The Best 1 Week Itinerary for Morocco

The Best 1 Week Itinerary for Morocco

The city, beach, and desert all in 7 days make for the BEST 1-week Itinerary for Morocco. If you are wanting to have the time of your life in Morocco and stay within a budget, this guide is perfect for you.

7 days in Morocco
Just saying “Morocco”, I can nearly smell the mint tea and hear the snake charming music erupt from Marrakesh’s main square, Jemaa el-Fnaa. Morocco is one of the most magical places I have explored.

Planning your trip.

Perhaps I seem dramatic, but it was absolutely a trip of a lifetime. However, to make this trip memorable, it did take quite a bit of research. If you could take any bit of information from this post, it is these 3 words right here:

MOROCCO IS BIG.

Now read that one more time, and register it. The most common mistake I hear is people get stuck riding in between destinations nearly their entire trip because they didn’t study the distance between them. Even if you really narrow your trip down, you will likely be riding in a car for quite a while. This trimmed-down itinerary will have you in the car for about 23 hours total throughout your week trip.

Morocco is safe to travel.

I hope hearing this can put your mind at ease. My best friend and I traveled to Morocco together, without a man, and we were both twenty-one. I have felt more unsafe in hostels in London than in the streets of Morocco.

Tips on safe travel in Morocco:

Here are some extra precautions I take while not just traveling in Morocco, but really anywhere.

  • Carry your bag in front of you, and/or secure locks on your bags. Little children are the ones you have to especially look out for in Morocco. They are smart, quick, and incredibly adorable!
  • Men WILL come up and catcall you. Most of the time they are harmless, just annoying.
  • Set yourself a curfew. We actually didn’t do this, some of our Riad’s enforced an 11pm curfew.
  • Stay where people can see you. This is my #1 rule when traveling. There are lots of private tours offered in Morocco for cheap prices but perhaps opt for the group tours where you will be surrounded by a few other travelers.
  • Taxi travel. Establish a set price BEFORE you get into the taxi. All of our taxies were pre-booked before our trip. Meaning our Airbnb Riad’s had their own taxi arrangements set up for us, with a reasonable fare we agreed upon beforehand. Additionally, avoid putting your luggage in the trunk as you may not ever get it back.

Now let’s get to the fun part, building the best 1-week Itinerary for Morocco!

Day 1 – Arrive in Marrakesh

Marrakech - 7 days in Morocco
Jemaa el-Fnaa Square

Where to stay in Marrakesh – Airbnb Riad’s

Marrakesh is filled with some of the most beautiful accommodation options. A Riad is a traditional Moroccan home or palace with an interior courtyard/garden and most likely what you’ll be staying at during your trip. Many Riad’s are very nice, affordable, include a delicious breakfast, and offer transportation. A fantastic Riad I stayed at is available on Airbnb here if you are needing a recommendation for one. When searching for accommodations, I recommend you to find one near Jemaa el-Fnaa Square (the main square) and read reviews very thoroughly to be sure you are getting the best value.

Riad in Morocco 7 days in Morocco
the lobby of my Riad in Marrakesh.

Contact your Riad before your arrival, and ask if they can arrange pick up from the airport.

This is probably the best value in terms of convenience. Most Riad’s will offer this service to you before arrival. It is up to you to communicate with them in terms of time and airline tickets (they track the arrival). In my opinion, it was totally worth paying $25 in advance to have a taxi waiting for us. We knew we weren’t getting scammed and that the driver knew exactly where our Riad was.

After you get settled, take time to explore Marrakesh!

Be sure to pin your accommodation on your phone/map, or make sure it comes up on Google Maps. You WILL get lost in the Medina, and you’ll have to find your way back.

Day 2 – Marrakesh

Marrakesh is just one of those places you have to see. It is both chaotic and beautiful. While I loved my time in Marrakesh, it isn’t somewhere I would want to spend more than a day or two. The main things to do are shop at the markets, get lost in the Medina, and eat some awesome food. Which can all be achieved in 24-48 hours.

Marrakesh 7 days in Morocco
I am actually cringing in this pic because the man literally threw the monkey on me!
Marrakesh 7 days in Morocco
Marrakesh, Morocco

I am always starving after a full day of exploring! Our favorite restaurant in Marrakesh was Nomad. We went during the offseason, so I would recommend making reservations on their website if you can, it was very popular.

