If you are looking for a cheap trip to a country with a very particular culture, Morocco is the answer. In October 2019 I had the opportunity to travel to this country together with 2 friends. We had a low budget, so we thought Morocco would be the best option. We ended up paying a total amount of €260 each for the entire trip. Before explaining this 6 day Northern Morocco itinerary, here you have a map with all the information about which places to visit, as well as the accommodation we chose to stay at and the restaurants we tried and liked the most.
DAY 1: ARRIVAL IN TANGIER AND VISIT TO ASILAH
One of the benefits of flying at dawn, is that you can take advantage of the rest of the day. In our case, we landed at 8:10AM in Tangier from Valencia, so we had enough time to visit the coastal town of Asilah, one of the most beautiful ones of this Northern Morocco itinerary, and part of Tangier.
WHAT A NICE TOWN! Besides being gorgeous, it is not touristy at all. At least when we visited it, we were the only tourists there. In fact, I had never heard of this town before. It was when I started looking for information about the trip that I discovered it.
It is located about 30 minutes by train from Tangier. Although we must consider that the stop in Asilah is a bit far away from the town, about 10 minutes walk or so. Moreover, in case you do not get to the train station at the time you wanted, do not worry because trains heading to Asilah depart frequently. Related to the price, a single ticket in 2nd class (good conditions) costs around € 2.
The end of the walk from Asilah’s train stop to the center of the town, is through a way that borders the Atlantic Ocean and brings you to the entrance of the Kasbah.
For those who do not know about it, the KASBAH is a fortified space that served as protection. It is usually the oldest part of the town / city, full of narrow streets and old buildings inside. It is also where most tourist sites are usually concentrated.
Asilah is seen in the blink of an eye. We were not more than 4 hours in total, even considering the time it took us to have lunch. A short visit, but still beautiful. These are the places that I consider worth visiting:
Packed with narrow streets of white houses and with the occasional blue and/or greenish touch. In addition, it is not surprising to find artistic graffiti on the walls and pieces of art in its streets.
Specifically, the port seen from the part of the Medina. There is a very nice street where you can see the port and the Atlantic see on one site, and the old white buildings of the Medina with beautiful and artistic doors on the other.
LOCAL MARKET (SOUK CENTRAL)
I wouldn’t say that it is nice but on the other hand, it really is a curious place to visit. It is there and along the street that takes to it, where the authenticity of the town can be discovered, since it is where the inhabitants of Asilah lead their normal life.
This town is one of those places that catches you. From what we saw and also got informed, Asilah is an ideal place where to surf. So, if you want to try out this cool sport, or you already practice it, here you have a great destination where to go!
We arrived back in Tangier in the afternoon. From the train station and along the beach, we headed towards the old part of the city, where the hostel we were staying was (Tanja Lucia Hostel). As it got dark quite soon, we could enjoy the sunset at around 6PM from the beach, which was full of local people walking with friends, family or alone.
At night, after having a delicious couscous in the Ahlen Medina restaurant, we walked through the Grand Socco, which was plenty of people trying to sell many different kinds of products. It was a good moment to talk and connect with locals before going to sleep.
DAY 2: DISCOVERING TANGER AND TETOUAN
The alarm rang very early in the morning. Before visiting the rest of Tangier, we took a taxi (€ 10 round trip in total) to the caves of Hercules. It is a tourist site located about 30 minutes from city center and whose interior has an opening with the inverse form of Africa that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean.
Once back, as the taxi driver left us at the Grand Socco, an area plenty of shops and stalls located just in the center of Tangier, we set off to visit the rest of the sites we hadn’t visited yet:
VIEWS FROM THE TOP TERRACE OF THE GRAND HÔTEL VILLA DE FRANCE
I don’t know if anyone can access the interior of this hotel without being a client, but when my friends and I entered to go up to their terrace, nobody cut us off. These are the views that can be enjoyed from the outside of its last floor:
KASBAH OF TANGIER
You can access it by Bab Kasbah, one of its main entrances. Once inside it, you can start enjoying its charming corners by getting lost through its narrow streets. When you least expect it, you’ll be back near the Grand Socco.
Just after lunch, we said goodbye to Tangier and headed to Tetouan by bus (the journey lasted 1 hour and the ticket cost €1,5). As soon as we arrived in the next town of this itinerary around Northern Morocco and checked in at the hostel, we began to walk through the streets of the old part of the city, inside the Kasbah. They were full of local people, shops and white houses with greenish touches:
In addition to wandering around, we visited the Royal Palace square, as well as Feddan Park, two places that I consider essential to see when visiting this city in northern Morocco.
