The best way to learn more about a country is to use local information and knowledge. So, we asked our local experts to tell us about the must-see spots in Morocco. Some are easy to find, like Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains, while others, like Chefchaouen and the Ait Boujemus Valley, allow you to immerse yourself in Morocco’s nature and culture.
Marrakech, the most visited spot “Red City”
This attraction has nothing to hide, yet it never ceases to fascinate visitors. The “Pearl of the South” has undergone a great transformation in recent years, but it remains a fascinating and surprising sight. Many travelers disembark here, and the change in scenery is immediately apparent. The huge Jemaa el-Fna square and its constant bustle, the smells, colors, and noise of the bazaar, the magnificent palaces and mosques …. One cannot remain indifferent.
Despite its popularity, there is much about Marrakech that we don’t know. It is precisely this point that we want to emphasize when guiding foreigners. We take them to different surprises where they can discover Marrakech from a different angle, for example, Andre Heller’s Anima Garden or the tannery district where they can learn the secrets and techniques of leatherworking.
Essaouira, Saint Malo in Morocco
Essaouira is called the Saint Malo of Morocco because of the walls surrounding the old city. Its façade facing the Atlantic Ocean and its UNESCO-certified white medina are incomparably more beautiful than those of Marrakech. So, it is interesting for me to visit both cities in the same trip. Here in Essaouira it is very quiet. The city attracts artists from all over the world to enjoy the special atmosphere of the Old Mogador.
I often say that Essaouira embodies the soul of Morocco. Having belonged to the Berbers and then to the Phoenicians, Romans, and Portuguese, the city cannot ignore the influences of its various histories. It is a multifaceted city with a multifaceted charm that you should definitely discover in this city. The rows of white houses with blue shutters are reminiscent of the Greek landscape, while the city walls, dating from the 18th century, protect the city. And the narrow alleys studded with riads and typical oriental architecture will not allow you to forget for a moment that you are in one of the most typical cities in Morocco.
Morocco’s eternal snow, the Atlas Mountains
A must add to your first trip to Morocco after visiting Marrakech or Essaouira. The Atlas Mountains offer an experience of pure rebirth, immersion in nature, and encounters with the Berbers. This colorful and inspiring stage is especially recommended for trekkers, with dozens of kilometers of marked trekking trails. You will discover my favorite hiking area, the Toubkal-Jebel National Park. With its diversity of cliffs, fertile valleys, plateaus and lush forests, it is one of the most mysterious places in Morocco for me. Less well known, but no less wonderful, is the Mugoune region. There are also opportunities to traverse majestic mountain ranges, plains, valleys, and snow-capped rocky peaks. There are also several winter resorts in the upper Atlas, where skiing is possible even in the middle of winter.
The Moroccan desert lies between the Kasbah and the dune areas
No discussion of Morocco would be complete without mentioning the Sahara Desert. Morocco is divided into two regions: Zagora, the driest desert, and Merzouga, known for its spectacular sand dunes (some as high as 150 meters!).
The Moroccan desert has a surprisingly large number of attractions. For example, in the Draa Valley, you can meet Berbers in casbahs and small remote villages. You can also visit the Dades Valley, famous for its beautiful canyons and houses integrated with the rocks. And one more of my favorite places to visit. It is the Todra Valley. Head there early in the morning when the sun rises and illuminates the ochre-colored cliffs under the blazing sun. A spectacle of nature at its best.
Fez immerses you in the heart of the medieval Orient
Fez la Vieja encourages all travelers to concentrate. The city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the oldest city built at the end of the 8th century, not to mention the numerous historical monuments that remain. The medina of Fez is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and authentic medinas in Morocco. Old hammams, bread baking vessels, several mosques, mausoleums, and caravanserais are tucked away in a maze of pedestrian streets.
Fez is one of my favorite places in Morocco and I could talk about it for hours. More than 50,000 artisans gather here every day in a variety of fields, including wood, ceramics, food, and leather. That’s why I think Fez is the best place in Morocco to shop and bring back authentic souvenirs from your trip.
Chefchaouen, a quiet blue city
Chefchaouen is one of my favorite places that you don’t see very often. For me, it is a must visit when visiting northern Morocco. The city is all blue, with unique architecture that reminds me of the sky and the sea at the same time. Every traveler I have guided to this wonderful city has left satisfied. I must say that they are simply enchanted by the peaceful and authentic atmosphere that prevails here.
If you visit Chefchaouen, you will experience the heart of Morocco in a more traditional and tranquil way than in Marrakech. The small medina offers a pleasant stroll away from the hustle and bustle of the big city. It is fun to see scenes of daily life, from women washing their hands at the Ras el Ma fountain to people selling colorfully patterned hand-woven carpets. Located 600 meters above sea level, you can see spectacular panoramic views of the area everywhere you look. And don’t forget your camera!
Meknes, the Imperial Capital of the Human Scale
Meknes is one of the four royal capitals of Morocco, along with Fez, Marrakech, and Rabat, and you can see why it is one of my must-visit cities in Morocco. You can see why I consider it one of the most remarkable places in the country. What sets it apart from its “competitors”? It is more human in scale, and you will feel a sense of tranquility when you visit. Meknes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has some of the most beautiful monuments in the country, including Bab Jemaa an Noor, Bab Mansur Gate, and Dar Jamai Palace. When I visit, I encourage travelers to wander through the maze of fairy tale-like streets. For me, getting lost is the best way to discover all the secrets of this wonderful imperial city.
Of the three districts of Meknes, it is best to limit yourself to two. The Imperial City with its gardens and palaces, but also the Medina with its bustling bazaars and timeless atmosphere. The New Town, on the other hand, is of less interest, with its banks and administration.
The Ait Boujemes Valley, in the heart of the High Atlas Mountains
Finally, I suggest you get off the Moroccan beaten path and discover a region very close to my heart, the Ait Boujemes Valley. This less-visited plateau area, nicknamed “Happy Valley,” exudes a special charm. After all, how many places in the world are there where consumerism and mass tourism have not spoiled everything? I warn you from the outset, you will find it harder and harder to leave the valley with only one thought in mind: to return and enjoy your sobriety as soon as possible!
During your stay in the Aito Boujemes Valley, you will have the opportunity to meet Berbers in small, remote villages. You can also enjoy the magnificent scenery by trekking, a local sport. more than a million years ago, a part of this valley was covered by a large lake and inhabited by dinosaurs. Their huge footprints can still be seen today, carved into limestone tablets.
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