Greetings from Morocco, and the city of Fes, where I'm writing this blog post to both document my adventures and create a simple Points Itinerary for anyone looking to visit this beautiful North African country. Morocco is incredibly large by land size, so learning to navigate and create a manageable itinerary can be a daunting task.
So, to simplify your trip planning to 'The Arab West,' here is a starter itinerary of the places I stayed and the restaurants I enjoyed to help you plan your ideal trip.
I spent 3 weeks exploring Morocco, covering the majority of the country from central Marrakech to the Sahara Desert, up to the Northeastern 'Blue City' of Chefchaouen, and ending in the coastal capital city of Casablanca.
Fly into Marrakech on Air France
Day 1 - 6: Explore Marrakech with a day trip and visit to Tinmel Mosque on Day 4
Day 7: Drive from Marrakech to Aït Benhaddou, with an overnight stay nearby
Day 8: Drive to Dades Gorge, then to Merzouga in the Sahara Desert
Day 8 - 10: Spend 2 nights under the evening stars of the Sahara Desert
Day 10: Drive almost 7 hours to the city of Fes
Day 11 - 13: Explore Fes with stops around the old town Medina
Day 14: Drive 3 hours to Chefchaouen, with an overnight stay nearby
Day 15: Drive 5 hours to Casablanca
Day 16 - 18: Explore Casablanca with a visit to the old town Medina
Fly home from Casablanca on Iberia
I redeemed 55,000 Flying Blue miles to fly Air France Business Class from San Francisco to Marrakech via Paris. Enjoy a shot of the inflight experience below with more content on my Instagram page, @jetalbert.
For the return flight home, I flew Iberia Business Class from Casablanca to London via, Madrid, followed by American Airlines First Class from London to Miami. I booked a fantastic paid fare out of Casablanca for this Oneworld flying experience.
Below are two hotel recommendations in Morocco which can be booked entirely on points, starting with Marriott's only Riad property, AnaYela. For my first visit to Marrakech, I was keen on staying at a Riad, or beautiful Estates converted into boutique Bed & Breakfast hotels. Stays at AnaYela start at 40,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, for 2 nights.
Next is the Hotel Sahrai in Fes, a Small Luxury Hotel property, which can be redeemed for 17,000 Hyatt points per night.
Spending 2 nights in the Sahara Desert is a must, and if available, Sunrise Sahara Camp's dome tents are some of the most unique options. Besides the obvious space-like capsules, each tent is equipped with proper conveniences like hot water and a flushable toilet. However, I did experience hot water issues, particularly during the morning time.
Moroccan cuisine was a big draw for me, specifically their main dish called 'Tagine', or various types of meats and vegetarian stews slow-cooked in dome-shaped clay pots. In Marrakech, both Azar Marrakech and La Maison Arabe's restaurant, Le Trois Savuers, offer a wonderful dining experience. And La Sqala is a must-eat when you're in the country's capital of Casablanca, where the restaurant has taken home inside a repurposed seaside fortress.
The Must See's
Morocco is a labyrinth of hidden mysterious alleyways, with endless 'wow' moments around every corner. Here are my 6 must see's in 'The Arab West' from the Blue City of Chefchaouen to admiring the famed fashion designer Yves Saint Laurents' love of snakes.
The Northeast Blue City of Chefcahoauen
An afternoon at Jardin Marjorelle Botanical Garden, within Yves Saint Laurent's former Mansion
The YSL Museum in the heart of Marrakech
Get lost in any of Morocco's old town Medina's, from Marrakech to Fes to Casablanca
The now abandoned but architecturally stunning Tinmel Mosque
A camel ride through the Sahara Desert at sunset
Last, but not least, and potentially the most important decision was the transportation necessary between cities. I hired a fantastic driver named Said, who I contracted for $100 per day in a very comfortable Mercedes-Benz Van. He made the trip all the more memorable and enjoyable.
Morocco is a country rich with culture, delicious food, and an unrivaled exotic experience. With so much to offer, Morocco can also be intimidating to plan for considering the size of the country and unmarked streets. It's one of those countries where pulling out Google Maps simply won't do.
Have you been to Morocco before?