After waiting, debating and planning for 2 years, we finally landed in Morocco and had an enjoyable experience. Here is our ultimate guide to Northern Morocco Itinerary 7 days with travel tips and day trip options and suggestions for extending your trip.
Moroccan cities are colorful and you will surely enjoy a cultural and historical trip to remember.
The reason we have included the northern region in our Morocco Itinerary 7 days is that you can easily add a trip to Africa from Spain without flying.
Northern Morocco has mountains, 9th century Medina, century-old riads and dars, beaches and ports, TONS of history and dreamy Instagram photo spots. Because it is located near the Mediterranean coast, these places (expect Fes) stay pleasant all year round. Summers are bearable here.
This 7 days in Morocco Itinerary is here to help you plan your trip! We have included essential travel tips for planning your trip as well as suggested a small group tour if you are a solo traveler.
Best Northern Morocco Itinerary 7 days for first-time visitors
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One week in Morocco is good enough time to experience some of the oldest cities in the country. If you have more time, the better. We have included a 10 day Morocco itinerary sample in this post as well.
Keep in mind, Morocco is MORE about the cultural experience than any attractions sightseeing. Like you visit Paris, you will want to see the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe to name a few. But Morocco is different.
In Morocco, you are living and breathing centuries-old history and traditions. Popular cities have a medina – where you will see oldest schools, mosques, bath or hammam, riads to stay in, mesmerizing mountains, good food, and all the while being affordable.
Moroccan cities like Fez, Marrakech, Tangier, Casablanca, Rabat – they all have “new town” areas with airports, western restaurants, grocery and shopping areas and pretty much all the modern amenities.
But when in Morocco, travelers avoid the new towns, for all the right reasons because there is nothing much to see there. The action is (and every photographer’s delight) at the souks and medina, those small narrow lanes, the vendors selling colorful textiles, the gorgeous pot where Moroccan mint tea is served and the sizzling hot plate or tagine – that is where you need to be.
Before we take you through the colorful lanes of Northern Morocco, here is what you need to know about medina, souks and all the fun words that we just described. We have included a section on Morocco tips at the end of the itinerary (so keep reading)
- Souks – Souks are marketplaces and consists of many shops offering various things like food and spices, textiles and perfumes. Traders and craftsmen like tanners and metal workers also exist within a souk.
- Medina – Medina is a walled quarter with narrow, maze-like lanes. Within the quarter, there are souks, residential houses, schools, mosques, community oven to make bread, bath, etc. The oldest and largest medina is located in Fes (Fes el Bali, found between 789 and 808 AD and was the former capital of Morocco and one of the four imperial cities)
- Riad – Riad is a traditional home (mostly large family homes), with 2 or more stories and has interior gardens and fountains. Riads don’t have a huge guest room capacity like hotels. Most riads will have 6 – 14 guest rooms only (of various occupancy levels). Some of the riads are over a century old. (Dars are homes with courtyards, no gardens).
- Hammam – Although the origins of hammam or public bathing are associated with Turkey, in Morocco it can be traced back to Roman times. Public bathing was practiced as a means of purification before prayer in Islamic traditions. Today you can experience a hammam which includes cleansing, scrubbing, bathing, messaging and relaxation.
- Tagine – Moroccan tagine is the traditional cooking vessel, like a hot plate where the food is heated evenly
Day 1- 2 North Morocco Itinerary – Arriving in Morocco and spending 2 nights in Tangier
To arrive in North Morocco, here are a few options.
Arriving in Morocco from Spain
Northern Morocco is located at a short distance from Spain. You can either travel from Seville or Tarifa Spain to Tangier (or Tanger) in Morocco. Road travel and a ferry ride of 45 minutes and you will arrive in Tangier Morocco.
If this is your first trip to Morocco and you need a little push, opt for a day tour from Seville and then stay back in Tangier to continue your itinerary. Inform your tour guide when you start the trip. You will be given an open ferry ticket which you can use to return later (if you are planning to fly out from Spain).
Here is a recommended tour from Seville to Tangier and it includes lunch as well. We took this tour and enjoyed it and stayed back in Tangier to continue the rest of the Morocco Itinerary. Because the tour left Morocco in the evening, we had a relaxed night and the guide also helped us locate our hotel.
