Your browser does not support the HTML5 video element.
From the pandemonium of Marrakech's souks to the tranquillity of the High Atlas and the surreal plains of the Sahara, Morocco is a tapestry of diverse sights and sounds. Wind through the very heart of this majestic country, exploring imperial cities, Berber villages and fortified towns and getting a flavour for local life, dining on fragrant tagines and refreshing mint teas. Hitting all the must-sees, our Grand Tour dives deep into the history, culture, and landscapes that make Morocco simply unforgettable.
Explore Tour Leader
2 nights simple camping
2 nights comfortable guesthouse
11 nights comfortable hotel
3 nights comfortable riad
1 nights premium riad
Trip maximum 15 Explore Average 11
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Our tour starts in the Red City. With its dusty rooftops, maze-like streets and bustling souks, Marrakech encompasses the essence of Morocco. Head to the medina and people watch while you sip a mint tea in Jemaa el-Fna (the main square) or visit the Jardin Majorelle, just a short walk from our hotel.
There are no activities planned for today, so you're free to arrive at any time. If you'd like an airport transfer, you'll need to arrive at Marrakech Menara Airport (RAK), which is around a 20-minute drive from our hotel. Our tour leader will meet you in the hotel reception at 6pm for a welcome meeting and then an optional dinner. If you arrive later, they'll catch you up as soon as possible.
Hotel Meriem (or similar)
Today we'll dive straight into the heady delights of Marrakech with a guided tour of the city. Marrakech is a destination like no other, offering a vibrant new sight, sound, or scent at every turn. We'll pass by the rose-coloured Koutoubia (booksellers) Mosque on the way to Bahia Palace, famous for its decorated stucco walls and marble floors.
We'll fuel up on fresh pastries from a traditional bakery before continuing to the medina on foot. There, we'll be guided through the labyrinth of spice-scented souks, passing by craftsmen selling rugs, leather goods and crockery, before dropping by a spice shop to sample ripe dates and almonds. Finally, we'll navigate our way out and into the energetic Jemaa el-Fna Square.
This afternoon you're free to explore more at your own pace - amongst the array of must-see sites are Ben Youssef Madrasa, the Dar Si Said Palace, and the Menara Gardens, tick them off your list or delve back into the maze-like souks. In the evening, there'll be the option to visit a traditional hammam.
Today starts with a visit to Casablanca's Hassan II Mosque, the seventh largest mosque in the world and the largest on the continent of Africa. Built in honour of the King's 60\super th\nosupersub birthday, this spectacular mosque is a feat of engineering and can hold an astounding 105,000 worshippers. Sitting right next to the water - to honour the Quran, which states „ the throne of Allah was over the water„ - it's a meeting spot for locals to socialise and, of course, worship. Once we've marvelled at the marble exterior, we'll head inside for a tour.
Departing Casablanca, we'll head down the coast to Morocco's capital, Rabat. Established at the country's capital in 1912, by the French, Rabat has a distinct history, which dates as far back as 8BC, when settlers arrived in what is now the Chellah district. This evening, you'll have free time to explore the city or walk down to the waterfront where you can watch the sunset over the estuary.
Hotel Le Musee (or similar)
After breakfast, we'll begin our day with a guided tour around the capital. Starting in the historic centre, we'll stroll towards the Hassan Tower and spend time inside the marble interiors of the Mausoleum of Mohammed V. Next, we'll wander the cobbled streets of Kasbah des Oudaias, the fortified area of the city, distinctly infused with Andalucian flavour.
Tour finished, we'll break for lunch before journeying on to Chefchaouen. It's a long drive and will take most of the afternoon, arriving into the famous 'blue town' around early evening.
Hotel Parador (or similar)
Today we'll delve into the treasures of Morocco's 'blue town', nestled into the Rif Mountains. With its stacked white and blue houses and narrow, winding lanes, Chefchaouen is a prime example of Andalusia's influence over Morocco. After a busy few days in the imperial cities, it offers a welcome slower pace and relaxed atmosphere.
From the cobbled medina and the Plaza Uta El Hammam to the red walls of the kasbah and the Grand Mosque, we'll wander through Chefchaouen's highlights before having a free afternoon to explore at your own pace.
Crossing the Rif Mountains, this morning we'll make our way to the ancient ruins of Volubilis. Morocco's best-preserved Roman site, Volubilis was once the capital of the province of Mauritania Tingitana and home to 20,000 people. We'll take the chance to explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site before continuing on to Meknes.
