What to see in Morocco, 9 must-see places

Morocco

Morocco highlights

Morocco is a beautiful country in North Africa and there is plenty to see and do. You can visit one of the four royal cities, where every street is filled with beautiful mosques, cozy cafes, and small spice shops. You can also take a trip to the impressive Atlas Mountains, where you can enjoy hiking in nature. Do not forget to explore the Sahara by camel, where you can admire the most impressive starry skies at night. You can enjoy the beach and the sun in delightful coastal towns such as Rabat and Casablanca and visit the Kasbahs in the Draa Valley. So there is plenty to see! See here 10 sights in Morocco that you should not miss.

Marrakech:


Marrakech is a beautiful city in Morocco and it is located north of the High Atlas. The city is also called the red city because the red loam from the area is used for the buildings. This makes for a beautiful whole and you can spend hours walking around the city. Everywhere you will find cozy streets with small spice stores, terraces filled with locals, and mosques. The highlight of the city is Djema El-Fna square. In this square, you will find a large market, which is even the largest in all of Africa. There are vendors, street artists, locals, and tourists walking together and you can buy the tastiest delicacies and most beautiful souvenirs.

Near the square is the famous Koutoubia mosque. This beautiful mosque has a high tower of 66 meters, which can be seen in almost the entire city. The mosque is definitely worth a visit. Unfortunately, non-Muslims are not allowed inside, but you can explore the surrounding gardens. The rest of the Medina (Moroccan name for the old city) is also beautiful. It is surrounded by a long city wall and within those walls, you will find a maze of narrow streets and alleys filled with playing children, small stores, and teahouses. A very nice and cozy atmosphere! From the city, you can also easily make trips to the Sahara and the Atlas Mountains.

Atlas Mountains:

The Atlas Mountains is a mountain range that stretches across Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. The mountain range is divided into several parts and in Morocco, you will find the High Atlas, Middle Atlas, and Anti Atlas. Especially the High Atlas is very impressive and you can hike here in the summer and ski in the winter. The mountain range consists of authentic mountain villages, vast steppes, high peaks, rivers, and waterfalls. The highest mountain is the Toubkal with 4165 meters. Near this mountain is the beautiful Toubkal National Park and from the beautiful town of Imlil, you can easily explore it. Another beautiful sight is the Todra ravine.

This ravine lies at the end of a green valley and the stones have a pink color. A small river flows through the gorge and you can take beautiful walks in peace. The various villages in the Atlas Mountains are also very beautiful. The villages are connected by narrow paths, which you can cross on foot or by donkey or horse. In addition, the Aït-Benhaddou Kasbah castle is also highly recommended. From here you have a beautiful view and the castle and the village have often been used in films. The waterfall Cascade d’Ouzoud is a popular attraction. It is the most impressive waterfall in Morocco and in the surroundings, you can hike beautifully.

Fes:

Fez is one of the four royal cities in Morocco and also the best-preserved ancient city in the Arab world. It seems as if time has stood still here and the city has hardly changed compared to 1200 years ago. It is a beautiful place that is the intellectual center of Morocco. You will find the oldest university and library in the world. The Karueein University dates from 859 and is located in a beautiful building. Definitely worth a visit! The rest of the city of Fez is also very beautiful. In the medina, you will find narrow streets and alleys that are only passable on foot or by donkey. It is a quiet car-free city, where you can stroll. Everywhere you will find small spice shops, workshops, and teahouses. Besides being the intellectual center of the country, Fez is also the most spiritual city.

Everywhere you will find large and small mosques, all of which are definitely worth a visit. In addition, Fez is known for the production of carpets and clothing. Along the river, there are many craftsmen making clothes and bags from animal skins. It is very special to take a look here. Mules walk to and the locals skillfully make the most beautiful souvenirs. In the medina are all the tanneries, where hides are still tanned and dyed in the traditional way. Even though the tanneries are very smelly, it is worthwhile to take a look and see the special technique.

