Morocco Food Tour: Savory Spices & Souks
Journey to Morocco to experience a culture and cuisine that is at the crossroads of civilization, blending the most delectable Arabic, Berber, French and Spanish influences. Join one of our Morocco food tours and head from vibrant Casablanca to the charming fishing town of Essaouira, relax in a tiny Berber village in the High Atlas mountains, and finally, explore extraordinary Marrakech, the most African of Morocco’s cities. Along the way you’ll experience a Moroccan cooking class in three different cities, bargain at the souk (the fresh food market), tour the highlights of each area, and stay in stunning Moroccan riads.
Top Morocco Culinary Tour Experiences
Three Moroccan cooking classes: learn to cook tagines, couscous, beef with prunes and almonds
Eat fresh, grilled fish on Essaouira’s beach
Support local women’s argan oil cooperative
Enjoy lunch with villagers in their High Atlas home
Wander the colorful, labyrinthine souk of Marrakech and enjoy a street food walking tour
Our unique Morocco culinary tour has been described as “the trip of a lifetime”- join us and see why! For more information, please call 1-800-567-9400 or email us today.
Is a Morocco Culinary Tour for You?
Our Morocco culinary tours are ideal for people who are passionate about cooking and cultural travel. Those wishing to enjoy unique cultural and culinary experiences, exploring ancient cities and in rural areas, and meeting the locals will love our culinary tours of Morocco. You have an opportunity to enjoy a variety of Moroccan experiences: the charming seaside fishing village of Essaouira, an ancient Berber Village, & mystical Marrakech- all while learning to cook delicious traditional dishes.
Please note that although this trip is not an exceptionally active trip, there is quite a bit of walking, including some on dirt trails and uneven pavement.
All of our food tours include a rich combination of delicious ingredients: expert cooking classes, visits to flourishing farms and vibrant markets, and world-class cuisine!
Sept - May
Max group size: 12
Prices from $3,490 USD
Moroccan cooking classes with expert local chefs
Experience a Berber village in the High Atlas
Discover the charming fishing town of Essaouira
Explore the exotic Imperial City of Marrakesh
Unique scenery, vibrant markets, delicious food, stunning riads
Detailed Itinerary … learn more
Food … All breakfasts, 3 lunches & 3 dinners … learn more
Accommodation: 8 nights beautiful riads and hotels … learn more
Travel info … learn more
Recommended Reading … learn more
Morocco in the Blog
Your Moroccan Food Tour Itinerary
DAY 1: Moroccan Food Tour Begins
Welcome to Morocco! Prepare yourself for one of the most fascinating, colorful and culture-rich countries on the planet. Also prepare for some of the world’s best food tour experiences. We will pick you up at Casablanca’s Mohammed V International Airport and drive you to our beautiful 5-star hotel conveniently located in the center of Casablanca. If your flight arrives before dinner, you’ll get your first taste of delicious Moroccan cuisine at one of Casablanca’s popular restaurants.
Drive time: 45 minutes
Meals included: None
DAY 2: Hassan II Mosque & Drive to Essaouira
Casablanca is the most cosmopolitan of all Moroccan cities, a vibrant economic hub with the largest port in the Maghreb. After breakfast at our hotel we’ll set off to visit the highlight of this modern city: the majestic Hassan II Mosque, the third largest religious monument in the world, and the only mosque in Morocco that non-Muslims are permitted to enter. After our mosque tour we’ll head out of town, embarking on a scenic 5-6 hour drive through the countryside to Essaouira. We’ll stop for lunch along the way and arrive in Essaouira in the early evening. We’ll spend the night in an exquisite ocean-view riad.
Drive time: Approximately 5-6 hours, not including stops
Meals included: Breakfast
DAY 3: City Tour & Moroccan Cooking Class
You’ll wake up in the charming fishing town of Essaouira, with its relaxed and artistic vibe. Today we’ll explore the town’s impressive medina, whose massive ancient fortifications are a mixture of Portuguese, French and Berber architecture overlooking the emerald sea. Next we’ll enjoy a spectacular seaside lunch, where freshly caught fish is grilled to perfection before your eyes. Top it off with famous Moroccan mint tea and delectable French pastries at one of Essaouira’s many cafes. In the late afternoon you’ll experience the first cooking class of your Morocco food travel itinerary, where you’ll prepare a fresh Moroccan chopped salad and fish tajine using the fresh catch of the day. And then you’ll enjoy the scrumptious meal you just created!
