Morocco One Week Itinerary: Marrakesh, Atlas Mountains & Sahara

Sahara Desert Tour

This is a suggested travel itinerary for Morocco that includes Marrakesh, Imlil Valley and Sahara Desert tour.

Why Travel To Morocco

  • Stunning landscapes
  • Ancient historical cities
  • Exquisite architecture
  • Sahara Desert adventures
  • Colorful markets
  • Delicious cuisine

Morocco Itinerary Map

Morocco Itinerary Map
A:Marrakesh  B:Imlil  D:Aït Benhaddou  E:Todgha Gorges  F:Erg Chebbi 

Morocco Travel Itinerary

  • Day 1: Arrive in Marrakesh
  • Day 2: Explore Marrakesh
  • Day 3: Day trip to Imlil Valley
  • Day 4: Explore Marrakesh
  • Day 5-7: Sahara Desert tour
  • Day 8: Depart from Marrakesh

If you've got a day or two more then consider also visiting the coastal town Essaouira, which is about three hour drive from Marrakesh.

Best Time To Visit Morocco

The best time to visit Morocco is during the shoulder season March-May or September-November, when the weather is pleasant and there are fewer tourists.


Morocco Itinerary Top Experiences

  • Exotic and fascinating souks of Marrakesh
  • Impressive Moroccan architecture and design
  • Spectacular Sahara Desert
  • Magnificent Todgha Gorges
  • Delicious Moroccan mint tea & Tagine
  • Staying in traditional Moroccan riad (boutique hotel)

Day 1: Arrive In Marrakesh

After flying into Marrakesh, take is easy and relax in your lovely riad with some delicious Moroccan mint tea. If you had a long journey then try to recover from jetlag so that you're ready for exploration the next day. Marrakesh is the fourth largest city and one of the imperial cities of Morocco. It is located near the foothills of the Atlas mountains. It also provides access to your Sahara Desert adventures.

Medina is one of the best areas to stay in Marrakesh as a first time visitor. Some of the city’s most popular historic attractions are located here. The neighborhood if full of restaurants, cafes, riads and souks (markets). 


Day 2: Explore Marrakesh

  • Start your day visiting the fascinating Saadian Tombs. The complex was built around 16th century and is considered one of the finest Moroccan architecture. It is a resting place for many members of the Saadian Dynasty. After the tombs, visit the beautifully decorated Bahia Palace built in 19the century.
  • After a nice lunch visit Dar Si Said Museum. Housed in a 19th century building, the museum showcases extensive collection of Moroccan carpets, weavings, ceramics, etc. from all corners of the country. 
  • After visiting the museum walk to the Koutoubia Mosque to appreciate Moroccan mosque architecture. The 12th century mosque is built from red sandstone and has a minaret tower that stands 77 meters tall.
  • End you afternoon enjoying a nice drink at La Moumunia Hotel, which is very close to the Koutoubia Mosque. The hotel is considered one of the top hotels in the world. Don't miss to check out the fabulous gardens at the property.
  • Spend your evening at the atmospheric Jemaa el-Fnaa which is Marrakesh’s main square. At dusk the morning shopping stalls at Jemma el-Fnaa disappear to give room to food stands. Try delicious Moroccan Tagine for dinner at the square. At the square also enjoy Moroccan musicians playing traditional music and various other live shows.

Saadian Tombs (Marrakesh)
Saadian Tombs (Marrakesh)
(Above Image by C messier, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)

Bahia Palace (Marrakesh)
Bahia Palace (Marrakesh)
(Above image by Val Traveler, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)

Dar Si Said Museum (Marrakesh)
Dar Si Said Museum (Marrakesh)
(Above image by Robert Prazeres - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,
Koutoubia Mosque (Marrakesh)
Koutoubia Mosque (Marrakesh)
Garden at La Moumunia Hotel (Marrakesh)
Garden at La Moumunia Hotel (Marrakesh)

Jemaa el-Fnaa Square (Marrakesh)
Jemaa el-Fnaa Square (Marrakesh)

Day 3: Day Trip to Imlil Valley

Sign up for a small-group guided day trip of the Imlil Valley from Marrakesh. Register for this tour few days in advance.

Imlil is a small village in the High Atlas Mountains 1,800 meters above sea level. Imlil is very close to the Toubkal mountains which the highest peak in Northern Africa. The trip will make you appreciate Morocco’s impressive scenery and you'll also get a glimpse of local Berber life.

Below is the summary of my day trip to the Imlil Valley (please keep in mind that different tour operators might have a slightly different itinerary for Imlil Valley day tour):

  • We started from Marrakesh with a nice scenic drive to the Imlil village. Then we hiked from Imlil village to Aroumd. The hike was spectacular overlooking mountain range and river. After the hike we stopped in Aroumd for a delicious Moroccan mint tea while enjoying stunning views of the Toubkal mountains. We continued the hike till we reached the lovely waterfalls. From the waterfalls we hiked to Kasbah du Toubkal, which is beautiful property in a stunning setting. Final stop was at the Toubkal hotel where we had delicious meal.