Where to eat in Marrakesh – Nomad Restaurant

Nomad was amazing. The atmosphere was relaxing, especially in comparison to the loud streets of Marrakesh. For dinner, I had the Vegetarian plate, which consisted of chickpea salad, tzatziki, avocado and barley with celery and sesame seeds. For dessert, I had the Ultra-rich chocolate cake. That chocolate cake was definitely one of the tastiest I’ve ever had, and I’m a girl who knows her chocolate!

Day 3 – Depart on your Sahara Desert Tour

This was the moment we had been waiting for … to ride camels and camp in the Sahara! Talk about a check-mark off the bucket list! We were so excited for this tour, we definitely looked like goons among our sophisticated European group members (who were so lovely). We were the annoying American girls who could not stop squealing every time we saw a dog or something cool, but boy did we embrace it! This tour alone packs in A LOT and deserves its own blog post. If you are considering taking a Sahara tour on your trip, click below to read an extensive breakdown of the tour.

The Ultimate Sahara Desert Tour (3 Days)

The first day of your Desert tour will be a lot of driving, mixed in with stops along the way at the Atlas Mountains, Kasbah Ait Ben Hadou, and Dades Valley.

Atlas Mountains 7 days in Morocco
Atlas Mountains
Aït Benhaddou 7 days in Morocco
Aït Benhaddou

Day 4 – Sahara Desert Tour

This will be the second day of your Sahara Desert tour, which will mainly include Dades Valley, Tinghr, and camping in the Sahara. Spending the night in the Sahara Desert was one of the most magical experiences. Dancing to the beat of the drums, stargazing with my best friend, and sledding down the dunes at midnight were just a few of the highlights.

Berber Home - Sahara Desert Tour
Berber Home – Sahara Desert Tour
Sahara Desert Tour 7 days in Morocco
Sahara Desert Tour
Natalie & Camel

Day 5 – Back on the road to Marrakesh

Sadly, this is the last day of the Sahara Desert Tour. You will be completely exhausted and get back into Marrakesh around 7 pm. At this point, you could get a taxi from Marrakesh and head to the next destination on this itinerary, Essaouira. Alternatively, you could spend one more night in Marrakesh. Neither option is right or wrong, however, if traffic is bad or something happens to where you don’t make your scheduled taxi to Essaouira that evening, you may be in a bind. If you could get a taxi for 9 or 10 pm to allow a bit of wiggle room, that may be ideal. We chose to spend one more night in Marrakesh just to be safe, however, we were so exhausted we ordered pizza and stayed in!

Day 6 – Essaouira

This beautiful beach town of Essaouira was something we nearly overlooked, as we read from many other travelers that it was best as a day trip, or not really worth seeing. We found this to not be true, we LOVED Essaouira. It’s a charming little fishing town, that was exactly what we needed to relax after the hustle of Marrakesh and the exhaustion of trekking through the desert. The trip to Essaouira is only 2 hours from Marrakesh, and absolutely worth the journey.

Essaouira
Essaouira

How to get from Marrakesh to Essaouira: Med Taxi Essaouira

The Med Taxi transport service was a complete weight lifted off our shoulders. Their prices are reasonable and they are fabulous at communicating. We communicated before or trip through WhatsApp, informing them of our dates and the transportation we needed. They took us to Essaouira and back to Marrakesh airport on our last day. Realistically, there are probably cheaper transport options you could find last minute, but they had great reviews, and we were really covering our bases to not get scammed. They were easy breezy and put our minds at ease having it booked beforehand.

Med Taxi price is 50 euros each way, total.

If you choose to not go with Med Taxi and use a different transport service, as always, be sure to confirm the price before getting into the taxi. Also, clarify that it is total and not per person.

Day 7 – Essaouira

Finish your trip relaxing on the beach or exploring Essaouira’s historic port. Don’t forget to snap a pic of the beautiful blue boats!

