Morocco is completely enthralling. It’s a country we can spend months exploring. How could you not when it covers the Sahara’s vastness, the world’s oldest medinas, many majestic mountain ranges, and so much more?
That’s without even considering the hospitality of the inhabitants or the culinary delights. Yes, it’s reasonable to say that this North African resort boasts a plethora of attractions. So, how do you whittle them down? So, where do you begin? These top ten Morocco experiences are a wonderful place to start.
We’re happy to share our favorite activities with you, which encompass the famous and the unorthodox, the apparent and the lesser-known. Here’s a list of Moroccan experiences that are definitely worth checking off your bucket list:
1. Spend a night in the desert in the Sahara.
Please forgive us for starting with the most apparent, but visiting the Sahara one of the best places to stay in Morocco is the epitome of a truly Moroccan experience. An unforgettable experience, especially if you time your camel ride to coincide with sunset and visit Erg Chebbi’s stunning sand dunes (psst, our Morocco Uncovered vacation does!).
The closest Saharan village (Merzouga), which lies close to the Algerian border, is as remote as it gets. That isn’t to suggest you won’t be alone while you’re here. Visit as a group and camp out on the sand dunes in an old-fashioned way, sampling local cuisine, sitting around an open fire, and gazing up at the stars. It’s a night to remember.
2. Essaouira’s horseback riding
Essaouira is one of our favorite cities in Morocco. The port city is as beautiful and white-washed as it is unpretentious and calm. It’s a place where you may sit on the ancient city ramparts and listen to the Atlantic waves smash. The atmosphere of tranquility and the meandering streets make this a spot where you instantly feel at ease. And, while we adore it so much that we wrote an entire ode to it, we should point you some of the things you can do there (lest you assume it’s just for relaxing).
The ‘Wind City of Africa’ has a plethora of seaside attractions. Kitesurfing and other forms of surfing are popular in this area. You can take lessons and enjoy the peak windsurfing season, which runs from April to November. Horseback riding, on the other hand, is our favorite pastime. It’s difficult to describe why, but nothing beats a horseback ride through Essaouira’s white sand beaches, the wind in your hair, and the sensation of freedom that’s, hmm, oh so freeing.
3. In Aroumd, try Berber food.
Morocco is a melting pot, so it’s no surprise that the cuisine reflects this, combining the finest of Berber, Arabic, and European influences. It’s packed with fresh ingredients and served with outstanding hospitality, and it’s so good that we made it the focus of our 10-day “Morocco Real Food Adventure.” It offers everything from an olive press tour to a couscous demonstration and dinner, but the homestay in Aroumd is one of our favorites.
Aroumd is a little Berber community nestled in the sweeping High Atlas Mountains for those who aren’t familiar with it. It’s a lengthy trip to get there, but the snow-capped mountains (in the winter) and flower-filled valleys (in the summer) are quite breathtaking.
However, it is the people, not the location, that matter the most. And your Berber host family will be delighted to show you around their orchard and share their culinary delights with you. You’ll learn how to make Berber cuisine (such as the classic tagine) while surrounded by the scent of woodstoves and bread, before sharing a shared meal and an unforgettable night’s stay.
4. Tangier is best explored by bicycle.
Tangier is a city that is frequently overlooked by travelers, but we think the ‘gateway to Africa’ is fascinating. The port city, located in the very north of the country, is near to Spain but has such a unique history and culture that it cannot be compared to anywhere else. You will find the best hotels in Morocco here. And while the whitewashed hillside medina is undoubtedly worth a visit, there’s so much to see that riding about is probably our favorite activity.
What are the best places to go biking? Start by going to the Grottesd’Hercules (Hercules Caves), a cave where Hercules is said to have stayed. It’s a fascinating little site that’s been used as a brothel, a music venue, and a lot more in the past. From here, take a day trip to Cap Spartel, a must-see site. This 19th-century lighthouse, located on Africa’s Atlantic Coast’s northwestern tip, offers stunning views, a variety of adjacent beaches, and a scenic journey through the pine-covered peninsula.
5. Enjoy the sunrise in Chefchaouen.
Even if you Google ‘Chefchaouen,’ it’s easy to believe that this Moroccan city in the north has been Photoshopped.
It’s painted in so many different shades of blue that it’s almost weird and breathtaking. No, this high in the Rif Mountains location is not a mirage. It’s a tranquil oasis where you may rest while sipping mint tea, and it’s a highlight of everyone’s vacation.
There are so many things we enjoy doing here. Visiting a Moroccan hammam (bathhouse) in one of the best spa hotels in Morocco is usually a memorable experience. And, while the tiny medina isn’t the largest in Morocco.
