10 DAYS, 10 NIGHTS

MOROCCO CIRCUIT

Explore the windswept coast, journey through
soaring peaks, and sip tea with nomads.

ABOUT THIS EXAMPLE
MOROCCO TOUR

Begin your adventure in Marrakech, Morocco’s famous Red City. Journey to Essaouira where the Atlantic Ocean meets the shores. Get to know the secrets of Taroudant, known as the Grandmother of Marrakech. Tour a 16th century kasbah which stands as a testament to the region’s rich history.

Enjoy the warmth of Moroccan hospitality. Stroll through the beautiful gorges and lush valleys. Ride a camel toward the sunset and sleep in a tent under the stars. Visit Fes, Morocco’s cultural heart, and end in the capital city of Morocco.

*This is an example itinerary. All trips are custom-crafted to your interests and needs.

Your example 10-day, 10-night Morocco Circuit

Get inspired with this trip — then get in touch to plan your own bespoke private tour of Morocco.

MOROCCO CIRCUIT

Day 1 — Marrakech
Day 2 — Marrakech to Essaouira
Day 3 — Essaouira to Taroudant
Day 4 — Taroudant to Tamnougalt
Day 5 — Tamnougalt to Dades Valley
Day 6 — Dades Valley to Merzouga
Day 7 — Explore the Sahara Desert
Day 8 — Merzouga to Fes
Day 9 — Explore Fes
Day 10 — Fes to Rabat

MOROCCO CIRCUIT

Day 1 — Marrakech Day 2 — Marrakech to Essaouira Day 3 — Essaouira to Taroudant Day 4 — Taroudant to Tamnougalt Day 5 — Tamnougalt to Dades Valley Day 6 — Dades Valley to Merzouga Day 7 — Explore the Sahara Desert Day 8 — Merzouga to Fes Day 9 — Explore Fes Day 10 — Fes to Rabat

Explore the Capital

Your trip begins with a Marrakech medina walking tour. Accompanied by an expert guide, you’ll delve into the heart of this vibrant city, where centuries-old traditions and modern life intertwine seamlessly.

Admire the intricate architecture of the iconic Koutoubia Mosque, wander through the bustling Jemaa el-Fna square, and immerse yourself in the intoxicating scents and sounds of the many souks.

From the historic Ben Youssef Madrasa to the enchanting Bahia Palace, each stop reveals a new facet of Marrakech’s rich cultural heritage.

Relax By The coast

The journey from Marrakech to Essaouira is short. Departing after breakfast, you’ll have ample time to explore the picturesque city streets upon arrival.

Don’t miss the opportunity to stroll along the ramparts and visit the bustling port, where you can admire the crashing waves against the rugged coastline. If it’s later in the day, you’ll see the blue fishing boats docked. Your evening will be spent in a delightful riad nestled within the medina.

Once a bustling Moroccan port, Essaouira boasts a rich Jewish history. The Haim Pinto Synagogue stands as a testament to this heritage, where services are still conducted. Additionally, visitors can explore the Slat Lkahal Synagogue and the Simon Attias Synagogue, further showcasing the city’s diverse cultural legacy.

Discover The Grandmother of Marrakech

Depart Essaouira and head south while hugging the coast. As you journey, the rugged Atlantic coast will be a constant companion, offering occasional glimpses of majestic lighthouses dotting the landscape. Continuing eastward, you’ll traverse the picturesque Sous Valley, eventually arriving in Taroudant, a bustling market town nestled beneath the towering peaks of the High Atlas Mountains.

Locals know the walled Berber town of Taroudant as the “Grandmother of Marrakech,” due to the similarity of its ramparts and mud-red walls to those of the famous Red City. If you climb the stairs on the walls, you’ll find a stunning panoramic view of the city as the peaks of the High Atlas Mountains form a breathtaking backdrop.

Marvel At Morocco's Saffron Valley

After breakfast, you’ll weave your way into the heart of Morocco’s Saffron Valley. The small town of Taliouine produces over 7,000 pounds of saffron every year. Soon after passing through Taliouine, you will arrive in the small town of Taznakht, the capital of Berber carpets.

