How long was your stay?
How did you travel?
As a couple
Tell us why you traveled to this destination.
I’ve always been really curious about Morocco and wanted to see the desert.
What was your itinerary?
Day 1: Arrived in Casablanca and checked in to hotel.
Day 2: Went to Hassan II Mosque and Habous market
Day 3: Visited Old medina
Day 4: Travelled to Marrakech
Day 5: Explored Marrakech Desert
Day 6: Went to The Jardin Majorelle, Pierre Bergé Museum, and Saadian tombs
Day 7: Visited Heritage Museum Marrakech
Day 8: Explored Women’s Museum Marrakech then headed off to Bacha Coffee.
Day 9: Visited Les Deux Tours and Ouzoud Waterfalls
Day 10: Headed to Essaouira, and stayed at Essaouira Beach Hostel
Day 11: Started with Le Panoramique Essaouira and watched Camels Relax
Day 12-14: Roaming around Essaouira and Noqta Coworking Space
Give us all the details! Tell us where you went and what you did on your trip.
Our first night was rough! We arrived in Casablanca around 11 PM and had a terrible experience getting to our Airbnb. I bought a sim card with data and pulled some cash out before leaving the airport, and we first tried to get an Uber, however, Uber doesn’t operate in Morocco so we downloaded another driving app and tried to get a car. While we were waiting we decided to talk to the taxis. We had heard we need to haggle with the taxi driver before getting in, and establish a price before going anywhere, and quickly found a driver who agreed to 300 DH ($30~), which was about the same price as the drive app so we decided to get in as it was quite late. Our first mistake.
Driving in Morocco is quite an experience- our driver was on the phone, the lanes are basically nonexistent, and when we made it into Casablanca our driver tried to drop us off at a hotel in the center, even though we had shown him our apartment was further north. The driver then insisted we pay him more to go there, which we agreed to as it was late and we were in a foreign city. Luckily I had data on my phone because we spent the next 15 minutes using my google maps to show him where to go, after agreeing to the extortionary price (over $70 USD!). However our next problem- the apartment was difficult to find and identify as the Airbnb address was wrong. We spent 10 minutes circling in a sketchy seeming area before we finally got a hold of the Airbnb host and found our apartment.
Day 2: After our hectic time we were a little uncertain about exploring Casablanca, but we had booked a photoshoot experience with a local photographer. We started at the Hassan II Mosque – it’s the largest Mosque in Africa, and the only mosque in Africa that is open to tourists. It is right on the coast and quite beautiful. Visitors are allowed in during the morning, but we came in the afternoon right as their prayer time started as the courtyard was empty and it was a good time for photos. Our photographer took us on a mini tour, to the local market area and then to the Habous market. The local market had lots of restaurants he recommended, but the Habous market was definitely nicer- it was a bit larger, offered typical wares like rugs and tagines, and could be explored in an hour or two. It was built in the old area and is by the palace.
We had tea after our photo session and walked around more. We tried some cactus fruit, which was very tasty! If you want to go shopping then haggling is a must, though it can be quite uncomfortable at first.
Day 3: We did a free walking tour around the old medina. The tour ended up just being us, and the guide tried to be entertaining, but honestly, Casablanca is just not that interesting. The city was destroyed in the 1800s and then slowly rebuilt, so there is a mix of architecture, but it hasn’t been well cared for and is quite poor. You do not need much time here. After our tour, we went back to the Hassan II Mosque and had afternoon tea with a friend.
Day 4: We took the train to Marrakech– I believe you can buy tickets online, but we bought them in person and had to wait in a queue reminiscent of the DMV (I’m not sure why). The train station is modern and easy to navigate, and though our tickets had assigned seats no one cared about that. It’s a 3-hour trip through the empty countryside, and then we were in Marrakech! Right away Marrakech is nicer- better cared for, and with architecture that fits well aesthetically in the desert.
We had to use a different driving app (InDrive) in Marrakech and found our apartment was right across from the YSL Museum.
Day 5: We spent the morning working, and then did an excursion to the desert. We met up with our tour operator at the medina, and he drove us an hour into the desert where we stopped at one section to have tea and enjoy the views. After 45 minutes we drove further into the desert to another viewpoint. Here we had more tea, watched the sunset, and had a quick bonfire and some live Moroccan music before having dinner. After dinner, we had some more live music and then drove back to the medina. Although it was 10 PM the medina was busy and packed with people. We decided to walk through it and get some ice cream before going home.
Day 6: We went to The Jardin Majorelle and the Pierre Bergé Museum of Berber Arts attached to the YSL Museum across from us. Neither of us care much about fashion, so we didn’t buy tickets to the YSL museum, but instead bought tickets for the attached gardens and the Berber Museum inside the gardens. It was so much busier than we expected and smaller than anticipated. Honestly, I’d say this was overrated, and for the price, I’d recommend just skipping it- The entrance was $20/person. There’s so much more you can do in Morocco. We did enjoy brunch at a cafe near the museum before leaving the area. We went to the Saadian tombs in the afternoon, which boast some magnificent wood carvings and tilework. It’s a 70DH entrance fee. We tried to go to the Badi Palace as it’s nearby, but it was closed so we wandered a little bit. Unfortunately, it’s not very fun wandering through the medina if you’re not in a shopping section, as men will continuously try to ‘offer’ directional help. It’s a common scam, they offer to show you out of the medina, get you lost, then they demand payment to show you the way out. They’re very insistent, it’s quite annoying and makes it unbearable to just take a stroll through the medina.
