This itinerary is big on culture, bypassing the Saharan side of the Atlas mountain ranges to visit Morocco's present and past imperial capitals. Although Casablanca was never the country's capital, it has become the economic heartbeat of the country and is worth a stop if only to visit Rick's Café and say, "Play it again, Sam."
Day 1: Arrive in Marrakech
Marrakech's weather can be energy-sapping hot or surprisingly cold, depending on the time of year. Either way, give yourself time today to get used to the temperature as well as the city's general hustle and bustle. An afternoon ride on the double-decker City Sightseeing bus is a perfect, hassle-free way to get your bearings and absorb the atmosphere, passing the city's iconic sights such as the Koutoubia Mosque and Jemaa el Fna. Later this afternoon, make your way to the incomparable cuisine and entertainment spectacle taking place on Jemaa el Fna.
Day 2: Discover the Medina
Today's the day to enter the fray and discover this city's heart and soul. Hire a guide for a morning walking tour, taking in one or two historical sights, a visit to a herboriste (herbalist) and some of the souks, and a stop along the way for a mint tea. You'll no doubt be led to a few shops along the way, so make the most of the situation by taking mental notes of each item's general price and quality, preparing yourself for a return visit should you be seriously interested in something. If you haven't already done so, be sure to head to Jemaa el Fna for the late afternoon and evening show. Perhaps treat yourself tonight with dinner at one of the medina's romantic and ambience-filled restaurants such as Cafe Arabe or Narwama, or try Al Fassia in Guéliz should you prefer to "go local." Those with children should venture out to Jaafary palmeraie for the dinner extravaganza at Chez Ali.
Day 3: Marrakech to Fes
It's a long day's travel, but self-drivers should have time to break the journey with a visit to the Cascades d'Ouzoud. Arriving into Fes after dark can be a little challenging, so ask your accommodations for clear directions.
Days 4 & 5: Fes
Spend the next 2 days wandering around the ancient city of Fes el Bali. Giving yourself this much time allows for both a guided morning walk -- visiting sights such as the Bouinania Medersa, Nejjarine Museum of Wooden Arts & Crafts, and Chouwara Tannery, and a look (from the outside) of the spiritual Kairouine Mosque -- as well as plenty of time to explore on your own. Perhaps prebook an evening cooking lesson with Lachin Beqqi of Fes Cooking and enjoy your very own homemade dinner of traditional Moroccan cuisine. Be sure to also dine 1 night at the Restaurant al Fassia; it's touristy but great fun.
Day 6: Volubilis, Moulay Idriss Zerhoun & Meknes
Visit the ruins in the Roman city of Volubilis early in the morning to beat both the crowds and the heat. Have lunch in the nearby spiritual village of Moulay Idriss Zerhoun, watching the pilgrims as they come to visit the shrine of the founding father of Morocco. Arrive in Meknes in the early afternoon and visit another important shrine, that of the country's longest-serving ruler, Moulay Ismail. Stay the night in one of Meknes's few medina riads.
Day 7: Rabat
Rabat has been the capital since the beginning of the French protectorate in 1912. It's a pleasant city cooled by the afternoon Atlantic sea breeze and lacking the general noise and bustle of Morocco's other major cities. This afternoon, visit the Mausoleum of Mohammed V, the burial place of the current king's father and grandfather. On the same site is the imposing 12th-century Hassan Tower, looking out over the mouth of the Oued Bou Regreg. Stroll through the medina and up along rue des Consuls to the charming Kasbah des Oudaïas.
Day 8: Casablanca
South of Rabat is the nation's economic capital, Casablanca. Stroll downtown (largely a French creation) to admire the many Art Deco buildings still standing. An early evening aperitif at Rick's Café is highly recommended. If you don't wish to stay for dinner, head to the restaurant and bar strip opposite the central market.
Days 9 & 10: Back to Marrakech
A new highway has made today's travel faster and more bearable. Arrive back in Marrakech for any last-minute shopping or for another fix of people-watching on Jemaa el Fna. Prepare to leave early to late morning the next day.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.