The Daily Decaf

taking a break from the buzz

Tag: 10-Day Guides

10-Days in Morocco; Travel Itinerary

From bustling markets of Marrakech and Fez, the peaceful blue city of Chefchaouen, to the costal town of Essaouira, there’s plenty to see during a 10 day backpacking trip across Morocco.

Dried Fruit and Nut Souk; Marrakech, Morocco

A vendor packages dried fruits and nuts at a local souk in Marrakech

What to expect from this itinerary: You’ll spend a few days on a crash-course-welcome to Morocco by visiting the busy streets and aggressive street vendors of Marrakech.  After a quick trip to the western shore, you’ll head out on a multi-day backpacking trek across the Sahara Desert on camelback to get you to the old medieval capital of Fez (Fes). From there you’ll visit the beautiful blue town of Chefchaouen before heading home (or to your next destination).

What You Need To Know

Currency: 1 USD = 10 MAD

Accommodation: 70-100 MAD for dorms and 120-350 MAD for privates in major cities. Prices range quite a bit depending on what city or town you’re in.

Food: 35 MAD tangine (a local staple made up of meat, veggies, and rice). Sit-down restaurants will charge 100 MAD for a meal.

Transportation: You have several options to get you around the country: buses (CTM), trains (ONCF), or “Grand Taxis” (where you pay by the seat) can get you around easily.

Etiquette: Tipping is common (and often required for public bathrooms), so carry small change; 5 MAD is usually acceptable in most situations. Dress conservatively: women should keep their legs, arms, and shoulders covered. If offered mint tea, be polite and accept the offer of hospitality.

What to do: Haggle hard in the local markets, visit the local hammam (bathhouse) for a spa treatment, travel the desert between towns via camelback.  See the Jemaa el-Fna of Marrakesh, camp in the Sahara, see the blue city of Chefchaouen, hike the High Atlas Mountains, surf in Taghazoute, and explore local history everywhere you go.

When to visit: Late March through May, or early fall.

Days 1 thru 2: Marrakech

Feel the bustle of one of the country’s best markets as you explore western Morocco. Upon arrival—and really for the duration of your stay—expect to get completely lost time and time again. Streets are not well labeled, you won’t see signs pointing you the right way, and the alleyways twist and turn, getting you utterly turned around. As a result, you’ll find many eager locals willing to offer you their service to guide you for a small fee. Be aware some of these are faux guides who will lead you to businesses that have already paid them off.


Markets of Morocco at Sunset

Jemaa el-Fnaa, Marrakech

  • Getting there: Fly into Marrakech airport and grab a taxi to the medina. If traveling by train to the area, hitch a taxi from the station to the square.
  • Where to stayRiad Argan. Email the hotel in advance to notify you of arrival and they can make arrangements to have you picked-up from the airport and escorted to the riad.
  • Where to eat/drink: Hands-down the best place to eat is in the food stalls that will fill the Jemaa el-Fnaa at sundown. There will be more food stalls than you can try in your trip, and for the most part, you can do no wrong. During the day, check Cafe Arrabe.
  • What to do: Walk through the Jemaa el-Fnaa and local markets in the Medina . Enjoy street food and take a day trip to the High Atlas Mountains. Take a local cooking class. If you have time, take a multi-day Sahara tour (min: 3 days / 2 nights) and travel via camelback to Fez, staying in local villages along the route.
  • What to do: Explore the city streets and take plenty of pictures, travel to the well-known nearby waterfall, climb the mountains.

Day 3: Essaouira

Spend a day on the Moroccan coast in the small town of Essaouira and watch the sunset over the sea. Fans of “Game of Thrones” might also recognize the town from the TV series.

  • Getting there: Have your hotel book transport for you the day before, and either take a 3hr bus-ride (CTM) from Marrakech for 75 MAD or grab a grand taxi for 100-150 MAD/per person. From the bus station, grab a 15 MAD taxi into the medina.
  • Where to stay: Riad Malaika for 700 MAD or Riad Al Zahia for 500 MAD.
  • Where to eat/drink: As anywhere in Morocco, stick to the street stalls and try the soups,, sardines, tanjines, and fish.
  • What to do: Explore the town and hear some local music. Skip tanning and swimming in the strong winds and instead go kitesurfing.

Days 4 thru 6: Sahara Tour

It’s time to begin the trek to Fez, but rather than hop a bus, we’ll head to the desert and spend three days traveling by camel, giving you the opportunity to really get to know the landscape.  Along the way you’ll stop at local villages, head over the beautiful Atlas Mountains, have plenty of amazing picture opportunities, and spend each night camping in the desert.  You’ll be sore by the end of it, but it’ll be an experience you won’t soon forget.

