Exploring Morocco: Imperial cities to the Atlas Mountains and Desert (12 Days)


From Casablanca visit Rabat, Chefchaouen ,Mknes ,Fes, Atlas mountains ,end in Marrakech via Sahara desert: 12 Days

Embark on a journey through Morocco’s diverse landscapes and rich culture on this 12-day adventure. Starting in Casablanca, you’ll explore the bustling city before moving to Rabat, known for its historic sites and coastal charm. The journey continues to Chefchaouen, the famed “Blue City,” nestled in the Rif Mountains, offering a unique blend of Andalusian and Moroccan influences. From there, delve into the ancient Roman ruins of Volubilis and the imperial city of Meknes, before immersing yourself in the labyrinthine streets of Fes, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Then, experience the transition from cityscapes to natural wonders as your journey through the Middle Atlas Mountains to Merzouga’s Sahara Desert. Here, camel treks and a night under starlit skies a wait. Discover the traditional lifestyles of nomadic Berbers and explore the stunning Todra and Dades Gorges, marvelling at the rugged beauty of Morocco’s landscape.

Furthermore, continue through Skoura’s palm-filled oasis and Ouarzazate’s cinematic landscapes, visiting Ait Ben Haddou’s ancient kasbah before concluding your journey in Marrakech. Lose yourself in the city’s vibrant souks, historic palaces, and iconic landmarks before bidding farewell to Morocco from Marrakech Menara Airport.

Finally, this comprehensive itinerary blends cultural exploration with natural discovery, offering an unforgettable Moroccan experience from coast to desert to city.

Highlights of the Morocco Itinerary 12 Days:

  • Start first at Casablanca, and visit the Hassan II Mosque.
  • Explore the culture, history and tradition from Rabat’s Royal Palace and the ancient cultural cite of Kasbah des Oudayas.
  • Visit one of the most beautiful cities : Chefchaouen which is called the Blue City.
  • Visit the Roman ruins of Volubilis with numerous and excellent mosaues.
  • Tour Meknes the imperial city supported by Moulay Ismail’s monumental constructions.
  • Climb the narrow winding alleyways in Fes’ tiny old city which is listed by UNESCO.
  • Learn about Moroccan culture and traditions
  • Ride a camel and go through the desert of Merzouga to spend a night in an arresting Berber tent.
  • Trekking through Todra and Dades gorges where the Moroccan beauty is felt.
  • Visit the ksar of Ait Ben Haddou the famous fortified village of UNESCO. And discover the special old Moroccan architecture.
  • Visit the souks, palaces,and gardens of Marrakech.

Tour Plan

Day 1: Pick up from Casablanca Mohamed V Airport to your accommodation (Overnight in Casablanca)

Once landing in Casablanca Mohamed V Airport, begin your Moroccan vacation by getting a comfortable ride to your destination. This is the start of your Morocco Itinerary 12 Days and will provide a seamless pass from travelling to resting or touring in this lively city.

It may be a trip to visit one of the famous hotels located in the central of Casablanca or on a decision to take a quiet stay at a riad; the mode of transport, particularly the pick up from the airport determines the kind of experience that is awaiting the travellers. Have a great time on board with the expectations as you recline waiting to explore the Morocco; its geography, history, and people.

Day 2: Explore Casablanca - Explore Rabat

After getting well fed, start the tour with a thorough tour of the city to be begun with from the magnificent Hassan II Mosque of Casablanca City. Spend some time first in appreciating the fine architecture and the calm atmosphere of the site before going to the Ain Diab Beach to enjoy a walk along the beach line while feeling the sea breeze and enjoying the beautiful overlooks.

Afterward, continue on to Rabat for an interesting sightseeing. Start with the Royal Palace; it represents Monarchy of Morocco; discuss the history of the Palace clicking on its appealing architectural structure.

Third, wander around the beautiful site of Kasbah des Oudayas, which located on the cliff of Atlantic Ocean and covering Rabat’s historical site. Hassan Tower is an uncrowned minaret which should not be missed; Chellah Gardens are beautiful and they are surrounded by walls and gates which date back to the 14th century. End your day with a quiet night at Rabat and prepare for the following day and the rest of your Morocco Itinerary 12 Days.

Day 3: Rabat → Chefchaouen

In our 12 days Morocco itinerary on the third day, we proceed for the scenic route by car to Chefchaouen going through the Knitra and El Ghareb province which offers beautiful agricultural scenery.

