Morocco is a well-rounded country with so much to offer for any type of traveller, whether you’re looking for an adventurous trek in the snow-topped Atlas Mountains, a vibrant city-break filled with cultural exploration, a beach getaway at the finest Moroccan resorts, just steps away from adorable coastal towns with their own unique culture, or if you want to explore the Saharan desert, fall asleep under the starry skies, and experience the tranquillity of the pure nature.
Including bright blue cities, winding markets, and huge medinas that the locals gather in, you won’t get bored during your exploration of Morocco. Wander through the wonderfully chaotic streets of Marrakesh like fun travel groups like The Moroccan Trail, discovering its incredible markets, or appreciate the art scene in more tranquil, coastal towns with their beautiful murals overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Whatever you’re looking for on your holiday, there is no doubt that travelling through Morocco opens you up to endless possibilities.
1. To discover its vibrant market scene
Known as souks, one of Morocco’s most visited and photographed attractions has to be its vibrant market scenes. These are found throughout the country, but you’ll find the most impressive, bustling ones in big cities like Marrakech, Fes, and Casablanca. The markets also offer a huge insight into traditional Moroccan culture and lifestyles, not only because many Moroccan’s shop at the markets, but because it is also a place for socialisation that has become extremely important in Moroccan culture. Feel the hospitality of the locals as they share their artisan products with you enthusiastically. The lively atmosphere is fueled by vendors' persuasive efforts, making each shopping experience memorable.
The markets are some of the best places if you love a good souvenir to bring home, as you can get some of the most beautiful handcrafted products that are sure to stand out of your collection. The plethora of stalls includes a wide array of products to choose from, including spices, intricate handcrafted jewellery, leather goods, textiles, ceramics, carpets, and fabrics. Be prepared for bright, colourful products. You’re sure to fall in love with your Moroccan purchase, and the artisan products serve as wonderful, unique gifts for friends and family back home!
2. Sleeping under the stars in the Saharan desert
Experience a once in a lifetime opportunity and sleep under the stars while camping in the Sahara desert, a unique excursion that is one of the most enthralling experiences in the country! From Marrakech, you can go on a tour to Erg Chegaga, which is known to have some of the best stargazing in the entire world. You’ll get to explore traditional Berber towns, the largest oasis in the world, M’hamid El Rhizlane, enjoy traditional lunches, and enjoy a traditional show and dinner around a campfire in Erg Chegaga. At sunset, you’ll head out on a beautiful camel trek through the sand dunes before sleeping in the desert, where you can spend your time enjoying the beautiful night sky until you’re ready to call it a night. This is one of the most intriguing and special experiences in all of Morocco, as you get to experience the Sahara desert and remote locations of Morocco that would be difficult to get to without tour groups.
3. Stunning cities with a rich history
There are so many beautiful cities to explore in Morocco, each with their own unique history, including some big names like Marrakesh, Fez, and Casablanca. Throughout their histories, these cities have been giant cultural hubs, trading centres, and filled with artistic and intellectual movements that have shaped Moroccan culture to this day.
Marrakesh is often referred to as the ‘Red City’ and was founded by the Almoravids in the 11th century, serving as the capital of their empire, but also serving as a cultural and political centre for centuries. The city is abundant in history, with a variety of UNESCO Heritage sites, including the city’s medina, narrow streets filled with the bustling souks and incredible palaces, and the square of Djemaa el-Fna was granted status as a UNESCO Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. This cultural hub is filled with live entertainment during the day time including snake charmers, musicians, and street performers, and by dusk, transforms to the culinary experience of a lifetime as traditional Moroccan cuisine and delicacies overtake the food stalls. Another must see in Marrakech is the Koutoubia Mosque which dominates the city’s skyline and is one of the most iconic and important landmarks in the city.
Moving on to Fez, the ‘Athens of Africa’. The whole city of Fez is actually a UNESCO World Heritage site, due to its status as the oldest imperial city in Morocco, dating back to the 9th century, and was and still is to this day an important spot in Islamic education and scholarship. Fes el-Bali is the city’s medina which is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is actually the largest car-free urban area in the whole world! Inside the walls you’ll find narrow streets filled with historical sites like the oldest continuously operating university in the world, University of Al Quaraouiyine.
