The Ultimate 5 Day Morocco Itinerary for First Timers

Situated in North Africa, Morocco is one of my favorite destinations. When I think of Morocco, what comes to mind are the bustling souks, winding alleys of Marrakech’s medina, and breathtaking landscapes such as that of the Atlas Mountains or Sahara desert. In this blog post, we will discover the ultimate 5 day Morocco Itinerary for first-timers. And for those who have visited before, this itinerary is perfect for going deeper into discovering the beauty of Morocco. We’ll uncover the highlights and hidden gems of Morocco, its unique culture, and how to experience the warmth and hospitality of its people.

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Quick Facts before visiting Morocco:
💱Currency: Moroccan Dirham. You can divide by 10 to convert to US dollars.
💶 Budget for a trip to Morocco: The average daily cost for a trip to Morocco is $69 a night for both food and accommodation.
💜 Is tipping required in Morocco? Tipping in customary in Morocco and you should plan to tip between 10-15%.
☀️ Best time to Visit: The two most favorable periods to visit are during the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November). I visited in November and it was great as the temperatures were mild.
🏥 Travel Insurance in Morocco: I recommend SafetyWing which will cover you in case of trip cancellations or any accidents during your travels.
🏜️ Best Day Trip: Agafay Desert Sunset Tour

How to Get to Morocco

In this 5 day itinerary to Morocco, we’re exploring Marrakech and Sahara Desert. Therefore, you should fly into the Marrakech Menara Airport. The city center is a short taxi away.

Casablanca’s Mohammed V International Airport is a common entry point for many international travelers too. There, you will find The Hassan II Mosque which is the largest mosque in Africa. And if you want to explore the Northern Morocco, then Fes-Saïss Airport and Tangier Ibn Battouta Airport are popular choices.

5 days in Morocco: Summary of Trip Plan

Day 1: Arrival into the Marrakech Airport, Stay in a riad, Koutoubia Mosque, Bahia Palace, Saadian’s Tombs, Dinner and belly dancing at Le Salama

Day 2: Lunch at Cafe Des Epices, Ben Youssef Madrassa Musee de Marrakech, Jemmaa el-Fnaa Square, Souk Shopping, El Badi Palace, Dinner at Le Jardin

Day 3 to 4: Explore Sahara Desert

Day 5: Return to Marrakech, Lunch at Atay Cafe, Enjoy a hammam at La Mamounia, Visit the beautiful botanical garden, Le Jardin Majorelle, Head to the airport

5 Day Morocco Itinerary for First Timers

Days 1 to 3: Marrakech

Day 1: Settle in and Explore the Kasbah of Marrakech

Stay in a Riad

Staying in a riad is a must when you visit Morocco! A riad is a traditional Moroccan house with an inner courtyard and garden. The Arabic word Riyad actually translates to “garden.” Most of them have a small pool in the center of the courtyard and a few different levels with rooms. As you can see in the pictures above, they are absolutely stunning and super instagrammable.

You can read my full blog post on the best riads in Marrakech here.

These are my favorite riads in Marrakech:

  1. Riad Kasbah: Riad Kasbah is located in Kasbah which is the old town of Marrakesh. This riad is simply decorated with whites and neutrals. Breakfast is included each morning and includes drinks of choice as well as Moroccan pancakes, fresh bread, and a variety of pastries. Nearby attractions include the Saadian Tombs, just steps away, as well as seeing the Kasbah Mosque.
  2. Riad Elegancia is a gorgeous property full of vibrant colors. It’s conveniently located in the medina. You’ll be amazed by the intricacy of the Moroccan architecture in this boutique-style riad. There is a cocktail bar (which alcohol can sometimes be hard to come by in Morocco) on the rooftop terrace. 
  3. Be Marrakech: This is the most instagrammable riad in Marrakech. It has the most colorful pool area and courtyard. Located in the medina as well.
Lunch with a View of Koutoubia Mosque

On the first day of your Morocco trip, settle into your beautiful riad and set off to do some exploring. If you stay at Riad Kasbah, nearby you can have lunch at Kasbah Cafe which has views of Koutoubia Mosque. This iconic landmark was built in the 12th century with Almohad architecture. Tourists can not visit it inside but only admire it from the outside.

Kasbah Cafe has beautifully presented Moroccan mint tea and traditional local cuisine including tagine and Moroccan breakfast.

