This quick 5-day trip takes you through Morocco's best cities. Start in the north in Tangier and work your way to the blue streets of Chefchaouen, past Roman ruins in Volubilis through the medieval medina in Fes, to the capital of Rabat and finishing in the lively Jemaa el-Fnaa square in Marrakech.
Day by day
Welcome by your guide at Tanger airport. Spend the morning exploring the port town of Tanger. Or, if you want more time in Chefchaouen you can skip the sights on Tanger and head to the Rif mountains earlier.
Tanger is a major entry point from Europe to Morocco, with many recent additions to improve the city as a tourist destination, including a new marina area (a nice place for a quick walk), and the Medina area.
The Tanger Kasbah (fortified castle) is small and compact enough to allow for a self-guided and easy walk by following the various signs. Enter through Bab Haha and enter Place du Mechouar. If you like, you can pay for a guide to tour with you.
15 - 20 minutes away from the city you can visit Cap Spartel and the Cave of Hercules, which takes about 1 hour to fully enjoy. The cave's outline, when seen against the Atlantic skyline, is thought to resemble that of the African continent.
Enjoy the scenic drive to Chefchaouen and watch the landscape transform as you approach the Rif mountains. On the way, visit the waterfall which is about 17 miles (30kms) from Chefchaouen and near the villages of Oakecor and Talambot. The "hidden gem" is lush with dense, verdant vegetation and contains many cascades and water pools. To reach the falls involves hiking a couple of hours, and can be a nice activity for the day before arriving in Chefchaouen in the late afternoon.
By travelers, Chefchaoeun is most known as “The Blue City”. It offers an endless winding maze of picturesque homes and streets. You’ll notice quite a difference from the Medinas of Fes and Marrakech, with a much more relaxed atmosphere and some of the friendliest people you will find in the country (quite a statement, as the bar is already very high on average). In the late 15th century the population was boosted by a number of Jews and Muslims fleeing southern Spain and remained mostly untouched and isolated until the last century.
You will spend most (if not all) of your time in the compact Medina area, which clings to the northern hillside. Lose yourself and wander the small alleys and roads, be respectful, as many of the local residents still live in these homes.
At the bottom, you will find the Plaza Outa el Hammam, the main square named for the number of Hammams which used to circle it. Here you will find many restaurants and cafes for people watching, and several shops.
After saying farewell to Chefchaouen behind, you'll drive toward Fes. You can opt for a short detour to explore the Roman ruins of Volubilis and the imperial city of Meknes.
Volubilis (a UNESCO world heritage site) contains Morocco’s best-preserved Roman ruins. Wander around the massive complex and explore the large merchant homes with still-intact heating systems, temples, and many colorful mosaics in situ. Volubilis was once the Roman Empire's farthest reach in Africa and ruled over for about 200 years.
Afterward, you can opt for another detour to Meknes, the smaller, less busy version of Fes, where you can visit what may be your first historic imperial city. The two main points of interest are the Ville Impériale (Imperial City) and the medina. In Ville Impériale, you can visit the Bab al-Mansour gate, the Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail, and the Royal Stables.
If you continue east you'll arrive at your second imperial city of the day, Fes. With its impressively large (and somewhat confusing) old medina, Fes is a city worth getting lost in. Before venturing into the medina, you can find your way to your riad (a traditional Moroccan house with an interior garden) where you can enjoy a delicious meal and relax for the evening.
The whole day will be devoted to visit Fes, the spiritual capital of the kingdom: will visit Borj south, Royal palace (outside view), Bab Boujloud, Nejjarine Fountain, the Medersa Bouanania and Qaraouiyine Mosque.
Fez is an Imperial City that has stood in the north of Morocco for a thousand years. Within its sturdy walls you’ll find the place where old Morocco still exists – in the elaborate architecture, the historic medina and the throngs of people that make their home here.
Walk through high walled streets, watch the daily procession of mourners entering the tomb of Fez’s founder Moulay Idriss II, and see the ornate carvings and mosaics on every surface; it’s easy to understand why Fez is called the spiritual heart of Morocco. Time seems to have stopped in large parts of this city, nowhere else can you find such a strong link to the kingdom's past.
Lunch at local restaurant and continuation of the visit with the Jewish square and souks,
End afternoon, free time for own sightseeing.
Spend the morning exploring more of Fes before heading west to the imperial city and present-day capital of Rabat, a bustling city with several sights and a rich history.
Explore the medieval fortification of the Chellah Necropolis in the heart of Rabat and wander the Roman and Islamic ruins. Step back in time to Rabat's original city center and enter through the grand door of the Kasbah des Oudaias. Mostly a residential area today, quietly wander the peaceful white and blue-washed streets. From there, visit the 20th-century Andalusian Gardens and enjoy the serene space away from the crowds. Discover the Hassan Tower, a minaret of the incomplete mosque and Mausoleum of Mohamed V. A 12th-century project that was abandoned, where all that remains today is the red sandstone tower standing at 145 feet (44 m) and about 200 columns.
Continue to Casablanca, a modern, commercial capital of Morocco, with relatively few sights for tourists compared to the imperial cities of Fes and Marrakech. A morning may be all you need for a quick tour of the highlights before venturing further afield.
If you only visit one place in Casablanca, make it the Hassan II Mosque, sitting in a picturesque location on the sea. Inaugurated in 1993, it’s 200m (656ft) minaret is the tallest structure in Morocco and the tallest minaret in the world. It is estimated that the courtyard can hold 80,000 worshipers, with room for 25,000 inside While the exterior and surrounding area are impressive, what makes this mosque even more unique is that it is of the few mosques in the country that non-Muslims can enter.
The airport is roughly 45 minutes south of the city, and it's recommended to arrive around 3 hours in advance.