2 Weeks in Morocco - Best Itinerary
When you think of traveling Morocco many people will automatically think of Marrakech, taking a tour through the desert and camp under the Sahara desert stars, visiting the red-walled city of Ait Benhaddou, or going north to the blue city of Chefchaouen. You may picture staying in a luxurious riad or experiencing the modern side of Morocco in Casablanca, however with this 2 week Morocco itinerary you will see another side of Morocco. You will head to the south of Morocco to the Souss region, stop along the beautiful mountainous coastline on the way to the bustling Essaouira, and will end your trip in the charming Taroudant.
This trip will make you fall in love with a side of Morocco that doesn’t hit the media so much and you will feel you have found something really special.
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2 Weeks in Morocco Itinerary
Day 1: Arrive in Agadir – Souk Al Had, Coco Polizi
Day 2 to 4: Taghazout – Surfing & Hiking Paradise Valley Day Trip
Day 5 to 8: Imsouane – Surf & Hiking
Day 9 to 11: Essaouira – Arts & Crafts, Street Food, Game of Thrones
Day 12 to 13: Taroudant – Anti Atlas Mountains, Local Markets, Claudio Bravo, Leather Tanneries
Day 14: Depart from Agadir
After a few holidays to Morocco, staying in Tamraght I initially wasn’t drawn to the place, it felt hot, dry, dusty, and just a little shabby. But when I returned to spend more time here with a plan to live in Taghazout for a few months on my digital nomad adventure* I realized I had missed the charm that is truly the heart of this great region. Sure it is still dusty and hot but the shabbiness is tinged with wonderful craftsmanship, the graffiti art on the walls, and smells of cooking provides a beautiful culture that captures the soul.
*I did not continue on my adventure and have instead made this place my home for the last 3 years.
I have also gone on a city trip to Marrakech and it is a whole other side to Morocco, I honestly cannot handle more than a week there before I am bursting to get back to my home by the beach, my toes miss the sand, my skin misses the cool ocean breeze and I miss the wonderful local people that have made this area home.
There is something very different about the people in this part of Morocco, they are more relaxed, hospitable, and warm than you may find in the larger cities in the north.
Many of the locals are Berber people, descendants of the old Amazigh tribes, and are proud of their ancient ethnicity. It is the culture of the Berber people that shape this region, they are kind, honest, and simple in their needs. Often Morocco will get a bad reputation for the hustling and hassle you get in the streets, but you won’t experience this as much during your stops on this itinerary. Similar to the hassle you may expect as a woman, I live here alone and have done for the duration of my time here, sure you have surfer boys trying to chat you up on the beach and you may get cheeky comments as you pass people in street but it never feels threatening or unsettling. Go to any surfer region the world over and you will find the same, it is just part of the surf culture.
Dress accordingly, (see my top tips for more), be respectful of the Muslim culture and you will enjoy every moment of your trip.
BEST TIME TO VISIT MOROCCO
Depending if you want to surf, and how much experience you have, the winter is usually viewed as the best time to visit. During December and January there are big waves, with January being when the WSL Qualifying Series hosts the Moroccan leg of the competition. January 2020 was the first of these and the atmosphere in Taghazout was electric.
However, this is also when it is a little cooler, the days in January are still warm, mid 20s at least, so you can still break out your summer wardrobe but the nights are chilly, and December evenings are fairly freezing!
If you are looking for some smaller waves and a little more ‘African’ temperatures come in October or March to May time. May and June can sometimes be cloudy, it isn’t exactly cold but a strange low cloud mist drops over the coast, not quite what you want from a picturesque beach trip!
The summer holiday season starts after Ramadan, so also check when this falls to plan your trip.
During Ramadan Moroccans are expected to fast from food and water from sunrise to sunset, as tourists we are not expected to join in, and most restaurants still remain open, however, be mindful the pace maybe even slower. You can often score some great flight deals during this time so it’s worth looking out for.
After Ramadan is the start of the summer season, schools will start to close not long after, depending on how late in the year Ramadan falls, and many Moroccans will head to the coast for vacation.
The vibe of the area changes drastically when international tourists are outnumbered by Moroccan city tourists. Many surf schools and hostels will close for the summer months and most expats will return to visit their families in Europe or take month long vacations in other parts of the world.
This is the only time of the year I am frustrated while walking in the streets and the beaches are much busier with groups of friends and families cooking tagine over a fire.
Also, the summer months are when the waves flatten completely so it is almost impossible to surf.
I would generally advise avoiding June until mid-September.
2 WEEKS IN MOROCCO
Day 1: What to do in Agadir
Depending on whether you arrive at Agadir airport or the bus station will vary your transport options. From the bus station, you can take a small orange city taxi to your accommodation, these are very cheap.