Chefchaouen:


Chefchaouen is a special city in the North of Morocco. It is a fishing town that hosted a group of Jews in the 15th century. They then decided to paint all the buildings and houses light blue every spring, to honor the color of god. Meanwhile, the Jews are no longer to be found in Chefchaouen, but the current residents have continued this tradition. A very special picture! You walk here between the narrow alleys, surrounded by blue and white walls, brightly colored flower pots, and green plants. The city lies against and hill and there is a significant difference in height.

Many photographers come to Chefchaouen to shoot the photogenic city and also from the surrounding mountains you have a beautiful view of the blue city. The city is known for its quiet and relaxed atmosphere, where you can take a break. The Medina consists of many streets and alleys and you will also find many nice stores where you can do some good shopping. Chefchaouen is also known for its cannabis production. Just outside the city are vast cannabis plantations and weed is also a local specialty that is offered on the streets.

Merzouga & Erg Chebbi:


Merzouga is a beautiful town on the edge of the Sahara. It is one of the last towns before the landscape turns into eternal sandy plains. Merzouga is, therefore, an excellent base for trips into the Sahara. The city itself is cozy and you have many hotels where you can stay in luxury and restaurants where you can taste traditional Moroccan meals. Around Merzouga, there are many activities and attractions in nature that are all very worthwhile. The biggest attraction is the dunes of Erg Chebbi.

These impressive dunes start right at the edge of Merzouga and can be up to 150 meters high. You can make fantastic walks or you can choose to go on a camel ride here. Camel rides are very popular in the Sahara anyway. From Merzouga, many different treks start which can be 1, 3, or 5 days long. On those trips, you go with a group into the desert and you stay overnight in small villages in tents. At night you can enjoy the clear starry sky and in the morning you can enjoy a spectacular sunrise. Besides the Sahara, Lake Dayet Srji is also a must-see. This saltwater lake is a paradise for bird lovers, as you can spot flamingos, buzzards, and falcons here.

Casablanca:

Casablanca is a city on the coast south of Rabat. Morocco Casablanca means the white house and the city is therefore known for its beautiful white buildings. The highlight is the Hassan II Mosque which stands on the quay near the water. The white walls of the mosque stand out beautifully against the clear blue sea and it is a very photogenic place. The mosque is also the second-largest mosque and the minaret with its 210 meters is the highest in the world. The mosque is from both inside and outside beautifully decorated and may also be entered by non-Muslims.

Inside you will be amazed by all the splendor and Arabic atmosphere. In addition, part of the floor of the mosque is made of glass so you can see the sea below. The rest of Casablanca is also very beautiful. The old town is very diverse with various architectural styles from Art Deco to Neo-Moorish. It is therefore recommended that you take the time to walk through this beautiful city. Be sure to take a look at the Sacre Coeur Cathedral, which is located on the edge of the beautiful park de la Ligue Arabe. Casablanca is also a trendy city with many cafes, fine restaurants, and nightclubs. Also in the evening so plenty to do!

Rabat:


Rabat is a beautiful city in Morocco that, like Chefchaouen, consists of blue and white houses. The city is also located on the Atlantic Ocean and there is plenty to see and do. The Medina of Rabat is surrounded by a city wall and it consists of many cozy stone streets. Rabat is less Arab than some other cities and has more Western influences. It is a cozy city where you can still find many spice shops and tea houses.

Another district you should not miss is Kasbah des Oudaias, which is located on the coast. In this district, you will find most blue and white houses decorated with ivy plants and flowers. The streets slope down towards the sea and the port. In this district, you will also find the oldest mosque in Morocco, the Kasbah Mosque, which is definitely worth a visit. This minaret is richly decorated and you should definitely admire it from all sides. Finished walking through the city? Then plan a nice beach day at one of the city beaches.

