Are you currently trying to plan a road trip to Morocco but not sure where to start? Not to worry cause I am here to help you!
In 2019 I went on an incredible road trip through Morocco and I am here to spill the tea! From strolling through the bazaar in Marrakech to watching the sunset over the blue city of Chefchaouen. I will go over my entire Morocco road trip itinerary, tell you what to look out for and how to handle sometimes stressful situations.
Let me start by saying that I would return to Morocco in a heartbeat and that it was one of the most fun road trips I ever went on!
The Ultimate Morocco Road Trip Itinerary
Land in Morocco – Pick up rental car
Strolling through Marrakech – 2 nights
Overnight in the desert – Scarabeo Camp
The best Game Of Thrones location – Aït Benhaddou
Pit stop in Casablanca
Explore the blue pearl of Morocco – 2 nights in Chefchaouen
Discovering Fez – 2 nights
Incredible waterfall on your way to Marrakech – Ouzoud
Overnight in Marrakech before flight home
All photos in this post are edited with my ‘Dream Away With Me” Preset pack.
When traveling to Morocco for the first time you’ll want to see as much as possible of this beautiful country. The best and cheapest way to do this is to go on a road trip. But planning one can sometimes lead to a lot of frustration and about a dozen questions might pop up in your head. How do I know this? Well about all of those questions popped up when I was planning out an itinerary for a 2 week girls road trip through Morocco.
How to be safe on a road trip in Morocco as a girl?
How to choose a rental car in Marrakech?
This will be one of the first things on the agenda! I chose not to book a car in advance and rented the car straight at the airport. Make sure to talk to different agents to get a good idea about the pricing. Some rental companies will ask for an insane insurance fee that will take up most of your Credit Card and you don’t want that.
After you scored the best deal it’s time to check the car for damages. Always make sure to take photos or record videos where you can clearly see all of the little scratches. Don’t forget to also check the inside of the car. Doing so will avoid later on discussions.
Safety on the road in Morocco
Police in Morocco
Driving in Morocco can be a little crazy from time to time. While there is a main highway you will often find yourself on smaller roads with local police stops. The biggest annoyance for sure is how often you will get pulled over as a foreigner. My biggest tip for you here is to remain calm, if you speak French use it and stand your ground. They will try to convince you that you broke some kind of traffic rule, while you didn’t. At one point we had to give our papers and they asked us for money. We simply stated that we didn’t have any cash money on us and after some going back and forward we simply got our papers back and kept on driving.
Driving rules in Morocco
Basically the same rules apply here as in Europe but not many people really pay attention to it :p. Driving is done on the right side of the road and when you get closer to the city center it can get pretty crowded and a little crazy. The most difficult part was by far driving in Casablanca. If you don’t feel that comfortable behind the wheel it’s better to park outside of the city and take the public transportation to visit the mosque.
Navigating in Morocco
The first thing I always do when arriving in a country where my own SIM won’t work is buy a local one. This way I can use either Google Maps or Waze to find my way. Both navigation apps worked throughout the entire trip and are a cheaper option than including a GPS in your rental agreement.
The Morocco Road Trip Itinerary
Marrakech (2-3 nights)
Welcome to Marrakech and prepare to immerse yourself in this one of a kind place. Within the time span of an hour you’ll fall in love and hate this city at the same time. These feelings often intertwined with each other but at the end of the day I loved exploring the wonderful maze that is Marrakech. Street vendors will try to sell you their goods, young men will stare at you and motorcycles will speed by while you’re trying to find your way. The best way is to just go with the flow and take it all in.
The popularity of Marrakech has skyrocketed over the past year due to Social Media and it’s not hard to see why. Almost every corner in this city is worth photographing. This also means that the city is a lot busier than a few years ago so make sure to set your alarm clock and enjoy an early morning stroll through the medina.
Things to do in Marrakech
- Visit Jardin Majorelle and the YSL museum
- Visit Koutoubia mosque
- Take in all the different scents at the spice market
- Go shopping at the souks
- Be stunned by Ben Youssef Madrasa
- Get lost in the Medina
Where to stay in Marrakech
- Riad Kbour & Chou – A beautiful Belgian owned riad a little outside of the craziness of the medina. They also offer free bicycles, which are an excellent form of transportation inside the medina. There is a parking lot close by for the car.
- Ksar Kasbah & Spa – Stay here for the best rooftop view in entire Marrakech.
- Es Saadi – A luxury resort near the city center of Marrakech
- Riad Kasbah & Spa – One of the most beautiful and Instaworthy riads in Marrakech. The central pool is the perfect way to relax after a busy day of exploring!
