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Austin
Capitol Hill Neighborhood

Morocco, Fez, Marrakech

10-Day itinerary -- what are can't miss, off-the-beaten-path spots?

I'm trying to put together an itinerary for Morocco. It will be a group of 4 and we'll be there for 10-days at the end of September/beginning of October. I'd love to hit Fez, Marrakech, and possibly some of the Sahara. We have never been, but are excited to go. We love to eat, relax, and explore. We're not really budget-conscious and are looking for great times. Does anyone have any suggestions on can't miss spots, off-the-beaten-path experience, or sample itineraries they would be willing to share? Thanks in advance!


9 Answers

top answer by
Tania from New York City

Hi Austin. I was just there this past March filming for Booker Travels and had an amazing time. I feel I can write a book here since it's all so fresh in my mind and we're in the midst of posting the videos on our website and Youtube channel... but here it goes. Morocco is big, and most people choose to go to one area only. I think that going to Fez
Marrakech 
and the Sahara Desert  is a great choice and you'll find that the two cities offer very different experiences. When in the city, try to stay at a riad. We did an episode where we show our favorites: the amazing Riad Camilia  http://www.riadcamilia.com/ and the very tastefully renovated Riad Zaouia 44 http://zaouia44.com/. At Camilia, you'll meet Nico who is the most gracious host too. Also, don't miss visiting Riad Yima http://riadyima.com/ for some really cool shopping outside of the common souk articles. It's owned by artist Hassan Hajjaj who did the photo series called Kesh Angels on Marrakech women and motorcycles. In Fez we stayed at Riad El Amine Fes. The cool thing about riads is that they are located near the medinas, and provide you the experience of being inside a typical Moroccan home. For an unforgettable meal in Marrakech, check out La Sultana Marrakech http://lasultanahotels.com/marrakech, which is also an upscale option of a place to stay. You don't necessarily need a guide to go around the medina in Marrakech, but definitely recommend you to hire one in Fez. We had the sweet Hassan Idrissi (hassansweettours at yahoo.fr). My off-the-beaten-path tip for the medinas is to explore the alleys outside the main tourist streets. The Sahara is a must. Suggestions: spend a night in a berber tent, go for a sunrise camel trek, and visit the village of Khamlia for local Gnawa music. We had a driver who actually took us everywhere around Morocco and if you are 4, it might save you some money along the way, and get you to do more than figuring things out yourselves. If you go to our "A Berber Country" episode, you'll see a really off-the-beaten-path experience we would not have done without Amine and his contact info is on the tips section of the site. I wish you could take a 5th person with you. I am ready to go back to beautiful Morocco! And my son Booker, would probably ask to come along too :)


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Fez (city)
  2. Marrakech (city)
  3. Sahara Desert (attraction)
  4. Riad Zaouia 44 (hotel)
  5. Riad Camilia (hotel)
  6. Riad Yima (hotel)
  7. Riad El Amine Fes (hotel)
  8. La Sultana Marrakech (restaurant)
6 thanks


answered by
Jacey & Scott from Fort Collins

We went to Marrakech and Fez about two years ago.  Stayed in the medina both times.  I highly recommend both locations if you are so inclined (Riad Laaroussa in Fez and Riad Meriem in Marrakech).  The hosts at both were wonderful.  Breakfasts were great and we even dined with them one night at each place-which I highly recommend.

Things to do/take in: Obviously, spend at least a half-full day just wandering around the souks. In Marrakech, head over to La Mamounia for a drink-just to see the gardens and interior.  Wander around Jemaa el-Fnaa and check out the monkeys, snake charmers and watermen.  Make sure to secure a table at a rooftop café, near the square, as the square changes from its daytime look to nighttime when all the food vendors push their carts in and set up.  Then head down, pick out a place, take a seat and have a pretty cool meal.  For an absolutely epic meal, make sure to get a reservation at Dar Yacout.  it's even listed in 1001 things to do before you die.  For French food, we loved Le Comptoir du Pacha and absolutely love the rooftop bar for lunch and a cocktail at KosybarWe also enjoyed walking through Medersa Ben Youssef and Jardin de Majorelle.

In Fez, we ate three times at Cafe Clock-try the camel burger!  If you stay at Riad Laarroussa, take part in their Hammam and enjoy a leisurely afternoon on their rooftop.  Snag the huge bed and enjoy the view.

