FYI: Most of the photos in this post (aka all the good ones) are from my friend Alex, who I met in Tangier and travelled throughout Morocco with. Check out his Instagram, @amilesphoto – he’s got a talent!
Recently, one of my favourite bloggers went to Morocco. Her site is Heart my Backpack, go check it out – but be warned you may get sucked into a vortex of reading blog posts for the rest of your life. I kid you not, I have read Silvia’s entire archive chronologically at least twice.
Anyway, now I can’t stop thinking about Morocco. I was there for a month two summers ago, and it was one of the most life-changing trips I’ve ever taken. It was my first foray into real backpacking – no plan, nothing booked, and enough time to really dive into the country. I’ve written quite a few posts about it already (here – this one is my favorite) but even though the trip was two years ago, I haven’t covered everywhere we visited.
With that in mind, and considering the fact that I saw practically everything I wanted to see in Morocco, for very cheap, I wanted to share what I consider the perfect itinerary for a month in Morocco.
TANGIER (1 night)
If you can, I would totally recommend getting to Morocco by taking the ferry. It leaves from several different ports in Spain (I went from Tarifa), and is such a cool experience – for the rest of your life, you get to say that you once took the ferry from Europe to Africa.
It costs around $55, and I just showed up at the terminal and waited for the next departure. In Tangier, stay at the Melting Pot Hostel: there are signs painted on the medina walls to help you find your way, and the owner is very kind. Tangier really only needs one night: it’s an overwhelming introduction to Morocco, but there are so many better cities to come.
CHEFCHAOUEN (2 nights)
Okay so here’s my take on the buses in Morocco. In every other post I read about them, people specify a time and a company. Every time I took a bus anywhere, I showed up at the station, asked someone for the next bus to Chefchaouen (or wherever) and just hopped on something random. Sometimes I got a nice air-conditioned tourist bus, and sometimes I got a bus with chickens running around the aisles and a steady temperature of 45 Celsius.
Either way, I never paid too much – unfortunately I can’t remember prices, but it’s pretty reasonable. You have to pay slightly extra to put your bag under the bus.
Tangier to Chefchaouen is about 5 hours. Read more about Chefchaouen here – I’d recommend two nights to explore the famous blue city.
FES (1 night)
Fes was my least favourite place on this trip because of the hassling, but it deserves at least one night for its gorgeous medina and uniquely chaotic feel. Stay at Funky Fes, which we really liked but had a weird vibe: from the minute we showed up the guy working seemed to take an instant dislike to us. Ah well, the terrace was worth it.
Check out the tanneries (bring a scarf to cover your mouth), the unbelievably historic buildings and like you’ll do everywhere in Morocco, just wander the medina.
MEKNES (1 day)
From Fez, our plan was to make our way to the Sahara Desert for a tour. We had nothing booked, so we booked a night bus from Meknes to Rissani with the goal of finding a guide when we showed up. Then we went off to spend the day in Meknes, which was kind of a strange place. We saw absolutely no other tourists here, and played with a ton of adorable Moroccan children for a little bit, but all of the historic sites we saw were just ever so slightly underwhelming.
Since we were catching a night bus, we wandered around the newer part of town for the evening: the guys tried snails from a street vendor and then we hung out in a bar. Bars are few and far between in Morocco, and this one was kind of hilariously sketchy: I was the only girl, of course. We played a rousing game of Never Have I Ever, drank too many gin and tonics, and before we knew it we had to go catch our bus.
Until I took my Colombian bus of horrors this February, I maintained that this bus ride was the worst of all time. it was around 12 hours, I alternated between freezing cold and burning hot, I was probably kind of intoxicated which didn’t make the bumpy roads super fun, AND my stomach was just generally not pleased.
At this point in the trip I had basically no appetite – some places just really throw off my stomach – and therefore ate maybe half a meal every day. Combine that with questionable drinking water, alcohol, and a night bus – what do you get? Hell. So I didn’t sleep.
And then when we arrived, the most irritating man I’ve ever met entered our lives: this post has more detail, but UGH.
SAHARA DESERT (2 nights)
Luckily, it all worked out – it was time to head into the desert. I totally recommend bussing straight to Rissani or Merzouga for a desert tour, rather than going from Marrakech. There’s a higher chance you’ll go to the actual dunes that you’re used to seeing, and there’s basically zero driving time. I guarantee someone will offer you a tour the moment you step off the bus – if not, walk around looking for an agency. Either way, you’ll find someone. Post to come all about my experience in the Sahara – we did a one night tour, but I’d probably do a two night tour if I could choose again.
Read part two of my itinerary here!