After passing through the village of Taroudant, you will drive east into the Saffron Valley where you’ll have the opportunity to visit the Saffron Women’s Cooperative located in the town of Taliouine, the heart of Morocco’s Saffron Valley. The small town produces over 7,000 pounds of saffron each year. Soon after passing through Taliouine, you will enter the town of Taznakht, the capital of Berber carpets. Along the journey you’ll have a leisurely lunch either as a picnic or in a quaint restaurant.
As the day wanes, your journey takes you through the Anti-Atlas Mountains and into Agdz, marking the entry point to the Draa Valley. You’re now close to reaching Tamnougalt.

Tamnougalt, once a pivotal hub for caravans in the 16th century, offers a glimpse into Morocco’s historical trade routes. Explore the Tamnougalt Kasbah, once a seat of regional governance and home to the caïd. Today, it remains under the ownership of the caïd’s family, friends of ODM. Enjoy a restful night at a charming inn.

Rugged Gorges

After breakfast, you will venture deeper into the Draa Valley before veering eastward towards Nkob. Embark on an off-road drive through the rugged Saghro Mountains, traversing the Tizi N’Ouanou Pass (8,858 ft / 2,700 m). Journey through Berber villages and verdant fields, witnessing local life along the way. As you enter the Dades Valley and Gorges, anticipate a serene evening at a picturesque hotel.

waves of sand

In the morning, you will visit the bustling town of Boumalne. Explore the vibrant central market square, offering a glimpse into local life. Then, venture through Tinghir, returning to the High Atlas Mountains and entering the Todgha Valley and Gorges. Take a leisurely stroll through the majestic gorges in the morning light. Afterwards, wind your way back through the Todgha Valley, passing through charming towns like Tinghir and Tinjdad before reaching Arfoud.

Arfoud, known as the International Capital of Fossils, has also served as a filming location for blockbuster movies like The Mummy and King of Persia. In October, the city comes alive with the national Date Festival.

After some off road driving, you’ll reach Erg Chebbi, the tallest dunes in the Sahara Desert. You’ll spend some time enjoying the scenes of the desert. Tonight will be spent in a riad within sight of the magnificent dunes.

experience desert culture

This morning will be spent out in the desert where you’ll enjoy various adventures such as: sand boarding, meeting nomadic families, enjoying a cooking class, learning to play drums, and more. You’ll also have a chance to observe the guys performing at Khamlia, an NGO focused on the preservation of Ganoua music.

Later in the day, you’ll arrive at the meeting point to board camels. You’ll trek through the highest dunes in the Sahara Desert where you can climb to the top to watch the sunset, if you like. Afterwards, you’ll continue on to the luxury desert camp where you’ll have dinner and enjoy drumming around the fire.

scenic vistas and vibrant local culture

Following breakfast, you’ll bid farewell to the Sahara Desert and set off towards the expansive Ziz Valley, famed as one of Morocco’s longest valleys. Along the journey, you’ll encounter pastoral scenes of sheep and goats grazing beside the road and ascending the hillsides, under the watchful gaze of Berber shepherds.

Continuing your journey, you’ll reach Midelt, a quaint city nestled amidst the rugged plateaus between the Middle Atlas and High Atlas Mountains. Renowned as Morocco’s apple capital, Midelt charms visitors with its scenic vistas and vibrant local culture.

Continuing your journey, you’ll cross the Middle Atlas Mountains, where you might spot Barbary Macaques playing amidst the shaded cedar forests. Not far from the forests, you’ll enter the city of Ifrane, home to the world famous Al Akhawayn University.

You will reach the Imperial city of Fes in late afternoon or early evening.

Morocco’s spiritual heart

Today you’ll have a guided exploration of Fes, Morocco’s spiritual heart. Founded in the 9th century, the walled city is home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Within the majestic walls of Fes, over 9,500 narrow streets and dim alleyways wind endlessly, weaving around thousands of stalls showcasing centuries-old craftsmanship.

Prepare yourself for an extraordinary sensory experience unlike any other. Few outsiders truly grasp the mysteries hidden within the bustling labyrinth of Fes, where every corner is alive with vibrant colors, captivating music, and exotic aromas. As a newcomer, you may feel as if you’ve stepped back in time to a bygone era, surrounded by the timeless rituals of Moroccan life.

Yet, amidst the chaos, you’ll soon realize that the city’s inhabitants have carried on these traditions for centuries, creating an enchanting tapestry of history and culture within the noble walls of this Imperial city.

