Best Cities to Visit in Morocco
The cities of Morocco reflect the incredible merging of cultures and civilizations in this diverse country, uniting the traditions and lifestyles of North Africans, Ottoman Arabs, the Mediterranean, and European histories. The cities of Morocco are beautiful, complex, mysterious, and each one has a unique feel and atmosphere, making each one worth exploration.
Marrakesh is an iconic city, and the colorful souks, red walls of the medina, and restful riads are deeply symbolic of Morocco as a whole. Marrakesh has a huge number of historic landmarks and cultural sites, including the Jardin Majorelle, the palaces of El Bahia and El Badi, the unforgettable Menara gardens, and the peaceful Saadian tombs. The center of Marrakech is the open square, the Jemaa el-Fnaa where snake charmers, story tellers, acrobats, and magicians compete to entertain tourists, and evening food stalls fill the square with steam and the aroma of exotic spices. Marrakech is a once-in-a-lifetime destination, and can’t be missed.
Fes is one of the most historically important cities in Morocco, and a wonderful destination for visitors. The massive walls, gates, and fortifications of Fes show its importance as a city in ancient times, and the incredible 9th century Madrasa of Al Quaraouiyine is the oldest continually operating educational institution in the world. The medinas of Fes are full of traditional handcrafts, local artisans, quiet cafes, and traditional Moroccan life.
Ouarzazate is an incredible fortified city, and a popular starting point for destinations further into the desert. The red walls and towers are a fantastic sight, ascending the hillside and overlooking the valley below. It’s so picturesque, in fact, that it is has been a filming location for an incredible range of films and TV shows, including Lawrence of Arabia, The Last Temptation of Christ, The Mummy, Gladiator, The Hills have Eyes, and was a location used in Game of Thrones. The ancient kasbahs and spectacular scenery capture the imagination.
Meknes is one of Morocco’s imperial cities, and the spectacular Moorish architecture reflects a merging of Arab and European influences. It’s a living record of the history of Morocco, and in Meknes you can experience the spectacular Roman ruins of Volubilis, the incredible Almohad Bab al-Mansour gate with its zellij mosaics, the 14th century Madrasa Bout Inania, and the stunning royal palace of Dar el Makhzen.
Rabat is the current capital of Morocco, and its 7th largest city. It has a calmer pace of life than other Moroccan cities, with a charming walled medina, incredible kasbah, beautiful beaches, and fascinating museums. The Chellah Necropolis is an incredible sight, a destination in itself. Rabat was once a primary port for Barbary pirates, and has a fairy-tale feeling that visitors find intoxicating.
The lush oasis of Tinghir is a subtropical palm forest in the heart of Morocco. It’s a great destination for those who want to visit the incredible Todra Gorge. The gorge can be hiked on foot, or toured with donkeys, and is a world-class destination for rock-climbing.
Morocco’s famous Blue City of Chefchaouen has the most unique scenery in the country. The vivid blue walls of the medina form a striking visual contrast with the mountains above and the sea below. It’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and the relaxed lifestyle, terraced dining, easy hikes and beach walks, and local handcrafts make it a wonderful destination.
Agadir is the largest beach resort town in Morocco, and its location on the southern Atlantic coast and warm winters have made it a popular winter destination for those who want to escape winter doldrums and relax in the sun. It has wonderful local fish and seafood, a traditional souk full of local handcrafts, stunning architecture, and a wide variety of music and cultural events. It is also a short distance from Morocco’s legendary Paradise Valley, a valley in the High Atlas full of lush vegetation, small waterfalls, and pools of crystal clear water. Whether it’s escaping rain on the beach in winter, or taking a break from the heat in mountain rock pools in summer, Agadir is a great way to experience the best nature in Morocco.