Opulent mosques and palaces, colorful geometric tiles, and the smell of fleur d’orange are just some of the things that come to mind when describing the magical North African country of Morocco. Where scenes of a Disney-like Arabia come to life at every turn, Morocco is one of the few destinations where the juxtaposition of a developing nation is met with over-the-top luxury. Women fully clothed in traditional kaftans pass through the dizzying mazes of the medina, as working donkeys trek through the kasbahs pulling crates of oranges and fresh-baked bread. With mountains and deserts, oceans and lakes, Morocco has some of the most varied geographical landscapes and so much history and culture to offer. This flexible 10 day Morocco itinerary will show you all the highlights of the country as well as provide you with everything you need to know about visiting Morocco for the first time.
Table of Contents - Jump to: Marrakech Sahara Desert Fes Chefchaouen Morocco Travel Tips Moroccan Foods to Try
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The Ultimate 10 Day Morocco Itinerary
3 or 4 Nights Marrakech
Begin your 10 days in Morocco in the heart of this enchanting country, with its famous city of Marrakech. Here you will experience all that is traditionally Moroccan, and be immersed in the country’s unique cultural heritage. With every point of interest, you will find that each stop is more and more Instagrammable than the last, so be sure to have your camera ready if you wish to create an album full of memories to last a lifetime. Marrakech is the epitome of the Moroccan lifestyle, as all sites, sounds, and smells will give you a healthy dose of culture shock to begin your trip with.
Top Things to do in Marrakech:
Explore the Médina – The old town within the city walls. Here you will find souks (outdoor markets / bazaars), which is the perfect place to do all of your shopping. In the medina you will find leather goods, lanterns, rugs, spices, oils, kaftans, and a plethora of other souvenirs from your tour of Morocco. While you’re sure to find very similar merchandise throughout the country, the prices are often the best in Marrakech, so here is where you’ll want to do the majority of your shopping. Even if you don’t plan to make purchases, you will surely want to walk through and browse the medina shops.
Jemmaa el Fna – Wander Marrakech’s main square which is found within the Medina. Here you’ll find the quintessential snake charmers, men panhandling with monkeys, and many other (questionably ethical) tourist traps, so beware. (See tips at the bottom of this article.) Don’t let this deter you, Jemmaa el Fna is where you will experience the true authenticity of Marrakesh as one of the city’s main points of interest. Don’t forget to drink fresh-squeezed orange juice from one of the fruit vendors (tip: choose the stall that has the most locals purchasing from it) as morocco is known for their delicious oranges. For a real look into local life, make sure to stop at the square in the evening to see the square come alive in all its chaotic glory.
YSL Museum and Garden (Musée Yves Saint Laurent and Jardine Majorelle) – This enchanting museum displays an exquisite collection of haute couture clothing and accessories that showcases 40 years of work from iconic, world-renowned, French fashion designer, Yves St Laurent. Housed inside an aesthetically intriguing building that mimics the finely crafted beauty of woven fabric, this museum also includes a 150-seat auditorium, research library, bookstore, and a terrace cafe that offers visitors an assortment of light refreshments.
Jardine Majorelle, the nearby YSL garden is a small botanical oasis and villa that houses that is a part of the YSL Museum, Berber Museum, and Islamic Art Museum. The gardens are a beautiful tribute to traditional Moroccan architecture with cactus gardens and other flora indigenous to the area.
Le Jardin Secret – Once owned by local chief U-Bihi, the peaceful and palatial grounds of this historic place have been transformed into a modern-day museum that features a traditional medina garden, a pavilion that details the unique history of this intriguing riad, a quaint cafe, and a tower that offers visitors stunning views of the surrounding area.
Medersa Ben Youssef – Founded in the 14th century, this Quranic learning center was once the largest in all of Northern Africa. And while the almost 900 students who used to study here have long since left, the magnificent calm, beauty of this architectural masterpiece still remains.
Once inside, visitors will be delighted to find an astounding assortment of Atlas cedar cupolas and mashrabiyya (wooden-lattice screen) balconies, that surround the building’s exquisite courtyard area, which is an intriguing amalgamation of Hispano-Moresque decorative styles that feature geometric mosaic tilework, stucco archways, cedar windows, and a marble mihrab (a niche in a mosque that indicates the direction of Mecca).
