On your own in Morocco: travel itinerary
It’s very easy to travel to Morocco on your own! We have worked out for you a detailed itinerary for your trip to Morocco with a detailed travel budget. The goal is to go around the whole country without missing anything interesting.
Morocco is a great option for an independent travel. First, visa-free entry is open to Russians. Secondly, it is very safe and politically calm country, which, moreover, is considered the most Europeanized Arab country. And thirdly, there is so much to see in Morocco, that it makes absolutely no sense to go there on a tour. If Morocco – only on their own!
Exchange rate: 1 Moroccan Dirham (MAD) ≈ 5.5 rubles.
Here is a scenario of the most profound dive into this wonderful country.
We also recommend you to read our article about Morocco – valuable information about the country for those who go to Morocco on their own. We also have a separate article about beach holidays in Morocco.
Morocco: how to get there
The easiest way to get to Morocco from Russia is by air. Many variants are possible. These are direct flights of Royal Air Maroc from Moscow to Casablanca, and a whole range of possible combinations of flights with connections in different European cities (Paris, Brussels, Madrid, Rome, etc.). There is even an option to get to Morocco by sea: first you must fly to Spain, and from there, from one of the southern ports on the ferry to Morocco. The journey will last from 1 to 2 hours. However, the last two options require a Schengen visa. In addition, they are too tedious and time-consuming.
Most often, the easiest and cheapest way to get to Morocco is to fly with Turkish Airlines. A flight from Moscow will take you to Casablanca with a connection in Istanbul. If you want you can not choose the minimum connecting time of two hours, and take, for example, 8 hours or more, to have time to get a few hours to the center of Istanbul, there will be a little walk and see the main sights (we did so). Read how to get to downtown Istanbul from the airport.
Anyway, to find the best option for both price and convenience, you need to compare all possible options. Aviasales and Skyscanner services search for tickets on all airlines. To learn how to find and book airline tickets at the lowest price, study our tips.
And, of course, it always makes sense to keep track of new airline promotions on our website .
We also recommend that you read our very useful article about how to fly cheap. And if you still decided to get to Morocco through Europe, then we recommend an article on how to travel cheaply to Europe through the Baltics and Finland .
If you feel that you are not ready to organize an independent trip to Morocco, but you want to go to this beautiful country, then fly on a tour. You can find a trip online, too. Tours in Morocco →
Hotels in Morocco
In popular tourist destinations to find a hotel is not a problem. A wide range of hotels for all tastes and wallets are in Chefchaouen, Casablanca, Agadir, Essaouira, Rabat, Marrakech, Ouarzazate and many other cities.
It is better to book accommodation in advance, especially in high season.
We recommend searching for hotels on the service Roomguru.ru. This is a search engine, it compares prices for hotels on all popular booking systems (Bucking, Agoda, Ozon, Island, etc.) and finds the best option. In general, it both provides a wide selection and allows you to make a reservation at the best price. Pay attention to hotel reviews and ratings – they are made by tourists themselves, it’s useful for choosing a good hotel.
We also recommend you to pay special attention to the service Airbnb.ru (experienced travelers surely know it). On it you can book very interesting accommodation from the owners. Instead of a banal hotel you can check into authentic riads, apartments, or houses – and you’ll agree that this is much more interesting, as well as comfortable and often even cheaper. The selection of accommodation on Airbnb.ru is vast – there are thousands of options. Be sure to find something you like!
So, our independent journey through Morocco has begun – we’re in Casablanca!
Some travelers, having been in Casa (that’s how this city is called by the Moroccans), dissuade people from going here, saying, the city is not an authentic, and there’s nothing to do here. Do not believe it – they are lying. Go to the second largest city in Africa is hundred percent worthwhile. The city is beautiful because it is a rich mixture of the most diverse elements: there are colorful slums, reminiscent of the slums of Rio, partly a black neighborhoods American metropolises, there is the spirit of Miami and something of southern European port cities like Marseille, and, of course, its own life flows in the medina.
A stay of two or three days in Casablanca is quite enough to see the city.
How to get to Casablanca from the airport
Casablanca airport is quite far from the city itself – around 40 kilometers away. A cab will be unrealistically expensive – 300 dirhams. Therefore the easiest way to get from the airport to Casablanca inexpensively (and at the same time comfortably and quickly) is by train. The station is directly under the airport and trains run every hour. A second class ticket will cost 40 dirhams. Go to the central station of the city – Gare Casa Voyageur.
Hotels in Casablanca
The cheapest hotels can be found in the medina. You can get a double room for 100 dirhams. But be prepared for no toilet or shower in the room and an extra 10 dirhams per person for hot water.