It nonetheless sells everything from woven blankets to brass teapots to leather goods through merchants and crammed antique shops. Then there’s the nearby Talassemtane National Park, which offers plenty of hiking opportunities.
The short climb to the neighboring Spanish Mosque, which offers breathtaking views of the mountains and town, is an even closer must-do. You’ll be in literal (well, not quite literal) heaven in 30 minutes from the eastern medina gate. Insider tip: go at sunrise or sunset for even more beautiful vistas.
6. Taghazout is a great place to surf.
Taghazout had remained relatively unknown until lately, despite its proximity to the resort city of Agadir and the port town of Essaouira. After all, the best surfing spot in the world is rather spectacular. From September to April, the water is warm, and the surf is ideal for both beginners and experienced wave riders. Begin your journey with a stroll past the town’s peaceful cafes and surf shops, or better yet, get to know the waves before watching the sunset into the sea.
Visit the neighboring and aptly called Paradise Valley before or after any excursion to Taghazout. Rock pools, little waterfalls, and a plethora of picturesque beauties will make you fall in love with the land even more.
7. Marrakech’s medina is a great place to shop.
The Koutoubia mosque’s minaret is the city’s most famous landmark, but it’s Jemaa El-Fna Plaza, the main square, where you’ll most likely spend your time. It’s both overwhelming and captivating, thanks to the hive of activity and abundance of performers, food vendors, and craft-sellers. We recommend going to one of the numerous rooftop terraces around the main square at sunset to watch the square come alive (even more).
You also don’t want to miss out on the shopping. The souks (ancient Arab markets) are bustling with activity, selling everything from spices to antiques to lanterns to silks.
8. Fes tanneries are a must-see.
The city of Marrakech, Morocco’s second-largest, is a sight to behold. If you thought the medina and markets in Marrakech were fascinating, wait till you visit Fes, the country’s cultural hub. The massive, well-preserved medieval old city makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in time, while the passing donkeys demonstrate why this is one of the world’s largest car-free urban zones.
So, what might you expect from a visit to a tannery? First and foremost, there’s a strong odor (there’s no point lying!). Fortunately, your tour guide can provide fresh mint to hold up to your nose and help you overcome the problem. Second, there are vistas that more than compensate for the odor. Workers are knee-deep in various colore dyes, tending to the wet animal hides in the pots.
The entire process of turning skins into leather items is done by hand, providing a fascinating glimpse into a tradition that hasn’t changed much since the Middle Ages. What an amazing adventure.
9. Bike through the Atlas Mountains.
The diversity of Morocco is just astounding. We’ve taken you to old souks and windswept beaches, little surf towns, and the vast Sahara desert. However, few people associate Morocco with mountains. This is a shame because nothing compares to the Atlas Mountains’ Berber villages, canyons, and ravines. There’s nothing like riding a mountain bike to get a feel for the area. You’ll take a picturesque drive up to the Ourika Valley and then mountain bike down.
10. In Casablanca, look for street art.
Casablanca, Morocco’s largest city, has an up-and-coming creative vibe to it. Graffiti is part of the package. Also includes an industrial slaughterhouse that has been convert into a cultural center (yep, head to La Fabrique Culturelle des Anciens Abattoirs de Casablanca for street art exhibitions plus dance and music events).
Much of the street art is found in the ancient city, and it’s well worth a look, especially since the murals you’ll see are some of the country’s only and best. This is not a fluke.
Street art is encourage here, and you’ll encounter examples of it whether you’re strolling through the Al Hank neighborhood or relaxing in the United Nations Square.
But Casablanca is more than just about street art; it also offers a window into current Morocco. It’s a country that’s as much home to historic medinas and souks as it is to the ‘Morocco Mall’ (one of the continent’s largest shopping malls), Art Deco villas, and expats in posh restaurants. And it’s a land that never ceases to amaze, perplex, and thrills its visitors.
Bonus: Stay at Story Rabat- the best boutique hotel in Rabat, Morocco.
STORY Rabat boutique hotel is a genuine tour into the Aesthetic Universe. The hotel, which is locats in Rabat’s Embassy District and is flanks by some of the city’s most prestigious villas and golf courses, has name “Best Luxury Boutique Hotel” in Morocco for the year 2020 by The Luxury Lifestyle Awards.
STORY Rabat welcomes you into a world where Zyriab’s philosophy is reflects in every space of the hotel, expertly blending contemporary Moroccan architecture with an Andalusian touch. This boutique hotel offers a quiet experience of unsurpassed luxury in Morocco just for real private visitors.