Casablanca is different from Marrakech and Fez since it was only a small port town from the 7th century until the 20th century, when the French colonisers came in and transformed Casablanca rapidly into the cosmopolitan city it is today. The architecture throughout the city is quite different from that of Marrakesh and Fez, as it is a combination between Moorish-inspired designs and Art Deco, creating a more modern vibe. One of the most impressive landmarks is Hassan II Mosque, which is famous for being one of the largest mosques in the whole world! Its minaret overlooks the Atlantic Ocean, and the stunning backdrop only adds to its impressiveness. Casablanca is a great representation of the modernities of the 20th-century combined with the older architecture.
4. A beautiful coastline
While Morocco draws in visitors for its cities and the Saharan desert primarily, the country also has a beautiful coastline filled with stunning beaches that are perfect for a relaxing vacation. There’s over 1,800 kilometres of coastline along the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, so it can be difficult to explore it all. Luckily, we’re here to break down the best coastal towns for each type of traveller.
Essaouira is a laid-back coastal town that has become very popular among water sports enthusiasts due to its windy shores. The beach is vibrant, energetic, and you’ll see people windsurfing and kite surfing amongst other things on the beautiful, sandy shores. Not to mention, Essaouira is a beautiful town that doesn’t draw in as many visitors as a lot of the cities in Morocco, but it is extremely historical with a wonderful medina, so while you get the beach you also get amazing cultural experiences!
For artistic folk, Asilah is a must. Asilah is known for its amazing art scene, attracting visitors from all over the world for its annual arts festival known as the Cultural Moussam of Asilah. The white-washed town’s walls are filled with brightly coloured murals, making for a unique stroll around the streets. The combination of artistic charm with beautiful beaches along the Mediterranean coast makes for an unforgettable coastal experience that you’ll only find in this adorable town!
Finally, for a luxurious resort getaway, your best bet is to head to Agadir. It is one of the most popular coastal destinations for those looking to soak up the sun and relax, with tranquil waters and beautiful promenades lined with palm trees. The coastline is crescent shaped, lined with high-end resorts with luxurious amenities to offer its guests. The town is quite modern as well, so if you’re more interested in the beach aspect, you’ll find for sure here in this white-washed resort town!
5. Enjoy your Moroccan getaway without the stress of planning with The Moroccan Trail
There’s nothing better than having a stress-free trip organised at the hands of professionals, experts on the region of Morocco, and that’s exactly what you can get by going on a road trip with The Moroccan Trail! With travel groups like The Moroccan Trail, they currently offer a splendid road trip that takes you through the highlights of Morocco in 8 days. It is a great way to optimize your time in Morocco, since all the planning, transport, and itineraries are in the hands of The Moroccan Trail, and your only responsibility is to enjoy the ride!
The Moroccan Trail road trip starts off by picking you up from the airport in a luxurious car hire, and then takes you to The Lunar Surfhouse, a quirky and cool yoga and surf retreat. Although options to participate in both yoga and surfing are available, if you’re not interested, don’t worry, there’s other cool excursions to keep you busy! Your 3rd day in Tamraght will be on a journey to the Paradise Valley, where you can swim in the valley, cliff jump, and appreciate the calm nature.
On your 4th day, you’ll say goodbye to Tamraght, and head into the Saharan desert. You’ll be staying in the old country residence of the Moroccan King which was converted into a beautiful hotel with an amazing pool for you to relax in. The next days, you’ll explore the Sahara in a 4x4 car as you explore the sand dunes, appreciate Moroccan culture with a traditional campfire, stargaze, before journeying off to your next stop, a Barber village that was the filming location of Game of Thrones and the Gladiator known as Ait Ben Haddou, an authentic pearl in the Atlas mountains.
Finally, for your 7th and 8th day, you’ll get to explore the bustling city of Marrakesh, exploring the winding streets and the traditional life in the big city before heading back home. All and all, sounds like a perfect roadtrip through Morocco to us! Journeying with The Moroccan Trail means you’ll get to see so many highlights with expert guides and no worries at all!
6. The Atlas Mountain Range
The Atlas Mountain Range stretches thousands of kilometres across Morocco that essentially divides the country from the Atlantic Ocean and the Sahara desert, and is classified into three different mountain ranges, each offering something a bit special and different, those being the High Atlas, Middle Atlas, and the Anti Atlas.
