Morocco is an attractive mix of quiet conventional life and frenetic vacationer haunts; a spot the place atmospheric souks and stylish surroundings converge to create enthralling journey experiences. Listed here are our favorite locations in Morocco.
Morocco holds an everlasting fascination that few different areas can compete with. Whereas just a few hours from Europe, it stays firmly rooted in its medieval previous.
Bustling night time markets and vibrant souks give the cities an unmistakable power. Sleepy mountain villages nestled into burnt landscapes of rocky canyons, hum to the ebb and circulation of each day life. Alongside rivers fringed by swathes of fertile inexperienced, crumbling kasbahs betray an historic highly effective Morocco, strategically situated alongside once-prosperous caravan routes.
Regardless of the various standard tourist-driven issues to do in Morocco, the nation nonetheless holds a number of surprises. Mountain climbing in distant villages within the Atlas Mountains; exploring rose-filled valleys; day journeys to hidden desert oases.
There are few locations on the earth that seize the unique extra poignantly than on a highway journey by way of Morocco. It’s a culturally various area with a bunch of great issues to do. Listed here are a few of our favourites.
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IN THIS GUIDE
THE BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN MOROCCO
PLACES TO VISIT IN MOROCCO
MEDINAS & CITIES
The noisy, cramped, bustling medinas of Morocco are a sensory overload. Tranquil mosques with beautiful particulars compete with the clamour of busy souks within the labyrinth of tight laneways. They’re probably the most intoxicating locations to go to in Morocco.
1 – ESSAOUIRA
The medina of Essaouira oozes attraction and buzzes with power. Native markets favour a conventional lifestyle and the Recreation of Thrones-famous port sings to the hubbub of fishermen hauling within the morning’s catch.
And but beneath the power, a calming vibe spreads all through the small city. Artwork galleries disguise down slender facet streets and cafes line shaded pavements.
After the craziness of Fez, strolling across the streets of Essaouira, stopping for sundowner drinks by the port and discovering recent regional meals, planted this seaside resort firmly in our record of high Morocco locations to go to.
READ NEXT / OUR QUICK GUIDE TO ESSAOUIRA
2 – FEZ
The Fez medina is a maze of alleyways bursting in sensory overload. An unique labyrinth the place historic traditions captivate fashionable vacationers. The decision to prayer floats over the clatter of metalworkers bashing pots, tanners beating leather-based, and donkeys trotting down cobbled lanes. Intricately carved mosques and medersas gleam in opposition to the mud and grit of a well-used metropolis.
The medina is a singular expertise. On our self-guided strolling tour of Fez we explored probably the most atmospheric souks, enthralling historic sights and hidden gems within the tightly packed labyrinth.
Fez is an unmissable Morocco journey expertise in an intoxicating vacation spot.
3 – MARRAKECH MEDINA
Life in Marrakech is lived on the road. Slender alleyways are lined with limitless rows of stallholders promoting handmade lanterns, vibrant embroidered cloth and cheesy vacationer souvenirs.
Simply strolling across the central souks within the coronary heart of the medina is an expertise price savouring. Our highlights have been the edgy jewelry in Souk des Bijoutiers, craftsmen hammering out steel pots in Souk Haddadine, wool dying in Souk des Teinturiers and leather-based in Souk Cherratine. Examine all of them in our favorite issues to do in Marrakech.
In a city whose structure radiated the world over within the type of Moorish influences, the Marrakech medina is a wealthy tapestry of design and inventive affect. See all of it with our Marrakech itinerary.
PLACES TO VISIT IN MOROCCO
IN & AROUND OUARZAZATE
Ouarzazate is a well-liked cease on the way in which from Marrakech to the sand dunes of the Sahara. With intriguing kasbahs, a hidden oasis and mountain villages superb for getting off the overwhelmed monitor, it’s an space properly price exploring.
4 – AÏT BEN HADDOU
Aït Benhaddou is a fortified city on the banks of the Ounila River. Constructed from native mud bricks, it’s among the best locations in Morocco for a totally fascinating sundown.
Having been partially rebuilt as a set for iconic movies corresponding to Gladiator, Jewel within the Nile and Jesus of Nazareth, it’s not an genuine take a look at rural Morocco life. However exploring within the late afternoon is an expertise price grabbing.
