How to spend one week in Morocco

One week in Morocco might barely seem enough. After all, Morocco is a vast country with so much to see, spread over a wide area. Many people want to visit and experience the mountains, the Atlantic coast and the Sahara Desert all in a few days. Sure you can go all out and drive for an entire week or sit in the back of a tour bus, but where’s the fun in doing it like this? As all experienced overland travellers know, taking your time is the best way to travel and for Morocco, this is no exception. Travel slowly and you’ll experience more.


If you only have a week in Morocco, you need to prioritise. Are the imperial cities of Fez or Marrakech the big attraction for you? Perhaps you want to experience the isolation of the Sahara Desert. Or are you looking for the dramatic landscapes of the mountains and the Atlantic coast? With only one week in Morocco, it’s not practical to do it all, so prioritising is key to having a memorable Moroccan experience.

Here we’ve outlined 3 perfect itineraries you can follow easily in 7 days and each is a terrific introduction to overland travel. The first one will satisfy those seeking the drama of Marrakech, high mountain passes and the best of the Atlantic coast. The second itinerary covers the north of Morocco and perfect if you’re spending time in Spain but would love to explore a little further afield. Our final suggestion is for those, like us, who just can’t resist the temptation of the Sahara Desert. We totally understand! It’s by far our favourite place in all of Morocco.

Quick links

This is a hefty post with loads of information for each of the one week itineraries. You can click these links to jump down the page to the itinerary you prefer or scroll to browse all 3.
Practical matters – things to know before you go
#1 Beaches & mountains from Marrakech
#2 Roman ruins and a Spanish twist from Tangier
#3 The Sahara Desert of Morocco


Check out our travel guide for load of  Morocco travel tips before you go

You'll be surprised how much you can see and do in just one week in Morocco. 3 perfect itineraries in Morocco's mountains, desert and coast. Complete with places to stay, route plans, maps and much more. #Morocco #RoadTrip #Travel Find out more by clicking on the following link: http://mowgli-adventures.com/one-week-in-morocco-itineraries

One week in Morocco – 3 perfect itineraries

#1 Beaches & mountains from Marrakech

Marrakech is a great start for a one week Morocco tour. Sure you’ll want to explore Morocco’s red city of Marrakech but it’s surprising just how much more you can experience from here. A week is plenty of time for this loop and you’ll experience rural destinations, high mountain passes and wonderful coastal towns. And let’s not forget the goats hanging out in trees!

Day 1 – Explore the crazy world of Marrakech

Spend a full day in exploring Morocco’s red city, Marrakech. It’s one of the most evocative cities in the world and a complete assault on your senses. With cultural and architectural wonders at every turn, a day exploring Marrakech is an experience you won’t forget in a hurry. If you’re on the look out for bargain souvenirs and can’t resist haggling, the souq is a great place to spend a few hours. But there’s more attractions in Marrakech to discover before dusk falls. As the heat of the day retreats, Jemaa El Fna comes alive and is a must for those wanting to sample authentic Moroccan cuisine.

Day 2 – Take a rural drive to the coast

About a 2-3 hour drive from Marrakech and you’ll be on the Atlantic coast and the quaint fishing harbour of Essaouira. You’ll take a little longer because you’ll stop a few times along the way. I mean, could you really drive past a tree decorated in goats? These goats dine on the Argan trees growing in this region and it’s remarkable just how agile they are. Keep an eye out for the tortoises crossing the road too! You can also pick up some Argan Oil from some of the road side sellers along the way. No fancy packaging, just honest to goodness product.

You'll be surprised how much you can see and do in just one week in Morocco. 3 perfect itineraries in Morocco's mountains, desert and coast. Complete with places to stay, route plans, maps and much more. #Morocco #RoadTrip #Travel Find out more by clicking on the following link: http://mowgli-adventures.com/one-week-in-morocco-itineraries

Day 3 – Essaouira

Essaouira is one of our favourite coastal towns in Morocco. It’s perfect for watersports enthusiasts and its Portuguese fortified walls and fishing harbour are just terrific for hassle free exploring and wonderful fresh seafood.

Day 4 – Fabulous scenic drive down the Atlantic coast

The drive from Essaouira south towards Agadir is just one of the many scenic drives in Morocco. The road meanders through high cliff tops with panoramic views over the Atlantic. You’ll not want to rush this drive. We recommend you don’t drive as far as Agadir but stop in the surfers paradise of Taghazout.

