Spectacular landscapes, characterized by reddish desert sand, huge mountain massifs, historic cities and, last but not least, beautiful beaches are waiting to be discovered with all your senses during your trip to Morocco. Explore the old town of Marrakech and breathe in the scent of exotic spices at colorful markets or interrupt your visits to royal palaces and archaeological sites with a refreshing swim in the Atlantic Ocean! No country in the world combines sun, sea and culture in such a sensual combination as the diverse Morocco.
Here is our list with the 22 Best Places to Visit in Morocco.
22. Sidi Ifni
160 kilometers southwest of Agadir lies the beautiful, quiet and small coastal town of Sidi Ifni surrounded by barren desert. It is nicknamed the “Gateway to the Sahara” and has no more than 21,000 inhabitants.
The Art Deco style with Spanish colonial buildings, which has been predominant since the 1930s, is one of the reasons why so many tourists are attracted to Sidi Ifni today. Wide streets flooded with wind and light, bright administrative buildings and a main street lined with palm trees with cafes, hawker stores and gardens form the image of the city. The houses are mainly arranged in white cuboids with blue doors and shutters.
Artistic highlights include the old Admiralty, the Cathedral, the Lighthouse, the Governor’s Palace, the Twist Club and an abundance of residential buildings, which are located in the heart of the old city center. The Spanish Square with the adjacent Rue Sidi Mohammed, a palm-lined avenue of cubic houses and flowering gardens, is a particularly fine example of Sidi Ifni’s urban architecture.
Here in Sidi Ifni, the western Sahara reaches almost down to the sea. Therefore, the landscape is rather barren and rough, but all the more pristine and wild.
10 km north of the city center is Legzira beach with its gigantic red rock arches and caves, which can be reached by an uninterrupted coastal walk.
It is also lonely with turquoise surf at the White Beach, the “Plage Blanche”, which starts 30 km south of Sidi Ifni and lives up to its name. The Plage Blanche is also considered the longest sandy beach in Morocco, whose visit can also be combined with a desert excursion, because here desert dunes run with the beach.
Rabat is one of Morocco’s royal cities and also the country’s capital. Although it is well behind Fez and Marrakech in terms of visitor numbers, this is what makes it all the more interesting as a tourist destination.
In contrast to Fez, for example, the alleys of the medina are wider and orientation is provided by the large, car-free shopping street Rue des Consuls, which runs parallel to the mouth of the river and where you can watch the traditional traders and craftsmen go about their business. In addition to classic souvenirs such as spices, silver jewelry, ceramics and woven goods, there are also typical North African bazaar goods such as jeans, sneakers and sweets.
The “city within the city” towers over the medina as a picturesque quarter in blue and white. On the southern bank of the Rabat estuary, where the Rue des Consuls ends, you can reach this unique 12th century fortress via the Souk Ghezel square, whose original function was to guard the city by the Oudaias tribe.
It is particularly beautiful to stroll either along the fortification wall to the Oudaia Gate or along Jemaa Street, whose path leads to Rabat’s oldest mosque, Jama al Atiq. The Kasbah also houses the Musée des Oudaïas, as well as a jewelry museum, terraces, the Andalusian Garden, and a 100-year-old Moorish café, Café Maure, from which you have a great view of the neighboring town of Salé. By the way, you can also stay overnight in the Kasbah, as many locals have converted their houses into guesthouses.
In the royal city of Meknès, all those tourists who love medieval city flair will get their money’s worth. And if that’s too much of a medina atmosphere for you, you can experience the Ville Nouvelle, a “sophisticated” district in the eastern part of the city that was built under French rule. Mèknes offers many beautiful cultural and historical points of interest.
The oriental old town dates back to the 10th century and burst into full bloom under Islamic rule in the 18th century. An almost 40-kilometer-long wall still shows the historic boundaries of the core city with its impressive, mosaic-covered gates. This wall has preserved impressive landmarks, including numerous mosques that have given the city the nickname “City of a Hundred Minarets.” Inside, visitors can also expect a lively, but not quite as bustling, visitor spectacle as in Fez. UNESCO declared its old city a World Heritage Site in 1996.
