After the 1942 romantic movie “Casablanca”, Morocco has become a popular place with European and American travelers.
Because of the combination of wonderful climate, old traditions, rich culture and warm hospitality, it is a desirable place to escape the cold winter weather.
Here you can visit and explore four old imperial capitals, which rank among the most beautiful cities in Africa.
What makes the country even more irresistible is the incredible variety of spices, herbs and outstanding traditional foods.More from Morocco:
Travelers often say that Morocco is not just a regular tourist destination but a real kaleidoscope of colors, sounds, fragrance and tastes.
Here are the 25 most recommended places to visit while in the country:
While Agadir is a popular tourist destination, one of the smaller tourist towns to the north of the city is even most attractive, especially to more experienced travelers and people who have been in Morocco before.
Known for its relaxing atmosphere, golden sandy beaches and azure seawater, Taghazout is dominated by flat-roofed white and papaya-colored houses.
It is a popular surfing spot in North Africa but its slow pace of life generally attracts visitors from all ages.
Life in Taghazout is concentrated in the coastal area, known for its lovely small restaurants and cafes.
Here you can also enjoy some of the world’s most outstanding sunsets.
The best time to visit Taghazout
The weather in Taghazout is never too hot or too cold, with relatively stable temperatures during the day of between 68 and 81°F (between 20 and 27°C) over the year.
The best time to come here for surfing is from October to April. If you are looking for the most pleasant weather conditions, however, from March till November the weather is mostly dry, clear and sunny, with comfortable temperatures.
While in January and February the average daytime temperature is pleasant for outdoor activities, it is quite cold at night. On the other side, December is mild but it is often too rainy and humid.
2. Saadian Tombs
As an old imperial capital, Marrakech offers a number of worth visiting historic buildings and most of them can be found within the medina (the walled city).
One of these treasures is the Saadian Tombs. Constructed during the Saadian dynasty in the late 16th century, the royal necropolis is one of the most beautiful and sophisticated examples of the traditional Moroccan architecture from the post-medieval period and it should definitely be on your travel bucket list while in Morocco.
You will be definitely impressed by the elegant interior decoration, dominated by Arab columns and arches. The interior is entirely completed in handcrafted marble and traditional colorful tiles.
Are the Saadian Tombs open to visitors
Tourists, including non-muslims, are allowed to visit the Saadian Tombs. In fact, this is one of the most recommended things to do in the old imperial capital.
3. Kutubiyya Mosque
Constructed in the 12th century, Kutubiyya Mosque is the most recognizable building in Marrakech.
The temple was consecrated in 1158, although the 253 ft (77 m) tall minaret was fully completed at the end of the 12 century.
Situated near the popular Jemaa el-Fnaa market, today the mosque is still visible from all parts of the city.
The minaret was completed in the Almohad style while the rest of the mosque was built similar to the Tunisian Great Mosque of Kairouan.
Is Kutubiyya Mosque open to visitors
Only muslims are allowed inside the temple. Kutubiyya Mosque is not open for non-muslim visitors but they can enjoy and admire its incredible architectural beauty from outside.
4. Jemaa el-Fnaa Market
You will find the most colorful and diverse bazaar in Africa in the very heart of Marrakech’s medina (the old walled town).
It is called Jemaa el-Fnaa and was established by the Almoravid Dynasty in the 11th century.
In 2008, Jemaa el-Fnaa was added to the UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
Being one of the most recommended places to visit in North Africa, the bazaar is the best place to buy gifts and souvenirs for your family and friends. Here are some of the most traditional and typical goods to buy here:
Buy some pottery
Jemaa el-Fnaa is known as the best places to buy fine and elegant ceramic items in Africa.
You will find a really great variety of colors, especially different shades of blue, green and turquoise.
The variety of sizes and decorations is mind blowing too. If you buy a dinner, coffee or tee set, you will have in your home something really long lasting, authentic and unique.
Enjoy the fresh tropical fruits
Jemaa el-Fnaa offers a wide choice of traditional tropical and subtropical local fruits to buy.
The most popular are the local pomegranates, lemons, oranges, tangerines, grapefruits, melons, olives, figs and of course, the incredible Moroccan dates.
Buy some spices and local ingredients
Morocco is well-known for its rich variety of top quality spices.
Here you can buy local ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, saffron, sesame and many others.
One of the most famous items is the argan oil, which is considered the most quality in the world.
You just need to check if the specific item is allowed to be imported into your country, as some specific restrictions are possible.
Buy local footwear
Worn both by men and women, the traditional local leather footwear is one of the best Moroccan items to buy when visiting the market of Marrakech.