Saadian’s Tombs

Very near to the mosque, you will be able to explore Saadien’s Tombs, a Unesco World Heritage site.

These tombs are the final resting place of members of the Saadian dynasty, which ruled over Morocco in the 16th and 17th centuries. The tombs were rediscovered in 1917 and have since become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Morocco.

Bahia Palace

Bahia Palace, is a 19th-century palace showcasing the grandeur of Moroccan architecture and design. It was built in the late 19th century for Si Moussa, a former slave who rose to become a prominent Vizier. The palace is a masterpiece of intricate tilework, carved stucco, and lush gardens. The name “Bahia” means brilliance, and the palace lives up to its name with its stunning courtyards, mosaic-lined rooms, and beautifully landscaped gardens. There are many rooms you can explore, each showcasing different architectural styles.

Dinner & Belly Dancing at Le Salama

Marrakech is very limited on where they sell alcohol. There aren’t many places that do because it’s a mostly Muslim country. However, Le Salama is one of the few places that does. Also, it’s super aesthetic, the food is delicious, and they have belly dancers! I highly recommend booking this place for dinner.

Day 2: Explore around the Medina

On the next day of your 5 day Morocco itinerary, you’ll have a full day exploring the heart of the medina. Here you will hit many historic sites as you walk through the many narrow streets.

There are many Morocco tours like this one if you prefer a tour guide to show you around.

Ben Youssef Madrassa

Ben Youssef Madrasa is a historic Islamic college. It stands as a testament to the rich architectural and educational heritage of Morocco. Dating back to the 14th century, the madrasa served as a center for Quranic learning and accommodation for students.

Its intricate stucco work, cedar woodcarvings, and decorative tilework showcase the craftsmanship of Moroccan artisans. You can see the small cells where students once lived, the central courtyard, and the prayer hall adorned with geometric patterns during your visit.

The entry fee for Ben Youssef Madrasa is around 50 Moroccan Dirhams which is around $13. It is a super busy place so be sure to go early morning if you want to avoid crowds.

Musee de Marrakech

The Musee de Marrakech, is located in the heart of the medina near the Ben Youssef Madrasa. It is yet another place where you can find beautiful Moroccan architecture. The 19th-century palace showcases a diverse collection of artifacts, including traditional textiles, ceramics, and contemporary Moroccan art.

El Badi Palace

El Badi Palace was built in the late 16th century by Sultan Ahmad al-Mansur. The palace was once a symbol of immense wealth and luxury. Be prepared to admire the stunning gardens, pavilions, and a massive pool.

The name “El Badi” means “The Incomparable,” reflecting the extravagant beauty of the palace in its prime. While much of its original splendor is now in ruins, the site remains a remarkable structure. You’ll still see the remnants of towering walls, sunken gardens, and the famous Koutoubia Minbar on display.

Lunch at Cafe Des Epices overlooking the Market

The best lunch in the medina is Cafe Des Epices. It overlooks the Rahba Kedima Square so you can get a cool panoramic snapshot while enjoying a great meal. Rahba Kedima is known for its lively market where various goods, including spices, herbs, and traditional crafts, are sold. It is a great place to do some shopping.

Jemmaa el-Fnaa Square

Jemaa el-Fnaa Square is the most bustling square in Marrakech and you definitely won’t miss it during your 5 days in Morocco.

During the day, the square is a lively marketplace where visitors can explore a plethora of stalls selling everything from spices and textiles to traditional crafts and street food.

As night falls, the atmosphere transforms into a lively scene with musicians and street performers entertaining crowds. The square is surrounded by historic landmarks, including the Koutoubia Mosque and the souks, making Jemaa el-Fnaa a must-visit destination.

Souk Shopping

After visiting the Jemmaa el-Fnaa Square, you’ll likely be in the mood for shopping at one of the many traditional markets. You will now be in the heart of all the amazing shops. They are all so beautiful too – like this lamp shop for instance!

You will find a spice market, places to buy essential oils, cashmere scarves, leather goods, and more. So enjoy shopping and be sure to take home some souvenirs. Things will surely be much cheaper here if you can haggle, that is. Make sure you don’t get scammed and take the first price you get quoted as the culture is to negotiate. Act like you aren’t super interested and even walk away to get the best prices.

Dinner at Le Jardin

Le Jardin was my favorite meal of my trip to Marrakesh. It was a beautiful restaraunt just like most the local restaraunts in Marrakesh to be fair. The food was really good too. We had a lot of different mezze appetizers like Lamb confit croquettes and zucchini fritters. For mains, we tried Tagine of traditional kefta with egg and lamb shoulder.

