popular tours - morocco
Marrakesh is a former imperial city in western Morocco and a major economic center, home to mosques, palaces and gardens
The medina is a densely packed, walled medieval city dating to the Berber Empire, with mazelike alleys where thriving souks (marketplaces) sell traditional textiles, pottery and jewelry. A symbol of the city and visible for mile is the Moorish minaret of 12th-century Koutoubia Mosque. Food vendors line Djemaa el-Fna, a broad square where storytellers and musicians perform. The Musée de Marrakech, in a former palace, displays Moroccan decorative objects, coins & contemporary art. Ben Youssef Madrasa is an Islamic landmark ornamented with zellige tilework and carved cedar. Also notable are Bahia Palace with its large former harem – the monumental ruins of 16th-century El Badi Palace and the Saadian Tombs royal mausoleum. Outside the old city is the modern district of Ville Nouvelle and notable gardens such as the Agdal, Majorelle and Menara.
Casablanca is a port city and commercial hub in western Morocco, fronting the Atlantic Ocean.
The city’s French colonial legacy is seen in its downtown Mauresque architecture, a blend of Moorish style and European art deco. Standing partly over the water, the enormous Hassan II Mosque, completed in 1993, has a 210m minaret topped with lasers directed toward Mecca. Elsewhere, the seaside Ain Diab district is favored for leisure and nightlife activities. Its Corniche area is a beachfront promenade with cafes, bars, hotels and restaurants. Located in the residential Oasis quarter, the Moroccan Jewish Museum explores the history of the country’s Jewish community. Downtown is the small Old Medina lined with shops. Running south of the city toward Oualidia and Essaouira, the beach-lined coast is a major summer holiday destination. Casablanca is also famous for the 1942 Humphrey Bogart film of the same name, with re-created Rick’s Cafe a popular site
Fes a 1,200 years old city is a northeastern Moroccan city often referred to as the most historically important cities in Morocco or the country’s cultural capital
It’s primarily known for its Fes El Bali walled medina, with medieval Marinid architecture, vibrant souks and old-world atmosphere. The medina is home to religious schools such as the 14th-century Bou Inania and Al Attarine, both decorated with elaborate cedar carvings and ornate tile work. Donkeys and pedestrians are the main traffic in the car-free medina, which is filled with craft workshops, spice markets and bathhouses. It’s also the site of the huge 9th-century al-Karaouine Islamic mosque and university as well as the 11th-century Chouara leather tannery, where animal hides are processed and dyed by hand in a pungent, open-air complex of stone pits. The Nejjarine Museum of Wooden Arts and Crafts is located nearby in a restored inn with a panoramic rooftop cafe. To the south is the 15th-century Jewish quarter and a large Jewish cemetery.
Chefchaouen or Chaouen, is a city in the Rif Mountains of northwest Morocco.
It’s known for the striking, blue-washed buildings of its old town. Leather and weaving workshops line its steep cobbled lanes. In the shady main square of Place Outa el Hammam is the red-walled Kasbah, a 15th-century fortress and Chefchouen Ethnographic Museum. The octagonal minaret of the Great Mosque rises nearby. The small waterfall of Ras El Ma lies on the old town’s northeast edge. Spring water flows down from here to drinking fountains and public laundry huts. A rocky path leads up to the abandoned Spanish Mosque on a hilltop outside of town, which has views over the city and Rif Mountains. Northeast of the city, a rough trail leads to the Cascade d’Akchour (Akchour Waterfall) with its natural rock bridge, the Pont de Dieu (God’s Bridge). Chefchaouen is a base for hiking in the Talassemtane National Park to the east.
Rabat, Morocco’s capital, rests along the shores of the Bouregreg River and the Atlantic Ocean
It’s known for landmarks that speak to its Islamic and French-colonial heritage, including the Kasbah of the Udayas. This Berber-era royal fort is surrounded by formal French-designed gardens and overlooks the ocean. The city’s iconic Hassan Tower, a 12th-century minaret, soars above the ruins of a mosque.
Essaouira is a port city and resort on Morocco’s Atlantic coast. Its medina (old town) is protected by 18th-century seafront ramparts called the Skala de la Kasbah, which were designed by European engineers
The medina which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2001 is a popular tourist destination and is famous for its numerous riads (a type of bed-and-breakfast). Old brass cannons line the walls and there are ocean views. Strong “Alizée” trade winds make the city’s crescent beach popular for surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing.
