If you’re wondering what to visit in Morocco, then I present to you an amazing list of the best cities in Morocco! Take a peek at the map to see where they are in relation to each other. I hope you find some inspiration!
1. Kasbah Museum
The Kasbah Museum is in Tangier inside of a former sultan’s palace! The exhibit is sadly only in Arabic and French, but you don’t need to read those languages to see the amazing art. The museums houses incredible mosaics, artifacts, and gardens. Not to mention the great views of Tangier! Since Tangier is so close to Spain, the museum really displays the blending of Spanish and Moroccan styles. It might not be worth going JUST for the kasbah museum, but if you’re in Tangier… check it out!
2. Cap Spartel
Cap Spartel is the most Northwestern part of Africa, and it is where the Mediterranean and Atlantic meet! Speaking of Atlanti…s…. There’s a sunken island off the coast of the cape that “some” people think is the lost island of Atlantis. I’m not sure if it’s true, but isn’t it fun to speculate? I think if you have at least a week in Morocco that you should be able to slip it in!
Either way, the recently restored lighthouse offers some truly stunning views!
3. Caves of Hercules
While these caves are naturally made, they’ve been expanded by humans when they “harvested” the stone. The caves get their names because they are supposedly where Hercules (yes *that* Hercules) rested before doing his 11th labor.
The entrance from the sea (there’s also one to the land) has been given the name “Map of Africa” because it sort of looks like Africa. Maybe from the outside?
The caves are also super close to number 2 spot, Cap Spartel.
4. Chefchaouen ~ The Blue Pearl
Chefchaouen Morocco is also known as the Blue Pearl or the Blue City, and it’s not hard to see where that name came from. There are a few theories about why it’s blue from it was for tourism (certainly other cities have done so), possibly to keep mosquitoes at bay, blue for the water, or even just because the Jews fleeing persecution did it. Whatever the reason, the end result is the same: A dazzlingly beautiful city. Also with cats 😀
It has become one of the highest touristy spots in Morocco, but there are pros and cons to that. I feel like Chefchaouen is really prepared for tourists with hotels in varying degrees of luxury and price, and tasty and affordable restaurants.
Chefchaouen Morocco is a must see!
If you’re wondering how to get from Marrakech to Chefchaouen, it’s about a 7 hour drive or 10 hours by bus. You’re honestly better off breaking that long drive up by visiting some of these other cities in Morocco.
5. Dar Batha
Another stunning palace turned museum is located in Fes! It is home to an exquisite collection of berber carpets, antique instruments, embroidered designs, pottery, and of course the mosaics that Morocco is known for!
It’s a small oasis of easement and beauty in a bustling medina.
6. Ifrane National Park
Ifrane National Park is mostly comprised of Atlas Cedars, but it’s known for being one of the few remaining habitats for the adorable Barbary Macaques (the monkey you see above). If it’s not a surprise that Morocco has monkeys (and trees! C’mon, how many of you just thought it was a desert country?), would you be surprised to know that there are also wild pigs and even wolves in the Ifrane National Park?
The park is pretty close to Fes, and people come to stroll around the lovely trails to see stunning views of lakes and wildlife. What a relaxing day trip!
To get from Marrakech to Fez, you can either drive, fly, train or bus. The bus and train are about hte same price and about the same amount of time (8 hours).
7. Volubilis Archaeological Site
Let’s get this out of the way fast. Volubilis is *old*. Like built in 3rd century BC old. Volubilis has a long and storied history of being occupied by Phonecians, Carthaginians, Romans, Muslims, Christians, and the Idrisid. It’s astoundingly well preserved for a city that old. In fact, I bet it’d be even better looking if many of the stones weren’t pilfered in the 16 century AD to rebuild Meknes after a massive earthquake.
Since the Romans were there for such a long period of time, their normal fingerprints are all over the ancient city: aqueducts, baths, roads, gates, and naturally brothels! Oh, those Romans.
The columns no longer hold up buildings, but instead perched atop are now giant stork nests. Can you see one in the picture?
