Morocco – Traveler’s Itch
Morocco is a fascinating country with surreal beauty, stunning landscapes, and an intriguing history. If you’re a first-time traveler to Morocco, knowing where to begin can be a challenge.
After a few weeks of solo travel through Morocco, I’m prepared to walk you through the best places to visit in this stunning North African country. From ancient Medinas soaked in vibrant tradition and history to surreal desert landscapes, Morocco is a treasure trove of exploration and adventure. Let’s explore the best of what this country has to offer.
The Best Places to Visit in Morocco
Marrakech is a vibrant city that you should definitely visit on your trip to Morocco. Whether you’re exploring Marrakech solo or with friends and family, there’s so much to do and see in this incredible place!
Known as the “Red City,” Marrakech’s bustling souks and intriguing street performers give the city an ancient, mystical vibe. You’ll find yourself immersed in vivid color, smokey scents, and intriguing sounds. Marrakech is an absolute feast for the senses.
One of Morocco’s most popular tourist destinations, Marrakech has a lot to see, but you’ll want to limit your time there to a couple of days. This city can get overwhelming fast! While there, be sure you visit landmarks like The Bahia Palace, a stunning 19th-century palace where you can marvel at the incredible architecture and intricate tiling.
Even if you only have 2 days in Marrakech, you can still see plenty, like the world-famous Jemaa El Fna where performers and storytellers entertain the masses. At night, Jemaa El Fna turns into a carnival of sight and sound when street vendors line the square selling traditional Moroccan cuisine. Locals and tourists will convene in the city center to weave around dancers, acrobats and promoters, ordering dinner or heading to the Souks to shop.
While Marrakech has a distinct cultural vibe, it’s also a foodie’s paradise with delicious cuisine like mechoui (slow-roasted lamb), tajine (Moroccan stew), and pastilla (a sweet and savory pastry). I highly recommend ordering freshly blended juice to quench your thirst after a day in the hot African sun.
2. Agafay Desert
Just outside the bustling city of Marrakech, you’ll find the often-overlooked Agafay Desert.
This surreal landscape stands as a captivating testament to the diverse natural beauty of Morocco. With its sweeping golden dunes and rugged terrain, the Agafay Desert offers a unique and unforgettable experience for travelers seeking an alternative desert adventure.
Unlike other deserts, Agafay provides a tranquil and serene setting, making it a perfect escape to the solitude of the desert and the ideal way to recover from the hectic Marrakech Medina.
You’ll be instantly renewed by an evening of stargazing under the clear night sky. You can also partake in thrilling activities like camel trekking and off-road excursions.
Be captivated by the breathtaking sunsets during a peaceful retreat at one of the many desert camps. The Agafay Desert is undeniably one of the best places to visit in Morocco, offering an enchanting blend of natural wonders and unforgettable experiences.
Fes is the Moroccan city of historical culture. It’s home to the oldest Medina in Morocco! The 9,000 narrow, maze-like streets of the traditional Fes el-Bali neighborhood are both beautifully maintained and steeped in ancient history.
Often referred to as Morocco’s cultural capital, Fes is a must-visit city for those seeking a historical experience. The city boasts some of the oldest universities, libraries, and mosques in the world. Visit the stunning boulevards spotted with ancient mosques like the Al-Qarawiyyin, and the Nejjarine Museum of Wooden Arts & Crafts
The winding streets of the Medina are filled with beautiful tilework, vibrant markets, and traditional cafes. Fes is also renowned for its leather tanneries, where artisans create stunning leather goods using ancient techniques passed down through generations.
Don’t miss the famous Chouara Tannery which has been around since the 11th century! However, be warned: They use all-natural dyes here which produce some highly unpleasant odors. Luckily, many of the shops that offer tannery views will give you a sprig of mint to hold beneath your nose. You’re going to need it!
Chefchaouen is a famous Moroccan town often referred to as the “Blue City” due to the distinctive color of its blue-washed buildings. Located in the Rif Mountains of Northern Morocco, this is an idyllic destination perfect for travelers looking to experience a unique Moroccan village with beautiful scenery and colorful photo opps.
Chefchaouen has a rich history that dates back to the 15th century. It was founded by Moorish exiles from Spain and was once an important trading center, attracting merchants from across the region. Take a trip back in time by exploring the city’s historic medina, a UNESCO World Heritage site with buildings constructed in traditional Berber style.
There are a number of museums and art galleries showcasing examples of Berber culture, as well as several interesting mosques and religious sites to explore. Make sure you check out the Kasbah Museum to see its stunning collection of ancient Islamic folk art and pottery. You can also admire the Moulay Ali Ben Rachid, an impressive mosque built by the founders of Chefchaouen.
Casablanca, a vibrant and exciting Moroccan city, is a progressive metropolis with a cosmopolitan vibe. The modern city’s contrast to the old-world charm of the rest of the country makes it one of the best places in Morocco to visit for a well-rounded experience.
There are plenty of attractions to visit during your stay in Casablanca. First, you’ll want to head to the Hassan II Mosque, one of the largest mosques in the world. You’ll also want to have a look at Anfa Place Shopping Center, Ain-Diab Corniche, and Oasis train station for some incredible photo opps and cultural experiences.
Nestled against Morocco’s wild Atlantic coast, Essaouira is a picturesque seaside city filled with art galleries, boutique stores, and brightly painted old houses. The city was once a port of call for Huddart and Wilson, two of Europe’s largest trading firms. Today, it’s known for its vibrant arts and culture scene where you can buy impressive Moroccan ceramics.
Essaouira is the perfect place to decompress after a few hectic days in a big city like Marrakech. You can stroll around the scenic harbor, explore the laid-back medina, or enjoy one of the town’s music festivals. Essaouira offers an oasis of chill and is a great addition to any Morocco itinerary.
Morocco is a traveler’s dream come true with so many world-famous attractions. You’ll be spellbound by its winding streets, colorful souks, and ancient architecture. This country is a diverse and stunning mix of old and new that will leave a lasting impression for years to come.
Author Bio: Sydney is the creator of Sydney to Anywhere, a solo travel blog focused on helping you explore the places you dream of, even when it means going alone. She has extensive experience traveling alone throughout countries like Spain, Portugal and Morocco.
→ More off the beaten track destinations? Check out our 3 week itinerary for Iran!