Baha’i Palace – Started in the 1860s by Grand Vizier Si Moussa, only a portion of this mesmerizing complex, which includes eight hectares of land and 150 rooms in total, is now open to the public.
However, this extravagant building still offers guests a dazzling assortment of interior spaces to explore that feature woven-silk panels, stained glass windows, and rose-bouquet painted ceilings. To truly savor the wealth of visual opulence on display here, visitors should stop by the tranquil grand courtyard, which is trimmed in vibrant blue and yellow hues that are perfectly complemented by a floor inlaid white Carrara marble, the salons of both the petit and grand riad, which display awe-inspiring marquetry and zouak (painted wood) ceilings, and the Room of Honour, which has a mesmerizing, cedar ceiling.
Maison De La Photographie – With more than 4,500 photos, 2,000 glass negatives, and 80 documents that date between 1870 and 1950, this vintage Moroccan photography museum is the perfect place to relax and while away an afternoon. Opened by Patrick Menac’h and Marrakshi Hamid Mergani, the museum’s vast collection of photographs is spread throughout three floors, organized by both region and theme, and includes a rare, full-color documentary that was shot in Morocco in 1957..
Before leaving, don’t forget to head up to the building’s rooftop terrace, where you can enjoy a nice cup of Moroccan mint tea.
Max & Jan – Part concept store, part rooftop terrace cafe, Max & Jan is a hip reprieve in Marrakech’s medina. The boutique store sells collections of clothing, accessories, home decor and cosmetics all made by local Moroccan designers. You’ll find that Max & Jan is a welcomed contemporary gem amidst the more traditional surroundings. After browsing the store, head to the charming rooftop terrace for free wifi and a lovely place to unwind with snacks and fresh juice.
Hammams: A hammam is a traditional Moroccan bathhouse and ritual cleansing space ranging from public and do-it-yourself to ultra-luxurious spa experience. Many hotels in Morocco will have hammams as part of their spas and typically include a sauna and exfoliating scrub service. Additional add-ons such as massages or facials can also be accompanied by your hammam experience. The best and most luxurious hammam is offered at the spa at the Royal Mansour hotel. For something a little less extravagant but still great, consider visiting Les Bains De Marrakech or Heritage Spa, both found in the medina.
Day or overnight trip to Essaouria – One of the best excursions in Morocco involves this charming, coastal beach town, which is just 3 hours away from Marrakech. Essaouria is home to a fantastic, Portuguese harbor that features exquisite examples of both Moorish and Portuguese styles of art. Famous for its high-quality, hand-crafted, wood products, Essaouria is also home to a silver souk (commercial quarter), a wealth of different art galleries, and a marvelous assortment of medieval ramparts that you can wander along if you want to take a step back in time.
Where to Eat in Marrakech:
Nomad Restaurant – Conveniently located at the corner of Spice Square in Marrakech’s magical medina, Nomad Restaurant serves a fantastic assortment of international and traditional, Moroccan dishes with a unique, modern twist. Local, seasonal produce is used to create a variety of dynamic menu items (very veggie-friendly) that include a shaved cauliflower and fennel salad, vegetarian Moroccan Pastilla, and a variety of traditional Moroccan mains. The rooftop terrace (where you should opt to dine) offers the best views of the bustling medina below, and is a great place to rest after spending an afternoon getting lost in the souk. Don’t leave without trying the fresh juice made from avocado, orange, dates, and cinnamon.
Terrace De Espices – Also located in the heart of Marrakech’s famous medina, Terrace De Espices sits atop a spacious terrace that offers guests breathtaking views of the surrounding, Atlas Mountains. The rooftop here is hip, modern, and chic, and guests can dine at their leisure while enjoying a variety of modern, international and Moroccan inspired dishes (so many types of tajines!) Don’t forget to save room for dessert while you’re here since this restaurant is known for their iconic, chocolate desserts such as the chocolate pastilla and chocolate fondant.
Al Fassia – For more than twenty-five years, Al Fassia has been a purveyor of fine, Moroccan cuisine that has delighted travelers from around the world. With impeccable service and delectable entrees, guests can enjoy their meal in the charming garden area or in the eatery’s elegant dining room for fine dining in Marrakech.