8. Mausoleum of Mohammed V
This mausoleum houses an old Moroccan king and his two sons. It’s a beautiful white building with roof tiles that are green to represent Islam. Compared to these other sites, this mausoleum is quite modern! The buildings were finished in 1971, and the last body was laid to rest in 1999. Moroccan architecture is so grandiose, especially (imho), the arches and the tiling.
Probably since this is for relatively recently deceased, it’s also guarded full time by uniformed guards. I think what I like the most about this mausoleum is that you can see what other ruins might have been like in their heyday. You can see what they would be like before stones fell, mosaics cracked, and before plants overgrew. Even though they are beautiful now, all of these Moroccan buildings must’ve been a true sight to see when they were first built.
Perhaps it is a metaphor, but the seemingly simplistic design of the white and green on the outside is in stark contrast to the colorful and gilded interior!
9. Portuguese Cistern of El Jadida
Even though it’s in modern-day Morocco, El Jadida was founded by the Portuguese. What they left behind is a gorgeous cistern which is like an underground storage tank for water. The vaulting, acoustics, and lighting make this cistern so gorgeous that it was actually used as a set for Orson Welles’s Othello. It was also partially filmed in Essaouira (which is another spot on this list!)
The standing water on the floor creates reflections that make for some truly special photos!
See, I told you it was another spot on the list! Essaouira is a port town on the coast that is famous for more than just the film location for Othello! Several shows and movies were filmed here: Game of Thrones, Alexander, Kingdom of Heaven, and a few lesser known productions.
The medina, old city, still retains its fortified walls, which are quite a treat to walk along to observe the crashing waves and blue fishing boats. There are tons of market stalls, and it’s easy to get lost, but friendly locals are happy to steer you back to where you need to go. I used the beach as my compass.
I found the prices in Essaouira’s market to be cheaper than in Marrakech. I found some exquisite leather poofs and more scarves during my wander.
11. Goats in Trees!
I know what you’re thinking. I didn’t think it was a real thing either! But lo and behold, there really were goats hanging out in trees! Of the tours from Marrakech, this one is one of the most fun!
I’m not sure if they naturally clambered up there to get to the Argan or if they were trained, but either way it’s an incredible feat of feet that they are able to stay up there at all! When I went, there was a man holding and adorable kid (baby goat not baby human) which you could pay him to take a picture with. They were pretty agressive about asking for money, but I didn’t mind popping them a small amount because the goats were so fun to look at.
I got quite up close and personal with them! We didn’t get to stay long since I was on a day trip to Essaouira, but it was a very fun stop.
12. Agadir Birds Valley
You might also see it as Vallee de Oiseaux, so don’t be alarmed. That’s just French for Valley of the Birds. It’s sort of like a sanctuary/zoo that is a safe haven for tons of fauna including peacocks, flamingos, llamas, wallabies, goats, gazelles, and some cats.
13. Tinmel Mosque
The Tinmel (or sometimes Tin Mal) mosque was constructed back in 1156, although it was later abandoned. Restorations started up in the 1990s, so it’s now looking really good for a gal her age. Most of these mosques don’t allow non-Muslims in, but this one (as does the one in Casablanca) does allow.
The windows themselves are quite a sight, as are the views out of them. The Tinmel Mosque sits atop a hill that overlooks the village that gives it its name. It’s deep in the mountains, so it’s suggested to have a driver with you!
14. Kasbah du Toubkal
A kasbah is a citadel or a type of fortress. This one happens to be perched in the Toubkal National Park just under the highest mountain in North Africa. What makes this kasbah especially exciting is that you can STAY there! It’s about a 15 minute walk (mules will carry your bags) and you can actually sleep at this amazing fortress!
Martin Scorsese actually found the views to be so stunning, that he transformed the kasbah into a Tibetan monastery for his movie Kundun.
Snow. Yes. That’s *snow* in Morocco! It’s my favorite thing to find places in a country that you had no idea was possible. LIke when I found out there’s a desert in Peru!