Arriving in Morocco by flight
Tangier Morocco is served by Tangier Ibn Battuta Airport. It is an international airport serving Tangier (Capital of Tanger-Tetouan-Al Hoceima region). So you can definitely start directly in Morocco by flying.
Why Tangier or Tanger as a starting point for Morocco?
One of my all-time favorite historical figures is Ibn Battuta – an explorer with an EPIC world itinerary. He is referred many times in medieval history and he was born in Tangier!
Tangier is full of history and being a port city it is easily accessible from Europe.
Of all the places we visited in Morocco, Tangier was our absolute favorite. It is one of those places where you explore the waters, port and beaches, ancient Medina (which is slightly better navigable and cleaner than Fes), great restaurants and city sightseeing.
Oh and Tangier is also called Tanger which is Moroccan – Arabic version.
After you arrive in Tangier, spend the rest of the day at the medina. Eat-in a local restaurant and try dishes like couscous with meat and the famous Mint Morocco Tea.
At the Tangier Medina, explore various souks and take a quick demonstration of textiles and handicrafts, essentials oils inducing famous argon Moroccan oil.
Did you know that Morocco was the first country to recognize USA as a country (way back in 1777) and there is an American Legation Musuem located in the south east part of Tangier’s medina.
Where to stay in Tangier Morocco?
Our stay in Tangier was at Hotel Mamora. And WE LOVED it. The rooms were clean and had free wifi and breakfast included for a nightly rate. The hotel is located in the medina. You can see the port of Tangier from their rooftop restaurant.
We loved those mornings (and some evening) views from Hotel Mamora. BOOK YOUR STAY AT HOTEL MAMORA TANGIER
Other places to stay in Tangier Morocco
- La Maison de Tanger
- Beautiful guesthouse with sea-views, lush gardens, and an outdoor pool.
- The hotel overlooks the Strait of Gibraltar and the Rif mountains.
- Walking distance from both Dar el Makhzen palace and the Kasbah Museum.
- BOOK YOUR STAY HERE
- Dar Nour
- This whitewashed guesthouse has romantic allure, with a rooftop restaurant
- The hotel overlooks the medina and the Bay of Tangier
- Walking distance from the Kasbah Museum and 5 km from Tanger Ville train station.
- BOOK YOUR STAY HERE
Day 2 North Morocco Itinerary – Explore more of Tangier
After breakfast in your hotel, start exploring the other side of Tangier – outside of the Medina walls. As Tangier is a port city, you will see many untouched beaches. They are not crowded and are perfect for soaking the waters or sun (or even picnicking).
Near the coastal line, you can also visit the mythical Hercules caves. The Caves of Hercules (grotto d Hercules) is an archaeological cave complex in Cape Spartel and located about 14 kilometers west of Tangier. The caves are stunning to look at from inside.
The cave has two openings and the one that opens to the sea is believed to be the entry to “Map of Africa”.
Very close to the caves is the summer palace of the King of Morocco. You can view the palace from outside, but cannot go in. There are many palaces across Morocco and even if the King is not in town, you can’t enter the royal residence. The exteriors are still beautiful and worth a quick (photo) stop.
We have a recommended 6-hour tour of Tangier and this is perfect if you are flying to Tangier Morocco. The tour also includes a walking tour of the Kasbah. There is an archaeological museum that is worth visiting too. BOOK 6 HOUR TOUR OF TANGIER CITY
In the evening, take a walk along the marina – Tanja Marina Bay. There are tons of restaurants and lounges opposite to the Marina Bay that are bustling with people (families, couples, locals and tourists) and are safe to visit.
Day 3 – 4 North Morocco Itinerary – Chefchaouen (Option 1: 2 nights in Chefchaouen OR Option 2: Chefchaouen & Rabat Day tours from Tangier)
For the next 2 days, explore outside of Tangier and see more of Morocco. We have 2 options for North Morocco Itinerary 7 days. Both include Chefchaouen.
You either stay in Tangier and take day trips or stay in Chefchaouen for the next 2 nights.
Chefchaouen is also known as Chaouen. It is a city that you find in Instagram accounts with blue-washed houses. The city is nestled in the Rif Mountains of northwest Morocco.