Hotels with a higher comfort level will cost around AED 150-200. You can find them in the central area of the city. You can also check out the accommodation options on Airbnb.ru.
Public transport in Casablanca
The pride of the city is the ultra-modern streetcar that connects the two residential areas, the city center and the beach. Tickets cost 7 dirhams and can be bought from the ticket machines which are located near each stop. After buying the ticket you go through the turnstile and get on the streetcar. This mode of transport is considered expensive and only middle class people use it. But it really is a comfortable and fast mode of transport.
The ticket for regular buses is cheaper – 3 dirhams. But be aware that buses are often packed to capacity.
A petit cab (small cab) will take you, depending on the distance for 10-20 dirhams. No more than three people can be seated in the car. You can ask to turn on the meter, or you can negotiate the price in advance.
Grand Taxis (old Mercedes) carry up to 6 passengers. The fare will be around AED 6.
Once we have walked around Casablanca, we can move on. From the familiar Casa Voyageur station we take the train to the small resort town of Asila, which is located almost in the north-west of the country on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. The ticket is best taken in first class, taking a ticket in second class, you risk of not having a seat and spending five and a half hours in a stuffy carriage or standing on your feet, or sitting in the vestibule or even the toilet of the car with a density of four or five people per square meter. The price of a first class ticket is 164 dirhams.
By the way, here is the Moroccan Railways website where you can see all the routes, schedules and ticket prices.
There is a wide variety of places to stay in Asilah for cheap. You can even find nameless hostel hotels, which will cost 40 dirhams per person.
Asilah is not just a classic resort town where you will find everything you need for a relaxing beach holiday, it is also a very beautiful place known for its charming medina. And to top it all off, there’s also a great selection of seafood in local restaurants.
If you wish you can take a trip from Asila to nearby Larash. This city is picturesquely situated on the rocks near the ocean. It is first of all famous for its Roman ruins which are near the city on a small hill. You can get to Larash from Asila by regular minibuses for 15 dirhams. Departure from Asila Bus Station which is located to the east of the city. To go directly to the ruins you have to ask the driver to drop you off at the ruins before you reach the city. The travel time is about one hour. After a short walk in Larash you return to Asila by minibus.
From Asila, again, we take the same 15 dirhams by minibus to Tangier, once a city of international status, an interzone and a magnet for European and American writers and artists, the marginal and outsiders.
The city is not the same now, so there is no point in lingering here. At the bus station we buy a ticket to Chefchaouen for 50-60 dirhams and after 2-3 hours of travel through the mountain roads we are in one of the most famous and beautiful cities in Morocco.
Chefchaouen is one of the most entourage cities in Morocco. Foreigners were not allowed here for centuries because the place was considered sacred. Times have changed – now it’s the other way around, with an endless stream of tourists. So be prepared that every minute your peace and quiet on the streets will be disturbed by clingy helpers, each with his proposal: a hotel, restaurant, cafe, hashish.
Speaking of the latter, Chefchaouen is located in the Rif Mountains, which are famous for their cannabis plantations. This is why hashish is offered by almost everyone you meet and is smoked by locals sitting on the street.
Shefshawen’s beauty comes from two things: first, its picturesque location in the Rif Mountains, and second, its colorfully painted medina in various shades of blue. Early in the morning is the best time to walk the intricate streets of the medina, at no other time will you have such a pleasure. There are no vendors, no annoying helpers, and no tourists with their cameras in the morning.
From small walks to multi-day hikes, you can go trekking if you wish. There are even small waterfalls, mountain lakes, and rivers in the mountains north of Chefchaouen.
From Chefchaouen we go to Tetouan (25 dirhams) to change buses and go to Marrakech (225 dirhams for STM). It will be a long drive of almost 10 hours with two stops for refreshments.
The bus station in Marrakech is right outside the walls of the medina. It’s best to settle in the medina, preferably close to the main square of Jama el Fna. This will make it easier not to get lost, because the streets of the old city are a real maze. A night in a budget hotel will cost 100-180 dirhams for a room for two.
Marrakech is the most popular city for tourists in Morocco, so be prepared for the same problem as in Chefchaouen: the annoyance and desire to get any money out of you.
When visiting Marrakech it is worth devoting a couple of days to a trip to the nearby Atlas Mountains. You can even climb to the top of the highest mountain in North Africa – Jebel Toubkal (4064 meters). Any healthy person can do it, because the ascent is very simple and does not require any special training. To make it happen you need to take a grand cab from Marrakech to the mountain village of Imlil where the ascent begins. After conquering the summit we return back to Marrakech.
