From Unesco World Heritage–listed cities to modern metropoles, arid deserts to snowy peaks, wild Atlantic beaches to secluded Mediterranean coves, Morocco has a place for all types of travelers.

Within easy reach of Europe, many come to Morocco for the year-round sunshine, all-inclusive beach vacations and a rich cultural heritage with historic cities so well preserved that it seems time travel is possible. Travel a little deeper to discover wilderness areas and a sense of remoteness. 

Morocco has invested heavily in modernizing its tourism offerings. Traveling around the country is easier thanks to domestic flights, high-speed rail, new roads and luxury coaches covering long distances.

This country has a ton of beautiful places to visit, but don't try to see it all at once. Instead, select a few places based on your interests and start making plans for your next trip.

Editor's note: On September 8, 2023, a 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck central Morocco, centered on the Atlas Mountains and the area southwest of Marrakesh. Travel to other parts of the country, including Essaouira, is largely unaffected, but we encourage travelers to check bulletins and monitor reliable local news sources for the latest information.

A hiker stands alone looking over snowy peaks in the High Atlas Mountains from Mt Toubkal, Morocco
Take a high-altitude hike in Morocco's High Atlas Mountains © Albert Engeln / Getty Images

1. Anti-Atlas 

Best for hiking and outdoor adventures

The Anti-Atlas is Morocco's lesser-explored mountain playground with plentiful plateaus, valleys and soaring peaks to explore. Travelers here can blaze new hiking trails, unearth empty archaeological sites and connect with locals who share their timeless valleys with generosity and warmth. 

Plentiful short hikes and climbing routes are available in the Ameln Valley, home to Jebel Lkest - Jebel meaning mountain - and Tafraoute’s dramatic granite boulder-strewn landscapes, including Napoleon’s Hat and the Painted Rocks. Drive or pedal your way along winding mountain passes to the date-palm filled Ait Mansour Gorges. 

Longer treks at Jebel Siroua (3,305m) include a dramatic volcano for those hardy hikers looking to spend several nights wild camping.

Take some time to connect with the Imazighen people living in the region. A glimpse into their simple life and grounding way of being is food for the soul.

2. Marrakesh

Best place for romance 

The 'pink city' is one of Morocco's must-sees – all your senses come to life here, and there are plenty of things to do in Marrakesh. Soak up the city's charm with the rosy hues of the medina wall at sunset and the heavy scent of citrus trees in season. Weave your way past the horse carriages into Djemaa el Fna, packed with performers and street food vendors. Explore the lantern-lit alleys of the medina and the walled gardens of Jardin Majorelle, as well as flamboyant historic palaces and a flourishing art scene in the Ville Nouvelle. 

Treat yourself to a stay in a charming Marrakesh riad, such as Dar Attajmil, where every detail has been thoughtfully created and attentive hospitality awaits. Marrakesh has some of the country's best spas and hammams, from Royal Mansour to Hammam de la Rose. Watch the sunset over the Atlas Mountains from the exquisite roof terrace of El Fenn and enjoy cozy candlelit dinners in this gastronomic city with international chefs from Australia to Japan. 

For a touch of desert romance, the Agafay Desert and its luxury glamping options are within easy reach of Marrakesh, perfect for a night under the stars.

A woman takes a photo from a ledge overlooking the mudbrick houses of Aït Ben Haddou, Morocco
Dive into movie history and filming locations in Aït Ben Haddou © Francesco Riccardo Iacomino / Getty Images

3. Aït Ben Haddou

Best place for blockbuster movie scenes 

Travel on the former trading route from Marrakesh to the Sahara and you’ll reach sun-scorched Ouarzazate. The region is home to majestic Aït Ben Haddou, an 11th-century mudbrick ksar (fortified village) that's one of Morocco's most striking, well-preserved ancient sites. Still inhabited and now protected by Unesco, it was made famous in the TV show Game of Thrones

The region, dubbed 'Ouallywood,' is Morocco's version of Hollywood, and Atlas Film Studios has been the setting for such classics as Gladiator, Prison Break and Kingdom of Heaven.

Planning tip: Aït Ben Haddou is best visited at sunrise or sunset. Walk through the village to take in the incredible views and scale of this remarkable ancient site.  

