Things to do when visiting Morocco
Morocco is a very diverse country with many top destinations. But what should you definitely see if you are planning a tour in Morocco? There is so much to visit that choosing seems difficult. In this article with the best things to do in Morocco, we help you decide which places in Morocco you should definitely not miss.
Morocco, also known as the gateway to Africa, is just a few hours’ flight from the center of Europe. As soon as you arrive, you find yourself in a completely different world. It’s a great, exotic destination.
There is a lot of history and culture to discover in this beautiful country. You will find beautiful architecture and fabulous landscapes such as the Atlas Mountains. You can travel luxuriously or travel around with a backpack and public transport, sleep in riads or in a tent in the desert. To each his own. It is therefore not surprising that Morocco is a popular tourist destination.
In this article, we give you an overview of the best highlights in Morocco! We also put together a 10-day itinerary in Morocco for you, which includes a large part of these highlights in Morocco.
General tips for your trip to Morocco
- Spring and autumn are the best times to visit Morocco. The temperatures in Morocco are then pleasant, between 20-25 degrees Celsius. There is also little rain during those periods.
- Morocco is a safe country. You will see that there are a lot of police checks along the way, but they are mainly focused on speed and contraband.
Read more: Best travel tips for Morocco
- Respect the local culture. That is why we advise you (especially as a woman) not to wear short or revealing clothing when you visit Morocco.
- If you’re going to the desert, make sure you dress appropriately. During the day light clothing that protects you from the sun and something warm for the evening.
Read more: What to wear in Marrakech and Morocco
- Rent a car. We thought it was great to be able to map out our own route and have the freedom of a car. Keep your attention and be sure to keep your speed.
We rented our car from Sunnycars and were very satisfied with it. They offer you an all-inclusive package so that you no longer have to worry on-site.
- From the center of Europe (for example Belgium), you can fly to different cities. It pays to compare the prices of plane tickets to Morocco. For example, it will be a lot cheaper to start your tour in Tangier instead. Marrakech. Take a look at Tuifly for the cheapest tickets.
10 Highlights in Morocco that you should not miss
Marrakech: the mysterious and enchanting pearl of Morocco
Morocco is a country with a rich and varied history, and this is reflected in its four royal cities. Marrakech is the most famous of these, and it’s easy to see why. The city is a labyrinth of souks, or markets, where you can find everything from spices to handmade carpets. Book a guide if you don’t want to get lost on the first day.
The narrow streets are an explosion of color and sound. And at the center of it, all is the world-famous Djemaa el Fnaa square. This is the place to see snake charmers, acrobats, and storytellers. Be sure to look for the best food stall in the evening. By the way, our favorite is no. 1 (at Aïcha).
Another must-see in Marrakech is the Jardin Majorelle, a cactus garden that is as beautiful as it is unique. It can get very busy so we recommend ordering your tickets in advance and going early.
For something very special, you should visit the Ali Ben Youssef Medersa Quran School. This 14th-century building was once a learning center for future imams. Now it is open to the public again after a long renovation. With its ornate tile work and carved wooden ceilings, it’s easy to see why it’s considered one of the finest examples of Moroccan architecture.
Do you want to know more about Marrakesh? We have written a full article with the best places to visit in Marrakech.
It is best to stay in Marrakech in one of the beautiful riads that you can find in the old center. We stayed in the beautiful Riad Dar Justo, centrally located in the medina. Here you will find an overview of accommodations in the medina of Marrakech.
Merzouga and the sand dunes of the Erg Chebbi desert
This was one of the highlights of our Morocco road trip. The red sand dunes and camels are iconic, and the experience of trekking into the dunes with Bedouins as the sun sets is unforgettable.
You can choose to spend the night in Merzouga on the edge of the desert, for example at the beautifully renovated Kasbah of Mohayut.
Or you can really sleep in a traditional or luxurious Bedouin camp (Beldi Camp), where you see millions of stars at night and see the sunrise over the dunes in the morning. An experience you will not soon forget.
Want to learn more about this fantastic adventure? Then read our complete guide to visiting Merzouga and the desert in Morocco.
The beautiful blue city of Chefchaouen
Chefchaouen is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Morocco today. This small village, located in the north of the country in the Rif Mountains, is best known for its blue streets and buildings.
Every year thousands of tourists come to Chefchaouen to admire the colorful architecture and take pictures. But because it is much smaller (and also less touristy) than Fes or Marrakech, there is a more relaxed, friendly atmosphere.
The big disadvantage is that Chefchaouen is quite far from Marrakech, so many people do not have enough time to get there during their tour. In our 10-day itinerary for Morocco, we propose an itinerary that will allow you to also visit Chefchaouen.
We also recommend staying overnight so you really have time to discover the magic and avoid the day trippers. You prefer to sleep in the old part. We slept in Casa Sanae, where you can have breakfast on the roof terrace with a breathtaking view of the city and surrounding mountains.
In our article Chefchaouen, the blue city of Morocco you will find a complete guide with all our tips on how to best visit this city.
Fez, one of the four imperial cities
Fez is a city in Morocco that you should not miss. When you step into the old medina, it’s like stepping into the fairy tale of 1001 nights and being catapulted all the way back in time.
The narrow, winding streets are lined with ancient buildings, and the air is full of the sounds of artisans creating beautiful products in their workshops.
In the medina, you will find ancient Quran schools, world-famous tanneries, the beautiful Al-Qarawiyyin Mosque, the souks and so much more. You will get lost in the medina anyway, but we recommend that you book a guide on the first day. This way you avoid being accosted everywhere and you don’t get lost in the thousands of streets.
