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Grand Tour Of Morocco: My Small Group Tour on a Budget

In search of adventure without breaking the bank, I embarked on a small group tour vacation to Morocco. The allure of ancient heritage, Arab-Muslim art, and Berber influences promised a journey rich in culture and discovery. As a doctor accustomed to the demands of a busy schedule, the prospect of exploring a new corner of the world was a welcomed escape.

Day 1 to Day 2: Arrival to Casablanca

sea in casablanca morocco

The journey commenced with a flight to Casablanca, a city steeped in history and immortalized by Hollywood. Upon arrival, we were greeted by our local guide, who whisked us away on an orientation tour of the city. 

From the bustling Mohammed V Square to the serene United Nations Square, Casablanca’s charm captivated us. After a delicious lunch at a local restaurant, we set off for Rabat, the administrative capital of Morocco. Our evening was spent exploring the Royal Palace, the Oudaya kasbah, and the majestic Hassan Tower, each landmark offering a glimpse into Morocco’s storied past.

Day 3: Discovering Chefchaouen

Chefchaouen mexico

Our next destination was Chefchaouen, a hidden gem nestled in the Rif Mountains. As we traversed the scenic route, the landscape transformed, giving way to verdant hills and azure skies. 

Arriving in Chefchaouen, or “The Blue City” as it’s affectionately known, we were greeted by a sea of cobalt-hued buildings cascading down the hillside. The town’s laid-back atmosphere and friendly locals instantly put us at ease. We spent the day meandering through its labyrinthine streets, marveling at the Moorish architecture and vibrant souks. From Plaza Outa el Hammam to the historic Kasbah, every corner of Chefchaouen beckoned with its own unique charm.

Day 4 to Day 5: The Cultural Heart of Morocco

villagers in Fez, Morocco

Continuing our journey, we set our sights on Fez, the cultural heart of Morocco. En route, we made a stop at the ancient Roman city of Volubilis, where time seemed to stand still amidst the crumbling ruins and intricate mosaics. Fez welcomed us with open arms, its bustling streets teeming with life and energy. 

Over the next two days, we immersed ourselves in the city’s rich heritage, exploring the medersas, souks, and historic palaces. The aroma of spices filled the air as we navigated the labyrinthine alleyways of the medina, each turn revealing hidden treasures and centuries-old traditions.

Day 6 to Day 7: Journey to the Sahara

sahara desert morocco

The highlight of our journey awaited as we ventured into the Sahara Desert. The landscape shifted beneath us as we traversed the Tiz Ntalghamt pass, the rugged terrain giving way to endless stretches of golden dunes. Arriving in Merzouga, we were greeted by the sight of towering sand dunes that seemed to stretch to the horizon. 

Our desert adventure, part of our planned group trip checklist, began with a camel ride into the dunes, the rhythmic sway of the camels lulling us into a sense of tranquility. As the sun dipped below the horizon, we gathered around the campfire, enveloped by the haunting melodies of traditional Berber music. Underneath a blanket of stars, we slept soundly in our traditional Bedouin tents, the desert’s timeless beauty etched into our memories forever.

Day 8: Boumalen Dades

atlas mountains morocco

As we bid farewell to the desert, we journeyed towards Boumalen Dades, a picturesque town nestled in the Atlas Mountains. En route, we stopped in Rissani, a vibrant market town renowned for its bustling souks and ornate gates. 

The journey offered breathtaking views of the region, from lush valleys to rugged canyons. In Boumalen Dades, we immersed ourselves in Berber culture, exploring the verdant oasis and stunning gorges that dotted the landscape.

Day 9: Dades Valley

dades gorges morocco

A cultural immersion awaited us in the Dades Valley, where we embarked on a guided walk through Berber villages and lush oases. Led by our knowledgeable guide, we encountered local travel experts and artisans, sampled traditional cuisine, and gained insight into the rich tapestry of Berber life. The day culminated in a visit to the magnificent Dades Gorges, where towering cliffs and cascading waterfalls painted a mesmerizing tableau against the azure sky.

Day 10: The Valley of the Roses

Qelaat Mgouna

Our journey continued along the road of Thousand Kasbahs, a scenic route dotted with ancient fortresses and verdant valleys. In Qelaat Mgouna, we marveled at the vibrant hues of the Valley of Roses, where fragrant blooms carpeted the landscape in a riot of color. 

Our exploration led us to Aït Benhaddou, a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its stunning architecture and storied history. As we wandered through its labyrinthine streets, we couldn’t help but feel transported to another time.

Day 11 to Day 12: Marrakech Dreams

maroc marrakech

Our travels brought us to Marrakech, where we were greeted by the city’s vibrant energy and kaleidoscopic sights. Over the next two days, we delved into Marrakech’s rich tapestry of culture and tradition. 

From the majestic Koutoubia Mosque to the bustling Djemaa el-Fna square, every corner of the city offered a feast for the senses. Guided tours and leisurely strolls allowed us to soak in the city’s vibrant atmosphere, while optional activities provided a glimpse into Marrakech’s diverse offerings.

Day 13 to Day 14: Charmed By Morocco's West Coast

tourists in beach morocco

A coastal interlude beckoned as we journeyed to Essaouira, a charming port city nestled along Morocco’s west coast. From the windswept beaches to the UNESCO-listed medina, Essaouira captivated us with its laid-back vibe and rich history. Optional activities, such as a cooking class in a local home, offered a deeper insight into the city’s vibrant culture and culinary heritage.

Day 15: Farewell to Morocco

morocco tourists gazing at sunset

As our journey drew to a close, we bid farewell to Essaouira and headed back to Marrakech. Along the way, we reflected on the countless memories and experiences that had defined our Moroccan adventure. From the ancient cities to the desert sands, each moment had been a testament to the timeless allure of travel.

Final Word

My journey through Morocco was more than just a vacation; it was a transformative experience that left an indelible mark on my soul. 

From the bustling markets of Fez to the serene dunes of the Sahara, every corner of Morocco offered a glimpse into its rich tapestry of culture and tradition. As I boarded the plane home, I carried with me not just memories, but a newfound appreciation for the beauty and diversity of our world.

Check out the free itinerary to Morocco here:

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Guest post written by Frank Rowe

While he possesses an unwavering dedication to healing and helping others, his passion extends far beyond the walls of the hospital. Frank is a wanderlust at heart, finding solace and inspiration in the far-flung corners of the world.