The High atlas, or the ‘Roof of North Africa’ is without a doubt the most rugged of the three, and is mostly explored by trekkers and mountain climbers who are looking for an intense adventure. There are several high peaks, like Mount Toubkal which is the highest point in North Africa. The intense climb takes at least two days to complete! If you’re interested in the strenuous hike, you can climb the peak with a tour group Since no actual climbing is involved, it is quite an accessible trek and it always helps to have a guide for safety purposes on your trek!
The Middle Atlas is just north of the High atlas, and is known for its beautiful wildlife. Instead of intense trekking, the Middle Atlas is visited more by wildlife enthusiasts hoping to spot a wide range of bird species that call the cedar forests their sanctuary, and the barbary macaque, an endangered ape native to the species, an awesome sighting if you’re able to encounter one as you journey through the lush forests!
Last but certainly not least, we have the Anti Atlas. This beautiful region cutely nicknamed the Little Atlas is one of the least-visited mountain ranges in all of Morocco, which is such a shame because it is equally as gorgeous as its older siblings! The Anti Atlas is southern, characterised by its desert-esque landscape and beautiful gorges, including Todra Gorge and Dades Gorge, which are dramatic and stunning, and favourites among hikers in the area.
7. Gorgeous architecture
Morocco is filled with a variety of architectural influences, drawing inspiration from North Africa, the Middle East, and Europe, and is also characterised by the intricacy of the deisgns featured, as well as for its brightly coloured towns and buildings, alongside the white-washed look you’ll encounter along the coast.
Of the styles of architecture found in Morocco, the most traditional and famous is that of the Moroccan Riad Architecture, traditional houses that feature intricate tile work, beautiful fountains, and have a central courtyard or garden. A lot of riads have been converted into accommodation for travellers, and staying in a traditional riad is a great way to appreciate Moroccan architecture while also experiencing the rich cultural heritage deeply enrooted in the country.
Moorish architecture is a beautiful mixture of Islamic and European styles, often noted for its incredibly beautiful tile work and magnificent wooden carvings. One of the best examples of this style can be found in Fez at The Royal Palace of Fez, known for its stunning tile work and for being the ultimate example of Moorish architecture in the city! Moving to the villages is where you’ll find Berber architecture which have adapted to blend into the natural environment, using mud bricks and earth materials, unique to the indigenous people of North Africa.
Of course, most of Morocco’s architecture is heavily influenced by Islam and the traditional Islamic design. Mosques dominate the city skylines, built centuries and centuries ago, and buildings and landmarks feature arches, domes, and tile work that is incredibly emblematic of the Islamic influences.
8. Mint tea, delicious and historical
Did you know that mint tea has long been significant in Moroccan society and is even considered as the national drink? Despite its incredible importance in the social culture of Morocco, interestingly enough, mint tea was introduced by traders from Europe and Asia in the 18th century. Morocco then added their own spin on the delicious commodity, making it with fresh mint leaves. This little twist transformed the drink into a national symbol!
Mint tea has become a symbol of Moroccan hospitality. Customarily, guests are served mint tea as a gesture to welcome them into one's home, and is symbolic for friendship in the country, and you will most likely get your first taste of the staple beverage when you arrive at your hotel or riad.
The preparation of the national drink is also graceful and intricate. After the tea is brewed, intricate and ornate glasses are filled from a beautifully decorated teapot from a high position, which is a method that cools the drink, making it drinkable right away! Trying this delicious tea is a must-do in Morocco, as it is one of the best ways to embrace the traditions of the country.
9. The blue city of Chefchaouen
Chefchaouen is a captivating city located in the Rif mountains, and is so incredibly decorated that it deserves its own section! The enchanting town draws in visitors from all over the world, namely for its stunning blue-washed architecture. The tradition of the blue painting is thought to have originated from the Jewish population that once resided here, and now has made it a distinctive destination that stands out from its neighbouring cities. The city was originally founded in the 15th century as a fortress to resist Portuguese invaders from entering.
Nowadays, Chefchouan is filled with wonderful markets and artisan shops selling handwoven textiles, ceramics, and interesting woodwork, and it has often been a favourite spot for shoppers seeking traditional Moroccan craftsmanship!
As all Moroccan cities, a great way to explore is with a local, and this guided food tour takes you around the blue city with your friendly local guide who will show you the best local delicacies of Moroccan cuisine, all while showing you some of the beautiful highlights of the city. This is a fun and unique way to learn about Chefchaouen!
