Top 12 Things to Do in Morocco

Morocco 🇲🇦

Morocco is a truly incredible country to explore. While I may say that about many places, I genuinely mean it this time! It’s one of those countries that offers so much more than just the souks of Marrakech, with so many of the best things to do in Morocco outside of the city itself.

With its captivating blend of ancient history, diverse landscapes, and vibrant culture, offers travelers a myriad of unforgettable experiences. Whether you’re exploring bustling cities, trekking through rugged mountains, or relaxing in tranquil oases, here are the top 12 activities and destinations to explore in this North African gem

1. Explore Casablanca

Hands down, one of my favourite sites in Casablanca has to be the Hassan II Mosque. It’s breathtakingly beautiful and a place you have to see when in the city. If you’re looking for some local pottery or leather goods, pop over to the Quartier Habous where you’ll find lots of treasures to take back home. You’ll also find a good few spots in the old medina, too.

If you’re looking for a good foody spot, pop into Al Mounia which serves up the tastiest tagines and lamb. Yes, it’s a tad bit more expensive than some of the local tavernas but it’s well worth it.


2. Lose yourself in the medinas of Marrakesh, Fez and Chefchaouen

The fabled Red City of Marrakesh is a sensory overload of sights, sounds and smells. Its ancient medina is a maze of narrow streets with the Djemaa El Fna – arguably Africa’s most famous square – at its heart, and its nightly circus of storytellers, snake charmers and musicians.

In Fez, Morocco’s oldest imperial city, time appears to have stopped. Dating back to the 8th century, Fez El Bali – the world’s largest living medieval medina – is a jumble of souqs, workshops and mosques, with a tangle of more than 9000 narrow alleyways to explore.

Tucked into the green folds of the Rif Mountains, charming Chefchaouen is famed for its blue-hued medina. Soak up its relaxed pace of life by wandering its cobbled streets and sipping a mint tea in an open square, then hike the trails of Talassemtane National Park with its luminous waterfalls and forests of fir trees.

3. Hike the Atlas Mountains

The High Atlas is a hiker’s paradise, running diagonally across the country for around 1000km (620 miles), from the Atlantic coast to northern Algeria. Imlil, located in the foothills of the High Atlas 90 minutes from Marrakesh, is the jumping-off point for scaling Toubkal, North Africa’s highest peak at 4167m (13670ft), a two-day ascent.

If you have more time, the week-long Toubkal circuit follows centuries-old trails between remote Amazigh villages, crossing fertile valleys, rugged massifs and panoramic passes.

For even less-trodden trails, the region around Tafraoute is Morocco’s Amazigh heartland, where tribes and traditions hold firm. Surrounded by lush palm groves and hilltop kasbahs, the Anti Atlas makes the perfect base for hikers – at 2359m (7740ft), Jebel El Kest is the region’s highest peak, but there are more gentle hiking and cycling routes passed the picturesque villages of the Ameln Valley.

4. Catch the wind and waves on Morocco’s Atlantic coast

Dubbed the “Wind City of Africa” for its coastal breezes, Essaouira is the perfect spot to take to the water, whatever your ability. Sleepy Sidi Kaouki, 30 minutes’ drive south, is another option, with consistent waves, wild beaches and wallet-friendly accommodation.

Further down the coast, quiet Mirleft, 130km (80 miles) south of Agadir, is home to some of Morocco’s best surfing spots. Here Spot-M takes out experienced and novice surfers for group and individual lessons, and it runs week-long surf camps with yoga thrown in.

Detour: Far-flung Dakhla is as south as it gets, but with reliable year-round wind conditions and calm lagoon waters, it’s being hailed as Morocco’s kitesurfing capital.

5. Get steamed and scrubbed at a hammam

After a long day of sightseeing, head to a hammam to be steamed, soaped, scrubbed and massaged into a state of total relaxation. Every neighborhood has one, and they come in all shapes, sizes and levels of luxury, from a simple steam and scrub at a no-frills public bathhouse to a higher-price private hammam at a swanky hotel with more elaborate wraps and massages on offer. Wherever you go, you’ll emerge squeaky clean with baby-soft skin.

6. Take a foodie tour of Fez medina

Moroccan cuisine is a genuine melting pot – alongside Amazigh (Berber) influences, Arabs, Moors, Ottoman Turks and French all left their culinary mark. One of the best ways to discover it is on a street-food tour. Fearless foodies sample everything from snail soup to boiled sheep’s head, plus tempting sweet treats such as chebakia (deep-fried dough coated in sesame seeds) and wild honey.

Head to the legendary Café Clock to learn how to create three traditional dishes after souq shopping for super-fresh ingredients, or dive into the dough at The Ruined Garden, where you’ll bake five kinds of typical bread, including baghrir or “thousand-holes” pancake.