Just make sure they reset the meter when you get in.
If you arrive at the airport and you haven’t hired a rental car, you are smarter to ask your accommodation to arrange a pick up for you. The taxis at the airport are overwhelmingly pushy and have heavily inflated pricing, so avoid the headache by prebooking.
Day 2 to 4: Surfing Taghazout
Going a short distance, just half an hour north up the coast, you immerse yourself in boho beach culture in the surfer village of Taghazout. Spend your days lounging beachside, catching waves on soft beach breaks, or hitting the tougher reef and point breaks to the north of the village. Evenings are cool and laid back, spent sipping drinks in arty bars and cafes under star-filled skies.
Stay at Amayour Surf to enjoy bohemian rooms and delicious breakfasts served on their huge beachfront terrace.
Paradise Valley, Agadir Morocco – Day Trip
A must-see day trip, best taken from Taghazout. Take a full day to dive into the Atlas Mountains and deep into Paradise Valley. Pack your trainers to hike through the valley and take a dip in cool natural pools.
It is really worth taking one day in your itinerary to see the landscape and nature in this part of Morocco. The valley is well-loved by locals but if you take advice and book a tour you will go off the beaten track and get the opportunity to experience the local Amazigh culture and eat with a local family.
Day 5 to 8: Imsouane Surf
Spend 3 days in Imsouane immersing yourself in rural surf culture. If you surf you can experience the longest wave in Africa and perfect your technique by catching wave after wave as you coast along to the beach. Spend lazy evenings at shabby cafes or on the terraces of a surf camp and watch the sunset from the cliffs.
Take a few hours to visit the Ims’One project and hike with rescued dogs in the mountains behind Imsouane.
Day 9 to 11: Essaouira
After the peace of Imsouane head further North to immerse yourself in the art scene at the portside city of Essaouira. Indulge in delicious street food, score deals on pottery and crafts, and dance the nights away on one of the many rooftop terraces in Essaouira.
This vibrant city is home to a haphazard blend of artists, traditional Moroccan people, fishermen, and culture seekers. It was also the site for scenes in Game of Thrones!
The drive from Essaouira is a long one so there is the option to take a night to stop over in Tadefna, Imi Ouaddar or Tamraght before continuing to Taroudant.
Day 12 to 13: What to do in Taroudant, Morocco
After your journey from Essaouira to Taroudant, visit the gateway to the Anti Atlas Mountains and mount Toubkal and experience a mini Marrakech in this traditional market town in the heart of the Souss Valley. Stay in beautiful raids and explore the home of hyperrealist painter Claudio Bravo, and if you have the stomach for the smell, take a tour of the tanneries and learn how leather is treated before being crafted into beautiful products.
Day 14: Depart from Agadir
Travel from Taroudant back to Agadir for your flight home. If you are heading to Marrakech you will also need to head back into Agadir for your onward journey.
This Morocco itinerary is for 2 weeks with the suggestion to stay in each location for an amount of time that will allow you to get a good feel for the place. You may want to extend any leg of the tri as the distances between some of the stops are large and travel can be tiring!
Accommodation – For backpackers traveling around America on a shoestring budget, finding the right style of lodging can be a challenge. Hostels aren’t nearly as widespread as other places around the world. Plus, popular cities such as New York City have considerably higher accommodation rates compared to smaller cities and rural areas.
Hotel rates in rural areas usually start around $40-$50 but can easily soar over $100 per night in big cities. If you find available hostels where you’re traveling, rates for a dorm bed typically range between $20-$40 per night. When visiting cities, it’s always worth checking out rates on Airbnb and Vrbo listings. Couchsurfing is another alternative that could save you a lot of money on lodging when exploring American cities and is a great way to meet new friends but if you’re traveling solo, especially if female (sadly), it is a more risky accommodation option.
Once you reach state and national parks, the cheapest accommodation is campgrounds. Daily campsite fees tend to average around $10-$30, but it’s important to also factor in the park entry fees.
There are also some really cool places to stay in America if you want to make the accommodation the experience.
Transportation – If your plan is to road trip across the United States, you’ll need a car or RV. For backpackers, a car makes the most sense in terms of cost and flexibility. It would be more difficult to park an RV in major cities, and RV camping fees sometimes are costlier than tent camping.
Depending on your location, fees usually start around $25-$35 per day for a standard or full-size vehicle. You’ll also have to pay for insurance on your rental and the fees could vary widely for each company. To save money, I’d highly recommend not driving in the cities and doing your best to avoid renting a vehicle from airports.