Day 5 – Surf the Atlantic Ocean

Spend a day enjoying the beaches and Atlantic ocean in Taghazout. Located just 30 miles north of Agadir, Taghazout is a surfers mecca. You’ll know you’ve arrived as the scantily clad pedestrians cross the street hugging their surf boards with their sun bleached locks blowing in the wind. There’s a few surf schools here and you can hire equipment too.

Day 6 – Taroudant

An easy drive from Taghazout will have you arriving in the attractive town of Taroudant. Surrounded by intimidating mud walls and with a back drop of the snow capped High Atlas beyond, it feels unchanged for hundreds of years. This is a town best explored on 2 wheels. You can hire a bicycle and ride around the ramparts, explore the medina and the ancient kasbah. You can even visit the tanneries here. They’re similar to those in Fez but on a smaller scale.

Day 7 – Drive the Tizi ‘n’ Test Pass

The last day of your week in Morocco has you heading back to Marrakech via the Tizi ‘n’ Test mountain pass. At over 2000m above sea level, its one of the highest mountain passes in Morocco so has incredible views along its route. If you’re visiting in winter, check with the locals in Taroudant to make sure it’s passable because snow can block the route at this time of year.

Detailed Route Map

You'll be surprised how much you can see and do in just one week in Morocco. 3 perfect itineraries in Morocco's mountains, desert and coast. Complete with places to stay, route plans, maps and much more. #Morocco #RoadTrip #Travel Find out more by clicking on the following link: http://mowgli-adventures.com/one-week-in-morocco-itineraries


Total distance: 436 miles /  698 km  Driving time: 10 hours

Where to stay

Camping

We used a mix of campsites and wild camping locations on this route. Here’s a list of where we stayed:

MarrakechLe Relais de Marrakech – a fine campsite a few miles outside of the centre of Marrakech with terrific facilities.

Essaouira – camper stop at the southern end of the beach. There’s a small fee of 30 Dirhams per night. GPS: 31° 29′ 46.63″N 9° 45′ 46.48″W.

Taghazout – wild camping on the cliffs above the beach. GPS: 30° 31′ 21.92″N 9° 41′ 14.79″W. There’s also a campsite a few miles further south. We chose not to stay here because it looked like a Butlin’s holiday camp.

Taroudant – there’s not many places to wild camp in the town but there’s a campsite a little way out of town called Camping du Jardin. It’s clean and basic and in an ideal location for exploring the town.

Hotels and Riads

All of the towns on this Morocco itinerary have plenty of hotels, riads and auberges available. In the height of the season, you should really book in advance, especially for Essaouira and Marrakech. Check availability with Booking.com.

#2 Roman ruins and a Spanish twist from Tangier

Only an hour on the car ferry or as a foot passenger, Tangier in Morocco is tantalisingly close to southwest Spain and mainland Europe. So why not book yourself onto the FRS ferry from Tarifa and have a unique experience in Morocco. If you’re one of the thousands of motorhome owners spending the winter months in Spain, this itinerary is perfect. If you’re a first time visitor and only have one week in Morocco, this route is a fantastic introduction. Entering Morocco in your own vehicle is straightforward too.

Day 1 – Exploring Tangier

I can’t say this is one of our favourite places in Morocco but it’s far from dull. Because of its strategic location at the head of the Straits of Gibraltar, Tangier has had a colourful history. Because of this, it’s neither truly Moroccan, nor European. Spend a day exploring the hilly medina and sipping Moroccan tea as you indulge in a bit of people watching. There’s some sights here!

Day 2 – Step back in time and practise your Spanish

Only a short drive to the east of Tangier is the little visited town of Tetouan. It’s an an unusual place and you’re more likely to be greeted in Spanish than Arabic. We loved the medina here. It’s not in anyway touristy and has a genuine authentic feel. Once outside of the medina, you’ll feel your in a 1920’s version of a Spanish city, complete with Art Deco architecture and even a Spanish cinema.

Day 3 –  Blue City of Chefchaouen

One of the top highlights of any trip to Morocco, Chefchaouen is a sight to behold. Everything in the medina is a shade of blue and white and a photographers dream! Because this delightful town is located high up in the Rif mountains, it’s a cool escape from the mid summer heat. The people are so much more relaxed here than in other Moroccan cities and it makes a wonderful place to hang out for a day (or two).