Once the heart of the Moroccan Sultanate, Meknes was built by the tyrant, Moulay Ismail and in its heyday was teeming with opulent palaces and grand gateways. Today, much of Meknes has crumbled, though its regal essence remains. We'll get a flavour for it with a visit to the old granary of Heri es-Souni and the Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail, before departing for Fes, our base for the next two nights.
Hotel El Batha (or similar)
Today, we'll wake up in the oldest of Morocco's imperial cities, Fes. In its golden age, Fes was a hub of art, philosophy and trade and is still referred to as Morocco's artisan capital. We'll begin in Fes el Jadid - known as 'new Fes' despite dating back to the 13the century. The highlight of this morning is the Royal Palace where we'll stop to marvel at the intricate golden doors (the palace isn't open to visitors but is still a Morocco must-see for its majestic exterior alone). Once we've explored Fes el Jadid, we'll head out and up to the viewpoint at Borj Nord for a look at the sprawling city from above.
After lunch, we'll delve into Fes el-Bali, the oldest quarter of the city, with a guided tour. We'll meander through the medina and souks - where you'll see weavers, coppersmiths and tanners at work and be tempted by the smell of Harira soup and Berber pancakes. We'll also drop by the al-Attarin Madrasa, one of the most beautiful medieval colleges in Morocco.
Today we'll spend the full day on the road to Erfoud. As we wind our way up the Middle Atlas, we'll pass by the small mountain village of Azrou, which translates from Berber as 'the rock'.
Up here in their mountain stronghold, the fiercely independent Berbers - the Lords of the Atlas - live by their own traditions. The Berber way of life is unique and lost to most of North Africa and music, dance, language, and religion are far removed from the rest of the Arab world.
We'll continue into Berber sheep raising country and head towards Timadite and over the Col du Zad, before crossing the Tizi Talghemt Camel Pass and continuing via the Gorge du Ziz to Er Rachidia. Finally, we traverse a broad plateau past Meski Oasis, the so called 'Blue Spring' that borders the arid desert plains. Our last stop for today will be the desert settlement of Erfoud.
Hotel Ksar Assalassil (or similar)
Our day starts by following the meandering Ziz River towards Rissani where you'll notice the landscape begin to change as we edge closer to the dramatic dunes of the Sand Sea. The holy city of Rissani is the homeland of the Alaouite dynasty, who reigned in the region for 300 years. This morning, we'll take the opportunity to visit the founder's mausoleum before we explore the local ksour (fortified villages).
In the afternoon, we'll continue to Merzouga, a small village on the outskirts of the desert. From here, we'll swap bus for camels and journey on into the dunes of Erg Chebbi. Our home for tonight is right here in the desert, at a Berber camp, where we can relax by the campfire and fill up on traditional tagine.
Our camp is basic but comfortable - tents fit up to four people each and are fully equipped with mattresses, blankets, and pillows. Note that the showers are simple and hot water and good water pressure aren't guaranteed.
Nomad Camp - Chebbi Dunes (or similar)
This morning, we'll wake up before dawn to watch the sun rise over the Sahara from the top of the sand dunes. After breakfast, we'll depart the desert by camel, a true Moroccan experience.
Our route today takes us along the southern slopes of the Atlas to Tinerhir. We'll have time to explore the area and wander the lush grounds that line the banks of the river, an oasis of date palms, olive groves and fruit orchards. Finally, we'll continue on to our hotel in the upper Todra Valley, where we'll spend two nights.
Royal Palmas (or similar)
Today we have an optional walk to Todra Gorge's Abdelali viewpoint. The ochre cliffs of the gorge tower above the narrow pass where the track and river struggle for right of way and Berber women drive their goats up to higher land.
We'll follow the main road of the gorge before joining a small mule path, gradually working our way up the ravine to the viewpoint, where we're treated to vistas of the Jebel Sahro range and down into the gorge.
Today's trek is graded as moderate, covers six kilometres and is expected to take around five hours to complete. It has an ascent of around 500 metres and a descent of around 550 metres, walking on terrain that is narrow, steep, and rocky in some sections. We recommend wearing walking boots with ankle support.
If you don't feel like taking on the trek, you're free to explore the gorge valley floor or take in the scenery from one of the nearby cafes.
This morning, we head west to make a short stop in El Kelaa des M'Gouna. Famous for its roses, the town is blanketed by a landscape of scented blooms each spring, which are harvested in the May during the Festival of Roses. The blossoms are used to make rosewater, which is sold throughout the Islamic world.