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
DAY 4: Drive to the High Atlas Mountains
This morning you can awake at your leisure and spend the morning strolling through Essaouira’s serene squares, browsing artisan workshops and perusing art galleries. Or, perhaps you’d like to experience a camel ride on the beach! After lunch, we will take a three and a half hour drive to the Ourika Valley, in the High Atlas mountains, stopping along the way to tour an argan oil cooperative. A charming and incredibly hospitable riad will be our home for the next three days.
Drive time: Approximately 3.5 hours, not including stops
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
DAY 5: Visit Tinmel Mosque, Souk & Afternoon Cooking Class
After a delicious Berber breakfast, we’ll visit the Tinmel Mosque, hidden deep in the High Atlas Mountains and the second of only two mosques in Morocco that non-Muslims are able to visit. Next we’ll head to a local village and visit the souk where we’ll select organic vegetables, meat - everything we need for our cooking classes at the riad. While there we’ll enjoy a delicious lunch in the village of skewers, grilled meat and chicken kebabs, local bread and salads. We’ll then head back to the riad for our next cooking workshop, where we learn to cook (and eat!) Moroccan soup and traditional couscous – another of the authentic meals you’ll cook during your Morocco food travel.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 6: Hike & Lunch with a Local Family
This morning, after another delicious breakfast at the riad, we’ll enjoy a hike in the mountains to learn about Berber culture and traditional lifestyle while taking in the breathtaking beauty of the area. We’ll pause for lunch with a local family in a traditional village. After returning to the riad, the afternoon is yours free to relax, swim at the pool, or indulge in hammam or traditional spa treatments.
Drive time: 1.5 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
DAY 7: Drive to Marrakech
Today we take a short drive to exotic and mystical Marrakech, an enchanting palm oasis set against the snow-capped peaks of the High Atlas mountains. We’ll visit the Bahia Palace with its expansive harem quarters. Next we’ll enter the ancient royal Saadian Tombs, and then explore the vibrant and historic Jewish mellah (quarter) and the majestic Koutoubia Mosque before entering the 11th century walled medina. As we explore the medina, we’ll stop at Ben Youssef Madrasa, a historic Koran school, and wind our way through the serpentine labyrinth of the ancient bustling souk, where we’ll see Moroccan craftsmanship at its finest. In the late afternoon, you’ll have the opportunity to shop as we visit local artisan co-ops and learn about traditional Moroccan crafts. For those not interested in shopping, you may choose to explore Djemaa el-Fna sqaure on your own, perhaps enjoy a cup of tea at a roof top cafe, or relax by the pool at the riad.
In the evening, thrill in the magic that emerges from heart of the famed square, Djemaa el-Fna. Mystical snake charmers, hustlers and mischievous monkeys are part of the nightly drama that unfolds, as Berber acrobats, fortune tellers, musicians and engaging storytellers seduce rapt crowds.
Accommodation tonight is at our charming riad inside the Marrakech medina.
Drive time: 1 hour
Meals included: Breakfast
DAY 8: Marrakech Street Food Tasting Tour & Moroccan Cooking Class
Today we’ll take a tour around the ancient city wall and palm grove, including a visit to the Yves St. Laurent gardens. We’ll also head to a spice shop for some information on the various spices that we have been using and may want to take home with us. For lunch, we will experience a street food tasting tour, taking in all the delicacies that are available to everyday Moroccans. After lunch, enjoy a relaxed afternoon to explore the imperial city of Marrakech at your leisure, perhaps as you people-watch at Djemaa el-Fna and pick up some local souvenirs. Or you may like to experience a traditional Moroccan hammam, or hot bath. In the late afternoon, we will have our final cooking class. The farewell dinner of our Moroccan food travel itinerary is at a local cooking school, where we enjoy our own delicious Moroccan creations of beef with prunes and almonds, and lemon chicken.
