11 Wonderful Ways to Experience Morocco Like Nobody Else
Whether you’re strolling the crest of the colossal Saharan sand dunes, winding through the alleyways of Fés Medina, exploring an ancient Kasbah fortress, or awakening in a traditional tent carpeted with kilims in the middle of the desert – Morocco is full of surprises, a vivid culture, and unparalleled beauty. Cool cedar-forested mountains. Narrow gorges with ribbon-like oases in their depths. As you enjoy a cup of traditional mint Moroccan tea while perched on a pile of colorful Berber rugs, you may wonder if you ever have to leave. Morocco delivers everything you’d want from a vacation and more. Take in the stunning natural sights, noisy and vivid marketplaces, and the warm hospitality from a culture accustomed to the diversity of Berber, Arab, Jewish, African, and Mediterranean influences. Morocco is enigmatic and exotic all at once – a bucket list destination without a doubt. Check out our top 11 must-do experiences while visiting Morocco below:
#1 EXPLORE THE MEDINA IN ESSAOUIRA
The coastal city of Essaouira is a must-see in Morocco and is a perfect introduction to the vivid Morrocan culture mixed with the laid-back vibe of a beach town. Explore the local medina on foot and wander through its renowned art galleries and wood workshops, where craftsmen create everything from carpets to silver jewelry.
#2 GO GLAMPING IN THE DESERT
Just a few short minutes outside of Essaouira, you’ll find yourself in the beautiful countryside and at the doors of the ancient Kasbah Abderazak. Here, you can enjoy a day of camel riding and cheese-making in the desert before arriving at an incredible site: a charming bivouac of a dozen or so Berber-inspired tents in one of the most beautiful corners of Morocco. As evening envelops the camp, enjoy the incredible stargazing over a dinner of cumin-scented stew and traditional herbal tea.
#3 COOK & PADDLEBOARD IN ESSAOUIRA
Explore the beautiful bay on a stand-up paddle board that offers terrific coastal views of the Medina walls and surrounding Mogador Islands. Or explore the traditions of the Moroccan table and learn how to prepare an authentic couscous and tajine with the help of local chefs.
#4 EXPLORE THE FÈS MEDINA
Take a guided walk through the largest Medina in the western part of the Islamic world. This walled city has changed little since the 9th century and you’ll see small workshops, craftsmen at work on copper and brass, and the tannery where leather is created and dyed as it has been for countless centuries. Later, stroll in the ceramic district where artisans will share how they create fine tiles and mosaics.
#5 COUNTRYSIDE OF FÈS
Take a memorable walk in the countryside surrounding Fès. Walk through forested footpaths, past lush apple orchards and olive groves, and enjoy the views of the ochre-colored villages as you greet locals along the way with their donkeys in tow. If you wish, purchase fresh local pastries in the countryside towns and snack on locally-grown roasted almonds.
#6 SEE THE MIDDLE ATLAS MOUNTAINS
A journey through the Middle Atlas Mountains is a must, as you’ll be rewarded with stellar scenery and some of the most spectacular views in Africa. Stroll through cedar forests, admire the high plateaus, and clay cut and stone villages scattered throughout the countryside as Barbary apes and shepherds accompany you along the way. As you move into the High Atlas, the scenery shifts to tall peaks, deep gorges, and pre-Saharan hills and sand dunes scattered with medieval Kasbahs and clay villages.
#7 RIDE THE DUNES OF MERZOUGA AT SUNSET
Just an hour outside of Fés, explore the soaring red sand dunes of Merzouga, the highest dunes in the world. From here, watch the sunset over the dramatic landscape on camel rides for an unforgettable experience through the dunes as the vibrant colors of the sky melt into the sandy hues of the dunes in the distance.
#8 WALK THROUGH TODRA GORGE
Take a scenic walk through one of Morocco’s most magnificent natural sights, the 900-foot deep Todra Gorge. Explore the narrow gorge with ribbon-like oases in their depths and the lush greenery—including oleander, laurel, and fig trees—that flourish in this environment. Walk through fields of alfalfa, henna, barley, and mint in the shade of palm and almond trees.
#9 EXPLORE AIT BEN HADDOU
Take a short trip to Ait Ben Haddou, one of the most exotic and best-preserved Kasbahs in the Atlas region. This ancient fortress is abundant in cultural significance and rich history, as it served as a rest area during medieval times for the caravans that traveled from Marrakesh to Timbuktu. It may also seem vaguely familiar to you, as it has been used for the scenes in almost 20 films – a sight to see!
#10 JOURNEY INTO THE OURIKA VALLEY
Journey into the Ourika Valley, surrounded by the High Atlas Mountains. Explore the stunning scenery, lush and fertile valley, and numerous running rivers and gushing waterfalls. Explore villages in the valley like Anins, where you can enjoy large weeping willows, winding hillside pathways, and roam the dusted streets – admiring the perched houses constructed from locally-crafted clay.
#11 WANDER IN MARRAKESH
Marrakesh, the fourth of Morocco’s imperial cities, has long been a center of African Islamic civilization and is one of the most popular destinations in Morocco for a reason. The most famous philosophers and scholars in the world converged here in the Middle Ages, which helped create the outstanding architecture and public gardens that will stun you upon arrival. Make your way to Djemaa El-Fna square and take a guided tour of the souks, where you can shop for Berber carpets, chat with merchants, admire artisan jewelry, and purchase other unique Moroccan crafts.
If a trip to any of these locations interests you, I invite you to join a handcrafted Classic Journey’s culture + walking trip to Morocco. Luxurious lodging, local guides, amazing cuisine, and a phenomenal cultural experience awaits you in Morocco.