Draa Valley:

The Draa Valley is a beautiful valley near the Draa River. The valley stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the town of Ouarzazate. There are a total of 6 green oases that interrupt the vast emptiness. Near the oases, you will often find cozy towns that benefit from the fertile soil and water of the oases. One of the most popular sights in this region is the Kasbahs. Kasbahs are a kind of fortress with a few houses and a wall around them. The Kasbahs were prepared for attacks and served as defensive structures. The best preserved kasbah is Aït-Ben-Haddou.

The Kasbah is located on a hill and surrounded by green trees and the cliffs of the valley. The Kasbahs near Tamnougalt are also very popular and definitely worth a visit. Ouarzazate is the main town in the valley. Here you have several attractions and it is a good base for walks through the oases. In this city, you will find a kasbah, the Taourirt Kasbah and there is a museum with set pieces from films shot in Ouarzazate and the surrounding area. The valley is a special piece of nature and it is very cool to walk here and experience the big difference between the lively oases and the deserted valley.

Meknès:


Meknès is the last of the four royal cities and it is located between Fès and Rabat. The city is also called the Versailles of Morocco and this is because in every street there are beautiful sights to be found. There is plenty to see and do! In the short time during the 17th century, when Meknes was the capital, many palaces were built. The medina is surrounded by a city wall with many beautifully decorated entrance gates. The most famous city gate is the Bab Mansour El-Aleuj and is definitely worth a visit. In the city, you will also find a kasbah.

This is considered the royal city and this part is also surrounded by walls. You should definitely visit the Dar el-Machzen palace here. This is an impressive structure with a beautifully decorated facade. In addition, the water house Dar-el-Ma and the mausoleum of Moulai Ismaïl are also highly recommended. In the northeast of Meknès, you will find a third nice district, the Ville Nouvelle. It is located by the river and you can stroll through the charming streets.

Essaouira:

Essaouira is a cozy fishing town on the Atlantic Ocean west of Marrakech. The town is beautiful and is full of white and blue houses. The Medina is surrounded by city walls and from there you have a beautiful view of the whole city and the sea. You will also find a kasbah, from where you can see a spectacular sunset. You can walk around the cozy streets where it is full of stores, tearooms, and terraces. The city is a lot quieter than the coastal towns of Casablanca and Rabat.

The inhabitants here have a much simpler life and you can therefore enjoy the relaxed atmosphere. On the square Moulay El Hassan, you will find the best restaurants and cafes and it is always busy on the terraces. At the end of the afternoon, all fishermen come back in their bright blue boats and you can see the catch of the day. You can then buy the best mussels and fish. Near the coast, you will also find many wonderful beaches, where you can relax in the sea.

Tétouan:

Tétouan is a city with a very old inner city. With its former melting pot of Berber, Arab and Spanish cultures, this has left a special atmosphere in the medina. Several beautiful houses adorn this city. Here you can still find many craftsmen who still earn their living with their craftsmanship. The most beautiful beaches in Morocco can be found here between Ceuta and Tétouan.

Agadir:


The green city of Agadir is a modern part of Morocco. There are few historical buildings here, but there is a beautiful modern boulevard. An important landmark in the city is the white minaret of the Loubnan mosque. There are also several stores, cafes and a shopping center. In Agadir, you will also find very beautiful sandy beaches with many resorts and luxury hotels nearby. At the Sous-Massa, where two rivers meet, many species of birds can be spotted enjoying this lovely green area.

Ouzoud:


Nature and peace seekers should definitely visit the village of Ouzoud. This village, which is known for its Cascades d’Ouzoud waterfalls, has more to offer. There are many restaurants where you can eat incredibly well. And there are miles of olive trees, where you will find a delicious cooling water source for a refreshing dip. The nature in the vicinity of the Gorges de Oued el Abid river gives you the occasional chance to see monkeys. This hilly area is also great for mountain biking or climbing.

