Whether you’re looking to roam the Atlas Mountains or explore souks in Marrakech, there are plenty of things to do in Morocco.
While Marrakech is the primary draw for travelers looking for things to do in Morocco, it’s certainly not the only place worth seeing. How about the coastal gem of Essaouira or the picturesque Blue Pearl Chefchaouen? To make your choices a little easier, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite things to see and do in Morocco.
Color, warmth, and the scent of spices pervade the streets. Morocco is a sensory overload in the best possible way. A rich blend of Arabic, European, and Berber culture shows in the maze-like streets, souks, and remote villages under the shadow of the Atlas Mountain range. Get your adrenaline rush racing dunes in the endless expanse of sand by day and relax with a steaming cup of fresh mint tea by night.
Here Are Our Picks for the Best Things to See and Do in Morocco
1. Hike the Atlas Mountains
There’s nothing quite like leaving the city life behind for some outdoor serenity. Home to some of the world’s most breathtaking mountains, Morocco offers up the Atlas range for adventurous souls to traverse. While you’re up here, you won’t see a soul. It’s just you, nature, and breathtaking views all around you.
If you want to go a little further, take a guided hike. Coming from the town of Jbel Toubkal, this will only take you about five days. Companies like Aztet Tours offer some really good deals. But if you’re not down for a long trek, there are other options for you. Consider a day’s guided tour to the peaceful Ouzoud Waterfalls. Spending time in the Atlas Mountains is one of our favorite things to do in Morocco.
2. Soak up Some Sun in Asilah
This seaside town is often overlooked. Tucked away on the northern coast, Asilah has a diverse and rich cultural history. Its roots go back to the 16th century when it was one of the primary trading routes by the Phoenicians. Later, it was captured, passing on into the hands of the Portuguese before it came under Moroccan rule in the 17th century.
It’s clear to see how each have left their mark on the town. Asilah is a colorful display of its European influence and north African heritage. Chalk white buildings and vibrant blue roofs stand in contrast to the brown stone walls of an old Portuguese fortress on the seaside. Exploring this town is one of our favorite things to do in Morocco.
3. Visit Essaouira
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Another coastal town, Essaouira has an undeniable charm. This port city and resort on Morocco’s Atlantic coast is protected by 18th-century seafront ramparts, called the Skala de la Kasbah. Lining the walls are scattered brass cannons standing in front of spectacular ocean views. Strong winds make it a popular spot for windsurfing and kitesurfing. You should know that relaxing on the beach here is nearly impossible. So, you might as well get in the water and try your hand at something adventurous.
In fact, Essaouira is known as the Windy City of Africa. The majority of travelers come during spring and autumn. Wander through lanes covered under the shade of potent pines and palm-lined routes to the fortified medina. Here, you can also peruse many art galleries and boutiques. Watch fisherman rhythmically cast and gather their nets, flowing in and out of the harbor.
You’ll find this city located on the crossroads between two tribes. To the north, are the Arab Chiadma and to the south the Haha Berbers. Let’s not forget about the Gnawa who came from southern Africa and Europeans. The result is a wonderfully blended mix of culture and tradition, typical to the character and nature of Morocco as a whole.
4. Explore Chefchaouen
If you’re wondering what things do in Morocco, add exploring Chefchaouen to your list. You’ll find this fascinating city located in the Rif Mountains to the north. Colorful tile rooftops paint a strong contrast to the browns and greens of the landscape in the background. As the city winds up, down, and around the mountainside, each level reveals new layers of color.
Looking at the old quarter of the town, you’ll find a heavy influence from both Islamic and Andalusian architecture. From the vivid blue walls to red roofs, keyhole doorways, and narrow streets all attest to its cultural background. Even with the increase in tourism and trade, this city has managed to stay true to its roots. If you’re looking to experience a different and unspoiled part of the country, visiting here is one of the best things to do in Morocco.
5. See Fes
Did you know that Fes is the country’s second largest city? When you’re looking for things to do in Morocco, Fes is the place to be. Despite its size, it has all the charm of a small town. Here, you will find two ancient Medinas, one of which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and also holds the world’s oldest university. University of al-Qarawiyyin holds that title, with a founding date of 859 AD.
As a whole, the city is the epitome of Islamic architecture. Beautiful madrasas and mosques attest to that, decorated with intricate tile patterns. While you’re there, you can’t miss out on going to Dar Ramouna. This hotel and restaurant is inside a traditional house, offering up a beautiful roof terrace where you can view the city and sip cocktails.
