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.
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
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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!