Only have 7 days in Morocco? It’s short. But we can try!
Reader Question: Hi, Trisha! Thank you for responding to my comment! I didn’t expect it, really! I actually don’t have any dates in mind yet but Morocco has always been on my bucket list. In the event I’d be travelling, I’d bring my little family with me (my husband and seven-year-old daughter). Please advise when’s the best time to go (Is April- May) okay? Which places to visit for 4-5 days and how much do we have to prepare?! – Ednamae from Singapore
In the title, I wrote “let’s try” because I haven’t tried staying in one place for 5 days. For me, short-term travels are more expensive, more tiring and has to be planned carefully. Long-term traveling always worked for me with no hassles but since the community of readers of this blog is growing, I am doing a very detailed itinerary and the most realistic route that you can take if you only have 7 days in Morocco.
First, let’s talk money. 1 USD is equivalent to 9.75 MAD (Morocco’s currency is called Moroccan dirham). Let’s round it to 10 shall we? 10 dirhams… Hmmm, let’s see. For this price, you can buy 1 big bottle of water, 2 glasses of orange juice at the Shouk, and 5 sticks of cigarettes. Get the picture? Morocco is a very cheap country which makes it a European favourite.
When looking for accommodations in Morocco, I found it very easy to book via Booking.com. Since we were driving, I didn’t have the exact time of our arrival and there were incidents that we didn’t make it because it was too late so the no credit card reservation really worked for me. When we wanted to have a little privacy and/or staying in one place for a while, I always choose AirBnB not just because it’s cheap but because you can find a lot of legit Moroccan riad in the listing!
From beaches to mountains to deserts – Morocco has it all. With this, I decided to give you three different itineraries for 7 days in Morocco so take your pick. I don’t know what type of traveler you are but binge read below. I hope you’ll find the best itinerary for you.
Option 1: Central Morocco
Casablanca – Marrakech – the Sahara – the Atlas
Day 1 - Casablanca
Often skipped, Casablanca is quite cool to explore for one day. It won’t hurt, most especially if you were in a very long flight (let’s say from Asia) and you want to slow down a bit. Casablanca is a great start to get to know Morocco.
Day 2 - Marrakech
The following day, make sure to eat your breakfast at the hotel as you are about to embark on a 4-hour journey to Marrakech. That is, if you opt to hire a car. Hiring a taxi in Casablanca to Marrakech is pretty easy. You can always ask the concierge or do it on your own by haggling in the streets. Normally, it would cost $200 – $300 (approx). This taxi will take you directly to your hotel in Marrakech. Other options include:
- a 3-hour train ride which costs $70 – $100 (approx)
- a 3.5-hour bus ride for $85 – $100 (approx)
- a 30-minute flight for $150 – $300 USD (approx)
Prices above are very close to each other so it’s really up to you! If you leave Casablanca early morning, you will be able to explore Marrakech by noon.
When strolling the Medinas, you will find yourself enticed with the Moroccan crafts but whatever you do, do not shop in Marrakech. I swear to you, it is more expensive than any souks in Morocco. I am sure you are excited to do shopping but I highly suggest you do it in Casablanca. We all have different definitions of ‘cheap’ but you can always trust your instinct and your haggling skills if you really want to shop in Marrakech.
Take note that in all aspects, Marrakech tends to be a little more expensive so the best way to save money is to see the mosques, museums, art galleries, etc. I honestly just went to Marrakech to film the Jemaa el-Fnaa, which I believe the unique square that this touristy city has. During high season, Marrakech is very crowded and I personally don’t like the vibe and the unhygienic ways of this city.
Day 3 - The High Atlas, Ait Ben Haddou and Dades Gorges
Get ready for a whole day of driving! I did this in 2013: I signed up for a tour in Marrakech (there are loads of tour agencies there) and they all have the same itinerary.