Where to park your car
After you’ve booked your riad/hotel, simply ask them where the nearest parking lot is. There are a lot of them inside and outside the medina but you also don’t want to drag your suitcase through the maze.
Overnight in the desert
Grab your rental and let’s hit the road! The stone desert is only 1 hour driving from Marrakech and the perfect way to ease into this road trip! For this adventure I opted for a 1 night stay but you can easily spend 2 nights in the desert without being bored for a second.
Every camp offers different activities such as ATV rides, camel safari’s, desert dinners and sunset hikes.
Visiting the Agafay desert is the perfect “substitute” if you don’t have the time to make it all the way to the Sahara desert.
Where to stay
- Agafay Luxury camp – This camp comes with an outdoor swimming pool, a bar and room service.
- La Pause – An eco resort in the heart of the Agafay desert.
- The White Camel – If sleeping in a tent isn’t for you you can stay in one of the lodges here.
Where to park your car
All of these camps come with a parking lot. You don’t have to worry that you’ll need to drive through the desert. At the least there will be a small gravel road leading up to the camp.
Day trip to Ouarzazate and Aït Benhaddou
Honestly, the drive alone is already worth the visit! You’ll drive through the Atlas mountains over winding roads and see some of the most epic landscapes. Aït Benhaddou is one of the most famous movie locations in Morocco. Both Gladiator and Game of Thrones were filmed here and it’s not hard to see why.
The drive from the desert camp to Aït Benhaddou will take about 4 hours but the spectacular Tizi n’ Tichka mountain pass will make it seem like time is flying by. Be cautious though when driving cause you’re still in the mountains so expect to have a lot of twists and turns!
The best way to visit this place is to organise the trip there on your own. Tour busses will take way longer and you won’t be able to stay around for sunset. And believe me, you don’t want to miss it!
Things to do
- Catch sunrise or sunset at Ait Benhaddou
- Visit Kasbah of Tifoultoute
- Spend the afternoon at Fint oasis
Where to stay
- Dar Mouna La Source – This guest house is 200 m from the gates of the fortified city of Ait Benhaddou. It features a hammam, an outdoor swimming pool and a terrace with views of the kasbah.
- Kasbah Titrit & Spa – Offering a pool and hot tub with a view over the mountains.
- L’oasis Du Bonheur – A good budget option and only 5 minutes driving from the kasbah.
Where to park your car
When visiting the Kasbah of Tifoultoute you can simply park your car on the side of the road. There is a big patch of gravel next to it and this is also where the best viewpoint is. For Aït Benhaddou you’ll see parking space on the side of the road. There will be a local guard and for 10MAD you can safely leave your car there.
Drive to Chefchaouen and stop in Casablanca
Get ready for a long, long drive. If you are doing this road trip on your own it might be a good idea to either spend a night in Marrakech or Casablanca. From Aït Benhaddou to Chefchaouen the drive takes about 11 hours. If there’s two of you in the car you can easily do it!
The drive to Casablanca however is pretty easy and straight forward cause for the most part you’ll be on the main highway!
Your stop over in Casablanca will be a short one cause besides the Hassan II Mosque there isn’t much to see.
Where to park your car
There is a huge parking lot right in front of the Hassan II Mosque. So while driving through Casablanca might be pretty stressful sometimes this is one part you don’t have to worry about!
The Blue Pearl of Morocco, Chefchaouen
While you can pretty much see this entire town in just 1 day it’s a nice place to simply sit back and relax. I would advise you to spend at least 2 nights here so you can watch the sunset on top of the hill.
But I hear you asking… Is this city really that beautiful and worth the detour? Well, yes it is! Unlike in Jodhpur almost all of the houses here are painted in different shades of blue.
And if not for the colourful city, you should add it to the list because of the beautiful landscape. Chefchaouen is located in the Rif mountains and offers some stunning viewpoints.
However, due to it’s beauty, Chefchaouen is also one of the most touristy places in Morocco. A lot of day trippers arrive at 10am so from then on the small blue streets will be very crowded. However once 4pm they will all start to leave and you can enjoy a nice and quiet evening on one of the many terraces.
Because of high tourism here it’s not the best place to buy your souvenirs. Prices will be a lot higher than anywhere else.
When you’re making your way over to Chefchaouen from Casablanca, try to arrive before sunset. The last 2 hours of the drive are on small and windy gravel roads without any light markers. If you can’t make it on time (like us) you’ll have to drive careful. It’s always a good idea to have your co-pilot watch the GPS with you and let you know when a big curve is coming up!