Drive time: Approximately 1 hour
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
DAY 9: Morocco Food Tour Ends
Our Moroccan food travel itinerary ends today as you transfer to the airport for your return home. Depending on your flight plans, we will either drop you off at the Marrakech airport or arrange for a private car transfer to Casablanca’s airport
Drive time: 15 – 20 minutes (to Marrakech airport)
Meals included: Breakfast
Please note: This itinerary is designed to give you an idea of what to expect on our Morocco food travel experiences but is not set in stone. What we actually do on a given day is flexible and can be tailored to the interests of the group.
Optional Trip Extensions
Make the most of your Morocco food tour with our incredible pre-tour and post-tour extensions! See more information below:
Morocco Cooking Tours: Authentic Moroccan Food
Our Moroccan cooking tours are ideal for anyone who wants to combine their passion for food with their passion for travel. Moroccan cooking is a delectable combination of culinary influences from the Arabs, Berbers, French and Spanish. Alongside our expert chefs, you’ll learn Moroccan cooking techniques and recipes for traditional Moroccan foods such as tagines, couscous and pastilla. Outside the kitchen, you will explore Moroccan culture through its cuisine as you discover fresh food and spice markets, and dine at unique local restaurants.
Our Morocco cooking tours include daily breakfast, three lunches and three dinners. The included dinners will be delectable meals that you learn to prepare yourself during your cooking classes.
Morocco is known for its exotic spices and savory dishes and on our Morocco cooking tours you will learn to make some of the most delicious and authentic Moroccan food:
Traditional Moroccan Salads
Couscous with Vegetables & Beef
Chicken with Lemon & Olives
Beef with Dried Prunes & Toasted Almonds
After your Moroccan cooking classes, meals will be served family-style and you will enjoy the fruits of your labor with delectable breads and fine wines.
Our Morocco culinary tours include daily breakfast, three lunches and three dinners, including the dinners you cook yourself.
Note: Cooking classes are subject to change
Morocco Riads & Hotels
Moroccan style and hospitality are legendary, and for our culinary tours we have selected Moroccan riads and hotels that bring you the best of both. In Casablanca we stay in a 5-star modern hotel with traditional Moroccan decor. Everywhere else, our accommodations are in beautifully decorated Moroccan riads – traditional houses or palaces that have been converted into boutique hotels. All of our Morocco riads and hotels offer en suite bathrooms in comfortable, stylish rooms.
Night 1: We’ll spend our first night in Morocco in a beautiful 5-star Moroccan hotel, centrally located in Casablanca.
Nights 2 & 3: The next two nights of our culinary tour are in Essaouira. We will stay in a gorgeous ocean-front Moroccan riad, converted from a nineteenth century windmill. The entire riad is decorated in Berber style, with Moroccan carpets, wood-beamed ceilings, and ocean views. You will love eating breakfast on the roof-top terrace overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
Nights 4-6: We’ll spend these three nights in a beautiful and peaceful riad in the middle of a natural park at the foothills of the High Atlas mountains. You can relax in the beautiful gardens and indulge in the on-site pool and spa for ideal comfort and hospitality, away from the hustle and bustle.
Nights 7 & 8: On the last two nights of our culinary tours we are in Marrakech, where we will stay in a lovely riad near the heart of the ancient medina. Providing perfect access to some of Marrakech’s most enticing sites, our Moroccan riad will be your oasis in this exotic city.
Note: All Morocco riad and hotel accommodations are subject to availability and may be changed as needed.
Morocco Travel Information
Arrival and Departure Travel Information
You should arrive at Casablanca’s Mohammed V International Airport (airport abbreviation: CMN). Group airport transfers are generally scheduled based on flight times. We will not know the final times until we have received the final flight information from all guests. We will notify you in advance should there be a wait time longer than one hour from your flight’s scheduled arrival time. In this case, you may choose to wait for the included group transfer or we can arrange in advance of your trip a private car and driver for an additional cost.
