Morocco is a magical country, cheap, diverse and above all quick and easy to reach, the main Italian destinations are linked to the most famous Moroccan imperial cities, Fez and Marrakech, through low cost airlines.
The beauty of Morocco is that it offers an exotic charm that we all want when we travel abroad, and we wish to get away from the European culture, and is just a 4- hour flight, so without having to go around the world, and especially costs are quite low, so without spending thousands of Euros.
Morocco goes far beyond the magnificent imperial cities, the beauty of this country is probably due to this mix made of Arab cities with Berber culture and desert landscapes, as much as the mountains and the sea.
To discover only the bigger cities would be like stopping at the starters of a rich dinner. The cities are intriguing but it is the whole making this place extremely fascinating and mysterious.
Settings from “The Sheltering Sky” ( movie by Bernardo Bertolucci shot in Morocco, Algeria and Niger ), turbans, markets, dates and dust. A succession of landscapes that at times seem to take you in the deserts of Argentina and Chile, on the Bolivian mountains, and then fluidly open to the doors of the desert.
The sea and the waves, surfers and campers. 18 degrees in winter and 40 in summer, colors of fire and spirits full of vitality nearly tireless.
Morocco requires time and open-mindedness.
It teaches you that there are Berbers, the Arabs, it teaches you to communicate again, because it forces you to continuous contacts with the famous souks vendors, and it teaches you to slow down.
Two weeks’ time is enough to get in tune with this wonderful country and even if you have seen it once, usually you go away with the belief that paying a second visit wouldn’t hurt.
I went back to Morocco for the third time, and mindful of past trips I created this travel itinerary that according to my guide during the tour in the desert, is complex and well articulated. I was very pleased with it and I want to share it with you.
The trip has started and has ended in Marrakech. It includes some imperial cities, the ocean, the Rif mountains, the desert, the valleys and the passage of the Great Atlas.
A complete view of the entire country that allows you to discover it in all its facets, including its population.
Travel itinerary in Morocco – 15 days
The trip was intense and a little tiring, walking the crowded medina and having to “fend off” various vendors takes energy ( maybe you are interested in Travel to Morocco – Instructions ) , but the right mix of medina and chaos of the city and desert gives an incredible balance to a trip definitely intense and full of twists.
Days 1 and 2 – Marrakesh, mon amour !
There is no rush to get away from Marrakesh, the first day can pass walking along its beautiful Medina, a mint tea in one of the panoramic café looking out to Jemaa El Fna Square at sunset and dinner at one of the restaurants in the square.
The next day city tour, popping at the school of the Koran, the gardens, the imperial palace. No stress though, it shouldn’t be a marathon to see as much as you possibly can, but a pleasant walk in a beautiful city whose market tells more than a museum.
Marrakesh may well seem unbearable, but this creation within, the Jemaa el Fna square, seems to live its own life and changes every day. Waiting for the darkness to fall from a roof terrace.
Day 3 and 4 – Essaouria, fresh fish and the sea breeze
Bus to Essaouira which can be reached in about four hours.
The Medina is very small, just a short distance away is the port. We arrive near sunset and the last loads of fish caught are going to be sold. Gulls are by the hundreds and they dash on the remnants of fish discarded by the fishermen.
Smell of the sea and that sound of waves which relaxes and gift you with a view of the infinite.
At the fish market tourists and locals buy fresh fish and other ingredients ( tomatoes, onions, for example, to make the salad ) to have them cooked in the restaurants of the square, the bars, the ladies who at lightning speed cook Moroccan pizza and at last, the chance of going into the shops without the risk to be held captive for interminable minutes.
Seaside town where, as in every other part of the world, stress and chaos from the city seems such a distant thing now.
Day 5- 6- 7 – Fez – It could be hell as well as paradise
We took the bus from Essauria to Fes, but is definitely more comfortable doing Marrakesh- Fez by train. Nothing dramatic, just very cold and then the endless stops every 20 minutes, but the arrival in Fez is scheduled for early morning.
Once in Fez time stops, crafts seem to have no notion of the new technologies and large expanses of wool spread along big areas
Fez is one of the best-kept and attractive historic centers of the Islamic world, and its labyrinthine medina is a World Heritage Site.
The city of art more tied to the traditions in the entire country, which to date has been able to preserve itself like few other centers.
And actually it really is well preserved. The time has stopped in Fez, you are literally sucked into the vortex of the small and dark alleys of the city and you never know where they would take you.
Artisan shops where professions take place all by hand and there are no industrial machinery of any kind. Donkeys used to transport goods because there neither cars nor scooters pass ( unlike Marrakesh
One day to be scared by the labyrinth.
One day to appreciate it
One day to fall in love
Where to stay in Fes
Day 8-9 – Chefchaouen and return to Fez – The Moroccan Andalusia
Along the medina Chefchouen everything is pastel, a delicacy almost like a fairytale in a place which is hard to place.
From Fez in 4 hours by bus you can reach Chefchaouen (I would advice to reserve at least the day before because the seats on the bus are soon sold out), the blue pearl of Morocco at the foot of the Rif mountains, a citadel colored in blue and white, a small center peaceful and picturesque which looks more Andalusia than Morocco.
To read the post about Chefchaouen click here.
Back to Fez on the bus in the afternoon and we spend the night in Fes, the day after the guide who would accompany us for four days, right on the clock, at 8 am pick us up and we leave for South Moroccan in 4×4.
Where to stay in Chefchaouen
My selection for Riad, starting at € 22 per night, is as follows
Day 10 – 14 – Merzuga Desert and Valleys – Journey to the passionate heart of Morocco
At this point, ladies and gentlemen, get ready to discover a Morocco absolutely different from the one you got to know up to now.
The scenarios that remind us of the Argentine and Chilean deserts then become snow-covered mountains and the again back down to the wilderness of Merzuga. Green valleys and palm trees in the middle of nowhere. Mud houses whose color does not differ much from that of the background, which is gradually turning into the desert. Sandy.
4 days tour that after riding camels and spending the night in the desert ( of the desert I wrote in the post: Journey to the desert of Merzuga, a nomadic among the nomads ), valleys, mountains and crossing the Great Atlas which brings us back to Marrakesh, but on this tour it is worth dedicating an entire post because it is extremely important and beautiful.
Day 15 – Return To Marrakech – Au revoir Morocc
Tired and happy, the trip ended with a heavy heart. The last walk along the medina, a last farewell to this country whose corners are full of strength and peculiar beauty, the last shopping. Now I do not even feel annoyed by anyone, it almost has me worried, wondering if whether it is normal or not. The truth is that I was already much in sync with the country and its people, even the annoying ones.
Travel itinerary Map
Books and Guides about Morocco
Photo Credits Valerio Plessi – www.valerioplessi.com
I travel independently taking mainly public transport. A world trip began in 2011 is not yet finished, my mission is to explore the world and write about it. Travel consultant Galapagos, Argentina, Morocco, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Namibia.