Allow your senses to be taken over with vibrant colors, sensational smells, and beautiful temperatures. Morocco is a place with so much to offer it is easy to be overwhelmed in choosing where to stop in this beautiful country. Allow us to guide you through your adventure and detail the best places to visit in Morocco.
Table of Contents
- Rabat – The capital city
- Meknes – Old ruins and ancient cities
- Marrakech – Captivate the senses
- Toubkal National Park – For hiking and nature
- Chefchaouen – The town painted blue
- Sidi Ifni – Perfect weather and relaxing beaches
- Fez – The cultural capital
- Asilah – To experience a more local crowd
- Merzouga – A Saharan adventure!
- Ait Ben Haddou – For Game of Thrones fans and history buffs alike
Rabat – The capital city
As the capital city of Morocco, no visit to the country is complete without a tour of this 3,000-year-old hub. Featuring many of the country’s most fascinating museums and home to a beautiful blend of cultures, Rabat is the perfect introduction to Morocco and its surrounding countries. Here you can explore the streets alongside many other tourists and will experience a combination of old and new Morocco.
Take time to wander the new town and experience a more modern Morocco before diving into the streets of the old town. Here you will be greeted with traditional markets and architecture. Don’t miss a chance to visit the Royal Palace or the Mausoleum of Mohammed V. If the hustle and bustle of the city gets a little too much for you then take time to wander one of the many French-influenced gardens.
Meknes – Old ruins and ancient cities
Morocco has had many capital cities during its long life as a country, and Meknes took its turn in 1672. This colorful city is equipped with large open squares, towering buildings, and subtle Roman touches. Meknes is a lovely area to explore, rich with culture and heritage. As it is one of the four Imperial cities in Morocco and used to be the capital, there are countless areas to explore for history buffs and Instagrammers alike.
Do not miss a chance to explore Morocco’s largest roman ruins which are only a short drive away from Meknes. Volubilis is a must-see area of Morocco and Meknes is the perfect gateway to exploring these historic lands. While you are in the area, don’t miss the ancient city of Moulay Idriss, located not far from Volubilis. This ancient city sits neatly atop two large hills which provide fantastic views of the city and surrounding areas. This is also known to be the holiest city in Morocco and so is essential for anyone wanting to learn more about Morocco’s culture and practices.
Marrakech – Captivate the senses
The well-known Marrakech has rapidly become one of the most popular places to visit in Morocco. People travel far and wide to experience the inspiring smells of the spice markets, colorful buildings, and historic streets. Marrakech is an essential place for anyone wishing to experience everything Morocco has to offer. As another one of the Imperial Cities, Marrakech hosts the beautiful Bahia Palace, an extravagant building stretching over a vast area. This incredible palace only costs around $1 to enter and should not be missed.
The rest of Marrakech is filled with fragrant spice markets, traditional snake charmers, and winding streets packed with vendors of various wares. If this taste of authentic local culture isn’t enough for you? Then no problem, because Marrakech fuses its fascinating traditional side with an eclectic modern side also. Think cool art galleries, cute boutique stores, and traditional-made modern spas.
If the city gets a little too much for you then good news, Marrakech is the perfect location to start exploring the highest mountain range in North Africa, the Atlas Mountains; more on that next!
Toubkal National Park – For hiking and nature
Located just a couple of hours away from Marrakech and easily accessible by bus or car, Toubkal National Park is situated in the centre of the Atlas Mountain Range. This stunning range stretches all the way from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean and draws a border separating the great Sahara desert from the north of the continent. This means that you can get snowy mountains and dry deserts from one incredible viewpoint.
As if this wasn’t enough, Toubkal National Park is also home to North Africa’s highest mountain, Mount Toubkal. This 4,167 meter-high peak towers above the range and provides spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and desert. The hike itself takes two days and you can do this either through a tour or if you have backpacking experience you can go solo also.
For less experienced hikers then there are many other beautiful hikes in the area which are a little easier on the legs. I recommend starting your visit with a morning at the Ecomuseum of Toubkal National Park. Here you will get fascinating information about the local culture and way of life, and they also have experts on the area and hiking maps to help plan your trip.
Chefchaouen – The town painted blue
Moving further east and entering the Rif Mountains you will find the beautifully picturesque town of Chefchaouen. If you have ever searched for a picture of Morocco then it is very likely you have already seen a photo capturing the brilliant blue of this town.
