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Travel Inspiration Top 10 things to do in Morocco

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The Best Things to do in Morocco

Morocco is a country influenced by many different cultures. Its proximity to Spain, its occupation by France and the influences of north Africa and the Middle East have all left their mark on the architecture, cuisine, attire, infrastructure and even the language here. The predominant language in Morocco is Arabic but you’ll find plenty of locals who speak English and French, and Spanish is also spoken sporadically. This makes it relatively easy to explore Morocco, to try various activities and sample all that is on offer here.

During your visit to Morocco, you can do as much or as little as you like. Hop from hamam to hamam for a restorative and relaxing Arabian break or try one of the many adventure activities available. Spend time trekking in the mountains or relaxing at the beach. Camp in the desert or luxuriate at a high-end resort. Morocco has it all. This makes it an especially excellent destination for explorers as you can climb high mountains then spend time recovering afterwards, soaking in the magical culture of this fascinating country the whole time.

It was pretty tough to narrow down the TOP 10 things to do in Morocco as there are so many to choose from, but here are our teams list of the best things to see and do.

Learn to haggle in Marrakech

Market in Marrakesh, Morocco
While the capital of Morocco, Rabat, is steeped in cultural history, Marrakech is probably the most famous city in Morocco. This vibrant metropolis is a city of two halves with distinct old and new districts. First time visitors to Morocco can choose to stay in more western accommodation in the Ville Nouvelle, or new city, and use this as a base from which to explore. More intrepid travellers may look for a riad in the medina, a traditional Moroccan house, typically with a central courtyard inside or an auberge, which is a small inn or hostel. Wherever you pick, the main square in the heart of the old town in Morocco, Jemaa el-Fnaa, is the best place to try your haggling skills.

You’ll find all sorts of handmade items, rugs, spices, clothing, scarves and intricate jewellery on sale here and most vendors will expect you to haggle for your souvenirs. This can be great fun for those who love a bargain. Remember to treat your opponent with respect and carefully consider how much you’re willing to pay before you begin negotiations, and you may well find yourself with more than you bargained for! This writer once received a marriage proposal and a job offer when bartering for a handbag here.

Visit a hammam

A hammam, or hamam, is a local bathhouse. They can range in shape and size, from basic local baths to luxury spa-type facilities. To visit a local hammam, you can visit one yourself for a few pence or take a guide with you who will be able to introduce you to the proper customs, how to behave, what to wear, what you need and organise for someone who does treatments. You can get a massage or a body scrub, full body wrap or restorative clay treatments depending on where you go. Moroccans visit the hammam to bathe, gossip and relax. This is an unforgettable experience and you’ll come out smelling incredible with the softest skin for days afterwards.

Go shopping in Chefchaouen

Chefchaouen is a small town in the north of Morocco, close to the foothills of the Rif Mountains. This off the beaten track place has become more and more popular due to its beautiful blue buildings. The colour of blue is a theme wherever you go in Morocco and you’ll spot it in pottery and trinkets, clothing and décor. Chefchaouen takes this one step further as most of the buildings in the medina and many of those outside of it are painted in the most beautiful shade of sky blue. The overall effect makes the town seem like a haven of peace and tranquillity, which is mostly is. Base yourself here for trekking into the Rif Mountains to stop by on your way from north Morocco south. Chefchaouen to Marrakech is around 600km but much closer to Tangier for those arriving by ferry or flying to Rabat.

Get lost in Tangier

Tangier is the gateway to Morocco and the rest of north Africa due to its location at the northern tip of the country, on the banks of the Strait of Gibraltar. The ferry crossing from Spain is around 2 hours from Tarifa on the fast ferry or 6 hours from Malaga and there are multiple crossings to choose from. The flight to Tangier from the UK is also less than 3 hours and this northern city makes a great place from which to explore as it is the main transport hub for onward overland transport.

Tangier is the third largest city in Morocco in terms of population and the souk here is over 700 years old. Between the walled markets here and the wider city, Tangier is a hustling bustling hotchpot of culture and a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of this exotic country.

Spend a few days getting to grips with the city, sample the eclectic café culture and get recommendations for where to head next, barter in the souk or take in the retro glam architecture. Tangier once had an unsavoury reputation but this rejuvenated city is more cosmopolitan than cringey these days and is definitely worth a visit.

Camp in the Sahara Desert

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The western shores of Morocco stretch along the Atlantic coastline and north Morocco lies along the Mediterranean Sea, but did you know that the southeast of Morocco is part of the Western Sahara? The Atlas Mountains separate much of Morocco from the desert but take a little time to foray into the wilds and camp with the nomadic Bedouin surrounded by sand and stars and you won’t be disappointed.

