Known as the gateway to Africa, Morocco should be at the top of any traveler’s bucket list. Labyrinthine medinas, animated markets, and splendid cultural sights await. The best places to visit in Morocco span from the sleepy mountainous north to the Atlantic coast, all the way to the deep Sahara Desert.
Rapidly changing landscapes, diverse cuisine, and ancient cities keep traveling in Morocco interesting. A trip to Morocco is anything but monotonous due to the sheer variety that the country offers. Though one thing remains constant wherever you go: the warm and welcoming people.
If you’re ready to discover all that’s in store, here are the best places to visit in Morocco for a hefty dose of wanderlust.
17 Enthralling Places to Visit in Morocco in 2023
While traveling in Morocco for five months, I wandered off the beaten path quite a bit. This list includes the classic places to visit in Morocco, as well as some unique destinations if you need a break from the tourist mayhem.
Without further ado, these are the best places to visit in Morocco for a little bit of everything.
By far, one of the best places to visit in Morocco is Chefchaouen. Tucked away in the Rif Mountains, Chefchaouen (or Chaouen, to locals) is surrounded by a rugged mountainous landscape, creating the perfect scene for the 15th century medina. This is the true draw to Chefchaouen — the baby blue Old City, full of cyan alleyways, contrasting whitewash, and plenty of photo opportunities. With so many things to do in Chefchaouen, this city is one of the top attractions in Morocco. It’s practically Instagram heaven, and the close proximity to Tangier makes it easy to travel to Chefchaouen.
Akchour is paradise on Earth and among the best places to visit in Morocco for a taste of the country’s diverse landscape. Rather than the golden desert, Akchour paints a different picture of North Africa. This small gateway to Talassemtane National Park is teeming with rushing waterfalls, turquoise swimming holes, and cafes lining the shoes, allowing visitors to feast on tajines with their feet in the water. Even in the off season, Akchour is a great place to visit in Morocco for hiking to see sights like God’s Bridge and the famous cascades.
The sleepy seaside town of Essaouira is becoming trendier by the day – and with good reason. It’s quickly become known as the best place to visit in Morocco to chill out for a while (take it from Jimi Hendrix, who spent 11 days here in 1969). The beach covers more than 150 kilometers, complete with rolling dunes, lush vegetation, and the sparkling ocean in the background. Even better, you can ride quads, camels, or horses to explore it all. Essaouira also has a cute medina full of artists working away, a bustling fish market (cheap oysters galore), and a great selection of restaurants and nightlife to indulge in. Besides the steady stream of tourists year-round, in June, Essaouria bursts to life for the annual Gnaoua World Music Festival, welcoming 300,000+ people from across the globe. It’s also a top digital nomad destination with an awesome coworking space. There’s no shortage of things to do in Essaouira, which is why it’s one of the best places to visit in Morocco.
Tangier is a popular weekend trip from Europe, and with good reason. It’s just across the water from Spain, which you can see on a clear day, and is the ideal gateway to Morocco, especially if you’re visiting for the first time. It offers a calmer, Mediterranean-style medina with pristine views and plenty to explore. Venture beyond the Old City Gates, and you’ll find a bustling city, a long strip of beach, and large squares to sit with a sandwich. If you ask me, Tangier is seriously underrated and one of the best places to visit in Morocco!
Talk about underrated — an hour from Tangier is Tetouan, a prime place to visit in Morocco if you’re seeking authenticity. Rather than catering to tourists, Tetouan is purely local. The medina is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with gorgeous 15th-century construction and narrow streets you can get lost in for hours. Rather than overflowing with tourist shops and hotels, Tetouan is simple and offers a look at genuine Morocco.
Asilah is coastal charm at its best and is simply picturesque. The stark white medina sits on the shores of the Atlantic and will transport you instantly to Greece. Though the water is colder, the seafood is just as good. Spend days lazing around the beach or touring the narrow blue-accented streets before tucking into a generous portion of fish skewers, octopus, or Andalusian-inspired paella. It’s sleepy, for sure, but one of the best places to visit in Morocco for some R&R.
As you move further south, the places to visit in Morocco take on a different atmosphere. Fes is the second largest city in the country and has the biggest medina in the entire world. The ancient city is a true labyrinth holding rich history, 11th-century tanneries, meticulous copper workers, and an endless amount to explore. There are plenty of opulent riads to stay at in Fes, along with delicious restaurants and great shopping, especially if you’re in the market for leather goods. Though be prepared to drive a hard bargain — the people from Fes are known to be especially proud.
It may come as a surprise, but Casablanca is strikingly different from the black and white world portrayed by Humphrey Bogart. Twenty-first century Casa is cosmopolitan and chic, albeit a bit rough around the edges (as seen by the horse pulled carts merging in city traffic). It’s all part of the metropolitan commotion that makes Casablanca one of the best places to visit in Morocco. It should go without saying that the restaurants, shopping, and accommodation are some of the best in the country, but you’ll also find enthralling cultural sights like the colossal Hassan II Mosque, busy Marche Central, and the many world class museums.
Sleep under the stars at a desert camp in Merzouga, one of the best places to visit in Morocco for the Sahara. Set in the far east of Morocco, not far from Algeria, Merzouga boasts splendid sand dunes, postcard scenes, and the chance to ride camels to your heart’s content. For adventure enthusiasts, there are quad and dune buggy tours. If you’d prefer to slow down, the luxury hotels feature pools, spas, and five star treatment.
