13 day round trip in Morocco
I (Bolle) think back so fondly to our Morocco round trip. Somehow the oriental world fascinates me and magically draws me in every time. Morocco and me? That was definitely love at first sight. Only 4 hours by plane from Germany and you are already in the middle of a completely different world. Bustling markets, long sandy beaches, crazy smells, colorful alleys, delicious food, beautiful buildings and so much more – Morocco definitely knows how to convince. In today’s post, I’d like to introduce you to our Morocco itinerary through the “Big South” and inspire you for your very own trip through the country. Have fun browsing!
Our Morocco Route & Duration
Our 13 days trip (12 nights) took us from Marrakech over the High Atlas Mountains and on into the vastness of the Sahara Desert. The round trip then continued through Morocco to the Atlantic Ocean to Taghazout and Essaouira. We recommend for such a round trip at least 7 days, better however 12 – 14 days. Some routes are quite long and some places are far away from each other. Focus on one region of the country and don’t try to cram everything into one week! Below the map, you will find a table with all stops and distance information.
- arrival in Marrakech
Our Morocco round trip started then in Marrakech, the former capital of the Moroccan Empire. Today, this city is mainly an important economic center with nearly 930,000 inhabitants. Here you can expect many mosques, beautiful palaces and gardens, labyrinthine alleys, restaurants, cafes and lots of markets. Marrakech is a noisy and bustling city, yet you simply must have seen and experienced this city.
We found the Bahia Palace, the Koranic school Medersa Ben Youssef, the botanical garden Jardin Majorelle, the Koutoubia Mosque and of course the bustling souks in the narrow streets of the medina particularly beautiful. Here you can get clothes, jewelry, shoes, leather goods, souvenirs, food, and really anything you can imagine, among other things. Don’t miss the central square Djemma el Fna and enjoy the hustle and bustle. The best highlights & sights are here.
Our accommodation in Marrakech
We stayed for 2 nights in the very nice Riad Alwachma*. This accommodation is located in the western center of the city and impresses especially with oriental details, a beautiful roof terrace, a pretty courtyard and beautiful rooms in the style of 1001 nights.
On Tripadvisor*, the riad is rated 5 out of 5 points from over 500 reviews. You can get a double room with breakfast for as little as 70€ per night. The location is great, the staff incredibly friendly and the food is also very tasty. Absolute recommendation from us!
2nd High Atlas & Tamdaght
After 3 days desert tour from Marrakech to Merzouga in Marrakech, we continued our journey through the country by rental car. Our next accommodation was located about 170 kilometers from Marrakech, behind the Atlas Mountains. We drove on the N9 in the direction of Toufliht and further to Telouet. According to Google it was only 3.5 hours, but in the end we needed much longer, as it took us an hour alone to even get out of Marrakech. The traffic there is really turbulent and bustling, not for the faint of heart!
But eventually we reached the Atlas Mountains, which stretch almost 2300 kilometers across Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. On this day, the weather was not on our side, the higher we got, the windier, rainier and colder it became. The clouds hung low, visibility was severely limited. We meandered along the roads and eventually reached the other side and the mountain valley. Now we saw picturesque valleys, green river oases and traditional villages. We crossed the Tizi n’ Tichka pass at an altitude of 2260 meters and reached our accommodation after almost 6 hours. ☞ Everything about the tour and accommodation here.
Our accommodation in Tamdaght
For one night we were allowed to stay in the beautiful Kasbah Ellouze. This accommodation* consists of a traditional clay building with a very beautiful courtyard and four towers. In the entrance area, there is also a cozy salon, a wonderful jazz room for breakfast as well as dinner, an outdoor pool, several terraces with views of the mountains and the village.
To welcome us, we had fresh mint tea and pastries once again, then we got the keys to the family suite. We especially liked the traditional construction and the many beautiful oriental details. The food was also excellent, nothing was missing. We can only recommend the Kasbah Ellouze! On Tripadvisor*, the accommodation gets 4.5 out of a possible 5 points from 495 reviews.
