Morocco had never struck me as particularly fascinating and it was never really on my bucket list. Most people I know who have been to Morocco are not really that fascinating and usually just go for the the quick long weekend getaway to Marrakesh which never really appealed to me. However, what I quickly learnt was that Morocco is actually a fascinating country that has stunning deserts, remote mountain lands, unique food, wide ranging cultures and sensationally old and beautiful Medina’s. There is really something for everyone. Below is our two week guide to exploring the best (in our opinion) of Morocco.
If you need any reasons why you should even visit this stunning place in the first place then check out our post on 15 reasons you should visit Morocco here.
Arrive in Casablanca – The Industrial heartland of Morocco
You will most probably arrive in Casablanca as it is the country’s biggest airport. Use this day to recoup from the flight. There isn’t a whole lot to do in Casablanca except a nice beach, a mall and the fish market. I would spend a maximum of two days here. You definitely need to check out the grand Mosque which is a beautiful monument with a lovely setting on the coast and impressive interior.
Not forgetting the stunning Grand Mosque in Casablanca
Take the train to Marrakesh – The Moroccan Red City
Public transport in Morocco is really good and you can easily get to pretty much anywhere in the country relatively easily and cheaply. Take the train from Casablanca to Marrakesh. You can check train times and all things Moroccan trains at the ONCF website here.
Take a couple of days to explore this famous red city and its bustling Medina. Here you can visit the famous Jamaa-el Fna. There is some great food here and it is definitely worth a visit especially at night but I do think it’s a bit a too touristy so take it with a pinch of salt.
Spend a day walking around the old town, getting lost and ignoring all requests from “helpful” Morrocans who will always want to help you/scam you. You can then visit Jamaa-el Fna in the evening where the place really comes to life.
Another place not to miss is Madresa Ben Youseff and it is also worth checking out New Marrakesh for a different more modern vibe.
Atlas Mountains – The red mountains of Morocco
Hire a car and spend two nights driving to and around the Atlas Mountains. There are lots of hire car places available and my insider tip is to find a car hire place outside the touristy places and in the suburbs of Marrakesh. You will save a significant amount. The Atlas Mountain range is huge but I don’t think it particularly matters exactly where you go as long as you get out and explore. You could go to the famous town of Ouarzazate, which we didn’t actually get a chance to visit, or the lovely less touristy village of Imlil which is just stunning. Spend a couple of days and just go and explore the area with the car as the scenery just gets better and better. I will let the pictures do the talking.
Insider tip: Every Tuesday there is a weekly Berber market in the small village of Amizmiz. If you around the area on a Tuesday this is not be missed. Also a place to get some amazing Tagines which may or may not have brain in it.
Fez – The greatest Morocco has to offer
From the Atlas Mountains head back to Marrakesh and enjoy the scenic drive. From Marrakesh you can take a train to Fez. It is a 7 hour journey but a very cheap way to travel. Now I love trains so for me it was awesome just to be riding a train in another country. But if I was to be objective then it is pretty long with not great scenery. You should be spending at least 4 days in Fez and I would definitely advise you to stay in a Riad right in the middle of the Old Town. This was by far my favourite place in Morocco, and possibly one of my favourite places in the world. I just love old bustling and heaving Medina’s and really enjoyed getting lost in it and finding new and interesting things.
Insider tip: It is well worth paying for a guided walking tour of Fez because this place is just a labyrinth and you will need help exploring this place.
Fez is one of the oldest of the world’s largest urban pedestrian zones (car-free areas). University of Al Quaraouiyine, founded in 859, is the oldest continuously functioning university in the world and the city has been called the “Mecca of the West” and the “Athens of Africa”.
Insider tip: Whilst you should definitely stay in the Medina you should really check out the new town of Fez. It is a bustling centre where you can get some very good and cheap food.
Things you should check out in Fez are:
- Take a tour around the Medina
- Visit the Old Jewish Quarter
- Try the street food
- Visit the Tanneries
- Visit the many old and beautiful mosques and madrassas
Moulay Idriss – The birth place of Morocco
Morocco has this amazingly simple concept of a shared taxi. Ask hotel/hostel/local for the nearest shared taxi stop and take a taxi to Meknes. Go early in the morning and spend the day exploring this old and rustic town.
Meknes is a small but lovely Moroccan town and does not really need more than a day trip.Things you should visit in Meknes are:
- Meknes Medina
- Mausoleum of Mouley Ismail – The second ruler of Morocco
- Have a coffee in El Hadim Square
- Bou Inania Medersa
Insider tip: You must check out the Bou Inania Medersa which is in the same style as Madresa Ben Youseff but it is off the tourist trail. As a result, you might even have the entire Madresa to yourself like we did!
From there take another shared taxi to Moulay Idriss and spend the night visiting the Holy city of Morocco. This is the spiritual home of Morocco where only recently non Moroccans were even allowed to visit. It was here that Moulay Idriss I arrived in 789, bringing with him the religion of Islam. In addition to founding the town named after him, he also initiated construction of Fez. This is a stunning town located in the beautiful hills of Morocco. This small village has a bustling town centre with some great local food options. Spend the night here and just relax in the beautiful surroundings of the town.
Insider tip: Book early as there are very few hotels/hostels in the area and they get booked up quickly
Things to do include:
- Taking in the spiritual nature of this place
- Visiting the Mausoleum of Moulay Idriss
- Visit the Roman ruins of Volubilis – If you are adventurous you could hike there from Moulay Idriss. Your hotel/hostel will be able to give you directions.
From then on head back to Fez where your journey will take you to Chefchaouen.
Chefchaouen – The blue city of Morocco
Take the bus from Fez to Chefchaouen. There are plenty of buses but if you want the tourist coach and the slightly quicker route then I would advise to book ahead as they do get booked up. The views on the way are spectacular at times.
Chefchaouen is a breathtakingly stunning blue town in the mountains of North Morocco. It is famous for two things, being blue – apparently to wade off mosquitoes and introduced by the Jewish community who had fled nearby Spain – and for its “kings hash”. We would advise you to stick to taking pictures of the town rather than searching for the “kings hash”
It is a very small town and my advice is just keep walking around the place, explore and take as many photos as you can because the blue backdrop does add something very special. I would spend about 3-4 days here just taking in the vibe of this chilled out town. For the adventurous types you can go hiking in the nearby mountains.
Rabat – The capital City of Morocco
Rabat is the cool capital city of Morocco located right on the coast. It also has its own smaller but still lovely old town with its own winding narrow streets.
Insider tip: If you want to buy any souvenirs or other things from Morocco I would get them from Rabat for two reasons – cheaper and less hassle.
However, one the main reasons to visit Rabat is because of its rustic blue and white Kasbah. A Kasbah “is a type of medina, Islamic city, or fortress (citadel). It was a place for the local leader to live and a defense when a city was under attack. A kasbah has high walls, usually without windows.”
Rabat has a surprisingly chilled out vibe for a capital city – maybe because it lies on the coast. I would spend about 2-3 days and take nice strolls along the coast and beaches, get on the tram and see the more modern part of the city. Again a great place to get away from the tourist hubs and try some good, cheap homey Moroccan food.
Things to do in Rabat include:
- Visit the Kasbah and Chellah
- Visit the beach and corniche
- Stroll around the old town
- Hasan Tower
- Explore the trams
Back to Casablanca
This journey will signify the end of your Morocco trip. Take the train back to Casablanca where you can take your flight home (or on to your next adventure).
The plan on a map
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