Morocco tours: places to discover
Morocco tours: places to discover: Morocco is a dream destination for those who love to discover new places. It offers diverse landscapes (canyons, valleys, deserts, mountains…), magnificent towns, atypical villages, and a welcoming population. Not sure what to do in Morocco? How about a road trip to Morocco?
Are you tempted by adventure? In this article, I offer you as much information as possible to help you organize your road Morocco tours. I tell you, for example, what tour to take, where and how to rent a car, what to pack… I’ll even give you some details on how to set your budget, and some tips on how to make sure your trip goes off without a hitch.
When should you go? For how long?
Let’s face it, one of the big advantages of this country is that road trips are possible all year round, and the choice of itineraries is incredible. You can cover the country from north to south, east to west, from the sea to the Sahara desert.
The ideal time for a road trip in Morocco is from April to June, and from September to October, when it’s cooler. Summer can be very hot and humid, especially near the coast. So it’s not the best time for a tour, especially if you’re planning a trip to the south of the country.
Note that during Ramadan, there aren’t many tourists, so you’ll be able to take advantage of low rates, find accommodation easily and enjoy peace of mind when visiting the sights. It’s a great deal, and if you want more, I invite you to read my guide to when to go to Marrakech
In winter, on the other hand, the cold can be hard to live with, especially if you’re thinking of taking your road trip to the Atlas Mountains.
How many days do I need to see most of Morocco’s landscapes and cities? It all depends on what you want to discover: the mountains, the desert, the coast or the interior. Then there are the big, beautiful cities and the small, isolated villages.
To get the most out of your road trip, I advise you to leave for 15 days, or even 3 weeks, if you can. This will also enable you to meet Moroccans and visit most of the must-see sites.
The most important stages of a road trip in Morocco
Between visiting the big cities and crossing the small villages, you’ll never get bored! Morocco has so much to offer that your days will always be full.
You can wander through fields of olive trees, swim in rivers and lakes and take shade under date palms. And let’s not forget the many excursions on offer, including desert escapades and hikes in the Atlas Mountains.
To help you plan your stay, I’ve put together a short list of the towns and villages you absolutely must visit. I’ve also listed the must-dos that you should put on your list of things to see and do.
The city known as the white city can be the starting point for your road trip in Morocco. Start by stopping off at the legendary Café Hafa, located on a cliff overlooking the sea. Drink a cup of tea and admire the beautiful panorama before you.
Other viewpoints in Tangier include the view from the port. From the Kasbah Museum, you can sometimes see Spain on the other side of the Strait of Gibraltar.
There are also some cultural visits to make in Tangier, for example, I recommend a visit to Dar El Makhzen, the former palace of the Sultans of Tangier. There’s also a visit to the Grottes d’Hercule (Hercules Caves), and for a short break, Cap Spartel is the ideal spot for a picnic. This is a promontory where you’ll see where the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean meet.
Where to stay in Tangier?
Hotel Miranda Tangier is a hotel with beautiful, comfortable rooms, not far from Tangier Airport. For just under €90 per night, breakfast is included.
Marina Bay is my favorite in Tangier! It’s a seaside hotel on Tangier’s corniche, and all you have to do to get to the city center is walk, as it’s just a few meters away. One night costs approximately €100.
Morocco tours: places to discover: Tétouan lies 63 km southeast of Tangier. It is famous for its superb beaches. The beaches of Martil and Cabo Negro are splendid seaside resorts.
But that’s not all! The medina, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the Parc Feddan are also well worth a visit. Take the time to enter the old railway station, now home to The Tétouan Centre of Modern Art.
The blue city (the streets are repainted several times a year by the inhabitants of Chefchaouen) is one of the most beautiful in Morocco. It lies in the Rif mountains, 65 km south of Tétouan. For the record, the streets are repainted several times a year by the villagers themselves.
Immerse yourself in its narrow streets and take a thousand snapshots. Then admire the sunset from the Buzafar Mosque, also known as the Spanish Mosque. I also recommend a visit to the Achkour waterfalls in the Akchour nature reserve, a 30-minute drive away. If you want to swim, you’ll have to be patient and walk for a good 2 hours before reaching the waterfalls.