10. Incredible gastronomy
The delightful fusion of Berber, Arab, Moorish, and Mediterranean flavours has created an amazing culinary experience in Morocco, with healthy, delicious dishes that are sure to impress any of its visitors. There are so many dishes to try in Morocco, but there are some that definitely stand out and are well-known worldwide that you can’t miss out on during your trip to Morocco!
Starting strong with Morocco’s national dish, Couscous. You’ve most likely heard of this delicious Moroccan stape as the semolina grain has become popular worldwide for its delicious texture. Couscous can be served with anything, but it is usually served with flavourful Moroccan stews like with lamb, chicken, and delicious vegetables. Speaking of delicious stews, you can’t leave Morocco without trying tagine, a dish that refers to both the clay pot and the meal itself. The slow-cooked stew creates the most tender, flavourful meat served with spices, vegetables, and herbs. The shape of the tagine pot helps to protect and retain the flavours and moisture! Not to mention, the tagine also goes hand-in-hand with couscous!
Travelling to seaside cities like Casablanca and Essaouira opens up a whole new world of Moroccan cuisine, deeply rooted in the fresh seafood found in the nearby waters. Grilled fish, shrimp, and calamari dominate the menus and are enhanced with delectable flavours like cumin, paprika, and saffron. The cuisine on the coast differs from the interior, but is equally as delicious and flavourful.
Would it be a conversation about gastronomy if we didn’t dive into the sweets? Phyllo characterises a lot of the country’s deserts, like the well-known baklava which is layers of phyllo dough filled with ground almonds, orange blossom water, and nutty, honey filling! Other delicious desserts include meskouta, an almond flavoured cake often served alongside mint tea, and ghoriba, delicious cookies also flavoured with almond, which you may notice is a staple in Moroccan desserts.
11. An insight into Islam
A lot of Morocco’s cultural practices are deeply rooted in Islam with a majority Muslim population that has been prevalent in the country since the 9th century! No matter your religion, immersing yourself in the culture and understanding the customs, traditions, and values in Moroccan society is a beautiful way to get to know the country and its people. Most notably, you’ll get to witness the vibrant religious life through the mosques. Being the spiritual centre of the islamic community in Morocco, mosques frequently play their call to prayer, which echoes through Moroccan cities multiple times a day. If you’ve never visited an Islamic country before, it is a really wonderful experience to see the importance of the daily prayers in the religion.
Speaking of mosques, these buildings are some of the most stunning places you’ll come across. The beautiful architecture of the mosques is just another representation of the devotion in Islamic architecture. Every detail of the mosques is meticulously planned to create a wonderful space for worship. Well preserved medinas, mosques, and islamic schools known as madrasas characterise the architecture of each Moroccan city.
12. Great year-round weather
Morocco is a great place to visit year round as the weather is always quite mild despite the hot summers, making it a great destination for those looking to escape a colder country! The Moroccan weather is at its strongest during the months of July and August, where the temperatures can exceed 45 degrees celsius, but that gives you 10 months of temperate weather, so no matter what time of the year suits you best for your Moroccan getaway, you’re more than likely to experience a mild climate between 13-25 celsius during those 12 months. Perfect for escaping the winter, spring breaks, or exploring during the autumn months.
13. Experience tradition in Berber villages
Staying in traditional Barber villages is an unforgettable experience, as these small villages have so many well-preserved traditions that have stayed intact and preserved from outside influences, and the locals are incredibly friendly and eager to share their traditional way of lives with curious foreigners. These villages are located in the Atlas Mountains, so if you are interested in doing any hiking in those regions, you can combine your journey through nature with some cultural experiences, immersing yourself in the traditions. When exploring the Berber region, make sure to appreciate the traditional craftsmanship. Purchasing souvenirs from these local communities is a great way to support the local artists who get less business compared to those in the bigger cities, although they’re just as talented!
There are a lot of festivals that take place in the Berber communities which are a great excuse to visit these villages and learn about the culture of the village. Some unforgettable experiences include attending the Rose Festival, which is held in the town of Kelaat M’Gouna. Locals riding on horse and camel back are seen carrying freshly picked roses, and a variety of rose products are sold. Live music is performed alongside traditional Moroccan cuisine, and a young woman is chosen yearly to be the ‘Rose Queen’ and crowned in front of the festival as a representation of the beautiful flower. We assure you it is such a cool and unique experience to discover in Morocco!