16 TIPS FOR WHAT TO DO IN MARRAKECH

DO A CITY WALK THROUGH THE MEDINA OF MARRAKECH:


The medina of Marrakech refers to the old walled city. A labyrinth of narrow alleys and corridors teeming with quaint stores and well-hidden squares. Getting lost is the order of the day here, but that’s just great: you’re bound to end up in special places. I myself do the city walk from Time To Momo Marrakech and the route from Lonely Planet Morocco. Do you like to go out with a guide and listen to the stories of a local? Then check out the walks you can book via a unique desert tour. You’ll be amazed.

WANDERING THROUGH THE BAHIA PALACE:


The absolute highlight of Marrakech in terms of sights is the Bahia Palace. This magnificent palace is a succession of beautiful rooms, with intricate carvings and colorful mosaic patterns. Part of the palace is still in use, but even as a tourist you get to enjoy all the splendor. The large courtyard is a lovely place to read or enjoy the sunshine.

HAVING YOURSELF EXFOLIATED IN THE HAMMAM:


Awash in the hammam is an important part of daily life in Morocco and hammams in Marrakech come in all shapes and sizes. Step inside one of the bathhouses that are also used by locals and you can have a scrub and massage for a small price. If you’d rather spend an afternoon off the radar and be pampered with the best products, you’re better off visiting a private hammam. I myself visit Les Bains des Marrakech twice. A heavenly hammam where you are completely pampered with massages, steam baths, Moroccan tea, and cookies. Not cheap, but very nice. Address: 2 Derp Sedra, Bab Agnaou

DRINK MINT TEA ON A ROOFTOP BAR:


Mint tea doesn’t only keep the locals going, I myself drink liters of mint tea during my city trip to Marrakech. The sugary drink is served in restaurants, in the riads and also when you are negotiating about for example a carpet, a cup of tea is often offered. I recommend looking for a nice rooftop bar somewhere and ordering a pot there. Nomad is a nice address, but also Café des Epices and Kosybar are nice tips in Marrakech.

VISITING KORAN SCHOOL MEDRASA BEN YOUSSEF:


Madrasa Ben Youssef is one of the finest Koranic schools I visited during my trip through Morocco. Founded in 1400, this school was one of the largest of its kind. At one time its 132 rooms were occupied by a total of 900 students, but nowadays it no longer teaches. However, as a tourist, you can take a look at the beautiful courtyard and the old rooms. Definitely the most photogenic sight in the medina of Marrakech. Tip: arrive early to be ahead of most tourists.

TASTE AUTHENTIC TANJIA:


Tajine you will undoubtedly know, but in Marrakech, you must also order the dish Tanjia once. This stew of mutton and herbs is prepared in a kind of clay urn and is left to simmer overnight in the coals that are also used to heat the hammam. It is a dish that you will only find in Marrakech and is sold at various places at food stalls in the medina. You will recognize the stalls by the pots on the counter and the lifeless sheep heads. If you prefer to eat the dish in a restaurant, I can highly recommend Souk Kafé in the medina. Wondering which other dishes you should have tasted during a city trip Marrakech? In this blog, I have listed some of the most delicious dishes.

SPENDING THE NIGHT IN A RIAD IN MARRAKECH:


During the day, the medina of Marrakech is all hectic. Scooters maneuvering through the narrow streets, vendors who loudly sell their wares, and men who block the street with their carts. You can relax in one of the beautiful raids, these traditional Moroccan mansions built around a courtyard with trees and fountains, and often converted into a hotel. An oasis of tranquility and a great contrast with the hustle and bustle of the streets. Are you looking for great tips for Marrakech? I myself have good experiences with Riad Dar Tayib and Ryad Laârouss.

WATCHING ART IN ONE OF THE MANY GALLERIES:


Did you know that Marrakech is teeming with beautiful galleries and art stores? See the work of local artists and photographers, for example at the colorful Riad Yima. This gallery revolves around the work of Hassan Hajjaj, who is also known as the Moroccan Andy Warhol. His work consists of photographs, furniture, and clothing, mostly made from recycled materials. Also worth visiting are Dar Bellarj, an art center housed in a beautiful building near Madrasa Ben Youssef, and Marrakech’s photography museum, Maison de la Photographie.

