Sitting on the north-western tip of North Africa, Morocco is home to a cauldron of contrasting influences.
From Arabian to Berber to European traditions all within the mix of this mesmerizing country, the same can also be said about the experiences that are to be had. Despite many travellers visually imagining Morocco as only a golden sand-clad nation, this country is filled with a variety of different elements making it a fascinating place to visit.
If you’re one for immersing yourself into the local culture of a country, rest assured because it won’t take long for that to happen in Morocco. Whichever end of the country you explore, you’ll feel like there’s nowhere else in the world like it.
You may have heard stories of snake charmers, camel safaris and colourful bustling markets; well we can tell you, it’s all true. Morocco lives up to the hype.
With all the attractive characteristics Morocco can brag about, including its proud diverse ethnical approach, we’ve decided to narrow down Morocco’s contrasting experiences to a list of five.
Whilst the other options that make the list are more specific attractions, Marrakech, the cultural capital, is a whole experience in itself. Home to beautiful riads, bellowing mosques, bustling squares, manic markets and gleaming palaces – Marrakech is the centre of the melting pot that is Morocco.
There’s no better place to get a feel of Marrakech than at Jemaa El-Fna Square. As we’ve touched on, you’ll come across snake charmers, the best street hawkers in the land and a ton of stuff to buy.
During the day and at night it’s always lively, but when it does get dark you’ll have the plethora of street food options to choose from. If anywhere represents Marrakech’s pulsating heart, Jemaa El-Fna is it.
Also Check Out: The Tanneries, Saadian Tombs, Koutoubia Mosque, Palais Bahia, Old Medina Souks and Ben Yousef Madrasa.
Chefchaouen (Blue City)
In recent years tourism in Chefchaouen has taken a meteoric rise and it’s easy to see why. Towered over by the Rif Mountains, Chefchaouen has plenty of guesthouses, restaurants and shops to choose from. Epitomised by its cobalt blue sprawled across the old town, it gets the name the Blue City.
That’s just it, weaving your way around the blue winding streets is the major highlight here. Instragrammers take note; this is your dream destination!
If you want some time out from blue mist streets then take a hike up to the Old Spanish Mosque. Taking only 20 minutes and a perfect spot as a lookout point, you will see Chefchaouen from above.
Old Medina, Fes
There are many Medina’s to experience in Morocco but non-are more intriguing than in the city of Fes. The largest of its kind in the world, Fes el Bali is a district and is a UNESCO world heritage site.
Uniquely home to the oldest university in the world, the University of Al-Karaouine, there is also no room for vehicles so everything is all about walking on foot. Be aware, with a growing population (over 150,000) within the old walls it can become crammed and it can be very easy to get lost!
Within the old walls you’ll come across many fabric stores, tanneries, madrasas, spice stalls and touristy goods. With thousands of maze-like-laneways it’s best to keep moving and keep your Google Maps app open! At night, things can become a little sketchy so be aware you’re not hanging around too long.
We’ve finally got to it. Arguably one of the best experiences in Morocco is visiting the Western Sahara Desert.
The golden sand dunes are so perfectly perched you’d think they were man-made. Yet, with a camel as your guide trawling through the world’s most famous desert is a unique experience. If you’re ever going to feel like Indiana Jones, then this will be the time for it!
As you march on past sunset, you’ll arrive at camp as the night falls, adding another element to the desert safari experience. With the stars as your only light there’s no better sense of freedom than being in the open Sahara desert. Forget WIFI, it’s just perfect to switch off and have a mini desert detox.
The entirety of the Atlas Mountains stretches into Tunisia and Algeria but we’re not going to go that far.
The High Atlas Mountains are two hours away from Marrakech and a perfect way to experience the contrasting landscapes in Morocco. With rugged terrain accompanied by green valleys and remote Amazigh villages these areas really feel off the beaten track.
If you’re a keen adventurer then Mount Toubkal is the highest point in North Africa for you to embark on. Over 4,000m high the trek normally takes a three-day climb whilst the views are evidently breathtaking!
Still, it’s possible to stay and relax in and around High Atlas.
A contrasting experience to hiking is staying in a traditional Amazigh guesthouse where you can drink as much mint tea as you can possibly muster. At night, you’ll enjoy an authentic Amazigh food feast.