Authentic Morocco Escorted Tour
Join our 13 day escorted small group tour of Morocco which packs a huge amount in to your time in the country. From visiting a local Cannabis Farms in Chefchaouen to a cooking class experience in Fes, this tour is full of authentic Moroccan flavours.
This tour is led by expert local guides and uses great quality local hotels and guest houses.
An itinerary that has been designed by local experts to see the highlights of Morocco while also discovering the country off the tourist trail.
Day 1 - Arrive in Casablanca
Welcome and assistance at the airport by your English-speaking guide. Then transfer to the city centre to start the visit to the economic capital of the country where you will discover the central market, the district of Habous, the Royal Palace, the Mohamed V square, and the residential district of Anfa. Then transfer to your hotel where you will have a welcome tea while doing the check-in, and overnight.
Overnight at Gray Boutique Hotel Casablanca or similar (B)
Casablanca lies on the Atlantic coast, in central-western Morocco. Fondly known by locals simply as ‘Casa', the capital is the industrial, economic and cultural heart of this remarkable country, as well as its most cosmopolitan, liberal, and progressive city. While most visitors overlook Casablanca in favour of Morocco’s more popular and exotic tourist areas, this sprawling metropolis has plenty to offer the discerning traveller and has many hidden historical and cultural gems just waiting to be discovered. The city is famous for its spectacular Art Deco and Moorish Revival architecture, constructed during the Colonial Period. Explore the Old Medina, a tiny, ancient, walled village; visit the impressive King Hassan II Mosque; discover the ornate rooms, masterfully tiled floors, and intricately carved wooden ceilings of the Hispanic-Moorish Mahkama du Pacha; or simply watch the world go by at one of the many ocean-view cafes along the waterfront boulevard.
Day 2 – Asilah
Enjoy your breakfast at the hotel before our departure to Asilah, a peaceful town on the northern coast of Morocco. Offering a refuge from the nearby bustling cities of Tangier and Tetouan, Asilah features deserted, quiet beaches and a relaxing atmosphere. Arrive at your destination city and take a tour to admire the 14th-century Portuguese ramparts, the ancient gates, the flowery streets of the medina and its Islamic and Andalusian style buildings. We also see the palace of the Pasha Raissouni, and the Palace of Culture, a building that looks like a fortress. At the end of the afternoon, we transfer to the hotel, check-in and overnight.
Overnight at the Hotel Al Alba or similar (B)
Asilah is an idyllic, fortified seaside town on Morocco’s Atlantic coast. The photogenic town is famous for its gorgeous Portuguese colonial medina, its wealth of extraordinary public art, and an array of good swimming and surfing beaches nearby. Asilah also offers a fantastic, flourishing culinary scene, boasting some of the most flavoursome tortillas, paellas and riojas in the area. Must-see attractions include the Palais de Raissouli, a remarkable palace with beautifully decorated interiors; the pristine 15th-century ramparts and gates surrounding the medina, and numerous breathtaking sacred buildings including a diversity of mosques and churches. The town is a true art lover’s delight with its magnitude of wall-art along its winding cobbled streets and numerous excellent art galleries such as the Centre de Hassan II Rencontres Internationales.
Day 3 - Chefchaouen
This morning our tour leaves Asilah and heads to Chefchaouen. We arrive at the blue city beautifully perched beneath the primeval peaks of the Rif Chefchaouen (Rif Mountains). We will explore the main square which is the heart of Chefchaouen with the Kasbah built back in the 18th century, a central mosque, and authentic cafes. We continue to explore with a trip to the source of Ras El Maa (3 km from the city of Chefchaouen) and the beautiful old medina. Transfer to our hotel, check in, and overnight.
