Morocco-desert-sunrise-best-photography-spots

Morocco feels like a fairytale and is a dream to explore with all the historical cities, culture and beautiful nature. Step back in time and discover the Medina’s of the imperial cities. Learn more about how the Berbers live in the Sahara desert and see how Arabian and European cultural blends in this North African country. From the snowy mountains of the Atlas to the hot desert of Erg Chebbi, Morocco has a wide variety of things to do and see during a roadtrip. Find an adjustable Morocco itinerary in this ultimate guide with plenty of Morocco travel tips. 

Best time to visit Morocco

You can visit Morocco year round. However during the summer months it is a lot busier and warmer, especially in the desert. We went in January and the average temperature was around 16 degrees with plenty of sunshine. It was perfect, not too hot and not too cold. Sometimes we needed a light jacket but overall we could walk in a t-shirt. Be aware that there is a chance of more rain in January, February and March. 

The temperature can vary a lot depending on the part of the country you are. Within the same day, you can drive from the desert to the snowy Atlas mountains. That makes Morocco so diverse and interesting, it has a lot of different landscapes to offer!

How to get around in Morocco

The best way to get around in Morocco is to rent a car. This will give you all the flexibility to create your own Morocco itinerary and stop along the way wherever you want. We loved having our rental car because we could stop where we wanted to and do everything on our own pace. Also, we had enough space for our bags and felt very safe during the road trip.

To get into the Sahara desert and sleep there at night you have to book a desert tour with a driver and jeep. This is a must do when you visit Morocco! An absolute dream to sleep under a sky full of stars at night and see the most magical sunset and sunrise in the sand dunes!

Book here your 3 day desert trip to Merzouga from Marrakesh

Book here your 2 day desert trip to Merzouga from Fes

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Morocco itinerary options

Depending on where you start your Morocco trip and how long you have to explore the country you can create your own Morocco itinerary. Based on your interest you can either include or skip several places mentioned in this Morocco guide. 

Some of the possible routes are as following.

Two week Morocco itinerary

In two weeks you can see most of what Morocco has to offer. A possible Morocco itinerary can look like this, depending on where you enter and leave the country. 

Fez 2 days – Chefchaouen 2 days – Meknes 2 days – Merzouga 3 days – Ait Ben Haddou – Marrakesh 3 days – Essaouira or Agadir 2 days

10 day Morocco itinerary

For a 10 day Morocco itinerary you will have to skip a few destinations from the above option to fully explore the different places. So a 10 day itinerary can look like this.

Fez 2 days – Chefchaouen 2 days – Meknes 2 days – Merzouga 3 days. Take into account that it is a 7 hour drive back to Fes if you depart from there. 

Another option for a 10 day itinerary with more beach days can look like this. 

Marrakesh 2 days – Agadir 2 days – Ait Ben Haddou 1 day – Merzouga 3 days – Marrakesh. Keep in mind that it is 9 hours driving from the desert back to Marrakesh so you will need to count one travel day if you fly back from Marrakesh. 

Our 10 day Morocco itinerary looked like this.

Fez 3 days – Chefchaouen 2 days – Meknes 1 day – Merzouga 3 days – Fez 

7 day Morocco itinerary

7 days are short to see Morocco, but if you want to combine a city trip with culture then it is still a great idea to visit Morocco. Some suggestions for this short trip.

Marrakesh 2 days – Ait Ben Haddou 1 day – Merzouga 3 days – Marrakesh

Fez 2 days – Merzouga 3 days – Meknes 1 day – Fez

Fez 2 days – Chefchaouen 2 days – Meknes 2 days – Fez 

 

Morocco travel essentials

When you’re traveling to Morocco for the first time you might wonder what to pack and what to wear. Especially as a women. With such a different culture than Western countries, Morocco will feel like a completely different world. Where man can wear pretty much the same kind of clothes as they would wear in their home country, women should take into account to not wear a low neckline showing decolletage. But also too short pants, showing upper legs should be avoid.

Make sure to bring loose and flowy clothes as women. This not only looks cool on pictures but also works ventilating when it’s warm. Wearing a Moroccan scarf is also highly recommended. You can use it to cover up before going into a mosque or just to keep the sun off your skin when you’re overheating.

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Best tours in Morocco

If you want to explore the best of Morocco with a guide then here some great tours I recommend. During these tours you will visit several spots which I share in this complete guide. All of these tours include transport with hotel pick up and drop off, certified guides and sometimes the entrance fees and lunch if applicable. You can reserve now and pay later, with cancellation up to 24 hours in advance to receive a full refund.