They will pick you up at 8:00 am. The drive will show you spectacular views of the High Atlas, passing through the port of Tizi N’Tichka with panoramic views. In this trip, you will also get the chance to visit the Argan Oil Cooperative, where you will discover the process of making Argan Oil (Morocco’s finest) in the same time learn the numerous benefits of this magical tree. We will continue to the south and then take a 6 km trail to the fortified village of Ait Ben Haddou, where we will visit its monumental Kasbah (UNESCO World Heritage Site). In this spectacular frame have been filmed films of such renown as Gladiator, Obelix, Sahara with Penélope Cruz or La Joya del Nilo … Lunch in the village and continuation of the trip to
You will also visit the Ait Ben Haddou, one of the filming locations of the hit series Game of Thrones. In GOT language, Ait Ben Haddou is Yunkai, also known as the Yellow City. To remind you better, it is where Daenerys Targaryen planned to rule. She was offered gold and ships in return to leave them at peace. Nope, it’s not green screen. It’s exactly how you saw it in Season 3. Don’t forget to take photos! The movie Gladiator was also filmed in Ait Ben Haddou.
You will be taken to a small village nearby to have lunch (Moroccan) and continue the drive to Ourzazate for a quick stop and photo ops. The trip will go towards the Valley of the Roses, passing through the great palm grove of Skoura and Boulmane. The night will finish at a hotel Dades Gorges. Dinner will also be served.
Day 4 - Dades Gorges - Todra Gorges - Sahara Desert (Merzouga)
After breakfast, you will go down a road to observe the gorges from a location in the mountains and then follow a route dotted with beautiful a Kasbah. The guide will give you the chance to take photos during the stops. After several stops, you wil arrive Todra Gorge, a grand canyon look alike with rivers carved our from cliffs.
Just before sunset, you should arrive the city of Merzouga where you will rest a bit and prepare for the camel ride to the Sahara desert. The ride will take 1.5 hours so brace yourself. It will be a real Sahara dune experience but the ride is a bit painful, most especially if you don’t find the best seating position.
Once you arrive the camp site, you will get the chance to see the sunset while sipping tea. Moroccan dinner will be served afterwards and the night will be about watching the stars. It’s one of the best experiences of my life and I can’t help but smile every time I remember this moment.
The Berber tents will keep you warm in the desert cold so don’t worry – you don’t have to bring a blanket. They have everything there – as if you are in a real hotel!
Day 5: Merzouga, Risani-Draa Valley, Atlas Studios
The following day, you need to be awake by 5:30 am to watch the sunrise. Once the sun is up, you will immediately go back (via camel ride) because it can get really hot by 6:30 am. Travel agencies have partnerships with some Riads in the starting point so don’t worry! You will get the chance to shower and have breakfast before moving on to the trip.
You have to leave at 9:00 am and continue to Rissani. In here, you will get to visit one of the largest markets in the area where you can do shopping. Most of the sellers here are nomads of the dessert so you can expect cheaper prices than Marrakech.
The journey will continue through the arid where you will see intepre-deserte desert landscapes until you reach the Draa Valley. The longest river in Morocco is located here. It crosses the entire country up to its neighbour, Mauritania. After which, you see the Atlas Studios (about 5km from Ourzazate), the world’s biggest film studio. Take your time and discover what famous movies were filmed in Morocco. You’ll be surprised!
Close by is a hotel arranged by the tour agency where you will have dinner and spend the night.
Day 6 - Back to Marrakech
Get ready for a long drive to Marrakech as it can take up to 12 hours! As usual, throughout the drive, you will see spectacular views. You will have lunch stops along the way and also more opportunities to take photos. Make sure you are all charged!
You will reach Marrakech around sunset and you will have the opportunity to explore the city again. If you are flying early the next day, you can continue your way to Casablanca. Please see the instructions on how to get to Casablanca in the beginning of the Central Morocco section.
I will not include Day 7 here. Feel free to explore your exit port (Casablanca) or stay in Marrakech. You already know the travel time between these two cities. It all depends on what time your flight will be.