A helpful note-we bought some vodka on our way at duty free.  Pick up fresh squeezed orange juice at Djemaa el-fna, and make some of the best screwdrivers around!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Medersa Ben Youssef (attraction)
  2. Cafe Clock (restaurant)
  3. Riad Laaroussa (hotel)
  4. Riad Meriem (hotel)
  5. Dar Yacout (restaurant)
  6. Le Comptoir du Pacha (restaurant)
  7. Kosybar (attraction)
  8. Jardin de Majorelle (attraction)
  9. La Mamounia (hotel)
  10. Jemaa el-Fnaa (attraction)
6 thankscomments (1)


answered first by
Tony from Seattle

(hey fellow Seattle-ite!)

Ooooh, we loved Morocco.  We wrote a wrap-up post on the whole experience that might be worth a read: http://www.50millionsteps.com/so-you-want-to-travel-to-morocco/

Fez is amazing-- you'll definitely want to stay in the Medina de Fez if at all possible.  We were not huge fans of Marrakech (but the Jemaa el-Fnaa is worth a day) and heard that Casablanca was lousy, so avoided it.

Essaouira is an amazing old port town.  Maybe our favorite town in Morocco.


 Oualidia is a nice hidden gem-- a great little town with a protected lagoon that the royals used to spend a lot of time on.

For the Sahara, a good gateway town is Merzouga (take an overnight camel trip!).

Also, be sure to hit Tinghir and the Gorges De Todra (Todra Gorge).  Go past the hotels there and stay at Auberge le Festival - the setting is just stunning.

One thing we had to bail on was trekking in the Atlas Mountains, which looks amazing.  There are Barbary macaques there (mountain monkeys!).

Have an awesome trip.  If you think about it, come back to this question and post your highlights-- we'd love to go back.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Fez (city)
  2. Medina de Fez (attraction)
  3. Marrakech (city)
  4. Casablanca (city)
  5. Essaouira (city)
  6. Oualidia (city)
  7. Merzouga (city)
  8. Tinghir (city)
  9. Gorges De Todra (attraction)
  10. Auberge le Festival (hotel)
  11. Atlas Mountains (attraction)
  12. Jemaa el-Fnaa (attraction)
5 thanks


answered by
Robson from Istanbul

Hi Austin,
Me and my wife spent 20 days in Morocco last May.
What we loved :

Marrakech
Jemaa el-Fnaa, this lively square caught us. It's a mix of smells, sounds & images that you cant get bored. We tried several food stalls and our favorite is the number 26, in a corner near the stalls selling snails.
Jardin de Majorelle, this garden is an oasis to escape from the buzz of the Medina.
Medersa Ben Youssef, this islamic college has amazing carvings!
Musee De Marrakesh, just beside of Madrasa, also really beautiful. ( buy the combined ticket, it's cheaper)

Desert - There are several tours departing from Marrakech, your Hotel/Riad can arrange it. If you are in 4 suggest to get a private tour with guide.  
Make sure that the tour will pass by Gorges du Dadèsand Ouarzazate, Incredible places!

Essaouria
This small village has a really laidback atmosphere. Camels & kitesurfers share space in the beach :)
The old city was used as set for Game of Thrones! 

We didnt liked much of Fes, understand that the city is really important on Moroccan history but I would not return.

We stayed 1 day in Azrou, near Fez and loved the city, it's used as base to explore Parc National Ifrane. Wish we had more time to enjoy the park.
I would suggest 3 days in Marrakech, 3 in the Desert, 1 in Essaouria and 2 in Ifrane National Park.


Check out our travelblog & instagram for some pics from Morocco: www.loveandroad.com

Enjoy your trip!!!!

ps. bargain for everything!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Jardin de Majorelle (attraction)
  2. Gorges du Dadès (attraction)
  3. Ouarzazate (city)
  4. Essaouria (city)
  5. Medersa Ben Youssef (attraction)
  6. Musee De Marrakesh (attraction)
  7. Azrou (hotel)
  8. Parc National Ifrane (attraction)
  9. Jemaa el-Fnaa (attraction)
4 thankscomments (2)


answered by
zaza from Casablanca

Hi, I suggest you start with Fes in order to directly embrasse the moroccan culture. The athmosphere in the city and especially the old medina is great. Just hit the streets to discover the city, the carpet shops..etc I think 2 or 3 days max. Don't miss the hidden palaces for a nice dinner such as Palais Amani (it is a hotel too). Then Marrakech. You can mix typical visits : The souk of Jemaa el-Fnaa - Jardin de Majorelle - the Les Jardins de la Menara (the spots are all known) and a great nightlife and restaurants : Djellabar restaurant - the Bo&Zin restaurant (great) - Lotus Club. There is an amazing place to have lunch or for a drink during the day called the Fellah hotel. Don't miss it ! If your stomack is not bulletproof avoid eating at the market at Jamaa el-Fna, or if you are the adventurous type ask for your meat well cooked ! (and avoid fruits and raw vegetables). If you are looking for an extra fancy spot in marrakech, try the brunch at La Mamounia (reservation needed). For the hotel you can go with : El Fenn. If you are tired of relaxing, you can spend an adventurous day at Terres d'Amanar. It is spectacular (http://www.terresdamanar.com/index.php?lan=en