Explore vibrant Marrakech

Marrakech is the most touristy place in Morocco but nevertheless worth a visit. Home to mosques, palaces and gardens, Marrakech is a vibrant and diverse imperial city and UNESCO World Heritage site. The medina is densely packed with beautiful architecture, traditional food and fantastic shopping. The walled medieval city dates back to the Berber Empire and has plenty of beautiful buildings to be explored. The Ben Youssef Madrasa, Kasbah Mosque and Bahia palace are some of the must see places in Marrakech. To have the best experience it is highly recommended to book your tour with an experienced guide so you won’t get lost in the Medina and see all the best sights of Marrakech. 

Ben-Youssef-Madrasa-Marrakech

Relax along the coast of Morocco

If you want to include some beach time in your Morocco itinerary then there are plenty of beach locations along the Atlantic Coast. It depends if you want to stay in a more touristy place such as Agidir, or like the more sleepy fishing villages such as Essaouira or Taghazout. Those can great options to stay for a couple of nights on a longer Morocco itinerary. In comparison to the touristy Agadir has Essaouira a way relaxter, slower and laidback vibe, perfect for the off the beaten path traveler. 

Book here your Essaouira Full-Day Trip from Marrakech

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Visit Ait Ben Haddou

Aït Benhaddou is one of the most famous Ksar’s in Morocco. A Ksar is a traditional pre-Saharan habitat also known as a group of earthen buildings that are surrounded by high walls. Ait Ben Haddou became famous because of its presence in several films such as Game of Thrones, Gladiator, and Lawrence of Arabia. So it is a must to see this largest Kasbah in Morocco yourself. You can visit Ait Ben Haddou from Marrakech on your way to the Sahara Desert. It is about 180 kilometers southeast of Marrakech and is a great stop when you’re doing a road trip by by rental car. But you can also visit Aït Benhaddou on a guided tour from Marrakech. 

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Experience the Sahara desert

A must on your Morocco itinerary is staying in the Sahara desert and experience how the Berbers live. The desert is a combination of interesting orange rock formations, oases, vast areas and of course the huge sand dunes. Merzouga has the biggest sand dunes, so I will recommend going there to have the best views.

You can either go on a day trip to explore the sand dunes or sleep in a tent in the middle of the desert. Nowadays the tents are really luxurious, with a private and warm shower, toilet, electricity, and a heater (in the winter months). We went with Xaluca Grup and had an unforgettable experience in the Sahara desert. From sunset camel rides to watching the sky full of stars, singing at the bonfire and delicious meals. It was a once in a lifetime experience! Travelers visiting Morocco for the first time must put this experience on their Morocco itinerary to get the real taste of Morocco.

You can book a tour to the Sahara desert from different cities in Morocco. It is highly recommended to book in advance so you secure your tent in the desert as they are limited. Below some options for Sahara tours.

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Getting there: Drive with your rental car to the place where you will meet your guide to enter the real Sahara.

Entrance fee: You will need a guide/driver to bring you to the desert. Prices vary per tour, what’s included or excluded. Do some research beforehand. We had a very good experience with Grup Xaluca! Read our review about our unforgettable experience in the Sahara desert with Grup Xalucu here.

Best time for photos: Sunrise and sunset, or when it’s dark you can develop your night photography skills and shoot the stars and the milky way. Challenging but so much fun to play with the long exposure settings.

Photo tip: Use an object or foreground for your night photos to get more perspective in your shots. For your sunrise or sunset shots make sure you stand on one of the highest sand dunes. This will give you a good perspective and you can use the lines of the dunes to make the photo really interesting. Also, don’t forget a lens puffer and cloth to clean your lens after shooting. There will be sand everywhere…

Capturing the sunrise, sunset and a sky full of stars will be one of the, if not THE highlight of your trip through Morocco!

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Morocco-desert-camp-xaluca

Explore the Fes Medina

With over 9000 small streets and 4000 dead ends, you can easily get lost in the labyrinth Medina of Fes. Therefore it is highly recommended to book a private guided tour to explore the Fes Medina without getting lost or miss out on the best hidden gems. You can also choose to explore the Medina yourself but then make sure to be prepared with a map. There is such a vibrant atmosphere, so much different things to see, you can take a photo at almost every corner. The imperial city of Fes also has a lot of beautiful buildings with Andalusian and African mixture of architecture which are very interesting to explore. Donkeys and pedestrians flow through the streets of this car-free labyrinth and handicrafts can be found everywhere. The city of the leather tannery, weavers and stunning tile work is really worth it to visit. Book yourself a beautiful Riad and enjoy the real Moroccan vibes. Read in our complete guide about the best things to do in Fez.