Option 2: Northern Morocco
Tangier – Chefchaouen – Fez
Day 1 - Tangier
From Casablanca, Royal Air Maroc flies seven times a day to Tangier. Flight duration is 1 hour and a one-way airfare costs $106 USD approx. I stayed in Kenzi Solazur Hotel, a 4-star hotel good for families and business travelers. They offer airport services but if you want to do it on your own, you can just hail a can in Tangier-Ibn Batouta Airport (about 7.5 miles from the city centre; 20 minutes travel time). It will cost you around 100 MAD ($10USD approx). Prices can go up to $20 USD if you land at night. On this day, you can do:
Day 2 - Tangier
Tangier is a port city with close proximity to Spain and Gibraltar so expect a Spanish culture thicker than that of Spain. Historically, Tangier was once home to famous writers like Paul Bowles,William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac. In 2013, I spent almost a month in Tangier trying to find my ‘light’ in the hopes to write like them. Majority of my trip was about learning how they ended up in Tangier.
By sunset, you should pave your way to Chefchaouen. Travel time is 2-3 hours approx (114.5 km). To get to Tangier, you can:
- hire a private taxi ($120 USD approx). This is good for families
- take a train to Souk El Arba for $45 USD approx; leaves every 4 hours. From Souk El Arba, you have to take a bus to Chefchaouen for $50 USD approx but this bus only leaves once daily. You have to be on time!
Day 3 - Chefchaouen
In Chefchaouen, I stayed in Dar Sababa, a mid-range BNB that has a rooftop view of the city, amazing staff and delicious breakfast. This bed and breakfast is good for families, singles and couples. The most basic room costs $38 USD per night while the big family rooms can go up to $52.
Day 4 - Chefchaouen
The second day is more ‘outdoorsy’ so make sure you wake up early, pack your bags and check out. The same day, you will make your way to Fez.
Remember that you have to leave Chefchaouen before sunset and make your way to Fez. The easiest way to get to Fez from Chefchaouen is to hire a private taxi which costs $180 USD (approx). The trip will take 3.5 hours so make sure to bring snacks for the road!
Day 5 - Fez
Next to Casablanca, Fez is the second largest city in Morocco. It also has the biggest Medina in the whole country so be prepared to get lost! I forgot to mention in the other ‘Medina sections’ that there is no phone signal in Medinas so your friend, Google Maps won’t be able to give exact directions. While you are in it, take the plunge and get lost!
I stayed in Riad Maison Bleue and Spa in Fez, a 5-star accommodation good for families and couples. Their nightly rates start from $180 USD per night and they can also provide tours and services. This place is super quiet and located just next to one of the doors to the Medina.
Day 6 - Fez
Before heading out, make sure to pack your stuff and get ready for check-out. After breakfast, you can easily leave your luggage in your hotel’s storage and come back for it once you finish spending your last day in Fez.
Going back to Casablanca to take your flight home, you can:
- fly with Royal Air Maroc: ($180 – $270 USD approx; one-way ticket). From your hotel, the taxi service to the airport will cost $45 – $55 USD. Flight duration is one hour.
- take a train to Casablanca (departs from Fez hourly). Travel time is 4h 15m and will cost you around $100 – $140 per person (approx).
- take a direct bus from Fez to Casablanca (departs from Fez hourly). It will take 5 hours and will cost around $90 – $140 per person (approx)
- hire a private taxi which will take you directly to your hotel in Casablanca. The trip will take 3 hours and costs $260 – $350 USD (approx).
Day 7 - Casablanca
If your flight departs at night, then you’re in luck! You can still explore the less-visited city of Casablanca! The best way not to miss your flight is to stay in any hotels walking distance to the train station. It’s cheaper and more efficient especially if you are pressed for time. I stayed in Kenzi Sidi Maarouf and Kenzi Tower Hotel which are both close to the airport. For half a day in Casablanca, you can:
Option 3: Southern Morocco
Essaouira – Taghazout – Tamraght – Agadir
Day 1 - Arrival in Marrakech or Casablanca
Please check itineraries for the first day above whether you are arriving in Marrakech or Casablanca. Personally, I would say that the South is for beach lovers and surfers alike as it will give you a chance to explore the the coast.
