under the stars.
What kind of transportation will be used during the tour?
Various modes of transportation may be used during the Grand Tour of Morocco, including private cars, vans, or buses, depending on the size of the group. In some locations, such as the Sahara Desert, camel treks may be part of the experience. In larger cities, walking tours or local taxis may be used to explore the attractions.
Are there any specific dietary requirements or restrictions to consider?
Moroccan cuisine is diverse and flavourful, with dishes often featuring a variety of spices, herbs, and fresh ingredients. Vegetarians can find a range of options, such as vegetable tagines and couscous dishes.
However, if you have specific dietary requirements or allergies, it is essential to inform your tour operator in advance so they can accommodate your needs.
Do I need to tip during the Grand Tour of Morocco?
Tipping is customary in Morocco, and it is generally expected to tip your guides, drivers, and service staff throughout the tour. The amount you tip should be based on the quality of service and your personal preferences. It is recommended to carry small denominations of Moroccan dirhams for this purpose.
What language is spoken in Morocco? Will I have any issues with communication?
The official languages of Morocco are Arabic and Amazigh (Berber). However, French is widely spoken, especially in larger cities and tourist areas. English is becoming more common, particularly among younger people and those working in the tourism industry.
Although you may encounter some language barriers, people are generally friendly and willing to help. Learning a few basic phrases in Arabic or French can be helpful during your trip.