Morocco: Top 10 Reasons to Visit
Shop in maze-like souks of Marrakech, visit Fez el Bali (Old Fez), camp in the desert under a canopy of stars, and more on your next trip to Morocco.
10 Best Things To Do in Morocco
Souks in Marrakech
Pick up unique souvenirs from the best souks in Marrakech, Morocco. Put your haggling skills to the test, and offer to pay only half the asking price for each item you wish to buy. From sophisticated Arab rugs and Berber carpets to traditional Moroccan slippers, lanterns, and spices, there’s a wide array of options to choose from in Marrakech’s chaotic, eclectic open-air marketplace. Who knows…you might stumble upon a rare luxurious piece for a bargain.
Travel tip: Moroccan souk vendors and shopkeepers can be annoyingly persuasive, so practice responding with a firm and direct “No.”
Only have a few days in Morocco? Escape the hustle and bustle of Marrakech, and squeeze in a few tourist spots on a walking or driving tour up the Atlas Mountains. A professional guide can be a huge blessing when exploring the famous valleys in the area: Asni, Oukaimeden, and Ourika. An hour and a half after moderate trekking, you will come face to face with the magnificent waterfalls in Ourika. After witnessing this splendid sight, continue the trek to the Oukaimeden Valley, and you will pass through the Berber villages where you can share authentic dishes prepared by the locals. Resume the journey to the Asni Valley, a fertile spot growing almond, apple, peach, and walnut trees. This can also serve as an ideal vantage point to view the 13,665-foot high summit of Mount Toubkal, North Africa’s highest peak.
The Blue City
Do all visitors of Chefchaouen wear blue spectacles? No, it’s not a trick similar to the Wizard of Oz. Almost everything in this city is really painted in blue – houses, mosques, lampposts, even trash cans. Why, you ask? Because the Jews who used to live here (as refugees) wanted to mimic the color of the sky to remind themselves of God. The practice lives on, making this town a magnet for many tourists. Think you’ve seen this spot before? You might have seen it in a commercial by Giorgio Armani called “La Ville Bleue.”
Travel tip: It is considered offensive or taboo to take a picture of people in this city. Basic courtesy applies, so obtain permission before you take a picture of anyone here.
Erg Chebbi Desert
It’s quite easy to step back in time, get a feel of the nomadic life of early Moroccans, and imagine yourself as a traveling merchant bringing goods from the surreal Sahara Desert to the villages along the caravan route. The shape-shifting sand dunes of Chebbi, with the highest peak standing at about 160m, offers a spectacular view of the vast and life-sustaining sea of dunes, especially at sunset. At night, the empty-looking Chebbi desert presents a clear sky ideal for stargazing and camping. This epic backdrop is perfect for a Moroccan culture immersion that you won’t forget anytime soon. Visitors can also enjoy camel trekking or riding, sandboarding, and sharing a traditional meal with Berber people.
Dusty from trekking, camel riding, and other active outdoor activities? Enjoy a luxurious soak and indulge in a cleansing Moroccan bath like the locals do. Experience an important part of Moroccan culture and join a hammam (public bath) to spoil yourself. Afterwards, you may request a private spa treatment or a relaxing massage. All these pampering, exfoliating, and relaxing treatments are supposed to send you back to your hotel room feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
Essaouira, the exotic and exquisite location chosen by Game of Thrones for Daenerys’ kingdom, will dazzle you. Remember the coastal-facing fortress ruled by the Mother of Dragons? That’s based in Essaouira. History buffs will be thrilled to find the influences African, Arab, and European travelers left in the city. The exciting activities tourists can do in this walled city include shopping in souks, browsing the fish market, riding horses, windsurfing, kite-surfing, and bodysurfing. How could you ask for more?
Before Rory of Gilmore Girls expressed her desire to explore Fez, many have been curious about this city. Once the capital of Morocco during the Marinid dynasty, Fez is a rich city with ritzy riads (Moroccan-style mansions), grand mosques, vibrant trades, and colorful markets. Morocco’s second-largest city boasts plenty of tourist spots than you can squeeze in a two-day or a week-long trip. While it’s easier to navigate its centuries-old cobbled streets with a guide, it’s more exciting to lose yourself in its fabled alleyways and discover its secret wonders in the process.
What’s the capital of Morocco? It’s neither Casablanca or Marrakech. Morocco’s capital is Rabat, and it’s listed as a World Heritage Site. A product of modern city planning, Rabat shows off the best of the past and a good future. Find well-preserved remnants of Roman occupations, relax at its tranquil beaches overlooking the Atlantic ocean, or ride a horse and join a heart-pumping race. Whether you’re a culture vulture or an outdoor enthusiast, Rabat is an unmissable Moroccan destination.
Grand Mosquée Hassan II in Casablanca, Morocco
Going on a business trip to Casablanca? Then you’re likely to find the world’s tallest minaret. Standing at 210 meters, the Grand Mosquée Hassan II symbolizes peace and tolerance. While the mosque looks impressive outside, visitors equally admire the artistry and craftsmanship poured into its interior design. As the world’s third largest mosque, it might be overwhelming to explore this structure on your own. Get a guide, and learn about the history of the mosque for a richer, more meaningful tour.
Ksar of Ait Ben Haddou
What can be more mesmerizing than a city that looks like it’s made entirely from clay? Come sunset, and ksar (castle) of Ait Ben Haddou turns its earthen structure into an awe-inspiring village that dates back to Pre-Saharan Morocco. Its striking architecture proved to have a huge universal value, and now it’s recognized as a World Heritage Site. Prepare to tackle the streets by foot, and stop by designated lookout points for the most Instagram-worthy photos of your Moroccan vacation.
Did we miss any must-visit Morocco destinations? Tell us in the comments below.