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Africa, Animal, Bird

🏴‍☠️ Travel Like a Pirate to Morocco: Flights from $386 & Sample 10-Day Road Trip

Morocco is the perfect choice for a road trip. Who stays in one place when there are thousands of other beautiful places to visit? Start in bustling Marrakech with a stay at a budget-friendly 5-star Riad, continue onwards to the Blue City of Chefchaouen, and spend the night under the desert stars in Merzouga—the gateway to the Sahara. Below we've compiled the perfect 10-day self-drive tour of Morocco.

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10 Days Tour of Morocco with Rental Car

Route: Marrakech - Essaouira - Ait Ben Haddou - Sahara (Merzouga) - Marrakech

This road trip is based on the experiences and words of Urlaubspiraten's editor Marc A. Find the best deals on rental cars here.

Day One: Marrakech - Essaouira

Stop One: Marrakech

You start your trip in Marrakech. Here you pick up your rental car directly at the airport. We made the experience in Morocco that time is the most important of all goods that you have to bring with you. It starts at the airport when you pick up your rental car.

Accommodation: Riad Le Jardin d'Abdou or similar

Day Two & Three: Essaouira

Your adventure through Morocco starts with the drive from Marrakech to the Atlantic - to Essaouira. The small dreamy town is beautifully situated by the sea and offers its visitors a lot.

Pirate Tips Essaouira: The medina is always the most central point of an Arabic city and usually houses the souk. In Essaouira, the medina is particularly recommended as the climate here is extremely relaxed. There aren't too many people around and you won't be rushed to buy something at every corner. Essaouira is known for its city walls. The best point is the western tip of the wall, where you can see the most beautiful sunsets.

About the trip: The trip from Marrakech is easy. You drive west on the N8 until you have to go through the town of Chichaoua. Then we continue on the "207" to Essaouira. About 20km (12 miles) before Essaouira there is a tree somewhere on the right side of the road, on which several goats are literally "hanging out". For 5 dirhams (50 cents), the goatherd will also take a picture of you.

Accommodation: Riad Perle D'Eau or similar

Day Four & Five: Ait Ben Haddou

After two days on the Atlantic and in Essaouira, we are now heading inland. The distances in Morocco are quickly underestimated and for an alleged 4-hour drive, you quickly need 6 hours. For this reason, we recommend that you leave very early for the trip to Ait Ben Haddou. The Kasbah is located behind the Atlas Mountains and is perfect for a stopover you should make on the way to the Sahara. The Kasbah looks like a movie set and it was actually used for that. Among other things, "Jesus of Nazareth" or the "Gladiator" were filmed here. From your accommodation, it is a 5-minute walk to the Kasbah. You should definitely go up the mountain to enjoy the view. The Kasbah is at its most beautiful at sunset and sunrise.

Information about the journey: From Marrakech, you take the "N9" over the Atlas Mountains. Fantastic views await you. It can get really cold up here. You should definitely stay on the main roads, even if the navigation system says otherwise. From our own experience, we can only advise you to follow this tip. Just on the way to Ait Ben Haddou. Here the GPS will tell you about 10 km (6 miles) before the main road turns left. DO NOT! You will be sent along a desert path. Use common sense here and move on. In the village of Ait Zineb, you can then drive directly to the accommodation on a paved road (1506).

Accommodation: Riad Caravane or similar

Day Six & Seven: Sahara (Merzouga)

On the drive from Aid Ben Haddou to Merzouga, you will pass the Dades Gorge. Here you should definitely drive a little bit into it. Shortly before the village of Boumalne Dades, at the roundabout, there is a junction that you have to take. Here you will find dreamy two-tone Kasbahs and rock formations like on Mars. A dream route. During the journey, you can always stop, sip a mint tea and enjoy the view and the sun.

After the Dades Gorge, you should make sure that you arrive in Merzouga before sunset. Merzouga is the town right on the sand dunes of Erg Chebbi. You are here in the middle of the Sahara, pirates!

You can also do the trip to the desert with a guided tour from/to Marrakech, which we do not recommend. Because on our way you have a completely different impression of the Sahara and don't have to follow the tour guides at every turn. With your own rental car, you can stop where you want and, above all, take the streets you want.

Accommodation: Marhaba Desert Camp or similar

Day Eight-Ten: Marrakech

After the absolute highlight of your trip, the Sahara, you will return to Marrakech. The route is long and the GPS will show you about 7 hours. But that is impossible to do. You easily need 9-10 hours for the journey. Even if you drive through the track.

Here you can decide how you want to drive, whether all at once or with another stopover. If you have the time, you can see Marrakech in 2 or 3 days, so it makes no difference. We didn't recommend an extra night in the example, because it was no problem for us to drive the route all at once.

But now to Marrakech. The rule here is: trust no one! That sounds a bit harsh at first, but you won't soon forget the sentence: "The Road is closed". You will be approached by people who want to lead you out of the maze of the medina to the large square, the Jamaa el Fna. But we can only recommend that you let yourself drift and you will find your way automatically. Marrakech Medina is one of the most fascinating places in the world and you should enjoy it to the fullest.

The perfect day in Marrakech: Don't stress, that's the motto! The city stresses you out enough, you'll quickly notice that. After being gently woken up by the muezzin, it's off to breakfast. The best are the crepes with argan honey, which you get in the morning.

After breakfast, we go to the roof terrace of your riad to sunbathe. You should be aware that it gets cold in winter. But in the sun it is beautiful.

We recommend that you do not leave the riad until around 2-3 p.m. Because that's when things really get going in the city. The spice shops, the lamp sellers, and the market criers are awake and you can really enjoy this unique city!

Accommodation: Riad Le Jardin d'Abdou or similar

Following two nights in Marrakech, you'll fly back home to the states.

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