Check out the best bits of Morocco, in Casablanca, Fes, Merzouga and Marrakech
Hang in Casablanca before a homestay in Moulay Idriss, see lots of cool old stuff in Fes, head on to Midelt, Mergouza and Erg Chebbi for walking, ruins and a sunset camel ride. Ride on through the dunes to Todra Gorge, before visiting Dades Valley and Ail Benhaddou. Finish up with High Atlas and sexy Marrakech.
Morocco is the land of legendary hospitality, so mind your manners. Bring a scarf to cover your shoulders and take off your shoes if you enter someone's home (plan ahead and wear clean socks).
- Physical rating
- Traveller’s rating
18 , Max
- Group size
Why we love this trip
Pre-2005, you wouldn't have been able to spend a night in holy Moulay Idriss if you weren't a Muslim. These days you can stay with an awesome local family and eat their delicious home-cooked fare no matter your beliefs
It's easy to get lost in a labyrinth (think less David Bowie film, more medieval maze), especially when there are enticing distractions at every turn. Never fear, your local guide knows the city of Fes like a lifelong friend
Don't get in a hoof when you're offered a camel burger in Meknes. Like all good food in the medina, this exotic lunch is cooked before your eyes at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant
Sleep under the stars in the Sahara, watch the sun rise over the dunes, ride a camel through the desert and explore the spectacular Todra Gorge. Is this all a dream?
Souq and ye shall find. The Marrakech marketplace is even more chaotic than you'd imagine. Take a deep breath before you start haggling your socks off with the locals
How about tasting some Berber Whisky? Even better, how about learning how to prepare this traditional drink? Learn from the experts on one of the exclusive demonstrations.
Who knows where the best street food is in Marrakech? Those who knows the streets of Marrakech best. Venture out for some street food tasting in the maze of Marrakech streets with the local expert.
Is this trip right for you?
In a full-day tour around the Medina of Fes (Day 4), you'll be on your feet for a good five to six hours. Keep in mind that this is one of the highlights of Morocco and well worth the exertion!
The camel trek through the Sahara (Day 6) is an amazing way to experience the desert, but it may be painful on your backside. If you'd prefer, it's possible to walk alongside the caravan on the sand for about an hour. Remember that you'll need to make the (quite easy) walk back in the other direction the next day.
The Todra Gorge visit (Day 7) takes you to a remote area of Morocco. It is an amazing place to discover on foot, but to do so you'll need a moderate level of fitness and suitable footwear and clothing. If trekking isn’t your thing, have no fear, as there are plenty of other activities to do in the valley.
The weather in Morocco can be extreme. Summer temperatures can be uncomfortably hot, especially if you're not used to the heat. If you do travel in the warmer months, bring the necessary sun protection and drink plenty of water.
In 2016, Ramadan will take place from 7 June to 6 July. It may cause some disturbance to your travel schedule. Some regular services may not be available or open during the daytime, such as restaurants or coffee bars. Please consider your travel arrangements carefully.
Although you shouldn’t expect any aggressive selling techniques in Morocco, please be aware that you may be approached regularly by shop owners and street vendors.
We've sourced our accommodation carefully and picked the best possible hotels in line with the Geckos style of travel, but please note that service and accommodation in Morocco may be different to western standards.
Salaam Aleikum! Welcome to Morocco. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at around 6 pm on Day 1. There are no activities planned until this important meeting. Check the hotel reception for the exact time and place of the meeting. If you can't arrange a flight in time, you might want to arrive a day early – we can book additional accommodation for you, depending on availability. If you're going to be late, please contact the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so make sure you have these ready to give your trip leader. If you do arrive early in Casablanca, get out and explore the city. A good place to start is the Old Medina. Try some hot, syrupy mint tea along the way.
Notes: Some travellers in Casablanca are being approached by locals offering excursions before their Geckos trip commences. This has been particularly common in and around the hotels used by Geckos. These guides are in no way connected to Geckos and we cannot guarantee the safety or quality standards of their tours. We strongly advise customers not to join any tour offered by unauthorised guides. Geckos assesses the safety of all optional excursions offered by our local leaders. If you would like more information on the excursions available, please contact us before you travel, or see the Geckos-branded notice in the reception of your hotel.
- Casablanca - Guided Tour of Hassan II Mosque - MAD120
There are no meals included on this day.
