Things to do when visiting Morocco
Creating a list of the top things to do in Morocco seems almost impossible. After all, Morocco, as a North African country, is a stunning destination for every person who is looking for holidays with endless adventures and opportunities. With its imperial cities, relaxation of the beaten track destinations, beautiful beaches and rewarding surf spots, the amount of excitement that await in Morocco is uncountable.
To that end, here is a list with the top things to do while visiting Morocco:
Marvel at the Sahara desert :
Camping, camel trekking and photography are amongst the top activities to enjoy in the Sahara. Erg chegaga is an impressive place near Mhamid El Ghizlane and only accessible by camel or a four wheel-drive, it is the largest sand sea in Morocco along 40km and boarded by mountain ridges. It is one of the two major ergs of the Moroccan Sahara, considered as a recent touristic destination. It is until recently that it started to attract visitors notably since the 1990s. This breathtaking land has some fairly low dunes reaching around 120m. On the other hand, there is erg chebbi famous all over the world with its high dunes reaching over 160m that provides a view on a wonderful landscape. Erg Chebbi is easily accessible in comparison to erg chegaga. The Moroccan Sahara desert is also known for the diversity of its outdoor activities, numerous views to enjoy, sleeping under millions of stars. Watching sunrise and sunset from the top of a dune will leave you fascinated by the beauty of the Moroccan desert. Moreover, sand surfing is also a fun thing to do together with enjoying fire camp, trying local food and meeting people from the area. This destination is known by its unique culture and traditions, it is an escape to another fascinating universe.
Explore some interesting imperial cities :
Fez, Meknes, Marrakesh, and Rabat are four well-known imperial cities in Morocco. Fez, which is considered as the most exciting city, is surrounded by walls that extend for nearly 10 miles. This amazing city is composed of three towns, Fez el Bali, Fez el jedid (built in late 13th century) and thirdly the modern fez built by the French colony during the Protectorate. Meknes, where the focus of interest is the 17th century imperial headquarters of Moulay Ismael, is one of the very few holy places that non-muslims are allowed to enter. With its beautiful sights, souks and koutoubia tower there are many hidden highlights in Marrakesh including the Saadian tombs, the magnificent Ibn youssef Medersa, the Bahia palace…and much more, not to mention its famous gardens like Jardins Majorelle created by a French painter and owned by Yves Saint-Laurent. Finally Rabat, a welcoming capital city of Morocco with its rich history and wonderful monuments like Chellah, the remaining of an ore-Islamic city abandoned in 1154, this beautiful and fascinating building allows visitors to explore the Roman and Islamic ruins. The Hassan Tower is a majestic mosque built by Yacoub-el mansour, and right close to it there is the beautiful tomb of king Mohammed 5 and his two sons. Rabat is also famous for its Zoo opened in 2012 where visitors can admire more than 130 species of animals.
Journey through the Mountains :
Seeking adventure? Morocco has 4 major mountain rangers, the High Atlas Mountains to explore from Marrakesh including the tallest mountain of Jbel Toubkal, the highest point in north Africa which takes an average of three-day climb to its 4167m summit. Middle Atlas range including Ifrane with its French design, and the Rif Mountains in the north of the country that are terrific for outdoor activities. The Berbers are the original habitants of this area, they are very much known for being welcoming to visitors.
Learning to cook Moroccan dishes
With no doubt a trip to Morocco will be for sure full of delicious dishes, so why not to learn how to make them on our own, for this aim there are many cooking schools offering different types of classes that include trips to buy fresh ingredients, and explanation about the different herbs and species that are mandatory for all Moroccan dishes.
Taking a long relaxing bath in Moroccan Hammam :
The best thing to do after a long adventurous day is the visit a traditional Hemmam. It is considered as a point where people of all social classes meet and discuss. Additionally, it’s also known by its peculiar rituals, starting from the application of black soap all over the body then exfoliating all the dead kin with a glove, then using ghassoul Mask which absorbs all impurities and purify the skin. In the most luxurious hammam, it ends by rehydrating the skin with pure argan oil. Moreover, among the important things to do after the Hemmam session is to enjoy a cup of Moroccan mint tea and just relax and enjoy a moment of inner peace.