Visit Erg Chebbi from Marrakech
Rising to heights of up to 150 metres, the wind-blown sand dunes of Erg Chebbi are the classic image you would expect of the Sahara desert – an endless sea of rose gold mounds snaking their way across an area that spans 50km from north to south, changing hue as the sun rises and falls from warm pinks to brilliant orange. The dunes rise almost immediately from the edge of Merzouga village, one of the most accessible desert towns in the region reached by paved roads with a choice of traditional hotel accommodation offering spectacular views of the dunes. It’s for this reason that the dunes of Erg Chebbi are the most visited part of the Moroccan Sahara and get busy with people during peak tourist seasons. The dunes around Merzouga peak with the Grand Dune de Merzouga, distinguishable from the others by dense thicket of tamarisk trees at its base.
The dunes of Erg Chebbi can be comfortably reached from Marrakech in a 4 day return journey with one night spent out in the desert and interesting stops made along the way. Here’s a popular route we recommend:
Day 1 – Drive from Marrakech to Ouarzazate, a small trader town with its own Kasbah (5hr drive). Overnight Ouarzazate.
Day 2 – Drive from Ouarzazate to Merzouga with a stop made en route at Dades and Todra Gorge (5-6hr drive). Overnight desert camp.
Day 3 – Return the same way with a stop at Ait Benhaddou to return via the Berber village of Nkob that’s surrounded by attractive palm groves with a night spent in Agdz, a classic caravanserai oasis (5-6hr drive). Overnight Agdz.
Day 4 – Return to Marrakech via High Atlas (4-5hr drive).
Visit Erg Chegaga from Marrakech
Located further south and some 60km from the nearest paved road, the sand dunes of Erg Chegaga are the largest and wildest in Morocco. Rocky terrain with tamarisk oases flow into an endless sea of dunes with the tallest reaching dramatic heights of up to 300m. Erg Chegaga is a more rustic desert experience with a good 2 day one-way camel trek required from the nearest village of M’hamid to the tallest dunes. If you’re short on time it’s possible to visit smaller dunes at Erg Zaher in just one day by camel or you can travel to Erg Chegaga by 4×4 in just a few hours though this is a much more costly means of transport. Thanks largely to its relative isolation, Erg Chegaga remains untouched with far fewer visitors than Erg Chebbi meaning you can get that perfect photo of the dunes minus the trails of footprints. Here the only accommodation options are desert camps set out in the wilderness of the Sahara.
It is possible to reach the dunes of Erg Chegaga in a minimum of 4 days return journey from Marrakech though due to its location more time will be spent travelling than if you were to visit Erg Chebbi and 5 days would allow a more enjoyable pace. Here’s a short itinerary we would suggest:
Day 1 – Depart Marrakech and drive to either Ouarzazate or Agdz (5-6hr drive). Overnight Ouarzazate or Agdz.
Day 2 – Drive from Ouarzazate/Agdz to M’hamid (4-6hr drive). 1hr camel trek to desert camp situated amongst the smaller dunes. Take a 4×4 return journey to the larger dunes. Overnight desert camp.
Day 3 – Depart the Sahara and return via the Draa Valley to Ouarzazate or Ait Benhaddou (5-6hr drive). Overnight Ouarzazate or Ait Benhaddou.
Day 4 – Return to Marrakech via the High Atlas mountains (4-5hr drive).
Stretching 2,400km diagonally through Morocco all the way to Tunisia, the High Atlas is North Africa’s highest mountain range and includes the famed Rock of Gibraltar
Forming a natural border between the temperate weather conditions of the North and the searing heat of the Sahara, the High Atlas offers vistas of some of the most striking landscapes in all of Morocco. Populated by the Berber people who live in traditional mud-thatched and stone villages and make their living through farming and crafts, the region is a fascinating insight into the Morocco that existed in ages gone by. As North Africa’s premier trekking region you’ll find something to suit all abilities from easy one-day hikes to serious 3-4 day routes that take you closer to the snow-capped peaks. In the summer months other activities available in the region include mountain biking, rock climbing and horse riding, and when the snow starts to fall between May and September, ski mountaineering becomes possible.
Atlas Mountains, Three Valleys & Waterfalls: Guided Day Trip from Marrakech
This day-long excursion from Marrakech provides you with the opportunity to encounter Berber village life firsthand as you make your way to the home of a Berber family in the High Atlas mountains, and an opportunity to ride a camel which is included. This is a highlight of any trip to Marrakech! On this day trip from Marrakech to the Atlas Mountains and Valleys, Berber Villages, Camel ride & Waterfalls you will see the most amazing places: Atlas Mountains, Imlil Valley, Asni Valley, Amizmiz Valley, walk and visit around 9 Berber Villages, have tea with a berber family and learn about their life. Walk up to the waterfalls and snap away wonderful views. This tour takes a duration of 2 hours.