So when I found out there’s a ski resort in Morocco, I had to add it to the list. I bet it never occured to you that you could go snow skiing in Africa!
16. Oasiria Water Park
I guess a water park isn’t as unexpected as a ski resort, but it is very fun and refreshing! It has my personal fave, the lazy river, as well as many rides, pools, and pseudo beaches. It’s a great place for solo, couple, and even families!
Bonus: Free Shuttle Bus!
17. Bahia Palace
The Bahia Palace in Marrakech was built in the 19th Century to encapsulate its name (which translates to Brilliance in Arabic). It has a large courtyard with tons of rooms coming off of it just for the concubines. How sweet 😀
What’s really heartwarming was that the palace was built by a slave who turned into a Vizier (is that kind of like Aladdin? No, not really), and it had enough rooms for his 4 wives and 24 concubines (OK, that’s definitely not like Aladdin).
18. Jemaa el-Fna
The name Jemaa el-fna loosely translates to the congregation in front of a building, although there are also other translations that are a little less fun like assembly of the dead as it had public executions there over 1000 years ago.
But not today! Today it’s a lively market where you can buy food, spices, clothing and even phone chargers if you leave yours in the desert!
It’s really an exciting market as you can see snake charmers, dancers, and the most important people… the guides. The guides have little carts that they carry behind them (for your luggage). You can pay them a small fee and they will guide you to your Riad or wherever you need to go. While I was following mine, I took pictures with my finger pointing in the direction that he was turning to help me find my way back later.
Marrakesh might also be spelled Marrakech, just in case it confuses you! It’s often thought to be the capital (wrong: it’s Rabat), and it’s not even the largest city. It’s the 4th largest! However, it is still a former imperial city, and that’s still something.
Its medina (old city) is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is chock full of riads, souks, gardens, and mosques!
20. Majorelle Garden
The Majorelle Gardens aren’t just sweeping botanical gardens that take up over 2.5 acres. They are also home to museums for Islamic art, Berber culture, and the famous fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent. If you’re wondering “Why Yves??,” it’s because he co-bought the gardens to restore it in the 1980s.
Another claim to fame that it has is as a way to beat the heat. The trees offer some respite from a harsh sun, and it’s a great place to wander and take beautiful pictures.
21. Thiemann Cactus Farm
The Thiemann Farm is 17 acres which makes it one of the largest in the whole continent of Africa! It has over 150 different species of cacti! The founder was actually German, and he visited the Majorelle Gardens (yes, number 20!) for inspiration! He ended up liking Morocco so much that he came back for good and started the farm.
What’s really cute is the sign that lets you know you’ve arrived just says, “Cacti.” Adorable. Just like what it sells, that signs gets to “the point.” GET IT? BECAUSE IT’S A CACTUS! Sorry, I didn’t mean to yell. I’m just really passionate about puns.
22. Ouzoud Falls
I’m not sure I need to say anything about these falls. Look at them; they’re gorgeous! I should add that you can even ride a raft to get up to the falls as well! However, there are several trails at the top and bottom of the falls through lovely olive trees and wending past several active mills. It’s considered a “don’t miss” spot.
23. Kasbah Telouet
This kasbah isn’t as popular as #25, but it’s just as incredible! The man who lived there is often referred to as the Gatsby of Morocco. I’m sure it’s more because of the lavish lifestyle that was lead because of the massive fortune accrued from olive, saffron, and salt trades than a man obsessed with a former lover and a green light. I’m 100% sure.
This Moroccan Gatsby ended up backing the wrong horse in a Moroccan bid for power, and was deemed a traitor, and his kasbah was abandoned. Although it has faded over the years, it is definitely still beautiful and worth a trip if you have time.
24. The Hills Have Eyes film set
Ouarzazate and the accompanying area is known as the Hollywood of Morocco, but this section takes that literally because there is an abandoned movie set stranded along the road. It’s a gas station for the film The Hills Have Eyes.
Even if you’re like me and have never seen the movie, it’s still a pretty creepy site that could make a pretty sweet backdrop from some IG shots. It’s the sort of thing you’d be into if you’re into that sort of thing.