Because the crowds begin to skinny and the stallholders disband, it’s not unusual to have the place fully to your self. Right now of day, Aït Ben Haddou shimmers in mushy golden gentle. From the highest of one of many surrounding hills, lovely desolate mountain surroundings stretches on for miles.
READ NEXT / EXPLORE AÏT BEN HADDOU
5 – OUNILA VALLEY
The remnants of Moroccan energy can nonetheless be found on a highway journey by way of the Ounila Valley. The decaying properties of Telouet Kasbah and Tamdaght Kasbah present simply how affluent the caravan route was to this a part of the nation.
Carving its method from the excessive Atlas Mountains to the barren plains simply north of the Sahara Desert, the Ounila river has remodeled the panorama. A wealthy number of inexperienced crops line the valley flooring, contrasting with the rusty pink rock of the canyon-like partitions.
It’s a totally lovely a part of South Morocco. On route from Marrakech to Ouarzazate, cease and stroll round among the superbly set villages together with Tajeguite, Assaka and Taïfaste.
6 – OUARZAZATE
Atlas Studios, based mostly simply exterior Ouarzazate, has been churning out Hollywood motion pictures since 1983, making the small desert city the centre of the film trade within the area. Over 200 motion pictures from biblical scenes to historic Egyptian fables have been filmed right here. However the spotlight is the entire set of Kingdom of Heaven rising out of the barren panorama.
Along with a tour of Atlas Studios, the Cinema Museum on the town has a unusual assortment of outdated movie units. Discover the cell Russel Crowe emerged from in Gladiator, a really convincing trying Egyptian palace, and remnants from the Star Wars motion pictures.
Being central to the caravan routes, Ouarzazate additionally has spectacular kasbahs. Stroll by way of the 300 room Kasbah Taourirt and get misplaced within the maze of passageways.
READ NEXT / BEST THINGS TO DO IN OUARZAZATE
7 – FINT OASIS
A group of 150 individuals reside within the 4 villages that line the palm-fringed river on the Fint Oasis. It’s an idyllic spot the place little appears to have modified for hundreds of years. Ladies work small fields; males herd goats and youngsters pull faces from the backs of donkeys carrying them and their produce between the villages.
Vast pink rock canyon partitions swirl overhead with the small valley ablaze with lush inexperienced crops and vibrant pink flowers. There’s one café within the oasis to take pleasure in a scenic cup of mint tea, nevertheless, aside from that, there may be little or no to do. Simply stroll round and discover life because it as soon as was on this hidden nook of the world.
Though comparatively unprecedented, Fint Oasis is without doubt one of the most lovely locations to go to in Morocco and a chilled shady location in the course of the desert.
8 – SKOURA PALMERY
The 15-mile palm grove that makes up the Skoura Palmeraie is 1 hour from Ouarzazate. Even from the highway, the dense assortment of palms is a powerful view, framed superbly between the pink rock of the valley. Deep inside, a complicated community of roads leads by way of small hidden fields and over an ingenious historic watering system.
There are a number of kasbahs to go to, probably the most spectacular being Kasbah Ameridil which seems on journey brochures worldwide because of its extravagant decorations. Just a few glorious resorts are based mostly within the palmeraie, so the actual attraction is spending an evening in stress-free oasis consolation. We suggest Le Jardin de Skoura for a slice of heaven in what looks like a secret place to go to in Morocco.
PLACES TO VISIT IN MOROCCO
The Excessive Atlas Mountains are dotted with Berber villages the place small crops are tended by livestock and girls working lengthy, tiring days. It’s a privilege to witness this conventional lifestyle, Berber hospitality and spectacular surroundings.
9 – OUIRGANE
The Berber villages alongside the Ouirgane Valley are nonetheless comparatively untouched by tourism, however the space is wealthy in meals which have develop into staples for its inhabitants.
On our journey, we organised a information to hike by way of a number of of the villages within the valley, probably the most memorable being the hilltop city of Tikhfist. Right here we sat in a small mud hut with unimaginable views over the valley and met 105-year-old Mohammed. His daughter made us a scrumptious tagine whereas we cracked recent walnuts and mentioned Berber life – because of the assistance of our translator and information – one other Mohammed.
Appreciating the straightforward life in Ouirgane was a totally rewarding option to expertise Moroccan hospitality.