Ten, we continue to travel through the dynamically changing sceneries which in Ouazzane change to the ones embellished with cedar, oak and almond trees. I finally step foot into Morocco the moment we set my eyes on Chefchaouen, the blue city perched in the Rif Mountains, with its architecture majorly influenced by the Andalusians and Moroccans. Founded by the refugees from reconquista, this lovely Moroccan city has blue and white washed houses with the red tiled roof and intricate doors.

Next, we visit the Outa el Hammam square, one of the most famous places in Fes- selling of fabrics belts and other fabrics accessories and also fresh delicious sweets made by the local women weavers. Enjoy the famous goat’s cheese specific to the town; the cheese originates from the neighbouring hills where the goat s graze. In the region of the medina, walk around the Kasbah with its strong walls and the ethnographical museum that tells about the life of the city. There are wonderful views from the terrace on the roof, which is worth to spend some time in this quiet and rather secure city.

Overnight stay in Chefchaouen to relax for the day before heading for the next part of the Morocco tour.

Day 05: Chefchaouen → Volubilis → Meknes → Fes

In the morning after taking your breakfast, leave the hills and proceed your tour south through the body of the peninsula to Volubilis, the archaeological site world heritage. Surveying the area at the foot of a vast elevated plain, one is introduced to the grand sphere of a Roman city that was left unfinished ages ago. Learn more about the beauty of the Roman history through Europe’s famously preserved arches, basilicas and detailed mosaic works of art on the Documents Maximums.

After that, go on with your Morocco itinerary 12 days to Meknes where tourists will see the towering ramparts of the city, Moulay Ismail’s mosque and the fabulously historic Bab Mansour a monumental gate. It had grazing grounds that could hold an amazing number of 12, 000 horses that demonstrated the tactical significance of this city. Afterward, you will head to Fes for an overnight stay since this city offers so much to see and the end of the day you will be able to relax and contemplate the day discoveries.

Day 5: A Guided Tour of Fes

First, we discover Fes independently with a very knowledgeable guide that will take you to the most interesting places like the Karaouine University, Medrassa Bouanania and the souks. From Idriss 2 Corner watch the beautiful views, you can go to Bab Boujloud which is a UNESCO one, the ancient city walls, Attarin School, Norte Tower, Annajarin, Dar Bathaa, leather tanneries and ceramic factories.

Then, exploring the royal palace and walking through the old Jewish city – El Mellah as well as trying the national Moroccan food during lunch time will be the most exciting. This guided tour of Fes is guaranteed to be unforgettable due to the company of a knowledgeable guide. Afterward, you will be transferred back to your hotel or Riad for some rest.

Day 06: Fes → Ifrane → Midelt → Ziz Valley → Arfoud → Merzouga

The route from Fes to Marrakech will be different today and we will meather different areas and people. Leaving the cultural Riches of Fes behind it we precede via Ifran, the Moroccan Switzerland the country’s ‘alpine town’ nestled in a green highland at 1665 meters above sea level. Ifran is situated at the Brotherhood University established in the year 1997 by the kings Hassan II of Morocco and Fahd of Saudi Arabia provides education in English medium. Then, we get the chance to savour lunch in the Berber village of Zaida before proceeding to Midelt located in the eastern slopes of the High atlas.

We then proceed through Berber villages and palm groves at Jbel Ayachi (3747m), the Blue Men region is then reached and the road descends to the pre-Saharan area passing through Errachidia and Erfoud, famous for its ceramics and the fossilized quarries of Din’t Atlas, 350 million years old and were formed during the age of the ocean. Last but not the least, wonder at the red sand dunes of Erg Chebbi and towering naked alien like structures of Merzouga in the far off horizon before wrapping up for the night in your Hotel or Riad.

Day 7 : Explore Merzouga Region

Having breakfast at the hotel, start your Morocco desert tour at about 10 in the morning. Discover the extensive area of Merzouga and Erg Chebii dunes in a 4 wheel drive vehicle, experience the colourful culture of Khamliya famous for the soul stirring beat of Gnawa music which originates from the African, Berber and Arabic roots. Discover true nomadic life and taste an excellent nomad’s tea, later enjoy having lunch at one of the nice restaurants in the middle of the desert.

Afternoon can be spent free of the program, or take a pleasant walk through the fabulous sand desert or even riding an ATV-quad bike. Late Evening, about an hour and a half before sundown, start your camel riding to reach your camp in the desert. Sitting in the middle of the high sand dunes of Erg Chebbi, this camp will provide you with an excellent desert overnight stay experience.

This really gives you a full understanding of the Moroccon desert and completes your trip to Morocco with memorable highlight.