Detour: In the Middle Atlas, you can also visit a boutique fromagerie, discover the age-old process of hand-rolling couscous and taste new Moroccan wine from a French enologist. Check out luxury tour outfit Plan-it Morocco for more.

7. Shop-til-you-drop in Marrakesh

Marrakesh will satisfy the most insatiable shopaholic. The labyrinthine passageways of the souq are devoted to everything from aromatic spices to leather babouches (slippers) and shaggy wool rugs, with artisans weaving, hammering and carving out their wares as they’ve done for centuries. And now homegrown and international designers are working alongside them, giving age-old crafts a contemporary twist.

The fixed-price boutiques of Gueliz (the French-built Ville Nouvelle) take away the hassle of haggling. Along the rue de la LibertĂ©, Atika sells top-quality leather shoes for a fraction of the price of designer brands. And opposite the must-see Jardin Majorelle (the former home of Yves Saint Laurent), concept store 33 rue Majorelle stocks clothes, accessories and jewelry from top Moroccan designers, including fair trade cooperatives. 

8. Stargaze from a shape-shifting Saharan dune 

Scramble to the summit of a sky-high dune at sunset and savor the silence and the stellar views as you watch the desert turn gold, pink and purple. Camp overnight Bedouin style and sleep under a blanket of stars. You might spot the arc of the Milky Way. At Erg Chigaga, you’re not only off the grid but also several hours’ camel trek from the nearest street lights.

Planning tips: Travel in the Sahara is best between October and early May. In the depths of the Saharan winter (especially December and January), overnight temperatures can fall below freezing. Almost unbearable heat blankets the Sahara from June to early September. Camel excursions head out from M’Hamid into the Erg Chigaga. From Merzouga, you can also take a 4WD trip out into Erg Chebbi. Both Merzouga and M’Hamid are a one-day bus ride from Marrakesh.

9. Move to the rhythms at one of Morocco’s many music festivals 

Morocco’s rich musical culture boasts influences from Amazigh to Andalusian, Arabian to sub-Saharan, and it’s fast becoming a top spot for music festivals showcasing eclectic rhythms.

One of the most popular is the Gnaoua World Music Festival, which draws festival-goers to the laid-back coastal city of Essaouira for four days of open-air concerts featuring the hypnotic rhythms of gnaoua, a musical and spiritual tradition brought north by sub-Saharan enslaved people in the 16th century. Casablanca plays host to Jazzablanca, which showcases well-known and up-and-coming artists from Morocco and around the globe. 

Sufi chanters, African-American jazz saxophonists, Colombian harpists and international headliners like Björk flock to Fez for its annual Festival of World Sacred Music. Mawazine is said to be the world’s largest music festival, attracting a staggering 2.75 million people and turning Rabat into a gigantic open-air stage


10. Step back in time in Skoura’s palm Draa Tafilalet

Like a green carpet spread on top of the red-tinged rocky landscape, Skoura’s idyllic palmeraie rustles with dates palms. With stylish guesthouses and farm-to-fork restaurants, it makes the perfect place to linger and enjoy the slower pace of oasis life.

The region is dotted with labyrinthine ksar (fortified villages), including Ait Ben Haddou – a UNESCO World Heritage Site and star of many a film, including Gladiator (2000) – and imposing mud-brick kasbahs, such as the magical ruins of Kasbah Amridil. Rural souqs showcase the oases’ bountiful produce, including pomegranates, apricots, figs and almonds, and it makes a great base to explore the scenic Dadès Gorge and Todra Gorge to the northeast, and the Draa Valley to the southeast.

11. Follow in the footsteps of literary giants in Tangier 

For the first half of the 20th century, Tangier was one of the Mediterranean’s most cosmopolitan resorts, an International Zone with a bohemian vibe beloved by the Beat Generation in the 1950s.

A host of literary figures have taken their inspiration from this legendary port city over the years. William S. Burroughs penned Naked Lunch at the Hotel El-Muniria, where you can still take a mint tea on the terrace overlooking the Mediterranean. And Paul Bowles made Tangier his home for more than 50 years, using it as both subject and setting for The Sheltering Sky. Visit his exhibition at the Tangier American Legation Museum, then follow in his footsteps to Café Hafa overlooking the Straits of Gibraltar.

You can find these authors and more in the historic bookstore Librarie des Colonnes, which opened its doors in 1949 and was frequented by the likes of Tennessee Williams and Truman Capote.

12. Ride the rails on Africa’s first high-speed train 

The launch of Al Boraq – Africa’s first high-speed rail link named after a mythical winged steed – means you can visit Tangier on a day trip from Casablanca or combine the two very different coastal cities on a mini-break. The slick silver train will whizz you to your destination in just over two hours, hitting speeds of up to 320kmh (200mph), with stops in Rabat and Kenitra. And it’s eco-friendly, getting 25% of its power from renewable energy, with plans to extend this to 50% by the end of 2023.