After breakfast it's time for a guided tour of the Hassan II Mosque. More than 6,000 craftsmen joined forces to build this beauty in 1993. It's one of the few mosques in Morocco that foreigners are allowed to enter. You'll be joining other people for this tour, but you can upgrade to your own guide if you like – just talk to your leader. Later, head to the station and take a local train to Meknes (approximately 2.5 hours). When you arrive, you'll jump into a taxi and pop over to the whitewashed village of Moulay Idriss, one of Morocco's most important pilgrimage sites. You'll stay with a local family here this evening. Staying overnight here has only been allowed for foreigners since 2005. Lucky you!
Notes: Your guided tour of Meknes will be either today or tomorrow.
Take a drive through the beautiful rolling hills to Volubilis for a guided tour of these epic Roman ruins. After Volubilis, head back to Meknes where you'll meet your local guide for a tour. Prepare for an unusual lunchtime – you'll be able to get a camel burger. Now that's a burger bar with a difference! Fear not if you’re a vegetarian, there will be an option for you too. Travel by train from Meknes to Fes (approximately 40 minutes). It's an amazing living museum, like stepping into medieval times. Fes is the spiritual and cultural heart of Morocco; vibrant, noisy, fascinating and overwhelming – a visual and pungent feast for the senses – with a huge, well-preserved medieval old city that’s the mother of all medinas. With the free afternoon, take a walk around, perhaps find a quiet place and listen to the evening ‘call for prayer’. It’s a cool thing to do.
Notes: The tour of Meknes, if it hasn’t happened yesterday, will take place today morning.
- Guided walking tour - Meknes
- Guided tour of Volubilis
- Guided walking tour Fes
- Medersa - Fes
Fes. Getting lost here is half the fun, but you'll have an orientation walk, so you won't actually get lost, or at least you shouldn’t, however, noting down the name and address of your hotel isn’t a bad idea. Just in case. Browse market stalls, meet craftsmen and see beautiful mosques. Look out for the Medersa Bou Inania, one of the city's coolest buildings which has recently been restored and is now open to visitors. You'll also visit the famous tannery, which is also famously stinky, but famously well worth it. Stop for that famous view, overlooking the dye pits. You'll also visit a ceramic factory where you can see potters working in the traditional way. Then enjoy some free time and maybe check out the exquisite carvings and magnificent tile work at the Medersa el Attarine (near the spice and perfume market). Fes is a shopping heaven for those who want to pick up a souvenir or two. Just bury in mind, today is going to be long. Very long and quite tiring, but well worth the tiredness at the end.
Travelling south across a bunch of different terrain, you will reach Ifrane, a mountain resort established by the French in 1929. After a short stop for coffee and a leg-stretch, continue further south. Then, at Midelt, the landscape opens up, giving way to awesome views to the west. This smallish market town, surrounded by farmland and orchards, is a great spot to break up the journey to the Sahara. It was originally built as a base for mining in the area. You'll see Berber people and nomadic shepherds tending to their flocks. You'll stay the night in Midelt. But first it's time for a nice walk (approximately 1.5–2 hours). The walk itself is easy, but the terrain is rocky in some places, so wear your best walking shoes. Bring your camera too, or your smartphone or whatever, because the scenes along the way might just make your Instagram account explode.
On your way to the desert, stop at the spectacular narrow defile known as the Gorges du Ziz. Then head to the large town of Er Rachidia. Pass the 500-year old ruins of the Ksar of Meski then descend into the Ziz Valley, a particularly fertile region that produces figs, olives, dates and tamarisk – a fruit grown for its tannin and used in the curing of leather skins. Arrive in Merzouga, drop your main bags off at a simple Auberge (that's French for 'inn'), then take your day pack filled with overnight essentials. Time to experience a desert full of awesome. The mode of transport: camel, of course. Brace yourself for one heck of a sunset. This ride takes about an hour, going through the sea of sand to your private desert camp for an overnight stay. In the camp, you'll have a thin mattress, blankets and sheets. Make sure you bring a sleeping sheet if it's winter (you'd be surprised how cold it can get). Sleep under the stars and have a really romantic 'I am so far from home' kinda moment.
Hope you remembered to set your alarm this morning, because you'll be getting up well before the crack of dawn. Climb to a nearby sand dune to catch the sunrise. Watch the Sahara come alive! You'll also enjoy another fun camel ride through the sand dunes while the sun is rising higher and higher. Head back to the Auberge, collect the rest of your gear and then travel west to Todra. Then you'll come across a bright tablecloth of green that might seem so out of place you'll think you are dreaming. This valley is pretty impressive, with all its palm trees and mud-brick villages. Arrive at your hotel at the top of the valley, then take a hike into the gorge where sheer cliffs rise more than 1,000 feet above you.