Those who pass through the imposing gates are usually the first to land in one of the original souks (bazaar quarters), which are arranged around the mosque. The souks in Mèknes are less touristy, less crowded and also less expensive than in Marrakech or Fez. The covered souk is located in the Place El-Hedime. As dusk falls, this square becomes busier and busier. In this ambience, comparable to the Place Djamaa el Fna in Marrakech, with fire-eaters, storytellers, snake charmers and jugglers, you feel as if you are in another world.
Especially oriental with green-roofed turrets is the Place el Hedim, which is located between the old town and the royal quarter directly at the famous, ceramic-tiled city gate Bab Mansour. Bab Mansour is considered one of the most beautiful gates in the world and dates back to the time of ruler Moulay Ismail.
Blue everywhere! Chefchaoun is no stranger to Morocco’s tourists. The main mountain town in the Rif Mountains is at the top of most travel guides’ to-do lists. Located in the foothills of the Rif Mountains in the north of the country, in the Tangier-Tétouan region, it has a manageable population of 36000. Situated between two large peaks, Chefchaouen sometimes looks like a romantic little town with blue-and-white whitewashed, narrow high houses nestled in terraces on the mountainsides.
The pebble-paved old town with its many winding, steep alleys is a wonderful example of Andalusian-Arabic influences in architecture, art and living culture – this is especially noticeable in the central square Outa-el-Hammam.
While lingering on the many café terraces, visitors can enjoy a magnificent view over the great mosque Tarik-Ben-Ziad. The highly ornamented octagonal minaret is based on the minaret of the Torre de Oro in Seville. Andalusian architecture can also be found in the 17th-century Kasbah built by Pasha Ahmed Errifi and its gardens in the heart of the medina.
Asilah is one of the most important tourist cities in Morocco. The town of 35,000 inhabitants is located in the north of the country directly on the coast. There are numerous beautiful and extensive beaches here. The city is also an important fishing location. The area was settled very early.
A witness to this is the stone circle of M’zora, which can be visited eleven kilometers outside the city. Already in ancient times Asilah was populated by the Phoenicians, Moors and Romans. Later, there was also an Arab kasbah here. Today the city is a popular tourist destination during a round trip.
The picturesque old town with its white southern European-Mediterranean-style houses is a tempting place for a stroll. Also worth seeing is the city wall with its defense towers from the Portuguese occupation period from the beginning of the 16th century.
The Moorish palace Er-Raissouli from 1909 houses a cultural institute. The old cemetery by the sea is a special place with its partially tiled tombs.
Blue and white painted houses, Andalusian-Portuguese style, an old town, sunbathing, surfing and art, harsh climate and salt water … The real beauty of the white city on the Atlantic, built in 1760 /1765, was rediscovered only by the hippie movement after 1967. Since then, Essaouira is a popular place for dropouts, artists, but also for tourists.
Essaouira is a place that no Morocco vacationer passes by during his round trip. Accordingly, the town is characterized by tourism, but is therefore also well suited for a family vacation. The city has acquired its cosmopolitan flair through centuries of trade with Europe, and even Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley are said to have had a soft spot for the Moroccan Atlantic coast.
Sometimes winding, sometimes symmetrical alleyways that are not quite so narrow. There are the souks, cafes, two beautiful city gates, art galleries and locally produced goods such as lamps, colorful cloths, art paintings, herbs and spices “jostling” inside the great city wall. The alleys are wider and lighter in Essaouira, however, because security was a central theme of Sultan Sidi Mohamed. The center of the old town is the square Mulay el-Hassan. Here the city pulsates – meeting place for tourists and locals, not only because of the many restaurants and hotels.
Fès is the third of Morocco’s four royal cities and is located in the foothills of the Middle Atlas Mountains. Its most important visitor attraction is the oriental, terraced old town of Fès el Bali with its stair-lined alleys, some only 50 cm wide, the medieval buildings and the Moorish round-arched architecture. It has 350 mosques and is considered the most authentic of all royal medinas.
The medina of Fez is a highlight in itself, especially when you enter it through the “Blue Gate”, the so-called “Bab Bou Jeloud”. You can spend hours in it, whether voluntarily strolling or involuntarily because you can’t find your way out of the zigzag maze of alleys. Maps and GS devices are just as overwhelmed in this labyrinth. But don’t worry, no tourist has ever been lost. And on the journey through time you discover many beautiful historical places.