Day 08: Sahara Desert → Rissani → Todra Valley → Todgha Gorges

On this day of our 12 Days in Morocco, we start at Errisani town; it founded by Moulay Ali Chrif, the founder of the dynastic line of Alaouite in the late 16th century. This ancient town is historically significant as it was a part of Tafilalet’s kingdom in the past and acted as a central caravan point between the northern and southern territories. Currently Rissani is a commercial centre of the region.

Todgha Gorges Further 127 km southwards and beyond the central High Atlas Mountains we find the spectacular Errisani, which is our gateway to the Todgha Gorges. It has all the breathtaking beauty of Colorado, the Great Plains of virgin plateaus, giant gorges, and tiers of jagged peaks cut through by centuries of erosion. Marmoras ranging from 2500 m like Jbel Saghro and stretching up to 4068 m like Jbel Mgoun surround this region which is also home to the Berber people who add on the social and cultural sector.

Moreover, you will see these monumental canyons with exciting trekking; feel the breathtaking landscape and the treasure of history of Todra Valley. In order to get the desired experience of Morocco and get a closer view of its diverse geographical structure and historical richness, it is better to spend the night there. Overnight in Todra

Day 9: Todra Valley → Dades Valley and Gorges → Skoura Palm Oasis

Continuing our Morocco trip from the spectacular Todgha Gorges, the next leg will be the beautiful Dades Gorge passing through the Tisdrin road. Following the exotic trail of Road of one Thousand Kasbahs, one can marvel at the number of kasbah’s that one passes through some of which have been rehabilitated, but the majority remain in the arms of Kahlil Gibran. Following this road we also drive through the Valley of Roses, where we can see beautiful fields of Alfalfa; olive groves, fig trees and vineyards. This valley famous for the Damask roses in which the local people pick and use in production of good aromatic soaps, perfumes and creams among other things. It is annually held a colourful festival to rejoice this rose harvest in the last days of April.

The next destination is the visit of the Amridil Kasbah in the Skoura oasis and we spend the night as usual in the quiet oasis of the Palm grove in the charm of the Moroccan desert.

Day 10: Skoura Palm Oasis → Ouarzazate → Ait Benhaddou → High Atlas Mountains → Marrakech

Leaving Skoura early in the morning, we drive to Ouarzazate referred to as Hollywood of Africa or the Gateway to the Desert. Located in the southern part of the plateau rising from the desert two hundred kilometers south of the High Atlas Mountains, most people of Ouarzazate are Berbers who have built many kasbahs and facilities some of which include the Taourirt Kasbah built in the 17th century (only a photo shot from outside). It is nicknamed due to the fact that it has been a shooting location to most international feature films like Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Gladiator (2000) and Babel (2005).

Following our Morocco 12 day Itinerary, we travel about 30km to Aït Benhaddou which is a fortified city developed in the 11th century ad legacy of the caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakesh. Located by the Ounila River on a hill, Aït Benhaddou presents superb samples of Kasbahs though some of the buildings get washed off by rain and wind sometimes. Although majority of the population now lives in the new village on the other side of the river; some families continue to live in this aged Kasbah.

Officially listed as a World Heritage by UNESCO since 1987, Aït Benhaddou also became increasingly a set for films such as the Gladiator (2000), Kundun (1997) or Alexander (2004). After this historical place we ser to the west through the Atlas mountains with some scenic passes before reaching Marrakech locally known as the ‘Homeland of God’ among the Berber people. Overnight in Marrakech.

Day 11: Marrakech City Tour

At 9:30 or 10 am, depending on the season, a local guide will pick you from your Hotel/Riad to go for a morning walking tour within the Marrakech old medina which is still alive as souks. Stroll through silent gardens heavy with the fragrance of orange blossoms, the mansion of Bahia Palace where a black servant-turned-statesman commissioned a house in 1866. Then visit the museum in Marrakech which is also in a palace, and contains rather diverse bringing together Moroccan art and sculptures.

Furthermore, we will stop at Koutoubia Mosque; the mosque is well-known for a minaret of which many buildings, including La Giralda of Seville and other towers internationally, were copied. Visit secret garden and Madrasa Ben Youssef ,and then walk to the maze of the medina and go back to the Jemaa el Fna square. The afternoon is yours to dive deeper into the medina’s sensual pleasures from the crafty small enterprises to the creative souk with its one-of-a-kind notions.

Finally, late afternoon around 4 or 5 pm, we go back to the hotel or follow the shooting stars straight to the Jemaa el Fna square where you can gist over some good food, watch spell bounding performances or be taken through a special dinner treat.

Day 12: Drop off at Marrakech Menara Airport

The Morocco itinerary 12 days will end by an airport drop-off at either the Marrakech Menara Airport or the Mohammed Airport in Casablanca.

Tour map

Tour map