Morocco A Land of Beauty, Culture, and Adventure

Morocco is a country that will captivate you with its diversity, charm, and authenticity. Morocco is located in North Africa, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, Algeria, and Mauritania. It has a rich and varied heritage, influenced by the Berbers, Arabs, Africans, Europeans, and more. Morocco is also home to some of the most amazing landscapes in the world, from the snow-capped mountains of the Atlas, to the green valleys and oases of the south, to the golden dunes and rocky plateaus of the Sahara. In this article, we will explore some of the main attractions and tips for travelers who want to discover Morocco.

1. Destinations

Morocco has many destinations to suit different tastes and interests. Here are some of the most popular ones

- Marrakech: The most famous and visited city in Morocco, Marrakech is a vibrant and colorful metropolis that combines the old and the new. You can visit the Jemaa el-Fnaa, the main square and the heart of the city, where you can see snake charmers, acrobats, storytellers, and musicians; the Koutoubia Mosque, the largest and most iconic mosque in the city, which has a 77-meter-high minaret; the Bahia Palace, a 19th-century palace that showcases the Moroccan architecture and art; and the Majorelle Garden, a botanical garden that was created by the French painter Jacques Majorelle and later owned by the fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent.

- Fes: The oldest and most cultural city in Morocco, Fes is a UNESCO World Heritage site that preserves the medieval Islamic civilization. You can visit the Fes el-Bali, the old city and the largest car-free urban area in the world, where you can wander through the maze of narrow streets and alleys, admire the mosques and madrasas (Islamic schools), and shop for handicrafts and souvenirs in the souks (markets); the Bou Inania Madrasa, a 14th-century madrasa that is one of the finest examples of the Marinid architecture and art; the Al-Attarine Madrasa, another 14th-century madrasa that is famous for its exquisite zellij (mosaic tilework) and carved plaster; and the Dar al-Makhzen, the royal palace that has a magnificent golden gate.

- Chefchaouen: The most picturesque and charming city in Morocco, Chefchaouen is a mountain town that is known for its blue-washed buildings and streets. You can visit the Kasbah, a 15th-century fortress that has a museum, a garden, and a tower; the Grand Mosque, a 15th-century mosque that has a unique octagonal minaret; the Ras el-Maa, a waterfall and a river that is a popular spot for locals and tourists; and the Spanish Mosque, a 20th-century mosque that offers a panoramic view of the city and the mountains.

- Merzouga: The gateway to the Sahara, Merzouga is a desert village that boasts a spectacular scenery and a magical atmosphere. You can visit the Erg Chebbi, a large sand sea that has some of the highest and most beautiful sand dunes in the world; the Dayet Srji, a salt lake that attracts many birds and animals; the Khamlia, a village that is home to the Gnawa people, who are descendants of former slaves and have a unique music and culture; and the Rissani, a historic town that was once a major caravan center and has a lively market and a mausoleum.

2. Cities

Morocco has many cities that offer different attractions and experiences. Here are some of the most notable ones

- Casablanca: The largest and most modern city in Morocco, Casablanca is a cosmopolitan and dynamic metropolis that has a mix of French colonial and Moroccan style. You can visit the Hassan II Mosque, the second-largest mosque in the world and the only one that is open to non-Muslims, which has a 210-meter-high minaret, a glass floor, and a retractable roof; the Corniche, a seaside promenade that has cafes, restaurants, and clubs; the Habous Quarter, a new medina that was built by the French in the 1930s and has a royal palace, a mosque, and a market; and the Morocco Mall, the largest mall in Africa and the seventh-largest in the world, which has a huge aquarium, an ice rink, and a cinema.

- Rabat: The capital and the political center of Morocco, Rabat is a elegant and refined city that has a rich history and culture. You can visit the Oudayas Kasbah, a 12th-century fortress that has a museum, a garden, and a cafe; the Hassan Tower, a 12th-century minaret that was intended to be the largest in the world, but was left unfinished; the Mausoleum of Mohammed V, a 20th-century mausoleum that is the resting place of the former king and his two sons; and the Chellah, a medieval necropolis that was built on the ruins of a Roman city.

- Tangier: The most international and artistic city in Morocco, Tangier is a port city that has a fascinating and diverse history and culture. You can visit the Medina, the old city and the soul of Tangier, where you can see the Grand Mosque, the Kasbah, and the American Legation; the Ville Nouvelle, the new city and the heart of Tangier, where you can see the Place de France, the Grand Socco, and the Mendoubia Gardens; the Cap Spartel, a cape that marks the meeting point of the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, where you can see the Hercules Cave, the Lighthouse, and the Pine Forest; and the Asilah, a nearby town that is famous for its white-washed walls, colorful murals, and annual arts festival.

