Road trips to discover Andalusia and Morocco
Morocco, which borders the Atlantic Ocean, harmonises with the Sahara and shelters the Atlas Mountains. It awakens the adventurer hidden in each of our souls. Play modern nomad and hire a car for an unforgettable road trip. Road trips give you flexibility and autonomy that you will not find with guided tours. Follow our recommended routes for an authentic taste of the beauty of Morocco. This spot is a favourite for hikers and is perfect for all budgets. Travel through mountainous paths and seas of sand and discover the countless treasures of Morocco.
In this article, we offer two alternative routes for your road trip.
Itinerary 1 - The Imperial Road
The first route takes the path of the imperial cities of Morocco. You will follow the Atlantic coast and breathe in the opulence of Moroccan cities with exciting detours that reveal hidden treasures.
- Andalusia → Tangier
- Tangier → Chefchaouen
- Chefchaouen → stop in Ouazzane→ Fes
- Fes → stop in Meknes → Rabat
- Rabat → Casablanca
- Casablanca → Marrakech → Ouzoud Waterfalls
- Marrakech → Agadir
Andalusia → Tangier
Before crossing the Strait of Gibraltar, take a few days to immerse yourself in the vast history of Andalusia's Muslim history. Places to discover include a huge fortress, a cathedral with many faces, masterpieces of Arabic architecture and charming cafes.
The Great Mosque of Cordoba, also known as the Mezquita-Catedral de Córdoba is a must-visit as it is one of the most impressive architectural masterpieces in the city. Throughout history, it has been a Roman temple, becoming a Christian basilica, then a mosque (the largest of its kind in the world after Mecca) and finally a cathedral. This impressive monument testifies to the Muslim presence in Spain.
The city of Granada is the jewel of the region. The iconic Alhambra Castle is undoubtedly the highlight of the city and the region. The imposing eighth-century-old palace rises on a rocky hill in reddish tones. It is the only royal centre remaining of the Nasrid Dynasty, the last Islamic kingdom in Western Europe, and a great example of astonishing Moorish architecture.
In Marbella, a sunny Costa del Sol city lapped by the Mediterranean Sea, visit the Alcazaba, one of the largest Arab fortresses in Andalusia.
Also walk through the botanical La Concepcion, one of the most beautiful gardens in Spain. It is a true oasis of calm with more than 25,000 plants of 2,000 different species, fountains and waterfalls.
After a night at a halal-friendly hotel in Marbella, head straight to Algeciras to catch the ferry and change continents. We recommend the Alanda Hotel in Marbella and the Costa del Sol Hotel in Torremolinos.
The ferry connects Algeciras and Tangier in 1 hour 30 minutes. The port of Tanger-Med is located outside of the city and offers direct access to the motorways.
Your adventure begins in Tangier, a city that was a cultural melting pot and the centre of a rivalry between the Spanish, Portuguese, French, British and Americans. Its international identity and less significant reputation as a tourist attraction than that of its royal counterparts offers an observation into Moroccan heritage. The main attractions in Tangier are the Kasbah and its Museum and Dar al-Makhzen, former residences of the sultans. Learn about Christian heritage by visiting the Anglican Church of St. Andrew with its Moorish style and English and Gibraltarian ties, as well as the Church of the Immaculate Conception, a Spanish church that accommodated the Christian population during the Mandate. For a contemporary touch, take a seat at Café Hafa, which overlooks the Bay of Tangier and has also hosted celebrities like the Rolling Stones and the Beatles.
Browse the Halalbooking site with choices for all budgets in Tangier.
Tangier → Chefchaouen
After a two or three day stay in Tangier, take the road for about 2 hrs through the Rif mountains to Chefchaouen, the "blue pearl" of Morocco, an ocean of blue buildings.
Built inside Morocco against the threat from the Portuguese during the Renaissance period, the city prides itself on its character shaped by the immigration of Jews and Moors during the Spanish reconquest.
Enter the Medina of Chefchaouen, covered in blue paint to inspire spirituality and recognition of heaven and paradise. The Ethnographic Museum encompasses the crafts, traditions and popular art of Chefchaouen. In the centre of the medina is the Great Mosque which frames the Place Outa el Hammam. The Place El Haouta is less known but a lovely, charming place of simple beauty.
Stay in the ocean of blue houses in Chefchaouen.
After appreciating the brilliance of the blue pearl of Morocco, take the road towards Fes and drive for 1h30 to reach Ouezzane.
Chefchaouen → recommended stop in Ouezzane → Fes
Ouezzane is a little-known town but the equivalent of Chefchaouen in green. With green walls embellished with various plants, the village is a spiritual sanctuary for Jews and Muslims. One day is sufficient to visit the city.
Hit the road for a 2h30 drive to Fes.
The city was once a centre of learning and intellectuality. The craft also blossomed with the immigration from different cultures. Visit the madrasas (Muslim schools) Bou Inania Madrasa, Madrasa el-Attarine and Madrasa as-Sahrij for a taste of the heyday of Morocco.