From Marrakech we go to Ouarzazate. The town is known as African Hollywood, because many movies were shot here, from Lawrence of Arabia to Gladiator. A CTM bus ticket costs 80 dirhams, other carriers cost about 60-70. Travel time is four and a half hours.
The road between Marrakech and Ouarzazate passes through the Atlas Mountains and is considered one of the most scenic in the world. It is here, on the southeastern side of the Atlas Mountains, that the Sahara Desert begins.
The main attraction of Ouarzazate is the ksar (earthen fortress) of Ait Ben-Haddou, which is located 30 km from the city. It is considered the most beautiful in Morocco. To get there, it is worthwhile to use the services of a grand cab.
From Ouarzazate we go to the east, to the small town of Tangir (ticket price 70 dirhams). There is nothing to see and do in the town. But there is a wonderful oasis near it, and a little further is the Todra Gorge. It is a fantastic place with incredibly high (up to 300 meters!) steep cliffs. Here you can go climbing, or you can just enjoy the scenery. There are many hotels and restaurants in the gorge, so you can stay right here.
Fum Zgid and Erg Shigaga
From Tangir we return to Ouarzazate, where we change to another bus to Foum Zgid. The ticket for the latter will cost 60-70 dirhams.
Foum-Zguid is a small village in the south of Morocco, close to the border with Algeria. It is attractive because from here you can go to the sand dunes of Erg Shigaga. To do so, you would have to look for people who make these trips to the dunes and arrange for a tour. Alas, this is the only way (unless, of course, you have your own off-road vehicle). As a rule, in the dunes, people spend the night in a small Tuareg settlement, meet the sunset and sunrise, and in the afternoon return back to Foum-Zgid.
Choosing the way forward
In Foum-Zghid we take the morning 9 o’clock bus and go to Guelmim (ticket costs about 90-100 dirhams). It is a long trip, so it is better to leave at 9 am. The bus will arrive in the afternoon to Guelmim. And here you have to make an important choice about the further route.
Dakhla. Western Sahara
The most desperate can head south to the unrecognized Western Sahara, which is actually under the control of the Moroccan government. Western Sahara is more than a thousand kilometers of monotonous desert landscapes. If you’re ready for that, welcome to Dakhla, a city at the crossroads between the real Africa and Morocco.
There’s not much to see in the city, but here you can feel like you’re at the very ends of the earth. After all, on one side of you is a vast desert, reaching thousands of kilometers into the interior of the continent, and on the other is even more boundless Atlantic Ocean. It’s certainly worth enduring the hours-long bus ride. Dakhla is also known for its waves and is therefore a kind of mecca for surfers. The geographical location of Dakhla is also unusual: the city is located on a narrow peninsula stretching for 40 kilometers.
After getting to know Dakhla you will need to take the same road back to Guelmim.
There is no point in staying longer in Guelmim, so we immediately take a grand cab and head north to the port town of Sidi Ifni, located 60 kilometers from Guelmim.
Sidi Ifni is the place to finally be able to really relax after the hard drives through the desert. It has a great beach and a great selection of seafood.
The jewel in the crown of the land, Legzira, is 15km to the north and is famous all over the world for its amazing arches. This place is not to be missed. You can go there by grand cab for 20-30 dirhams, depending on the arrangement.
To get to Essaouira you will first need to go to Tiznit (CTM bus for 25 Dirhams) and from there take a bus to Essaouira (80-100 Dirhams).
In Essaouira you can relax even more than in Sidi Ifni. It too has a great beach, an abundance of seafood, and a large number of clubs, discos, and even museums. In Essaouira, an excellent medina, where it is best and settle down (a decent room for two can be found and for 100 dirhams). Another pride of Essaouira is a wonderful port, which is best seen early in the morning.
Essaouira is the end point of the Moroccan trip. All the key cities, places, and sights have been seen – now you can go back to Casablanca and fly home from there.
The bus from Essaouira to Kassa will cost about 100 dirhams. In Casablanca we take a train to the airport (40 dirhams) and in a few hours we arrive in Russia.
This is the end of our trip to Morocco. But no doubt that once you have made this fantastic trip, you’ll want to do it again sometime. Believe me, to bring to life this amazing journey is not much harder than reading this text. Honestly. Just do it.
P.S. The text is based on personal experience of a two-month solo trip to Morocco by the authors of the site make-trip.ru in August-September 2013. We were able to do it, you can do it too.
On your own in Morocco: travel itinerary
Marrakech, Gibraltar, Casablanca… Sounds like music, right? If you have always wanted to go to Morocco, but you don’t know how to plan your trip – you want to see everything at once! – Take our expert travel guide for a complete itinerary.