Morocco’s capital city

After breakfast, you will head in the direction of Rabat, Morocco’s capital city. Along the way you’ll pass through the Imperial city of Meknes. The medina of Meknes is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

After your exploration of Meknes, you’ll hop back into the car and make your way to the nearby Volubilis. This partially excavated Roman city, dating back to the 1st century AD, boasts some of the best-preserved ruins in northern Africa and holds the prestigious status of a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Your day will end in Rabat.

See additional add-on experiences

See what extra adventures await – then get in touch to start planning your own custom tour of Morocco.

One of the most memorable trips of my life

We travel extensively and usually plan everything ourselves but I am so glad we found Open Doors Morocco this time. Nancy planned a perfect trip for us. She tailored an itinerary that fit well with our interests. She responded to our questions and concerns before and during the trip promptly with sincerity. Youness, our host/driver, was an excellent match for our family. It felt like we’ve known each other for years by the end. Thank You Open Doors Morocco for making the 13-day trip one of the most memorable trips of my life.
Zijin

What’s included in your
Morocco tour

We take care of all the details of your custom tour of Morocco so that you don’t have to.

Experienced Local
Moroccan Tour Guide

Fluent in English, Spanish, French, Arabic, and local dialects.

Private Transport

Spacious, fully-equipped, driver & fuel.

Handpicked Accommodations

Choose Comfort, Premium, or Luxury ranked by us based on guest satisfaction.

Meals
All breakfasts included. Lunches and dinners included where indicated.
Airport Transfers

Airport transfers included.

Camel Trek

Ethical and authentic camel trekking experience (optional).

Sahara Desert Camp
Comfort or Luxury.
Private Guided Tours
Private city tours, food tours, kasbah tours, hiking tours, and more.
Local Encounters
Always genuine, always unique.

Local Encounters

Always genuine, always unique.

Camel Trek

Ethical and authentic camel trekking experience.

Handpicked Accommodations

Choose Comfort, Premium, or Luxury ranked by us based on guest satisfaction.

OUR PROMISE

Whatever you want your custom tour of Morocco to include, we’ll create something fully unique for you — and only you.

An experience we will treasure forever

I don’t think anyone could have planned a more perfect vacation for our family. This was an experience we will treasure forever. Much of what made our trip so extraordinary was our driver Youssef. Youssef was awesome!! We LOVED him!! He was so kind, patient, and trustworthy. Our family loved him, especially our youngest who didn’t want you to leave his side. By the end of the eight days, Youssef felt like family. Morocco is such a beautiful country with the kindest people and such a rich heritage. We feel so lucky and blessed to be able to spend eight days in such an enchanting place. We would absolutely love to come back someday. Morocco will always have a special place in our heart. We’ve traveled to our 60 countries (30 with kids). Morocco is one of our favorites! Nancy truly made the experience seamless and magical!
Linsey (Texas)

Answers to your
FAQs

To see all our most frequently asked questions, check out our full FAQ page.
How should I pack for Morocco?

For the most part, Moroccans are very good at accepting cultural differences. That said, as a Muslim country, modesty is important. In general, larger cities are more tolerant than rural areas. However, just like anywhere, showing too much skin can attract unwanted attention. It can also cause discomfort to locals. We recommend the following, especially in smaller cities, villages, and the countryside:

Women
Long skirts or dresses that cover the knees
Maxi dresses with scarves to cover shoulders
Jeans or pants
Loose fitting tunics and blouses
Shirts with sleeves, short sleeves are fine
Cuddl Duds – for warm layers in winter

Men
Long pants
Jeans
Shorts are acceptable, but less common among adult males

General
Clothing that doesn’t expose the décolletage, shoulders, or thighs
Comfortable shoes
Flip Flops
Scarves, hats, or turbans for sun protection
Ear plugs in case of unwanted noise
Small packs of Kleenex for unstocked restrooms
Hand Sanitizer
Covid Rapid Tests
Electrolytes – not found in Morocco (the Nuun brand is an easy one for traveling)

Can I drink tap water, is it safe?
We do not take chances and ensure that you have access to bottled water at all times. Water used for tea and coffee has been boiled and is considered safe to drink.
When is the best time to visit Morocco?
The geography of Morocco is such that all throughout the year there are locations where the climate is mild. For instance, during the summer months when it is extremely hot in the interior of the country, the coast is a cool respite. Summertime is the best time to hike and explore the higher altitudes of the Atlas mountains. In winter, the Atlantic coast is warm. The desert is very hot in the summer, but pleasant at other times of the year.
How does Open Doors Morocco determine pricing for tours?

