Choosing the train as transport is always a success. And Morocco is not the exception. We propose you 8 days (at least) of adventure with fascinating challenges. We go from Marrakech to Tangier, passing through Rabat, Meknes, and Fez. An imperial route with the occasional detour to visit Essaouira and Chefchaouen, the blue city.
Eye to the data: the term “imperial” is given to these cities because they have been capitals of Morocco at some time. Each dynasty chose one of these places as monarchical seat and queen of queens, awarding each city a color that distinguished them both in their constructions and in their craftsmanship. Marrakech has the color red, Rabat the ocher, Fez the blue and Meknes the green. Get on the train and… GO!
1MEKNES, LA GUERRERA
The railroad is already on the way to Meknes and from the window of your car, you can witness the great contrasts that separate the city of Rabat and the countryside in general.
The fact that the city of Ismail Ibn Sharif, the Warrior King, has no airport has helped it to maintain that genuine taste without much attention to tourists.
It is a different place, much quieter and relaxed than the imperial Fez, Marrakech or Rabat. Although there are several entrances that give access to the interior of the wall, it enters by Bab Masour el-Aleuj, a huge door, considered one of the most beautiful works of Ismail and the largest in Morocco and all of North Africa.
It is one of the works that make Meknes, the “Versailles of Morocco”, a world heritage site by UNESCO since 1996.
2MARRAKECH, THE MOST COOL
Its frenetic pace and the chaos that is breathed in the streets of the medina do not give you a moment of calm. You have to be mentalized about traffic: otherwise, the end of the world will catch you waiting for the cars to give you way. With all this, dare and fly straight to Marrakech, where you will clearly perceive the exquisiteness of Islamic art fused with Western “glamor”.
One of the obligatory rites is to climb one of its terraces at sunset, like the Café de France.
From there, see the city while listening prayer is priceless. Walk down the main souks is part of the journey you must finish with a combined tasting Moroccan dishes with haute cuisine in all its restaurants, nothing to envy the Europeans. For its traditional food as tajines or couscous, it highlights the Le Foundouk.
3SALT OF THE ROUTE TO ESSAOUIRA
Why not a bus to arrive in Essaouira? A detour from the imperial route that leaves you at an hour from Marrakech, the perfect place to go for a retreat just after this chaotic city (not suitable for stressed people looking for a trip of relaxation and tranquility).
Essaouira, a city protected by walls facing the coast, is ideal for learning to surf all year round. The promenade gives you entrance to one of the best-known gates of the medina, Bab el-Sebâa, and strolling from there you will arrive at Plaza Moulay el Hassan, heart of the city.
Nearby, the Great Mosque and the famous café L’Horloge, where every sunset is a meeting point for bohemians and street musicians.
Before heading to Rabat, do not forget to pass by the port where you can hit a good feast. Stand at one of these popular spots to taste an exquisite lobster, accompanied by prawns or squid, at a price of scandal!
4RABAT, THE LESS KNOWN
After a small route and again in Marrakech, catch a train direct to Rabat, where you will also enjoy the sea and the beach.
The political capital of Morocco is not as rambunctious as Marrakech and, being the least known of all, is completely Europeanized in the true French style.
From its modern tram, which runs throughout the city since 2011, you can move anywhere. From the Mausoleum of Mohamed V and Hassan II go to the medina, very little tourist and with slippers as a star product. Get some!
Moving away from this relaxed souk reaches the door Bab Oudaia to enter the Kasbah of the Oudayas, a walled citadel located at the mouth of the river Bu Regreg, which divides Rabat with neighboring Salé.
The Kasbah is the best of the city and what makes it unique are its views of the sea. Behind these walls of 10 meters high, there is a neighborhood of Berber origin composed of narrow and well-kept alleys full of houses painted blue and white.
Also essential: make a strategic stop at the Le Dhow restaurant, a boat moored at the foot of the Oudayas tunnel that also functions as a nighttime bar.
5CLOSING THE IMPERIAL CIRCLE IN FEZ
The medinas of Morocco are not all the same. Each of them has its own identity and that of Fez has a lot of personality inside and a lot of traffic!
Walk its narrow and crowded streets following the aromas and colors of natural dyes to tanneries or tanneries (to be amazed with how leather work and marvel at its great mix of colors).
After kicking all the souks, go up to one of the multiple terraces to contemplate the views of the entire city with the sunset in the background. Do not forget to visit the viewpoint Borj Nord and El Mellah, the Jewish quarter.
The most top: find a position in the street, in the medina or in the Fez el Jedid (the new zone) with all kinds of fruits and that the gentleman overflows with kindness and joy offering you to try whatever you want before buying: olives, spices, fruits and, of course, dates, typical of Morocco, especially to season any traditional dish.
6CHEFCHAOUEN, COMODÍN IMPRESCINDIBLE
From Fez, we deviated 4 hours to visit Chefchaouen, a city built on the side of a mountain, which invites you to get lost in its tangled streets painted with different shades of blue.
A walk through the decorated medina of wonderful corners, where there is always a photo, will take you to Beldi Bab Ssour, a restaurant with typical dishes that maintain their authentic and homemade flavor, as well as being very economical.
Luxury is also to sit in one of the cafes that paint the Outa El Hammam square, meeting point for locals and tourists, and have a mint tea contemplating the coming and going of people.
The blue city can be seen perfectly from the viewpoint of Bouzafar, which you will come out through the most eastern gate of the medina (Bab el Onsar). Also doing this small route you will pass through the waterfalls of Ras el Maa. But for all this you have one or two extra days.
Just 70 kilometers from Chaouen is Tetuán, one of the most beautiful places in the Rif mountains. Walk to its Plaza de Hassan II and soak up its Arabic and Andalusian style.
The capital of the so-called Spanish Protectorate of Morocco, there are still memories in sight, especially in the Spanish neighborhood and in the Plaza Mulay Mehdi or Primo Square, where the main institutions of that time, the Catholic Cathedral and the Consulate of Spain continue to reign.
From the most modern area, you have to move to the most exotic part, the Medina, where wandering you can buy anything you can imagine. As in Fez, the tanneries are the strong point, where they treasure more than 500 years of history.
8TANGIER, LAST STOP
With lots of activities to entertain Tangier is the city is the perfect place to take a look at the sea and see on one side of the Strait of Gibraltar, the coast of Cadiz, and on the other, the mountains of the Rif.
To get there you can get on the last train direct from Fez. Stay faithful to the trip and stay in the riad, traditional houses of large dimensions converted into hotels, with several floors overlooking an interior courtyard.
After a breakfast in the same riad, take a walk to the largest souk in the medina, the old rural market, where the Plaza 9 de Abril and the nerve center end, ending at Café Hafa, overlooking the Bay of Tangier.
To bid farewell to the trip with a good taste in your mouth, buy some typical Moroccan sweets, almost all seasoned with nuts, particularly almonds, especially the gazelle horns (or Kaab el Ghazal, which are so-called because of its half-moon shape).
It is not just about reaching incredible destinations. It is also to experience the way and discover the Moroccan culture, tasting its dishes and letting yourself be carried away by the medinas, to wonderful terraces with first-class sunsets.