Marrakech → Ouarzazate → Fez → Chefchaouen → Tangier → Gibraltar → Casablanca.
Days 1-3. Marrakech
Marrakech, or the “Red City,” is considered the center of the Moroccan east. It is exotic, chaotic and colorful.
In Marrakech we suggest you stay three days, one of which should be entirely devoted to a visit to Ouarzazate and the fortress of Ait Ben Haddou.
Stay two nights in one of the traditional riad hotels:
Jema el-Fna Square and the Medina
The square in the center of Medina knows no peace and quiet: all day long it is a hustle and bustle, with street musicians, acrobats and storytellers performing all day long. And in the evening the square turns into a huge open-air restaurant, where you can taste any traditional and exotic dishes.
Around the area is located the most colorful and authentic area of the city – the Medina. Here hundreds of narrow streets intertwine to form eastern bazaars and shops selling Moroccan products: ceramics, carpets, scarves and shoes.
Address of the square: Rue El Ksour, 38, Marrakech
The Koutoubia Mosque is the most iconic religious building and symbol of Marrakech. It heads the Djema el-Fna Square and its 77-metre minaret is the tallest structure in the city.
Only Muslims can go inside the mosque, and visitors of any other faith have the opportunity to view the ancient elements of the mosque from the outside.
Behind the mosque, take a stroll in the cozy Lalla Hasna Park with picturesque views and swimming pools.
Bahia Palace is one of the richest monuments of 19th century Moroccan architecture. Its interior is decorated with exquisite ornaments and characteristic courtyards with columns.
Entrance is open every day from 9:00 to 17:00 and a ticket costs 70 MAD.
Address: Avenue Imam El Ghazali, Marrakech
El Badi is the ruins of a once majestic 16th century palace. Here you can stroll through the plaza with its huge swimming pool and the inner corridors and rooms of the former palace. From its upper decks you can see the views of El Badi and the surrounding area.
Opening hours: 9:00 to 17:00.
Ticket price: 70 MAD
Address: Ksibat Nhass, Marrakech
The Menard Gardens
Photo: karkozphoto / Depositphotos.com
The Menara Gardens are spread over a large area where you can take a break from the bustle of Marrakech. There are mostly olive trees, palm trees, orange trees and other fruit trees. Some of them are up to three hundred years old.
The main attraction of the gardens is the lighthouse pavilion, standing on the shore of the pond. Be sure to look at it from the opposite side of the pond – it offers a picturesque view of the pavilion, palm trees and towering mountains on the horizon.
Entrance is free from Avenue de la Ménara from 9:00 to 17:00 daily.
The Majorelle Garden
An impressive creation of the French painter Jacques Majorelle, the Majorelle Garden. Here you can admire a collection of plants brought here from all over the world, small ponds and a villa, built in the Art Deco style. There is also a museum of Berber culture.
The garden is open from 8:00 to 18:00, the ticket costs 70 MAD.
Address: Rue Yves St Laurent, Marrakech
Ouarzazate and Ait Ben Haddou
On the second day of your trip you will visit the city of Ouarzazate and the fortress of Ayt-Ben Haddou. To get there we recommend taking a day trip with Moroccan Guides.
The tour starts at 7:30 and ends at 18:00. The price includes all transfers and a ticket to the fortress.
Ait-Ben Haddu Fortress is a World Heritage Site and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Xar (the fortified city) has many times served as a film set for movies and TV series. The fortress is notable for its massive walls of ochre and brick color, standing in several tiers. Walking around it, you can feel like a hero of an oriental fairy tale.
At the foot of the fortress there’s life in the traditional streets of the medina. There you can buy interesting things and souvenirs of local production. In addition to the visit of the fortress itself be sure to look at it from a distance: the landscape of an ancient building surrounded by downy palm trees leaves no one indifferent.
Days 3-5. Fez .
On the third day you depart for the ancient city of Fez. The comfortable train leaves from Marrakech station at 19:00. The train will take 6.5 hours and you’ll be at the station in Fez at 01:30.
The train ticket costs 195 MAD. Details are here. The best way to get to the hotel is by cab.
In Fez we suggest you stay at the riad Fes Baraka which is located at the beginning of the Medina:
Fes el Bali
Take a day to walk around Fes el Bali, the oldest part of the city, consisting of 6,000 streets of the medina and a UNESCO heritage site. Check out the oriental bazaars where you can buy local products such as leather goods, authentic ceramic tagine, traditional babushi slippers or silver and goldware.
