When you think Moroccan road trip what comes to mind? There are some seriously amazing drives to be found in this country. Most people think Morocco is all desert but those people are wrong. Adding a road trip to your Morocco itinerary is a great idea.
In Morocco, you’ll find gorgeous coastal roads, expansive open spaces, rolling hills, soaring peaks, cedar forests, and everything in between. Really, you can find so many different landscapes.
So if you’re looking for a great Moroccan road trip, I’ve asked several other travelers to Morocco to share some of their favorites; here are 10 to consider.
Table of Contents
Marrakesh to Essaouira
from Elaine & David of Show Them The Globe
The sleepy port city of Essaouira is a three-hour drive from Marrakesh. Essaouira is famous for its appearance in Game of Thrones, is a UNESCO World Heritage-listed medina and is one of Morocco’s best surfing destinations!
A highlight of the drive and one that some may want to avoid is the experience of driving through Marrakesh during busy periods! We had fun navigating our way through the city streets surrounded by a mix of donkeys, horses and carts, cars, jaywalking pedestrians and zigzagging motorists!
After reaching the outskirts of Marrakesh, it’s an easy drive between the two cities.
There’s one site along the route that will cause most drivers and passengers to do a double-take: not far from Marrakesh, a goat filled tree sits along the roadside. Goats happily sit on the tree branches munching on the fruit of the argan tree. It’s a remarkable sight and a popular tourist stop. But beware, a photo of the goats requires a trip to the farmers who gather around the tree and visitors are not allowed to pick the fruit!
The argan trees also support the women’s cooperatives which are frequent on the route between Marrakesh and Essaouira and an essential stop. The fruit of the argan trees is used to produce the luxurious argan oil and the industry supports and empowers local women with employment opportunities. It’s a great opportunity to support the local female workforce with a purchase and indulge in some new hair and body products!
Rabat to Essaouira
from Inma Gregorio, Travel Blogger, A World to Travel
Last winter we decided to leave behind the hustle and bustle that usually characterizes our December (with the traditional Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Kings Day) and embark on an adventurous road trip along the Atlantic coast of Morocco, a region that we had not yet had an opportunity to explore after several visits to the country since our young years.
Today I will tell you about the wonderful journey between Rabat, Casablanca, El Jadida, and Essaouira: four cities and towns next to the ocean well worth a visit and that, without any doubt, are the antithesis of this country’s typical image.
With historical centers not as chaotic as Marrakesh’s infamous medina, affordable and delicious freshly caught fish dishes in every harbor restaurant of the lively Essaouira, architectural wonders such as the great Hassan II mosque of Casablanca and the old Portuguese fortress – and cistern! – in El Jadida, wide avenues that might look like those of any major European city in Rabat, and a transport network worthy of note (the train works beautifully and there are different bus companies for those who prefer not to drive); all you have to do is to get yourself there at least four days (although ideally a week) and put this adventure on your list now.
Tizi N’ Test Pass
from Lester Lost
Morocco is a great country to drive. If you enjoy a good road trip, don’t miss the opportunity to see the more remote parts of the country. On my most recent trip to Morocco, I took a beautiful drive in the High Atlas Mountains, across the Tizi n’Test pass.
Leaving Taroudant, the road starts very flat and then the mountains rise quite suddenly. Initially, the road condition was quite poor, probably after some flooding. This used to be the only road from the Atlantic Coast to Marrakech, however today there is a much straightforward and flat road. As a result, the Tizi n’Test drive isn’t as well maintained. The views, however, are absolutely stunning.
Look behind you and admire the thin ribbon of road you’ve just climbed… The dry hills and low vegetation offer a never-ending combination of colours. The Tizi n’Test pass stands at 2,100m, which means that it’s very likely to be snowed in during the winter, sometimes as early as November.
Along the drive, there are a few roadside cafés where you can rest and have an orange juice. Once you get over the Tizi n’Test pass, the scenery is quite different, with lots of cypress trees. In the valley, the ancient mosque of Tinmel is worth stopping by and visiting. Its beautiful architecture has been renovated.
The drive from Taroudant to Marrakech will take you a whole day, and you should ensure you have a full tank of petrol as there aren’t many petrol stations along the way. If going all the way to Marrakech is too much in one day, you can stop in Asni and continue exploring the region.
Meknes to Fes to Tazekka National Park to Fes
from Gourmet Globetrotter
This itinerary will cover historic sites, traditional meals, natural wonders and a tour of one of Morocco’s best makers of Zellij, handcrafted ceramic tile. Begin your journey wandering through Meknes, one of Morocco’s old imperial cities and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Check out some of its most notable sites such as the medina with its narrow streets and the grandiose gateway of Bab el-Mansour. Next, hit the road and drive 1 hour east to the bustling city of Fes to arrive just in time for lunch. We recommend Cafe Restaurant Al Oud where their specialty is lamb tagine. Afterward, explore the old medina before driving to the Moroccan Tiles Factory for a free guided tour.
Watch as staff pours their heart into making gorgeous mosaic tile tables and fountains – all for sale. But best of all? There is no pressure to buy. However, if you’re anything like me, you’ll end up with a full shopping cart (or three!).
Next, drive 2 hours east to explore the natural beauty of Tazekka National Park located in the Middle Atlas, near the city of Taza. Spend 2-3 hours wandering the park and searching for wildlife. Within the past several years, the park has grown in popularity with visitors looking to get off the beaten path.
Finally, after all that exercise, you’ll be ready for the 2-hour drive back to Fes, and arrive just in
Marrakech to Imlil
from Meandering Wild
The road trip from Marrakech to Imlil is a short drive into the foothills of the Atlas Mountains taking a few hours, but it shows the stunning countryside at its best. Travelling after late April, the weather is warm and the road is clear after the winter months. Driving into Imlil in winter can be difficult with snow and ice.
