After two years of COVID and lockdowns, Morocco was our first new country since June 2019. It felt amazing (and somewhat strange) to board a plane and leave Australia for the first time. Morocco was a great way to stretch those hibernating travel muscles and to be exposed to some of the most beautiful landscapes and unique experiences. From coast, to mountain, to desert, Morocco has a bit of everything. Check out our top 12 picks below:
The Hassan II Mosque
While Casablanca itself was a little underwhelming to visit, the Hassan II Mosque was breathtaking. This is the 7th largest mosque in the world, and the structure is beautiful on the inside and out. Once you've taken a tour inside, walk along the water's edge and take in the building from afar.
Side note: If you're a fan of the all time classic film Casablanca, Ricks Café is a must visit. Cocktails and a cultural experience in one, it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
A bit off the beaten track, Kasbah Amridil is a 17th century Moroccan citadel located about a 45 minute drive from Ouarzazate. The Kasbah has been used as the set for several films and was depicted on the 50 dirham (currency) note. Take a tour with the entertaining guide to learn more about how people lived in the Kasbah 300 years ago.
We didn't spend much time in Rabat, but highlights included the Kasbah of the Udayas and Hassan Tower. Enter the Kasbah through the Bab Oudayas gate and take in the small labyrinth of houses, alleys, and doors. Count how many cats you can see, we played cat 'spoto' with the loser having to buy lunch.
If you visit Morocco, you will likely find yourself in Marrakech at some point. It is the easiest and more touristy place to visit, which makes it a good place to walk around and explore. The Bahia Palace is a mid to late 19th-century palace with beautiful tile and architecture. Head to the main Jamaa el Fna Square and wander through the Souk Semmarine. The Jardin Majorelle has become a popular place to visit, but it will only take you about an hour and isn't much more than a nice garden. Get tickets in advance and go early to avoid crowds, as it's quite small. When you are done exploring for the day, visit one of the many roof top bars in the city, they are great vantage points for a Marrakech sunset.
Located high in the Atlas Mountains, the Todra Gorges are a series of beautiful limestone river canyons, measuring up to 400 meters high. Walk between the awe inspiring high walls, along the river bed, and take in the amazing landscape. There is even a small spring of filtered mountain water with a reputation of having healing qualities. Nearby, in the small Berber village, Aït Baha (Tizgui), you can see how the locals make traditional carpets. Speaking to a few expats around Morocco, most recommended buying Moroccan rugs from this village as they are highly regarded for their quality.
Fes is known for having the largest medina in the world, and it is truly a wonderland of culture, colour and history. Founded in the 9th century, the medina consists of 9454 cobbled alleyways and 300 mosques, which makes it easy to get lost for hours exploring. Eat your way around the medina and take time to stop and ask questions to the mostly friendly store owners. Keep on your toes as you'll often come across donkeys and motor bikes weaving their way through the crowds. Find your way to Chouara Tannery to see how the leather goods are made, but even more so for the amazing views.
Merzouga is a small town in the Sahara Desert on the fringe of what seems to be endless sand dunes near the Algerian border, and is a great place to start exploring the desert. Take a camel ride, a 4x4, or walk on foot through the orange sand dunes. We enjoyed some traditional Berber music around a campfire and slept under a blanket of sparkling stars. This is some of the best star gazing you may ever have the pleasure to experience.
Aït Benhaddou is the most famous ksar (a group of earthen buildings surrounded by high walls) in the Ounila Valley. The site has been fortified since the 11th century and is an example of a traditional pre-Saharan habitat. Stroll through the village and make your way to the very top for an amazing view of the surrounding landscape, a phenomenal place for both sunrise and sunset (just be careful if it's windy!).
The port city of Essaouria was known as Mogador until the 1960s. On the Atlantic ocean side, the old city is surrounded by old city walls, complete with cannons. Head down to the port around lunch time to see what the fisherman have brought in. You can purchase a fresh catch and take it to nearby food stalls who will cook it and serve it anyway you like. Food for the soul.
Aroumd is a small Berber village in the Ait Mizane Valley of the High Atlas Mountains, 1900m above sea level. Start in Imlil and hike up 252m in elevation to get to the village. The view of the surrounding mountains is beautiful and it's much cooler in temperature. We were lucky enough to join in on a football game with the local kids, with sheep in the nearby field as spectators. It may have been mostly dirt and rock, but when you are being dwarfed by the snow capped Atlas mountains it quickly becomes one of the most spectacular fields you could ever play on.
The fascinating blue city was our favourite stop in Morocco. Spanish is more common here then in the southern parts of the country in both language and physical culture. Its almost impossible to not take beautiful photos as you explore the winding blue alley ways. The town square is perfect for a meal and a coffee, just to take it all in and watch life go by. Hike up to the Spanish Mosque at sunset for an incredible view over the city, easily in the top 10 sunset spots we have been to. Walk along the river as it meanders down through the village and marvel at the architecture that has been seamlessly integrated into the natural fall of the water, with houses built of the top of the water to let it flow through. The river is the life line of the city and is used by locals for everyday tasks- like washing their clothes (or oranges). If you're feeling adventurous, head to Café Clock to try a camel burger and other Moroccan delicacies (plus there is a great view from the rooftop).
Questions about travelling in Morocco? Email us and we will be happy to help!