Located 200 km south of Chefchaouen, Fès is the imperial city and one of the most fascinating in the country. There’s so much to see! In fact, I recommend that you spend a few nights in Fès to get the most out of the city, and I’ll give you a few addresses a little further down in this article.
Start by visiting Fès El Bali, the old town. This is the medina and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today, it’s impossible to get lost in the maze of alleyways, as the city has been redeveloped and signposts point the way to the sites you shouldn’t miss, right from the medina’s gateway, Bab Boujloud.
During your stroll, you’ll be able to buy lots of souvenirs in the little stores and, above all, admire the work of the city’s artisans. On Place Esseffarine, for example, you’ll see the work of coppersmiths. In front of the famous Nehjjarine fountain and the souk opposite, the Fondouk Nejjarine, you’ll see cabinetmakers. Then head down to Fez’s famous tanneries near the Medersa Essaffarin, where you’ll see tanners still using 11th-century methods to dye sheepskins.
Morocco tours: places to discover
Don’t forget to pass by the Karaouiyine Mosque, which you won’t be able to enter if you’re not of the Muslim faith, but that’s more than enough for an exceptional view. Next, admire the architecture of the old Medersa El Attarine Koranic school.
In the new town, Fès Jdid, you can stroll through the Jewish quarter, the Mellah, and take a photo in front of the royal palace next door. Then take a break in the Jnan Sbil garden, where you can cool off by the lake, surrounded by fountains and tall bamboo trees. This part of town is also home to some great, luxurious cafés and a gigantic shopping mall, Borj Fès, from where you’ll have a superb view of the city. You’ll have the opportunity to discover all these places on a half-day guided tour of the streets of Fès, priced at €14 per person.
To the south of the city, you’ll find Ifrane, which looks a lot like a small Swiss town, and its superb national park. Here you’ll find one of the world’s largest cedar forests. Some trees are over 800 years old! Watch out for the Barbary macaques that are the local attraction – they get a bit too excited by the food!
Where to stay in Fez?
Morocco tours: places to discover: Riad Le Moucharabieh in Fez is the ideal opportunity to fully immerse yourself in Moroccan culture by sleeping in the traditional Moroccan house: the Riad. Located right in the center of the old town, you can enjoy a night’s accommodation from €55, including breakfast.
Riad Sidrat Fes is another of the city’s traditional accommodations, located close to the New Town. For an overnight stay, you can expect to pay around €95, including breakfast of course.
If you can’t make it to Ifrane, head west to visit another imperial city: Meknès, 64 km from Fès, also a very charming city.
The must-see is Place El-Ehdim, a sort of mini Jamaa El Fna in Marrakech. The gateway to the medina, you’ll find many street vendors (food, clothes, toys…) and street performers of all kinds.
Other must-see sites include
Sahrij Souani, a huge water reservoir where locals come to sit and chat.
The Hri Souani granaries, with the stables next door.
Bab Mansour, the gateway to the town.
The Medersa Bou Inania with its a superb view of the city.
Twenty kilometers to the north, you’ll find Moulay Idriss Zerhoune, a small village on a hill from which you can also enjoy a beautiful panorama. It’s a real place of pilgrimage for Moroccans, as it houses the Mausoleum of Moulay Idriss, a descendant of the Prophet Mohammed and founder of the Idrissid dynasty. Unfortunately, access is forbidden to non-Muslims.
Thirty kilometers away, you’ll find the ancient city of Volubilis. Here you’ll discover lovely Roman ruins that have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site (remains of mosaics, thermal baths…).
Morocco tours: places to discover: Rabat lies 150 km west of Meknes. Even if it’s not as touristy as the country’s other cities, and you’ll probably be wondering what to do in Rabat, this city should be on your Moroccan road trip itinerary. After all, it’s the capital!
You can stroll through the medina, lose yourself in the narrow streets of the Kasbah des Oudayas, a former fortress with its white and blue houses, visit the Hassan Tower (an unfinished minaret) and approach the Mausoleum where the former kings of Morocco are laid to rest. You can also visit the Chellah Necropolis, an ancient Roman city.
Finally, stroll along the corniche and enjoy the view of the Atlantic Ocean. And don’t miss the gigantic new Marina.