Essaouira, Morocco
Essaouira, Morocco

Essaouira is such a lovely town that requires it’s own in-depth guides. If you are lucky enough to fit this gem into your Morocco itinerary, you can peek my Essaouira Travel Guide and/or my Essaouira Pocket Guide. WiFi is spotty so I really do recommend downloading the free Pocket Guide to keep on your phone!

That concludes the Best 1-Week Itinerary for Morocco! If you are having any doubts about making the leap to this incredible country, I must urge you to go! Enter the country with an open-mind, respectfulness, and prepare to be totally amazed.

-Essaouira Travel Guide

-The Ultimate Sahara Desert Tour

-15 Photos that will Inspire you to go to Morocco

-Essaouira Pocket Guide

Essaouira Morocco – The Ultimate Travel Guide

Essaouira Morocco – The Ultimate Travel Guide

Essaouira is a fishing town located in the Western region of Morocco. Don’t overlook this charming little port village during your time in Morocco, it is truly a gem!

Essaouira Morocco travel guide

Get the FREE Esaouira Pocket Guide HERE

How to get to Essaouira – MED Taxi

There are a few different transport options. Essaouira does have an airport. Alternatively, you can find transport services from major cities such as Marrakesh. MED Taxi, which was 50 euros each way, is my preferred taxi service.

Med Taxi even lets you stop along the road when you see something totally insane, like this…

Essaouira Morocco
goats in a tree

Where to stay – Dar Skala BNB

I booked “Dar Skala Essaouira” Airbnb, which was fantastic. Our host, Jorge, greeted us warmly upon arrival and gave us a map along with tips for the best experience during our time here. You can expect to wake up to a delicious rooftop breakfast while you watch the waves crash against the shore.

Dar Skala BNB, Essaouira
Dar Skala BNB, Essaouira
Essaouira Morocco travel guide

Where to Eat – Gusto Italia & Triskala

Gusto Italia is not traditional Moroccan food, but offers some delicious Italian, which you may be craving after eating traditional Moroccan dishes all week!

Triskala is another fantastic option. This restaurant is beautifully decorated and offers tasty traditional Moroccan food.

What to do in Essaouira

We visited during December, and there were hardly any tourists. I assume during peak tourism, it’s quite busy during the day with all the day trip tours from Marrakech.

This is why I recommend spending 2 days here, so you get to explore it when it’s more quiet in the evenings. Overall, it should be MUCH more low key than Marrakech.

1. Explore the Port.

Essaouira, Morocco
Essaouira, Morocco

Exploring the port is one of the main things you’ll want to during your time in Essaouira. I would even suggest visiting during twice, both during the morning and late evening so you can get a glimpse of the morning craziness and the quiet nighttime.

2. Shop in the Medina.

The Medina of Essaouira is much more manageable than Marrakesh’s gigantic maze. It has a lot of similar things that you’ll find in the Marrakesh markets, only they will be cheaper! Shopkeepers were much tamer in the Essaouira markets. They greeted you warmly and left you alone as you did your shopping.

The historical Essaouira Medina is listed as a UNESCO site.

Shopping tip – buy a Moroccan scarf! They are a cheap souvenir that you can pack easily in your luggage.

Essaouira Medina in Morocco

3. Watch the sunset on the beach.

Morocco truly has the most stunning sunets. Laying on the beach watching the sun go down is the perfect way to end your trip.

Essaouira Morocco beach

Essaouira Beach

4. Get a traditional Hammam & Massage at Azur Spa

Book yourself a massage and traditional hammam to end your busy trip feeling relaxed. A traditional hammam is a classic cleansing technique of Middle Eastern culture.

Azur Spa was so beautiful! You’ll be greeted with delicious mint tea while you gaze at rose petals and fountains decorated throughout the lobby.

That concludes a perfect trip to the beautiful port town of Essaouira!

Essaouira was a stop that was nearly looked over when planning our itinerary. It’s really quite a gem of a town that is entirely different than the rest of Morocco. If you are looking for an experience that is both cultural and relaxing, this is the place for you.

