From Tangier to Marrakech: North Zone and Desert

tour 6 days

from Tangier

Day 1:  Tangier – Chefchaouen

After breakfast, we will head towards Chefchaouen. Chefchaouen is located in the only intercontinental natural park, declared a Natural Biosphere Reserve. The oldest part of town stretches towards the top of the mountain and, at its highest point, we can find the Ras al-Ma springs. A citadel and a mosque with an octagonal base tower can be found at the Uta al-Hammam Square, the heart of the town. The Grand Mosque of Chefchaouen is another one of the town’s landmarks. The new part of town has been erected underneath the old town.  Inhabited by wise, kind and respectful people, Chefchaouen offers beautiful urban landscapes, fine local handicrafts, and a state of peace and calm that is quite hard to find in our modern society. Night at the hotel.

Day 2: Chefchaouen – Volubilis – Moulay Idriss – Fez

We will leave the beautiful city of Chefchaouen behind and make our way towards Fez. On our way to Fez, we will stop to explore and discover the Roman ruins of Volubilis. This Roman archaeological site, that spreads over 20 ha, contains a myriad of archaeological remains and monuments. This is quite astonishing if we consider that just half of it has been excavated for now. The most important remains are the Forum, a basilica from the II century and the Capitoline Temple, located on the highest point of the city, as Roman tradition requires; and the Arch of Caracalla, located on the Decumanus and built in 217 to thank the Emperor for expanding the Roman citizenship to every single inhabitant of the Empire. Some thermal baths, oil presses, shops, as well as some houses, which follow the typical Roman design, have also been unearthed. Decorative mosaics have also been discovered in the residencies of the richest inhabitants. We will then have a panoramic view of the holy city of Moulay Idriss. We will arrive to Fez in the afternoon. Free time. Night at the hotel.

Day 3: Full day to explore and discover Fez

After a delicious and fulfilling breakfast at the hotel, we will start our guided tour in the new part of the city, where we will discover the Royal Palace and the Jewish quarter (Mellah). We will also go to a viewpoint from where we will have an overview of the medina from the Southern Tower and the mosques. We will then wander around the medina, declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO. We will visit the Al-Karaouine University; the Nejjarine Fountain; and the Cherratine and Al-Attarine Madrasas, both decorated in an Arabic style and devoted to the study of religion. We will soon notice that it’s a medieval city, where time has stopped on the Dar al-Magana’s clock 1200 years after its completion. The tour includes a visit to a ceramic workshop. Its labyrinth-like narrow streets are organized by unions: potters, dyers, tanners… The bustle of these people will make us travel back in time. Free time. Night at the hotel.

Day 4: Fez – Ifrane – Cedar forest – Midelt – Ziz Valley – Merzouga desert – Camel ride and night in a haima 

We will set off southwards to cross the Middle Atlas Mountains to reach Ifrane, also known as the “Moroccan Switzerland” because of its striking resemblance with that country. One of the animals that used to live there was the Atlas lion. That’s why it has become the city’s landmark and a stone statue has been dedicated to it. We will have time to take some pictures. We will then drive through the famous cedars forest and admire the great Cedre Gouraud, the largest ancient cedar in the region. We will be able to feed the hundreds of wild monkeys that live in the area. After having lunch in Midelt, we will continue our trip through the open desert. We will witness how the landscape changes, revealing numerous sand tracks as we reach Errachidia. Our trip will continue through the magnificent Ziz Valley and the Tafilalet palm grove, famous for its dates crops. This palm grove spreads across more than 20 km, and it has more than 10 million palm trees, which makes it one of the biggest palm groves in the world. Arrival in Merzouga. In the afternoon, we will ride the camels, guided by an experienced camel driver from the area. We will admire the astonishing sunset on the dunes before reaching the campsite for the night. We will have a typical Moroccan dinner, which includes a tagine and delicious mint tea. We will enjoy some drum music by the bonfire and observe the magnificent sky and the stars. Night in a haima.

Day 5: Merzouga desert – Rissani – Todgha Gorge – Valley of the Roses – Ouarzazate 

Don’t forget to wake up at the crack of dawn to walk up the highest dune next to the campsite to enjoy the sunrise and the relaxing landscape that nature offers. After having a delicious breakfast, we will say goodbye to the desert and head to Rissani, Morocco’s former capital. This traditional village was at the origin of the ruling family in Morocco, and the meeting point for trade caravans that came from as far as Timbuktu, in Mali. We will visit its bustling market and the Moulay Ali Cheriff mausoleum. We will see many hooded men and veiled women there. We will then move on to both Touroug and Tinejdad palm groves. An hour later, we will reach one of the most astonishing places in the south: the Todgha Gorge. The Todgha’s riverbed has formed a series of breathtaking vertical limestone river canyons of great proportions, a unique place and a true paradise for climbers. You will be able to roam around and enjoy the gorge. We will reach Ouarzazate in the afternoon, after several stops along the way to discover the “Road of the Thousand Kasbahs”, the Valley of the Roses and the great palm grove of Skoura. We will spend the night in Ouarzazate.  Night at the hotel.

Day 6: Ouarzazate – Ait Benhaddou Kasbah – High Atlas Mountains – Marrakesh

After breakfast, we will resume our journey to Ait Benhaddou, where we will visit its world-famous kasbah, declared a World Heritage Site in 1986 by UNESCO.  Some world-famous films and TV series, such as Gladiator, Asterix and Obelix, The Mummy, The Jewel of the Nile or Game of Thrones, have been shot at this studio. We will continue our trip to Marrakesh after visiting the kasbah. We will drive through the Tizi n’Tichka mountain pass, which stands at an altitude of 2 260 m, the highest point of the country. Throughout the trip, we will enjoy breathtaking scenery, and we will make several quick stops to take some pictures of the Berber villages that can be spotted in between the bends. We will arrive to Marrakesh in the afternoon. Drop-off at the hotel. Free time. Night at the hotel.

Travel conditions

  • Start of the trip: Tangier
  • End of the trip: Marrakech
  • Accommodation in charming hotels with private room and bathroom

The price includes

  • Airport or hotel transfers in Tangier & Marrakech
  • Private transport with A/C
  • English-speaking driver/guide at your service during the whole trip
  • Fuel
  • Accommodation type: bed & breakfast, except in Ouarzazate and Merzouga (breakfast & dinner)
  • Official guide in Fez
  • Camel ride in the desert
  • Night in the desert in a haima with breakfast & dinner

Not included

  • Flights
  • Meals
  • Dinners, except those in Ouarzazate and Merzouga
  • Drinks
  • Tips

Don’t forget to visit our other offers for routes from Tangier!

your tour in images

norte-y-desierto