Le Salama – This new-comer venue in Marrakech offers a gorgeous sky bar, restaurant, and concept store. At Le Salama you will find both Middle Eastern and Moroccan cuisine and a stylish rooftop bar. Their counterpart restaurant-nightclub, Le Palace offers a fabulous meal with live entertainment, while the brand new concept store, 36 Mouassine offers a collection of contemporary Moroccan fashion, decor, music, and more.
Hotels to Stay and Visit in Marrakech:
Marrakech is home to some of the most luxurious and best rated hotels in the world. Even if not staying at these hotels, it is worth the visit to dine at the restaurants, book a spa service, or simply walk around and admire the beauty.
La Mamounia – The hotel that is arguably responsible for putting Marrakesh on the map, La Mamounia is every blogger and it-girl’s dream. Located on a former royal estate that dates all the way back to the 12th century, this lavish, 5-star hotel is centrally located and just a six minute walk from Koutoubia Mosque and a fourteen minute walk from the ever lively, Jemaa el-Fnaa square. La Mamounia holds a number of awards including #1 hotel in the world and #1 spa, making it one of the most famous (and Instagrammed) hotels in the world.
Their ever-famous and ultra-luxurious spa is loved by influencers for their ornate indoor swimming pool. To visit the spa, a reservation for a service is absolutely necessary. Booking in advance is highly recommended as the reservations for outside guests are extremely limited and fill up quick.
Royal Mansour – Serving as the preferred accommodation of Morocco’s royal family, Royal Mansour is truly the perfect home away from home for your 10 days in Morocco. Located just 5 km from Marrakesh Menara Airport and a fourteen-minute walk from Jemaa el-Fnaa square in the Medina (very close to La Mamounia if you’d like to visit both) this luxurious, five-star hotel sits on gorgeous, meticulously landscaped grounds that house lavish, traditional, 3-story homes that include courtyard patios, living rooms, and rooftop terraces with plunge pools and fireplaces.
To visit Royal Mansour, a reservation at their spa or restaurant is mandatory, and you must book far in advance. The ultra-glamorous spa holds the best and most luxurious hammam in all of Morocco, and if there is one place to enjoy a hammam, it is here.
It is often argued whether Royal Mansour or La Mamounia is the best luxury hotel in Morocco, and after visiting both it is really hard to say which one I liked more. I highly recommend visiting each on your own to decide for yourself and experience some of the best hotels in the world.
Fairmont Royal Palm – This tranquil and contemporary five-star hotel sits within 231 hectares of orchards and offers guests exhilarating, panoramic views of the surrounding Atlas Mountains. Located within 13 km of Marrakesh Menara Airport, and the central square of Jemaa el-Fna, this regal resort offers guests free shuttle service to and from the airport, as well as the city center. Ultra-chic rooms here also feature free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, minibars, tea and coffeemakers, as well as adjoining terraces that offer guests enchanting views of the mountain and on-site golf course.
With an upgrade to a plush suite, guests can enjoy the added benefit of a living room, a plunge pool and a fully equipped kitchen, with villas also including additional outdoor pools, butler service, and in-room dining options. All guests who choose to stay here will also enjoy fantastic, on-site amenities like a golf course, a spa, an outdoor pool, a kids’ club, 3 restaurants (1 that serves Mediterranean fare), 2 bars, and a workout club that has both gym and yoga classes.
I had the pleasure of spending nearly a week at Fairmont Royal Palm while attending a wedding and can whole-heartedly recommend staying here if La Mamounia and Royal Mansour are out of budget for a 5-star hotel.
Best Riads in Marrakech:
For a more authentic Morocco visit, consider staying in a riad, a traditional Moroccan guest house, usually situated around a central courtyard. Riads can be found from simple and bare-boned to ultra-luxurious. They are often built inward surrounding a courtyard and provide a more homey atmosphere compared to a hotel. There are two riads in particular that are loved among bloggers and influencers and they are Riad Be and Le Riad Yasmine.
