One of our final trips before COVID shut down the world was to Morocco. We spent about 10 days in Morocco in February 2020 and it was one of the best parts of our year living abroad – a big change from our travels through Europe. Morocco is a beautiful country, with something for everyone, and completely different vibes depending on where in the small country you find yourself.
Here’s my itinerary for spending 10 days in Morocco!
Chefchaouen (2-3 days)
We started our time in Morocco with a few days in Chefchaouen. Chefchaouen, also known as Morocco’s Blue City, might be familiar to you from the many Instagram photos. This city is very literally washed in blue and yes, the photo opportunities are endless.
I think Chefchaouen is the perfect place to start your 10 days in Morocco because it’s a relaxing introduction to the country. Chefchaouen is a smaller town and not as busy or hectic as some other cities on this itinerary. We headed to Morocco after a busy week in Spain and had a difficult bus/ferry/bus journey from Seville to get there. So we were definitely looking for a few days of relaxation. And that’s exactly what you’ll find in Chefchaouen!
Enjoy rooftop breakfast at your riad, wander the streets with no destination in mind, count how many cats you see, return to the main square for lunch with a view, take a few more photos in front of blue doors, head up the hill for sunset and return to your riad at night.
Fes (2-3 days)
From Chefchaouen, hop on a five hour bus to the busy city of Fes. Warning: this bus goes on some winding roads so load up on your anti-nausea medicine.
Fes can be overwhelming. It’s home to one of the largest medinas in the world, with over 9000 streets and alleys. It’s not a matter of if you will get lost, but when. My advice? Just give into it. Don’t try to understand the dizzying maze of roads and vendors. Accept that you are in the middle of something beyond your comprehension and just enjoy getting lost and seeing what you find.
I also highly recommend going on a guided tour of Fes. That’s what Colin and I did and it was the best way to learn about the city’s culture and history, see parts of the city outside of the medina (like the Royal Palace, Jewish Quarter, pottery co-op, and view from above) and ensure you see the best parts inside the medina – like the leather tanneries, schools, rug weavers and more. Our full-day private tour only cost us $25 each and it was so worth it! I usually love planning out what we do in each city but in Fes, I was very happy to hand it over to an expert to give us an experience we never would have had on our own.
Marrakech (2-3 days)
Marrakech (or Marrakesh) is one of the bigger cities in Morocco and home to a major airport for international flights. This is a good spot to end your time in Morocco, especially if you’ll be catching your flight home from here.
To be honest, Marrakech was my least favorite stop on our Moroccan itinerary. I found the city busy and crowded, but without the charm of Fes. But I do still think it’s worth a stop and it is a convenient base. To avoid more disappointment, I would suggest you skip the famous Jardin Majorelle (aka the Yves Saint Laurent garden). Not only is it a bit of a walk from the main square but it’s overpriced, overcrowded, and overrated. Instead, head to the much more impressive palaces of Marrakech, El Badi, and Bahia, which totally blew me away!
Of course, you’ll also want to ensure you spend some time in the medina’s main square, Jemaa el-Fnaa. This place is a hub of activity, day or night, and is best enjoyed from one of the surrounding rooftop restaurants. Fill up on tagine and mint tea and enjoy the view!
Agafay Desert (2 days)
Many people head to the Sahara Desert while in Morocco. But if you only have ten days in Morocco, you might not want to spend two of those days just getting out to the Sahara (and another day to get back!). Instead, enjoy the desert experience at the nearby Agafay Desert.
From Marrakech, the Agafay Desert is less than an hour’s drive, but it feels worlds away. While it’s not the lush sand of the Sahara, it’s still a pretty epic desert and you can have your dream glamping experience. We spent our final night in Morocco in the Agafay Desert and it was the best way to end our trip. We enjoyed drinks by the fire, sleeping in a cozy tent and looking up at the stars.
While we’re not seasoned glampers and don’t often splurge on accommodation, I would recommend it for just one night! It’s truly an experience of a lifetime.
More than ten days in Morocco?
If you have more than ten days in Morocco, that’s awesome! This small country has so much to offer and there is a lot more you can discover with more time.
- Essaouira is Morocco’s beach town. On the coast, this town is more laidback and a great way to relax and see the ocean while in the country.
- Of course, the Sahara Desert could be a great place to spend a few nights if you have more time in Morocco. Note that it does take some time to get out there and back again. Many companies have multi-day packages that will pick you up and drop you off in either Marrakech or Fes.
