Morocco: 10-day itinerary
Morocco is a popular destination among travelers and for good reason! It is close to Europe, which makes flights to and from there super cheap; it is safe and easy to travel around; it’s geography offers a wide variety of different activities for tourists so there is something for everyone!
We flew into Marrakesh and spent almost two months exploring this diverse country. During our time in the country we chose to hitchhike, which is by far the best way to get around! It will save you hundreds of dollars (even in 10 days!) However, because of the amount of destinations we have in this guide, you might want to consider setting up your own transportation. Renting a car is relatively cheap (especially if you have a few friends to split the cost with!) or you can opt for public transport, which is pretty reliable in Morocco.
We weren’t able to make it up north to Casablanca, Fez, or Rabat so, keeping that in mind, here is our Morocco: 10-day itinerary!
Fly Into Marrakesh
Marrakesh is an easy airport to get in and out of. The entry process is quick and, since most passports do not require a Morocco visa, you simply line up and wait to get stamped in. Outside the airport is where the fun begins! There is one man who stands with a walkie-talkie and a cell phone, constantly corralling taxis and passengers with a no-nonsense attitude. Be patient, but assertive, and you will eventually find yourself in a taxi heading into town. We paid around $15 (150 MAD) to get from the airport, however, we were told it was because we arrived after midnight so the price had gone up.
We highly recommend staying in the Kasbah. It is less touristy than the more populated Medina, which also makes it quieter and cheaper! The streets are cobblestone and the walls of the neighborhoods are lined with vines and flowers, adding to the overall aesthetic. We used Couchsurfing.com all throughout Morocco and it was 100% the way to go! However, if you’re more keen on having your own space, there are numerous auberges or Airbnbs tucked in the winding alleyways for a reasonable price.
Even if you do not choose to stay in the Kasbah, we highly recommend spending at least part of the day wandering around here. You will meet friendly locals sipping tea from street-side cafes and can dine on delicious plates of spiced meat, tajines, or olives. Keep in mind, this is a Muslim neighborhood so there are no bars in the area! For that, you’ll need to head to the Medina.
The Medina is a bit overwhelming, especially at nighttime when vendors line the streets and harangue you into buying their goods. Even during the day, you will encounter dozens of shops all selling roughly the same assortment of potpourri, spices, rugs, and knickknacks. It can be exhausting and the surrounding restaurants and cafes are expensive compared to the nearby Kasbah. However, people will tell you that you haven’t been to Marrakesh unless you check it out, so give it a go while you’re there.
Day Two and Three:
Essaouira and L’Ane Vert
Sitting less than 200 km from Marrakesh is the small beach town of Essaouira. It is informally known as Hendrix-ville because it was frequented by famed guitarist, Jimi Hendrix, during the 70’s. The city still maintains the hippie vibe it cultivated during this time and is a great place to come and relax for the day. You can visit the old fortress, which was built in the 16th century and has also been featured in popular cinema, such as Game of Thrones!
Be sure to stop into any one of the street vendors cooking up char-grilled sardines! This dish is an Essaouira staple and is also one of the cheapest meals you’ll find in the city. Usually the portion is plenty for two as it also comes with spiced lentils, a Moroccan pico made with fresh tomatoes, onions and lime, fresh bread, and sometimes fried fish balls in a savory sauce. Yum!
Essaouira has plenty of hotels, hostels, ans a few Couchsurfing hosts, but the city can easily be explored in one day. The beach is famous for being a windsurfing destination, which is great if you’re a windsurfer, however, if you are just looking for a beach on which to relax and catch up on a good book, it’s not the best because of the strong, relentless winds. Therefore, we highly recommend just spending a day in Essaouira and heading 63 km south to the small village of Tafedna to stay at the luxuriously laid-back L’Ane Vert ecolodge.
L’Ane Vert is a beach-front ecolodge situated near an old fishing village, tucked at the base of the surrounding rocky hillsides. It is a stunning property that offers guests access to luxurious amenities at a budget-friendly price.
The owners are committed to eco-friendly principles and the property reflects these values. The menu changes daily but always consists of top-notch fare, gathered fresh from the local markets daily. It is all about seasonal, local ingredients and we honestly ate some of the best meals we had in Morocco here. Breakfast is around 35 MAD (roughly $3.50) and dinner ranges from 50-80 MAD ($5-8) and all meals are served on the upstairs patio which offers an incredible view of the ocean during the day and the stars at night. Yoga classes are offered daily and you can walk down the beach and take advantage of surfboard rentals and lessons for a super affordable price. The bar serves up fresh juices, smoothies, teas, and coffees all day but keep in mind, as of November 2019, the place was still BYOB so be sure to stock up on your booze before you leave Essaouira.
We recommend spending a few days at L’Ane Vert to soak up the good vibes and the amazing food before heading south to Tagazout and Agadir.
About 120 km south of Tafedna is another small beach town called Taghazout. Smaller and less developed than Essaouira, this was one of our favorite spots in Morocco. You can check out a more detailed version of our experience here.