Riad Be – Spread throughout two luxurious townhouses, this charming, ornately decorated riad is just two kilometres away from Jardin Majorelle and the bustling, Jemaa el-Fnaa, central marketplace. Featuring intricate decor, colorful tilework, and an assortment of traditional textiles, the warm, individually styled rooms here include free Wi-Fi, plush living areas, free breakfast, airconditioning, heated floors, and plush sleeping lofts. Additional amenities here include hammams, an indoor pool, massages cooking classes, and a decadent dinner service, for an additional fee.
Riad Yasmine – Nestled along one of the quaint streets in Marrakech’s bustling medina is Riad Yasmine, a chic boutique hotel that is set inside a classic Moorish style riad that is resplendent with vibrant, ornately rich and beautiful decor.
Just a 9-minute walk from Musée de Marrakech, and 8 km from Aéroport de Marrakech, the seven upscale rooms and suites here ooze Moroccan charm and offer guests modern conveniences like free Wi-Fi, airconditioning, polished en suite bathrooms with traditional mosaic tiles, and enchanting fireplaces. A central courtyard also houses a tiled pool, a seating area, and even leads to a rooftop terrace with sun loungers that give guests spectacular, panoramic views of the city.
2, 3, or 4 nights Atlas Mountains or Casablanca and Glamping in the Sahara Desert
No trip to Morocco is complete without spending a night in the undulating burnt orange sand dunes of the Sahara Desert. This experience alone could very well be the highlight of your trip, and perhaps even of all your travels.
I spent many hours researching what the best luxury desert camp is in Morocco before decided on Desert Luxury Camp and I could not be more pleased with my choice. At Desert Luxury Camp, you will enjoy all the modern luxuries of a hotel room while camping out in a large luxurious canvas tent.
The tents are fully equipped with A/C, a comfortable king-size bed, and bathrooms that house showers with hot and cold water and running toilets. They even have a luxurious spa-like pool to cool off in from the desert heat! At the desert camp, you will enjoy your time in true Berber fashion by camel trekking, star-gazing across the Milky Way, and a variety of other desert-bound activities. It will be a night to remember for a lifetime to come.
To reach the most idyllic part of the desert which is where Desert Luxury Camp is located, you will need to travel to the sand dunes of Erg Chebbi. To get there from Morocco, you have a couple of options.
- (Most popular) Take a 3-night tour with the luxury camp which will have a private driver pick you up and make the journey to the desert camp through the High Atlas Mountains, while breaking up the trip to stop overnight for a night or two at hotel(s) along the way.
- Fly from Marrakech to Casablanca, then from Casablanca to Errachidia where you can either take a taxi to the camp or have the camp staff pick you up. You can also rent a car from Avis or Europcar and make the drive from the airport to the camp yourself (Make sure to reserve 4-wheel drive.) If you’d like to break the trip up and see the seaside city of Casablanca, you can try for a long layover or even spend 1 night before continuing to Errachidia. If you decide to stay overnight in Casablanca, be sure to check out Hassan II Mosque — the only mosque in Morocco that non-muslims can enter.
- Rent a car from Avis or Europcar and make the drive yourself. For about the same price as renting a car, you can also arrange for a private driver to take you. The drive from Marrakech is about 12 hours, so it is recommended to stop half way, in Ouarzazate. This is a popular city near the Atlas Mountains where Game of Thrones, Gladiator, and several other famous movies and TV shows were filmed.E-mailing the Desert Luxury Camp concierge staff will help you plan the best method and route to reach the camp site. They are extremely helpful and will work around your itinerary while providing different options that meet your needs and budget. If you are visiting in the summer months when the desert is the hottest, it is only recommended to stay at the camp for 1 night (and trust me, it is plenty!)
1 or 2 Nights in Fes
After the desert camp, you will want to make the 7 hour car journey to Fes. If you do not wish to travel by car, you can also fly back from Errachidia to Casablanca, and from there to Fes.
On our trip, we rented a car and made the drive ourselves, however, you can also have a driver from the desert camp take you or hire another private driver or taxi. Driving in Morocco is not as difficult as one might think. The roads are well paved and Google maps work great. This drive is also extremely scenic and will show you the diverse landscape of Morocco, from the desert, to the countryside, large sparkling lakes, and the alpine mountain range.
Fes, often known as the historical and cultural capital of Morocco is one of the core places where you will witness the new world meets old. Inside the old walled city is one of the most intricate medinas you’ll find, yet, outside on the newer parts of town are perfectly situated boulevards much like any other metropolitan city.
