Embark on an incredible road trip through the Spanish region of Andalusia on your way to Morocco and discover wonderful cities with their rich Islamic heritage. Travel Andalusia by car and experience 800 years of amazing Islamic history and architecture in what was considered a golden age for innovation in technology and science. Morocco, which borders the Atlantic Ocean, harmonises with the Sahara and shelters the Atlas Mountains, awakening the adventurer hidden in each of our souls. Follow our recommended routes for an authentic taste of the beauty of Andalusia and Morocco.

In this article, we offer two alternative routes for your road trip.

Itinerary 1 - The Imperial Road

The first route takes the path through the Spanish region of Andalusia - with amazing Islamic history and architecture, to the imperial cities of Morocco - with traces of opulence from ancient times and exciting off-the-beaten-path detours that reveal hidden treasures.

Itinerary 1 - The Imperial Road
  1. Andalusia → Tangier
  2. Tangier → Chefchaouen
  3. Chefchaouen → stop in Ouazzane→ Fes
  4. Fes → stop in Meknes → Rabat
  5. Rabat → stop in Casablanca → Marrakech → Ouzoud Waterfalls
  6. Marrakech → Agadir

Cordoba

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.

Great Mosque of Cordoba interior
Great Mosque of Cordoba interior

Granada

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.

Alhambra Castle in Granada
Alhambra Castle in Granada

Malaga

In Marbella, a sunny Costa del Sol city lapped by the Mediterranean Sea, visit the Alcazaba, one of the largest Arab fortresses in Andalusia.

Remains of Alcazaba fortress in Marbella, Andalusia
Remains of Alcazaba fortress in Marbella, 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.

To find out more about things to do and see in southern Spain, read our dedicated article : "Road trips with HalalBooking: Discover the Umayyad heritage of Andalusia"

After a night at a halal-friendly hotel in Marbella, head straight to Algeciras to catch the ferry and change continents.

Andalusia → Tangier

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.

Tangier

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.

Tangier city beach

The main attractions in Tangier are the Kasbah and its Museum and Dar al-Makhzen, former residences of the sultans.

Kasbah

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.

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.

Chefchaouen

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.

Chefchaouen
Chefchaouen view

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.

The blue city of Chefchaouen
The blue city of Chefchaouen

After appreciating the brilliance of the blue pearl of Morocco, take the road towards Fes and drive for 1h30 to reach Ouezzane.

Ouezzane

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.

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.

Bou Inania Medersa in Fez
Bou Inania Medersa in Fes

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.

Gate to ancient medina of Fez
Gate to ancient medina of Fes

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.

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.

Meknes

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.

Roman ruins of Volubilis
Roman ruins of Volubilis

Rabat

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.

Al-Hassan Mosque complex in Rabat
Hassan Tower in 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.

Royal Palace in Rabat
Royal Palace in Rabat

A wonderful 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 → stop in Casablanca → Marrakech

Casablanca

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.

Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca
Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca

After a three-hour drive from Casablanca, you will be overwhelmed by the excitement of Marrakech.

Casablanca → Marrakech → Ouzoud Waterfalls

Ouzoud Waterfalls

Marrakech

Its heart, Jemaa el-Fna, beats tremendously with a multitude of cultural, religious and sensory attractions.

Jemaa el-Fna market square

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.

El Badi Palace
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.

Panoramic view of Marrakech with the Atlas Mountains in the background
Panoramic view of Marrakech with the Atlas Mountains in the background

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”.

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.

Ouzoud Waterfalls

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

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 Bay

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.

Itinerary 2 - On a nomadic journey
  1. Marrakech → Imlil → Toubkal
  2. Toubkal → Ouarzazate
  3. Ouarzazate → Dades Gorge → Tinghir
  4. Tinghir → Merzouga
  5. Merzouga → Ouarzazate → recommended stop in Fint
  6. Ouarzazate → Agadir

Marrakech → Imlil → Toubkal

Marrakech

Immerse yourself in the aromas and impressions of the captivating medina of Marrakech.

Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech
Koutoubia Mosque in 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.

Majorelle Garden
Majorelle Garden

Imlil is a 1 hour 30 minute drive from Marrakech.

Imlil

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.

Imlil Waterfall
Imlil Waterfall

Toubkal mountaineering

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.

Mount Toubkal is the highest peak in all of North Africa

If you undertake the Mount Toubkal climb, we recommend that you spend the night in Imlil afterwards to rest before hitting the road.

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

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.

Kasbah of Tifoultoute
Kasbah of Tifoultoute

Aït Benhaddou

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.

Aït BenHaddou
Aït BenHaddou

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.

Dades Gorge

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.

Dades Gorge
Dades Gorge valley

Another hour's drive away is Tinghir, where you can spend the night to rest before heading to Merzouga the next day.

Tinghir

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.

Tinghir → Merzouga

After breakfast, embark on a 3-hour drive into the Merzouga desert, passing through small towns of Berber culture.

Merzouga and the Erg Chebbi

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.

Campsite over sand dunes in Merzouga
Campsite over sand dunes in Merzouga

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.

Ouarzazate

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.

Oasis of Fint

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

Agadir

Your last stop, Agadir, with the Atlantic Ocean and inviting beaches, is a gentle reintroduction into modern civilisation. 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.

Agadir beach

The Souss-Massa National Park and the Bird Valley are points of interest for those who appreciate the conservation of unique birds.

You’ve successfully subscribed to HalalBooking
Welcome back! You’ve successfully signed in.
Great! You’ve successfully signed up.
Your link has expired
Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.