Day 4 – Ancient roman ruins of Volubilis and Moulay Idriss

Volubilis was one of the Roman Empire’s most remote outposts and this UNESCO World Heritage site is an absolute must visit for any history buff. There’s well preserved mosaics on display and sweeping views over the plains below. Close by is the tiny town of Moulay Idriss. Here there is a mosque with what we’re told is the only circular minaret in Morocco. You can visit the mausoleum of Moulay Idriss, the great grandson of the Prophet Mohammed. Unless you’re Muslim you’ll be unable to enter so we recommend you climb up the alleys for a terrific panoramic view of the town.

You'll be surprised how much you can see and do in just one week in Morocco. 3 perfect itineraries in Morocco's mountains, desert and coast. Complete with places to stay, route plans, maps and much more. #Morocco #RoadTrip #Travel Find out more by clicking on the following link: http://mowgli-adventures.com/one-week-in-morocco-itineraries

Day 5 – The hassle free city of Meknès

The Imperial city of Meknès is only a short drive from Volubilis. It’s much smaller than Fez which is a good thing for those like us who struggle with too much hassle. Because the city isn’t so dependant on tourism, you’re free to wander around the souqs and medina without constant attention from shopkeepers. Although a longer drive from Chefchaouen than Fez would be, the route cross country is spectacular and well worth the extra hour or so.

Day 6 –  Head across to Rabat, Morocco’s capital city

Rabat is much smaller than you might expect, for a capital city and so compact, most of it can be explored on foot. The highlights of a day in Rabat are the ruins of Tour Hassan and unspoilt sandy beaches at nearby Salé. We were surprised by how little hustling there is in the city, so unlike Fez and Marrakech.

Day 7 – Bijou resort town of Asilah

Asilah is wonderful town, not far from Tangier and sitting on the Atlantic coast. With its gorgeous whitewashed walls you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re on a Greek island. Another hassle free town, Asilah is an easy introduction to Morocco and the seafood and Spanish tapas are some of the best you’ll find in Morocco.

Detailed Route Map

You'll be surprised how much you can see and do in just one week in Morocco. 3 perfect itineraries in Morocco's mountains, desert and coast. Complete with places to stay, route plans, maps and much more. #Morocco #RoadTrip #Travel Find out more by clicking on the following link: http://mowgli-adventures.com/one-week-in-morocco-itineraries


Total distance: 462 miles / 740 km  Driving time:  11 hours

Where to stay

Camping

We used a mix of campsites and wild camping locations on this route. Here’s a list of where we stayed:

Tetouan – to wild camp here you’d probably need to head south into the Rif mountains. Instead, we headed out to the coast a few miles away from Tetouan and stayed at a very basic campsite in Martil called Camping Al Boustane. GPS: 35° 37′ 40.50″N 5° 16′ 32.99″W.

Chefchaouen – at the top of the hill overlooking the city, you’ll find Camping Azilan. Simple amenities but a perfect location for the old town.

Volubilis & Meknès – Camping Zerhoune Belle Vue is about half way between Volubilis and Meknès so great location for a couple of nights. It offers basic but functional facilities. GPS: 34° 01′ 08.52″N 5° 33′ 42.41″W.

Rabat – there’s not many places to wild camp in Rabat so we headed for the overnight parking location near Salé. A chap will come around during the evening to collect a small fee – we paid 30 Dirhams for overnight parking. GPS: 34° 01′ 43.67″N 6° 50′ 44.17″W.

Asilah – a free overnight parking location on the walls of the harbour GPS: 35° 28′ 02.25″N 6° 02′ 09.19″W.

Hotels and Riads

All of the towns on this Morocco itinerary have plenty and hotels, riads or auberges available. In the height of the season, you should really book in advance, especially for Asilah and Chefchaouen. Check availability with Booking.com.

