The choices are endless. Morocco offers places to explore for a lifetime, but for most of us with a limited time it is better to choose a few key places. We have compiled a list of places and areas to consider during the process of assembling the perfect route.
Whether you want to focus on a specific aspect of Morocco – landscape, city, countryside, customs or traditions – or want to see all that Morocco has to offer, this is the first decision that must be made. Because Morocco is such a huge country, it is best to first determine the type of trip you want and then focus on one or two areas that you can experience.
You want to have enough time to absorb and enjoy everything you see and experience, instead of trying to fit into everything. Additionally, the Moroccan population is a mix of Berber, Arab, African and Andalusian, which is another consideration when planning your itinerary, depending on the specific cultural and traditional aspects you wish to engage during your trip ( such as food).
The city offers exciting buzz, colour and life, especially in the Jemaa El Fna square and the labyrinth of souks in the city’s medina, the old central walled area (now a World Heritage Site). The Koutoubia Mosque dominates the skyline here; the rooftop terrace café is the perfect place to watch the evening sun go down.
It is always interesting to visit a pharmacist to learn about herbs and spices and their medicinal and culinary uses. After the hustle and bustle, visit the Majorelle Gardens, an oasis of peace and tranquility in the Rose City. This can be followed by a Turkish bath and massage.
Rif Mountains and Chefchaouen
Chefchaouen is a delightful little city with a beautiful setting. Chefchaouen is often referred to as the “blue city” because buildings are painted white and dark blue paint is used on doors, windows and decorative features. It’s a peaceful city where the pace of life is gentle and slow. The city is set amidst the towering Rif Mountains, with meadows, woodlands and farmland visible on the lower slopes. Chefchaouen is located about 60 kilometers south of Tituan in northwestern Morocco. The surrounding area is ideal for all levels of hiking and outdoor activities.
Morocco’s largest city, Casablanca, is undoubtedly “fast-paced” compared to other cities in Morocco. Casablanca is a very modern city on the Atlantic coast, but the architecture of the old town and the Hassan II Mosque are well worth a visit.
Once the capital of Morocco, Fes is home to the world’s oldest university; the World Heritage medina adds to its appeal (and its famous pottery). With a history of more than 1,000 years, Mekenes is also the capital of Morocco and one of the four imperial cities of Morocco. Many historical attractions can be found here, such as the Bab Mansour, a huge arched entrance gate, tiled on all sides, which in its heyday was the entrance to the imperial city.
Essaouira offers fresh coastal air, expansive beaches and leisure promenades, in contrast to the bustling medina area. Narrow alleys take you past countless shops, stalls, cafes and restaurants. The port is crowded with working fishing boats, and there are plenty of sailing activities to see and enjoy. Besides Essaouira, there are many other smaller Atlantic coastal villages between it and Agadir to the south, offering very calm and relaxing seaside options.
High Atlas Mountains
In the High Atlas, there are towering mountains and deep river valleys. Here, the Berber community perseveres through sheer effort. Traveling here, whether on foot/trail or in a 4×4 vehicle, shows a fascination with doing business in the countryside, in the fields, in the markets and along the lines. Casual encounters and meetings (often informal invitations to drink some mint tea) add great fun to an already vibrant environment.
Sahara Desert Morocco
After crossing the High Atlas Mountains, head south to the Sahara Desert. A camel, quad bike or 4×4 vehicle can explore the arid mix of plains, mountains and rolling sandy sea “waves”. An overnight stay in a Bedouin camp further deepens the desert thrill (although it can be cold at night!). Small desert communities can be visited to gain insight into their traditions and way of life in this harshest environment.