Like the old adage says, “You get what you pay for.” We have no interest in being the cheapest tour in Morocco. You receive an excellent value and return home with amazing memories and new friends in Morocco. Our tours are not cookie cutter, one size fits all tours. While we have example itineraries on our website, everything is customized. Because we put a great deal of focus on each of our tours, we limit the number of bookings at one time. This enables us to build great individualized itineraries and match people with our excellent hosts. We do not compromise on the quality of our local hosts.

We believe in paying our local hosts fair living wages. This is also something we will not compromise. One of the primary reasons we started Open Doors Morocco was that we saw the disparity in the tourism industry here. In most cases, the locals work the hardest, yet are compensated the least. The majority of Moroccans working in the tourism industry are not able to support their families on their income. At the same time, we won’t compromise on the expectations we lay out for our hosts. We have high standards for our local hosts and they rise to the occasion because they love their jobs and engaging with their foreign guests. You can read an outsider’s review on our vision by visiting Sixnie and Salt: Ethical Tourism: What is it? And Why Should You Care about It?

Please note that we do not offer itemized cost breakdowns.

The company is certainly not the least expensive option, but it is very, very, very much worth it!
– Emily D.

Why is it better to book with Open Doors than to travel independently?

There are many reasons to select Open Doors Morocco for your Morocco vacation. First, our primary goals are to create amazing experiences for our guests, while relating ethically with the Moroccan nationals. Those who choose to travel independently in Morocco, stand to miss out on many things that can only be experienced with a local host. We prefer to use the term, “host” rather than “guide” because they are far more than guides. Your ODM host is the touchstone between you and the Moroccan culture. They love introducing guests to their country and being involved in cross-cultural experiences. You will have the opportunity to meet some very special Moroccan people as you travel throughout the country simply because you are with a Moroccan.

Depending on where you are in the country, we may hire an additional guide. For instance, we always hire a guide in the city of Fes. The Fes Medina is a labyrinth and it requires a guide who is licensed specifically for the Fes Medina.

We have never used a guide in any of our travels, but this was the only way I could talk my husband into this trip. I’m so glad we did. We would not have been able to navigate on our own and see as much otherwise.
– Vicky L.

Secondly, traveling with us enables you to forget about the details. We will handle everything from touchdown to departure.

Finally, at Open Doors Morocco we believe in paying our tour hosts a thriving wage. We don’t pay our tour hosts peanuts for their knowledge and expertise. They are passionate about their work and sharing their country with others. The work hard and should be adequately compensated for their work. This is unusual in the tourism industry and it’s something we don’t compromise on.

We enjoyed Said’s company immensely, his knowledge, insights and stories were golden. We discovered spots we wouldn’t have on our own, and I doubt with anyone else.
– Disco Donkey

What types of accommodation do you use?

We do not book in the large “cookie cutter” hotels unless specifically requested. We use accommodations with a Moroccan style that we know personally and have been rated by our guests as excellent. That said, there are various levels of accommodations in Morocco. We will book Standard, Comfort, or Luxury accommodations. Depending on your location, luxury is not always available.

Standard accommodations are clean and simply decorated, yet still beautiful. Comfort (or Superior) accommodations are slightly more plush. Finally, luxury accommodations are the most plush.

In addition to traditional accommodations, we also offer home visits in various parts of the country. These home visits are available for those wishing to experience life in a Moroccan home. Our home visits are well vetted. Some people like to stay in a home visit for 1-2 nights out of their trip. Staying in a home visit is one way to help the local economy. It’s also a sure fire way to make sure you are pampered and spoiled while you are there. Moroccans are amazing hosts!

The care that this company takes in preparing customized itineraries that accommodate all manner of needs/desires (my partner is an above-knee amputee) is impressive, and resulted in great experiences for us.
– Rosemary Y.

How much time do I need in the country in order to experience the Sahara?

There are few words adequate enough to describe the wonder of a visit to the Moroccan Desert, especially when your host was a Nomad who grew up calling it home.
– Deborah K.

To visit the desert, you need a minimum of three days, four is better. In fact, a desert trip wrapped up into a longer tour is the best way to see it. There is so much to experience that it’s difficult to process in a short time period, especially since the desert is far from the primary tourism cities.