Try Moroccan dishes :
With its spices and intriguing flavor combinations the Moroccan cuisine is considered as one of the greatest in the world. Influenced by Andalusia, Spanish, Arabian and French cooking skills, therefore, the Moroccan cuisine is considered very unique. With this in mind don’t leave Morocco without trying the following dishes :
a rich soup of beans that is traditionally served for breakfast in winter, with fresh homemade bread and topped with olive oil and cumin.
Moroccan families usually prepare this dish each Friday as a ritual; it is composed of fine pasta rolled by hand with meat covered by a pyramid of vegetables.
Very delicious and special pie, with pigeon meat, almond and eggs spiced with saffron rolled in paper pastry, the whole dusted with cinnamon and icing sugar.
is a north African dish named after the earthenware pot in which its cooked, a flat and circular unit with low sides base and a large cone cover. It can be composed of different vegetables and meat and is generally cooked on a low temperature that results in a tender meat and a delicious sauce.
Visit Jamaa el Fna :
Considered as one of the best known squares and marketplaces in Africa, and one of Unesco’s world Heritage sites. Jama el fna is a must see for everyone visiting Morocco, it stuns the visitors with its colorful handicrafts, food, stands and alleyways. Jamaa el fna in the Morning is not the same as the evening. During the day, the square is filled with orange juice stands and snake charmers, in the other hand in the night the square fills up with food stalls, storytellers, magicians and women making Henna tattoos. The surrounding souks are filled with local goods to have as a souvenir from this magical place, but bargaining and comparing prices is a must. Finally, be ready to plenty of sights, sounds, smells…and much more.
Gorges of Todra Valley :
walking through this immense oasis puts you face to face with some stunning landscapes of canyons and gorges. This valley extends between the High Atlas and is about 180km from Ouarzazate. The height of the canyon walls can reach in some places 400 meters.
Ait ben Haddou :
is a group of earthen buildings located in Ouarzazate representing the traditional pre-Saharan habitat, it is also considered as a striking example of the southern Moroccan architecture. The ksar Ait Benhaddou is recognized as a UNESCO’s site and known as the most breathtaking Kasbahs in Morocco. This place simply deserves to be on top of Morocco travel lists. It is decorated with colored walls and towers, it is also divided into 2 parts the modern part where we find tourists shops, and the second place « ksar » where the real fantasy exists.
: also known as the blue city due to the color of its buildings and walls, in this enchanting and old city (established in 1471) there are many things to see, enjoy and do. This beautiful blue pearl is one of the biggest places that attract tourists from all over the world; it boasts a mesmerizing traditional souk where you can have some wonderful traditional souvenirs. Chefchaouen is also known for its relaxed ambiance, which is something hard to find in big cities such as Casablanca or fez or even Marrakesh. While in Chefchaouen, there is something that could not be missed which is the Akchour Cascades, a mind blowing natural scenery surrounding the town with stunning crystal blue waterfalls keeping up with the town’s theme. Don’t leave the city without taking a walk across the wonderful God’s Bridge known as « Pont de dieu ».
The Jardin Majorelle
a fascinating place that took forty years (1886-1962) of passion and creativity to make by the French painter Jacques Majorelle. The subtropical garden is located in the heart of gueliz in the imperial city Marrakesh, although its existence in Morocco for decades. The Majorelle garden was only made famous abroad when its owner the French designer Yves Saint Laurent featured in Chelsea Flower Show in London. In this place, we can find over fifteen different birds species, there is no wonder why these marvelous creatures choose this place full of bamboo groves, date palms and pools covered with lily, as their home. While visiting the Jardin majorelle you have also the chance to discover the Islamic Art museum located in the garden’s grounds, also the Northern African textiles, pottery, ceramics, painting, and finally some of Yves-Saint-Laurent personal collection.