3. Hotels

Morocco has a wide range of hotels to suit different budgets and preferences. You can choose from luxury hotels, boutique hotels, riads (traditional houses), camps, and more. Here are some examples of hotels in Morocco

- La Mamounia: A five-star hotel located in Marrakech, La Mamounia offers a royal and glamorous stay. It has 209 rooms and suites, which are spacious and elegant, with balconies overlooking the gardens or the city. It also has a spa, which is one of the most prestigious and lavish in the country, with a hammam, a pool, and a fitness center. It also has four restaurants, which serve Moroccan, French, Italian, and international cuisine, a bar, which offers cocktails and live music, and a casino, which offers games and entertainment.

- Lina Ryad & Spa: A four-star hotel located in Chefchaouen, Lina Ryad & Spa is a cozy and charming hotel. It is housed in a traditional riad, which has a beautiful courtyard, a fountain, and a terrace. It has 17 rooms and suites, which are decorated with local furniture, fabrics, and art. It also has a spa, which offers massages, facials, and body treatments, using natural and local products. It also has a restaurant, which serves authentic and delicious Moroccan dishes.

- Palais Faraj Suites & Spa: A five-star hotel located in Fes, Palais Faraj Suites & Spa is a luxurious and elegant hotel. It is housed in a 19th-century palace, which was once the residence of a vizier. It has 25 suites, which are spacious and stylish, with balconies overlooking the medina or the garden. It also has a spa, which offers a range of treatments, including aromatherapy, reflexology, and hydrotherapy. It also has two restaurants, which serve international and Moroccan cuisine, using fresh and organic ingredients.

- Merzouga Luxury Desert Camp: A three-star hotel located in Merzouga, Merzouga Luxury Desert Camp is an adventurous and romantic hotel. It is situated in the middle of the Erg Chebbi sand dunes, and offers a unique and unforgettable experience. It has 15 tents, which are comfortable and cozy, with beds, carpets, and lanterns. It also has a dining tent, which serves traditional and tasty Moroccan food, a lounge tent, which offers books, games, and music, and a campfire, which offers a warm and friendly atmosphere.

4. Meals and Restaurants

Morocco has a delicious and diverse cuisine, influenced by the various cultures that have passed through the country. Moroccan food is aromatic, spicy, and colorful, using ingredients such as olive oil, ras el hanout (a spice mix), couscous (steamed semolina), and mint. Some of the typical dishes are
- Harira: A soup made of lentils, chickpeas, tomatoes, herbs, and meat, usually lamb or chicken. Harira is often eaten during Ramadan, the holy month of fasting, to break the fast at sunset.
- Tagine: A stew made of meat, vegetables, and dried fruits, such as apricots, prunes, and dates, cooked in a clay pot with a conical lid. Tagine can be made with different kinds of meat, such as beef, lamb, chicken, or fish, and flavored with different spices, such as saffron, ginger, and cinnamon.
- *Pastilla*: A pie made of thin pastry layers, filled with meat, almonds, eggs, and sugar, and dusted with icing sugar and cinnamon. Pastilla is usually made with pigeon meat, but can also be made with chicken or seafood.
- Mint tea: A drink made of green tea, fresh mint leaves, and sugar, served in a silver teapot and small glasses. Mint tea is the national drink of Morocco, and a symbol of hospitality and friendship.
Morocco has many restaurants that offer a variety of cuisines, from traditional to international. Here are some examples of restaurants in Morocco
- Dar Moha: A famous and elegant restaurant located in Marrakech, Dar Moha serves creative and refined Moroccan cuisine, such as chicken with lemon and olives, lamb with honey and almonds, and couscous with seven vegetables. The restaurant is housed in a 19th-century riad, which has a beautiful garden, a pool, and a terrace.
- Cafe Clock: A trendy and cozy restaurant located in Fes, Cafe Clock offers a fusion of Moroccan and international cuisine, such as camel burger, chicken bastilla, and apple crumble. The restaurant also has a cultural and artistic program, such as storytelling, music, and workshops.
- Lala Mesouda: A charming and authentic restaurant located in Chefchaouen, Lala Mesouda serves traditional and tasty Moroccan cuisine, such as harira, tagine, and pastilla. The restaurant has a rustic and colorful decor, with wooden furniture, cushions, and carpets.
- Kasbah Cafe: A modern and chic restaurant located in Merzouga, Kasbah Cafe serves international and Moroccan cuisine, such as pizza, pasta, salad, and kebab. The restaurant has a stylish and minimalist design, with white walls, glass windows, and lanterns. The restaurant also has a terrace, which offers a stunning view of the desert and the stars.