Overnight at the Dar Echchaouen Maison d'hôtes & Riad or similar (B)
Hidden high up in the Rif Mountains of north-eastern Morocco, Chefchaouen is a relatively large historical town known for the striking, variously hued blue-washed buildings of its picturesque Medina. Visitors can look forward to wandering along narrow, cobblestone streets lined with leather and weaving workshops and an array of historical monuments. Must-see attractions include the town's exquisite waterfall; the ruins of an old mosque on a hill behind it; and the main square of Uta el Hammam, which is home to the red-walled casbah - a 15th-century fortress and dungeon displaying ethnographic and art exhibits.
Day 4 – Cannabis Farms and Fes
It’s time to go on an exclusive adventure with your guide into the Rif mountains and the beautiful Bouhachem parc. Here a 4WD vehicle will take you past the cannabis farms and allow us to discover and learn about the local cultivation sites. We then arrive at a local family home where you are greeted and stay for lunch while enjoying the amazing views. Later we travel on to Fes.
Overnight at the Palais Ommeyad or similar (B)
Morocco’s second-largest city and the country’s former capital, Fes (Fez) is an exotic mix of Arabic architecture, ancient alleyways calls to prayer and colourful markets; all mixed in with a good dose of modern culture. Home to the venerated Karaouine Mosque, which dates back to 859 AD and incorporates an Islamic university, and to the country’s most hallowed shrine, the Zaouia Moulay Idriss II; Fes is regarded as the spiritual seat of Morocco. Music lovers should try to synchronise their trips with the annual Festival of Sacred Music, one of the highlights of the city’s cultural calendar showcasing diverse performances of spiritual and religious music; while those with a penchant for shopping can browse the mesmerizing colourful markets selling an exquisite array of silver, leather and other handicrafts up for grabs.
Day 5 - Fes
Get lost in the imperial grandeur of this once great city, filled with labyrinthine alleys that lead to exquisite fountains and streets bursting with aromatic food stands. Here you will be introduced to some of the most refined and diverse cuisines in Morocco. Learn the hidden secrets behind some of the country’s most well-known dishes as you’re treated to a traditional cooking class. Before the lesson, meander through bustling souks with a local chef to gather your ingredients. Then, embark on a journey of the senses as you learn to craft dishes bursting with flavour, before sitting down to lunch with locals, where you will learn about ‘Fassi’ culture and traditions. After lunch, we travel back in time six centuries as you’re guided on an insider tour of the medieval medina, whose narrow, cobbled streets are lined with ancient mosques, soaring green minarets, and historic Fondouks. Peek into peaceful courtyards bedecked with carved cedarwood, brightly coloured mosaic tiles, and stucco ornaments.
Overnight at the Palais Ommeyad or similar (B)
Day 6 – Erg Chebbi Desert
We start our journey early this morning as we head off to the mighty Sahara. You will be able to admire the sumptuous parade of mountains, big valleys, forests of pines, canyons, and deserts. Transfer by 4WDs from Erfoud to Merzouga where you will live a typical Saharan experience as we overnight in a typical desert camp with a diner under thousands of stars and a campfire.
Overnight at the Desert Luxury Camp (BD)
Situated in the vast desert region of Saharan Morocco, dividing Morocco and Algeria, Erg Chebbi is one of two Moroccan ‘ergs’, which are a sea of dunes. What it lacks in size - compared to the deserts of Algeria, Libya and Namibia - it makes up for in its extraordinarily scenic golden landscape, which changes colours dramatically at sunset. The dunes of Erg Chebbi span over 30 kilometres and rise to 160 metres. Each tent includes an en-suite bathroom and has been carefully designed to offer the highest comfort and luxury. Guests are provided with inclusive breakfast and dinner as well as non-alcoholic beverages.
Day 7 - Ouarzazate
What better way to wake up than to take a camel ride to discover the magical sunrise in the middle of the desert! We get back to our camp for breakfast before we leave for Erfoud to drop off the 4WD and continue to Tinghir, were we have a break for lunch. We then drive onwards to Ouarzazate and our hotel for the evening.