Winding ever upwards there are hidden surprises around every bend and on this road, there are many bends. From Marrakech, the road to Tahannaout is fast with the mountains looming in the distance, but once Tahannaout has reached the landscape changes and the journey becomes slower.
The fields either side of the road become more cultivated compared to the dry landscape just outside of Marrakech city. Prickly pears in full flower and poppies cover the hillsides and roadside verges, a totally unexpected sight in such a dry landscape.
The best poppy fields are on the slopes just to the north of Asni as the road switches back. There is a parking place with views down the valley, but look away from the view and
Errachidia to Merzouga
If you are heading to Merzouga by car, you will likely drive there via Errachidia. While the city itself doesn’t offer much in terms of tourist attractions, the drive south is quite the adventure! But don’t be scared, I mean that in a good way.
Around 20 minutes after leaving the city you will see signs to the right pointing to the Source Bleu de Meski, a public swimming pool with natural water running through. It costs a few dirham, but is quite a nice stop, especially if you are travelling with children.
Around 10-15 minutes from here on the road to Erfoud you will start driving down the side of quite impressive mountains, with the Ouad Ziz to your right. There is a look-out with restaurant and souvenir shop that is well worth a stop to enjoy the view over the palm tree filled valley.
Once you pass Erfoud, keep your eyes open for the Museum of Fossils and Minerals, easily recognizable by the huge dinosaur skeleton next to it. The region around here is known for the impressive fossils that can be found in the desert.
Soon after you will reach Rissani, a small town with the biggest market of the region held every Sunday. If you have the chance to visit, I definitely recommend the stop here for a wander around. Or maybe you want to have lunch here, there are plenty of nice restaurants along the market. From here it is only 30 minutes to Merzouga, so keep your eyes peeled for the first view of the big dunes the town is known for.
If you are looking for ideas, head over to Eva’s blog post about things todo in Merzouga.
Ifrane to Merzouga
from TraveLynn Family
The beauty of a Moroccan road trip has to be the contrast in destinations, and none more so that a route between the Swiss Mountain village of Ifrane to the striking red sand dunes near Merzouga. The drive between the two is 6 hours, and only expect to find gas stations in the main towns.
Wrap up warm and enjoy the bizarrely out-of-place alpine feel of Ifrane. Join the local tourists in getting a photo snapped next to the stone lion, before descending down the winding country bends from the hills. Wind the windows down and enjoy the views. There any ‘sites’ for the first few hours, so just enjoy the drive stopping off for photos or a stretch of the legs along the way.
Once you approach Errachidia, the landscape opens out to the flat plains of the Saharan outskirts and the road straightens. Along the road
But as we were traveling Morocco with kids, it was the giant T-Rex just north of Erfoud that made us pull over (our young boys are huge dinosaur fans). The T-Rex is just a model, but the locals who work there are happy to talk about the fossils with kids, and there is also a baby camel to meet.
On arrival to Erfoud you will notice more tourists. This is a main stop off before venturing into the desert. There are some great restaurants here serving both Moroccan and Western dishes.
It’s then just a 45 minute drive to Merzouga where you can begin your Sahara adventure!
Fez to Chefchaouan
from Arabian Wanderess
When I was planning my trip to Morocco, I kept seeing and hearing about the blue city of Morocco, Chefchaouen. There were no two ways about it and I knew I had to be there enveloped in blue as soon as I saw the images.
Luckily, I was already going to Fez for a weeklong Islamic pattern course. The ride is about three hours from Fez to Chefchaouen. My friend and I asked around as soon as we got to Fez for a reputable driver and we took off early morning the next day to make the most of our day in Chefchouen. There is a local bus that would take you too and now Get Your Guide offers tours there too.
However the method you want to use, I recommended going. The drive was mostly smooth with a few bumps in the road. The roads were quiet on a weekday. It was early autumn, so it was still hot, so the windows remained closed while the landscape changed slowly. Upon arrival, I could only see pale blue from the distance. We parked by the gate and explored the little city on foot.
The amount of blue and its intensity got stronger the further we walked. Everything can be seen in about three hours. I loved getting lost
Ouarzazate to M’hamid
from Where in the World is Nina
Ouarzazate is well known in Morocco for being a “Little Hollywood.” There were hundreds of films and shows filmed here, including the mega-famous Game of Thrones. But what about M’hamid, who wants to go there?!
Well, you will once you find out there’s more to the Sahara than Merzouga’s famous sand dunes. A couple of hours outside of M’hamid is the lesser-known entrance to the Sahara Desert and you won’t find massive tours buses around here. The dunes here are further out and wilder than Merzouga’s.
You can easily book a place to stay in M’hamid for the night before you take your desert tour in the morning. Pretty much all desert tours will start in the morning or during the day so driving out here the night before would be best.
The desert tour I recommend has mud huts overlooking sand dunes on the outskirts of M’hamid for guests to stay in the night before their excursion! It made for an excellent experience and was convenient considering we explored Ouarzazate in the morning and then made our drive down and didn’t arrive until late.
After spending some time playing in Little Hollywood, start making your way down south, making a stop at Agdz, an oasis town, and finally ending up M’hamid. While the town is unassuming and the drive between the places isn’t anything too crazy amazing, it’s only a four hour stretch between the two and both are worth a visit!
Agadir to Essaouira
This is one of my favorite drives in the entire country. Much of the drive happens along the coast leaving you ample opportunities to stop, stretch your legs and enjoy the views.
This route also brings you through the rolling hills full of argan trees. If you really want to have a beautiful drive to take in some of Morocco’s most beautiful and varied landscape this is the route to take!