Better known as “Belgha” they offer an astonishing variety of designs and colors.
They are made of high quality materials and are usually decorated with traditional local ornaments. This is a great idea for a souvenir for you and your loved ones at home;
5. Sahara Desert (from Marrakech, Zagora, Fez and Merzouga)
Covering a territory comparable to that of the United States or China, Sahara is the largest tropical desert on Earth.
It is known for the largest sandy dunes on the planet as well as for some of the most astonishing landscapes you can imagine.
Morocco is considered the best country in the world if you want to explore the Sahara Desert.
Most travelers start their adventure from Marrakech, although there are many other options such as Zagora, Merzouga and Fez. Marrakech is considered the gateway to the desert because of the large number of organized tours from here.
However, if you prefer to avoid the distance of 349 miles (more than 561 km) between Marrakech and the actual desert, you can visit Zagora, and from here, some of the nearby huge deserted areas covered by enormous sand dunes. In this case the distance is only 168 miles (270 km).
The best time to visit Sahara in Morocco
The climate in the deserted areas of Morocco is tropical and the average temperature during the day is quite high over the course of the year.
If you want to experience the most comfortable weather, you better choose March or November. Also, winters are much more comfortable than summers.
6. Dadès Gorge
Sometimes gently called “The Moroccan Trollstigen” because of the similarity with the popular steep and zigzagging road in Norway, R704 is one of the most mind blowing roads in Africa.
It is known for its hairpin turns where the edge of the gorge is only one step away from you.
Situated nearly 7.5 miles (12 km) north of Tamellalt in High Atlas, central Morocco, this scenic place is part of the road which follows the green and fertile valley on the bottom of Dadès Gorge.
The view from the zigzagging road is spectacular but be careful and drive slowly! At some points the red-colored sidewalls of the canyon reach almost 1650 ft (500 m)!
When to visit the Dadès Gorge
Late spring (May) is the best season to explore the region. The most difficult part is to combine comfortable temperatures in the mountain with pleasant weather in the gorge and May is a very good opportunity.
7. Tin Mal Mosque
If you want to visit and feel the spirit of an authentic Berber settlement, you will definitely like the village of Tinmel.
Situated in High Atlas in the central parts of Morocco, it is known for one of the most beautiful mosques in Africa.
Traditional and authentic, Tin Mal Mosque was completed in 1156. The red-colored brick temple was included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List on July 1, 1995.
The village itself is considered the heart of the Almohad empire.
Can you visit the Tin Mal Mosque
Tin Mal is not an operating mosque but is an important UNESCO’s site. The 12th century temple is open to visitors, including to non-muslim tourists.
8. Aït Benhaddou
Situated at the foot of a barren hill about 3 hours drive east of Marrakech, Aït Benhaddou is an old settlement.
Established in the 11th century, it is a great example of traditional Moroccan architecture.
Most of the buildings were constructed in the 17th century or later. Mostly built from bricks, mud and compressed earth, the village is known for its distinguishing red color.
As a typical old settlement, Aït Benhaddou is a walled village and the defensive fortification is one of the major attractions here. In 1987, the village was inscribed in UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
Can you visit Aït Benhaddou and what is the best time to do it
Spring and autumn are traditionally the best time of the year to visit the area because the weather conditions are most comfortable.
March, April, October and November are the most recommended months. Because of the distance, you can visit Aït Benhaddou from Marrakech within a day trip (6 – 6 and a half hours in both directions).
Being one of the most beautiful walled cities in North Africa, Taroudant is known for its old historical sandstone buildings.
Flourished during the 16th century, the city is often described as being quite similar to Marrakech but much smaller and better preserved.
One of the major tourist attractions in the area is the red-colored stone fortification, which is definitely worth a visit.
The construction of the fortification started in the 11th century and is one of the reasons behind the stable cultural and economic development of the city.
When to visit Taroudant
The best time to visit Taroudant is during the winter season between October and April.
As it is located far from the Atlantic, the climate is tropical arid so the city experiences quite hot weather in summer with scorching temperatures during the day.
Winter on the other side is sunny and mild, with pleasant temperatures of around 68 – 70°F (20 – 21°C) in December, January and February, although nights can be cold.
10. Kasbah of Agadir
Constructed during the first half of the 16th century, Kasbah of Agadir is a medieval fortification, situated 775 ft (236 m) above sea level.
Also known as Agadir Aufla, the place was equipped with a few dozens of guns for additional protection.
The hill reveals an amazing view to the south. You can see the entire city of Agadir from here, including its fantastic golden beach.
The old city of Agadir had been located on the hill until the devastating earthquake of 1960, when it was completely destroyed.