Top things to do in Fes:
Fes el-Bali (Medina) starting at the Bab Boujloud gate – Step back in time and explore a vast labyrinth of 90,000 Fassis that sell an eclectic assortment of incredible goods and wares.
Possibly one of the most mind-boggling places that you’ll visit in all of Morocco, a maze of 9,400 winding alleyways in the Fes el-Bali district of Fes. Far too narrow for cars, and too crowded for just about anything but foot traffic, this labyrinth of alleyways is crowded with shops, stalls, mosques, madrasas (Islamic schools), tanneries, sites of prayer, one of the oldest universities in the world (University of Al-Karaouine), and merchants selling anything from dates to spices to souvenirs. Start your journey through the medina at Bab Bou Jeloud, the main entrance to the old city. Follow one of the two main streets and descend into the heart of the medina, where you’ll encounter Talaa Kebira (Big Slope), Talaa Seghira (Little Slope), Kairaouine Mosque, and the northern gates of Bab Guissa and Bab Jamaï.
However, do take some time to get off the beaten path and explore a wealth of ethereal, hidden treasures that include women with bundles of freshly cut herbs, workshops handcrafting copper pots, children carrying trays of loaves to be baked in the bakery, and a cafe selling glasses of spiced Berber coffee.
Chouara Tannery – Home to one of the city’s most iconic sights, and smells, the Chouara Tannery offers a glimpse window into the pungent process of creating world-class leather goods, using historic, medieval methodology.
Unfortunately, the only way to see the tanneries in action is to visit one of the many leather shops built into the walls of the site. Each shop has a terrace in the back that offers a unique view of the action, with door No. 10 on Derb Chaouwara offering one of the best views.
Shop owners here will happily give an explanation of the processes involved and will expect a small tip, or, even better, a sale in return. And while this all might feel a bit commercialized to you, chances are that you probably won’t find a better selection of leather goods, and at better prices, in all of Morocco.
If you can, try and arrive as early in the morning as possible, when the pits are awash in vibrant pools of colored dye.
Old Jewish Quarter (Mellah) – Founded around the 8th century, Fes’ Jewish Quarter was once a vibrant center of culture that housed an exquisite multitude of historic buildings, some of which still stand today.
Among the uniquely beautiful buildings that still stand in the mellah are the gold souq, charming antique furniture shops, an ancient cemetery with whitewashed tombs of various rabbis and religious martyrs such as the tomb of Solika (sometimes referenced as the Jewish Joan of Arc) and Habarim Synagogue which can be visited with a small donation.
No longer currently used for religious practices, this religious center is now a museum that houses a variety of different articles and photos that were left behind by various groups of Jews who fled Fes.
Jardin Jnan Sbil – Located halfway between the mellah and the Bab Bou Jeloud is the Jardin Jnan Sbil, a century-old, lush oasis of greenery that offers a quiet respite from the intensity of Fes’ medina. Enter via the main entrance on Avenue Moulay Hassan and explore the ethereal, leafy trails here as you and cool off along the grand central fountains and lounge beside a bird-filled lake.
Museo Nejjarin – This museum is housed inside a stunning, ancient, funduq, or a historic inn that was originally used by traveling merchants who sold their goods below and who took up lodging in the floors above.
Centered around a fantastic little courtyard, displays here contain traditional craftsmen’s tools, classic prayer beads, Berber locks, antique chests, musical instruments, and more. Everything here is presented beautifully, and culminates with a trip to the rooftop cafe, which offers stunning views of the medina below. And while photography is forbidden near the exhibits, you can take photos in the courtyard and from the rooftop.
Morroccan bread-making class at Ruined Garden Restaurant – Master chefs from this famous Fes eatery will not only teach you how to cook 5 different types of local bread, but they will also show you how to hand-roll couscous too.
To participate, classes must be booked well in advance and start at 10.00 am. Feel free to actively participate or just chat and watch as dough is transformed into delicious bread right before your eyes. Once the bread is complete, the class will then take the dough to the local bread oven, where it will be baked to perfection as the heavenly scent wafts in the air.