Fes is separated into three zones:
Fes el-Bali, the ancient city founded by the first king of Morocco, with almost 90 km of authentic alleys. Lose yourself in its medina, one of the oldest and largest in the world, with its honeycomb-shaped streets.
Fes el-Jadid, the Renaissance medina, whose imperial and tangible splendour amazes the visitor.
The New Town with its colonial origins links its modern history with its troubled past. Each district of Fes is a commemoration to the craftsmen and the brilliance of Moroccan culture.
Stay like royalty in the resplendent city of Fes.
After a few days in Fes, the Imperial Road will take you to Rabat, less than a three-hour drive away. We recommend a stopover in Meknes, the "Versailles of Morocco", only 50 minutes by car from Fes.
Fes → recommended stop in Meknes → Rabat
Meknes is a romantic city that will enchant you with its spiritual and regal character: the Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail is a site of artistic reverie and the Bab Berdieyinne Mosque highlights the restoration of its historic minaret. The opulence of Meknes is especially felt at the monumental gate, Bab Al-Mansour and in the cladding of the Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail. An understanding of Meknes’s reputation is not complete without visiting the Roman ruins of Volubilis and the sacred city of Moulay Idriss Zerhoun.
Rabat, the modern capital of Morocco, with its calm atmosphere, is a perfect place to renew your spirits. Rest on the bays of Bouregreg Marina Salé and take a cruise to visit the ancient city and necropolis of Chellah, an ancient Roman colony where different Moroccan dynasties have succeeded and which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stroll around the Al-Hassan Mosque complex, whose minaret and royal tombs are a showcase in the history of Rabat. Embark on an adventure in the centre of Rabat, in the Kasbah des Oudayas and the lush Andalusian Gardens, before visiting the Tower of Hassan, the symbol of Rabat, and the Mausoleum of Mohammed V, the ancestor of the current king.
Embark on an adventure in the centre of Rabat, in the Kasbah des Oudayas and the lush Andalusian Gardens, before visiting the Tower of Hassan, the symbol of Rabat, and the Mausoleum of Mohammed V, the ancestor of the current king.
Find your beautiful getaway in Rabat.
A wondeful hour's drive along the Atlantic coast from Rabat is Casablanca, Morocco's financial and port centre, as well as the eponymous city of the famous Hollywood film and a city that, as the name suggests, shines with white buildings.
Rabat → recommended stop in Casablanca → Marrakech (Ouzoud Waterfalls)
In one day, visit the Hassan II Mosque and admire its size: the seventh largest mosque in the world. An interesting example of European influence is the Casablanca Cathedral in Art Deco style, designed by the French architect Paul Tournon.
Stay in a white house in Casablanca.
After a three-hour drive from Casablanca, you will be overwhelmed by the excitement of Marrakech.
Its heart, Jemaa el-Fna, beats tremendously with a multitude of cultural, religious and sensory attractions.
Marrakech overflows with apparent wealth through its riads transformed into guest houses and its former royal residences such as the Bahia Palace, the Saadian tombs, the Musée des Confluences and the El Badi Palace.
Architectural features reflect models from nature such as honeycomb mukarnas (ornate archetypal form of Islamic architecture), pools reflect the buildings and secret, symmetrical gardens complete a fascinating landscape against the breathtaking backdrop of the Atlas Mountains.
The Ouzoud waterfalls are surrounded by olive trees, a regenerating escape after the bustling cities of Morocco. The water plunges from a height of 110 m and provides a restorative place for swimming, picnicking, hiking or a boat trip.
Learn more about Marrakech and its must-sees for a 3-5 nights stay in this enchanting city in our blog post titled “Once upon a time in Marrakech”.
Browse our large selection of riads in Marrakech.
Marrakech → Agadir
The final stretch is a 3 hour drive to Agadir. The first part of the route is quick through the motorway, the second part offers beautiful mountain landscapes.
Agadir is considered the best coastal destination in Morocco with languid waves and warm stretches of sand. This is the perfect site to collect your spirits before returning to everyday reality. Agadir is home to a plethora of resorts that you can book on HalalBooking.com like the Atlantica Agadir Parc Lodge and the Atlantica Agadir Parc Beach, two choices for all budgets.
Itinerary 2 - On a nomadic journey
The second route starts in Marrakech and leads through the diverse nature of Morocco and the fantastic, extraordinary landscapes that will take your breath away. Either you arrive in Marrakech by plane and rent a car at the airport to start your road trip, or you combine the previous road trip and continue the itinerary from Marrakech to explore the south-east of Morocco.
- Marrakech → Imlil → Toubkal
- Toubkal → Ouarzazate
- Ouarzazate → Dades Gorge → Tinghir
- Tinghir → Merzouga
- Merzouga → Ouarzazate → recommended stop in Fint
- Ouarzazate → Agadir
Marrakech → Imlil → Toubkal
Immerse yourself in the aromas and impressions of the captivating medina of Marrakech. The "ocher city" is the city of the Amazighs, Berber, Arab and African, which stands at the foot of the Atlas Mountains and the Sahara. Stroll through the pedestrian streets, pray in the Mansouria Mosque and the Koutoubia Mosque. Admire its many gardens such as the Secret Garden and the Majorelle Garden.