For example, in the Attarine and Kissarya souks, visitors can watch craftsmanship in the making up close and personal. The streets and quarters of these two bazaar alleys are divided according to crafts.
The highlight of the visit to Fez is a trip to the tannery and dye works. Here, leather and skins are still tanned and dyed according to medieval methods. When visiting this workshop, you can put Moroccan mint in your nostrils if the strong smell of ammonia is too pungent.
For tanning, the workers repeatedly press the leather skins under water in a liquid made from pigeon droppings, and then they hang to dry on the roofs of houses, later to be dipped in a pot of paint. An impressive process to which one can well indulge in an hour of watching.
15. High Atlas
The High Atlas is Morocco’s southernmost and also the highest mountain range in North Africa. Its peak is the Jebel Toubkal with 4167 meters.
The landscape here is rugged and so the clay villages were often built on the mountainsides so that every bit of fertile land in the river valleys could be used. There are only two really good pass roads through the mountains, otherwise you will find mainly stony tracks as well as small mule trails to pass. This fact prevented mass tourism in most areas until today and so many of the deep valleys and lonely plateaus remained relatively untouched.
Because of the impassability of the mountain range, the High Atlas often served as a protected retreat for the various Berber tribes, who developed their own social network in isolation, based on tribal affiliation and solidarity. Even today, the protective fortresses (Ksar) and clay storage castles bear witness to the time of the warlike past.
A visit to Morocco without a hike through the dunes is unthinkable – and in the Erg Chebbi near Merzouga you will find one of the two most impressive sand dune landscapes in the country, formed solely by the wind. Sand as far as the eye can see: 22 kilometers from north to south as well as five kilometers from east to west the desert stretches with a shifting sand dune up to 150 meters high.
The oasis town of Merzouga is the starting point for exploring Erg Chebbi and a desert highlight. Here the giant dunes rise to high mountains and from this point the real and seemingly endless desert begins. The desert offers the most beautiful view in the early morning hours or in the late afternoon until sunset.
About 3 km west of the Merzouga oasis, in the middle of a petrified field, is a lake, Dayet Sri, where flamingos can be seen after the rains in winter. Fossil plants and animals lie scattered about.
About 25 kilometers further away from the city of Merzouga and right on the Algerian border is the date palm oasis of Taouz. In nearby Jbel Kfiroun, there are petroglyphs and several stone tumuli whose age and function no one has yet been able to clearly determine.
Located in the middle of a palm oasis, surrounded by up to 14 kilometers of red clay walls and known for its lively souks and old town – Marrakech has retained its character and charm of the old desert city and royal residence to this day. Not only that, it is one of the most colorful cities in all of Morocco, transporting visitors into an old town maze of bazaars with oriental lamps, woven carpets and spice scents, Moorish riads and palm trees against a bright red and yellow background.
The old town with its famous bazaar alleys literally transports visitors to a 1001-night atmosphere. Woven carpets, ceramics, parchment lamps, huge spice stalls in all colors are stored up to the roof in the narrow winding alleys characterized by stairs and vaults.
Each alley has its own “product”, so that the loss of orientation for tourists is limited. Here one also strolls along the many riads, city villas with leafy courtyards, for which Marrakech is famous. Riads are particularly suitable for overnight stays.
Under the name “Jugglers’ Square”, all kinds of snake charmers, artists, fire-eaters and acrobats, flying merchants, herbalists, trained monkeys, cooks and musicians meet here at the central marketplace of Marrakech to offer their services. Translated as “gathering of the dead,” executions were carried out here just a few decades ago.
Today, the former camel transfer point, where marriages were decided with a handshake, is a favorite haunt of tourists and locals, and the exoticism is enhanced by special products offered from the witchcraft of fairy tales.
At the very top of Morocco’s Atlantic coast, on the Strait of Gibraltar, lies the port city of Tangier with nearly one million inhabitants. Because of its always high transit rate of various travelers, it has always been exposed to diverse influences.
The Kasbah quarter at the top of the medina of Tangier dates back to the 3rd and 4th centuries and houses archaeological finds from over 2000 years of the city’s history. Through the Bab el Assa gate leading to the Kasbah, one reaches the square of the Sultan’s Palace. The Musée des Antiquités is located here in the former kitchen rooms (Dar Schofa) of the palace. The museum itself has a prehistoric and early historic collection of mosaics (from Volubilis) and sculptures. The palace’s beautiful tropical gardens continue to house the museum’s craft workshops.