Traveling to Chefchaouen from Tangier
Travel time from Tangier to Chefchaouen is about 2.50 hours by road. There are no trains.
- Drive or private tour – 2.50 hours one way. You can stop for photos along the way and customize your trip. We have included tour options below if you wish to book a day tour prior to your arrival in Morocco. These day tours are usually private tours and are reserved for one party (of 1, 2 or any number – confirm when booking and pick up is included.)
- Buses – Buses to reach Chefchaouen are operated by CTM and Diane Voyages. Travel time is 3+ hours one way. Diana Voyages (or Najme Chamal) has more bus schedules than CTM and they start as early as 05:45 am. But you can’t book tickets online, you have to walk into a bus station on the day or a day before travel.
- CTM bus tickets to Chefchauoen can be booked online, but their website doesn’t have SSL encryption which is required when making purchases on the web, so we wouldn’t recommend doing it online.
- Bus tickets are about 45 DH per person one way. You can book a return trip at the same time.
Option 1: 2 nights in Chefchaouen
Arrive in Chefchaouen from Tangier and explore the blue city. Regardless of what mode of transport you use, remember it will take you 2.50+ hours one way to arrive. And no cars are allowed inside the medina.
If you are taking the bus from Tangier station, you will get down at the Chefchaouen station and then take a petit or grand taxi to arrive at the medina (10 minutes or so). Chefchaouen bus station has luggage storage if you need it.
On day 1 in Chefchaouen after arrival, head to the Medina. Their Medina is small and easily navigable. The lanes are amazingly blue washed, but some of the houses are not. So its best to wander around and take pictures.
There are 2-4 Instagram lanes in Chefchaouen. You will find them if you keep walking through the medina and take no turns. The shops in the medina are far and few in between, but the lanes are cleaner as compared to Fes. Restaurants serving Moroccan delicacies can be found in the medina, so definitely worth a stop for lunch. We had our lunch at Lalla Massouda restaurant in the medina.
You will find options to capture the Rif mountains from Medina too. All in all, a day trip to Chefchaouen is all you need to explore the best of the city.
Taking a day tour is great because you can customize the day as you like and capture the MOST. You can also request the guide/driver to stop for photo ops and view the Rif mountains.
If you are into hiking then stay in Chefchaouen to explore more of the Rif mountains. Browse for accommodation deals in Chefchauoen
Option 2: Chefchaouen & Rabat Day tours from Tangier
Day 3 North Morocco Itinerary – Day trip to Chefchaouen for one day itinerary
Explore the best of Chefchaouen in a day. Start in the morning from Tangier and spend 5-6 hours at the Medina and in and around it. Enjoy a good lunch and return back to Tangier in the evening.
Tangier is located closer to Chefchaouen then Fes (Fes to Chefchaouen is 3.75 hours one way).
Day 4 North Morocco Itinerary – Day trip to Rabat
Rabat is the capital city of Morocco. It is located at 3.25 hours from Tangier. You can drive, take a day tour or a bus to reach Rabat. The bus schedules for Rabat on this day trip may not be ideal as it leaves less time to explore the capital city.
To make the most of your trip, you can drive or book a day tour. Here is a day tour from Tangier to Rabat.
At Rabat, explore the Kasbah of the Oudayas, Hassan Tower, the Mohammed V Mausoleum, the Chellah ruins, the Royal Palace, and the Medina.
The archaeological site of Lixus is not to be missed. This site dates back to the Phoenician period and was recently opened to the public. The site is home to the Roman amphitheater in Morocco and boasts of a large industrial complex. The city was destroyed during the Muslim conquest of Morocco in the late 7th century and now has ruins.
Rabat is much more modern than the typical Moroccan cities like Fes or Marrakesh.
Day 5 North Morocco Itinerary – Arriving in Fes and relax and swim in your riad/hotel
On day 5 of your North Morocco Itinerary, make preparations for arrival in Fes. Fes or Fez is like mini Marrakech, but better. Fes boasts of UNESCO World Heritage List Status. Fes has 3 districts – Fes el Bali is (9th-century medina core), Fes Jdid (extension of the medina 13th century) and the New Town.