Overnight at the Dar Qamar or similar (BD)
At the intersection of the Dades and Draa Valley lies the relaxed Moroccan town of Ouarzazate. Surrounded by some unbelievably picturesque terrain, the town is characterised by the red-glowing kasbah at Ait Ben Haddou, the snow-capped High Atlas Mountains, and the spectacular Sahara Desert with its rolling dunes, vast canyons and deep gorges. These exotic backdrops have served as the location for a slew of Hollywood movies which have turned this once sleepy town into Morocco’s version of Hollywood. The town is a popular stopover point for tourists on their way to the Sahara. Its palm-fringed boulevards are lined with grand palaces, bustling souks, old adobe buildings and film studios. It's an ideal location for hanging out at one of the many charming cafés, sampling some delicious local Moroccan cuisine and perhaps even spotting one of the many celebrities who frequent this fascinating North African city.
Day 8 - Taroudant
A busy day as we head west towards the coast. Tazenakht will be our first stop where you’ll be shown how to weave wool for Berber rugs, before we explore the vibrant bazaars. Next up is Taliouine, the ‘capital’ of the most expensive spice in the world: saffron. Learn all there is to know about this luxurious spice. Our tour continues to Taroudant and the Claudio Bravo museum. Numerous paths and corners invite you to discover sculptures and an abundance of exotic plants. The main body of the estate is separated into several wings and structures, connected to each other by courtyards and covered passages. These separated wings house lounges and rooms, as well as the private suites and the Bravo workshop. A tour of the building is fascinating, with so many of the works and paintings are available to view (including some works by Bravo's friends such as Picasso), giving the impression that the artist has just left. In the pavilion located near an artificial lake, there are coffee and authentic Moroccan pastries available, while you relax in front of the breath-taking view of the snow-capped High Atlas that can be seen in the distance. At the other end of the estate are the stables, which still house 20 noble horses. Overnight at the Palais Claudio Bravo (B)
Once the capital of the Saadi Dynasty, Taroudant is set in southern Morocco’s lush Souss Valley, in the foothills of the High Atlas Mountains. The city is surrounded by red-clay walls similar to those that surround the capital, which have remained virtually intact since they were built in 1528. Within them lies a vibrant trading centre with both Arab and Berber cultural influences. Two markets are located on either side of the main square and provide excellent shopping opportunities, particularly for the town’s renowned handicrafts, including jewellery, carpets, leather and terracotta products.
Day 9 - Essaouira
Once on the road, our next stop is to the Domaine du Val d’Argan. Red, white, and rose wines are made here using the grapes grown in the lush vineyards that cover more than 1,500 hectares. The Val d’Argan and Orian Rouge labels are well known and the winery uses traditional wine-making methods coupled with modern equipment. Around 200,000 bottles of wine are stocked in the cellar at any given time. After our wine tour, we visit the town of Essaouira which is known for its spectacular beaches. The almost constant tropical trade winds have changed this city from a hardworking port into one of the world's greatest sites for water sports. Our visit includes the Kasbah, the ancient Medina, and the port.
Overnight at Riad Chbanate or similar (B)
Favourably situated on a vast sweeping bay on the southwest coast of Morocco, featuring long stretches of glorious, golden-sand beaches, the historical town of Essaouira is one of the country’s premier tourist attractions. The town is set against a picturesque backdrop of lush, wooded hills and a patchwork of small fields, spread with a kaleidoscope of colourful wildflowers in springtime. Known for its bustling fishing harbour, quaint white and blue houses, and its lovely, souk-filled medina, there is plenty to keep you blissfully engaged in this popular seaside town. The strong Atlantic wind provides perfect conditions for kitesurfing and windsurfing. Despite its popularity, the town has managed to retain its old-world charm and is an ideal place to embrace the laid-back lifestyle of the locals and escape the hustle and bustle of city life.
Day 10 - Essaouira
Today you have time to discover the city at your own leisure. Alternatively, you may want ot just relax and enjoy the beach and watch the kite surfers.