  • Getting there: Take the 3hr bus-ride back to Marrakech for 75 MAD or grab a shared Grand Taxi for roughly 150 MAD/per. Ask your hotel to book the ride for you and have them book the multi-day Sahara tour for you as well. You have a couple options on the length of trip, but we allocated here for the minimum (3 days/ 2 nights)
  • Where to stay: Expect to camp each night in the desert. It will get very cool at night, so dress appropriately and have something warm for your feet.
  • Where to eat/drink: Your guides will take care of food and water for you on your stay, so there’s nothing to worry about.
  • What to do: Explore villages, take pictures, get to know your other travelers, and reflect.

Days 7: Fez

Explore the medieval capital of Morocco and one of the most well-preserved cities in the Arab world. Walk through the car-free Fes el-Bali and dodge mules and handcarts along the way.  While it’s an amazing city to explore, Fez (or Fes) will feel a bit reminiscent of Marrakech, so with limited time, just spend a night here before moving on to your next stop.

  • Getting there: If you followed our itinerary, you would have arrived by camelback, but in the event you strayed, you have a few options to get to Fez. Trains run multiple times a day from Marrakech and take about 7 hours for 200-300 MAD. Alternatively, you can hop a shared grand taxi for approx. 150 MAD/seat or grab a CTM bus for a 5hr drive.
  • Where to stay: Ryad Alya for 600 MAD.
  • Where to eat/drink: Explore the streets and eat at the local street stalls.
  • What to do: Get lost in the medina, see the 14th century college Bou Inania madersa, visit the Merenid Tombs, visit the tanneries.

Day 8 thru 9: Chefchaouen

Travel to the northeastern side of Morocco to the beautiful mountain town of Chefchaouen and explore the gorgeous blue streets of the medina with a view of the Rif Mountains in the distance. Be aware that drugs (particularly marijuana) are popular in this town, and you’ll likely get approach quite often on your trip by sellers.

  • Getting there: Catch the CTM bus (80 MAD) or grab a shared Grand Taxi. Plan for a 4hr travel time. From the bus station (gare routiere) grab a 10 MAD ride in a petit taxi to the medina.
  • Where to stay: Hotel Alkhalifa for 500 MAD if you’re up for stay a short walk from the city on a beautiful hillside, or Riad Assilah Chefchaouen for 600 MAD right in town.
  • Where to eat/drink: Get seafood tagine at Granada or Chez Faud, pastries at Pastry Ladies, or shop at one of the many food vendors you’ll see along the streets.
  • What to do: Explore the city streets and take plenty of pictures, travel to the popular waterfall on the east (Ras el Maa), explore the ruins of the Jemaa Bouzafar, and hike through the Rif Mountains or up the Jebel al-Kalaa.

Day 10: Getting Home

While most people you talk to will not recommend Tangier as a travel destination (it’s town now overwhelmed with tourists, businesses, and feeling wholly unauthentic), it’s the closest place to fly-out of (unless you want to bus back to Marrakech), so plan for just a quick trip to catch your flight out.

  • Getting there: Catch one of the multiple daily buses for 30-50 MAD to Tangier, 3hrs away, or grab a Grand Taxi for 100 MAD/per.

Anything we forget? Ideas of other places to check-out? Things not to miss? Leave it in the comments!


Sleep in a riad: Traditional Moroccan house built around a garden.

Barter: Everything is negotiable. In popular tourist markets, start negotiating at 1/3 of the quoted price. Agree on a taxi fare before you get in. Be aware of faux guides trying to offer to take you somewhere, as they’ll likely just take your money and lead you to a friend’s business.

Speak the language: Learn a few phrases and earn some respect:

  • Hello: as-salam ‘alaykum
  • Thank you: shukran
  • I don’t understand: la afham

Beware of pickpocketing: Do not walk alone at night and be careful to keep anything of value very close to you. Small children are just as likely to be pickpockets as anyone else. Be aware as well of a common trick in smaller towns where locals will try to befriend you over a day or so before stealing from you.

Eat from street stalls: Street stalls are everywhere and offer the best food for little price.

Back to Top

10 Days in Andalucia, Travel Itinerary

Touring Andalucia (Andalusia), you’ll immediately notice the Moorish influence that is rich in this southern region of Spain. But wonderful architecture isn’t the only thing to see: there’s some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, romantic cities to wander, remote “white village” towns dotting the mountainside to kick-back in, and plenty of culture all along the way.