For group transfers, we will be waiting for you with an ‘Access Culinary Trips’ sign as you exit customs at Casablanca’s airport.
Among others, the following airlines fly into Casablanca: Delta Air Lines, Air France, Royal Air Maroc, Iberia, Lufthansa, and Easy Jet.
We are not responsible for last minute adjustments due to changes or delays with arrival flights.
We are not responsible for the quality of taxi services.
You should depart from Marrakech-Menara Airport (airport abbreviation: RAK). Group airport transfers are included until 10:30 AM. If your flight departs after 12:00 PM from RAK or you prefer to depart from Casablanca (a 2.5 hour drive), we can arrange your transfer (at an additional cost). Please contact us for details.
Among others, the following airlines fly out of Marrakech: Royal Air Maroc, Iberia, Ryanair, Easy Jet. Airport transfers are included until 10:30am.
Pick-up & Drop-off Information
Group airport transfers at the specified airport/times in Morocco are included. If you would like a private transfer, to be picked up or dropped off on a different day, or brought somewhere other than the airport, please contact us.
We do not book international flights to or from Morocco for our clients. If you would like assistance with purchasing your flights, please let us know and we will forward your contact information and trip details to our travel agent partner.
TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS FOR MOROCCO
Travel medical insurance, including emergency evacuation coverage, is compulsory for all our trips. We strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance that includes cancellation protection so that you will be covered in the event that you are unable to attend our trip (due to injury, illness or other unforeseen circumstances). Please do not attend any of our trips without purchasing appropriate insurance coverage and providing the details to Access Culinary Trips.
Please note: proof of insurance is due within 14 days of booking, and delay in receipt may result in late documentation charges.
We do not provide travel insurance for our clients. Additional details are on our insurance page.
Passports & Visas
All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum of 6 months validity). Citizens of some countries will also require a visa. To learn more about visa and entry requirements for Morocco, please check out the Morocco Tourism website at: http://www.visitmorocco.com.
Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documentation.
HEALTH AND SAFETY IN MOROCCO
If your friends or family need to contact Access Culinary Trips due to an emergency while you are on the tour, please have them refer to the pre-departure email that is sent out three weeks prior to departure, which will have specific contact information relevant to your trip. If you need to contact Access Culinary Trips while traveling, please also refer to the emergency contact information in the pre-departure email.
Guests with preexisting medical conditions are required to disclose this information prior to traveling with Access Culinary Trips, and all guests with preexisting conditions are required to provide a note from a doctor clearing them for travel to Morocco. The US Department of State recommends that travelers with medical prescriptions consider bringing small additional amounts of prescribed medicines as well as a copy of the prescription and a letter from the prescribing physician explaining the need for prescription.
We strongly recommend that all of our guests visit a travel doctor before embarking on international travel. Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure that you receive any necessary vaccinations before traveling on your trip with us. If there is a chance that you may be pregnant during your trip, please discuss your travel plans with your doctor.
Please carefully review the health information section of the following webpage for up-to-date health information, including information on the quality of medical care, the availability of medications and the necessity for vaccinations in the destination country: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/morocco
Our trips are open to anyone who wants to explore our exotic destinations through cuisine. Many of the countries we operate in do not have adequate facilities for the disabled. The accommodations may not have elevators, the sidewalks may not be even- or even paved! At our accommodations in the High Atlas Mountains, you will need to be comfortable walking up a short, steep, dirt path to reach your accommodations. We also do a good amount of walking during our sightseeing tours, sometimes several hours.
Safety & Security
To maximize your safety during our tours you should exercise common sense and caution at all times. We recommend that you always stick to set travel arrangements, and avoid unknown areas. We also recommend that you wear minimal jewelry and that you keep valuable items (including cell phones) safely stored. Always keep a copy of your passport, airline tickets, and credit card numbers separate from where you keep the originals.
Women walking alone in certain areas of cities and rural areas are particularly vulnerable to harassment from men. Women are advised to travel with a companion or in a group when possible and to ignore any harassment. Responding to verbal harassment can escalate the situation. The best course of action is generally not to respond or make eye contact with the harasser.
