Morocco was out last stop in Africa, actually our last stop in this one-year long vacation. Because it’s finally time to visit home, right? With only two weeks to spare, I wanted to see many sides of Morocco; from the windy Atlantic Coast to the dry desert heat of Sahara, with crazy souks and sleepy towns in between. But is that really possible in such a short time window? Find the answer on our two weekMorocco itinerary listed below.
Why Morocco, many may ask. Although it does receive a decent amount of foreign visitors these days, it has never really taken off as a massive backpacking destination. Many people come solely for Marrakech, but search a little deeper, and you will discover a place full of adventure. Also, with such cheap flights from Europe and all the spectacular natural sights and cultural thrills it would be a crime not to make it into a decent discovery vacation.
Because we came from Spain, our first stop was Tangier- Morocco’s main coastal gateway to Europe and the Mediterranean. To be honest, it didn’t leave much impression since it’s very culture mixed and didn’t have that strong Moroccan feeling. But if you’re someone who doesn’t like a culture shock, it is a good place to start a slow introduction to Morocco and everything it represents. Also your price comparison starts here, don’t worry it will only decrease! Especially the price of oranges…yum!
Getting from Tangier to Chefchaouen: Frequent buses serve the route and take around 3 hours. Costs 75Dh ($8/£6)
Chefchaouen is also known as a blue city for the colour of its buildings. It was my favourite place in Morocco; despite being so freezing cold I had to sleep with three blankets. It is really popular with backpackers and other nomads, some of whom are unquestionably attracted to the town for its proximity to the numerous nearby marijuana plantations. But who am I to judge.
It is worth spending a few days here exploring the city and surrounding national parks. I loved just getting lost in little winding alleys and finding new cute places to eat or just realizing we’ve been walking in circles for a bit nowJ Also dare to climb to the top of Spanish church and see amazing views of the city from above.
I found shopping here much more expensive then it is in Fes or Marrakech, so save the money till later.
Getting from Chefchaouen to Fes: Buses take about 4 hours to get to Fes from Chefchaouen. Price 116Dh ($12/£9)
Fez is one of the real travel highlights of Morocco. The city is a giant maze of souks, tanneries and tombs, where you certainly will get lost! But this is a fun part, otherwise, how would you come across some amazing restaurants and little craft shops.
To this day Fes medina is regarded as being the most well preserved old city in all of the Arab world and that is one of many reasons to spend a few days here.
Shopping wise, it is very similar to Marrakech, however leather goods turn out to be cheaper here and that’s exactly why I bought myself those three bags. Just sayin.
Getting from Fes to Meknes: Very close and very well connected cities with at least one train leaving per hour. It costs just 22 Dirhams (roughly US$2) for a 2nd class ticket and the journey takes about 30 minutes.
Getting from Fes to Merzouga: It takes about 10 hours by overnight bus. Supratour buses do the route in full and can be booked easily online or in their offices. Make sure you buy tickets in advance as they get sold out quickly. Price 170Dh ($18/£14)
Merzouga and Sahara Desert
A trip to Sahara desert is a must when you visit Morocco; be it one-day trip or the entire week. Merzouga lies at the end of a long, arrow-straight road. You can tell you’re almost there when the road signs start to have a camel on them instead of a speed limit, it feels like you came to the end of the world.
Spending a night in the Sahara desert is something every traveller dreams about, and we were here to make that dream come true.
Our home for two days in Sahara was Ali & Sara’s Desert Palace, which was set in perfect, secretive isolation. With camel rides, breakfast on the dunes and endless mint tea, this was one of the most memorable stops in Morocco.
Getting from Merzouga to Ouarzazate: There is one Supratours bus that leaves Merzouga in the direction of Marrakech at 8:00am each day and stops at Ouarzazate. Price 140Dh ($14/£12)
Ouarzazate for Ait- Benhaddou (1day)
Not really much to do in town itself, but most people use it as a stop over to visit the famous Ait- Benhaddou, or as I call it Aladin city, which has featured in numerous movies including Lawrence of Arabia and Gladiator. But trust me, you will only need a day to see it.
Getting from Ouarzazate to Aït-Benhaddou: Only 30km between the towns so it doesn’t take long but there are no direct buses. You can take a bus from Ouarzazate Bus Station towards Marrakech and get off at the junction to Aït-Benhaddou (around 9km away). From there you can get a taxi. But buses run only early in the morning and needs pre-booking. However many buses don’t want to sell the seat for such a short distance.
We took taxi for return trip and paid around 150Dh ($15/£13)
Getting from Ouarzazate to Marrakech: Supratour buses leaving Ouarzazate at 4:00pm and arriving in Marrakech at 8:30pm costing 80 Dirhams ($8/£6)
Sadly, this was our last stop in Moroccan adventure but as exciting as the rest of the trip.
Marrakech is perhaps the most famous city in Morocco these days. As I mentioned above, many tourist come here for a short vacation. And I don’t blame them. With an array of souks, squares, museums, mosques and amazing Moroccan Riads, Marrakech can be a wonderful experience on its own.
We’ve spent 4 days in Marrakech, mixing it up with exploring the medina, relaxing at the pool and searching for other food than tagine. And don’t judge for craving for pizza or steak- after two weeks on tagine diet, I am ready to walk 5miles for a taste of sushi in my mouth.
Accommodation in Morocco
We’ve mostly been using Airbnb or booking.com for this matter. I would greatly advise to book traditional riads and not hotels. That was one on main reasons I really loved Morocco- incredible choice of accommodation to suit everyone’s budget, and it’s surprising how cheap incredible place could cost.
Getting around Morocco
Getting around Morocco is cheap and easy with one of the most extensive train networks in Africa. The main bus companies that travellers tend to use are Supratours and CTM, but taxis in tows are super affordable as well.
I also got asked a lot if traveling in Morocco is safe. By all means I never felt unsafe but more like a bit intimidated by looks and dominance of men, which is completely different. Provided you are respectful of the local culture, you shouldn’t have any issues although again it is not hassle free. And you have to prepare yourself to be hassled a lot in markets and more touristic places. Although, Morocco is not the most conservative of countries in the Arab World you should still dress moderately.