Essaouira, Morocco
Essaouira, Morocco

Other posts you may like:

Essaouira Pocket Guide

The Ultimate Sahara Desert Tour

15 Photos that will Inspire you to Book a Trip to Morocco

New From the Blog

7 Amazing Things You Must Do In Paphos Cyprus

7 Amazing Things You Must Do In Paphos Cyprus

This post is all about things to do in Paphos. About Paphos Paphos is a coastal city in Southwest Cyprus. It’s a wonderful beach vacation destination, especially for couples and families. Paphos is known for its archaeological sights, Aphrodite attractions, pristine…

New From the Blog

7 Amazing Things You Must Do In Paphos Cyprus

7 Amazing Things You Must Do In Paphos Cyprus

This post is all about things to do in Paphos. About Paphos Paphos is a coastal city in Southwest Cyprus. It’s a wonderful beach vacation destination, especially for couples and families. Paphos is known for its archaeological sights, Aphrodite attractions, pristine…



15 photos that will inspire you to book a trip to Morocco.

15 photos that will inspire you to book a trip to Morocco.

Morocco is one of my favorite destinations I’ve ever been to!

After all, what’s not to love about it? Morocco offers the bliss of the Sahara, the bustle of the city, and the calmness of the sea. If you need convincing on why you need to take a trip to Morocco, look no further. Here are some photos to inspire you to book a trip to this beautiful country.

1. Marrakesh

Sunset in the very center of Marrakesh/ Marrakech, Jemaa el-Fna square. The square offers a taste of the very essence of Moroccan culture. You can expect to enjoy fresh smoothies while you walk to the beat of drums as charmed snakes dance around you. Jemaa el-Fna square is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Marrakech, Morocco
Marrakech

2. The Sahara Desert

One of the most stunning natural sights in the world.

Sahara Desert, Morocco
Sahara Desert

3. Essaouira

Essaouira is a sleepy fishing town that lies in the Western region of Morocco. Consider taking a short two-hour taxi ride from Marrakech. I recommend spending two days here, this charming town deserves more than a day trip.

Essaouira

4. Tinghir

Learning about traditional Berber carpentry.

Berber Home - Sahara Desert Tour
Berber Home – Sahara Desert Tour

5. Aït Benhaddou

Take a walk through the ancient city of Aït Benhaddou. Another UNESCO site to add to your list!

Aït Benhaddou

6. Kisses for the camel!

I just had to say my thanks to my camel that I rode in the Sahara.

3 Days Sahara Desert Tour
The Sahara Desert

7. Your tuk-tuk awaits.

Marrakesh, Morocco
Marrakesh

8. Captain, Oh Captain!

Morocco
Essaouira

9. Explore Dades Valley

Dades Valley is comprised of rugged gorges carved out by the Dadès River in Morocco. The river originates in the High Atlas range of the Atlas mountains.

Dades Valley, Morocco
Dades Valley

10. Camel Squad!

Camel Squad in the Sahara
Camel Squad in the Sahara

11. When visiting Morocco, a dramatic desert selfie is a must!

12. Learn about the beautiful Berber carpets.

Berber people are indigenous communities that live across Northern Africa. Berber’s have their own language and are made up of different races and nationalities.

Berber Home - Sahara Desert Tour
Berber Home – Sahara Desert Tour

13. View ancient city landscapes

How can you not feel like Indiana Jones when you come across landscapes like this?!

Aït Benhaddou

14. Adventure to the top of Aït Benhaddou

Aït Benhaddou

15. Capture the blue boats of Essaouira

Morocco
Essaouira

If this inspired you to book that dream vacay to Morocco, check out my blog post over the 3 Day Sahara Desert Tour – this is a must-do in Morocco!

New From the Blog

7 Amazing Things You Must Do In Paphos Cyprus

7 Amazing Things You Must Do In Paphos Cyprus

This post is all about things to do in Paphos. About Paphos Paphos is a coastal city in Southwest Cyprus. It’s a wonderful beach vacation destination, especially for couples and families. Paphos is known for its archaeological sights, Aphrodite attractions, pristine…

New From the Blog

7 Amazing Things You Must Do In Paphos Cyprus

7 Amazing Things You Must Do In Paphos Cyprus

This post is all about things to do in Paphos. About Paphos Paphos is a coastal city in Southwest Cyprus. It’s a wonderful beach vacation destination, especially for couples and families. Paphos is known for its archaeological sights, Aphrodite attractions, pristine…



3 Days Sahara Desert Tour – Marrakech Desert Trips Review

3 Days Sahara Desert Tour – Marrakech Desert Trips Review

(updated 2/24/2021)

This Sahara Desert Tour was the best travel experience I’ve ever had. If you can only pick one thing to do during your time in Morocco, I would urge you to take this tour!