Fes sees fewer visitors and offers a more authentic and relaxed experience in Morocco. The lack of cars in the Fes el Bali medina makes it unique and a hammam in the medina quarters will give you a taste of Moroccan traditions.
Allot the first half of your day for transit time. Tangier to Fes is a little over 4 hour drive one way. If you prefer taking a bus, put 5.50 hours of travel time.
Where to stay in Fes (Fez)?
In Fes, you can opt for a riad, a dar or a hotel for your stay. Riads come with gardens and dars are smaller and have courtyards only. You will find lots of options in the Fes medina. Hotels are located in the new city area of Fes as well.
We recommend staying in a Riad. We stayed at the Riad Jaouhara and it was conveniently located by the Blue Gate in the Medina. The riad was 110 years old, had beautiful floors and doors. There were gardens, fountains and a swimming pool on site. Free breakfast was provided. Breakfast included toast, omelettes on a hot plate, mint tea, coffee, and juice.
Other places to stay in Fes Morocco
- Palais Amani
- Beautiful and an upscale riad offering a 5 star hospitality
- It is a heritage property with a restaurant, rooftop bar, plus a hammam. Their hammam is ONE of the top-rated in the city.
- Located outside the medina, it is 8 km from Fès train station
- BOOK YOUR STAY HERE
- Palais d’hotes Suites & Spa Fes
- Located in the Fes medina, good accessibility to sightseeing
- They have a swimming pool, a hot tub and a spa on site
- BOOK YOUR STAY HERE
Once you arrive in Fes, check in to your riad. Enjoy a nice swim and then venture nearby to explore the medina and get some delicious dinner. If you are staying at the medina, you will find restaurants nearby. The medina is huge, so we won’t recommend going too far. Stay close to the riad so that you can re-trace your path.
It is completely safe to stay out until 10-11 pm. We had late dinner at the medina and the marketplace was still bustling with activities and restaurants were open.
If you are staying in the riad we stayed in, consider eating at Restaurant Chef Hakim – they have a rooftop dining area and prices were decently priced. We had couscous with chicken and vegetables for dinner.
Day 6 – 7 North Morocco Itinerary – Spend 2 days in Fes (with an option for a day tour to Volubilis)
On day 6 of North Morocco Itinerary, explore the BEST of Fes.
Fes medina opens up after 10:00 am, so wake up late and enjoy a good breakfast in your riad. Morocco is one place where waking up late is better as the photos that you will capture, will have the hustle-bustle of the souks and the medina.
We booked a walking tour of the medina as the area is HUGE. It was a private tour with just the 2 of us and in about 3.50 hours, we walked like 8 kilometers while photographing the lanes.
One of the most unique sights in Fes was the Chaouwara Tanneries. We visited the tannery and saw the process from a nearby area. The balconies from where we saw the tannery provided amazing sights of Fez city too. A MUST VISIT!
In the evening, opt for a traditional hammam and dinner after. Traditional hammam is typically a steam bath with cleansing and scrubbing. It can include massage and relaxation time as well.
This tradition originated during the time of the Roman Empire and is still in use. You can spend up to an hour in a hammam spa.
Day 7 of Morocco Itinerary, venture outside the old medina walls and explore Fes Jdid (medina extension area) and the New Town.
The Royal Palace of Morocco is worth a visit from the exteriors. It is used a royal residence so you can’t visit the interiors. Also, explore the Jewish Quarter and Batha Museum at the Fez el-Jdid district.
Ville Nouvelle or New Town is worth your time if you fancy eating something modern. They have fast-food chains and giant grocery chains. Your trip to the airport will go via the new town to Fes Saais International Airport. Fes airport is small, but it can connect you to major destinations in Europe.
If you fancy a day tour on your final day in Morocco, consider taking a full-day tour to Volubilis. Volubilis contains historic remains of 3rd century BC Berber city, believed to be the seat kingdom of Mauretania, which was later abandoned.
In this day tour, you will explore the Medina of Meknes, the holy town of Moulay Idriss along with the Volubilis ruins.
Recommend small group tour for Northern Morocco 7 days – 10 days
If you are traveling solo, consider booking a guided multi-day with G Adventures or TourRadar. G Adventures has many small group tours on offer. These tours are conducted with 10-15 like-minded people and it includes transportation and accommodation, with some paid meals. Sometimes heading on a group tour for solo travelers is much more convenient, safer and also cheaper if you are on your own.