5. Shopping

Morocco is a paradise for shoppers, who can find a variety of goods, such as carpets, pottery, leather, jewelry, spices, and perfumes. Morocco has many places to shop, from traditional markets to modern malls. Here are some of the best places to shop in Morocco
- The Souks: The souks are the traditional markets of Morocco, where you can find everything from handicrafts to food. The souks are located in the medinas of the cities, and each souk has its own specialty, such as the Souk el Attarine (the perfume market), the Souk el Berka (the jewelry market), and the Souk el Kmach (the fabric market). The souks are a great place to bargain, haggle, and discover the local culture.
- The Medina Center: The Medina Center is a modern and upscale mall located in Marrakech, near the medina. The Medina Center has more than 150 shops, which sell local and international brands, such as Zara, Mango, Lacoste, and Swarovski. The Medina Center also has a cinema, a food court, and a children's playground.
- The Morocco Mall: The Morocco Mall is the largest and most spectacular mall in Africa and the seventh-largest in the world, located in Casablanca, near the sea. The Morocco Mall has more than 600 shops, which sell fashion, electronics, cosmetics, and books. The Morocco Mall also has a hypermarket, a bowling alley, a skating rink, and a musical fountain. The most impressive feature of the mall is the huge aquarium, which has more than 40 species of fish and a glass tunnel that allows visitors to walk under the water.
- The Asilah Arts Festival: The Asilah Arts Festival is a unique and colorful event that takes place every summer in Asilah, a nearby town of Tangier. The Asilah Arts Festival is a celebration of art and culture, where local and international artists paint murals on the white-washed walls of the town, creating a stunning and vibrant gallery. The Asilah Arts Festival also has concerts, exhibitions, workshops, and a market, where visitors can buy paintings, sculptures, and handicrafts.

6. Transportation

Morocco has a good and cheap transportation system, which includes buses, trains, taxis, and car rentals. Here are some of the main modes of transportation in Morocco
- Buses: Buses are the most common and affordable way to travel in Morocco, especially between cities and towns. Buses are operated by different companies, such as CTM, Supratours, and Satas. Buses are usually comfortable and air-conditioned, but can be crowded and slow. Buses can be booked online, by phone, or at the bus stations.
- Trains: Trains are another option to travel in Morocco, especially for long distances. Trains are operated by the national railway company, ONCF, which offers different types of services, such as express, regional, and suburban. Trains are usually fast and punctual, but can be old and dirty. Trains can be booked online, by phone, or at the train stations.
- Taxis: Taxis are a convenient and flexible way to travel in Morocco, especially within cities and towns. Taxis are either petit (small) or grand (big), depending on the size and the destination. Petit taxis are blue and have meters, which charge by distance and time. Grand taxis are white and have fixed fares, which are shared by up to six passengers. Taxis are usually available and cheap, but can be hard to find during peak hours and holidays. Taxis can be hailed on the street, at the taxi stands, or by phone.
- Car Rentals: Car rentals are a great way to travel in Morocco, especially for exploring the countryside and the desert. Car rentals are available from different companies, such as Avis, Europcar, and Budget. Car rentals are usually expensive and require a valid driver's license, a credit card, and an insurance. Car rentals can be booked online, by phone, or at the airport.

7. Tips for Travelers

Morocco is a safe and welcoming country, but there are some tips and precautions that travelers should follow to have a pleasant and enjoyable trip. Here are some of the most important tips for travelers in Morocco:

- Visa and Passport: Morocco does not require a visa for most nationalities, but travelers should have a valid passport that is valid for at least six months from the date of entry. Travelers should also have a return or onward ticket, and a proof of sufficient funds.
- Currency and Exchange: Morocco's currency is the Moroccan dirham (MAD), which is divided into 100 centimes. The exchange rate is approximately 1 USD = 9 MAD. Travelers can exchange money at the banks, the hotels, or the authorized bureaux de change. Travelers should avoid the black market, which is illegal and risky. Travelers should also keep the receipts of the exchange, as they may need them to reconvert the dirhams at the end of the trip.
- Language and Communication: Morocco's official languages are Arabic and Berber, but French is widely spoken and understood, especially in the cities and the tourist areas. Spanish is also spoken by some people, especially in the north and the east. English is also spoken by some people, especially the young and the educated. Travelers can communicate with the locals using simple words and gestures, or using a phrasebook or a translator app. Travelers should also learn some basic Arabic words and phrases, such as hello (salam), thank you (shukran), and goodbye (beslama).
- *Culture and Etiquette*: Morocco is a Muslim country, but it is also a diverse and tolerant country, where different religions and cultures coexist. Travelers should respect the local customs and traditions, such as dressing modestly, especially in the religious and rural areas; avoiding alcohol, pork, and public displays of affection, especially during Ramadan; greeting the elders and the women first, and using the right hand for eating and shaking hands; and tipping the service providers, such as the guides, the drivers, and the waiters.
- Health and Safety: Morocco is a safe country, but travelers should take some health and safety measures, such as getting the recommended vaccinations, such as hepatitis A, typhoid, and rabies; drinking bottled water and avoiding ice and raw food; carrying a first-aid kit and a sunscreen; avoiding the scammers, the pickpockets, and the beggars; and following the advice of the authorities and the tour operators.


Morocco is a wonderful and diverse country, that has a lot to offer to the travelers. Morocco has a rich and varied history, a beautiful and varied nature, a delicious and varied cuisine, and a friendly and hospitable people. Morocco is a destination that will surprise and delight you, and make you want to come back again and again.