Since it’s pretty out there, one of the most common questions is how to get to Merzouga. But half the fun is the journey. The short answer is it’s most commonly accessed from Marrakech. However, the route to Merzouga is nothing short of mind-blowing. If you can, give yourself a few days to get there to stop at some incredible places along the way (many of which are listed below). Also — the best time to visit Morocco for a desert trip is in the spring and fall, so plan your travels accordingly.
10. Dades Gorge
The Dades Gorge is actually a series of places to visit in Morocco that shouldn’t be missed. The rocky red gorges were carved by a river from the High Atlas Mountains that created this ultra unique landscape. Berber tribes have built villages into the rocks that you can spot if you’re quick — they blend into the surroundings well! Dades Gorge is accessible by a long curvy road that climbs to the top of the gorge via sharp hairpin turns. Here you’ll find a large cafe with a jaw dropping view and pretty good food.
When we were here, we met a kid named Jamal with a baby camel named Hassan, who are both epic characters! We also hiked through some of Dades Gorge to a point called Monkey Finger, which I highly recommend.
11. Valley of Roses
Winding along the Assif M’Goun river is the Valley of Roses, an area full of astonishing, multi colored rock formations, lush oases, and charming villages that meld into the landscape. It’s a geologist’s dream, and twisting through the reddish landscape will make anyone feel like they’re on Mars. However, the true lifeblood of the Valley of Roses is its namesake. Each spring, roses burst up along the valley floor, creating intoxicating aromas and lovely local products. It’s one of the best places to visit in Morocco if you’re looking for crazy views and off the beaten path adventures.
12. Ait Ben Haddou
Out of all the little villages in the middle of Morocco, Ait Ben Haddou is the most well know. It could have something to do with the insane kasbah, but it’s more likely the fact that numerous big name Blockbusters have been shot there (starting with Lawerence of Arabia in 1962). Though these days it’s more of a tourist attraction, the kasbah has been remarkably well maintained and has panoramic viewpoints from the top. Expect friendly locals and lots of tour buses. If you’re looking for a spot to stop on the way to Merzouga, this is one of the best places to visit in Morocco.
Speaking of insane kasbahs, Telouet is one of the best places to visit in Morocco to understand High Atlas Mountain history. It was once a strategic stop along the desert caravan routes and home to one of the most powerful families in Morocco (and the world at that time), explaining the majestic palace you can still visit today. It’s a wonderful afternoon stop or a day trip from Marrakech, especially for the scenery. The entire area is astounding, with undulating mountains, craggy red rocks, and oases nestled between the valley walls.
Star studded Ouarzazate, aka OuarzaWood, has been the backdrop to some of the world’s best films. Cinema greats like Gladiator, The Mummy, and Asterix have all been shoot at the Ouarzazate movie sets, open to film buffs keen for a visit. The sets sit twenty minutes outside of a charming medina, home to a grand kasbah, a few museums, and an artisan craft market.
15. Todra Gorge
Todra Gorge is among the best places to visit in Morocco for rock climbing. The craggy faces draw in climbs from far and wide, who can be seen scaling them from the valley floor. Todra is also a cool place to stop on the way to Dades Gorge, Tinghir, or Ouarzazate. You can check out the natural water spring and stroll the Todra palm grove before continuing on.
16. Draa Valley
Between Ouarzazate and Zagora is a wonderous world of palm groves lining the floor of Draa Valley. The area is abundant and rich in natural spoils thanks to the river that cuts through it, flowing from the High Atlas Mountains. There are splendid places to stop, like Oulad Yahia Lagraire, where you can sleep in an old kasbah and wander through the dense groves to your heart’s content.
Oh, Marrakech, no list of the best places to visit in Morocco would be complete without this wild city. There’s no medina quite as lively or vibrant as this one, with more shopping than even Carry Bradshaw could handle. Tucked away between the sellers, you’ll find tiny doors leading to fantastic garden complexes, intriguing galleries, and full blown palaces. It’s a dense blend of culture and craziness it’s hard to find anywhere other than Marrakech.
FAQs About the Best Places to Visit in Morocco
Still have some lingering questions about the best places to visit in Morocco? Check out these FAQs for some final answers.
What part of Morocco should I visit?
For photographic blue and white medinas and a chilled-out atmosphere, visit places in the North of Morocco like Tangier, Chefchaouen, and Asilah. If you want more “classic” Morocco (what they show in the movies), visit the south to see Marrakech, Merzouga, and the route that connects the two destinations, full of epic scenery and stunning villages.
Where is the nicest place in Morocco?
While it’s hard to pin down the single nicest place in Morocco, my personal preference is the north. The lifestyle around the coast and in mountain towns like Chefchaouen is slower and more laid back. People are extra nice, there’s an abundance of local produce, and it’s less expensive than big tourist cities like Fes and Marrakech.
Which is better Casablanca or Marrakech?
Casablanca and Marrakech are super different. Casablanca is a large business hub with a bustling downtown, luxury shopping, and a cosmopolitan atmosphere. Marrakech, on the other hand, is much more catered toward tourists, bursting with souks, cultural sights, and captivating architecture.
Is 7 days enough for Morocco?
Seven days in Morocco is enough time to see two cities and a smaller town, like Marrakech, Casablanca, and Essaouira (alternatively, Casablanca, Tangier, and Chefchaouen). Or seven days is enough time to land in Marrakech and take a road trip to the desert in Merzouga, which passes through mind-boggling scenery. While more time is always better, seven days is enough to see plenty in Morocco.