When people think of a holiday in the Mediterranean, they might think of Greece, Spain, or Turkey. However, though some people may consider the North African country of Morocco an unlikely place to go to, it is one which should be on your to-visit list. Influenced by Arabic and European cultures, as well as the indigenous Barbers, Morocco has a truly distinct identity, from its architecture to its food. Its location next to the Sahara keeps it warm year-round, with the night offering a cool respite, especially in the winter months. Their cooking is a mixture of different cultures, so you might recognise some European dishes with a unique twist. But most importantly, hospitality is central to Moroccan culture, so the people there will help to make any trip out there all the more memorable.
If this sounds appealing to you, the Moroccan Trail wants to help you! After their own trip to the country, travel enthusiasts Mathias and Melissa teamed up together to help fellow kindred souls explore the best of what Morocco has to offer. From the coastal village of Tamraght, across the western edge of the Sahara and to the iconic hub that is Marrakesh, this all-inclusive seven-day itinerary will help you see the best of what Morocco has to offer. Once you’ve booked this package, all you need to do is sort out flights, and Moroccan Trail will take care of the rest for you, providing an intimate cultural experience that you wouldn’t find with other package holidays!
The currency of Morocco is the Moroccan Dirham. It's a closed form of currency, so you can only get it in Morocco. Some of the major tourist spots accept US dollars, Euros and Pound Sterling notes, but you’ll always make the most of your money using Dirham. You can withdraw Dirham from ATMs, and you’ll get the best exchange rates in the cities instead of the airports.
Day 1: Start in Tamraght
Before your journey starts, you should think about bringing these additional items to make you stay more comfortable for a couple of reasons, like them being more expensive in Morocco:
- Mosquito Repellent
- A reusable water bottle
- Menstruation products
Your adventure will start after being picked up at Al Massira International Airport. Should you choose the option, Moroccan Trail will organise transport to pick you up and take you to Tamraght. The drive will take you about an hour. Alternatively, you can take public transport from the airport, and you might even want to take the time to explore the nearby city of Agadir. To be fair, it is an interesting location. Well known for its recreation, including the promenade facing out towards the Atlantic and beaches, Agadir makes for a lovely resort destination. However, if you decide to do this, it will take some time to get to your accommodation for the night. Taking the bus to Tamraght is a couple of hours long and will involve some changes in Agadir itself.
If you decide to go straight to Tamraght, one thing to note is that it has more of a laid-back feeling to its neighbours. There isn’t as much of a buzzing nightlife, and things here are a lot more relaxed. But that’s ok, because you’ll more than likely just want to drop off your stuff and freshen up after your flight, maybe even go for a dip in the sea.
You will spend the night at the Lunar Surf House, where you can check in from 2pm. If you decide to go the public transport route, they have a little advice about taking the bus from Agadir. It should be noted that this hostel typically closes at 10pm, so notify Moroccan Trail if you’re going to arrive late so someone is there to check you in. Once you get in and drop your bags, kick back and chill with your fellow adventurers or take a little look around Tamraght. Due to its location and design, you can climb up to the rooftop of the surf house and watch the sunset on your first day.
Day 2: Surf Day
Morning! Sleep alright? Tamraght is on Western European Standard Time, so you may or may not be feeling a little bit jetlagged. Whatever the case, a good way to start your day is with some yoga. The Lunar Surf House hosts yoga sessions on the terrace every morning between 8:15am and 9:15am, and it’s available to all skill levels, so why not try out something new? If you aren’t too sure about yoga, you can still go up before the classes, where they offer free meditation between 8:00am and 8;10am. It’ll help shake off the cobwebs of your travels.
After breakfast, you now have two choices. You can continue to explore the town of Tamraght, or go out even further. There are some lovely hiking trails out here - Tamraght is a 45-minute walk to the village of Taghazout, plus there is a nearby hill which overlooks the nearby town and out to the sea. You can even go to one of the local spas and get a massage if you’re still feeling a bit rough from travelling.
Or you can go surfing. Tamraght is well known for its surf spots while having the advantage of being a quieter, less touristy location, so you and your new travel buddies can have relative privacy. Like yoga, surfing requires focus, but don’t panic if it’s your first time. As well as offering equipment, the guys at the Lunar Surf House will teach you the basics.
At the end of your day, whatever you decide to do, you will conclude your day in the village of Tagazhout. Here, you and your new companions will get to enjoy a cocktail or other drink of your choice while the sun sets on your first full day in Morocco. But don’t drink too much! You’ll have your first big excursion the next day.