10 – AÏT BOUGUEMEZ VALLEY
Within the northern reaches of the Atlas Mountains, Aït Bouguemez is taken into account by many to be probably the most lovely valley in Morocco. And it’s straightforward to imagine. Shepherds and goatherders usher their flocks from one inexperienced patch to the subsequent. Ladies hurry throughout fields, scything crops and carrying the day’s work on their backs. Within the villages, the scent of Berber tagines – a recipe unchanged for hundreds of years – wafts from clay ovens.
Village to village mountain climbing within the Aït Bouguemez valley is a implausible option to expertise rural Moroccan life; a far cry from the bustling cities frequented by most vacationers. Out right here, the relaxed, gradual tempo of life entices guests with elegant surroundings, encounters with cheeky children and a few glorious mountain climbing trails.
11 – IMLIL
It’s arduous to consider too many good issues to say about Imlil; little greater than a roadside settlement excessive within the Atlas Mountains with guesthouses lining a busy thoroughfare. The aim of being right here is to make use of it as a base for mountain climbing the best level within the Atlas Mountains, Mount Toubkal.
From Imlil to basecamp, it’s a comparatively simple 5-7 hour stroll to the summit. In a single day is spent at basecamp earlier than tackling the summit the next day. Guides could be organised at Imlil for Toubkal and different walks within the space.
12 – TIZI N’TICHKA PASS
The drive up the Tizi n’Tichka cross within the Atlas Mountains is without doubt one of the most scenic within the nation and a well-liked place to go to in South Morocco. A collection of hairpin turns carves its method up the valley rising to the two,260-metre summit, with spectacular views over the rugged, rocky mountains under.
To proceed on from Tizi n’Tichka, take the P1506 by way of the valley. This was as soon as the principle caravan route from Marrakech to Timbuktu and the drive is breathtaking. Cease on the Telouet Kasbah, one of the outstanding within the space.
Though a well-liked vacationer route, Tizi n’Tichka stays one of many high locations to go to in Morocco.
13 – TELOUET KASBAH
For hundreds of years, the Ounila Valley was the principle passageway between Marrakech and the caravan routes of the Sahara. The remnants of their energy can nonetheless be found within the magnificent decaying dwelling of Telouet Kasbah.
Because the fortified dwelling of the Glaoui household – who ran the commerce routes to South Morocco – the kasbah was as soon as an expression of the intense wealth of the household. It’s thought that the decorations on the ceiling took 300 employees 3 years to finish. Wanting up on the outstanding stucco plasterwork and inlaid cedar ceilings, it’s straightforward to imagine.
As a result of Glaoui household’s connections with the French occupation of Morocco, Telouet Kasbah has been left to decay and is nearly deserted. See it earlier than it’s too late.
PLACES TO VISIT IN MOROCCO
CANYONS & DESERTS
Morocco is a land of canyons and deserts. Skinny stretches of lush inexperienced valleys are wedged between imposing partitions of pink rock. It’s a mesmerising panorama that finishes on the sands of the Sahara Desert.
14 – DADÈS VALLEY
What most individuals are in search of within the Dadès Valley are a set of tight zig-zags that rise dramatically from the valley flooring to Aït Oufi. Head a little bit previous Café Timzillite the place you’ll get the very best view of the valley disappearing in entrance of you with the highway twisting its method down.
However for us, the spotlight of the Dadès Valley is the outstanding characteristic of Monkey Fingers, the place streams of water have minimize rivulets and slot canyons within the rock. There’s a good view from Isabel Guesthouse café, straight in entrance of the unusual bulbous rock formations. Nonetheless, the easiest way to see Monkey Fingers is on a 3-hour guided stroll – all the main points are in our Morocco Itinerary.
15 – TODRA GORGE
At nearly 200 metres excessive and solely 10 metres huge at its narrowest level, the Todra Gorge is a spectacle. The large wall of rock that magically modifications color because the solar fades is without doubt one of the most mesmerising issues to do in Morocco. Though barely tarnished by the vacationer distributors on the backside of the gorge, there’s nonetheless loads of good causes to return to Todra.
The perfect being the superb half-day mountain climbing across the gorge. The route takes you alongside the again of the canyon partitions and previous nomad camps. It takes about 4 hours and the views are ever-changing and glorious. All the main points could be discovered on our Todra Gorge hike article.