You will also get tons of free time to explore on your own if you prefer! Here is a 7 day Northern Morocco Tour which is worth booking.
Desert tour from Fes to Marrakesh: Ideas for 10 days Morocco Itinerary
If you fancy a desert tour in Morocco, you can include that from Fes. Desert tours from Fes starts early morning in Fes, and then ends in Marrakech, with a night stay or two in a Berber camp. The minimum stay is 2 days to add to your Morocco itinerary.
7 days Morocco Itinerary Sample with Sahara desert tour
To include a desert tour of 2 days in Morocco, consider revising the above North Morocco Itinerary
Day 1 – Tangier Morocco arrival
Day 2 – Half day trip to Chefchauoen and spend the rest of the day in Tangier
Day 3 -4 – Arriving in Fes and explore in 1.5 day
Day 5 – 7 – Take a 2 day Sahara desert tour from Fes to Fes round trip. In this private desert tour, you will also explore the mid-Atlas mountains and stay one night in a Berber tent. BOOK 2 DAY SAHARA DESERT TOUR FROM FES & BACK
10 days Morocco Itinerary Sample Sahara with desert tour
If you have 10 days then you can easily explore the Northern Morocco regions and also check off desert camping and Marrakesh.
Also, keep in mind, you will have to fly out from Marrakesh if you take this desert tour. BOOK SAHARA DESERT TOUR FROM FES TO MARRAKECH
Tips for Planning a trip to Morocco Travel
We hope these photos and our itinerary has inspired you to travel to Morocco. We have included some of the MOST essential things to keep in mind when traveling to Morocco.
Morocco General Information
Morocco is located in the continent of Africa. It is considered one of the safest countries to visit in North Africa. The capital city of Morocco is Rabat.
The currency of Morocco is MAD or Moroccan dirhams. But Euros and USD are widely accepted. You will find currency change offices in the medina, airports, etc. Unfortunately, no Canadian dollars.
Travel within Morocco Morocco Tips
Morocco has a good bus network. Buses are safe and clean and run as per schedule. CTM is a widely recognized bus network. Buses are also one of the inexpensive ways to travel in Morocco.
Train routes exist for most cities in Morocco. They are faster than buses and are clean as well. A first-class ticket is way cheaper than booking it anywhere in Europe. Train tickets have to be purchased in Morocco, unfortunately. Their site takes online orders, but only accepts Moroccan credit cards. You can look up their site for up to date train schedules though. Here is the website. The site is in French, but you can translate it to English via your browser.
Tours are always an option to get from point A to Point B with a guide. Browse for tours in Morocco.
Taxis are available for travel within the city. Petit taxis (small) are cheaper than Grand taxis. They are safe to travel.
Best time to visit Morocco
For visiting northern Morocco, you are in luck – you can visit this part of the country at any time of the year. Fes could get very hot during summer months, but Tangier, Rabat, and Chefchaouen are perfect for all year round. During summers, these coastal areas receive cool ocean breeze making summers a tad bearable.
Generally speaking, shoulder seasons are best to explore the entire country including the Sahara desert. Off-season in Morocco is from September to November and April/May. Summer months are busy (although it is quite hot), due to European summer vacations.
What to pack for Morocco?
- Comfortable walking shoes – Medina quarters are uneven and you will be walking a ton. Get comfortable walking shoes. Buy yours here.
- Universal Adaptor/Convertor – Morocco uses the same power plugs like Europe. But their voltage specifications in different riads could be different than the volts regulations in North American electronics. Carry a universal adaptor/convertor duo. Buy yours here.
- Sunscreen – Sunscreens are a must. Buy my sunscreen with SPF
- Insect Repellent – Click here to buy insect repellent for your trip
- Day pack – A day bag to carry essentials. Keep toilet or tissue paper, hand sanitizer, sunglasses, camera, power bank
Safety in Morocco
That’s a million-dollar question. Because soo many of my friends and colleagues discouraged us from traveling. We found Morocco to be pretty safe overall.