The main attraction in Tangier is the bustling medina around Petit Socco Square with its markets, crafts, stores and cafes. To the north of Grand Socco Square, vacationers and locals stroll in Mendoubia Park for a leisurely stroll. One encounters there a huge dragon tree, said to be 800 years old.
Via the Rue de la Liberté shopping street, one reaches the Place de France, the center of modern Tangier with the famous Grand Café de Paris and the Hotel El Minzah, where artists and writers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries such as Paul Bowles, Tennessee Williams, Jack Kerouac, Muhammad Asad, Truman Capote and William S. Burroughs came and went.
From Faro Square, with its cannons, there is a beautiful view of the medina, harbor and bay of Tangier. High up on a rock, the legendary Café Hafa dominates the Strait of Gibraltar.
Casablanca is an international metropolis with few old buildings and few Moroccan cultural elements. However, it is characterized by French colonialism – with wide boulevards and French-inspired townhouses from the 1930s and 1940s, complemented by new high-rises and buildings in New Oriental style. Museums, cinemas, cafes, restaurants, discos – everything can be found here. Here on the Atlantic coast you can experience tradition and modernity.
Hardly any visitor to Casablanca misses one of the most famous places of worship in the world: the Hassan II Mosque is the second largest mosque in the world, over 20,000 people can pray inside at the same time, and there is room for another 80,000 on the forecourt. Except on Fridays, people of all denominations can visit it on a guided tour. The mosque is located directly on the Atlantic beach just west of the harbor.
Mohammed V. Square is the intersection of Avenue de I’Armee Royale, with the city’s main skyscrapers, and Av. Hassan II. Place Mohammed V, with its fountain, is considered the most beautiful square in Casablanca. Here you can find the City Hall with a clock tower, the Palace of Justice, the Municipal Theater, the State Bank and the Arab League Park.
The Old Medina is Casablanca’s old town and is suitable for strolling through for hours, no matter how often. Each time you visit, you discover a new detail in the colorful tangle of textiles, lamps, ceramics and art.
Casablanca’s beachfront offers swimming and party nightlife. If you are looking for clubs and parties, come here in the evening. The style of the hotels and restaurants is more Western than Oriental.
10. Al Hoceima
If you are not in the mood for art and culture, but rather for a modern beach vacation, Al Hoceima is the right place for you. Located directly on the Mediterranean Sea, the city was founded in the 1920s and initially served the Spanish as a military base.
In this relatively young city, of course, you cannot expect historical buildings and sights, but it compensates with a picturesque fishing port and a small, cozy city center in the Spanish style.
Almost deserted in winter, Al-Hoceima blossoms into a modern seaside resort and tourist paradise with over 100,000 inhabitants in the summer months and is highly popular with both local visitors and tourists from all over the world.
The most beautiful beaches are located a little outside the town in the direction of Chefchaouen and belong to Cara Iris, Badès and Torrès. Here you can find everything to please the heart of the modern vacationer – numerous hotels of all categories, miles of fine sandy beaches, as well as a wide range of sports and leisure activities. Despite this popularity, the beaches are not yet very crowded and can offer a nice change from the usual beach vacation in Italy or Spain.
Safi is a large city in Morocco and has about 450,000 inhabitants. It is the administrative center of both the Doukala-Abda region and the Safi province. Safi is located on the Atlantic Ocean and about 250 kilometers from Casablanca. Besides this city, Safi is not only the most important port, but also the most important industrial location in the country.
Safi is important as a fishing port. The history goes back to the year 1253, at which time the Genoese already established their base in Safi. The Portuguese then established a trading post in the 15th century for gold and ivory, which they exported from India and Africa. The city was surrounded by a wall several kilometers long for protection. But the Berbers launched several attacks and eventually managed to drive the Portuguese from there. However, it did not harm Safi’s importance as a trading city, and in the 17th-18th centuries there was even brisk trade with Europe.
Today Safi is partly boring-modern built, but offers interesting sightseeing points through different old areas. The old town – medina – is considered particularly interesting. The maze of alleys looks very quaint and as you would imagine, it is still a place to live and trade as in the Middle Ages. Outside the old city walls, the Dar el-Bahr fortress – the sea castle – with its bronze cannons awaits curious visitors. The Manueline-style mosque and Christian sacred buildings round out the offerings.