High Atlas Mountains
High Atlas Mountains

Armoud Berber Village
Armoud Berber Village


Day 4: Explore Marrakesh

  • Start your day visiting the lovely Jardin Majorelle which is a two-acre property with a botanical garden and artists' landscaped garden. The garden has a fantastic collection of cactus. It also houses Berber Museum exhibiting interesting objects of Amazigh (Berber) culture.
  • Then visit Ben Youssef Madrasa which is an Islamic madrasa (college) commissioned in the 16th century. At one point Ben Youssef Madrasa was the largest Islamic college in the western Africa. Enjoy and appreciated one of the best examples of Moroccan architecture and designs. The calligraphy along the walls is spectacular and the student cells are very interesting.
  • After a nice lunch visit Marrakesh Museum which is housed in a historic palace. The museum collection consists of historic art objects and contemporary art from Morocco. The museum has a spectacular courtyard with impressive brass chandelier.
  • From the museum walk to the Marrakech House of Photography which is close by. The House of Photography has a collection of more than 10,000 old photographs from the period 1870 to 1950. After exploring the photography collection, go to the rooftop café of the building and enjoy lovely views of the city with a nice drink.
  • Spend you late afternoon exploring the souks (markets) for unforgettable sensory experience. At the souks you'll find wide range of items like local spices, textiles, jewelry, leather goods, etc.
  • End you evening having dinner again near the Jemaa el-Fnaa square.

Jardin Majorelle (Marrakesh)
Jardin Majorelle (Marrakesh)

Ben Youssef Madrasa (Marrakesh)
Ben Youssef Madrasa (Marrakesh)

Marrakesh Museum
Marrakesh Museum

Day 5-7: Sahara Desert Tour (3-days 2-nights) from Marrakesh

Sign up for a small-group guided 3-days 2-nights tour of the Sahara Desert from Marrakesh. Register for this tour few days in advance.

The Sahara is a desert spanning across North Africa. With an area of 9,200,000 square km, it is the largest hot desert in the world.

Below is the summary of my 3-day Sahara Desert tour from Marrakesh (please keep in mind that different tour operators might have a slightly different itinerary for Sahara Desert tour)

Day 1

  • Our 3-day desert tour from Marrakech to Sahara Desert began early after breakfast. We left Marrakech early and drove to Aït Benhaddou via the scenic Tizi N’tichka pass along the High Atlas Mountains. Quite a few stops were made along the way.
  • Aït Benhaddou is a historic fortified village along the former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakesh. It is considered a great example of Moroccan earthen clay architecture and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987. Aït Benhaddou has served as a backdrop in various Hollywood blockbusters. We walked around Aït Benhaddou and also visited a Berber house.
  • After lunch in Aït Benhaddou, our scenic journey continued. We drove past Ouarzazate and the Valley of Roses. In late afternoon we reached our hotel in the Dades Valley just before sunset. We had dinner at the hotel where we spent the night.

Aït Benhaddou
Aït Benhaddou

Day 2

  • After a nice breakfast at our accommodation in the Dades Valley, we continued our journey. We stopped at the village of Imiter. Here we walked around to see the Berber village and also saw the Berber rug making process
  • Then we drove through the road of 1000 Kasbahs to the oasis of Tinghir, where we took a small road that crosses the river to the spectacular Todgha Gorges. The Todgha Gorges are a series of limestone river canyons. The height of the canyon walls can vary, but in some places can be up to 400 meters high.
  • After lunch at a local restaurant, we continued our trip to Risani, which is famous for its dates markets. After a quick stop, we continued to Merzouga driving through a rocky desert landscape. Upon arrival at the edge of Erg Chebbi dunes, we stopped at a hotel where dropped our belongings to prepare for our overnight Sahara Desert trip. From here we rode on the camels traveling through the amazing sand dunes till we reached our Sahara Desert camp. The camping facilities were very basic.
  • After we reached our desert camp, we had delicious Moroccan dinner cooked by the local nomad hosts. It was an unforgettable experience having dinner under the stars next to a campfire. After dinner the local nomad hosts entertained us with Moroccan music. We also tried sand-surfing which was lot of fun.

Todgha Gorges
Todgha Gorges

Sahara Desert Camel Ride
Sahara Desert Camel Ride

Day 3

  • After waking up in the morning, we rode our camels back to the hotel where had dropped our belongings. The ride through the desert sand dunes with sunrise as a backdrop was breathtaking. After a quick shower and breakfast at the hotel, we drove back to Marrakesh through the Draa Valley and the High Atlas Mountains. We reached Marrakesh in evening just around dinner time.


Day 8: Depart from Marrakesh

This being your last day in Marrakesh, spend your time doing last minute shopping in the souks of Marrakesh. Then depart to your destination from Marrakesh.

Marrakesh Souk
Marrakesh Souk

What to Shop In Morocco

Morocco is known for Argan Oil, leather footwear, Berber rugs, spicesceramicstea sets, and lanterns.


Overall Morocco is safe for travel. But like anywhere else in the world, crime and scams do happen. You should exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings at all times. 

Please research online some of the most common scams in Morocco. I got scammed by a taxi driver in Marrakesh. Please always confirm the price of your taxi before you get in.

Please do let me know in the comments section below if you like this itinerary or if you've any questions/suggestions about the itinerary.

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