The town feels like what Essaouira must have been like in the 70’s before it gained international notoriety. Taghazout is a simple surf and skate town. Situated right on the ocean, it is shielded from the wind better than Essaouira, which makes it a much better beach for people who just want to soak up the sun. There are surf rental shops up and down the beach so newbies to the sport or seasoned veterans who didn’t feel like traveling with their own gear will all be able to take advantage of the lengthy coastline and perfect waves.
The beach itself is small and tucked between two sections of rocks. There are a myriad of restaurants serving up authentic Moroccan and Western cuisine, although to get local prices you will have to ditch the ocean-front views.
Along the main strip are a wide array of local artists and vendors who maintain a more easy-going vibe than the pushy hawks of Marrakesh. Here you can buy anything from artwork to clothing, pottery to hand-woven dream catchers all while having a laid-back conversation with the artist.
If you’re into skateboarding or just want to kick it with some locals, head up the top of the hill to the Taghazout skate park. This place has an awesome vibe and an even cooler backstory, which you can read all about here.
Spend the night in any of the numerous hostels along the beach, get up early for a morning beach walk or sleep in to the sound of waves. Grab a delicious Moroccan breakfast and don’t feel rushed to get out of town because the next stop, Agadir, is a short ride away!
Less than 30 km south of Taghazout is Agadir, the commercial capital of the south. Agadir is a lively city and feels less stuffy and touristic than Marrakesh, although it also doesn’t have the rich history of it either. The city is huge and has a long beach you can stroll along for hours. You can also take a taxi up the hill to the old Kasbah, which overlooks the city.
Agadir has a great nightlife scene and is very progressive compared to some other parts of Morocco. Booze is easy to find and there are a ton of different restaurants that offer a worldwide selection of food (if you’re willing to pay Western prices for it). Check out the giant souk (market) and try the different street food sold outside.
Agadir is a bit pricey when it comes to accommodation but there are plenty of couchsurfing hosts, many of whom actually have spare bedrooms for you to crash in for the night.
Depsite its size, Agadir can easily be done in a day. Plus, there are so many other great natural destinations in Morocco and doing Morocco in a 10-day itinerary makes for a packed schedule. Wake up early the next morning and hit the road to Ouarzazate. The journey is around 5 hours and there’s a good bit to pack into the day!
Nicknamed “the Hollywood of Africa”, many films have used the desert landscape at the foothills of the Atlas mountains and the classically Arab styled architecture as the sites for their shoots. It is a scenically picturesque place and is the gateway to the desert.
Take a stunning drive to the Dadés Gorge weaving on the switchback roads overlooking the river below (beware, the route closes in the wintertime due to snow!)
Tour some of the old Hollywood sets but get a good night’s rest because the next day it is off to the desert!
Mhamid and Erg Chigaga
The road to Mhamid is gorgeous as you travel through old villages scattered with palm trees. You wind through valleys and mountains for about 4 hours before reaching the last city before the desert. This is the real gateway to the Sahara. Many people opt to visit the easier destination of Merzouga for their desert tour, however, if you want a truly authentic experience, which contributes to the livelihood of a struggling portion of the population, take the extra time and spend the extra money to go to Mhamid. We give a detailed description of our time here.
There are many families who offer tours out the the desert. We found a lovely host on Couchsurfing and they organized a perfect tour for us, although there are heaps of options if you do a quick Google search for Erg Chigaga. At 60 euro a person it is not cheap but it is worth it. Staying at a luxurious camp in the middle of the desert, enjoying a massive dinner and breakfast provided, optional camel rides at either sunset or sunrise, and the most comfortable bed we slept in during our time in Morocco.
The Atlas Mountains
Your transportation from the desert will pick you up early in the morning to bring you back to Mhamid. From there, head back through Ouarzazate and up to the Atlas Mountains, the highest mountain range in North Africa.
The views are stunning and you can organize a trip to take you to the top of Toubkal, the highest peak. Careful of the season you are traveling in. During the winter months, the climb requires proper gear and experience but during the other times of the year it can be done by amateurs.
After an unfortunate and uncharacteristic incident involving the gruesome murder of two tourists, the Moroccan government has cracked down on unaccompanied treks up in the Atlas. The tour guides range in their prices but it is possible to get a guide for 500 MAD ($50) for a day trip.
Spend the next day hiking around the mountains or just enjoying the fresh air and incredible landscape!
Marrakesh and home
Try and book a later flight to give yourself extra time in the mountains. It is a two-hour drive from the mountains back to Marrakesh so with a later flight, it is possible to leave that same day. Don’t push it too much, however, as traffic in Marrakesh can be crazy!
Morocco is huge when you consider how much there is to do and see. Having a 10-day itinerary is doable but will be exhausting. We narrowed our suggestions down to the lower half of the country because that’s where we spent our time but that’s not to say that the north doesn’t also have sights worthy of checking out. However, with 10-days, you’re not going to see everything and from our experience in talking with people who have been to both, the south offers a more authentic Moroccan experience that pulls your farther away from the European vibe of the north. But there’s only one way to know for yourself and that’s to get out and do it!