An unforgettable stay awaits you in Marrakech with Halalbooking.
Imlil is a 1 hour 30 minute drive from Marrakech.
Continue your adventure in Imlil, about 60 km from Marrakech, a picturesque Amazigh village leaning on the edge of the Atlas Mountains. Imlil is the perfect start for an authentic experience of rural Morocco life and a favourite with hikers. Book a guided tour that contributes to the local economy and follow the trail of pink streams and rocks that takes you to the Imlil Waterfall.
Start your climb to Mount Toubkal from Imlil or the village around. Toubkal is the highest peak in all of North Africa. The extraordinary view from above offers a mixture of diverse landscapes of Morocco: urban, desert and mountainous valley. This ascending adventure is ideal for sportsmen and climbing enthusiasts. It is recommended to start climbing in the middle of the night to reach the summit at dawn to see the sunrise. The ascent can take three to five hours, so go slowly and steadily, and calculate the time for the descent back to the village.
If you undertake the Mount Toubkal climb, we recommend that you spend the night in Imlil afterwards to rest before hitting the road.
Find your halal-friendly accommodation in Imlil.
Toubkal → Ouarzazate
After a well-deserved rest, the road continues with a 5-hour drive to Ouarzazate, where you can drop off your bags for 3 days to explore the area. The desert chapter of your nomadic journey begins. Note that the final route to Agadir takes you back through Ouarzazate. Therefore, you can choose to explore the surroundings now or on the way to Agadir.
Ouarzazate is an old trading centre and hub. The city is remarkably well preserved and is popular with film lovers: Lawrence of Arabia and The Mummy are some of the famous films shot in Ouarzazate. Visit the beautiful Kasbah of Tifoultoute and drink tea with the local Amazighs, surrounded by the prehistoric history of the Jbel Adad Petroglyphs, communicative and prehistoric art carved on rocks.
Aït BenHaddou, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the old Ksar (fortified village) which dominates and unites with the landscape. Built on a hill, it is the filming site of many films and television series thanks to its historical authenticity. Built entirely of adobe, raw earth and clay, the village is an example of Moroccan craftsmanship. One of the distinctive features of Moroccan culture is its unifying approach. The architecture and social aspects are adapted to blend in with the landscapes, evoking an instinctive appreciation of natural beauty.
Ouarzazate → Dades Gorge → Tinghir
From Ouarzazate, you’ll drive about 2 hours to reach the Dades Gorge, where you can take a packed lunch and have a nice picnic with your feet in the water.
The valley of the Dades Gorges takes you into oriental dreams. Its sensory allure is felt with the dizzying scents of rose bushes grown for rosewater, popular in Moroccan pastries. Once known as the Valley of a Thousand Kasbahs, it now cultivates fig, almond and date trees in an enchanting panorama of southern Morocco's beauty. The Dades river waters the valley and makes the land fertile.
Another hour drive to Tinghir, where you can spend the night to rest before heading to Merzouga the next day.
Tinghir is a spectacular oasis, surrounded by villages that merge with the natural landscape, making the land and the buildings feel as one. Let yourself go with the intoxicating atmosphere and take your time as you stroll through palm fields and find sheltered ponds. The best views are always up high, especially from the old Kasbah of the Senegalese and from the Kasbah of Glaoui.
Check out all our halal-friendly properties in Tinghir.
Tinghir → Merzouga
After breakfast, embark on a 3-hour drive into the Merzouga desert, passing through small towns of Berber culture.
Merzouga is an abandoned Saharan village that borders Erg Chebbi, the gateway to the Saharan desert. Climb the remarkable burnt orange dunes, and admire the massive mass of golden sand suspended between sky and earth. Spend the night under a blanket of stars with the Sahrawi nomads.
HalalBooking offers hotels in Merzouga, the gateway to the desert.
Merzouga → Ouarzazate
On the 5 hour drive from Merzouga back to Ouarzazate, you’ll cross typical Berber towns like Rissani and Al Nif, where you can stop to rest and have lunch.
If you haven’t done it on the way you should visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site Aït Ben Haddou, or visit to the oasis of Fint, which is half an hour from Ouarzazate. Fint is the perfect image of an oasis from the stories from Thousand and One Nights, its symbolism of tranquillity and replenishment making it perfect for a picnic or a nap.
Choose from our wide range of halal-friendly properties in the Ouarzazate area to spend the night before embarking on another 5-hour drive to Agadir.
Ouarzazate → Agadir
Your last stop, Agadir, with the Atlantic Ocean and inviting beaches, is a gentle reintroduction into modern civilization . This is the culmination of your nomadic journey, where you can absorb the energy of the sun and enjoy a peaceful rest, surrounded by soothing nature. The Souss-Massa National Park and the Bird Valley are points of interest for those who appreciate the conservation of unique birds.
HalalBooking offers the perfect choice of halal-friendly properties for all budgets in Agadir.