You can also drop in at one of the dye houses in the tannery quarter where leather is dyed in different colors in a traditional way.
Day 5. Transfer to Tangier. Chefchaouen .
On the morning of the fifth day of your journey leave for Tangier. On the way stop at Chefchaouen.
To get to Chefchaouen take the CTM bus at the CTM Bus Station. The trip takes about 4 hours.
Schefshauen is famous for the houses and streets painted blue. Arrive at the Gare Routière in Chefchaouen and go for a walk in the old town. From the station head in the direction of the Bab El Ain. It will take you about 20 minutes.
After passing through the gate, you will find yourself in a fabulous perimeter of narrow streets and passages. The traditional house doors and staircases are particularly charming, and you can often see the local cats on them. In the streets you will find a variety of restaurants serving Moroccan food, as well as shops selling souvenirs and items of clothing and lifestyle.
In the evening, take the CTM bus to Tangier. The bus takes about 2.5 hours.
Days 5-7. Tangier and Gibraltar
You will spend two days in Tangier, one of which we suggest you dedicate to a trip to Gibraltar.
We have selected two accommodation options for you:
Gibraltar is a small state which is a British Overseas Territory. The official language is English and the currency is Gibraltar pound.
To get here you take the ferry FRS Iberia. It will take you to the Spanish town of Tarifa. From Tarifa to Gibraltar there is a bus. Total travel time is about 2 hours.
Once you arrive in Gibraltar, head to its spectacular sights:
Europa Point is a picturesque spot at the tip of Gibraltar. You can see the shores of Africa from here. Walk the grounds and paths, see the lighthouse, and enjoy the mountainous landscape of Gibraltar. Nearby stands the white Ibrahim al-Ibrahim mosque.
Gibraltar’s most significant site is considered its nature reserve: an area covering about 40 percent of the country. To get there, use the cable car. Its station is located at Red Sands Rd. At the top you will have breathtaking views of the state’s highest peak, the Rock of Gibraltar, and the waters of the Strait of Gibraltar.
Then go down Signal Station Road and cross the Wall of Charles V. Here is a colony of Berber monkeys, the Magothas. Be careful with them – they love to snatch everything out of their hands, so hold your phone and camera tightly.
The cost of a cable car ride is 16 GIP.
To enter the park we suggest you buy a ticket that includes all the attractions of the park. The price is 12 GIP.
Another attraction that offers breathtaking views is called the Sky Walk, a transparent glass walkway at a height of 340 meters. It offers panoramic views of Gibraltar. Not far from the walk you can walk across the Windsor Suspension Bridge.
Be sure to take a walk through Gibraltar’s Old Town. Here you’ll find a mix of European and English architecture, plenty of stores and restaurants.
The Bab Kasbah Gate, Place du 9 Avril 1947 and the port border the city’s most colorful and oldest district, the Medina. Head here for a stroll through the narrow streets, where numerous vendors sell locally made products and souvenirs.
After enjoying the Moroccan architecture of Medina, see the ancient fortress of Kasbah, built by the Portuguese. The fortress is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and the ticket price is 20 MAD.
In the port area you can see the exquisite Mosque of the East.
Days 7-9. Casablanca
Photo: milosk50 / Shutterstock.com
In the evening of the seventh day, head to the Tanger Ville train station. A transfer to Casablanca awaits you.
We suggest taking the 7:00 p.m. flight. The train passes through the town of Kenitra, where you will need to change to another train to Casablanca. The total travel time will be about 3 hours. Details of the itinerary can be seen here.
Casablanca is the most populous city in Morocco. The word “blanca” in the name comes from the fact that all the houses are painted white.
You will have one full day to see the city.
We have picked for two accommodation options:
Hassan II Mosque.
The first thing to do is head to the Hassan II Mosque, the largest mosque in Morocco. The majestic building is decorated with detailed mosaics, marble columns and floors, stucco and carved ceilings.
Outside the mosque, gaze at its 200-meter minaret and stroll around the grounds for a great view of the city and the coast.
Address: Boulevard de la Corniche, Casablanca
Not far from the Mosque of Hassan II you will find the traditional medina. Here you find narrow streets, small squares and white-washed houses, many with graffiti.
Mahkam du Pacha Palace
Photo: xabi_kls / Shutterstock.com
The palace of Mahkam du Pasha is a magnificent structure with 64 halls and rich decoration. You can only go here if you are accompanied by a guide. Guides almost always stand at the entrance of the palace and offer their services to travelers.
The palace doors are open to visitors from Monday to Saturday from 8.00 am to 12.00 pm and from 2.00 pm to 6.00 pm. Entrance is free.