We spent hours researching the best Sahara desert tour to take on our trip to Morocco. There were so many factors to take into consideration when picking our tour company. My top priorities were safety, comfort, and value.

The tour that we ended up booking can be booked at this website here.

Our tour specifically was: Marrakech – Merzouga, 3 Days Shared Sahara Desert Tour with Marrakech Desert Trips.

What type of traveler(s) is this suited for?

Honestly, anyone would love this tour; Couples, solo travelers, friends, etc. My best friend and I, two female travelers, took this tour together and we had the time of our life. I would suggest whoever decides to take this tour that you have a moderately active skill level as there’s some light hiking and camel riding involved. However, I do recall them even having motor transport options for those not able to ride camels.

Budget $$$

For the 3 days Shared Marrakech to Merzouga desert tour it is €89 which is approximately $97 USD. This includes really nice accommodations, transportation, and most of your meals. It’s such a great value, and totally worth it.

Here is a day by day breakdown of this Sahara Desert Tour:

Sahara Desert Tour 7 days in Morocco
Sahara Desert Tour

Day 1 – MARRAKECH – ATLAS MOUNTAINS – KASBAH AIT BEN HADOU – DADES VALLEY (6 hours driving + stops)

Depart from Marrakech. You will start your day bright and early, departing from Marrakech. Your tour guides will communicate through WhatsApp beforehand where they will pick you up and what time. Pickup should either be at your accommodation or very nearby. If you want to do this tour but will be elsewhere from Marrakech, just click on the tour link and find your departing city, they organize lots of tours.

Something you should know – you will be spending a whole lot of time with your driver. Our driver was AMAZING. He was so sweet and we came to trust him very easily. I remember when booking beforehand, some people had some hateful things to say about their driver. Like they couldn’t understand them or they didn’t talk enough. Please remember that at the end of the day your in a foreign country and everyone is doing their best to communicate clearly.

First stop, Atlas Mountains!

Atlas Mountains Sahara Desert Tour
Atlas Mountains Sahara Desert Tour

Some of the stops are really more like pulling over to take pictures for a few minutes. Not all of them are like this, but some are. However, a few minutes for a photo op is all you really need for most of these destinations.

Stop #2 – Aït Benhaddou

Aït Benhaddou is your second stop on your 3 day Sahara tour.

This is a popular filming location as it’s been seen in Gladiator and Game of Thrones. You will have a tour guide and stop for lunch (which will be on your own dime). You will be expected to tip the tour guide as well.

I do remember this guide was not particularly very friendly here, however, the tour company has no control over the guides at tourist destinations like this. Enjoy your time and get some pics in the sandy city!

Stop #3 – Dades Valley

The Dades Valley is made up of rugged gorges carved out by the Dades River in Morocco. This will be your last stop of the day! Your hotel will be found in the depths of the valley. The roads to get to your hotel are a bit crazy, so if you get car sick easily, bring some medicine to calm your stomach.

The hotel you will be staying at is HOTEL LE CHATEAU DE DADES. It’s a pretty basic hotel, but really nice and the food was delicious. As I said, the hotel is pretty basic, when we stopped at a grocery store on our way there, we bought a bottle of wine to open up at the hotel along with some snacks.

Day 2 – DADES VALLEY – TINGHIR – MERZOUGA – SAHARA DESERT (4 hours driving + stops)

You’ll likely wake up early and get to enjoy breakfast before departing. Shortly after you depart, your driver will stop to allow you some time to explore the stunning valley.

Next stop – Tinghir

This was one of my favorite stops on our tour.

You get a glance at what a traditional Berber home looks like, along with the skill and time it takes to craft traditional Berber carpets. While they give you an extensive guide to Berber carpentry, you’ll be treated to hot Moroccan tea.