Overnight at Riad Chbanate or similar (B)
Day 11 - Marrakesh
Today we are on our way to Marrakech. We will discover Le Jardin Secret which has opened its doors to the public for the first time in its history. The origins of the complex date back to the Saadian Dynasty, more than four hundred years ago. Rebuilt in the mid-Nineteenth century at the behest of an influential kaid of the Atlas Mountains, Le Jardin Secret has been the home of some of Morocco and Marrakech’s most important political figures. Today you are able to fully appreciate it, thanks to the recent renovation; Le Jardin Secret is part of the great tradition of stately Arab-Andalusian and Moroccan palaces. As a result, visitors can discover its gardens and buildings, which are outstanding examples of Islamic art and architecture. We transfer to the hotel, check in, and overnight.
Overnight at the Riad & Spa Bahia Salam (B)
Situated to the north of the foothills of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains and fringing the famed Sahara, the bustling UNESCO-listed city of Marrakesh is an enchanting travel destination. Marrakesh is also home to the largest traditional Berber market in Morocco and one of the busiest squares in the world, known as Djemaa el Fna. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit this square in the evening as it transforms into an enormous, open-air restaurant, and browse through exquisite carpets, spices and a myriad of other items. Art, design and architecture enthusiasts flock to the city to see its incredible artisan achievements, so beautifully expressed at the glorious Bahia Palace, Dar Si Said and Saadian Tombs, as well as at several museums. The other-worldly Jardin Majorelle is also unmissable.
Day 12 - Marrakesh
A tour of the Majorelle garden, Yves Saint Laurent & La Menara Gardens. This is a park of about 100 hectares, full of the most varied tree species, in the centre of which stands a huge water reservoir and a hydraulic system designed to collect water from the thaw of the Atlas. In the days of the Almohad dynasty (12th century), the gardens were destined for the romantic meetings of the sultans of Marrakech. We will also visit the Dar Si Said Museum and the Bahia Palace, one of the masterpieces of Moroccan architecture. Then we visit Medina, with its old markets - the souks, which sell gold, silver, furniture, silks, tapestries, handicrafts, and all the spices that invade our senses. Finally, in the heart of the city, we enter the famous Djamae El Fná Square, a place where everything happens at any time of the day or night. At nightfall, the square fills with musicians, magicians, healers, snake charmers, storytellers, jugglers, dentists, animal taming, and more, all offering the visitor a unique show. Tonight we will enjoy a farewell dinner at a locals favourite.
Day 13 – Goodbye Morocco
Today marks the end of your Authentic Morocco tour. You take home a big smile and a lifetime of memories that much is certain. At a suitable time, you will be transferred back to the airport to board your flight. (B)
Get in touch with Our Local Tour to book the Authentic Morocco Escorted Tour.
25th April to 7th May 2023
14th October to 26th October 2023
20th November to 2nd December 2023
Price - £2995 per person (based on two people sharing)
Single Supplement - £795
This tour is also available as a private departure. Contact us for details.
Included in the Authentic Morocco Escorted Tour
Not Included in the Authentic Morocco Escorted Tour
Government Travel Safety Advice
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice. Please refer to the COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry.
Visa and Passport Information
British nationals don’t need a visa to enter Morocco for the purpose of tourism for up to 3 months. When entering the country, make sure your passport is stamped. Some tourists have experienced difficulties leaving the country because their passport bears no entry stamp.
Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay in Morocco. However, the Moroccan Consulate General in London advise that your passport should be valid for at least 3 months on your date of entry to Morocco. If your passport does not meet this requirement you may face difficulties and you should check with the Moroccan authorities and your travel provider before travelling. Before travelling, make sure your passport isn’t damaged. Some travellers have been refused entry when travelling on damaged passports.
Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office.
At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad.
It is a condition of booking with Our Local tour that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities.
Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy.
What to bring on your escorted tour of Morocco.
Lightweight clothing is essential however a warmer jumper is advisable for cooler evenings in the mountains A light rain coat is advisable. There is a laundry available in most hotels.
Lightweight comfortable shoes/trainers and sandals. Waterproof footware is recommended.