Once we were done, we went back to the Darna hostel, which was undoubtedly the best part of our visit to Tetouan: its decoration was very nice, everything was clean, the staff was very friendly and helpful, it was cheap, beds were comfortable, it was well located and the best, its beautiful terrace with views.
DAY 3: FROM WHITE TETUAN TO BLUE CHEFCHAUEN
This is the part of this itinerary around Northern Morocco that we were more excited about. During breakfast we met, among other travelers, two lovely girls who were also heading to Chefchaouen. So we decided to take a taxi together in order to go to The Blue Pearl.
Regarding transport, there are two options:
Bus: a single ticket costs €1.5 and it leaves according to a predetermined schedule.
- Taxi: a full taxi (with a capacity of 6 people) costs €21. It means that if filled, each person pays €3,5. You have to wait until it is full, or if you are less than 6 people and you want to leave, you have to pay the place or places that are not covered.
When we arrived in Chefchaouen, the first thing we did was asking at the nearest hostel, if they could store our luggage for the time we were visiting the city. It was a bit cheeky from us but they were very friendly and didn’t put us down.
Next, we went directly to the Medina of Chefchaouen, because of which this city is called The Blue Pearl. Looking at these photos you can immediately understand why:
BEAUTIFUL, right? Despite its numerous tourists, Chefchaouen does not lose its beauty. That is why it could not be missed in this Northern Morocco itinerary. My best recommendations to enjoy it to the fullest:
- Wander: Get lost in its labyrinthine streets, discover its magical corners and connect with locals.
Go up to the mosque (take a look at its location on the map above), from where you have gorgeous views of the entire city.
Eat at Restaurant Aladin, where in addition to having delicious typical food, you can enjoy it admiring a beautiful view to the city.
Moreover, I also recommend you take a look at the many hiking routes that you can make in the beautiful surroundings of Chefchaouen. Although there are many, the ones that are famous for being the most spectacular are those that take you through the Talassemtane National Park, specifically the Akchour Waterfalls Hike and the God’s Bridge Hike. If we had known about these hikes before organizing the trip, I am sure we would have included one of them in this Northern Morocco itinerary.
In the afternoon, when we had just seen everything we had in mind, we headed to the bus station to take one in the direction to Fez. From there, many buses depart to various destinations. Specifically, the one that goes to Fez, leaves at 4 different times throughout the day. We took the last one, which leaves at 6PM.
DAY 4: EXPLORING FEZ
Or better said: “Exploring the Medina of Fez”, since it is in the oldest part of the city where most of the tourist sites are concentrated.
We knew that Fez was a city that gave a lot of itself, so we woke up very early in the morning to take advantage of the day and see the more places, the better.
The city is full of madrasas, that’s how Arab schools, both religious and non-religious, are called. The interior decoration of most of them is worth seeing. For me, the most beautiful and essential ones to visit are: Bou Inania, Cherratine and Al Attarine. In addition to madrasas, the city also has several tanneries, since one of the main businesses of its inhabitants is the leather. We saw Sidi Moussa’s, but there are a couple more, as you can see on the previous map.
Definitely, if I had to choose my favorite place in Fez, it would be the viewpoint over the Marinid tombs. WHAT A VIEW! From there, the entire city can be seen and although the climb to it is a bit hard, it is totally worth it.
In the beginning, when we planned our itinerary around Northern Morocco, we decided to spend 2 full days in Fez, but at night, we walked through the streets of the Medina and had a bad experience with two young boys who, in short, did not let us go until we gave them a certain amount of money. Fortunately, we didn’t have much cash with us, so they couldn’t take away almost anything, but the situation was so unpleasant that we decided to leave the next day.
DO NOT go through the streets of the Medina at night. The only thing that can happen is to undergo an unpleasant situation, in which you can only lose out.
This detail is important to keep in mind, because if you like to see the sites calmly and / or deeply, the best option is to stay a day and a half or even two days in Fez. In case you are quick visiting everything, if you get up early, you can see the most important sites in just one day. In our case, in addition to having this bad experience, the other reason why we decided to leave earlier than planned was because we had already seen almost everything we wanted.
Whether you stay one or two days, I highly recommend doing a Free Walking Tour, in which the main tourist attractions are shown and a brief explanation of each of them is made. Although it is supposed to be free, most of the people gives a small amount of money as a tip at the end of the tour.
Regarding the food, it was very difficult to find a good value restaurant / food local. Actually, we just found one where local food was offered at a good price. If you want to read more about it, click on the following link:
Related to accommodation, we stayed in a very cheap hostel (€8 per person per night, including breakfast) called Amir Hostel, which I totally recommend in case of having a low budget.