Food – This will vary by a large margin, depending on how often you cook your own meals. Eating out in America can be pricy, especially in bigger cities. Even buying a meal at a fast-food restaurant can cost upwards of $5-$10 per person. If you stick to buying groceries, you’ll likely spend between $30-$40 per week. However, this could fluctuate based on your dietary habits.
Portions in a lot of the USA really are larger than those in Europe though therefore you may find you can make meals last for 2 meals instead by taking your leftovers in a doggy bag.
WiFi and SatNav
When you arrive at Agadir airport there will likely be salespeople offering you a SIM card, GET ONE. WiFi is not always available and when it is it can be unreliable. If you want to use your trip to switch off then bypass this, but if you are hiring a car it is advisable to get a SIM card and data to use Google Maps to navigate between stops. Data is very cheap, around 10dh for 1G, top-up cards are available from most local shops. Opt for INWI or Maroc Telecom, Orange is available but doesn’t have great service outside the cities.
Cash machines are limited in many of the rural villages, Taghazout and Imsouane don’t have any ATMs, and almost nowhere accepts card payments. Take enough cash out in Agadir from an ATM or change cash at a currency exchange desk. The exchange rate is fairly steady so don’t worry too much about inflated pricing.
You can also find ATMs as you pass through Tamri on your way to Imsouane and there are plenty in Essaouira and Taroudant.
Cosmetics and Toiletries
For full-sized versions of any cosmetics you couldn’t fit in your hand luggage you can either use your trip to Souk Al Had in Agadir to stock up at one of the many cosmetics stalls or visit a Carrefour or Marjane Supermarket. There are a few smaller Carrefour supermarkets in Agadir and one Marjane in the center. Don’t expect to find a duty free at the airport, it is a basic airport and you will be disappointed if you expect to score a bargain on cosmetics on arrival. The departure area has a better selection but the arrivals area has nothing, just luggage collection and out you go.
As Morocco is a Muslim country, there are restrictions on the sale of alcohol but it is still easily accessible. Some restaurants have licenses to serve and most hotels are able to serve to guests only. In each section of this Morocco itinerary it is possible to find alcohol although buying it in a shop to have at home will be harder in some places. If you want to gather your own supplies you need to do it before leaving Agadir, so go to a bottle shop, or Carrefour supermarket to stock up, you won’t get another chance until you reach Essaouria. Don’t worry about locals judging you for drinking, it is not taboo and many locals will also indulge, so there is no need to hide your beer!
Dress and Culture
Morocco is fairly liberal as a Muslim country however it is advisable to be respectful. You can get away with wearing shorts, mini skirts, and dresses in the beach locations, particularly the surf spots, as the locals are used to the hippy vibe and mostly don’t bat an eyelid. But try not to have too much exposed, just be respectful of the locals.
When in Essaouria it is advisable to cover up more, it is very touristy but you will find the locals more vocal here than anywhere else on this itinerary. It is also worth to be mindful of the weather, it can change quickly, it can be burning hot and then clouds can sweep across the mountains or in from the ocean and it becomes quite chilly. If you visit in the winter months the evenings are very cold, bring lots of warm clothing and a good hat, you will feel the fresh ocean air for sure!
Visit the mini Sahara
If you rent a car and drive from Taghazout to Imsouane I recommend you stopping partway on your journey to the ‘mini Sahara’. As you go along the road you will see a small dirt road pulling off to the left towards the cliff edges and mountains of sand dunes. Turn your car in and park up. Slide down the fine sand of the dunes and climb to the top to witness breathtaking coastal views.
WHAT TO EAT & DRINK IN MOROCCO
In most of the stops on this itinerary, your biggest option will always be traditional Moroccan food but there are often other options if you prefer to stick to the food you are familiar with.
Traditional Moroccan food is usually tagine, which is meat and vegetables gently spiced and cooked in a special cone-shaped tagine pot. Often this will be served with small dishes of Moroccan salad made of tomatoes, onions, and herbs, finely chopped and served with a little olive oil, it is really refreshing and delicious!
Tagines traditionally always contain meat however many places are now aware of the growing number of vegetarian tourists visiting the area and some offer vegetable tagines, however, they are not always flavored well and can be quite bland. It can help to eat these with harissa, which leads me to…
Harissa! This is a blend of fresh red chillis and oils, made into a paste. It is incredibly spicy and caution must be taken when adding it to food but if you like added spice this stuff is the one. I add it when I eat tagine, I have it with bread and cheese, with eggs, with couscous, in sandwiches, with almost anything! For spice lovers this stuff is addictive.
The meat on offer can vary from place to place, more common is beef and chicken, sometimes lamb. If you are at more of a local style restaurant you may find goat or sheep on the menu, which is also delicious and worth trying.