Where to sleep in Rabat?
If you’re staying in the capital for a few days, here are some of my favorite places to stay in Rabat
Riad Dar Rabiaa is a place I love! It’s close to all the places of interest I mentioned, such as the Hassan Tower, and offers a setting that’s both traditional and modern. Breakfast is included in the nightly rate of €85.
Riad Meftaha is another address in the capital that I recommend. It’s also perfectly located, close to the Kasbah des Oudayas. Here too, breakfast is included in the price of the night, starting at €90.
If you don’t know what to do in Casablanca, the main attraction is the Hassan II Mosque, one of the largest and most beautiful mosques in the world. What makes it so special is that most of it was built on water. It’s also my favorite spot to take the most beautiful photos in Morocco.
Otherwise, Casablanca is more of a European city, with wide avenues and big shopping malls. It’s a great place to party!
Where to stay in Casablanca?
Morocco tours: places to discover: Of course, you’ll find more addresses in my article on where to stay in Casablanca, but here’s a small selection just for you
Family Aparthotel, as its name suggests, is both an apartment and a hotel. Breakfast is included in the nightly price of around €85, but the accommodation also offers a kitchenette for the rest of your meals. You’ll also be close to Casablanca Cathedral and the old Medina.
StayHere Casablanca Ghautier II is the second accommodation I’ve selected for you. This time it’s a simple, very modern apartment in which you’re sure to feel right at home. A night’s stay costs around €75 and you’ll be close to all the places of interest.
Marrakech is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. Located at the foot of the Atlas Mountains, it is Morocco’s 4th largest city. Not sure what to do in Marrakech? I’ll explain it all below
It’s impossible not to visit Marrakech if only to pass through its grand Place Jemaa El Fna. It’s bustling with people day and night, and there’s so much to see and do. First, there are the many street vendors selling sandwiches, tajines (meat, vegetables, fish…) and freshly squeezed orange juice, and then there are the street performers presenting their shows and folklore, always with a big smile.
And the city offers so much more! You absolutely must visit the following places:
The medina (make sure you don’t get lost, it’s a real labyrinth) and its stores where you’ll find thousands of items to buy (fabrics, babouches, djellabas, pottery, spices…).
The Jardin Majorelle, with its exotic plants, art deco architecture and Berber museum.
The Yves-Saint-Laurent Museum
The Koutoubia Mosque, the city’s largest, and its magnificent garden.
The Menara Gardens
Morocco tours: places to discover
Various Koranic schools, including the Medersa Ben Youssef and the Maison de la Photographie.
The Palais de La Bahia, the Palais El Badi and the Saadian Tombs on a half-day excursion at €45 per person.
Don’t forget to take in the panoramic view from one of the city’s many terraces. The palm grove of the so-called Red City on the outskirts of the city is also a must-see during your stay in Morocco.
If you don’t want to do it by car, plan a visit on a quad bike in the Marrakech desert, or even on a camel with the Marrakech palm grove excursion I suggest. You’ll pay around €45 per person.
Another not-to-be-missed activity in the Marrakech area is a visit to the Ouzoud waterfalls (110 m high), 157 km from Marrakech, where you can enjoy a meal right in the heart of the wadi.
Take a detour to see Mont Toubkal, from Oukaimeden, some 80 km south of Marrakech. This area is considered Marrakech’s ski resort. You can make a 2-day trek, or even start climbing the mountain if you’re a pro hiker (4,167 meters).
Where to stay in Marrakech?
Morocco tours: places to discover: I strongly advise you to stay several days in this cosmopolitan city, and here are a few places to stay in Marrakech
Riad & Spa le Secret de Zoraida is the first establishment where I suggest you spend the night. You’ll enjoy a warm, luxurious setting right in the heart of Marrakech’s medina. You can even relax in the spa at the end of the day! All for €95 per night, including breakfast.
Riad Azra Marrakech is another exceptional place where you can spend a night for just €55. The atmosphere is a little less welcoming, but here too you can enjoy the benefits of the spa after a day in the car. Of course, you’ll still be close to places like Jemaa El Fna Square. If you’re looking for other riad addresses in Marrakech, I’ve got a complete article for you.