For more information on safety and security in Morocco, please review the safety and security section of the following webpage: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/morocco.html
Note: As a rule, do not drink tap water or use ice in Morocco, even in hotels. We strongly recommend buying bottled water. Also, you may consider avoiding uncooked and unpeeled fruits and vegetables.
CURRENCY, BANKING & SPENDING MONEY IN MOROCCO
The national currency is the Moroccan Dirham (MAD). There are exchange bureaus in airports, certain hotels and most banks. Counters require your passport for the transaction. We recommend exchanging at least $300 in local currency at the exchange counter located in the baggage claim area at the airport in Casablanca. Remember to exchange your remaining Dirhams before leaving: it is illegal to take more than 2,000 Dirhams out of Morocco. For the latest currency exchange information please go to: https://finance.yahoo.com/currency-converter/
ATMs are available in all cities and major towns. (Please note: There are no ATM’s where we stay in the High Atlas Mountains.)
It is recommended to notify your bank or card issuer that you intend to travel abroad so that no block will be put on the usage of your credit or ATM cards.
Meals: All breakfasts, one lunch, and five dinners, including the dinners you cook yourself are included. Please plan to bring at least USD $10-$20 per lunch and USD $20-$30 per dinner (more for the optional upscale dinner in Marrakech) for those meals that are not included, as well as money for snacks, drinks, and bottled water.
Alcohol: Alcohol is not included in the trip price. Most of our hotels and riads have alcohol available to purchase. The two exceptions are in Fez and Essaouira. In these cases, if desired, your trip leader will arrange an opportunity for you to buy alcohol to bring to the hotel.
Tipping: Restaurants may include a 10% tip for meals. If not, a 10% tip is appreciated. In taxis, just round up to the nearest 5 dirhams. For someone who carries your bags to your room or from your hotel to a taxi, 10 dirhams would be appropriate, unless your bags are extremely cumbersome. 20 Dirhams is also appropriate for the Berber family that you have tea with. Finally, most public restrooms are staffed and a tip of 1 – 5 dirhams is expected – keep a few coins handy!
Discretionary tips to your tour staff for good service are very much appreciated. For your cooking instructors, 30-45 Dirhams per guest is recommended for each cooking class. For mountain and city guides, 40-45 Dirhams per guest/per day is recommended. For your trip leader, approx. 90 Dirhams (USD $10) multiplied by the number of days in the tour (per guest). For the driver, approx. 45 Dirhams (USD $5) multiplied by the number of days in the tour (per guest) would be appreciated.
Tipping is a part of the cultural experience of traveling in Morocco. We have tried to give you an estimate of what would be considered “fair” tips. However, tipping is not a science. Please tip how you feel most appropriate. In addition to those mentioned above, there may be other people you encounter who provide a service for you and expect a tip, such as hammam attendants or people in the marketplace. If you are in doubt as to whether or how much to tip, please ask your guide for clarification.
Other expenses: there are no required additional expenses for this trip, but you might like to take spending money for such things as souvenir shopping and nightlife.
Note: You may decide during your trip to purchase tagines to continue your Moroccan cooking adventure back home. Your trip leader can certainly assist you with this while you are in Morocco.
Morocco is a very conservative country. Out of respect for the culture we are visiting, please note the following:
Other than at the beach, men and women should always dress modestly by wearing loose fitting clothing that covers the shoulders, midriff, and knees. Local dress is more conservative outside of major cities and tourist areas. However, it is not necessary to wear a headscarf.
When handling money or shaking hands, one should always use your right hand.
Public displays of affection and public inebriation are considered offensive.
You may want to indulge in a traditional Moroccan hammam or hot bath. This is taken in groups and the custom is for you to be without any clothing during the steam and scrub. If you are not comfortable with this, please let the hammam provider know and bring a bathing suit or extra pair of undergarments to wear.