Day 7: We went back to the medina, and although I’d heard it was easy to get lost, I underestimated how large it was. The Marrakech medina and souks, markets, are enormous. We explored the shops and found our way to the Heritage Museum Marrakech, which is a family’s private collection of Moroccan artifacts. It’s 2 levels that are packed with items and information. The entrance was 50 DH/person, and we had free mint tea at the end. We then went back to the main square area and had dinner at a restaurant overlooking the square. My boyfriend had spiced tea, I had an iced coffee, and we shared a lamb tagine.
Day 8: We went to the Women’s Museum Marrakech, which although small was quite interesting. It explores the history and impact of women in Morocco and highlights about 30 different women. There’s a café on the terrace, but we instead went to Bacha Coffee. It’s a fancy coffee shop originally founded in 1910, and specializes in Arabica coffee. They’re located inside the Dar el Bacha palace and have a 10 DH ($1 USD) entrance fee. Bacha was a fun and interesting experience- their vibe is glamorous, 1960s chic and they have hundreds of varieties and blends of coffee to choose from. We had afternoon coffee and cake and spent a few hours relaxing and reading their book about the history of coffee.
Day 9: I love having alone time on trips, so I booked myself a spa treatment at Les Deux Tours, a fancy resort. I had a 45-minute Hammam, which is similar to a Turkish bath. The attendant lady rinsed me in hot water, a quick scrub, and then I sat in the sauna for 10 minutes, before a very thorough scrub, a different black gel scrub, more sauna time, and a cool rinse. Honestly, I did it mostly because I then had access to the resort’s pool and spent all afternoon relaxing at the pool in an olive grove. My boyfriend went on an all-day excursion to Ouzoud Waterfalls. It was a 3-hour drive from the city, where they had lunch, hiked up to a waterfall, saw small monkeys roaming around, and rode a boat around the falls.
Day 10: We headed to Essaouira. This was a last-minute change to our plans- I missed the beach, and we were both a bit over being in busy cities. We took a 3-hour bus to this small seaside town and easily found our hotel inside the medina. However it was quite musty and didn’t smell good, so I booked us in at Essaouira Beach Hostel for the night, where we had dinner and enjoyed some live music. They also have a nice rooftop terrace where you can enjoy the sunset.
Day 11: We checked in at a new Airbnb and enjoyed Essaouira. It’s a small town on the coast but still gets a fair amount of tourists. Surfing is a must, though you’ll need a wetsuit. We had lunch on the beach at Le Panoramique Essaouira, where we watched camels relax on the beach, and surfers try to catch waves. There were a couple of people trying to sell wares, but overall it was a relaxed atmosphere. We had really good burgers at Munchies for dinner.
Day 12-14: We relaxed around Essaouira. The beach is sandy and great for long walks. The medina is small, easy to traverse, and the salespeople aren’t pushy. We also visited Noqta Coworking Space to get some work done and enjoy breakfast.
Would you recommend this trip to a friend?
What was the highlight of your trip?
We used the public bus once in Casablanca, and as soon as we got on everyone was so excited to see us and nice. It was strange and hilarious, but heartwarming, and when I realized the bus was going away from where we needed they immediately stopped (in the middle of the road) to let us out and directed us to our destination.
I enjoyed seeing the souks and markets.
I loved the Hammam and relaxing by the pool for the day
The food was overall quite tasty, and I loved going out for breakfast- most places have deals where you get coffee, juice, and a breakfast selection quite cheaply- between 40 – 60 DH ($4-6 USD)
If you were to take this trip again, is there anything you would add or do differently?
Do not use a cab. They are terrible and will charge you at least 2-3x more than a driving app.
Definitely get a sim card so you can use your phone and use the various driver apps- you’ll save stress and money overall.
Be firm in saying no to scammers and shopkeepers- they can be very aggressive and insistent, just stay calm, keep walking, and say no. This was the most frustrating aspect- it felt like we couldn’t go anywhere or relax in Marrakech without taxis constantly honking and stopping to shout at us or someone trying to sell us something.
There are lots of stray cats. So many.
Our desert dinner trip was nice, but the host/experience was mediocre so I would do it again but research more.
We didn’t realize the Sahara desert is further south, so we will be back to visit it again in the future and plan that out for a proper desert trip.
Travel itineraries are an essential part of MyPinerary. By sharing the details of your own travel experiences you are helping other travelers plan their perfect trip. Become part of the MyPinerary community by submitting your travel itineraries.