Driving on through the Dades Valley, we enter the Valley of 1000 Kasbahs, an oasis land teeming with kasbahs and towns that each have their own distinct character. You'll notice the mud and straw structures become more ornate as we travel further along the valley.
This afternoon, we'll visit the fortified Berber settlement of Ait Ben Haddou, a UNESCO World Heritage Site widely considered to be one of Morocco's most picturesque spots. You might recognize the ornate crenelated towers from scenes in Jesus of Nazareth and Lawrence of Arabia, which both took advantage of the dramatic setting.
Hotel Les Jardins de Ouarzazate (or similar)
Today, we head back into the desert and drive through the Draa Valley, an oasis lined with Berber villages and ruined kasbahs and backed by lush green plains and the snow-capped mountains beyond. We'll stop at a pottery cooperative in Tamgroute, a historical town known for its 15\super th\nosupersub -century library that houses books over 700-years old. After a visit to the library, we'll journey on to Mhamid and swap our bus for 4WD jeeps to continue off road and into the sand dunes of the Sahara.
After getting settled into our camp in Erg Chegaga, our tour leader will take us on a walk up the dunes for a vista of the surrounding desert, telling us a bit about the flora and fauna found amongst the sands. Our home tonight is a traditional nomad camp with tents that sleep 3-5 people each, bedding is provided. The camp has a restaurant tent where we can eat a dinner and breakfast prepared by the crew.
Nomad Camp (or similar)
Today, we'll leave the camp after breakfast and take 4WDs to the oasis town of Foum Zguid. The drive is 90km and will take between three and four hours. As we're driving through desert tracks, the road will be bumpy, but we'll be rewarded with the surreal experience of driving across desert plains without a human or animal in sight.
At Foum Zguid, we'll board our bus and start our journey to Tata. Along the way, we'll stop at Tissinnt, where we'll take in the waterfalls and meet the local nomads of the area. On arrival in Tata, our destination for tonight, we'll have time to soak in the town's pink facades and laidback charm.
Le Relais des Sables (or similar)
This morning, we'll drive through the Anti-Atlas, a wild landscape of barren desert and rocky outcrops. We'll pass by small villages before we stop at the gateway of the Sahara, Goulemin. We'll have lunch in the small town and stretch our legs with a walk through the Taghjijt Valley, an oasis of palms, and buy dates to snack on from a local farmer.
As we continue our journey, the landscapes become greener and lusher - a sure sign that the Atlantic Ocean is almost in sight. Tonight, we'll settle into the small town of Mirleft, just off the coast, where we'll have free time to explore the beach, a ten-minute walk from our hotel, or relax by the pool before dinner.
Aftass Trip (or similar)
Today we'll drive north through the Sous Valley, passing through forests and plantations to the Sous-Massa National Park, a reserve set on the Sous-Massa River and the Atlantic Ocean. The park is home to several traditional Berber villages, but the real attraction is the vibrant bird life - keep your eyes peeled to spot the Bald Ibis that call the park home. We'll also explore the old fisherman's caves, where we might be lucky enough to spot flamingos bathing.
Afterwards, we'll continue to Taroudant, the former capital of the south of Morocco, where our tour leader will give us a short orientation. With its golden rampart, this Amazigh town is one of the most beautiful in Morocco's south. Take a while to stroll in the shade of the towers and delve into the souk, where you'll be tempted by stalls selling cooked meats and flatbreads that fill the air with a smoky aroma - the perfect way to finish a long day.
Riad Hida (or similar)
This morning, we'll set off on the four-hour drive to the historic port town of Essaouira, where we'll spend the next two nights. Arriving in time to have lunch, we'll head to a traditional Moroccan restaurant or down to the port to taste the fresh seafood cooked over charcoal by the local sellers.
Our tour leader will take us on a walking tour to help us get our bearings, dipping into the ancient walls of the town and into the market. We'll be staying in a traditional riad - a Moroccan house built around a central courtyard. Riads are popular and can get booked up quickly so at times we might stay in an alternative accommodation to the one listed, we'll always ensure the quality is the same standard.
Riad Al Madina (or similar)
Today is free to spend as you wish in the charming port town of Essaouira. A day is just enough time to settle into the relaxed but lively way of life here. Head into the old walled medina into the maze of streets lined with craftsmen selling souvenirs from handmade leather belts to jewellery to wooden boxes inlaid with mother of pearl. Outside of the medina, you can take in the Mellah (the old Jewish Quarter) before sinking your feet into the golden sands of the beach and watching as the fishermen return to shore with their day's catch.