Many buildings here don their signature blue coating and there is some mystery as to the reason why. Some locals suggest that it is to reflect the pure color of the Mediterranean, whereas others believe it is in homage to the waterfall where the town gets its water. Whatever the reason, you will have a memorable experience in this cute town.
If beautiful buildings aren’t enough for you, this cozy town is located close to many wonderful hikes. It also houses old cobble-stoned lanes and features a fortress, dungeon, and museum to explore.
Sidi Ifni – Perfect weather and relaxing beaches
The friendly coastal town of Sidi Ifni is famed for having eternal sunshine. Its sub-tropical climate means warm winters and mild to hot summers, making it the perfect destination for beach lovers all year round. This small town will grace you with long stretches of quiet beaches, shipwrecks to explore, and fantastic rock formations.
Sidi Ifni also offers a unique clash of cultures as it was only returned to Morocco by the Spanish in 1969! This means that a lot of the culture follows more of a Spanish style than a Moroccon one. People eat a combination of foods, casually speak Spanish to each other and even the buildings have an undeniable Spanish twist! Although not as easy to access as some other places on this list, I promise this little coastal town is worth the trek!
Fez – The cultural capital
You may have heard the word fez knocked around, referring to either the hat or the place, but you may not have known that the hat was actually named after the old Moroccan capital. Aside from being the inspiration of hat-makers, Fez has many incredible areas to explore and is essential for any Morocco travel plan. Home to the world’s oldest University, as well as several incredible museums, Fez is the perfect place to experience how Moroccans lived thousands of years ago.
Fez also boasts the largest and best preserved historic town in all of the Arab-Muslim countries. The Medina of Fez, as it is called, is now a UNESCO world heritage site and many of the buildings and functions are still easy to explore on foot.
Fez also has its fair share of beautiful palaces, gardens, and museums, really earning its title of Morocco’s cultural capital. I also recommend checking out the leather tannery to experience the traditional way of curing and dying leather. These tanneries contain multiple large stone bowls clustered together in a small area. Each is filled with a different dye making it a colorful experience as well as a cultural one.
Asilah – To experience a more local crowd
Asilah is known to be one of the areas where Moroccan families visit when they vacation. This little-known spot will get you away from the foreign tourists that crowd some of the other locations in the country, and bring you closer to a more authentic look at Moroccan life. This cute little town is known for its colorful buildings and inspiring art.
The polished buildings lead you straight onto the ocean front where the town is guarded by a strong and ancient wall. To walk around this town is to see vibrant colors around every corner. After you spend your day wandering the artsy new town, walk through the gates to the well-preserved old town, all easily walkable. Why not finish your day by relaxing on the beach and eating a delicious seafood meal? The Andalusian influence on this town, coupled with the gorgeous climate will make you feel like you are on holiday from your travels.
Merzouga – A Saharan adventure!
No trip to Morocco, or North Africa as a whole is complete without a trip to the world’s largest hot desert. Although a remote location, Merzouga is still relatively easy to access from the nearby city of Errachidia. This town is situated close to grand sand dunes that can tower up to 180 meters high! These looming giants seem almost trivial upon approach, but the closer you get the more incredible these dunes become. It’s truly hard to imagine the sheer scale of these dunes on the backdrop of the desert without laying your eyes on it yourself.
The desert provides many options to explore, you can take a camel and ride out to the dunes, take a jeep ride over them, or even camp the night in the desert and experience one of the most incredible sunsets you’ll ever see. There are also many nomadic communities around the area that offer unique opportunities to explore a micro-culture of people who endeavor to live in these harsh conditions.
Ait Ben Haddou – For Game of Thrones fans and history buffs alike
The almost entirely abandoned town of Ait Ben Haddou used to be a bustling trade centre and was a common stop for those caravanning between Marrakech and the Sahara. As you wander the streets of this UNESCO World Heritage site, you may see a few familiar spots if you are a fan of Game of Thrones. This is because a significant portion of Season three was filmed here. This isn’t where the fame stops, however, as many movies such as Gladiator, The Mummy, and Time Bandits all had film locations in this ancient city.
If filming locations aren’t your thing then this fascinating city still has much to offer! You can stay across the river in its more modern counterpart and spend your days exploring the streets of Ait Ben Haddou, a city dating back to 757AD!
So whether you’re after some relaxing time on the beach, a cultural masterclass, or a journey through history; I can guarantee that Morocco has many places to visit which will inspire you on your traveling journey. Visit all of the places on this list and I promise you that you’ll leave Morocco with memories to last a lifetime.