The Southern Coast of Morocco is one of the most famous surf spots in the world, it is very quiet and laid-back. It’s best for a quiet and slow vacation.
If your point of entry is Casablanca, you can get to Essaouira (your first stop) by:
- bus for 7 hours. Ticket costs $13 – $18 USD
- by private taxi for 4 hours ($45 – $60 USD)
You can also fly from Casablanca or Marrakech to Agadir via Royal Air Maroc but the best (and cheapest) way you can do is to rent a car for $35 per day.
Day 2 - Essaouira
Remember the Unsullied? Yep, Essaouira is Astapor in Game of Thrones language. Like Tangier, Essaouira is also a port city and home to kitesurfers and wave surfers alike. One thing I love about this city is its small and quiet Medina. It’s very organised and has a lot of dining choices compared to the other Medinas.
Day 3 - Essaouira
This is a very chill trip so take your time and relax. Most days, Essaouira practices the art of doing nothing so if you are up for it, ride the wave and take it slow. You have time.
Day 4 - Arrival in Taghazout
I assume you decided to rent a car (as suggested above) but if you didn’t, you have to go back to Marrakech from Essaouira and take a bus from there to Taghazout. Uff, sounds tedious. Having your own car will give you the opportunity to slow down and take the trip at your own pace. I did it for one month all over Morocco and it was the best decision I ever made in navigating my travel!
As one of the best surf spots in the world, Taghazout boasts itself to its strong rideable waves visited by many surfers from all over the world. Three-time World Surfing Champion Mick Fanning is an avid visitor of this area.The most exotic beaches in Morocco are in the South so don’t think that there is nothing to do for non-surfers here.
Day 5 & 6 - Surf, soak up the sun and drive 'Souther'
If you are a beach person, you will definitely love spending your last few days in the south. Most people don’t visit this area as they are more enticed by the Medinas, arts and crafts but if you want to experience a different kind of Morocco, drive ‘Souther.’ All the cool kids of Morocco live there!
Day 7 - Departure
If you want to take this itinerary, please take note there is also an International airport in Agadir. Most Americans and Canadians fly out from here because, for some reasons, it’s so much closer to North America. I met a couple from Montreal and they said their flight was only for 5 hours! I will not go into details of the last day but from reading all the itineraries, you get the picture, right?
Frequently Asked Questions
Morocco is a very Western country (due to its close proximity to Europe) and is very used to tourists. Normal clothing is okay but some people can be very ‘old school’ so don’t be too revealing. A few women also get offended if you’re cleavage are plunging or your shorts are just too short. You can wear anything you deem ‘decent.’
Unfortunately, taking pictures have been very difficult (except for Marrakech which is very Western) and challenging because Moroccans are kind of allergic to cameras. What I did is to pretend I was just holding the camera, recorded non-stop and didn’t shove my camera to their faces. Be very discreet when taking pictures and always ask for permission. Giving money also works (i.e. musicians, artists on the streets). Old people will get really mad if you don’t ask first.
Like what I said, Morocco is very Western and are dependent on tourism. The bulk of their GDP is from tourism so believe me when I say it is safe and they are used to tourists. It’s not like India or Sri Lanka where everyone will stare at you like you have something on your face. Moroccans are very tolerant. The only thing that will make you tick off is when you are in the Medina or souks, everyone will always invite you to look at their shops. No, sorry. Not invite. Force. The best way to avoid this is to not make a conversation or not respond at all.
What would you do if you only have 7 days in Morocco? Which route will you take?
Have you been to Morocco? If yes, feel free to add more tips on the comment box below. Let’s help other travelers make their 7 days in Morocco a hell of a trip!
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