#3 The Moroccan Sahara Desert

I’ve heard of so many people taking a 2 night excursion from Marrakech to the Sahara Desert. I can’t help but feel sorry for them. Sure they’ll see the dunes, have a ride on a camel and eat tagine in a tented camp but then they’re whisked off again, back to the chaos of the city. The Sahara Desert is our favourite place in all Morocco and we encourage you to spend as much time there as you can. If we only had one week in Morocco, this is where we’d spend it! This is our favourite of all these itineraries because it gives plenty of time to see all the sights along the way and still spend 3 nights in the sand dunes. Pure bliss!

Day 1 – Marrakech

Spend a full day in exploring Morocco’s red city, Marrakech. It’s one of the most evocative cities in the world and a complete assault on your senses. With cultural and architectural wonders at every turn, a day exploring Marrakech is an experience you won’t forget in a hurry. If you’re on the look out for bargain souvenirs and can’t resist haggling, the souq is a great place to spend a few hours. But there’s more attractions in Marrakech to discover before dusk falls. As the heat of the day retreats, Jemaa El Fna comes alive and is a must for those wanting to sample authentic Moroccan cuisine.

Day 2 – Ouarzazate

This is a route offering views straight out of Lawrence of Arabia, literally. From the flat plains of Marrakech, you’ll steadily climb the High Atlas Mountains to an altitude above 2000 metres and drive the highest mountain pass in Morocco, the Tizi n’Tichka. It’s a challenging road because it has so many hairpin bends and switchbacks but the road’s condition is good and the views incredible. Before reaching the large town of Ouarzazate, don’t miss the turning on your left for Ait Benhaddou. It’s home to  the film set of Lawrence of Arabia and series 3 of The Game of Thrones and a wonderful example of a kasbah.

Day 3 –  Dades Gorge

From Ouarzazate, east bound, you’re effectively in the rocky region of the Sahara Desert. The road of the 1000 kasbahs with it’s stunning views and deep gorges is the only thing between you and highest dunes in Morocco. It’s hard not to stop often for photographs but make sure not to miss a visit to Todra Gorge and Dades Valley. Try to visit Todra Gorge early in the morning when the colours from the rising sun light up the gorge beautifully.

Day 4 – 6 Erg Chebbi and the Sahara Desert

You'll be surprised how much you can see and do in just one week in Morocco. 3 perfect itineraries in Morocco's mountains, desert and coast. Complete with places to stay, route plans, maps and much more. #Morocco #RoadTrip #Travel Find out more by clicking on the following link: http://mowgli-adventures.com/one-week-in-morocco-itineraries

Erg Chebbi is the highest dune in Morocco and at up to 200 metres, it covers an area of about 30 km by 10 km. There’s a tarmac road to the west side of Erg Chebbi, leading to the desert town of Merzouga. The east side is less accessible without a 4×4 but still has a few small hotels. Even though there are few tourists here, there are plenty of fossil sellers and faux guides on their mopeds. We just love the Sahara Desert. You don’t even need a specialised vehicle to reach the desert in Morocco, making it more accessible than anywhere else. Check out these posts about the Sahara Desert of Morocco for more information.

Day 7 – Back to Marrakech

Follow the route you took to get to Merzouga back to Marrakech. Although this is a long drive, you’ll still have time to explore more of the road of a 1000 kasbahs if you didn’t soak in enough of this wonderful landscape on the way to the Sahara Desert.

Detailed Route Map

You'll be surprised how much you can see and do in just one week in Morocco. 3 perfect itineraries in Morocco's mountains, desert and coast. Complete with places to stay, route plans, maps and much more. #Morocco #RoadTrip #Travel Find out more by clicking on the following link: http://mowgli-adventures.com/one-week-in-morocco-itineraries


Total distance: 724 miles / 1158 km  Driving time:  18 hours

Where to stay

Camping

We used a mix of campsites and wild camping locations on this route. Here’s a list of where we stayed:

Marrakech – Le Relais de Marrakech – a fine campsite a few miles outside of the centre of Marrakech with terrific facilities.

OuarzazateCamping Bivouac La Palmeraie isn’t too far from town. The food is great here! If you’re looking for a remote wild camping location, head further east towards Skoura and try taking one of the side roads down towards a lake. You’ll find some very special spots down there.

Dades Gorge – Berber de la Montagne is a hotel, campsite and restaurant all rolled into one. With a perfect location right on the doorstep of the gorge.

