What to see in Morocco: the best destinations and their features
Morocco is a country of fascinating culture, full of warmth and charm, with stunning landscapes and architectural masterpieces. It is a land of magnificent cities, each with its own unique style, culture, colors and soulful atmosphere.
It is very difficult to reduce all the cities of Morocco to a list of 10 cities, just as it is difficult to visit them all in a short period of time, but it will be enough to see at least some of them.
It will be interesting:
Also called the “gateway to Africa”, it is the closest city to Spain, less than 14 km from Gibraltar. Every year a large flow of travelers pass through the port of Tangier, this city is known for its Spanish influence, which is reflected in its architecture.
In the 1920s, the city had international status, ruled by colonial powers and was a destination for many Europeans and Americans until Morocco declared independence in 1956. Its multicultural status has attracted many great artists-writers and composers such as Paul Bowles, Tennessee Williams, Allen Ginsberg, Bryon Gaysin and others.
Tangier is still a very popular Moroccan tourist destination for cruise ships and day visitors from all over the Mediterranean Sea and especially from Spain.
Moreover, there are many places to visit in Tangier, where you can admire the beautiful view of the port from the top and enjoy a walk through the old medina. It is also worth a trip to Cape Spartel, an amazing place where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean and the beach of Achekar, one of the most beautiful beaches in the whole country. Be sure to visit the Caves of Hercules, an archaeological cave complex located 14 km west of Tangier.
A blue city located in the Rif Mountains of northern Morocco, Chefchaouen is known for its blue paintings everywhere; literally every house in the old Medina is painted all shades of blue and the city is surrounded by green and brown mountain scenery, which gives the place a contrast as well as a chance to take great pictures.
Most tourists tend to come here for a day just to wander the picturesque streets of the medina. There are not many tourists here, especially at the end of the high season in September or October. So there is nothing to stop you from taking beautiful pictures and enjoying a relaxing stroll through a place of fascinating history.
Also called the heart of Moroccan culture, it is by far the oldest city in Morocco, famous for its oldest medina, which has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is also the second largest city in the country, for more than 400 years it was the capital of Morocco. Fez feels much smaller in scale because of its special charm and character. In its ancient Medina, you can count more than 9,000 narrow streets that form a labyrinth in which it is easy to get lost.
Fez is also known for its Islamic schools called the Medrassa, which you can visit. It is also home to the oldest Islamic university in the world, which is still in operation – Al-Qaraouiyine, and has a beautiful mosque. The tannery in Fez – Chaouwara, is the largest in Morocco, you can come here for a tour and see how natural handmade leather is processed.
In addition, behind the wall surrounding the old city, one can find the royal palace of Dar el Mahzen and the Jewish quarter, Mella, as well as the Ibn Danan Synagogue and the beautiful Jnan Sbil garden.
This city as a whole offers many outstanding examples of Islamic and more Moorish architecture, all monuments and houses beautifully decorated in relief and floral patterns, making Fez an open-air museum. Fez is also known for its variety of street food, many options from meat kebabs to couscous, pastilla and the famous steamed chicken stuffed with vermicelli. All these tasty dishes can be tasted in Ahabin, a well-known neighborhood with its good street cafes and shops.
A small and little-known city known for its Swiss-French architecture, also called Moroccan Switzerland. The city is located in the middle of a large forest in the high Atlas Mountains, the weather is very cold in winter with heavy snowfalls and very comfortable during the summer. The architecture of the city has a modern aesthetic, which is reflected in the beautifully organized neighborhoods of European-style chalets and a large number of green gardens and parks. All these components create such an oasis of opulence and tranquility. Around Ifrane you can find many natural parks and attractions such as waterfalls, underground springs, forests inhabited by monkeys and rare bird species.
This city in Morocco seems quite modern, despite the fact that the first human settlements date back to the Neolithic period, most of the constructions were erected during the so-called French protectorate, from about the beginning of the 20th century. Because of its geographical location – and Ifrane is at an altitude of more than 1,700 meters – it has become the ideal place for the winter vacation of French officials and their families.
Now, the city attracts tourists with its unusual for Moroccan cities, color and ski resorts. This is one of the most interesting destinations in Morocco, because not everyone can even think about going skiing in Africa. The scenery around the city is also incredible – a succession of deserts alternates with a forest, and not have to travel anywhere far from the city, all the most beautiful is practically within walking distance.
