The Kingdom of Morocco is only a little bit larger than Texas, and yet it has nearly every climate and ecosystem in the world, from balmy beaches to snowy mountains, lush forests to arid deserts, ancient cities and modern resorts, and these experiences are available in nearly every season of the year. It also has a fascinating mix of cultures, where tribal African and Arab peoples have spent centuries interacting with European and Mediterranean traditions, for a completely unique way of living, and art, design, and cuisine that is unlike anywhere else.
With so much to offer, it can be a challenge to decide where to spend a Moroccan vacation. Here are some of the best places to visit in Morocco:
Marrakesh is a legendary city, and often images of the colorful souks, red walls, and tranquil riads of Marrakesh are the first thing that comes to mind when we imagine Morocco. The iconic Jemaa el-Fnaa alone is an unforgettable experience, where snake charmers, story tellers, acrobats, and magicians compete to entertain tourists, and the evening food stalls fill the square with light and steam and the aroma of exotic cooking.
Aside from the daily carnival of the Jemaa and the souks, Marrakesh has incredible landmarks and historic sites, including the Jardin Majorelle, the palaces of El Bahia and El Badi, the stunning Menara gardens, and the beautiful Saadian tombs.
The village of Merzouga sits on the edge of the incredible Erg Chebbi sand dunes, where Berber tribes take visitors into the desert to camp in a traditional camel caravan. Merzouga was once an oasis at the edge of the Sahara, a waypoint for nomads crossing the desert. It remains at the crossroads of history and culture, and is an incredible sight.
The High Atlas mountain range is responsible for the unique climate conditions that define Morocco. The high, snow-capped peaks provide the streams and rivers that fuel the oasis of the desert, and create the fertile fields of the north. They are filled with tiny villages where locals practice unique terraced agriculture, home to species of plants and animals that are unique to Morocco, and provide snow sports in the winter, and incredible hiking all year long.
Fes is one of the most important cities in Morocco, and is an incredible place to visit. It is steeped in tradition, and less busy and frenetic than Marrakesh. The incredible walls, gates, and fortifications of Fes show its importance as a city in ancient times, and the beautiful 9th century Madrasa of Al Quaraouiyine is the oldest continually operating educational institution in the world.
The 15th century coastal town of Asilah sits on the northwest tip of Morocco. The city dates back to Phonetician times, and the ancient walls and fortifications reflect a history of conflict as it was conquered and re-conquered by North African and European armies. Today, it is a town celebrated for international culture, with many art and music festivals, and is a popular seaside getaway for locals.
The Blue City of Chefchaouen is a bit out of the way for most tourists, but is richly rewarding for those who visit. The startlingly blue walls of the medina form an incredible contrast with the mountains above and the sea below, and it’s not just one of the most beautiful towns in Morocco; it’s one of the most beautiful towns in the world.
Sidi Ifni is a fishing village on the southern Atlantic coast of Morocco, but it is distinctly reminiscent of a Spanish city. It is famous for it’s spectacular beaches, with a legendary arch formation, and excellent surfing. It’s a unique and laid-back mix of Spanish and Moroccan cultures, with a distinctive atmosphere and gorgeous surroundings.