Merzouga – well the desert is your home here. If you’re happy wild camping, find a spot you love among the dunes and spend 3 perfect nights here. If you’re not able to drive in the sand or willing to wild camp, the dearest town of Merzouga has plenty of campsites and auberges to chose from. Le Petit Prince has a good facilities including a much needed washing machine if you happen to spend more than few days in the desert.

Hotels and Riads

All of the towns on this Morocco itinerary have plenty of auberges available. Check availability with Booking.com.

Practical matters when planning a trip to Morocco

Travel costs in Morocco are low so it’s an ideal destination if you’re on a budget. And driving a hire car or your own vehicle is by far the easiest way to get around. For our survival guide for Morocco travel check out this post. It’ll give you loads of information to help you plan your trip to morocco and know what to expect.

Guide book & road maps

If you’re preparing to for one week in Morocco, it’ll be useful if you’re carrying a paper road map. It won’t take up much room in your luggage and we find them useful for planning our routes. It’s much easier to get an idea of distance and what you’ll be passing on the way than your GPS. You can buy your Morocco road maps here, today.

We also suggest bringing a guide book with you. We’ve always used a Lonely Planet one but the Bradt guides are good too. We should update ours because it’s about 10 years old now, dog eared and just a tad out of date! Take a look here and check out what guide books are on offer.

Booking accommodation

When it comes to booking accommodation, we just wing it. But then it’s a little easier when you’re travelling in your own vehicle and able to camp just about anywhere. If you’re week in Morocco is a fly-drive,we advise you book your accommodation for your arrival date and the day before departure, at least. It’ll take the stress out of the start and end of your holiday.

You can book accommodation pretty easily en route after this. In fact, we suggest you don’t book in advance to avoid having a fixed itinerary. Half the fun of road trips is having the flexibility to do as you you like, when you like. You lose some freedom with a pre-booked reservation.

To book your arrival and departure night accommodation, click here.

Car hire

While we drive our own vehicle, we appreciate that many people will want to fly into Morocco and hire a car. We’ve never hired a car in Morocco. But we know enough to say you should really book with a reputable firm because you need assurance the car is well maintained and your insurance is valid. Get your quote from a reputable car hire firm in the form displayed.

Resource links

These posts will help you prepare for a week in Morocco. They cover everything from entering Morocco in your own vehicle, driving tips and more.
Taking your own car into Morocco – entry requirements and the process at land borders.

All you need to know about Morocco roads and driving around the country – essential driving tips on what to expect when driving in Morocco’s cities and motorways.

Essential travel documents for overlanding – whether you’re in for own vehicle or a hire car, make sure you bring these documents with you.

Closed currency guide – Morocco has a closed currency. Make sure you know how to avoid it being a problem on your road trip in Morocco.

Packing essentials for your road trip – if this is your first road trip, check out this list to make your you’ve packed all the essentials.

And you’ll do well to have a few Arabic phrases too. It’s not as difficult as you might think and just a few words will open up any number of amazing experiences with the locals.

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You'll be surprised how much you can see and do in just one week in Morocco. 3 perfect itineraries in Morocco's mountains, desert and coast. Complete with places to stay, route plans, maps and much more. #Morocco #RoadTrip #Travel Find out more by clicking on the following link: http://mowgli-adventures.com/one-week-in-morocco-itineraries

You'll be surprised how much you can see and do in just one week in Morocco. 3 perfect itineraries in Morocco's mountains, desert and coast. Complete with places to stay, route plans, maps and much more. #Morocco #RoadTrip #Travel Find out more by clicking on the following link: http://mowgli-adventures.com/one-week-in-morocco-itineraries You'll be surprised how much you can see and do in just one week in Morocco. 3 perfect itineraries in Morocco's mountains, desert and coast. Complete with places to stay, route plans, maps and much more. #Morocco #RoadTrip #Travel Find out more by clicking on the following link: http://mowgli-adventures.com/one-week-in-morocco-itineraries You'll be surprised how much you can see and do in just one week in Morocco. 3 perfect itineraries in Morocco's mountains, desert and coast. Complete with places to stay, route plans, maps and much more. #Morocco #RoadTrip #Travel Find out more by clicking on the following link: http://mowgli-adventures.com/one-week-in-morocco-itineraries


Are you planning a road trip in Morocco? Read all our articles on Morocco, including more detailed road trip itineraries, things to do and see in Morocco and road trip travel advice!

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