Court of the Lions; Alhambra, Granada, Spain

Court of the Lions; Alhambra, Granada, Spain

What to expect from this itinerary: We’ll bounce you around several of our favorite cities in Andalucia over the course of this trip, so expect a bit of traveling, but short enough trips that you can still enjoy each day in full.  We’ll try to keep the budget cheap, so you’ll stay in a mix of budget hostels as well as some nice accommodation thrown in here or there to keep you feeling fresh. Expect a little road trip, a little hiking, and plenty of history, walking, and wine!

The Basics

Money/Currency: 1 USD = 0.92 EUR

Where to stay: Hostels 15-30 EUR for dorms and 40 EUR for private.

Transportation: Fly via Madrid, Sevilla (Seville), or Malaga. Trains (RENFE) can get you all around the country quickly (though slightly price). Buses are common and car rentals are reasonably priced.

When to visit: Visit anytime April through June or September through October for the most reliable weather. July and August are unbearably hot in the cities, and also extremely crowded with foreign travelers.

Travel Itinerary

Day 1: Malaga

We’ll start the trip with a night in Malaga, one of the largest cities in southern Spain. Best known as the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, you’ll find art museums (surprise, surprise…), beaches, shopping, and delicious food.

  • Getting there: Fly directly into Malaga’s airport, or travel via train (2.5hr trip via high-speed RENFE) to the main transportation terminal (Maria Zambrano) and grab a cab (6-8 EUR) to your hostel. Busses are also available via Movelia or Alsa. Malaga is a transportation hub in the south, so getting there (or elsewhere) is very easy from Malaga.
  • Where to Stay: Hostel La Palma (from 20 EUR) for basic private rooms and shared bathrooms in a perfect location with balcony views. If you’re looking to be even more budget-friendly, check Oasis Backpackers Hostel (from 10 EUR) which is also in a great location with a rooftop balcony.
  • Where to Eat: Explore the one of them many chiringuitos along the beach (such as El Tintero, where there is no menu—waitresses announce what they’re carrying and you can claim any dish they carry) and have paella, fish, and sangria. Stop in the oldest tavern in Malaga, Antigua Casa de Guardia. On your stay, try espetos (sardines on a stick) or pescaito frito (deep-fried seafood).
  • What to Do: Visit the Moorish hill castle of Alcazaba (2 EUR / free Sunday afternoons) or Castillo de Gibralfaro (2 EUR / free Sunday afternoons) and enjoy the best view of the city. Embrace the city of Picasso and tour the Museo Picasso Malaga (8 EUR) to see some of his work or travel to his birthplace. Take advantage of your proximity to the coast and trek to some of Andalucia’s best beaches at Costa del Sol. Walk Calle Marqués de Larios after dark and take in the beauty of the pedestrian shopping street before ducking into one of the many alleyway restaurants for a glass of Mosto wine.

Day 2-4: Granada

Travel east to the beautiful and sprawling city of Granada. Explore the mesmerizing Alhambra overlooking the city, hike or ski in the nearby Sierra Nevada, wander the storied Albaicin district, or take advantage of a lively bar-scene driven by the local universities.  Like most places on this trip, the city is best seen by foot, so grab a local map and set-off exploring.

  • Getting there: Grab a bus from Malaga’s bus station (a 20 minute walk if you stayed at our previously recommended spots in town centre) and enjoy a scenic 2hr drive through the mountains. When you arrive, grab a 6-10 EUR cab ride to your hostel. You can also get here by flying into the small local airport, by trains (from Madrid, Cordoba, Barcelona, Valencia, and Linares-Baeza).
  • Where to StayEl Granado hostel.
  • What to Do: See the Moorish architecture of Alhambra (see our Tips section at the bottom of this page). Go for a sunset walk up Carrera del Darro, Cuesta del Chapiz, stop for one of the best views of the city at Mirador San Nicolas, and then wander back down through El Albaicin district (which is best to get out of before dark). Take a ride to the Sierra Nevada for a hike or horseback ride. Enjoy the Andalucia’s most famous performance art of Flamenco, which dates back over 3,000 years. Tour La Catedral de Granada or Capilla Real).

Day 5-6: Ronda

Retreat from the cities packed with tourists and head to Ronda, a beautiful town set atop a deep gorge north of Malaga and slightly off the beaten-track. Spend the days hiking in the nearby mountains, shopping in the winding streets, or just relaxing in the remote white villages in the mountains along the horizon of the city.

