Sand & Surfing
This stretch encompasses the aptly named Paradise Beach, a bus-ride from Asilah, and Sidi Kaouki, a top surfing and windsurfing spot. In between, Temara Plage and Haouzia beach are near Rabat and Casablanca, and laid-back Oualidia has a sand-fringed lagoon, while the beach at Moulay-Bousselham is a gorgeous stretch of golden sand.
Mauresque & Medinas
Gems include Essaouira, a fortified seaside town with wave-lashed ramparts. Hispano-Moorish Larache recalls its two spells under Spanish rule and murals decorate nearby Asilah’s medina. Mauresque beauties are found in Casablanca, along with the world’s third-largest mosque, and Rabat, also home to a superb kasbah.
Beaches and coastal wetlands offer excellent birdwatching, particularly around Moulay Bousselham: Merja Zerga (Blue Lagoon) attracts thousands of birds. Lac de Sidi Bourhaba is one of the last places to see large numbers of marbled ducks.
Fez, Meknès & the Middle Atlas
Fez medina includes the Henna Souq, the recently restored Dyers' Souq and the Carpenter's Souq, with thrones built for weddings. Meknès has souqs devoted to textiles, jewellery, carpets and embroidery, and Middle Atlas souqs are piled with local produce and the occasional Berber carpet.
Minarets & Mosaics
Fez medina is the world’s largest living medieval Islamic city, and the Fès Festival of World Sacred Music showcases Sufi music. Elsewhere, memories of Meknès’ past glories remain; Volubilis was a Roman outpost; Moulay Idriss is dedicated to its 8th-century namesake; and an 11th-century minaret overlooks oasis town Figuig.
The Fassi cuisine of Fez is the envy of Morocco, while the Middle Atlas is Morocco's bread basket: seek out homegrown delights such as Sefrou cherries, the olive oils of Moulay Idriss and Meknés wines.
High Atlas Trekking
The High Atlas mountains are a destination tailor-made for trekking. Hike for an afternoon or a week, or take the option to tackle Mt Toubkal, North Africa's highest peak.
Kasbahs & Ksours
Central Morocco is known for the kasbahs that dot the Drâa Valley, and ksour (fortified strongholds) line the Rissani road. White window frames and blue doors distinguish stone, mud and thatch villages from their High Atlas settings.
The days of the great caravans to Timbuktu are done, but you can still saddle up your camel and trek into the great sand sea of the Sahara, and sleep under the stars in a traditional Berber encampment.
The riad is synonymous with Marrakshi tourism – traditional medina courtyard houses converted into boutique guesthouses, ranging from simple homes for backpackers to sumptuous luxury for the bling set.
Marrakesh's rulers have left their mark on this most lavish of imperial cities. Explore the grand ruins of the El Badi Palace, and artistry of the restored Bahia Palace.
Marrakesh might be best place in Morocco to eat out. There's the fantastic street food of the Djemma el Fna, lavish riad dining and international cuisine. Wash it all down with a glass of local wine.
Mediterranean Coast & the Rif
From beaches near Tangier – such as bracing Plage Robinson – the Mediterranean coast ripples east. Top beaches include Oued Laou, Cala Iris, Al-Hoceima and Saídia, all unruffled in comparison with Europe’s Mediterranean beaches.
Two stunning national parks offer the best of the region’s coastline and mountains. Talassemtane National Park encompasses green mountains, tiny villages, an eco-museum and the God’s Bridge rock formation. The Al-Hoceima National Park’s great mesas, dry canyons and thuya forests lead to limestone sea cliffs.
Trekking through the Rif Mountains in Talassemtane National Park is superb, and the park is largely undiscovered compared with High Atlas routes. From Chefchaouen, multiday trails lead through forests of cedar, cork oak and fir.
Southern Morocco & Western Sahara
Off the Beaten Track
En route to the Sahara, remote seaside escapes offer empty beaches and dilapidated charm. Mirleft is a favourite hang-out with its cafes and boutique accommodation; art-deco Sidi Ifni is as perfectly faded as a sepia photo; and Tarfaya’s colonial Spanish relics peel between the eddying sands.
Beneath ochre cliffs, palms worthy of Lawrence of Arabia nestle in the Aït Mansour Gorges and Ameln Valley. Palms also line the winding road through Paradise Valley, and refresh Saharan travellers around Tata and Tighmert.
Sand & Surf
Taghazout is Morocco’s premier surf spot; the sun-and-sand fun continues year-round in Agadir; and Mirleft and Sidi Ifni offer wind and water sports. Inland, the Anti Atlas is a trekking and mountain-biking playground, and Tata is an emerging destination for desert excursions.