- the Todra Gorge in Tenehir
Our Morocco desert tours continued via Quarzazate to El-Kelaâ M’Gouna. We left the green valley behind us, the landscape became drier and drier. Almost 200 kilometers we drove through the valley of roses and reached at the end the date palm oasis Tinghir and the beautiful Todra gorge. Here on the road of the Kasbahs, it winds first up the mountain and then down again, past small clay villages and ancient Kasbahs.
We parked the car and walked towards the gorge. The walls of the rocky breakthrough, which is only a few meters wide, rise several hundred meters into the air. A really great sight! This gorge belongs to the most spectacular canyons in the world, madness! Especially beautiful is the last part of the canyon, which is only about 10 meters wide. Visit the gorge best in the morning or evening, otherwise you have to share the view with tour buses.
Our accommodation in Tinghir
In Tinghir, we stayed for one night at the small and cozy Kasbah Petit Nomad*. This accommodation is about 9 kilometers from Tinghir and has a small outdoor pool, a restaurant, parking and rooms with garden or mountain views. You can end the evening comfortably in the shared lounge. It was okay for one night, but nothing super special compared to our other accommodations on the tour. On Tripadvisor*, Kasbah Petit Nomad gets 5 out of 5 points from over 255 reviews.
- the magical Sahara desert
Finally, we were getting closer to our goal, finally, we were able to fulfill a long-awaited dream. Now only 200 kilometers separated us from Merzouga, our starting point for the tour into the Sahara Desert. On the way we met, again and again, wild camels on the streets, here caution is required. At some point on the horizon, we could then see the first sand dunes, the anticipation rose immeasurably.
A hotel complex on the edge of the desert, we left our luggage and the car, grabbed only the most important clothes, and started our tour into the desert. Together with 6 other tourists, our guides, and some camels we walked towards the sunset. Sand dunes as far as the eyes could see. It is unimaginable and totally surreal. Did you know that the Sahara is about 5000 km wide? For comparison: New York and Los Angeles are “only” about 4000 kilometers apart.
After 90 minutes we reached our camp. Like little children we jumped through the soft and fine sand, let ourselves roll down the dunes, and enjoyed the sight of the endless expanse. Satisfaction spread. We don’t know why, but we were just happy and grateful to have just experienced this adventure. With thoughts of “everything is done right” we lay in each other’s arms and said goodbye to the last rays of sunshine…what a terrific day! You can read our full report here.
Our accommodation in the Sahara
After about 90 minutes we reached the desert camp. Surrounded by sand dunes, it lay sheltered from the wind in a hollow. The Berber tents actually had real double beds. We had not expected so much comfort in the desert. But we didn’t stay long in our tent, we preferred to spend the time until dinner in the sand instead! The small tents were equipped with large beds and many thick blankets. These were also bitterly necessary because it was cold as hell in the night. In the evening there was a delicious traditional meal, live music from the guides, and in the morning an equally delicious breakfast. Highly recommended!
- relaxation in Agdz
After this gigantic adventure, the next trip was waiting for us. In order not to spend too much time in the car, we drove “only” about 299 kilometers to Agdz. The drive went smoothly. From time to time, however, we had to take our foot off the gas pedal because donkeys, camels, or goats ran onto the road. It went past the mountain landscapes of the Jbel Toubkal and extensive stone deserts.
Around noon we reached the chain of oases of the Drâal valley. Every now and then, one could spot one of the many kasbahs in the valley. Here, the way is definitely the goal! On this day we did not make any more exciting excursions but enjoyed every minute in our beautiful accommodation. It was good to let the soul dangle a little and switch off the head for a moment.
Our accommodation in Agdz
Agdz itself is only a small province with about 14,000 inhabitants. Highlights here are the mountains in the surrounding area, the houses painted in light red and ocher colors, and the Drâa Valley. We were accommodated in the beautiful Kasbah Azul*, our little paradise in the middle of nowhere.
