The tagine is the perfect symbol of Morocco – varied in flavour, infinite in possibilities. Discover an intoxicating combination of Arabic, Berber, and European influences on this authentic food adventure. From a market breakfast in classic Casablanca, climb into the hills of the stunning Riff Mountains to gorge on goat’s cheese in Chefchaouen, picnic in the shadow of the ancient Roman ruins of Volubilis, taste your way through the medieval laneways of Fes and Marrakech and dine on a Berber specialty in the Sahara desert. From street food and small-batch producers to home-cooked dinners and hands-on cooking classes, this is memorable Morocco on a plate.
Why you'll love this trip
Start the day with a typical Casablanca market breakfast. Choose from dishes like msmen (layered, grilled bread), khlea (a type of Moroccan preserved meat), bessara soup, or a variety of other options found amongst the stalls. Breakfast must, of course, be served with mint tea, the perfect beverage to shake off the cobwebs and begin a day in Morocco. After breakfast, take a turn around the characterful Central Market, where fresh meat, fish, fruit and vegetable sellers call out their prices and local women bargain for their daily ingredients. Here you’ll discover an array of produce that makes up the building blocks of Moroccan cuisine – the grains, herbs and, of course, the spices. Continue on to the sight that dominates the city – the vast Hassan II Mosque. Opened in 1993, and second only in size to the great mosque at Mecca, the huge building is part on land and part on sea, and in one area water can be seen through a glass floor. Leave Casablanca and travel north. Stop at the seaside city of Kenitra for lunch, then stretch your legs in the delightful fishing village of Asilah. Enclosed by Portuguese fortifications, white-and-blue washed houses give the town a very Mediterranean feel. Continue on to Chefchaouen, arriving by early evening.
This morning there's time to haggle in the markets before driving through shifting scenery on the journey to Merzouga. With a backdrop of the orange-coloured Erg Chebbi sand dunes, this charming Saharan village feels wonderfully isolated, like the modern world has left it behind. Erg Chebbi’s dunes are the most stunning in the country, towering up to 150 metres in height. They’re easily an essential part of any visit to Morocco. Located at the end of a sealed road and just 20 kilometres from the Algerian border - this truly feels like frontier country. You will leave your gear at a simple auberge and then ride camels into the edge of the Sahara Desert, enjoying a spectacular sunset along the way. The dunes are stunning, especially as the evening light plays across them and sets off the colours. Tonight you will camp out in traditional style, where you will be be treated to a demonstration of medfouna (also called Berber pizza). Stay late after the dinner, enjoying lively music, drumming, Bedouin stories and dancing under the stars.
Travel to the Moroccan capital of Marrakech (approximately 6 hours), an exotic city where European modernity has meshed with ancient traditions. On the way, stop for lunch at the impressive Ait Benhaddouu. Perched on a hilltop and almost unchanged since the 11th century, Ait Benhaddou is one of Morocco's most iconic sites. Its grant kasbah is one of the most beautiful in Morocco and the fortified village is a fine example of clay architecture. If you think you recognise the place, you probably do, as the town has a long list of film and TV credits, including Lawrence of Arabia, Game of Thrones and Gladiator. Arrive in Marrakech by late afternoon. On arrival, join a passionate local foodie for a true insider's guide to the medina and a tasting tour of the incredible Djemma el Fna. Smell and see the famous spice mix, ras el hanout, prepared fresh to order; drop past a traditional wood-fired bakery and watch the smoking stalls of the Djemma el Fna night market come to life. This is one of the largest public spaces in the world and unique to Marrakech. Snake-charmers, henna-painters, performers and storytellers share the square with a street food bazaar of stalls laden with Moroccan delicacies – it’s sure to be a memorable start to your time in this city.
The old city of Fes el Bali is home to perhaps the greatest of all medinas. Descending into its labyrinthine alleyways is like stepping back to the Middle Ages. Donkeys wander the streets and the smell of spices fills the air. With a local guide, navigate narrow streets alive with craftsmen, markets, tanneries, mosques and colourful local characters. Explore the different speciality sections of the Medina that are known for specific types of food – from natural butters and fats, to pastries, to crepes and soups to dried and fresh produce. Taste your way through dried meats, milawi, harsha, briwats, spicy sardines, spicy potato cakes, soups and olives. Move on to the honey souk, where you’ll discover the importance of this liquid gold to Moroccan cooking. Get a closer insight into the culinary traditions of the city by visiting a 400-year-old communal oven and bakery. In the late afternoon, complete the gourmet day with a cooking demonstration, learning to create one of the city's signature dishes – pastilla (or b’stilla) – a salty and sweet pastry parcel.
Your gourmet expedition across Morocco comes to an end this morning.