The recent capital of Morocco, since the time of French colonialism and one of the oldest cities in the country. The beautiful Hassan Tower, the legendary Casbah de Oudaya, and the Roman-era ruins of Chella—which the Islamic Marinid dynasty rebuilt—are its most well-known features. The old town of Rabat is also surrounded by a wall, and inside there is a large market where you can find all kinds of local products, clothing, leather, copper, wood and textiles.
The Bougregg River separates Rabat from another city, Salé, as well as from the old city with the old Medina. Rabat can be called the cleanest and most cultural resort in Morocco. In addition to historical sites, you can also visit the beach, which is distinguished by its picturesque coastline. You can visit the traditional fishing port, which is also the oldest link between Rabat and Salé.
The economic capital and largest city of all Morocco, Casablanca is known for its huge, stunning Hassan II Mosque, a modern building with an authentic Moroccan flavor built by King Hassan II. The Central Market and Mohamed 5 Avenue are also must-see attractions.
Casablanca is where you will see French architecture and experience the rhythm of life in a large African city. Ain Diab beach is a large bay where the most famous hotels, clubs and shopping malls are located, so if you are looking for bustling tourist spots, go right here.
In general, Casablanca is hard to call a tourist destination. Many international flights go through the local airport, and travelers usually go to more interesting places right from the station. However, if you have an extra day, it’s not a bad idea to check out the city center, because there’s plenty to see here too.
The capital of beach holidays in Morocco. If you dream of yellow sand and gentle waves, you are here. Also, Agadir is the mecca of surfers, who fly here from all over the world during the season. This resort of Morocco has a European flavor – and in fact, here are a lot of tourists from Europe or Russia, and the locals are more like Europeans.
If you book a package tour to Morocco – you are likely to get here, because the beaches of Agadir are considered the best in the country. The resort offers a lot of maritime entertainment – walks on boats and yachts, windsurfing, sea fishing, and more. It is worth noting that there are practically no hotels on the first line, the beach area is wide and free, and many restaurants offer seafood for every taste.
Compared with other historic cities in Morocco, Agadir may not seem too colorful, it is more modern and more “resort”, but it has advantages – a good beach, waves and a lot of entertainment.
The tourist capital of Morocco, one of the most popular cities, is a place not to be missed by those who want to experience the real beauty of Moroccan history and culture. The old city impresses with its abundant markets with a maze of alleys. Every corner of the market displays treasures, from fragrant plants and spices to colorful carpets and textiles, copper lamps, jewelry, leather goods and much more.
The city is also called the red city, according to the dominant color of the city’s buildings. The surrounding landscape around the red city is breathtaking, and starting in the fall you can see the incredible mountain peaks covered with snow.
Marrakech offers many excursions and activities, the main one being a trip to the desert. You can take a day trip or embark on a caravan pilgrimage and wander the desert for days and nights, which is a very exciting adventure.
Essaouira is one of the most mysterious cities filled with atmosphere. It is a coastal city with a large traditional port, stores, cafes and restaurants with the most beautiful romantic views of the coast. Essaouira is also known for its annual Gnaoua ethnic music festival, and in 1960 the seaside town was the destination of famous pop music icons such as Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, The Beatles and Led Zeppelin.
The beach itself in Essaouira is known as a kitesurfing hotspot, and the town is charming with narrow streets, colorful houses and small forts that overlook the busy harbor. There are not many good resorts in Morocco, but Essaouira gives you not only a good vacation at sea, but also a chance to experience the culture of the country, and the local color will not leave anyone indifferent.
Another of the four imperial cities of Morocco, carrying a huge part of the country’s history, with beautifully preserved historic buildings, mosques, the remains of ancient Berber settlements, numerous towers and gates. It is a true tale for lovers of antiquity and the history of North Africa.
Once upon a time, Meknes was the capital of Morocco, but now it is called the Moroccan Versailles, as it can safely be considered an architectural masterpiece of the country. Its privileged location, only 160 km from Rabat and 60 km from Fez, allows you to visit it whenever you want without deviating from your itinerary.
The medina and the Royal Palace are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and other monuments such as the gateway to the old town of Bab el Mansour are breathtaking in their splendor. The best idea would be to stay in riads, small Moroccan houses with courtyards. Many locals offer some of their houses for rent to tourists, so you not only save on accommodation, but you can spend time in a beautiful and colorful environment.