16 – ERG CHEBBI DUNES
The Erg Chebbi dunes at Merzouga come mesmerizingly near fulfilling most individuals’s expectations of what a desert atmosphere ought to seem like. Massive, symmetrical curves of sand that catch the sunshine and glow with reddish-golden wonderment. The dunes are a tiny 7 kilometres huge, so the camel trip out to remain in a single day in a tented camp is extra theatre than real journey expertise, but it surely maintains the phantasm in all the proper methods.
The spotlight is Berber singing below starlight because the underground barbeque sizzles with Moroccan delights. Regardless of all our scepticism, it stays an exquisite Morocco reminiscence. To keep away from the Bedouin caravan turning right into a desert circus, attempt to go to low season if attainable.
PLACES TO VISIT IN MOROCCO
VALLEYS & WATERFALLS
In a land largely parched with desert and scarred by rippling pink rock, water appears to spring from nowhere. Creating lush inexperienced valleys and towering waterfalls, they’re among the most lovely, and stunning, locations to go to in Morocco.
17 – DRÂA VALLEY
The skinny ribbon of inexperienced shaped by the 125-kilometre stretch of date palms within the Drâa Valley is without doubt one of the most unique locations in South Morocco. The round highway journey between Ouarzazate and the city of Zagora is probably the most picturesque part of the valley with a number of nice highlights.
Tamnougalt is without doubt one of the oldest standing fortified villages in Morocco. Dramatic and indulgent in design, mud brick towers rise over lots of palms beside crumbling buildings the place historical past oozes from lavish decorations. The Berbers who reside in Tamnougalt will likely be joyful to barter a really informative tour of town.
Close by, the village of Tinzouline has a way more lived-in really feel with a thriving souk on Mondays.
18 – VALLEY OF THE ROSES
The Valley of the Roses has been carved by the Assif M’Goun river because it twists and turns its method right down to the city of Kalaat M’Gouna. An exhilarating 30-kilometre paved highway runs alongside the river, with glorious views of the pink rock that frames the inexperienced of the valley flooring.
Every April and Could, the valley is flooded with roses being picked by native ladies to be shipped off to factories in close by Kalaat. However even exterior of flower season, we had an exquisite time exploring the Valley of the Roses. The spectacular dramatic surroundings is as mesmerising as the entire absence of vacationers.
19 – TINGHIR OASIS
The sight of the inexperienced ribbon of the Tinghir Oasis because it curves by way of the panorama and snakes round this in any other case barren area is outstanding. There are a number of viewing platforms alongside the favored N10 highway, nevertheless, the easiest way to see the oasis is on foot.
Stroll alongside the west facet to discover a world hidden below the cover of palms. Olives, figs, almonds and alfalfa develop within the fertile soil of the valley below the shady safety of the palmery. The restored ksar is spectacular but it surely’s the various crumbling kasbars that actually maintain the enchantment. The Monday souk is a thriving market and the perfect place in Morocco for handmade pottery.
20 – OUZOUD FALLS
Set within the dramatic El-Abid River gorge, Ouzoud Falls are superbly nestled in a jungle paradise that’s a cool stress-free reduction from the tough Moroccan solar.
A path zigzags down the valley wall as spray from the falls clings to dense inexperienced foliage and cools the air. It’s a gorgeous a part of Morocco. A tribe of mischievous macaque monkeys roam the bushes beside the falls in search of objects to steal from unsuspecting vacationers.
On the backside, the luxurious jungle opens as much as an inviting pool with the three cascades of the falls plunging into the water. Regardless of the no swimming indicators dotted across the water, each vacationers and locals alike take the chance to chill off.
READ NEXT – BEST THINGS TO DO IN MARRAKECH
MAP / TOP PLACES IN MOROCCO
Our favorite locations to go to in South Morocco are unfold out over a big space, so having your personal automobile is the easiest way to see them. Thankfully, driving in Morocco is comparatively straightforward and it’s the easiest way to expertise the whole lot this fascinating nation has to supply.
We suggest Auto Europe as our trusted rent automobile companion. All our journey assets are on our reserving web page. Alternatively, we have now plenty of highway journey ideas in our diving in Morocco information.
MORE READING FOR MOROCCO
Though solely a brief flight from Europe, Morocco is a distinct world. Discover medieval medinas, bustling souks, and gorgeous surroundings with extra of our Morocco guides.