This busy week is a great mix of history, culture, and landscape. Unless you desperately wish to visit Marrakech, I consider this a better 1-week option, combining both medina and desert.
Day 1: Arrive in Fes
Staying within Fes el Bali's (Old Fes) walls is the only way to experience this ancient city. Navigating your way around can initially be overwhelming, so prearrange with your accommodations for an escort to guide you to their doors. If you have time, stop off at one of the medina viewpoints. For a relaxed entree into Fassi life, partake in some quality people-watching from one of the many cheap eateries clustered around the imposing Bab Boujloud.
Day 2: Discover the Medina
Spend the day wandering some of the 9,500 lanes and alleys accompanied by an official guide or the excellent Fez from Bab to Bab book and map. Tonight may be a good night to don your tourist hat and enjoy the dinner spectacular at Restaurant al Fassia, or perhaps you may prefer the quieter and more culinary-focused surroundings of Dar Anebar or La Maison Bleue.
Day 3: Meknes, Volubilis & Moulay Idriss Zerhoun
Two of the country's most sacred sites, along with its best-preserved Roman ruins, can all be visited as a day tour from Fes. The Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail is a tranquil, serene place in Meknes and is one of the few shrines in the country that is open to non-Muslims. The village of Moulay Idriss Zerhoun is a place of pilgrimage for Moroccans, who come here to pay homage to the founder of the country's first Islamic dynasty. Non-Muslims aren't allowed to enter his shrine but are welcome to wander the village's steep, winding streets and to absorb the almost festive atmosphere that emanates from here.
Best visited at the start or end of the day, the ruins of the Roman city of Volubilis are well worth a visit. Partially restored during colonial times and currently undergoing renovation to its visitor center, the 40-hectare (99-acre) site contains a triumphal arch, forum, and basilica, along with some slowly fading mosaics.
Prebook an evening cooking lesson with Lachin Beqqi of Fes Cooking, and enjoy your very own homemade dinner of traditional Moroccan cuisine.
Day 4: Atlas Mountains to the Desert
Travel through both the Middle and High Atlas ranges on your way to the country's northern sand dunes. The landscape changes from fertile farming plains to mountains dotted with cedar trees or sliced by deep gorges and palmeraies before flattening out to the pre-Saharan hammada. The sleepy town of Erfoud awaits at the end of this long day's travel.
Day 5: Step onto Saharan Sands
A short drive from Erfoud brings you to the various accommodations at the foot of the Erg Chebbi, a "mountain range" of sometimes rust, sometimes golden sand dunes fed by the shifting sands of the Sahara desert. Do as the locals do and follow lunch with an afternoon siesta. Later in the day, hop on board your one-humped steed for a 1- to 2-hour camel trek to your overnight camp amongst the dunes. Enjoy sunset atop one of this sand sea's 150m-high (492-ft.) dunes before spending the night under the stars.
Day 6: Back to Fes
After a magical sunrise, your camel will return you to your hotel, where breakfast and a welcome shower are followed by a long day's drive back through the High and Middle Atlas ranges to Fes. Alternatively, stay the night in the university mountain village of Ifrane and continue to Fes the next morning.
Day 7: Going Home
Some direct flights to the U.K. depart later in the day, so you may have time to visit the Mellah, or Jewish quarter, of Fes el Jdid (New Fes), or take one last wander up Fes el Bali's main thoroughfares, Tala'a Kbira or Tala'a Sghira, finishing the walk with a mint tea opposite the historical and spiritual Bouinania Medersa on the rooftop of Cafe Clock.