ADMIRE THE KOUTOUBIA MOSQUE:


One of the most striking sights in Marrakech is the Koutoubia Mosque with its enormous minaret. This is the largest mosque in Marrakech and the minaret can be seen from every rooftop terrace in the city. The mosque dates from the 12th century and as many as five times a day the call to prayer sounds from here. As a non-Muslim, you may not look inside, but you can take a tour through the surrounding garden. Here it smells like blossoming orange trees and if you sit down on one of the benches, someone will always come up to you for a chat.

STREET FOOD AT PLACE DJEMAA EL FNA:


The beating heart of Marrakech is Placa Djemaa el Fna, the large square overlooking the Koutoubia Mosque. Originally the place where merchants from Europe came to trade with Africa. Hundreds of years later there is still much to see. Snake charmers, dentists, and street performers, but also stalls where you buy orange juice and cheap food stalls. During both visits to Marrakech, I regularly find myself at Restaurant Toubkal, on the edge of the square. This is where a lot of locals hang out, eat divine Harira and from the top floor, you have a great view of the square. Address: 48 Place Djemaa el Fna.

SHOPPING IN THE MEDINA


The medina of Marrakech is vast and getting lost the order of the day. You’ll witness daily life there, but it’s also an excellent place to store beautiful souvenirs. Here you can buy beautiful North African pottery, leather bags, and Berber carpets. Bargaining can take up a lot of time, as the vendors love to chat and drink mint tea. Take your time if you are really looking for something beautiful and enjoy Moroccan hospitality.

VISIT THE JEWISH QUARTER OF MARRAKECH:


In the south of the medina lies the Jewish Quarter, one of the quietest and most beautiful places in Marrakech. This part of the city dates back to the 16th century and consists of narrow streets with small stores. At first glance, it looks very similar to the rest of Marrakech, but it is a lot more authentic. The Jewish quarter is visited by far fewer tourists and you will find relatively few souvenir shops. Here you will find mostly locals shopping for household products, fresh fruit, and spices.

WALKING THROUGH JARDIN MAJORELLE


One of the most beautiful places in Marrakech lies a little outside the medina. Jardin Majorelle is the beautifully landscaped garden of the late Yves Saint Laurent, full of tropical trees and plants that contrast beautifully with the iconic color blue. You’ll find plenty of lovely spots and benches to enjoy the surroundings and relative peace and quiet. At the equivalent of 7 euros in entrance fee, it is about the most expensive attraction in Morocco, but it is absolutely worth the money. A visit to Jardin Majorelle is one of the best things to do in Marrakech. Tip: Your student pass will get you a few euros discount.

PEOPLE WATCHING AT PLACE RAHBA KEDIMA:


My favorite place in the medina is the cute Place Rahba Kadima. Here you can buy mainly spices, carpets and products made of woven reeds. An attractive square in the middle of the old city, with numerous stalls selling exotic products. Take a short break here and join us on the roof terrace of Café des Épices, where you can not only enjoy a good lunch but also have a good view of the hustle and bustle of the square.

TAKE A DAY TRIP TO AÏT BEN HADDOU OR THE ATLAS MOUNTAINS


You can wander around Marrakech for days and still not have to see all the sights, but also reserve one day to do something outside the city. From Marrakech, you can easily make trips to, for example, the Atlas Mountains. I found the kasbah of Aït Ben Haddou highly recommended, but also the Ourika Valley and its waterfalls in the Atlas Mountains are beautiful.

MORE TIPS FOR FUN DAY TRIPS FROM MARRAKECH:

Have you ticked off the above attractions in Marrakech and still have some time left? With a rental car, you can easily take a trip to a beautiful place in the vicinity of Marrakech. Take a road trip through the Atlas Mountains, drive to the surfing village of Essaouira or spend a night in the desert. Curious about what you can do in the surroundings of Marrakech? Read my article with an overview of the best day trips from Marrakech