  • Getting there: Enjoy a little road-tripping and rent a car from your previous destination and drive here. If that’s not desirable, you can easily catch a bus several times a day from Malaga (9 EUR) or get there from regional trains from Madrid and Costa del Sol. The train station is a short walk to the bus station. Once in town, you can best get around by foot, and you’ll find plenty of shops, restaurants, and sight-seeing if you stay near the gorge’s bridge in town.
  • Where to Stay: Be adventurous and stay with locals in one of the remote white villages in the mountains a 20-minute ride from town. You won’t find many English speakers, but you’ll find a nice retreat from the bustle of cities and tourists, and can spend your days relaxing or hiking in the surrounding mountains.If staying in town, check Budget: Hotel RondaSol (20 EUR for a private room). Midrange: Hotel Enfrente Arte Ronda (80 EUR). Luxurious: Hotel Acinipo.
  • What to Do: Walk across the Puente Nuevo (New Bridge) and do the short 10-min hike down into El Tajo (the gorge) for your best view of the city from down below. Shop in the Calle Espinel (Calle la Bola), the main shopping area. Get a permit and hike La Garganta Verde. If you’ve got some time to kill, tour the slightly underwhelming Plaza de Toros, the oldest bull ring in Spain for 6 EUR. Wander the twisting streets of La Ciudad, the oldest district in Ronda. Drive a couple hours to the beautiful mountain top town of Zahara la Sierra and eat on the narrow streets with a breath-taking overlook of the valley.

Day 7-9: Sevilla (Seville)

Spend the last nights of your trip in the capital of Andalucia, and Spain’s 4th largest city.

  • Getting there: If you’re following our itinerary, you will get here by a rental car, and immediately drop off the car once you get to town. Otherwise you can get here by air (fly into Sevilla International Airport, about 20 minutes from town or La Parra Internation Airport for budget airlines), by bus (5-20 EUR depending on where you’re coming from in Andalucia), or by train (Sevilla Santa Justa Station). Once in town, transportation is easy by foot, train, bus, scooter, or bicycle (see the “Sevici” bike system, letting you rent a bicycle for cheap to get between two destinations).
  • Where to Stay: Coming soon!
  • What to Do: There’s plenty to do in Sevilla, so don’t expect to run out of options–consider getting the Sevilla Card, which grants you access to most museums and monuments in town and can be used across multiple days. Tour the Cathedral of Seville (8 EUR) and climb the La Giralda clock tower (9 EUR) for a beautiful view of the city from above. Explore the gardens and Moorish palace of the Real Alcazar (9 EUR).  Hear the Spanish art of Flamenco at one of the many storied establishments in town. Attend a bull-fight at one of the oldest bull rings in Spain (not for the squeamish as it’s a 3-hour act that concludes with the bloody killing of a bull). Walk to the sprawling pavilion of Plaza de Espana, built in 1929 and climb the Cerro de Carambolo. Eat endless amounts of delicious tapas and ice cream.

Day 10: Madrid

Spend your last day in the country’s capital before you travel home, and enjoy the lively city’s nightlife and cultural heritage.

  • Getting there: Train (RENFE into stations Chamartin or Atocha), bus (nearly a dozen international bus stations exist in the city), air (Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas Airport). Once in town, you’ll find one of the best public transportation systems in the country. Busses and subways (Metro de Madrid) are tightly connected and work with the same ticket (1.50 EUR for 5-stations, 8 EUR for a day unlimited travel), shuttles (MadShuttle, EuropeShuttle), and taxis (many don’t speak English, so write down your destination).
  • Where to Stay: Coming soon!
  • What to Do: Visit the central plaza of Puerta del Sol or the Plaza Mayor square for shopping, restaurants, street performers, and more. Tour the Museum District and see the famous fine art museum of Museo del Prado (14 EUR) or the Reina Sofia National Museum and Art Center (8 EUR) for modern art. Catch a performance of Flamenco at Corral de la Moreria or Las Tablas or Opera at the Teatro Real or see the Spanish National Orchestra at the Auditoria Nacional. Catch some football and see Real Madrid play or watch a bullfight at Las Venas, the birthplace of bull-fighting. If the timing of your trip lines up, see La Transhumancia (a massive festival where shepherds march their livestock through the streets) or the Madrid Gay Pride parade in June/July. Shop in Sol-Salamanca or Chueca and Fuencarral districs or the markets of El Rastro or Cuesta de Moyano.


Getting around: The cities we brought you to are best explored by foot, but there are plenty of options for local transport in each city. Busses will typically shuttle you around for 1 EUR, and taxis are prevalent.

Visiting Alhambra: Book your tickets in advance (print them in town at the tourist shop for Alhambra). You can’t go wrong with either the morning or afternoon tour window. Get your tickets printed (the tourist shop in town has a kiosk to do this for you) and head to relatively secret Puerta de la Justicia entrance and you’ll save an hour on entrance lines alone.

Speak the language: Learn a few phrases and earn some respect:

  • Hello: hola!
  • Please: por favor
  • Thank you: gracias
  • Good morning / Good evening: buenos días / buenos noches
  • Where is…: donde esta…
  • I don’t understand: no comprendo