4. Taghazout Bay

Best place for chill beach vibes 

The stretch of the Atlantic Ocean from Essaouira to Sidi Ifni is where you'll find the largest concentration of Morocco's surf beaches. At its heart is the quaint village of Taghazout, a fishing and surfing community with painted steps, colorful houses and an eclectic mix of cafes, grills and surf shops. With the surf comes yoga, and days here flow easily between sunrise and sunset rooftop yoga classes.

Even if you're not into surfing, Taghazout Bay, with its 5km sandy beach, offers year-round summer vacation vibes and an excellent choice of accommodations ranging from five-star beach resorts to bohemian homestays, making it one of the best places in Morocco for a beach vacation. 

Planning tip: Travel in January or February to watch the world's best surfers competing at Taghazout’s showstopper wave, Anchor Point. Come in September for quieter, mellower and warmer waves.

A woman with a surfboard stands in the beach in front of camels in Essaouira, Morocco
Travelers can relax in the laid-back coastal city of Essaouira © kasto80 / Getty Images

5. Essaouira

Best place for a one-stop city and beach vacation 

If you have to choose one place to enjoy the broad spectrum of everything Morocco offers, Essaouira is a great pick. This relaxed city has an oceanfront location with a sandy beach, watersport centers, a working fishing port and a noisy fish market for fresh-off-the-boat seafood.

At its historic heart is a pedestrianized medina with markets selling ceramics and traditional riads to sleep in. Many riads have been upgraded to suit the artsy crowd attracted to this charming city. Essaouira's annual Gnaoua music festival, galleries and historic ramparts sit alongside contemporary restaurants, cocktail bars and a variety of shopping experiences.

Planning tip: Many come to Essaouira for the wind, and it's one of the country's best places to kitesurf. If it's too windy for the beach, nearby countryside retreats offer pool day passes to non-guests.

Camel caravan in Erg Chigaga sand dunes, Morocco
Join a camel caravan across the sand dunes of Erg Chigaga © Frans Lemmens / Getty Images

6. Sahara Desert

Best place for getting away from it all 

The drive to the Sahara is long, but when you arrive on the edge of the world's largest hot desert, the pavement stops and the sand begins with an endless ocean of dunes ahead. Whether you choose to travel by 4WD or camel deeper into the desert, the emptiness of the Sahara can bring a sense of remoteness that's rare to find these days.

Visiting the Moroccan Sahara is an opportunity to disconnect, empty your mind and enjoy being in the middle of nowhere. This stark and barren environment comes to life with a good guide, especially at night when the night sky free of light pollution fills with stars.   

Planning tip: Pick a camp away from the crowds. Erg Chigaga has some of the highest sand dunes and the most remote places to stay.

A female backpacker is walking around a local old market in Fez
Don't be afraid to get lost in the labyrinthine medina in Fez © Oscar Wong / Getty Images

7. Fez

Best place for history buffs

As the oldest city in Morocco, Fez proudly keeps one foot firmly planted in the past. Its crumbling medieval medina is vast, and it's almost guaranteed that you will get lost wiggling your way through a maze of workshops, apothecaries and market stalls. The Kairaouine Library and Mosque houses the world's oldest library and is Morocco's renowned spiritual and study center.

Planning tip: While you're in the area, visit the imperial city of Meknes and the fantastically preserved ancient Roman ruins of Volubilis.  

8. Tangier

Best place for a sense of geographical location 

The ferry between Spain and Tangier takes just one hour, and seeing Spain from Africa's coastline brings to light Morocco’s proximity to Europe. The 'white city,' so-named for its whitewashed buildings, has a buzzing art scene, tapas restaurants and cafe culture – Cafe Hafa has some of the best ocean views. Spanish is still widely spoken, adding to the Euro-Afro vibe, and open plazas such as Grand Socco and beautiful Mediterranean beaches make it a smooth entry point for travelers to Morocco.

Combine your time in the city with a trip to Hercules Caves and Cape Spartel’s lighthouse and rugged coastline. You could also use Tangier as a base for a road trip to the famously blue city of Chefchaouen and Spanish-infused Asilah. Hop on Al Boraq, the high-speed train, and you’ll be in the capital city of Rabat in an hour and a half.

This article was first published April 2021 and updated October 2023

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