We had walked the medina with and without a guide, taken taxis, local buses, and private tours. We were safe and enjoyed our experience there.
To tell you the truth, some of the lanes are actually just like suburbs in India. Yes, some areas were dilapidated, some colorful, some dirty, but so much character. As a female traveler, I felt safe. I was traveling with my husband, but I didn’t have to change my travel clothing or style to adopt to Morocco.
We enjoy wandering in old lanes and taking guided tours and experiencing local food and transport. We did the same in Morocco.
Now you might think, we can easily be mingled into the Moroccan crowd. Well, I don’t. I look like more of an oriental Asian. Salil was asked if he knew Indian superstar – Shahrukh Khan, like a million times. And they greeted us with, “namaste”. Yea! Moroccans were friendly and super helpful to us.
But Morocco also gets a ton of American, Italian and Spanish travelers. In fact, travelers were seen wearing shorts and walking freely at the medina. Most traveled as a group or couple. Solo female travelers were more conservatively dressed.
Like always, observe general travel tips like avoid dark and lonely lanes. Don’t venture deep into the medina, if you don’t know the way back.
Don’t go with someone offering a cheap tour at the medina, it is better to book them online and keep details. Tours will pick you from the riad or hotel, so people will be aware of where you are headed, which is good. Or use public transport.
The sales pitch and pushy salesmen that I read about in most articles were almost absent. Restaurants workers did try to grab our attention, but that’s everywhere even in Barcelona and Lisbon (that we visited a few days before traveling to Morocco).
But bargaining is a good skill to have. Salil bought me a pretty green scarf made of aloe vera in Fes (isn’t it cool) for almost half the price of what was quoted.
Food in Morocco
Food in Morocco in part of the cultural experience, so don’t miss it. Food is not spicy at all, so I am sure many of our friends will enjoy it, without running for water!
Here is what you should eat and in drink in Morocco
Tagine – As mentioned in the beginning, tagines are hot plates where rice or couscous with meat is served. Some versions will have just meat and vegetables. In the menu, it will read as “chicken tagine with seasonal vegetables”
Couscous on a plate – Couscous on a plate with meat like beef or chicken is a popular option as well.
Moroccan Soup – We tried their traditional soup and some places it was okay, and some great. You can skip this if you like.
Bread – The bread in Morocco is prepared in the traditional way in a community oven. We tried and did eat it at the starting of our trip, but they are kept/carried in most “not so clean” areas, so we gave it a pass.
Cactus fruit – This is like one of the unique things to eat. Try it in a proper restaurant, not from medina vendors.
Moroccan Mint Tea – You have to try this – the smell and taste of mint is delicious. They are offered in a traditional kettle and served in a glass. Costs 15 – 20 dirhams
Chilled drinks, no alcohol – Being Islamic country alcohol is prohibited and you won’t find beer or wine everywhere in the country, only licensed places can sell/offer it. We went alcohol-free the whole time we were in Morocco. Drink good ol’ coca-cola or orange juice to beat the heat. Costs 15 – 20 dirhams.
Water – Always bottled and filtered water only. Don’t drink from the fountains. Carry a bottle with an inbuilt filter if you prefer. Buy a water bottle with filter here
Other Places to visit in Morocco
We have listed most of the popular activities and cities to visit in Morocco. But we have a few more on our list.
Tétouan – We briefly stopped at the Tétouan area while taking a bus to Chefcahouen. The city is smaller than Tangier and is located only 1.25 hours away from Tangier. At night the city is surrounded by glittering houses from nearby mountains. The city is one of the two major ports of Morocco on the Mediterranean Sea. They have good hotels for staying in the city.
Essaouira – Essaouira is another port city of Morocco which is located on the western side (Atlantic coast). It is a medina designed by European engineers and is considered to be one of the offbeat destinations to visit in Morocco. So that’s reserved for our next trip.
Casablanca – Casablanca is the largest city in Morocco. Yet another port city in western Morocco (Atlantic Ocean). The city boasts of French colonial aura and has a unique blend of Moorish and European styles in their lanes and architecture. We so wanted to visit Casablanca but decided to explore Fes instead of Tangier. We don’t regret it.
All in all, we really enjoyed our one week Morocco itinerary and we encourage you to take the plunge and book that trip!