In the middle of the High Atlas Mountains, the city of Ouarzazate is surrounded by a grandiose mountainous landscape and looks like a picturesque sand castle carved into rock and glowing oriental red and yellow. The city was only founded in 1928 as a French garrison town and is now the provincial capital of the same name with over 100,000 inhabitants.
Due to the young history of the city, the townscape is not historically characterized and therefore less interesting for tourism – but all the more for the tourist infrastructure. There are impressive excursion destinations in the immediate vicinity of Ouarzazate that are worth discovering.
Ouarzazate is surrounded by the 2712 meter high Saghro massif in the east, the 3304 meter high Djebel Siroua in the west as well as the three thousand meter high peaks of the High Atlas in the north and the two thousand meter high peaks in the south.
About 30 kilometers to the northwest is the village of Aït-Ben-Haddou – a village fortified against attacks (Ksar), which since 1987 has been included as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The village consists of red clay buildings, some of which have been elaborately decorated. The nested residential castles (tighremts) with their battlements and corner towers give the village a fortified appearance.
From Ouarzazate to Boumalne du Dades, the valley of Dades or Dades Gorge (Oued Dadès) stretches out, lined with incomparable kasbahs and the typical fortified villages, such as Tidrheste or Tiflit, which are always worth visiting to contemplate the traditional way of life of the Berbers. In the Dades Gorge grow mainly poplars, figs, almonds, nuts, pomegranates and barley. Against the red background of the cliffs and the snow-capped mountains of the High Atlas, this view may even seem a bit surreal to the observer.
7. Ouzoud Waterfalls
The gigantic waterfalls of Ouzoud in the Middle Atlas, which plunge more than a hundred meters into the depths there, are one of the most famous postcard motifs in Morocco and an equally popular excursion destination.
The small village of Ouzoud is located about 200 kilometers northeast of Marrakech in the Middle Atlas and is a popular excursion destination, especially among Moroccans. The settlement is famous for its imposing waterfalls: the Oued Ouzoud river thunders over three steps into the depths here. In good weather, the sun conjures up beautiful rainbow images from the dust-fine water in the air. At the foot of the waterfall live Barbary macaques, which have lost their shyness towards humans, not least because of the numerous tourists, and appear surprisingly perky.
The oasis of Skoura is 40 km from Ouarzazate, you will inevitably pass here to reach the gorges of Boulmane Dadès.
If you want to make a trip to the valley of Dadès, Skoura is certainly a much more pleasant staging point than Ouarzazate to spend a night before starting your adventure.
Skoura is on the route with the most beautiful Kasbahs in the country. Therefore, you should take the opportunity to discover these former fortresses made of rammed earth. They tower above the valley and offer great views! The most famous, located not far from Skoura, is the kasbah of Amerhidil, built in the 17th century. Certain scenes of the movie Lawrence of Arabia were filmed here, which makes it even more interesting.
Pretty little villages, in the area of El Kellaâ M’gouna on the banks of the Oued Dades, are also worth a detour. It is a good opportunity to discover the Berber culture and make nice encounters.
From here you can reach the Valley of Roses, where you can buy rose water, an ancient secret for beauty used by Moroccan women. You can use it to refresh yourself, very pleasant!
5. Draa Valley
The former caravan station and today’s provincial capital of Zagora, on the edge of the Erg Chegaga desert, has been greatly developed for tourism in recent years and today has about 35,000 inhabitants. The cone-shaped local mountain Djebel Zagora towers over the city. It is an ideal starting point for a trip to the Sahara.
Zagora is located in the Drâa Valley (Vallée du Drâa), a riverbed that stretches 1100 km from Ouarzazate to the Atlantic Ocean when the Drâa carries water. The valley is for many Morocco connoisseurs the most beautiful valley and the most impressive landscape of the country. The most beautiful part of the Drâa River, with flowering gardens and fields, runs from its source at the El Mansour reservoir to Zagora before silting up there.