Hassan 2 Mosque :
The largest mosque In Morocco, the second one in Africa and the 5th one in the whole world, with the tallest minaret at 210 meters, this wonderful building was designed by Michel Pinseau and built by Bouygues. The walls are of hand crafted marble and the worshipers can pray over the Atlantic ocean, its capacity is 105 000 worshippers. With the death of King Mohammed 5 in 1961, his son king Hassan 2 requested for the best artisans to come and create a mausoleum in the honor of the departed king, work has been launched in July 1986 and conducted over a seven year period, the formal inauguration was the 11th Rabi-al-awwal of the year 1414 hegira which means the eve of the prophet Muhammad’s anniversary. The construction cost is estimated to be about 585 million euro, in that time the Moroccan government lacked funds for such a project, and as a result, much of the financing was by public subscription.
a small seaside town famous with popular big names such as Jimi Hendrix and bob Marley, it is just a perfect place for escaping far away from the daily stress. In the old Mogador, it is necessary to walk in souks in order to feel its Moroccan authentic spirit, as well as through many art galleries. Hippie’s communities and many painters in search of inspiration and new vibes visit Essaouira frequently. Mogador is the pearl of cultural tourism, since the creation of Gnaoua Festival; the city has experienced an economic boom that has affected many sectors, including the hotel and restaurant industry and the sales of handicrafts. During this event the city of 70 000 inhabitants sees its population multiply by 6.
a small city near Ouarzazate with a valley of roses, which extends over several tens of kilometers. Indeed, this festival is very popular with foreign tourists, but also Moroccans who come from other cities to attend and to discover perfumes and cosmetics made from rose petals, knowing that the rose water is very appreciated in the traditional kitchen as well in oriental pastries. On this occasion, the inhabitants sing and dance while parading through the streets traditional dances such as Ahidous or the dance of bees, in the same time a young single woman is elected Miss of the roses, and circulates on her flowery and decorated chariot, accompanied by music and songs. The date of festival varies, but it is generally during the first 2 weeks of May.
Festival of Imilchil
The great particularity of imilchil’s festival lies in the collective marriages ceremony, which goes back to a distant history. According to legend, two rival tribes of Ait hddiddou, Ait Brahim and Ait Yaaza, who had been at war for the exploitation of grazing land and irrigation water, had refused the marriage of a young man from the tribe Ait ibrahim with a young women from Ait Yaaza so the lovers fled to the mountain, where they cried and their tears gave birth to Isli and Tisli Lakes. Then the sages of Ait Haddidou have made the decision to reconcile the two tribes, and marry the two young lovers. That is why this Festival takes place every year in September. Men are assisted by a friend in choosing a bride, if the man and women agree they may hold hands, and then the couple meets with their families in a tent where the discussion is carried on.
a wonderful city in Morocco’s southern coast, one of the most modern of the country’s cities. The first thing to do in Agadir is hiking to the high Kasbah in order to visit an example of Arabic architecture and to enjoy the view it affords over the city, especially by night. Souk el Hade is a place where many city’s residents do their shopping, it is a wonderful place to get lost in for a while. Explore Crocoparc, a home to several generations of over 300 Nile crocodile. Observing those creatures from a secure vantage point is a wonderful experience. Agadir beaches are considered the best one in Morocco specially Taghazout beach with its very fine sand and warm water. It is also a great place to just walk around and enjoy the beauty of argan trees or go surfing as well. In Agadir, you can also get in touch with nature at Paradise Valley where you will be able to hike the mountains and enjoy a swim in the natural pools. The Agadir Marina is a touristic complex where you will first have a chance to visit brands magazines then taste the dishes offered by restaurants and you can also enjoy a boat trip. Don’t forget to have fun in La Grande Roue Agadir, a Ferris wheel near the beach allowing you to get a fantastic view of the beach and the surrounding areas. It is better when you ride it at night.