Things to do in Chefchaouen
- Watch the sunset from Mosquée Bouzâafar
- Get lost in the maze of little streets
- Learn about Chefchaouen’s history at the Kasbah museum
- Go on a scenic hike in the Rif mountains
Where to stay in Chefchaouen
- Dar Zambra – A traditional, Moroccan guest house. It offers a terrace with mountain views and a lounge area.
- Riad Cherifa – Rich decorated rooms and a swimming pool make this riad stand out from the others in Chefcaouen.
- Dar Yakout – Perfect if you’re traveling with a group.
Where to park your car
If you’re staying within the old town (where all of the blue houses are) the nearest parking lot is next to the central market. Pricing is 20MAD/night and you won’t need your car during the rest of your stay here.
Discover the real Morocco – Fez (2-3 nights)
There is no better way to describe Fez than an enormous labyrinth. One were Google Maps kinda works but you will end up lost at least 3 times for sure. Whatever you do, don’t look like you are lost. Locals are looking for the slightest sense of doubt on your face and will be more than eager to show you the way. This however is not a free service and while at one time it was a gesture we absolutely needed and felt okay paying for it. Most of the time you’re just 1 street away and it feels like a total rip off.
Nevertheless, Fez is a city you simply have to see. The medina is actually way cooler than the one in Marrakech and souvenirs are less expensive and more original.
Top things to do in Fez
- Pay a visit to the Chouara tanneries
- Visit the oldest university in the world, University of al Karaouine
- Get lost in the medina
- Go for a late night hammam
- Have lunch on the rooftop of Cafe Clock
- See the Al Attarine Madrasa
- Take photos in front of the golden gates at the Royal Palace
Where to stay in Fez
- Palais Amani – A beautiful hotel located at the edge of the medina and close to the main parking lot.
- Hotel Sahrai – Indulge in pure luxury, only a few minutes driving from the medina.
- Karawan Riad – A luxury riad with the most amazing rooftop view over the medina.
- Riad Arabesque & Spa – This traditional residence exudes an air of nostalgia, and has views over the spiritual and intellectual capital of Fez and the Zalagh Mountains.
Where to park your car
There are several parking lots around the medina. The same principal counts here as in Marrakech: ask your riad/hotel which parking lot is closer.
Drive back to Marrakech – Visit Ouzoud waterfalls
This is one stop that has to be on your itinerary. I have seen some impressive waterfalls in my life but the waterfalls of Ouzoud are simply incredible!
A lot of travel agencies in Morocco will tell you that you can only visit these falls with a tour. This is not the case at all! You can park at one of the assigned parking spaces and simply walk by yourself to the falls. There is just one way leading to them which will immediately bring you to the epic viewpoint from the top.
If you want you can hike down and admire the falls from there. Besides that you can also rent a little boat for on the river.
All in all I had the absolute best time on this road trip. Even that we encountered a small hick up once or twice I still get a big smile on my face every time I think about this trip.
How to stay safe as a girl on a road trip in Morocco
- Always stand your ground, never let someone talk you into paying for something that you shouldn’t have to pay for.
- Make sure to carry small notes of cash with you so you don’t have to take out large bills in public.
- Look like you know where you’re going! Don’t walk around staring at your phone looking for the right way. It’s better to just stop at a shop and recalculate your directions from there.
- Dress the part! Remember that you’re visiting a Muslim country! Please take this into consideration when you’re picking out your outfits. I am not saying you have to cover up completely but a dress below the knees already goes a long way. I was visiting Morocco during Ramadan and even then I saw so many tourists in skimpy shorts and spaghetti strap tops… Don’t be that person and respect the local culture.
- Ignore catcalling. If a shop owner keeps on insisting simply say “no thank you” and move on.
- Keep your valuables close or hidden. Don’t walk around wearing expensive jewellery.
- Don’t accept tours from strangers. Always look for a registered tour company.
- Ask people if it’s okay to take their photo. They may ask you for money.
- Always confirm the price of a taxi before you get in.
But most important of all, HAVE FUN! Morocco is an amazing country and I can’t wait to hear all of your stories after an amazing holiday!
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Charlotte Lint is the founder of Charlies Wanderings.
Charlotte has traveled all over the world and is based in Belgium where she also owns her very own dental practice.
She is an expert on writing efficient travel guides and finding unique places to stay.
Every month she helps over 134.000 people discover the most beautiful places in the world through her detailed travel guides.