As a word of warning, now and then someone will come to us asking to see the “Marrakech Desert” just an hour outside the city. There is no desert directly outside Marrakech, and any tour operator who tries to sell you a tour to the Marrakech Desert is lying to you. The “Marrakech Desert” consists of hills with dust on them.

Additionally, if you run across a tour for $100 – $200 USD, you would be wise to ask questions. It’s impossible to operate a private tour for this amount of money. These types of tours are those that will take up to 17 people per vehicle, and in our opinion is not the best way to experience the desert. A private tour, in a high quality 4×4 with the capability to drive off-road is the best means of travel for this adventure. In addition, when the vehicle is driven by an experienced ODM host, who not only has been to the desert once or twice, but grew up in the desert, your experience is so much richer and authentic. It’s similar to the difference between hiring someone from Delaware to take you on a tour of California and hiring someone born and raised in California to lead you. In other words, how many times in your life will you get to see the Sahara Desert?

Should I exchange money before traveling to Morocco?
Morocco’s currency is the dirham. For the most part, Morocco is a cash country. Plan to use cash, and be pleasantly surprised when you find opportunities for credit cards. It is possible to order the Moroccan dirham from your bank prior to travel. However, this is not necessary and is usually more expensive. There are ATMs all throughout the country. Also, your host will be happy to take you to a money exchange cashpoint that will give you the best deal. We do not recommend using the ATMs or the the exchange counters in the airport as you will pay a higher exchange rate. If you are an American citizen, the bank Charles Schwab, offers an excellent checking account. They do not charge any foreign fees on purchases or ATM withdraws. If you are charged for using a foreign ATM, they will refund the charge to you at the end of every month. It is good practice to notify your credit card companies and / or bank as to the dates of your travel to Morocco. Traveler’s checks cannot be used in Morocco.
Should I purchase a Travel protection plan / insurance?

While Open Doors Morocco does not require guests to purchase travel protection, we highly recommend that they do. Those who choose to protect their trip are responsible for arranging this on their own. We work with Arch RoamRight, and you can request a quote HERE. Arch RoamRight offers a free child policy with each parent policy purchased. Whichever company you choose, we encourage you to look for a policy that covers emergency medical expenses, emergency evacuation, trip interruption and delayed arrival, trip delay, baggage delay, missed connection, in addition to the other elements you believe are important.

Further, if you feel nervous about cancellations due to global pandemic, a personal health issue, or other reasons, we recommend highly looking into a “Cancel for no reason” policy. We recommend that you purchase your coverage at the time of booking and double check the small print to ensure it covers all you want it to cover. Many policies will cover pre-existing conditions as long as the policy is purchased within a certain number of days that the deposit is paid.

I have special dietary restrictions. Can you cater to these?
Open Doors Morocco is happy to accommodate dietary restrictions and preferences. Please let us know at the time of booking if you have any dietary requirements or allergies and we will pass the information on to your guide and hotels. For those who have significant dietary restrictions, it is a good idea to bring along a card stating your dietary needs in French and Arabic. We are happy to help with translations. Having a card will help when you find yourself eating in a location where your guide isn’t with you.
Will Open Doors Morocco help me book airfare?
Open Doors Morocco does not book airfare, nor are we responsible for changes or delays in your reservation or flight. However, we are more than happy to provide tips and even research suggested flights.
Who will be my local host / guide?
Open Doors Morocco makes host assignments one month to a few weeks before your trip. We will communicate this information as soon as the assignment has been made. All of our hosts are friendly, knowledgeable, and experienced and share Open Doors Morocco’s passion for transformative travel. Each of our hosts offers a unique personality, perspective, and passion to share with you during the trip.
What type of vehicles do you use?
The majority of the time we use Toyota Land Prados. These are the same as Toyota Land Cruisers in the United States. Although the legal limit is six guests in these vehicles, we have found that four guests is the limit in terms of comfort. In much of Morocco, 4x4s are the best means for transportation. However, there are exceptions depending on the make up of the group. For families, we often use Mercedes minivans. If the desert is included in a trip where a van is utilized, it will be necessary to switch out to 4x4s in the desert. A mini bus is often utilized for a group tour. If a group is traveling to the desert, it is necessary to switch out to 4x4s at that time. Some small groups travel in a caravan of 4x4s.

HOW TO BOOK IN 3 EASY STEPS

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We Take Care of the Rest

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