So you are trying to plan your trip to Morocco but have no idea where to start or what to include in your itinerary? This is the post for you! Morocco is a country that definitely needs a little bit of forward planning and research on where to visit, what to see, what to wear and what to avoid. Stepping into Morocco you will be immersed in the cultural ways, get lost a couple times within the medinas and experience all it has to offer from the bustling souks of Marrakech to the winding dunes of the Sahara Desert. Morocco is a large country so it is ambitious to say you will see it all in the space of one week but here is an itinerary to cover the highlights in 7 days.
- Marrakech (2 days)
- Sahara Desert (Merzouga) (3 days)
- Ait Ben Haddou
- Gorge De Dades
- Chefchaouen (2 days)
Time to spend here: 1 to 2 days
Marrakech is one of the major cities in Morocco and with relatively cheap flights from Ireland thanks to Ryanair it has become the starting point for many tourists travelling through Morocco. From the bustling street markets of Marrakech to the snake charmers on Jema El Fnaa square, it is sure to awaken all of your senses.
What to do and see:
Explore the gardens.
There are a couple of beautiful gardens to explore in Marrakech:
Le Jardin Secret, 121 Rue Mouassine, Marrakesh 40030, Morocco
Le Jardin Majorelle, Rue Yves St Laurent, Marrakech 40090, Morocco
Stroll around Bahia Palace.
More information can be found on the website here.
Shop around the souks of the medina.
Most of the souks (Moroccan market stalls) are located in and around the medina of Marrakech. Here you can purchase anything from Moroccan Spices, glassware, jewellery and nick nacks. Haggling is the name of the game when shopping at the souks, and it is not unusual for souk owners to follow you down the street shouting discounts at you if you don’t agree to their asking price and walk away.
Visit the Quzoud waterfall.
This can be done as a full day trip from Marrakech. It will take a 2 and half hour drive to reach the waterfall.
Where to eat:
Marrakech offers a wide range of restaurants from traditional Moroccan to American and more westernised restaurants. The medina in Marrakech is a good place to start when looking for a nice bite to eat. Here are my restaurant recommendations which are all located within the medina;
Atay Cafe, 62 Amsafah Sidi Abdelaziz Medina Marrakesh
If you are a fan of some rooftop views during breakfast this little cafe which is located in the heart of the medina (old city) is the place for you. While there isn’t a huge selection on the menu, it is decently priced and a perfectly morning location to soak up the moroccan sunshine while taking in the views of Marrakech. See their facebook page here.
Terrasse Des Epices, Sidi Abdel Aziz، 15 souk cherifia، Marrakesh 40000, Morocco.
If you are looking for some Moroccan cuisine once you land into Marrakech, this restaurant will provide just this. Choose from a range of tagines to cous cous for the equivalent of around 16 euro and enjoy the views from the rooftop. See website here for full menu.
Le Jardin, 32 Souk Jeld Sidi Abdelaziz, Marrakesh 40000, Morocco.
Also located in the medina is Le Jardin, a cute outdoor courtyard restaurant. An Instagrammable location due to all of the green tiles. See their instagram page here for inspiration.
SOUL Food Restaurant, 14 Rue Amsefah, Sidi Abdelaziz, Route Sidi Abdelaziz, Marrakesh 40000, Morocco.
High up on my list is SOUL food restaurant which we discovered on our last night in Marrakech and I must say was some of the best tasting food we had in all of our trip around Morocco. A rooftop location complete with misting sprinklers over your table to keep you cool through the often outrageous heat in the city. Soul Food Restaurant is part of clothing brand, Max & Jan store which offers Morocco inspired fashion. Find out more about their menu here.
Sahara Desert (Merzouga)
Time to spend here: 3 days.
If time allows, an absolute must on your Morocco itinerary is a trip into the Sahara Desert. Camel ride through the dunes to the middle of the Sahara desert, then watch the sunset and views followed by star gazing at your campsite. The journey from Marrakech to the desert is a long bus journey so I recommend to allocate about 3 days out of your trip to reaching and experiencing the desert. It is approximately a 12 hour bus journey from Marrakech to the desert.
The best way to get to and from the desert is to book a tour that will include your transport and accommodation and a few stops along the way.
Tourradar.com offers a range of tours from Marrakech and some include either a return journey back to Marrakech or an onward journey to Fez. Prices vary depending on the tour type, you can choose from more basic camping tours to more luxury tents or hotels. See full list of Sahara and Morocco tour options on Tour Radar here.
Ait Ben Haddou
Time to spend here: 1 to 2 hours.
Included in many of the tour options to the desert is a stop off at the ancient pre Saharan village and Unesco World Heritage site, Ait Ben Haddou, located in Ouarzazate it is the filming location of many well known films and TV shows from the Gladiators to Game of Thrones and it is still occupied by four local families.
Gorge De Dades
On your journey to the desert, you can stop off at the Gorge De Dades. Here on the edge of the sahara region, you will find a series of wadi gorges carved out by the Dades river in Morocco.
Time to spend here: 2 to 3 days
Chefchaouen was one of my favourite stops on our trip through Morocco. Read more about what to do and see in this beautiful, blue washed town in my blog post, ‘Chefchaouen, Morocco guide’.
Safety tips: please find my detailed post on safety tips for Morocco here: ‘Safety Advice for Fez Morocco‘.
For information on visas, transport, budget and climate, please see my post on: ‘Everything you need to know about Morocco’