DAY 5: MEKNES Y MOULAY IDRISS
One of the best bus company in Morocco is called CTM. From Fez, many buses of this company leave for many places in Morocco, one of them is Meknes, where we headed next in our itinerary around Northern Morocco.
Very close to that city, there is another one called Moulay Idriss, whose visit is highly recommended, since it is a place with a great religious significance for many Muslims.
Moulay Idriss is baptized as a Holy City. Every year, by the month of August, a large number of Muslim pilgrims arrive in this land to celebrate the Moussem.
The first impression we had from the city was the one of authenticity. There was not a single tourist. We entered the main square until we reached the Sido Abdellah el Hajjam mosque, which we could only see from the outside. Next, we went up through several narrow streets until we arrived at the best part of the city, the “Grand Terrace”, from which you get such a beautiful view of the entire city.
On the way back to the main square, we “got lost” in the streets of the Holy City with the main intention of discovering the daily life of its inhabitants. By surprise, we found this artisan bakery, where many types of Moroccan breads were made by hand and with 100% natural products.
Once we had already seen all the main sites of Moulay Idriss, we waited a few minutes for the public bus to return to Meknes. The ticket cost 70 cents, the journey lasted an hour (plus everything we expected) and although you couldn’t almost breath, we were lucky enough to take some seats and enjoy the views offered by the road.
If there is something that makes Meknes original, it is the doors of its old wall. One of the most important and, from my point of view, most beautiful, is Bab Mansour. Right in front of it, one of the main squares of the city, Lahdim Square, is located. Over there, many merchants sell a big variety of products. Do not forget to bargain in case you want to buy something.
Entering the narrow streets of the interior of the Medina, there are numerous shops where besides other products, goldsmith and carpets are sold. If you are lucky, you can also enjoy the weekly market, which covers most of the main streets of the city and where local people go shopping.
Regarding accommodation, we stayed at Riad Yanis. In addition to being very cheap, the rooms were very spacious and the breakfast they served was plentiful. It was certainly a good choice.
DAY 6: DISCOVERING RABAT AND BACK TO THE AIRPORT
From Meknes you can get to Rabat by train. The ticket in 2nd class costs between € 6 and € 8, and the journey takes approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes.
Visiting the capital of Morocco was a last minute decision and that it was such a wise choice. Rabat is very different. It is a much more modern and developed city than the rest of the once we had visited in the country. We had this feeling from the first moment, when we left the bus station, to Mohammed V avenue.
Rabat can be perfectly seen in half a day. Moreover, it is possible to move between all its tourist sites on foot. This allows you to enjoy other areas of the city, that in case of taking a taxi or public transport, could not be discovered. After our passage through the coastal city, these are the places that I consider essential to be visited:
Mausoleum of Mohammed V: it is a beautiful building made out of white marble and green tiles, where King Mohammed V is buried, along with his two sons. In addition to the exterior, the interior is also worth seeing, decorated in the gorgeous classic Arab-Andalusian style.
- Hassan Tower: in the same esplanade as the mausoleum, the minaret of the mosque that bears its name is found. An old sultan had planned to build the second largest mosque in the world in this place, but due to his unexpected death, everything remained as a project.
- Andalusian Gardens: they are not the most spectacular gardens I have ever seen, but in my opinion, it is the most beautiful access to the Kasbah des Oudayas.
- Kasbah des Oudayas: it is like a charming town in the interior of Rabat, full of white houses with an occasional blue touch. It is not very big so you will not get lost through it for sure, you will always find your way out. That’s why my recommendation is to explore and enjoy its streets without taking a specific direction.
- iRue des Consuls y Rue Souika: this is where most Rabat stores are concentrated. Through them, numerous merchants selling a wide variety of products can be seen. So, in case you want to make a purchase, this is the ideal place to bargain!
Although most of the places mentioned are quite touristy (but still worthy and beautiful to be visited), I would like to tell you about a secret (not any more) corner in Rabat that we discovered while we were on our way to the Kasbah, bordering the Bu Regrerg River. It is at its port, where fishermen spend a large part of the day. There are a few benches facing the river and where one can sit and soak up the tranquility of the place.
From Rue Souika you can go to the main train station, Rabat Ville, to take one to the next desired city. In this case, the 6 day Northern Morocco itinerary ends here, so, in case of not catching the return flight from Rabat, the train will go in the direction of the city from which the flight leaves. It will probably be either Tangier, Fez or Marrakech. To all these cities, there is a direct connection from Rabat, so there will be no difficulty in terms of transportation.
I hope you found this itinerary around Northern Morocco inspiring and helpful for planning your trip around this land. Do not hesitate to write any messages or doubts in comments and/or directly to firstname.lastname@example.org . I will be so happy to read them and be of any help to you. Greetings dear travelers!