Finish off the class with a two-course lunch in the garden, where you can taste the breads you’ve made or take them home with you and sample them later. Looking to skip the cooking class all-together? Head straight for the restaurant because Ruined Garden is one of the top restaurants in Fes.
Where to Eat in Fes:
Cafe Clock – With multiple locations scattered about Morocco’s main cities, the original Clock Cafe in Fes is one of the most famous for both its restaurant and cooking school. This three-floor cafe located in a newer part of town, is one of the best places to eat by far. Housed in a 250-year old courtyard with a charming rooftop terrace, you’ll find contemporary North African fare alongside western favorites such as paninis and pizzas, and homemade ice cream milkshakes
Nur – An award-winning restaurant with an internationally acclaimed chef, Nur is a 10-course fine dining experience with a menu that alters each day based on what is freshly found in the medina. The setting is chic and the food is of gastronomic proportions, making Nur one of the best restaurants in all of Morocco.
Restaurant Dar Roumana – Another choice for fine dining, Dar Roumana fuses Moroccan, French, and European fare in a romantic setting of the Dar Roumana traditional home turned boutique hotel. The price to dine here is half compared to Nur, but still provides the same quality and service of its fine-dining competition.
Where to Stay in Fes:
Dar Seffarine – Nestled within Fes’ historic medina, this luxe riad has a charming, inner courtyard, and restaurant, that is surrounded by an assortment of chic guest rooms that feature exquisite, decorative touches like exposed-beam ceilings, colorful tile work, and ornate rugs. All ultra-plush rooms here include free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, breakfast atop the raid’s charming, rooftop terrace, and luxurious, en suite bathrooms.
Hotel Sahrai – This stone-built, Moorish-style building is home to a luxurious, contemporary, style hotel that is just 3 km from the Ibn Danan Synagogue and 6 km from the Marinid Tombs. Featuring floor-to-ceiling windows with epic, panoramic, city views, chic rooms here include glass-enclosed marble bathrooms, free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, minibars, Nespresso machines, safes, a complimentary breakfast buffet, and lovely private terraces for some rooms. Other on-site amenities include two bars (one is a rooftop bar), two elegant restaurants (one of which serves French cuisine), an infinity pool, a luxe spa, and a gym.
Fes Marriott Hotel Jnan Palace – For a more affordable, but stunningly luxurious hotel option, try the Marriott Hotel. This centrally located, Berber-inspired building has a stunning, all tile exterior and features opulently furnished guest rooms with balconies, free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, minifridges, tea and coffeemakers, and sofabeds. Room service is also available 24/7, in addition to on-site dining options that include an Italian eatery, a cafe, and a fantastic restaurant that routinely has live music. This hotel also features indoor and poolside bars, as well as an outdoor pool, a sauna and a gym.
Riad Anata – This hip riad in Fes is an Instagrammer’s delight with five, fabulous, tv-free guest rooms that include chic decor, as well as free Wi-Fi, private bathrooms, complimentary breakfast, and either a patio, balcony or terrace, depending on the room. Other on-site, riad amenities include a chic lounge, and a rooftop terrace with stunning views of the surrounding city.
1 or 2 nights in Chefchaouen
From Fes, the drive to Chefchaouen is about 3.5 hours. You can continue the road-trip on your own, or have a driver or taxi take you.
Chefchaouen is known as the famous “Blue City” or “Blue Pearl.” The city walls are all painted blue as Chefchaouen once served as a refuge for Jews fleeing Spain in the 15th century, and as the story goes the city was painted for Kabbalistic reasons, as blue is a reminder of the sky and heaven. The city is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and picturesque in Morocco, and is reminiscent of Greek islands as blue and white splashed structures cascade from the ascending nearby Rif mountains. Residing in the North-East of Morocco headed towards Europe, there is a heavy Spaniard influence in Chefchaouen, and Spanish is swapped for French as the secondary language to Arabic.
Top things to do in Chefchaouen:
Chefchaouen Medina – Painted in beautiful hues of vibrant blue, Chefchaouen’s medina is smaller, less crowded, easier to explore, and probably the loveliest medina that you’ll find in all of Morocco. If you are looking to capture photos of the famous blue city alleyways, there are many opportunities within the medina to do so.
At the center of the medina is the shady, cobblestoned, Plaza Uta El Hamman, which is dominated by luscious, red-hued walls that are from the nearby kasbah and adjacent, Grande Mosquee.
