Morocco is one of those countries that just intrigues and excites! I know that sounds so airy-fairy and wishy-washy but it’s true! There’s just something so special about visiting Morocco. With its stunning Arabesque architecture, souks and even blue-coloured cities – it’s unlike so many places you can visit so close to Europe (except maybe some Moorish palaces in Southern Europe).
And then there’s the landscape! We’re talking the snow-capped Atlas mountains, the scorching Sahara desert (which actually should just be referred to as Sahara because Sahara is Arabic for deserts) and the colourful hills which are home to many Berber people.
Long story short – Morocco is a fascinating and intriguing place to visit and it’s one place that will leave you wanting to explore even more of it once you visit! With that in mind, here are 10 places you definitely should visit when you’re in Morocco!
Let’s start off with the capital. Like most capital cities, Rabat is a popular tourist destination. It has two distinct main districts: the New Town and the Old Town. The New Town is the perfect place to do some shopping and enjoy the warm weather at the city’s open air bars and cafes.
For a busier and more historical vibe, the Old Town is packed with typical Moroccan souks (markets) and is a great place to explore, find some amazing bargains and do some good old-fashioned people watching.
This is the most popular of the lot and probably your gateway into wanting to see even more of Morocco! 😁 Visiting Marrakech is an experience you won’t quite be able to understand until you’ve been there.
The city’s historic Old Town can only be described as an assault on the senses, in the best possible way. It’s loud, it’s colourful, and the smells of spices, food and sometimes the tanneries are inescapable. For an authentic experience, embrace the chaos and stay within the city walls in a traditional Riad then go shopping in the maze-like souks.
3.) Toubkal National Park and Jebel Toubkal
At a height of 4,167m, the hike to the peak of Jebel Toubkal is by no means a gentle stroll. But they do say that nothing good comes easy, 😀 and this will never feel as true as when you’re admiring the view from the highest point of the Atlas mountains. If you don’t think you can make it to the top, the park itself is stunningly beautiful to explore. At only 70km from Marrakech, it’s a brilliant place to recover from the hustle and bustle of the city.
4.) Sidi Ifni
The most fascinating thing about this fishing town in the southwest of Morocco is its Spanish heritage. Sidi Ifni was originally a Spanish territory, and traces of this are still visible today. Whilst it’s relatively small and not as packed with attractions as the big cities, Sidi Ifni is warm all year round, the atmosphere is friendly and upbeat, and the beaches are absolutely beautiful. It’s the perfect place in Morocco for a rather relaxed getaway.
You can often tell whether a place is worth visiting by seeing whether the locals bother with it or not. Since Asilah is massively popular with Moroccan holidaymakers, it’s definitely a safe bet as a great place to visit. From the striking white-painted buildings to its beautiful coastline and the colourful murals adorning the city walls, Asilah is one of the unmissable yet frequently overlooked jewels of Morocco.
This small town in the Rif mountains if famed for its quaint blue painted houses, which give it a decidedly surreal look and feel. If you’re looking to explore the natural side of Morocco from a civilised base, Chefchaouen is the perfect place to do so. You’ll have a view of the mountains from the end of pretty much every street, but if that isn’t enough, you can also go hiking or wild-swimming nearby.
This walled imperial city was Morocco’s capital in the 17th century when the country was ruled by Sultan Moulay. The Sultan’s mausoleum is still in place as one of the great attractions in the city today.
The vibe of Meknes is quite laid back in comparison to Rabat and Marrakech, so it’s a good option if you’re looking for a more relaxed Moroccan city break. It’s also great base for visiting the ruins of Volubilis, a fascinating and partly excavated Berber/ Roman city consider the capital of Ancient Mauretania.
Though a fair few Moroccan cities have taken their turn at playing capital over the years, Fes managed the hold the title for an impressive 400 of them. It’s a medieval city bursting with historic buildings and is fascinating to explore on foot. Highlights include the 9th Century walled town of Fes El Bali and the Merenid Tombs.
If it was good enough for Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley, it’s good enough for us. Essaouira is a small seaside town which has been famously popular with some big names. You can still see colourful murals and tributes to these music legends in the town today. Essaouira is a small but beautiful coastal town with a quaint harbour, perfect for escaping the stress of daily life.
Funnily enough, it’s still fairly overlooked as a place to visit and it was only when we arrived in the Maldives and spoke to our host (she’s from Morocco) who recommended it did we realise how amazing Essaouira truly is. (She said it’s Morocco like Morocco really is and is so much more beautiful than the likes of Marrakesh or Rabat).
For a taste of something different, head out to the edge of the Saharan sand dunes to an area known as Erg Chebbi. Here you’ll find Merzouga, a small town offering an authentic experience of Bedouin life. The best way to explore the dramatic natural surroundings of Merzouga is on camel back; it’s a truly unforgettable experience.