Day 3 to 5: Sahara Desert

Photo by Rubén Bagüés on Unsplash

The Sahara Desert has to be one of those lifelong bucket list activities. It is not that close to Marrakech so I’d advise you to book a tour which will take care of everything for you. Staying in a Sahara Desert overnight camp is a must! The scenic drive there will be worth the long trek. You will love staying overnight in the middle of the desert.

The best tour I’ve found is this 3 days 2 nights Sahara Desert Tour Adventure. On this tour, you’re picked up from Marrakech and everything is included from food to round-trip transportation to your accommodation. You will also have a local guide. There will also be plenty of free time to explore.

The fun things you’ll do on this tour include:

  • A camel ride at sunset
  • Sandboarding
  • A visit to the High Atlas Mountains
  • See the UNESCO-listed Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou with your tour guide
  • Spend the night at a Berber desert camp, where there will be live entertainment and a traditional dinner.

The Agafay Desert – an Alternative to the Sahara Desert

There’s also a closer desert if you feel Sahara is too far for such a short trip. That is Agafay Desert. You can reach it in under an hour’s drive from Marrakech so it’s a great day trip. However, many wonder if Agafay Desert is a real desert. It is not a traditional desert in the sense of vast sand dunes and arid landscapes that you associate with the Sahara Desert.

The Agafay Desert instead is made of stony and barren terrain and its landscape is dominated by rocky hills and plateaus. It still is very picturesque, but it lacks the extensive sand dunes that are typically associated with deserts. Nonetheless, the Agafay Desert has gained popularity as a destination and there are many activities like camel rides, quad biking, and stargazing. The panoramic views at the top of the desert during sunset were breathtaking.

I booked a tour with Viator which picked me up from Marrakech at 4pm and returned me by around 10pm. You had the option to ride a camel or a quad bike and enjoy a beautiful sunset dinner with music and entertainment.

Day 5: Return to Marrakech

Lunch at Atay Cafe

On day 5, you’ll be coming back in the morning from the Sahara desert. Spend your last day in Marrakech by having lunch at another wonderful rooftop cafe like Atay Cafe.

Enjoy a Hammam

Your trip to Marrakech would definitely not be complete without a traditional hammam. A Moroccan hammam is a traditional steam bath that plays a central role in the country’s bathing and social rituals. The hammam experience involves a series of cleansing and relaxation rituals, including steam sessions, scrubbing with soap, and massages.

There are many places to enjoy a Hammam, including the hotel you wish to stay at. For the best place, I’d recommend getting one at La Mamounia where you can enjoy a luxurious treatment.

Visit the beautiful botanical garden, Le Jardin Majorelle 

This beautiful botanical garden is called Le Jardin Majorelle. It was created 40 years ago by the French Orientalist artist Jacques Majorelle in 1923. 

The garden is absolutely beautiful with 3000 species on nearly 1 hectare. You can also witness the Moroccan architecture which features vibrant blue colors. 

The cost to enter is €6. Be sure to go right at opening or right before closing to avoid the huge crowds. 

You can see more of what it looks like on my Instagram video here.

Is 5 Days Enough to Visit Morocco?

5 days is enough to see the must visit destinations like Marrakech, the Sahara Desert, and Atlas Mountains. 5 days in Morocco is perfect if you don’t have much time. However, if you want to explore more of this wonderful country, I’d recommend staying for longer. That way you can add in cities like Fes, Essaouira, and Tangier.

Some example Morocco itineraries are below for 7 days and 10 days in Morocco.

7 day Morocco Itinerary

If you have more time, I’d recommend extending your trip and spending 2 more days in Fes and Chefchaouen (the blue city).

That itinerary would look like this:

  • 3 days in Marrakech
  • 2 days in Sahara Desert
  • 2 days in Fes

10 Day Morocco Itinerary

A 10 day Morocco Itinerary would allow you to cover more ground.

That itinerary would look like this:

  • 3 days in Marrakech
  • 2 days in Chefchaouen
  • 2 days in Fes
  • 2 days in Sahara Desert
  • 1 day in Atlas Mountains

If you enjoyed this 5 day Morocco itinerary, leave a comment below!

You may also like these posts:
15 Cool Things to Do in Marrakech
Most Beautiful Riads in Marrakesh

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