Cascades d’Akchour – Just 15 miles from Chefchaouen you’ll find this scenic set of waterfalls near the small Moroccan village of Akchour. These exquisite falls are just a quick hike from the village, as you follow the local river up a large cascade. Once here, enjoy the beautiful, idyllic view before making your way to the larger waterfall. You’ll also encounter a series of natural pools along the way where you can stop and cool off while taking a swim.
Sunset from the Spanish Mosque – Built by the Spanish in the 1920s, this newly restored Islamic center of worship is the perfect place to watch the sunset. Just head to the hilltop minaret for a fantastic view of the entire town and the sprawling hills below.
Where to Eat in Chefchaoeun:
Auberge Dardara Restaurant – Tucked away in the Auberge Dardara hotel, you’ll suddenly feel like you’ve been transported to a tropical boutique hotel in Tulum. Auberge Dardara uses only the freshest and seasonal ingredients to bring out the depth in flavor in traditional yet elevated Moroccan dishes. Auberge Dardara is located about a 15 – 20 minute drive outside of the Chefchaoeun medina, but is absolutely worth the visit as probably the best restaurant in Chefchaoeun.
Aladdin Restaurant – Also known as Le Lampe Magique, is the perfect place to dine if you’re looking for lunch or dinner with a view. The third-floor rooftop terrace offers sights of blue splashed medina as traditional Moroccan decor adorn the interior. On the menu you will find the usual contenders, and while the food is nothing overly impressive, the restaurant is still the best for its location and a good spot to rest with some mint tea as it is ideally located within the main square.
Hamsa – This laid back cafe found in the medina also offers great views of Chefchaouen in a hip and contemporary setting with the menu to match. Dishes here range from the more western and millennial-focused avocado toast, to excellent pastries, coffee, and juices. Everything about Hamsa is stylish and Instagrammable; from the food, to the decor, to the terrace views.
Where to Stay in Chefchaouen:
Lina Ryad & Spa – Tucked away among the city’s brilliant, blue-washed buildings is this luxe guesthouse. Just a 5-minute walk from both the Spanish Mosque and the fortress at Plaza Uta el-Hammam, rooms at this chic guest house feature intricate archways, ornate tiled floors, free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, safes, minifridges, desks, and luxurious seating areas, as well as either a lovely balcony or private terrace. Additionally, guests can enjoy both room service and complimentary breakfast, as well as an on-site restaurant, coffee shop, indoor pool, and relaxing day spa.
Dar Echchaouen – Set inside a quaint, white-washed building that features vibrant tile work, this polished, centrally located hotel offers warm, welcoming, tv-free rooms that have hand-carved, wooden headboards, traditional Moroccan decor, intricate wood-paneled ceilings, and modern minibars. Guests can also upgrade to suites that feature living rooms and apartments that include charming kitchenettes. Additionally, a complimentary breakfast is also served in the hotel’s cozy, sophisticated restaurant, with guests having access to on-site, indoor and outdoor lounges, an outdoor pool, and a hammam.
0 – 1 Night Fly out from Tangier
From Chefchaoeun, you will complete your trip by making the 2-hour journey to the seaside city of Tangier. This is the closest point of Morocco to Spain, and flights to Europe are very affordable from the Tangier airport. From here, you can continue your trip traveling to the EU (we went to Barcelona), or make your journey home.
General Travel Tips for Morocco
- Do not interact or let anyone touch or do anything to you unless you are willing to pay, especially in the Jemmaa El Fna Square. Snake charmers, men with monkeys, henna ladies, and argan oil samplers are all common scams to force you to pay money. The street entertainers here can be very aggressive, so it’s best to keep to yourself, keep moving, and don’t make eye contact if you don’t want to be approached. Do not wear flashy jewelry and beware of pickpockets as they are extremely common.
- Negotiate everything. Bargaining is a part of the culture so never accept the first price. Never buy anything the first time you see it. Make a mental note of the price as you may find the same exact item (or a better one) for less. Ideally, you shouldn’t be paying more than half of the price any shop keeper quotes you. Don’t forget to negotiate taxis too — agree on a price before you get in the car.