You can spend the night in one of the many riads. We stayed at the perfectly located Riad Alassala. Do not forget to agree in advance where it is best to park your car because the medina is car-free.
Would you like to know more? Then check out our full guide to Fez with our best tips, what to do in Fez, and much more.
The impressive Todra Gorge and Dadès valley
The Todra gorge (Todgha) is located between Merzouga and Aït Ben Haddou, in the middle of a beautiful landscape. You can go on foot or by car through the gorge, where the pink-red rocks reach towering into the sky.
Nearby you will also find some oases with green palms and deserted Moroccan kasbahs. It is an absolutely beautiful place and well worth a visit.
We made a wonderful walk in the Todra gorge. Count on about 4 hours to do the full loop. We tell you all about it in our guide to visiting the Todra gorge.
You can spend the night near the Todra gorge in one of the small hotels. We slept in La Petite Gorge, small but not expensive and close to the start of the hike. Breakfast is included.
The Dades valley is not far from the Todra gorge and is one of the most beautiful places in the south of Morocco. Jagged red, pink, and brown rocks loom over the valley floor, while steep canyons and small villages dot the landscape. The valley is perfect for long walks as you can explore the most beautiful landscapes.
Essaouira: relaxing in a pleasant coastal city
Essaouira is a pleasant fishing town on the Atlantic Ocean west of Marrakech (approximately 2.5 hour drive). In the old town, you will find small streets with white-blue limed houses.
The medina is surrounded by city walls and from there you have a beautiful view of the entire city and the sea. Het is dan ook de favoriete stad van heel wat hippies en kunstenaars.
You can walk around the cozy streets where you will find shops, tea houses, and terraces. At the end of the afternoon, all fishermen return in their bright blue boats and you can view the catch of the day in the authentic harbor.
In addition to its charming atmosphere, Essaouira is also known for its excellent conditions for windsurfing and kitesurfing. The strong winds that blow off the coast make it a paradise for both novice and experienced surfers. There is also a long sandy beach where you can walk or go horseback riding.
We found Essaouira one of the most relaxing cities in Morocco. If you have enough time, definitely go there for a few days.
Do your best to sleep in the medina, we stayed in Mustafa’s nicely furnished apartment. Breakfast is not included but around the corner, you will find a lot of shops where you can easily do small purchases. You can park just outside the medina, so you don’t have to walk far with your luggage.
In our extensive article, you will find more information about Essaouira, our best tips, and the sights.
Rabat: capital of Morocco and one of the royal cities
Rabat is the bustling capital of Morocco and has a rich cultural and historical identity. The streets of Rabat are filled with ancient architecture, fascinating museums, and modern art galleries.
The medina of Rabat is worth seeing, full of vibrant colors, smells, sounds, and flavors that represent Rabat’s diverse culture. Also visit the Mausoleum of Mohammed V, the Hassan Mosque, and Kasbah Oudaia.
Take some time to stroll around Rabat’s traditional markets, where visitors can observe local customs and buy everything from handmade goods and products to an array of different spices.
Although Rabat is a huge area with beautiful monuments and sights that could take you days to discover, it is still relatively unvisited. Ideal for travelers looking for an underrated destination that offers something different with its unique Moroccan charm.
Chances are that you have already seen the iconic ksar (ancient walled village made of earth and stone) of Aït-Ben-Haddou. Not in real life, but during a movie or series. This place has featured in numerous Hollywood productions and served as a backdrop for The Gladiator and Game of Thrones, among others.
Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Aït-Ben-Haddou is located in the foothills of Morocco’s Atlas Mountains and a visit is often combined with the film studios of the nearby film city of Ouarzazate. However, you can also visit the ksar on a day trip from Marrakech or on your way to the Altas Mountains.
A visit to Aït-Ben-Haddou is like stepping back in time. The village has a distinctly medieval feel to it, and it’s easy to imagine what it would have looked like centuries ago.
We slept on the other side of the river in Dar Mouna La Source, with very spacious rooms and a very friendly welcome. From the terrace (where you can also have breakfast in the morning) you have an unforgettable view of one of Morocco’s most beautiful sights.
You can find more information about this amazing place in our article on planning a visit to Aït-Ben-Haddou.
Mèknes and the Roman ruins of Volubilis
The city of Mèknes, also one of the four royal cities, is located not far from Fez, in the upper half of Morocco, in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. The city itself again has a beautiful, ancient medina.
But the region around Mèknes is also rich in history and culture, and there are a number of interesting sights in the area.
A short drive from Mèknes is the Roman ruins of Volubilis. This well-preserved ancient city offers a fascinating glimpse into the past, with its temples, baths, and mosaics.
Close to Volubilis is the village of Moulay Idriss, considered the cradle of Islam in Morocco. This beautiful village is worth a visit for its scenic views and historical significance.
Casablanca: cosmopolitan coastal city in Morocco
Located in Morocco on the Atlantic coast, Casablanca has a rich, ancient history with a unique blend of cultures as the gateway to Africa. It is a bustling and colorful city full of sights, sounds, and people.
Casablanca has many historic and modern attractions to explore, such as the Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca Cathedral, and the old Casa de Pasajes. Be sure to take a walk along the coastline – a wonderfully romantic walk – which offers dramatic views of Casablanca’s spectacular skyline.
In Casablanca, you can shop in one of the many souks for traditional crafts with colorful shops. Or go eat delicious fish dishes or tajine in the many cafes and restaurants or just wander around the medina and soak up the atmosphere.
Casablanca is also one of Morocco’s main transport hubs, making it an ideal starting point for traveling to other parts of the country.
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Or check all our articles and tips for Morocco here.
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Have fun traveling!