Diverse, vibrant and utterly unique, Morocco has so much to offer adventurous travelers. From the snow-capped peaks of the Atlas mountains to the sprawling maze of the Marrakech souks, your journey through the highlights of Morocco is sure to be unforgettable. Whether it’s a weekend break you’re after or a longer, more immersive trip, TravelLocal’s guide to gorgeous Morocco can help get your planning underway.
What not to miss in Morocco
Marrakech, Fez, Meknes, and Rabat, collectively known as Morocco’s Imperial Cities, offer a real insight into the country’s history and culture. While each has countless highlights on offer, there are some things you simply can’t miss. When in Marrakech, be sure to set aside time to explore the labyrinthine layout of the souks. Home to handicrafts, street food, and stunning jewelry, you’re sure to walk away laden with treasures. Be prepared to bargain hard and always ask permission before taking photos of vendors and their stalls. When it all gets too much, duck into one of the many rooftop cafes and watch the chaos from above.
Contrasting Marrakech’s modernity, Fez has clung to its ancient traditions and its sprawling medina is recognized as the world’s largest car-free urban area. As well as wandering the streets and sampling the best of the city’s street food, Fez is a great destination for those with an interest in craft and artisanal culture. If you want to see how Morocco’s iconic blue ceramics and intricate mosaics are made, leave time for a visit to Art Naji. This traditional workshop on the outskirts of the city still uses traditional methods and offers free guides to visitors.
Although it may not be immediately thought of as a beach destination, Morocco has plenty to offer even the most seasoned sun worshipper. Over the past few years, Essaouira has risen to prominence and it’s perfect for cliffside walks, fresh seafood, and laidback live music. Its blue and white medina is also a photographer’s dream and, outside the city walls, colorful boats bob in the gentle currents of the port.
For those wanting to head a little further afield, Mirleft is a hidden gem in the far south of the country. Increasingly popular with surfers and watersport enthusiasts, its pristine beaches and incredible views have remained far from the average tourist itinerary. As its popularity increases, it’s become a focal point of independent development and is now home to a handful of boutique hotels. Far from the chaos of the imperial cities, it’s the perfect place to while away a few days – hopping between cafes and sampling the best of local cuisine.
Dominating the skyline of the country’s imperial cities, the Atlas mountain range is one of the most iconic and unforgettable regions of Morocco. As well as countless hiking trails and stunning landscapes, there are also rural villages dotted among the peaks. Home to indigenous Berber people, these settlements continue to preserve an ancient and traditional way of life. If you’re short on time, the village of Imil is just an hour’s drive from Marrakech and is an ideal starting point for treks into the surrounding valleys and peaks. Exploring the area with a local guide is a great way to gain an insight into the culture, history, and folklore of the Atlas region (while also ensuring that you find your way back to where you started!).
For those looking to spend a few days in the mountains, the Ait Bougamez Valley is the perfect place to set up camp. The village of Imelghas, a great example of sustainable tourism developments, offers comfortable homestays, hiking trips, and immersive Berber cultural experiences. Whether you want to spend your days trekking, taking cooking and
farming lessons or simply drinking mint tea with your hosts, it’s a million miles from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Receiving more and more international recognition in recent years, Moroccan cuisine is simply unforgettable. From chaotic souk kitchens to rural homestays in the High Atlas mountains, there are foodie flavors to suit anyone’s tastes. For a first time visitor, it can be hard to know what to prioritize, especially when different regions boast different specialties!
When in Fez, a street food crawl is an absolute must. The Ville Nouvelle, a French-style neighborhood on the edge of the city, is an ideal place to start. Don’t miss Maakouda, deep fried potato fritters served with hot sauce, egg and cheese, and lamb skewers seasoned with paprika, coriander, and cumin. Meanwhile, in Marrakech, the classic tagine reigns supreme.
Head out of the main square and lose yourself in the sprawling alleyways of the medina -scoping out where the locals are so you can pull up a chair. Aromatic tagines served with flatbread and plenty of couscous salad are the dish of the day, and most eateries also offer vegetarian-friendly options. In more rural areas, fresh fruit and hearty spices are staples of every meal. Don’t miss Bastilla; saffron spiced chicken encased in filo pastry topped with grated walnuts and honey dressing.
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