Luggage while on your tour
Please allow yourself one main piece of luggage and a day-sack. Remember, you are expected to carry your own baggage, so don't overload yourself, a soft wheely bag may be easier to manage than a suit case.
We recommend a sunhat, sunscreen, a torch, insect repellent and a waterbottle. A solar charger for your phone and other electronics is a good idea.
Banking and Currency
Moroccan Dirham (MAD; symbol Dh) = 100 centimes. Notes are in denominations of Dh200, 100, 50, 20 and 10. Coins are in denominations of Dh10, 5 and 1, and 50, 20, 10 and 5 centimes.
Mon-Thurs 0830-1230 and 1500-1830, Fri 0830-1200 and 1500-1830.
Most major credit cards are accepted in larger restaurants, hotels, guest houses and the occasional shop in the souks, with Visa and MasterCard being accepted most widely.
Cash can be withdrawn from ATMs in larger towns, although service in smaller towns can be erratic. Most major hotels now have more reliable ATMs.
Traveller's cheques are accepted in some areas but are not advised, as the exchange can be problematic and it can be difficult to find a bank able to cash them, although some of the main tourist hotels offer this facility.
Travel, Transport and Getting Around
The high-speed toll roads connecting Tangier, Rabat, Casablanca, Meknes, Fes, Marrakech and El Jadida are of excellent quality. Coastal communities and most large towns are also well served by good roads. In the interior, south of the High Atlas Mountains, road travel becomes much more difficult, especially across the Atlas Mountains in winter. International and local car hire companies have offices in major towns, cities and airports. Car hire is generally expensive, and prices vary with the season. The minimum age for driving a hired car is 18, although many hire companies will require drivers to be 21 or over.
Metered petit taxis are available in major towns. Taxi drivers are not usually tipped, although it is common to round fares up at least to the next dirham on short trips. Larger, grand taxis are usually Mercedes cars, used for travel outside medinas and to areas outside towns. These can be shared, but fares should be agreed before departure as they don't have meters.
Bike hire is available in most major towns - although attempting to cycle through city traffic is inadvisable. For those travelling longer distances, bikes can be transported on trains and buses.
Making use of the extensive bus network is the cheapest and most popular way to get around Morocco. Buses serve most communities, and private operators compete for custom on the more popular routes. The major bus companies are Compagnie de Transports Marocains, Trans Ghazala, and ONCF. There are extensive bus services in Casablanca and other main towns. Pre-purchase tickets are sold.
Traffic drives on the right in Morocco and the wearing of seatbelts is compulsory. The speed limit is 40kph (25mph) in cities and built up areas, rising to 80km (50mph) on more major roads, up to 120km (75mph) on motorways. No alcohol at all is allowed in the bloodstream when driving.
Foreign driving licences are accepted, as well as International Driving Permits. Third Party insurance is required. Insurance documentation and a licence must be carried with you at all times. Insurance can be arranged locally.
The Moroccan rail system, run by Office National des Chemins de Fer (ONCF) provides regular services. The network runs from Oujda in the northeast to Casablanca on the west coast, Tangier on the north coast and Fes and Marrakech in the interior. However, only a small part of the country is served, and even large centres such as Agadir and Essaouira are not covered.
Food, Drink and Cuisine Advice
Water sources outside main cities and towns may be contaminated and sterilisation is advisable. Bottled water is the best bet and is available everywhere. Milk is unpasteurised, so boil before drinking. Meat and fish should be freshly cooked and served hot. Vegetables are typically served cooked. If eating fruit, try to stick to fruit that can be peeled before eating. Most produce is grown organically, without chemical pesticides or fertilisers but it’s highly likely to have been washed in unsterilized water.
Fusion isn't a new trend in Morocco, where the cuisine is a blend of Mediterranean, Arabic, Jewish, Persian, West African and Berber influences. Meals range from the diffa, an elaborate multicourse feast featuring couscous and grilled meats, to quick brochettes (kebab) from a roadside stall. Produce is seasonal, grown locally and typically without chemical pesticides or fertilisers.