Day 3: Paradise Valley
Next stop: Paradise! Tucked away in the mountains outside of Agadir is Paradise Valley, a section of where the Tamraght River cuts through the High Atlas mountains. With its palm trees and cooling pools, Paradise Valley feels like a slice of heaven tucked away from the rest of the world. Depending on your route, it can take a while to fully navigate this area, but you’ll have guides to take you to all your best spots. Wear shoes with a good grip, as the pathways can be slippy at times. If you fancy going for a swim, you don’t even really need swimwear - the heat will dry off your clothes in no time, and the moisture on your clothes will offer some cooling respite. Just remember to take your phone out of your pocket before you do
You’re going to be hungry during your adventure through Paradise Valley. You’ve already sampled some of the local cuisine, but you’ll get to enjoy a meal with one of the locals during your trip, just the thing after a long hike. Got any allergies or dietary restrictions? Moroccan Trail has got you covered on that. Though Moroccan food can have meat and fish as ingredients, they also have a lot of other dishes, so you don’t have to worry about missing out on the experience. Just give the Moroccan trail a heads-up when you sign up! After your trip to Paradise Valley, you’ll be spending your last night in Tamraght. You’ll be knackered from your day of hiking, but you’ll want to get an early night anyway - you’ll be getting up sharp for the next leg of the adventure.
Day 4: The Sahara Desert Day #1
Got your sunscreen? Topped up on drinking water? Double-check because the next stretch of the journey will be heading through the Sahara, the largest hot desert in the world. You’ll be leaving the Lunar Surf House at 5am, and while under normal circumstances, I would say sleep it off in the drive up, but you’ll be making a few stops along the way. As well as catching up on breakfast, you’ll be visiting some of the landmarks that the Sahara’s western edge has to offer, including a centuries-old city!
Your first overnight stay on this road trip will be at the Hotel Le Tinsouline in the town of Zagora. Set in what used to be a Moorish palace, this hotel used to be one of the country residences of the king of Morocco. If everything goes according to schedule, you should arrive at 4pm. You can take a look around Zagora, but if you’re feeling a bit too tired after your early start, you can sample the local culture in a different manner - Le Tinsouline has local beers and wines on offer, as well as traditional Moroccan food. Again, mind how much of the local produce you try. You won’t be getting up as early, but you’ll be heading into the desert come morning. They also have a swimming pool in their courtyard where you can rinse off the sweat of the day.
Day 5: The Sahara Desert Day #2
Since you’ll be continuing your road trip through the Sahara today, you might want to start off your morning with a swim in the pool before breakfast. It’s just the thing for the Moroccan sun. After you’ve eaten, you and your travel companions will head continue onwards through the Sahara. You will take a jeep to climb the highest sand mountain, ride camels, as well as try out a sport you wouldn’t be able to do in much of Europe.
You might have gone snowboarding before, but have you ever tried sandboarding? By principle, they are the same thing, right? Attach yourself to a board and go downhill, gliding across the surface while balancing to make sure you don’t fall over. Well, yes and no. Sand is different to snow, and can take a couple of tries to get used to. Also, there are no ski lifts here, so what comes down must get back up if you want to get the hang of sandboarding. That being said though, it is a unique experience that is a lot of fun.
As the sun sets on your day on the dunes, home for the night will be glamping in the desert. You can unwind around the campfire with traditional Moroccan music, or you can lay out and watch the stars. The dry environment of the Sahara means that there is rarely a cloud in sight, and the limited pockets of civilisation mean that there is little light pollution to interrupt your view. Might want to bring a jumper though - desert nights can be as cold as desert days are hot.
Day 6: Ait Ben Haddou
Though your trip may be drawing to a close, the Moroccan Trail still have to show you the best of what the country has to offer. Considering how busy the last couple of days have been, you might want to sleep in. After all, you won’t be leaving until later on in the afternoon. Or, you could set an alarm and watch the sun rise over the Saharan dunes. Whatever you choose today, you’ll be making your way to your next stop - Ait Ben Haddou.
Located at the foot of the High Atlas mountains, this town might seem familiar to you when you first arrive. This is because it was used as a filming location for many notable projects, from the 1962 cinema classic Lawrence of Arabia to serving as one of the sets for Yunkai in Games of Thrones. As a former stop along the caravan route between the Sahara and the city of Marrakesh, this place has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since the late 80s and is one of Morocco’s must-visit locations.
This is where you’re going to be spending your second last night in Morocco, but before that, there are many things for you to do here before you call it a night. Take a wander through the city’s Souk and peruse the local markets, maybe grab something for your friends and family back home.
Day 7: Marrakesh
And for your final day, the city which for which Morocco is best known for: Marrakesh. A chaotic but vibrant city, Marrakesh is one of the four Imperial cities of Morroco, serving as trading hub for centuries and even being the country’s capital for a time. It holds another Moroccan UNESCO site, the Medina (or historical) district, as well as the largest Souk in the country. You’ll spend the rest of the day exploring this cultural landmark of a city with the rest of the Moroccan Trail crew. If you didn't get anything in Ait Ben Haddou, this will be your last opportunity on the trip. And enjoy it while it lasts, because once you go to bed for tonight, you’ll be taken back to Agadir to return home to reality.
Though that doesn’t mean it has to be the end of your experience with the Moroccan Trail. You’ll undoubtedly have made friends with other people who have signed on with the trip, and when you get back home, you should receive an invite where you and everyone else on the adventure can meet up again for a reunion, reminiscing on your week in Morocco. Among their booking options, you can also get yourself a T-shirt or a hoodie as a memento to commemorate this life-changing adventure.