- The Atlas Mountains are one of the top sites in Morocco. Here you’ll find beautiful landscapes, tranquility, and unique Berber culture. If we had had a few more days, I definitely would have added the Atlas Mountains to our itinerary.
- Rabat is the capital city of Morocco, located on the coast between Chefchaouen and Casablanca. Rabat is known for its parks, government buildings, cultural landmarks, and for being the home of the royal family.
- Casablanca is a city many people end up visiting in Morocco, simply because it’s the main gateway for international flights. But I’ve heard there’s not much to do there. (PS: The movie was not filmed there, but there is a replica cafe you can visit.)
Tips for 10 days in Morocco
- When should you go to Morocco? We visited in mid-February and I thought it was a perfect time. I don’t do well in the heat, so had no desire to visit in the summer. February also meant we weren’t dealing with big tourist crowds. I would advise visiting in the winter, like we did, avoiding the summer, and also being aware of religious holidays that may interrupt your sightseeing.
- What to wear: Morocco is a Muslim-majority country and dressing conservatively is respectful and sometimes mandatory to enter certain places. Your shoulders and knees should be covered, and opt for looser fabrics if you can. This is another reason to visit in the winter when longer layers are more comfortable to wear. You may also find it helpful to carry a scarf around, so you can cover up depending on where you visit.
- Where should you stay? While in Morocco, you should definitely stay at a riad. A riad is Morocco’s version of a B&B. It’s a traditional Moroccan home, often with an inner courtyard, and rooms on each floor. Expect beautiful decor, exceptional hospitality, great prices, and a delicious breakfast in the morning!
- Money: Morocco uses the Moroccan Dirham as its currency. This is a closed currency – meaning it is only available in the country. So you can’t buy dirham ahead of time and if you leave with dirham on you, you will have a hard time exchanging it. Euros are also accepted by larger vendors and at most tourist sites. While credit cards are occasionally accepted, cash is king. You will want to take cash out as soon as you arrive, and have some euro on you just in case you can’t find an ATM – which is what happened to us when we got off the ferry in Tangier.
- Religion: As mentioned, Morocco is a Muslim-majority country. This means you’ll hear the call to prayer a few times a day. It’s actually a very cool experience to hear the call and to see religion practiced so passionately – from clothing and prayer to books and greetings. While you can definitely learn more about Islam and Muslim customs in Morocco, note that most mosques don’t allow non-Muslims to enter.
- Transportation: We took a ferry to Tangier from Spain, a bus to Chefchaouen, a bus to Fes, a train to Marrakech, and then a private car to the Agafay Desert. The train in Morocco is affordable and clean; I’d recommend it if you’re traveling on train routes. Unfortunately, there isn’t a train out to Chefchaouen, so your choices are bus or private car. Of course, the bus is much more affordable. You can also fly between major cities in Morocco. Once in a city, you can take grand taxis or petit taxis. The grand taxis cover larger distances and often wait to fill up before they go. The petit taxis are for shorter distances and more direct, though can also be shared.
- Languages: Many languages are spoken in Morocco. If I ever felt bad about only being able to speak English, this is the place that will rub that in. One of the official languages of Morocco is Arabic and many people also speak French. Of course, English is also widely spoken, thanks to tourism. Spanish is spoken in the north, given the proximity to Spain. And Tamazight, a Berber language, is the second official language and widely spoken. We also heard people speaking German and Italian.
- Hospitality: One of the things I noticed straight away is how welcoming the Moroccan people are. Every time we arrived at a riad, we were never just shown to our room and given the wifi password. The owner of the riad would sit us down in the lounge, serve us tea and then spend a minimum of 15 minutes answering our questions, pointing out places on a map, and generally making us feel cared for and welcomed. They would even dispense relationship advice! We felt a lot of this same care and kindness when we interacted with people throughout the cities too.
- Safety: Before going to Morocco, I had read a lot of articles about safety and scams. As an experienced traveler, I was prepared to be on guard. But I quickly realized that wasn’t necessary. After a few days, I had to remind Colin that we could stand down and that it would be okay for us to say “hello” back to friendly locals. Now, I’m not trying to say there are no scams in Morocco. Of course, there are and you should be cautious. I also want to point out that while I felt safe the entire time we were in Morocco, we rarely went out at night and I was always with Colin. I know traveling in Morocco as a solo female can be very different. So my advice would be to do your homework, be vigilant, remove yourself from any situation you’re not comfortable with – but also keep an open mind. Remember: more people want to help you than harm you.