Getting there: The Medina is only reachable by foot but to get around Fez city it is highly recommend to rent a car in advance.

Best time for photos: If you want to avoid the heat, go in the morning. During the day it will get more crowded with tourists. If you want to capture a Madrassa from inside, take the opening times and prayers into account.

Photo tip: If you like portrait photography, street photography or culture, everything is possible to shoot in the vibrant medina of Fes. Go early to avoid the tourist crowds and harsh shadows on the faces of people or buildings.

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Visit the imperial city Meknes

Meknes is one of the four imperial cities of Morocco. Fes, Marrakesh and Rabat are the other three. The smallest and most relaxed one is Meknes, known for its grand architecture, medieval walls and beautiful gates. To discover Meknes and shoot your favorite locations, 1 or 2 days are enough. I would recommend to explore the city and visit the Royal Stables for its beautiful arches. In the city you will find a lot of detailed doors, small streets and beautiful mosques. If you like archaeological sites then don’t forget to visit the Unesco World Heritage Site Volubilis, just 35km north of Meknes.

Book here your Volubilis Moulay Idriss and Meknes Day Trip from Fez

Book here your Meknes Medina Walking Tour

Getting there: With your rental car or the train. The city is best to be explored by foot.

Best time for photos: If you want to avoid harsh shadows, especially at the Royal Stables, go in the early morning or late afternoon.

Photo tip: Don’t forget your wide angle lens for all the beautiful buildings and detailed doors.

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Wander through the blue city Chefchaouen

The blue city of Morocco can’t be missed on your Morocco itinerary! Beautifully perched beneath the raw peaks of the Rif mountains, Chefchaouen is one of the prettiest and most charming towns in Morocco. Also known as “The blue pearl of Morocco” this artistic, blue-washed mountain village feels like a world on its own. The old Medina is a combination of Moroccan and Andalusian influence with red-tiled roofs, bright-blue buildings and narrow lanes. We would recommend staying here for at least 3 or 4 days to see all the beauty and take day trips to the cool green hills with waterfalls. If you only want to explore the village 2 days will be enough.

Book this tour to explore Tetouan and Chefchaouen

You can also book this amazing tour from Marrakech to Chefchaouen

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Morocco-Chefchaouen-street-view

Getting there: Drive to Chefchaouen with your rental car and explore the village by foot. Be prepared because there are a lot of stairs in the small charming streets. With your rental car you can also explore the nature around Chefchaouen.

Best time for photos: Dawn is the best time to head out with your camera as the hues will change as the sun moves across the sky. On a sunny day the harsh shadows really ruin your photos in the streets.  Also, there are fewer tourists in the early morning. In the afternoon and during golden hour, shadows and colors shift in ways that you want to capture them too! Especially the viewpoint of the village is a perfect place to watch the sunset.

Photo tip: Use a lens that allows you to shoot all these scenes in sequence because you don’t want to change lenses all the time. There is a lot of variety to shoot in Chefchaouen. Details on doors, buildings, daily life of the inhabitants and the nature around Chefchaouen. You will have your days filled here with exploring and photographing!

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Drive through the Atlas Mountains or Dades valley 

Lush valleys, cool canyons with beautiful waterfalls and the highest peak in North Africa makes the Moroccan mountain range so interesting. Its Berber-populated valleys feel very remote from the country’s mainstream urban life. Beautiful mountain views, various nature and authentic Berber inhabitants make it an interesting and must-visit place during your road trip through Morocco.

Getting there: Only way is with your rental car or a driver. Depending on where you are going from east to west Morocco, you have a big chance of crossing the Atlas Mountains. When you’re making your Morocco itinerary, keep in mind that the Atlas Mountains are a must-see!

Best time for photos: Sunrise and sunset, or when it’s dark you can try your night photography skills and shoot the stars and the milky way. Challenging but so much fun to play with the long exposure settings.

Photo tip: Use a foreground or framing for your landscape photos to get more perspective in your shots. Don’t forget your ND filters!

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Explore Casablanca

If you’re entering Morocco via Casablanca, then make sure to explore the city for at least a day. Being the largest city in Morocco with a beautiful setting overlooking the Moroccan coastline, it has plenty of things to offer to explore. The Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca is one of the must sees, but also the markets, art scene and great restaurants are a must try. 

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More Morocco travel tips

We hope you enjoyed reading this ultimate guide so you can create your own Morocco itinerary.

If you want to get more Morocco travel inspiration, then head over to our other blog posts:

Best things to do in Fes

Palais Faraj in Fes; a beautiful palace

The Sahara desert experience