Morocco is a wonderfully diverse country, an almost hidden gem that acts as a gateway between Europe and Africa. From snow-capped mountains to expansive desert, from lush vegetation covering the rolling hills of the countryside to the busy winding streets of labyrinth-like medinas, Morocco has it all. In this article you will discover a 10 day road-trip itinerary exploring some of the costal regions of this beautiful country.
Before reading my itinerary, find out some useful information about travelling in Morocco…
DRIVING IN MOROCCO
You can rent a car fairly easily in Morocco from large international companies or smaller, local companies. If you wanted to, you could pay extra for a driver (but don’t forget about their meals and accommodation) or bring your own car – ensuring you have all the correct paperwork and insurance. Our BIG SHOCK driving through Morocco were the number of toll booths. Apparently it’s fairly common in other countries, but I haven’t really noticed or used them when driving in the UK. At one point we went through 3 toll booths within the space of 20 minutes, so make sure you keep plenty of cash in the car!
WHERE TO SLEEP
Hotels, riads or Air BnB, take your pick. We did a combination depending on what was available and how it would fit into our plans. I wish we had opted for a riad in Fes as it turned out our hotel was miles away from the historical medina (any excuse to go back though, am I right?).
WHAT TO EAT
There are plenty of service stations along the route, offering mixed grills or tagines and of course restaurants and cafes on nearly every corner of each city. So you’ll be spoilt for choice, if anything!
WHEN TO VISIT
The best time to visit Morocco is in the spring (mid-March to May) or autumn ( September to October), it is warm but pleasant with the odd April shower.
10 Days in Morocco: Road Trip Itinerary
Days 1 -2: Rabat
We drove from Marrakech (3h50m), but you could always fly into Rabat and start your road trip from there directly. Rabat is the capital city of Morocco and not often what springs to mind when somebody thinks of tourist destinations in Morocco. But, it has plenty to offer.
- Settle into your accommodation, enjoy some Moroccan hospitaltiy before heading out.
- Walk through the medina and souks to Kasbah les Oudaias* & Andalusian Gardens for a relaxing and visually appealing stroll.
- Sit down to a soothing cup of mint tea while overlooking the bay
- Head left along the seafront to Rabat Lighthouse or right for Hassan tower and watch the sun set.
- Spend your second day at Rabat Zoo, a great way to tire the children out before getting back on the road to Fes (2h15m).
Day 3: Fes
The hotel that we booked was a lot further from the medina than we realised. We hardly saw the city and wish we had booked to stay for longer. Another trip (maybe by train this time) is definitely on the cards for the future. In the meantime, these three places in Fes are at the top of my wish list:
- Fes Medina – this historical medina is the largest car-free urban area in the world and definitely cannot be explored in one day, it’s often recommended to hire a local tour guide to help you navigate the winding labyrinth-like streets of this medina.
- Mellah – Morocco’s first official Jewish district created in 1438, just east of the royal palace.
- Chourara Tannery – a tannery operating since the 16th century and probably the most recognisable tannery worldwide.
Chefchaouen otherwise known as Moroccos’ Blue City and notorious Instagram hotspot, was a sudden switch to Spanish from French and quickly lost it’s appeal after a couple of hours. Our favourite place was a bio-cosmetic shop La Botica de la Abuela Aladdin with soaps hanging by the dozen from the ceiling, spilling out of baskets it’s a great place to stop and pick up a few souvenirs but not worth spending the night in my opinion.
Day 5: Ceuta
Ceuta is actually a Spanish autonomous city that shares it’s border with Morocco, there is another Spanish enclave Melilla further down the coast that we are yet to visit. Visits can cross the border by car, or on foot. The car we rented didn’t have the correct paperwork to enter ‘Europe’ so we parked it at a hotel in Fnediq and hitched a ride to the border. It’s a very small yet typically Spanish city with Moroccan influence. While it is small, Ceuta still has enough on offer to make the most of your day:
- Plenty of beaches: Playa del Chorrillo was the children”s favourite beach to run along
- Peurto de Ceuta, the harbour offering views of Gibraltar (a British territory in Spain)
- Plenty of museums to choose from, but be aware of the odd opening times
Day 6: Casablanca
Casablanca may be your first experience of Morocco, home to it’s main international airport. Home to Morocco Mall and the country’s only IKEA – it’s definitely my favourite place for a shopping trip. But that’s not all it has to offer.
- After settling into your accommodation, head to Hassan II Mosque, the 2nd largest functioning mosque in Africa and the 7th largest in the world. It’s also one of the few mosques that offers tours to non-Muslim visitors.
- Take a local taxi to La Corniche, Casablanca’s beachfront lined with restaurants overlooking the beaches filled with surfers and sunbathers. Perfect place to enjoy a meal while watching the sunset, and walk back to your accommodation past street food vendors and entertainers.
Days 7: Essaouria
This is your chance to slow down before heading to the hustle and bustle of Marrakech. This port city with strong winds makes it a popular spot for surfing, wind-sailing and kite-surfing enthusiasts.
- Walk through the medina, it’s a lot calmer and more open than the medinas of Fes and Marrakech.
- Take photos near Essaouria’s famous blue fishing boats, be warned it is an active fishing port which may be too much for sensitive noses.
- Go horse riding on the beach, I haven’t actually done this yet but it’s definitely on my bucket list and Essaouria is the best place to check it off!
Days 8-10: Marrakech
There are so many things to see and do in Marrakech, so here are some of my favourites:
- Grab breakfast at Dar El Bacha, a museum and coffee house. It’s our favourite place and we go several times a year!
- Walk around Koutoubia, the largest mosque in Marrakech near Jemaa el-Fnaa, a square and market place that leads into the medina.
- Spend the morning at Le Jardin Secret, an elegant, ornate 19th-century palace complex with traditional Islamic gardens.
- Tired of walking? Take a horse and carriage ride through the old (and new) towns of Marrakech.