I’ll be honest, when I heard that “carpets” were the thing to buy in Morocco, I thought it was a bit silly. I’ve heard of collecting mugs, leather, and other traditional goods while traveling – but carpets!? When I saw these carpets, I understood. They were so magnificently beautiful. If I wasn’t backpacking and had a bit more money to blow, I would have snatched one up!

Berber Home - Sahara Desert Tour
Berber Home – Sahara Desert Tour
Berber Home - Sahara Desert Tour
Berber Home – Sahara Desert Tour

Next, Merzouga!

At this point, you are SO close to the Sahara Desert, you can nearly see it. Riding along the highway straight into the sand dunes was one of the most jaw-dropping moments.

Once you arrive at the tour base, you will have the opportunity to quickly use the restrooms and pack a small overnight bag. There is no way that you will be able to pack all of your luggage onto your camel, nor will you want to.

They will securely lock up the rest of your luggage for you. They will do a quick Berber turban demonstration if you’d like to ride your camel like a true Berber! Also, it really does help keep the sand out of your eyes, along with some sunglasses.

What you need before getting on the camel: thick pants, a headscarf, sunglasses, sunscreen, a small overnight bag.

Finally, The Sahara Desert.

A massive check off the bucket list! Camping overnight in the Sahara was the most exciting and beautiful experience I’ve had thus far in my life. The endless golden dunes are just something everyone must see if they get the chance to. It’s pure serenity and bliss.

The Sahara Desert
The Sahara Desert

Traveling to camp, via Camel.

It’s not every day that you can say you rode a camel to your accommodation! Your trek to your overnight camp is LONG. Like, nearly two hours long. Our inner thighs were sore for days. This is why it is especially important that you wear very thick pants.

Camel Squad in the Sahara
Squad!

Don’t worry, there will be plenty of chances to get your photos!

Camping in the Sahara Desert.

After you’ve finally arrived at the camp, you’ll quickly get settled in your tent and prepare for a delicious dinner. All of the meals on this trip were really impressive, and this one did not disappoint! Most of the dishes we ate during our tour were mainly Vegetarian based.

Following dinner, you will be treated to a beautiful night under the stars. There will be music, dancing, stargazing, and our guides even took us on a sand dune hike! Sledding down the dunes at midnight is a moment I will cherish forever.

Take this time to really engage and get to know your tour guides. They are all young, most of them in their 20s, but are very intelligent and can teach you a lot about their culture if you listen. I enjoyed my conversations with them getting to know more about their real way of life away from all of the tourism.

Camping in the Sahara Desert consists of large private tents (for an upgrade) with beds & blankets and restrooms. It’s really more like Glamping! Be sure to bring layers of close to sleep in, nighttime is freezing

Day 3 – MERZOUGA – OUARZAZATE – ATLAS MOUNTAINS – MARRAKECH (9 hours + stops)

Prepare to wake up very early the next morning to begin your camel trek back to the tour base in Merzouga, where an elaborate breakfast awaits. There will be 1-2 more stops for photo ops on the way back, but not near as many as the day before, so be sure to take advantage of your final moments in the beautiful Sahara Desert.

Don’t forget to thank your transport 😉

Back on the road again!

The route from the Sahara back to Marrakech is pretty straight (figuratively). Meaning there won’t be as many tourist stops as you had on the way to the desert.

Ouarzazate will be your main stop on the way back to Marrakech, where you’ll enjoy a leisurely lunch & quick look at Atlas Studios.

the worlds largest film studio
The world’s largest film studio

Atlas Studios is the world’s largest film studio. Iconic film and television shows such as Indiana Jones, Game of Thrones, Aladdin (2019), Mummy, Gladiator and more have used this lot to film on. Unfortunately, you don’t really get a tour of the grounds, it’s really just a quick stop to stretch your legs and walk around outside the gates.

Back on the road to Marrakesh.

You should arrive in Marrakesh/ Marrakech at around 7 pm (19h00). Your driver should drop you off at, or within walking distance to your accommodation.

This tour was so spectacular, and completely exceeded our expectations. For such a low price, you really get your money’s worth and an experience of a lifetime.

That concludes a full 3 Day Tour from Marrakech to the Sahara Desert!

Sahara hoorahs!
Sahara hoorahs!

*my fab travel bestie, Annika Berntsen, contributed some of these photos.