Morocco, the country located on the Mediterranean Coast on the other side of Spain, is a country rich with adventure and culture across its cities and natural wonders. From desert landscapes to buzzing cities, to ancient reminders of times long ago, there’s plenty to see and do in Morocco. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorites:
1. Roman Ruins
Surely when you think of Morocco, the Roman Empire isn’t exactly the first thing that comes to mind, however, northern parts of the country were, at one point, part of the Roman Empire. Today, you can head to various parts of Northern Morocco for a glimpse of the great society that once was. Check out the Volubilis, outside the capital city, Rabat, and near the city of Meknes, which was once the site of the capital city of the Kingdom of Mauretania and part of the Roman Empire. Lixus is another popular site for classic Roman arches and stone structures, found on the Mediterranean Coast, near the city of Larache.
2. El Badi Palace, Marrakech
The city of Marrakech is bursting with culture and incredible things to do, but El Badi Palace is definitely at the top of that list. The palace was built for Sultan Ahmed al-Mansour after the Battle of Three Kings in the 16th century. The palace is massive, made of brown adobe, and its presence cannot be missed. It’s so big in fact, that it took 25 years to build. Visiting the sprawling El Badi Palace today, you can wander around the ruins or head straight to the museum attached to learn more about the history of the palace. Entrance fee for the complex is close to two dollars.
3. Atlas Mountains, Marrakech
Often described as the hidden gem of Morocco, the Atlas Mountains are a piece of natural beauty you cannot miss. There are three main mountain ranges that comprise the Atlas Mountains, the most popular being the High Atlas Mountains. You can get there easily from the city of Marrakech and can choose between 4×4 outings or hikes, easy one-day hikes or more challenging multi-day adventures. The High Atlas Mountains are also home to Mount Toubkal, the highest peak in the Northern African region. The 13,000-foot mountain peak is no easy feat to get to the top, but with a three-day hike, you can climb the whole thing. In the mountains are small, traditional villages nearly untouched by modern society, giving you a glimpse of what Moroccan life once was.
4. Majorelle Gardens, Marrakech
Fan of gardens and flowers? Check out the Majorelle Garden, or ‘Jardin Majorelle’ in French, named after the garden’s creator, French painter Jacques Majorelle. Open every day from 8 am to 6 pm, with the exception of the month of Ramadan when it’s open from 9 am to 5 pm, you can enjoy the rambling shady walkways with Moorish and Art Deco-inspired architecture, as well as the hundreds of plant types of all shapes and colors all around. Don’t forget to stop by the Berber Museum while in the gardens. The museum houses collections on Berber culture and history and collections by Pierre Berge and Yves Saint Laurent.
5. Bahia Palace, Marrakech
The stunning and intricately designed Bahia Palace is located right in the city of Marrakech, making it an easy visit while you’re in town. Built in the 19th century, the palace stands as the personal home to grand vizier of the sultan, Si Moussa, and the greatest, most magnificent palace of its time. Gaze upon the beautiful blue tiling on the floors or the colorfully painted and vibrant walls and doors. The palace is the perfect spot to snap some unique, and always beautiful pics.
6. Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca
Known in town as the Casablanca Hajj, the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca may not have the history of some of the other sites in the country, but that doesn’t mean you should cut it off your to-do list just yet. The mosque is the largest in the country and the second largest in Northern Africa. When visiting the mosque, it’s important to keep Islamic values in mind. Dress modestly, and women should have their heads covered. The towering and stunningly beautiful mosque has tour guides that will take you through the complex while giving you details about the building’s history and importance.
7. Royal Palace, Rabat
Also called the Dar al-Makhzen, the Royal Palace sits in the capital city of Morocco, Rabat. The palace was built in 1864 as the official residence of the King of Morocco, currently King Mohammed VI. While the inside of the palace is not open to visitors, there is plenty to admire outside. From the intricate French and Arabic inspired designs to the French gardens surrounding the palace to the fountains and occasional parades of guards, you’ll have plenty to see and photograph at the Royal Palace.
8. Jemaa el-Fnaa, Marrakech
Looking for the best mix of Moroccan culture? Check out the Jemaa el-Fnaa square and marketplace in Marrakech’s Medina area. The square is always abuzz with activity, from rows of stalls selling the finest local crafts, street vendors offering up Moroccan cuisine, and snake charmers showing off their tricks. After the sun goes down, the square is the spot to be for local customs. From storytellers sharing Berber tales to dancers entertaining the crowds to music from all sides, the Jemaa el-Fnaa square is quite an experience.
9. Sahara Desert, Merzouga
You can’t take a trip to Morocco without taking a visit to the Sahara Desert. The massive desert spans the majority of Northern Africa and can be reached from any different cities. However, our top pick while traveling in Morocco is the Erg Chebbi Sand Dunes. The town of Merzouga sits close to the Algerian border, inside the Sahara Desert. The sand dunes here are massive, rising high up above the town — in some spots, up to nearly 500 feet high. Take a camel trip to the dunes starting from the town of Merzouga, or take an overnight trip into the desert.
10. Medina of Fez, Fez
The old, walled section of the city of Fez, called the Medina of Fez, is not just a historic piece of Morocco but also a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its significance in Moroccan culture. The Medina of Fez is full of local vendors showing off their crafts and even making them in front of their shops — copper bowls, glass works, rugs, and more. Follow the winding alleyways to find buildings, mosques, and palaces from the 9th century and onwards, vibrant tile patterns adorning every wall and floor, and of course, great, authentic shops and restaurants.