Morocco is a country full of contrast. Most of the action is on the coast while the interior is mainly mountains and deserts, leading deep into the Sahara.
Morocco is one of the most glamourous middleastesn countries. While it sits just to the south of Spain, it has a distinct vibe with its snake charmers, hordes of treasure, and mint tea. The fairytale feel of the place is like nowhere else on Earth.
So, where do people visit when they travel to Morocco? Take a look at these top-rated destinations.
The Hassan II Mosque
Morocco takes its religion seriously. For this reason, if you’re not a Muslim, you’re not allowed to enter any of the mosques in the country. There is, however, one exception: the Hassan II Mosque. This enormous complex is dominated by a lone tower and a cavernous main chamber. The mosque itself is relatively new, having been completed in 1993. It required the efforts of more than 10,000 artisans to create and is one of the best examples of a modern mosque anywhere in the world. Here you’ll find mosaics, impressive marble stoneworks, and intricately crafted designs on the walls.
The Rif Mountains
The Rif Mountains are very different from how many people imagine the mountains of Morocco: a set of jagged, dusty peaks, surrounded by endless yellow desert sands.
The Rif Mountains, however, are more like something you’d find in the north of Great Britain than in the wilds of Africa, making them a popular attraction on Morocco tours. Here, thick grass covers the gently undulating foothills with enormous rocky outcrops in the distance. If you go during the early spring, you’ll find it at its greenest, providing respite from the yellow and blue colors the dominate the rest of the country. You may also see some sheep grazing – the opposite of what you expect to find in a country like Morocco.
If you want to get outside of the cities, then make sure that you head over to the Erg Chebbi, a region of the Moroccan Sahara, with some of the most impressive dunes anywhere in the desert. This area is the perfect spot for keen adventurers, thanks to its four-wheel-driving, dune surfing, and camel trekking opportunities.
The Draa Valley
The Draa Valley is a unique geographic feature that links the end of the Atlas mountains to the desert beyond. It’s famous for its oases, palm trees, and the Kasbah des Caids which is one of the most impressive medieval fortresses in the country. Many of the locations in the area have been featured in Hollywood films.
Ait Ben Haddou
Another popular inland stop-off in Morocco is the Ait Ben Haddou. This impressive fortress stands prominent in the surrounding landscape and, just like the Kasbah des Caids, has a fairytale feel to it. Again, it’s been featured in many Hollywood films.
You can visit the area by yourself or as part of a tour. Most people arrive between late morning and early afternoon. If you want to avoid the crowds, go early.
The Bab al-Mansour is an elaborate gateway, designed as the entrance to the ancient capital of Morocco. Today, you can find the monument at Meknes where you can marvel at its sheer beauty and size.
Don’t let the Bab al-Mansour fool you, though: the town of Meknes is way more laid back than it looks. It provides a nice contrast to Fez, which can be a little in your face.
If you do plan a trip to the Rif Mountains, make sure that you check out the town of Chefchaouen. The entire place has a different feel from the rest of Morocco, owing to the labyrinth of blue-colored buildings that line its many narrow streets.
The town itself is relatively easy-going. Expect to see fewer pushy salespeople here and fewer tourists. It’s the perfect place to relax, sit back, and recharge your batteries after an extended tour of the surrounding area.
If you’re planning on exploring the Rif Mountains, Chefchaouen makes a great base. Numerous hiking trails extend out of the town to the mountains beyond.
Tangier is one of the most European of all of the cities in Morocco. In the past, it was home to some of the most liberal people in the country and gain a reputation that attracted artists from all over the world. Today, it’s cleaned up its act, but that doesn’t mean that it’s lost its character. Go there is you want something different.