On a Friday it is traditional to eat couscous for lunch, this is served as a huge mound of couscous stacked with vegetables, chickpeas, onions, and meat. We all get very excited for Friday couscous!
It is usual in Morocco to eat ‘family style’ with the tagine or couscous in a huge dish in the middle of the table, each person eats from their area of the dish, usually using bread in place of a fork. The only exception to this is Friday couscous when a spoon is used. For all meals you are usually offered a fork so if you don’t wish to carb load on the bread you shouldn’t feel obliged.
So talking of bread, it is not what you may be used to in our commercial world. The bread is unleavened and very light, it is easy to eat a lot of bread and not feel bloated or full. It also is made fresh throughout the day, the bread you buy for breakfast will be chewy by dinnertime, so most places will have an ongoing bakery supplier who drops freshly baked bread periodically during the day. The bread is amazing, so break any no-carb diets you may be on and eat Moroccan bread!
As many of the places on this itinerary are coastal you will also find a great selection of fish and seafood. The catch is always locally caught and therefore can be seasonal, in the summer mussels can be picked from the rocks at the beach. The larger fish on offer is generally Dorada (bream in English), sardines are also readily available and very cheap, it is well worth having freshly BBQ’d fish beachside. You can also easily find calamari, often this is served in a tagine or fried and served with vegetables.
Breakfast is often an omelette, and a variety of carb-based treats. There is msemen, which is a Moroccan pancake made by layering the dough, eat this with local honey or jam. You can also find harcha which is a bread made from corn, it can be a little heavy and dry so it is better when eaten with honey or lots of butter.
What is certainly worth trying is amlou, this sweet, liquidy goodness is made from argan oil, honey, and either ground almonds or peanuts. Smear it on bread, drizzle it in yoghurt, or dip fruit in it, whatever you do just try it!
As mentioned, alcohol is restricted in places but there are also vineyards and breweries in Morocco. Moroccan wine is the cheaper option and is generally very good, there is also a ‘gris’ option which is grey wine, almost like a very pale rose blush wine. Worth a try for those who like a dry wine. The locally produced beer is Flag Special or Casablanca, you can find international beers but you should certainly try the local options.
With almost every meal and at periodic points throughout the day you will drink Moroccan tea. This is made in a silver teapot with black tea leaves, fresh mint leaves, and sugar is added to taste. The tea is served to you on a silver tray with the mint and sugar separate for you to add yourself to your own taste. It is poured into small glasses from height to create bubbles in the tea and to help cool the hot water, two glasses are poured and then promptly poured back into the teapot, this is done a minimum of 3 times to mix the tea, the more mixing the stronger and darker the poured tea is. Great ceremony is made from drinking tea!
Transport options vary depending on where you are, in the cities such as Agadir and Essaouira you can find little city taxis to get around, but remember the medinas are closed to cars.
To really enjoy this itinerary I would recommend hiring a car for the trip, you can do this fairly cheaply from international rental companies such as Hertz and Avis, there are also lots of local rental companies available, many will meet you at the airport with the car, leaving you free from any battles with taxis.
If you rely on local transport there is a great company called Souk to Surf offering shuttle buses very cheaply from Agadir to Essaouira, check out the routes and timetables here. Buses to Taroudant can also be booked online here.
Taghazout and Imsouane are very small so all you need to travel around is your feet, if you want wheels, rent a skateboard and take advantage of the smooth tarmac.
Generally most things are pretty reasonable in Morocco, there are some things that are randomly very expensive but mostly this is household items you won’t need to worry about for your trip!
However be aware that there are local prices and tourist prices, prepare to haggle for most things. The general rule is that if there is a price sticker on something, you can’t haggle but for everything else, get in there and bargain for a good price. Most merchants expect the bargaining process, often a ceremony is made out of it and you will be offered tea and a seat, you should accept at least once, they will often have many stories to tell and will be very interested in learning about you and where you are from.
Haggling is part of their work and they enjoy it, learn to enjoy it too and you will be sure to get some great bargains.
Food prices can vary greatly depending on where you eat. You should definitely try the local food above and you should certainly eat at local roadside cafes as well as the smarter restaurants, the food is always excellent. The tap water is questionable depending on where you are, you can brush your teeth and make tea with the water, ice is also generally fine but I would advise buying bottled water or coming prepared with your own refillable filter bottle.
Accommodation options are often varied, you can find very cheap hostels at most of your stops. Be mindful that in most places the budget rooms may not have windows, which can make for some uncomfortably hot nights.
Where was your favorite stop on this 2 weeks in Morocco itinerary? Would you add anywhere else? Let me know in the comments below
Post written by Natalie Collins
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