From Todra Gorge, travel along the ‘Road of 1,000 Kasbahs’ and enjoy views of the Dades Gorge. You'll also travel past the town of Skoura, home to the beautiful little houses rising like a mirage beyond a dry riverbed. Continue to the medieval mud-brick town of Ait Benhaddou, which is at its best in the late afternoon sun. If you wonder why Ait Benhaddou looks familiar to you, it is because you have seen it before! Perhaps not live, but certainly on the silver screen. Gladiator, Game of Thrones and loads of other movies and shows were filmed in this kasbah. Explore the many old streets and climb up to the fortress for a superb view over the old town. You can also – for a small fee – enter one of the most interesting of the old houses, climbing up to the turrets for a view over the river. You'll spend the night just outside the walls.
Continue west, passing a few Berber villages. Take in those epic views of the countryside. Wind your way up towards Tizi ‘n Tichka. This is a whopping 2,260 metres above sea level, the highest pass on the road to Marrakech. It often gets covered with snow during the winter months. Leaving the Atlas behind, you'll descend into the plains that surround Marrakech and arrive late afternoon. Marrakech is a feast for the senses. Take an orientation walk around the old medina and the city's seemingly endless mosaic of souqs. Each is devoted to a separate trade: pottery, woodwork, copper, leather, carpets and spices. Sample some of the best street food in the world on the way. Then enjoy some free time. This is a good chance to get lost in the fun of Jemaa el Fna, where there are so many fire-eaters, fortune-tellers, actors, musicians and hawkers vying for your attention.
- Guided walking tour of Marrakech
- Palais Bahia
- Saadien Tombs
- Street food tasting
- Palmery cycling tour - MAD350
- Heart of the Atlas Mountains cycling day tour - MAD900
- Quad Biking the Rock Desert & Palmgrove - MAD660
- A Taste Of Marrakech - MAD509
- Quad biking Barrage Lalla Takerkoust - MAD1650
- Magical Marrakech City Cycling Tour - MAD350
- Hot Air Ballooning - MAD1990
- Hammam & Massage in a luxury spa - MAD750
- Tajine cooking class - MAD546
- Asni & Ourigane with lunch - MAD1806
- Cascades d'Ouzoud day tour - MAD2207
- Oukaimeden day tour - MAD1882
- Ourika Valley day tour - MAD1817
- Imlil & Aroumd day tour - MAD1817
- Essaouira Food & Culture day trip - MAD840
Free day in Marrakech so where to start? Cycling trip, maybe a day trip out for some walking? No? Luxury Hammam and Spa, cooking class, quad-biking? Options are endless. Or, if you want to keep it simple, make a beeline to the food stalls for some tagine or some other Moroccan treat (nothing says 'I can't give you any money' like a face full of fava-bean dip). You might also like to visit the 16th-century ruins of the El Badi Palace, the famous Majorelle Garden or the adjacent Museum of Islamic Art. In the evening you will no doubt be drawn back to Jemaa el Fna for a final night out with your new pals.
Your trip ends on today after breakfast. Check-out time is usually around noon and you are free to leave at any time. Additional accommodation can be pre-booked if you want to spend more time exploring Marrakech.
Desert camp (1 night),
Guesthouse (3 nights),
Hotel (6 nights)
Mint tea making demo
Guided walking tour - Meknes
Guided tour of Volubilis
Guided walking tour Fes
Medersa - Fes
Guided walking tour of Marrakech
Street food tasting
Our Essential Morocco trips score an average of 4.81 out of 5
based on 91 reviews in the last year.
This trip was the highlight of my holiday and the group was so much fun. Like a little Moroccan family! The night in the desert was especially stunning. Can't wait to come back.
Review submitted 01 Dec 2016
I highly recommend the tour! The camp night in Sahara is one in a life time experience and was definitely the highlight of the trip.
Review submitted 17 Nov 2016
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How to endear yourself to the locals: don’t pose for photos where the holiest of holy people pray. If you want to take a photo of people, always ask - they may say no, so respect that. Even if it’s hot, cover your shoulders, knees and hair. Don’t shake someone’s hand or eat with your left hand - this is the one you use to wipe your butt.
Single Supplement is available on this trip with the exception of day 2 Moulay Idriss and day day 6 Merzouga (Desert camp). Ask your travel consultant for more details.
Essential Trip Information
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