Where to go in Morocco
Where to go in Morocco
Our Guide on Where to Visit in Morocco
Morocco’s has a diverse history and landscape, it is a very old nation with a culture influenced by the Mediterranean, Middle East and Africa. This rich heritage has created incredible cities filled with history to explore. The Imperial cities of Marrakech and Fes offer visitors the opportunity to travel back in time to see how life was so long ago. Fes was founded in 789 and is one of the best-preserved medieval Arab cities in the world. The medina of Marrakech is still a hive of activity filled with market stalls and traders. Exploring the souks (markets) looking for bargains and wandering through the winding streets of the medina (old town) is a real highlight of any trip to Morocco.
The natural beauty of Morocco is staggering, the Atlas Mountains offers beautiful hikes and it dotted with local villages. The Atlas Mountain range has the highest peak in North Africa, Mt Toubkal, at 4,167 m or 13,671 ft. The Berber people have lived in this area for 8000 years and their way of life is in many ways unchanged.
Morocco is home to the Sahara Desert, the largest in the world, it is as big as the USA stretching over the North African continent. In Morocco, they have some of the most beautiful sand dunes in the Sahara. Watching the sunrise over the desert is an experience few people forget. Many people will end their trip to Morocco on the coast and spend a few days on the sandy beaches of Essaouira. Famous for the exceptional surfing conditions it also has perfectly preserved coastal fortifications dating back to the 17th Century.
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I am fascinated by history and culture, so Morocco and Egypt are some of my favourite destinations. Exploring the ancient temples and kasbahs is incredible. I am passionate and enthusiastic, and cannot wait to start curating your African adventure.
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Best places to go in Morocco
Morocco has so much to offer, historic cities, desert, mountains and coasts, here is a summary of some of the best and most popular areas to visit.
Colorful Marrakech is a beautiful, exotic and mysterious city, with an exciting mix of old and new. Its thousand-year history is rich and turbulent, with a cast of characters that includes princesses and sultans, fortune hunters, slave traders, magicians and colonialist. In the centuries-old souks (markets), barrels overflow with spices like saffron, cinnamon, ginger and turmeric, tucked among the hookahs, tapestries, antiques and traditional clothing. The main square, Djemaa el Fna, is the place to be with a wide range of food stalls featuring everything from aubergine fritters to steamed sheep’s head.
This seaside city along the Atlantic is famous for its surfing and has an interesting dual heritage as a former Portuguese fortress with a blend of European and Moroccan traditions and architecture that can be seen throughout. Despite the European influence, it’s a typical Moroccan town with palm trees next to white homes, Gnaoua singing and women wearing white haiks. There are beachfront cafés for dining on fresh seafood while gazing out at colorful fishing boats that bob on the water, and stunning sandy beaches edged by the vibrant blue Atlantic that call for peaceful strolls.
High Atlas Mountains
This mountain range in central Morocco is the highest part of the Atlas Mountains which separate the Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines from the Sahara Desert. They’re home to networks of scenic hiking trails and dirt roads that snake through the mostly unspoiled landscapes, fertile green valleys, remote Berber villages, goat herds, wild herbs and snow-dusted peaks. When you visit, you’ll see a way of life, including flat-roofed homes made from the earth and stone, that’s barely changed over a thousand years, with the Berbers the original inhabitants, a civilization that dates back over eight millennia.
The Sahara Desert is known for its iconic orange sand dunes. A dune system is called an ‘erg’ and it is defined as an area of desert with windswept sand. Most visitors to Morocco will visit Erg Chebbi as it is the most accessible area. There is a second erg, Erg Chegaga which will require a camel or off-road vehicle to access. Closer to Marrakech is the Agafay Desert which is perfect for people short on time. It does not have the sand dunes of Erg Chebbi, it is more of a rocky desert but it is still beautiful.
The gateway to the Sahara Desert, Ouarzazate is south of the High Atlas Mountains. Sometimes referred to as “Morocco’s Little Hollywood,” its exotic backdrop has been used as a filming site for everything from “Game of Thrones” to “Gladiator.” The magnificent medieval ksar of Ait Benhaddou is one of the best-preserved examples of a fortified village in the world. Ouarzazate is an ideal launching pad for the desert, gorges and mountains, the city is also a popular base for outdoor adventurers, with everything from sand surfing, camel treks and 4X4 safaris to climbing and hiking can be enjoyed from here. The town itself is quiet, but there are plenty of affordable and tasty eats, a souk and local stores for shopping.
The so-called “Blue City” is famous for its tranquil atmosphere that has the feel of Santorini minus the water with cubist structures, tucked among the hillsides, winding cobbled streets, alleyways, and steep stairs that are all in blue. It might be more accurately referred to as the “50 Shades of Blue City” with hues ranging from powder and robin’s egg blue to indigo, cobalt and periwinkle. It’s managed to remain mostly unchanged since the Middle Ages, with visitors shopping for unique handicrafts and local produce in the medina’s bustling markets while mint tea is sipped in side street cafes.
The cultural center of Morocco, Fes is the Arab world’s most complete medieval city, a unique and magical mix of Middle Ages meets the modern world. An imperial city established more than a thousand years ago, the oldest part is surrounded by hall walls, with the twists and turns of the ancient streets in the medina fun just to get lost in, dining on street foods like pastilla along the way. Known for its leather products which can be found at the leather bazaar, be sure to visit the pungent, colorful tanneries, to witness the time-honored practice.
Casablanca may forever be associated with the romantic 1945 film starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, and it is home to Rick’s Café, a restaurant that recreated the eponymous spot from the movie, but today it serves as the industrial, economic and cosmopolitan heart of Morocco. It’s well worth visiting just for the buzzing nightlife and the awe-inspiring Hassan II Mosque, the nation’s biggest and most impressive with ornate details that took 100,000 artisan craftsmen seven years to build. Set on a platform extending over the Atlantic, it features vibrant tiles and mosaics that tie into traditional Islamic architecture.
Morocco’s capital city sits along the Atlantic coast at the mouth of the river Bou Regreg. It offers lots of charm with palm-lined boulevards and lovely outdoor cafes relatively free of traffic in ville nouvelle, while the picturesque walled medina is especially atmospheric and far less touristy than others. There are shops of craftsmen and traders, selling carpets, leather goods and Moroccan crafts. The evocative Kasbah of the Udayas is adjacent to the medina overlooking the sea, with its narrow streets lined with whitewashed homes, while Andalusian Gardens sits at its southern edge.
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