6. Take in the Beauty of the Jardin Majorelle Gardens
Credit: Wicker Paradise
Come and see these lovely gardens in Marrakech. Jardin Majorelle was created by the artists Jacques Majorelle during the 1920s. It later served as the home for the fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent. These exotic gardens and their rare flora are the things photographer’s dreams are made of. With 2.5 acres to explore and the Berber Museum, visiting this spot if one of our favorite things to do in Morocco.
7. Check the Caves of Hercules off Your Bucket List
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Tucked away off the port of Tangier, the Caves of Hercules are the stuff of legend. If you’re up to explore the outskirts of the city, pay about $50 for a fascinating history lesson. You’ll be taken around to see the city, explore medinas and souks, learn about colonial buildings, and more. Opening up onto the beach, the caves offer stunning views of the Atlantic. During sunset, this place comes to life. As rumor has it, this was the site where Hercules went to rest after his labors. When you’re looking for things to do in Morocco, never pass up on the opportunity to dive into the culture.
8. Experience the Cultural Blends of Ifrane
Is it just us or does Irfane look more like a scene from Switzerland than Morocco? This town has a clearly modern aesthetic attributed to French colonial settlers. Built as a place to escape the summer heat, you’ll find it nestled amongst the Atlas Mountains and receiving a heavy snowfall during the winter. Charming groves of European chalets dot the region as well as a number of unique gardens and parks. The result is an oasis in the desert. Irfane is a place of both luxury and tranquility set among the business of Moroccan life.
9. Roam Around Marrakech
Of course we can’t forget about Marrakech. As Morocco’s most visited city, you have to add it to your list. It’s famous for abundant markets, maze-like souks, aromatic spices, vivid textiles, and shimmering trinkets. The landscapes are equally captivating. Shifting sands spread out as far as the eyes can see, a seemingly endless expanse of smooth, calm desert. Add in the framework of the Atlas Mountains in the background and this scenery is enough to take your breath away. It’s one of the world’s most walkable cities.
10. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Meknes
One of many UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Meknes made the list for its historic significance and myriad of architectural styles. Everywhere you look, there are stunning monuments, evidence of a well-preserved heritage. Entryway to the city can be gained through one of nine entrances in the fortified walls, decorated with intricate craftsmanship. Here, the beauty is in the details. From the stately Makhzen palace to countless mosques, gardens, and Spanish-Moor styles, all vie for your attention. This is one of the things to do in Morocco you can’t pass up.
11. Walk the Sandy Town of Merzouga
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Shifting sands in the Sahara give way to Merzouga, a dramatic place of isolation. Stretches of warm, brown earth meet towering downs, stretching in all directions. A speck in the distance, red sandstone buildings break the horizon line for a brief moment. A small town, you can see all of Merzouga on foot. The vivid sunrises and sunsets turn the landscape into a kaleidoscope of color.
12. Go See Ouarzazate
Credit: Scott Presly
Does this cityscape look familiar at all? It’s been used as the backdrop for many movies on the big screen, like Lawrence of Arabia, Gladiator, and The Mummy. We can see why. This scenic town and its surroundings spread out over a natural plateau, framed by the striking contrast of the Atlas Mountains and desert sands. Ouarzazate is also famous for its lovely Berber kasbahs. One of the most prominent is the Ait Benhaddou. Here, the Moroccan landscape is transformed to look like a miniature Egypt. Scattered throughout the set are props from the region’s most beloved films.
13. Marvel at the Agile Tree Goats of Tamri
Yes, you read that right. If you’ve never heard of Morocco’s tree goats before you’re in for a fun, albeit odd visual. These agile animals scale the region’s thorny Argania trees in search of annual fruit crops and nuts. For the best chance of seeing these goats up in the branches, visit in June. During this time, the Argan fruit begin to open, attracting legions of furry locals.
While you might think this would be pesky to farmers, locals embrace the oddity. Goats are kept away from the trees until the fruit matures. When they finish eating the fruit and nuts from the tree, they scatter clumps of seeds which are then pressed to create Argan oil. You learn something new every day, right?
Plan Your Vacation and Check off the Best Things to Do and See in Morocco
Alright, it’s time to get planning. While this list only scratches the surface of all the things to do in Morocco, it’s a great place to start. This diverse country offers a whirlwind of culture and adventure for travelers to explore. Explore ancient deserts, walk through maze-like streets, spend your nights under the stars, and marvel at the beauty of palm-lined oases.
We recommend spending at least one week of adventure in the country. This is a good way to see a deal of the sprawling terrain, get a feel for it, and soak up all the beauty it has to offer. Morocco is one of the best places to travel in November.
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