Some our our guests have requested information on scheduling hamman/spa services while in Morocco. If you are interested in this experience, you may consider making an appointment ahead of time online. You are welcome to use any spa provider you wish, however, we have received good feedback for Les Bains de Marrakech. In terms of the group schedule, the most ideal time to schedule treatments is on Day 7 before dinner, which is generally around 8PM. If you do not schedule anything before your trip and would like to once you arrive in Morocco, please speak with your trip leader as early as possible and he will try to arrange something for you.
Language: Most people speak Arabic. Other common languages are French and Berber dialects.
Our Moroccan cooking vacation takes us to a wide variety of Moroccan villages and cities. All of the locations we visit have lovely, mild weather most of the year, and we don’t offer this tour in the hottest summer months. Spring and autumn are the best time to visit Morocco, but the winter months are nice as well, with fewer crowds.
In bustling coastal Casablanca, the weather is moderate year round, but can get cooler and wet in the winter. In the relaxed fishing village of Essaouira, the weather is mild, although windy. While in the Berber mountain village, we stay at an altitude of about 1200 feet (365m), so the weather remains mild year-round, although plan for it to get fairly cold in the evenings during the winter months (November to March). In Marrakech, the weather is lovely and warm most of the year. In October and November, the average temperatures are 70F-80F during the day and in the 50’s during the evening. December through April, you may expect temperatures between 65F-75F during the day and 45F-55F during the evening. Beginning in May, temperatures usually begin to climb into the 80’s during the day and cooling off in the evenings to between 50F-60F.
NOTE: During winter months (November to March), please be prepared for some rain and low temperatures ranging from 32F-50F at night and 59F-70F during the day, depending on the location.
Please check specific weather for your dates before you travel. You may consider a website such as Weather.com.
ELECTRICITY & INTERNET IN MOROCCO
Morocco uses 220V, 50Hz and plugs are two prong rounded.
You may purchase wi-fi access at the hotel in Casablanca for approx. $30 USD per day. There is complimentary wi-fi access in the common areas of all of the riads. Please note: Internet access is not 100% reliable in Morocco. If you are having difficulties connecting, please let your trip leader know.
Most US cell phones will not work in Morocco, unless you have a specific international plan. Contact your cellular provider to see what options you have in terms of international calling plans.
WHAT TO TAKE ON YOUR MOROCCO TOUR
We strongly recommend using TSA approved luggage locks on your bags and to hand carry valuables on the plane.
Many of our trips require us to move our base several times, so we recommend that you pack as lightly as possible. There will not always be someone available to help you carry your bags so you should only bring as much as you can carry on your own.
We suggest that you bring the following items:
Clothing & Equipment
Season-specific casual clothes (men and women should always dress modestly out of respect for the culture they are visiting- no tank tops, low cut tops, or short shorts. It is not necessary to wear a headscarf.)
Clothes to wear for optional dinner at upscale restaurant in Marrakech
Hiking clothes and shoes (NOTE: They can get quite dirty/dusty)
A pair of comfortable walking shoes
A light jacket/windbreaker (NOTE: It can be very windy in Essaouira)
A warm jacket (NOTE: It can be quite cold in the High Atlas Mountains from November to March. Please pack appropriately for cold, winter evenings.)
Power adaptor for 220v, 50 Hz (outlets are two-prong rounded)
Sunscreen, sunglasses and hat
First-aid kit with lip balm, aspirin, band aids, cream for sore muscles (e.g. deep heat), Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, any extra prescription drugs you may be taking
Passport (with photocopies)
Travel insurance (with photocopies)
Airline tickets (with photocopies)
Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
Credit and/or debit card and/or cash (MasterCard and Visa are the most commonly used; American Express and Maestro cards are difficult to use in Morocco.)
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RECOMMENDED READING LIST
Click here to check out our recommended reading before your tour!
FINAL NOTES ON YOUR MOROCCO CULINARY TOUR
This is a tool meant to help you decide what you should bring on your upcoming trip. It is by no means comprehensive. While we do our best to be as thorough as possible, we cannot foresee every possible condition. If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
The information contained in this document is provided in good faith. Due to the nature of travel, details in this document may change. You should thus use the above information as an indication only and not as a contractual obligation on the part of Access Culinary Trips.