It’s right off the highway, and there is no fee to enter…because you can’t. You can only poke around outside.
25. Ait Ben Haddou
Ait Ben Haddou is a well deserved UNESCO Heritage site, and it was one of my favorite spots on my whole trip. I think it became so prosperous because it was a well needed stop out of the Sahara on the way to Marrakech for traders and nomads alike.
This stunning backdrop was most noticeable for me for Game of Thrones, but it was also a filming site for Gladiator, Bourne Ultimatum, Inception, Black Hawk Down, What a Girl Wants, and of course, Lawrence of Arabia. I went as part of a 3-day tour, but you can also go as a day trip from Marrakech.
26. Atlas Film Studios
In relation to all these other wonders I’ve been telling you about, Atlas Film Studios is pretty much a baby at 1983! A super smart guy decided that there should be a permanent film location for any movie that wanted an authentic desert for the movies! He was right! As mentioned above, there are TONS of movies shot in the desert because of Atlas Film Studios.
The film studios I’m talking about offers a tour for you to be able to wander around different props and backgrounds!
This is a super fun word to say. Ready? Where za zat. Fun!
Ouarzazate is also known as the Door to the Desert since it’s the last “major town” before you get into the Sahara. There’s a nearby Oasis nestled in a nearby Valley, which is fun to check out. I was on a tour to the Sahara that let us do just that.
29. Dades Gorge
It is pronounced Dah-des not Daydes, just as a heads up. What I find fascinating about the Dades Gorge is that it used to be like Sebastian… under the sea! Admittedly, millions of years ago. Sometime between then and now, the Dades River has been carving out the gorge.
The gorge also is an area very prolific with roses, so you might see a lot of places selling rosewater! You’ll also see very winding roads on the way to the valley. So please bring motion sickness pills!
29. Todra Gorge
In case you just *can’t* get enough of gorges, here’s the Todra Gorge. What blew my mind about the Todra Gorge is how skinny it was (Only about 30 feet wide!) It made the walls seem SO steep (over 500 feet!) You can get out and stick your feet in the trickle of water, or even accidentally step in a puddle (totally not me) and then decide to put your feet in the water anyway.
30. Erg Chebbi
Ok, I know this said that there was more to Morocco than the Sahara, but you’d be ridiculous if you didn’t GO TO THE SAHARA. Erg means like “sand sea” but is basically a dune. The Sahara is huge but Erg Chebbi is the proud owner of the best dunes. They are so tall; it will blow your mind.
Driving on the road (which is weird itself if you think about it) on the way to the desert, everything is flat with some scrubby bushes. Everything is a brownish color. What’s truly wild is starting to see small piles of sand slowly getting bigger in the distance. First they are just small dunes that still have some resilient plants clinging to them, but they start giving away faster and faster to the large, dominating dunes. I’ve never seen anything like it.
What really struck me about the sand was how soft it was and the color. As a child, deserts were always flat, bright yellow expanses with some exaggerated cacti thrown in. Nothing like that. Rolling mountains of sand with no plants in sight. It seems completely inhospitable; I can’t imagine having the thought “let’s live here!” or even “let’s walk across it!” Whoever took those first steps to cross that expanse is brave or foolish. Probably both.
The color is a very rich, almost coppery color. I really expected it to be a bright yellow.
Then you’re riding a mildly uncomfortable camel for a trip of a lifetime, and there is nothing to see but sand. I remember looking down and being totally surprised to see footprints. Not just of my friendly Berber guide (whom I’m still friends with on IG. Check him out his pictures are bananas), but of some sort of beetle and rodent.
And if that’s not enough to blow your mind…then you come around a dune, and there… like out of a cartoon… is literally an oasis. Not a mirage. A legit pool of water, palm trees, and dozens of tents.
If you do nothing for yourself in this life…. At least take yourself to the Sahara. I hate the heat and thought I was going to melt out there. But I went in April, and it was actually chilly enough to merit a jacket.