Typically, there aren’t many roads into the desert, so you’ll most likely have to travel by camel. Lollop through the dunes astride one of these magnificent desert animals and immerse yourself in the peace and quiet of the tranquil and treacherous Sahara. Camping out under the stars will be a night away from mobile network, electricity, pollution and home comforts but we promise they won’t be missed. Cook by candlelight and stay warm next to a roaring fire. Have a traditional tagine prepared for you over the coals and curl up inside a pile of blankets, rugs and skins. It may well be the best nights sleep you’ve ever had!

Try kitesurfing

You might not associate Morocco with extreme sports but there is a thriving adventurous side to this action-loving country. You can surf many of the beaches along the Atlantic coast with Essaouira a firm favourite for kitesurfing especially. For those who don’t know, kitesurfing is where you attach your feet to a squat, squared off surfboard-like board and attach a harness around your waist which is in turn attached to a rectangular parachute. You then use the wind and waves to surf along the water.

For both kitesurfing and surf, Essaouira is just perfect. The beach is a long, sandy cove which has an ideal amount of swell for budding surfers and kitesurfers alike. You’ll find a wide choice of surf school providers close to the water or for those who don’t feel like attaching themselves to a parachute that is several meters long, take a pew along the old battlements or recline on the sand and watch others harnessing the wind on the waves.

You can try kitesurfing in Agadir, which is bigger and busier than Essaouira or head into the Western Sahara to Dakhla where international competitions are held each year. Kitesurfing in Dakhla is something else but it is trickier to get to than Agadir or Essaouira.

Go trekking in the High Atlas

The summit of Mt Toubkal
This is one of our personal favourite things to do in Morocco, obviously. Trekking in Morocco is a unique experience as the juxtaposition of the lively towns with the relatively empty mountains is a stark contrast. You can experience Morocco treks in either the Rif Mountains in the north or the Atlas Mountains further south. The High Atlas Mountains are home to the highest peak in north Africa, Mount Toubkal, which at 4,167m high is challenging but achievable for most people who put in the training. You can either climb Toubkal in winter and enjoy the cold conditions with snow and ice to play in, or trek Mount Toubkal in summer and escape the heat of the towns and cities by escaping to the altitude of the mountains. We think both are rewarding experiences and there are not many summits where you can glimpse both the Sahara Desert in one direction and the Atlantic Ocean in the other!

Visit Ouzoud Waterfalls

Ouzoud Falls, or Cascades d’Ouzoud, are around 150km northeast of Marrakech and are a collection of spectacular waterfalls that attract many visitors. The surrounding countryside is home to many mills, both working and abandoned and ‘Ouzoud’ in Berber means, the act of grinding grain. This is one of the most picturesque places in Morocco and is popular with locals and visitors alike. Take a hike with a guide while you’re there or trek to the falls yourself. Try to avoid weekends and busy season as the trail will be packed.

Take a food tour of Fez

The city of Fez is known as the cultural and spiritual capital of Morocco and it is also the second largest city in the country. The medina of Fez is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as it is one of the largest, and indeed oldest, urban pedestrianised centres in the world.

It is this medina that we recommend finding some of the best and most exciting cuisine in the whole of Morocco. Join an organised food tour here and not only will you get to sample the delights of Moroccan food but you’ll get an education in the history of Fez, where the food comes from and how it is made. From local bread to sumptuous soups, tasty tagines and delectable dates, honey, pastries, olives and mint tea. Oh the mint tea. Sweetened so much you worry your teeth will fall out, it’s impossible not to keep on drinking this national beverage. Visit an apothecary and learn about medicinal herbs and investigate a typical Moroccan home and see how food culture is at the heart of every family.

There really is no better place to munch your way through than one of the largest markets in the world.

Grab a taxi

This might seem daft but getting used to the public transport in Morocco is both an education and a delight. They have petit taxis, so small cars, which can take up to 5 passengers and grande taxis, which will try and get 6 in. These aren’t large cars, a grande taxi is a saloon car typically and once hailed, will wait until it is at capacity before taking you where you need to go. You’ll get up and close and personal, whether you want to or not, with whoever you’re riding with. The cost is shared so it is an inexpensive way to travel and you will often leave the car with offers of beds for the night, places to stop at on your way back, people to meet and a son or daughter in need of a husband or wife. To really get a feel for a place, there is nothing like jumping head first into their quirky customs and this is a firm favourite of ours.
Hopefully this has given you some idea of what Morocco is famous for and how you can spend your time here. We love adding days to the beginning of a trek to explore the cultural sights and sounds of Morocco before heading into the mountains and taking a couple more days to relax and unwind by the sea afterwards too. Speak to our team of travel experts when you book your Morocco trek who will be able to recommend places to stay and what not to miss.