The Vallée du Drâa is about 200 kilometers long. A green and fertile band of large palm plantations begins at the oasis town of Agdz and extends to Mhamid just before the Algerian border. The towering complexes of kasbahs, the ribbon of palm trees along the river and the small orchards blend together to form an unreal landscape – the mountain massifs around Zagora, on which old clay villages were built, reach an altitude of over 1,000 meters.
Oasis cultivation is practiced in the region around Zagora mainly for subsistence. Irrigation systems are found here, where canals and barriers are used to water the various gardens evenly.
At first glance, the date palm oasis of Tafraoute is located in an inhospitable-looking area: steep mountain slopes and fragmented granite rocks surround the town of the western Anti-Atlas, which lies at an altitude of 1000 meters. The nearby Djebel Lekst, with its 2359 meters of altitude, seems to dominate the town. The town was previously a Berber village characterized by alpine farming and agriculture, and there are hardly any records of its origins.
Especially the landscape and the architecture of the town are all the more interesting, which is why today the town is considered an economic and tourist center in the western Anti-Atlas. The houses of the inhabitants nestle against the rock walls – they are still inhabited by the Berbers of the Chleuh.
In or near each of the houses, small springs of water spring up between stones, which makes the area very fertile at second glance: the gardens and plantations are well arranged. Date palms and various fruit and nut trees provide the needed shade for vegetable, grain, corn and millet plantations. Furthermore, dense bushes of Indian figs also grow here.
3. Anti Atlas Mountains
Morocco even has another huge tourist area: trekking in the Atlas Mountains. If you like it a little warmer, travel to the Anti-Atlas Mountains, which lie south of it “in front of” the Atlas, to its foothills towards the Sahara Desert with its oasis settlements.
The Anti-Atlas is the southern mountain range of Morocco. It is virtually wedged between the High Atlas in the north and the Sahara desert areas in the south on the Algerian border. In the east, the mountain range begins at Erfoud in the Tafilalt and extends to the Atlantic coast in the west at Tan-Tan. The highest mountain peak is Jbel Aklim at 2,500 meters, and towards the south and the Sahara the mountainous ruggedness increases more and more.
From the heights of the mountain range, one already has an impressive view of the Sahara to the south. Especially worthwhile is a visit to the fortified village complexes (ksare) in the region around Tafraoute. Especially the spectacularly situated Ksar Tizourgane on a hilltop must be seen: In the near future, part of the storage castle is to be expanded into a museum on Berber history and culture.
2. Moulay Idriss Zerhoun
Still looking for a Morocco insider tip off the beaten track? Then we recommend a trip to Morocco’s holy city of Moulay Idriss.
Moulay Idriss is the most important place of pilgrimage in Morocco and has only been open to foreign tourists for a few years. Located between two green hills, it is considered the holiest place in Morocco because it houses the coffin of Moulay Idriss. He was the first ruler of the Moroccan Empire. Pilgrims travel here from all over the country to visit his mausoleum. To this day, non-Muslims are not allowed to enter the mausoleum and are only allowed a brief glimpse through the entrance gate.
Moulay Idriss is not packed with sights, palaces or madrasas. The city itself is a sight to behold, and yet so far removed from mass tourism and commercialism. It reflects the authentic life of a typical Arab city, which is terribly chaotic and yet so calming at the same time.
Volubilis was a Roman city near Meknès in Morocco. The ancient ensemble of public buildings, dwellings and farm buildings has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997. Volubilis represented the trading center for olive oil and grain in the Roman Empire, which accounted for the wealth of the place. The excavation site is considered one of the best preserved Roman cities in North Africa.
About half of the ancient city of Volubilis has been uncovered so far. Some of the ancient buildings are still clearly visible and have been partially restored. These buildings include public structures as well as private residences and farm buildings. Among the most important public buildings are the Basilica and the Triumphal Arch, built by the Roman Emperor Caracalla. From the triumphal arch you can access the main street Decumanus Maximus.
This is also partially preserved and leads from the triumphal arch to the former city gate. The Baths of Volubilis, the Temple of Jupiter and the Capitol are the remains of the daily life of the inhabitants of Volubilis during the Roman period. The uncovered dwellings, some of them very large, still give a glimpse of the wealth of some of the citizens. On the floors of these buildings, some of the filigree floor mosaics can still be seen. Visitors can discover the economic importance of Volubilis’ trade and oil production in the excavated granary and the countless olive oil stores and production sites.