After breakfast, we'll say goodbye to the coast and head inland back to Marrakech. We'll arrive around lunch time and the afternoon will be free to spend as you wish. In the evening, we'll have a final group meal and toast to the end of our Moroccan adventure.
Again, to make the most of our final night in the Red City, we'll stay in a traditional riad. If our usual accommodation is fully booked, we'll ensure the alternative is up to standard.
Riad Berta (or similar)
Our tour of Morocco ends at our hotel in Marrakech.
There are no activities planned today, so you're free to depart at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day, luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you'd like an airport transfer, you need to depart from Marrakesh Menara Airport (RAK).
The climate is both Mediterranean and Atlantic. The dry, hot season is from May to October when summer temperatures can reach 38°C and above (if sight seeing is included we will do our best to avoid the heat of the day during this period). Temperatures may drop significantly at times during the night as the day's heat rapidly diminishes. From December to January snow can be expected on mountain passes and it can be wet. In winter, day temperatures will probably be around 18-25°C, dropping to perhaps 0-5°C.
2 Pin Round
Arabic, Berber, French.
Merzouga - 4WD excursion £20 per person; Sunrise Walk with your Tour Leader (no fee) Todra Gorge - Palmeraie of Tinghir walk (no fee) Ouarzazate - Entry to Atlas Film Studios £4 per person Marrakech - Cookery demonstration £25 per person; Hamman £20 per person
Summer: Clothing should be lightweight. However, a warm sweater is also advisable, as the desert can sometimes get cold at nights, even in the summer. Winter: Usually warm during the day but thicker clothing is essential for cold nights (Nov-Mar). It is advisable to take warm clothing (eg. track suit or thermal underwear) to sleep in, as the quality of heating in Moroccan hotel rooms can be variable. A waterproof jacket, trousers and fleece are recommended in the winter months. Morocco is a Muslim country and it is important to dress with respect for local customs. People may be offended by shorts or revealing dresses, which can attract unwelcome attention. We advise that in general both men and women should cover shoulders, upper arms and knees. Transparent, plunging necklines and tightfitting clothes should be avoided. Women should also cover their heads when entering a sanctuary, though in general, mosques are forbidden to non-Muslims. For those clients on a cycling holiday please bear this information in mind for times that you are not on the bikes. While cycling it is no problem for both men and women to wear your regular cycling gear, tight fitting or not.
We recommend sandals and walking boots with good ankle support if planning to do the Abdelali walk in the Todra Gorge.
One main piece of baggage and daypack. Remember you are expected to carry your own luggage so don't overload yourself.
A head torch, water bottle, sunhat and high factor sunscreen are all essential, whilst we recommend swimming costumes and towels.
Few destinations give you as warm a welcome as Morocco and our accommodation has been chosen to reflect that. We choose our accommodation based on location, quality, and traditional style to give you a real taste of life in the country. It's worth bearing in mind that Morocco is a developing country and standards might not always be equivalent to those at home. Some properties might be simply furnished, access to hot water may be sparse in certain stays and the level of service might vary from place to place. Older buildings can get cold in the winter months and don't have heating facilities, so you might want to pack an extra jumper - hotels will provide extra blankets. During this trip, we'll spend two nights camping in the desert. We'll stay in a simple camp with communal tents and mattresses, blankets and pillows are all provided. During the winter months, it can get cold in the desert so warm clothing is a must.
Can you drink the water?
The water quality is poor and therefore it is recommended to avoid drinking tap water during your trip.
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 our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.
Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. However, please note that if you voluntarily make any changes to your booking including changing your trip or departure date, any additional costs or charges incurred will not be covered. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions
Morocco: Visas are not required by UK, Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens. Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office. UK passport holders are requested to have at least 3 months validity from the date of entry into Morocco. All other nationalities please check with your nearest embassy for requirements of passport validity.
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore 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. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of 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. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.
You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
Nothing compulsory, but we recommend protection against tetanus, typhoid, infectious hepatitis and polio. Consult your travel clinic for latest advice on different prophylaxis available against malaria. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.
In 2024, Ramadan runs from the 10th March to the 9th April. Read more about travelling during Ramadan.
The following 2024 departures will coincide with Ramadan.
16th, 30th March 2024
6th April 2024