We expected here a great garden with outdoor pool and chill corner, a beautiful terrace, oriental rooms and a communal lounge. We fell in love directly with this bed & breakfast. More info and pictures here as well. At Tripadvisor* this accommodation gets 5 out of 5 points from over 290 reviews.
- surfing in Taghazout
Surfing in Morocco? Yes, baby! From Agdz we started our longest tour, it was about 380 km to Taghazout, a small surfer village on the Atlantic coast. After an estimated 6 hours we finally arrived at our destination and were looking forward to a few days of sun, beach, and sea. Among surfers, Taghazout in Morocco is definitely one of the best spots in the world. After all, anyone can do Bali, Australia or Hawaii! Here you experience a successful mix of culture, sun, beach, and often perfect waves.
In Taghazout there is no long list of sights, here it’s more about the vibe, about a certain feeling. Everywhere you pass young people with surfboards under their arms, old men drink tea and play cards, on the floor cats slumber around the bet and flirt with one or the other small nibble from your plate. In Taghazout, people like to sit together, have fun and enjoy their time by the sea. Our tip for you: surf, eat, sleep and repeat! Read more here: Surfing in Taghazout – Our experience report.
Our accommodation in Taghazout
Unfortunately, our accommodation was a complete flop. The hostel “Sunside Surf House” we can not recommend at all, because it was very dirty, run down and loud (at least at that time). We would have loved to move out again, but in the end it was simply: close your eyes and go! But we want to introduce you to a few other accommodations, which we would also book ourselves. Do you have a tip for us? Then put it in the comments.
- exploration tour in Essaouira
After our relaxing days in the surfing village of Taghazput, we continued down the coast to the small town of Essaouira, about 150 km away. Here live about 78,000 people, compared to Marrakesh (928,000 inhabitants) so very clear. We found the oriental medina with the many mysterious and winding alleys and the great markets and stalls particularly beautiful. In Essaouira it was really relaxed, cars are not allowed to drive within the medina. So you can also stroll and stroll leisurely.
Outside the city walls, we visited the traditional fishing port with the many blue boats, the fortress with great views over the sea, and the seemingly endless sandy beach with bars and restaurants. Off the coast of Essaouira are the two offshore small islands of Mogador.
These serve as a bird sanctuary and may not be entered throughout the year. The reason for this is that Eleonor’s hawks are found here and breed from April to October. Only with fishing boats, it is possible to go around the island. Entrance fee fortress: 10 Dirham (1€). More about the city
here: Field report Essaouira.
Our accommodation in Essaouira
For two nights we stayed at the beautiful Riad Lyon Mogador*. This riad is located right in the heart of the medina, ideal for any city explorations. From the outside, the Riad seems totally inconspicuous, but from the inside, a small dream oasis awaits you here. The nicely furnished rooms are spread over 4 floors. Especially nice was the morning breakfast on the roof terrace with a view over the roofs of Essaouira. By the way, the Riad is rated on Tripadvisor* with 4.5 out of 5 points from over 360 reviews.
- let the journey end in Marrakech
The last two days dawned and slowly we had to make our way back to Marrakech. Ahead of us now lay another 185 kilometers before we could hand in our car. In Marrakech we let our journey end comfortably, visited among other things still some places, like for example the beautiful botanical garden Jardin Majorelle and the Koutoubia mosque. Of course, on the last day we also bought some souvenirs in the souks. Also a relaxed dinner in the evening could not be missing and so there was a large portion of tajine with a view of the central square Djemaa el Fna.
Conclusion about our Morocco route
We enjoyed our time in Morocco very much and found our round trip and route perfectly. It was at no time stressful for us, we “worked off” the route quite relaxed. We got a fascinating insight into people, country, and culture. We are already looking forward to another Morocco round trip, but this time through the beautiful north around Tangier, Casablanca, Fes, Rabat, and Co. When will it be? Hopefully as soon as possible. I (Bolle) have incredible wanderlust and would love to travel to Morocco tomorrow.