- Don’t let anyone solicit you to be a tour guide or take you on a “free” tour. They will take you to businesses and force you to pay or buy something at each stop so that they get commission. If you really want a guide, get a certified guide. Certified guides will have badges. If you don’t want to find one in the Médina, you can arrange one through your hotel. If you are really lost in the medina and want someone to show you out, be upfront about it and agree on a price before you go.
- Because Morocco’s currency (Dirham) is a closed currency, it can not be exchanged or taken out of Morocco. 10 Moroccan Dirham equates to about $1.00 USD. The best place to exchange for local currency is at the airport or at a bank. ATMs on the street are not recommended for use. Credit cards are widely accepted at hotels and nicer restaurants, but are not accepted in the souks.
- Tap water is not safe to consume in Morocco. Only drink bottled water and make sure uncooked foods (veggies, fruits that can’t be peeled) are coming from a trusted and reliable source (i.e. well-established restaurants and hotels.) Experiencing some form of stomach issues is not uncommon in Morocco, so as with all trips to countries with unsafe food and water I highly, highly recommend taking this supplement (Travelan) before every meal. It will SAVE YOU as it saved me and allow you to be more adventurous with your eating. This is one of my all-time “must have” travel products and I can’t recommend it enough.
- Getting around: the best way to get from city to city is by hiring a driver. The cost of a driver is the same as renting your own car. If you are an experienced traveler you may wish to rent and drive your own car. There are also airports in Marrakech, Casablanca, Errachidia (closest to the Merzouga desert), and Tangier (closest to Europe.) Flights can be relatively inexpensive ranging from $30 – $250 and it is recommended to book them as early in advance as possible to secure the best rate.
Foods to try and Dining in Morocco
Fine dining is much more affordable in Morocco than it is in the U.S. or Europe, so don’t be afraid to splurge to enjoy some of the best restaurants and food in the country. There are also many local cafes that serve excellent Moroccan food at more reasonable prices. I personally love the cafes and restaurants with rooftop terraces, as recommended in the above sections. No matter where you choose to eat, be sure to try some of these traditional Moroccan foods and dishes:
Sfenj: deep-fried Moroccan doughnuts that can be found fried fresh on the streets in the medinas or at local bakeries.
Msemen / Mufleta: Moroccan style crepes often served with butter, sugar, and/or honey for breakfast.
Tajine: Moroccan stew made with vegetables and/or meats/fish cooked in earthenware by the same name.
Couscous: small steamed balls of crushed durum wheat semolina (kind of like a cross between rice and pasta) often served with tajine.
Mint tea: You’ll find mint tea everywhere in Morocco as drinking it is a way of life. Moroccan mint tea is typically brewed from green tea steeped with fresh mint leaves, and usually served with a generous amount of sugar.
Matbucha: blended salad of tomato, roasted peppers and spices. Often served as a side dish.
Olives: The olives are so good in Morocco as the 5th largest exporter of olive oil, and are often served alongside meals at many traditional restaurants.
Orange juice: Morocco is known for its oranges so be sure to drink some fresh squeezed while you’re here.
Morocco, The Land of Contrast and Color
With its distinctly Arabic culture met with a blend of French and Spanish influences, Morocco is a unique gem of a destination and an art and culture lover’s dream. With so many reasons to visit Morocco, there is something here that will warm the heart of any type of traveler. In the area of North Africa where one might mistake for the Middle East, Morocco is also just a stone’s throw away from Europe yet feels worlds apart. Morocco certainly has its difficulties and should not be mistaken for a overly-accessible, first-world destination, but the way of life and the warm hospitality more than makes up for lack of Western conveniences.
10 days in Morocco is the perfect amount of time to see the vast beauty of the country and all its top sites. Where one week in Morocco is certainly not enough time, 2 weeks in Morocco might feel like one tajine too many before you begin to miss the luxuries of the western world. If you’re really pressed for time, you could adapt this article into a Morocco itinerary 7 days by spending a few days less in Marrakech and flying as much as possible instead of driving, but the trip will surely feel rushed. Alternatively, if you are one for slow travel you can add a few extras days and spend 2 weeks or longer in this magnificent country. This 10 day itinerary is perfect for those that want to experience the highlights of Morocco in a fast-moving, yet still enjoyable pace.