Tagines, the fragrant stews of meat, vegetables or fish, named after the distinctive conical earthenware vessel they’re cooked in are the Moroccans main staple. Flavours revolve around a subtle array of spices, and traditionally every spice shop would have its own secret ras el hanout spice blend recipe.
Restaurants range from buffet diners to high-end establishment serving gourmet fare. Many now offer à la carte menus and a three-course fixed-price menu is still common at dinner. Restaurants in cities and large resorts are cosmopolitan, offering a good selection of cuisines, including typical Moroccan fare, plus French, Italian, Spanish and fusion dishes.
The best way to experience the true flavour of Moroccan cuisine, however, is to sample the street food. Djemaa el Fna square in the centre of Marrakech sees an explosion of pop-up food stalls after dark, and most other cities have their own foodie quarters. Scrumptious local specialities such as almonds, olives and a rainbow array of spices can be found in souks across the country.
Laws on alcohol are fairly liberal (for non-Muslim visitors) and bars in most tourist areas stay open late. Wines, beers and spirits are available to tourists. Muslims are forbidden to drink alcohol. By law, no-one is allowed to drink alcohol in view of a mosque or during Ramadan, although tourist establishments sometimes flout this rule. Locally produced wines, beers and mineral waters are reasonably priced, but imported drinks tend to be expensive.
Tipping waiting staff is expected (if service is satisfactory), usually up to 5 dirams on small bills, and around 10% for larger bills.
Climate and Weather
Morocco’s climate is very diverse, varying with the season and region. In general the country has a tropical climate, with temperatures reaching as high as 35°C (95°F) and as low as 5°C (41°F) in the Sahara. The coast has a warm, Mediterranean climate tempered on the eastern coast by southwest trade winds whilst inland areas have a hotter, drier, continental climate. In the south of the country, the weather is very hot and dry throughout most of the year, though temperatures can drop dramatically at night, especially in the months of December and January.
Rain falls from November to March in coastal areas, and the country is mostly dry with high temperatures in summer and a cooler climate in the mountains. Marrakech and Agadir enjoy an average temperature of 21°C (70ºF) during the winter.
Owing to the relatively high winter temperatures, and summers that are dry rather than unbearably humid, Morocco is an all-year round destination. If you really want to avoid the heat, the best time to visit is during the shoulder seasons of April to May, and September to November.
Clothing and Dress Recommendations
Lightweight cottons and linens are best worn during summer, with warm medium weight wear for the evenings, during the winter, and in the mountains. Waterproofing is advisable in the wet season, particularly on the coast and in the mountains. Both men and women should be careful to wear clothing that is cognisant of cultural sensitivities – long sleeves and low hems will be looked on favourably. Sunscreen, a sunhat and sunglasses are essential especially in summer.
Access is unrestricted and is widely available in business centres, hotels and in internet cafés. A one month prepaid unlimited internet access card for laptops, iPhones and smartphones is available from Maroc Telecom (who also have the best national coverage).
Electricity and Plug Standards
Electrical sockets (outlets) in Morocco are one of the two European standard electrical socket types: The "Type C" Europlug and the "Type E" and "Type F" Schuko. If your appliance's plug doesn't match the shape of these sockets, you will need a travel plug adapter in order to plug in. Travel plug adapters simply change the shape of your appliance's plug to match whatever type of socket you need to plug into. If it's crucial to be able to plug in no matter what, bring an adapter for all three types.
Electrical sockets (outlets) in the Kingdom of Morocco usually supply electricity at between 220 and 240 volts AC. If you're plugging in an appliance that was built for 220-240 volt electrical input, or an appliance that is compatible with multiple voltages, then an adapter is all you need.
But travel plug adapters do not change the voltage, so the electricity coming through the adapter will still be the same 220-240 volts the socket is supplying. North American sockets supply electricity at between 110 and 120 volts, far lower than in most of the rest of the world. Consequently, North American appliances are generally built for 110-120 volts.