For the third spot, from marrakech you have several options : 1- "Hotel Paradis Plage" : This is a hotel in the small village of Taghazout (4 hours drive). It is dedicated to yoga and surfing. The rooms are amazing (small villa or suites), there you will enjoy all the nautical sports, maybe see dolphins and rest at the spa. 2- "Essaouira" : this small city is very windy, this is why all the wind and kite surfers are visiting it. The medina is very cute, I really love it but it may be redundant with fes. 3- Ouarzazate : The doors of the desert. Be carefull the road to get there is quite dangerous (full of bends in the mountain). But the landscape is amazing. This is the city where movies from all over the wolrd are shot. So don't mistake the people there, they may not look like it, but they have all worked once with brad pitt :) You can see the gigantic shooting sets rising from the desert if you take a quad or buggy ride. 4 - If you want to actually stay IN the desert, you will have to drive another 5 hours to Zagora and Merzouga. You must get in touch with a tour in marrakech to arrange your stay (check www.imilchil-voyages.com). You will need at least 4 days for this trip. Hope all this will help !


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Fes (city)
  2. Palais Amani (hotel)
  3. Marrakech (city)
  4. Jardin de Majorelle (attraction)
  5. Les Jardins de la Menara (attraction)
  6. Djellabar (attraction)
  7. Bo&Zin (restaurant)
  8. Lotus Club (attraction)
  9. La Mamounia (hotel)
  10. El Fenn (hotel)
  11. Terres d'Amanar (attraction)
  12. Hotel Paradis Plage (hotel)
  13. Taghazout (city)
  14. Essaouira (city)
  15. Ouarzazate (city)
  16. Zagora (city)
  17. Merzouga (city)
  18. Jemaa el-Fnaa (attraction)
3 thanks


answered by
Nisrine from Casablanca, Morocco

You can take a trip from Marrakech to the Sahara Desert, it takes about 3 days and you go through the Moyen Atlas mountains, spending one night in a hostel in between the Gorges du Dadès and then the another night in the Sahara. Organised tours for this leave marrakech everyday. 

Also try to stop by Essaouira, one of the most amazing cities in Morocco, you can enjoy fresh fish and incredible food. 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Marrakech (city)
  2. Sahara Desert (attraction)
  3. Moyen Atlas (attraction)
  4. Gorges du Dadès (attraction)
  5. Essaouira (city)
3 thanks


answered by
Diana

If you have time, head to Chefchaouen. It is a magical city not too far from Tangierhttp://www.dtravelsround.com/2012/03/13/chefchaouen-morocco/


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Chefchaouen (city)
  2. Tangier (city)
1 thanks


answered by
Mariana

If you're doing your research on tour companies and haven't decided exactly which company to go with, after searchin i find Morocco Excursions Company . You will not be disappointed. Trust me, I spent way more time than I'd like to admit on which company to go with and I am extremely satisfied with my decision. I was skeptical at first because of all of the high rated reviews, but after having gone with them, I see why. Our driver Hassan was probably the coolest guy you can experience Morocco with. It was the most fun we had in a while. I know I'm not the first to say this, nor will I be the last, but this was the highlight of our entire trip. It's without a doubt worth the cost. 

Our most favorite part was visiting the Sahara. It was unforgettable. You just can't appreciate beauty, until you've crossed into the desert and looked up at the night sky. My wife and I were the only two at the camp that night, but Hasan (the other Hasan) stopped by and engaged in conversation almost all night. We had a ton of questions about Morocco, the Berber people and even the people from around the world he's come across while running an excursion company.

I know there's a ton of excursion/tour companies, but I can't recommend Morocco Excursions enough. 




answered by
Trish from London

I'm seconding *thirding?* La Mamounia, the Jardin de Majorelle and the town of Essaouria.

I highly recommend a trip to the Atlas mountains (you can just do a day tour). Another idea is to hire a taxi to take you to the mountains and stop for lunch at Richard Branson's hotel Kasbah Tamadot while you're up there. Very luxe and breathtaking views.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. La Mamounia (hotel)
  2. Jardin de Majorelle (attraction)
  3. Essaouria (city)




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