When to visit Kasbah of Agadir
The city is a year round tourist destination, so you can visit the Kasbah of Agadir whenever you want. Summers are warm but not hot (74°F / 23°C), while winters are pleasantly refreshing (68 – 70°F / 19 – 20°C).
11. Hassan’s Tower
With only ½ of its initially intended height, Hassan’s Tower still looks quite impressive with its 140 ft (44 m).
It is one of the most visited landmarks in Rabat and was included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1995.
The construction of the red-colored sandstone minaret and 348 marble pillars started in 1195 and stopped only 4 years later so they have never been completed.
You will find the tower in one of the most interesting areas of Rabat, the central part of the city.
Right next to the historical remains, you will find another very important landmark – the Mausoleum of Mohammed V, the sultan of Morocco between 1927 and 1953 and king between 1957 and 1961.
Can I visit Hassan’s Tower
The historical site of the beautiful Hassan’s Tower and the pillars is open to visitors, including non-muslims. The Mausoleum of Mohammed V is open to visitors too and the entrance is free.
12. Fes el-Bali
Almost unchanged since the 8th century, Fes el-Bali is one of most authentic and inspiring places in Morocco.
This is the oldest and most exciting part of the medina (the old walled town) of Fez.
Dominated by centuries old houses and very narrow winding cobbled streets, Fes el-Bali is well-known for its old leather tanneries, the most popular of which is called Chouara.
Created in the 9th century, its round stone basins are full of natural colorants and are one of the major tourist attractions in the country.
This is where the process of manufacturing of the top quality local leather goods (footwear, bags, wallets etc.) starts from. Fes el-Bali was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1981.
What is the best time to visit Fez
Fez has a very hot subtropical Mediterranean climate. Summers are usually very hot, while winters can be quite cold on rare occasions. The most comfortable months to visit Fez are considered March, April, May, October and November.
In contrast to other tourist cities in Morocco, Essaouira is much smaller and could be easily explored within a weekend but the trip is really worth it.
Situated on the Atlantic coast between Casablanca and Agadir, the small coastal village enjoys an increasing popularity with European tourists because of its historical charm, flat-roofed white houses, relaxing atmosphere and wonderful climate.
It enjoys temperatures between 66 and 75°F (19 and 24°C) and constant wind which attracts wind and kite surfers.
The main tourist attraction is the 18th century ramparts, which were constructed to protect the settlement from invaders.
When to visit Essaouira
Although you can visit the coastal town year-round, the weather is most comfortable during the summer season (July, August, September, October) because of the refreshing wind that keeps temperatures pleasantly low.
14. Ouzoud Falls
Ouzoud Falls consists of several drops and is one of the most remarkable tourist attractions in the interior of Morocco.
You will find it approximately two hours and a half drive from Marrakech, not far from the village of Tanaghmeilt, in the Atlas Mountains.
It falls in the deep El-Abid River’s gorge from a height of around 330 ft (110 m). You can enjoy the most impressive view from the bottom of the waterfall, following a lovely trail through a shady olive glove.
The best time to visit Ouzoud Falls
Definitely, the waterfall looks most impressive in winter. However, the winter months sometimes bring quite cool and rainy weather.
That’s why most people prefer to visit this place in spring. April is considered the best month here because the waterfall is still very impressive and the temperature is quite comfortable.
15. Agadir Beach
The beach of Agadir is one of the major tourist attractions in Morocco.
It offers 4 miles (almost 6.5 km) golden to honey-colored soft sands and is one of the longest and most beautiful in Morocco.
The water is relatively smooth in comparison with other parts of the country so it is very tempting for swimming and bathing in summer.
The promenade is a popular place with locals and tourists. Here you can find a wide choice of bars, restaurants and shops.
When to visit the beach in Agadir
The weather in Agadir is quite enjoyable for most of the year with temperatures during the day of over 74°F (23°C) between May and November. The seawater is generally cool, but between July and October it is usually around 68 – 70°F (20 – 21°C).
16. Hassan II Mosque
Completed in 1993, Hassan II Mosque is considered the most beautiful 20th century mosque in the world and the seventh largest.
Its minaret is 689 ft (210 m) tall, being the tallest in Africa. The Muslim temple is known for its elegant and fine architecture.
Situated on the Atlantic coast, Hassan II Mosque has been constructed mostly using local materials and only a small part of them have been brought from Italy.
The walls are known for their elegant hand-crafted marble. The building is mostly white, decorated with turquoise-colored tiles.
Can you visit the mosque as a non-muslim
If you are a non-muslim but want to visit the temple, you need to join an organized tourist groups.
Situated in northwestern Morocco, Chefchaouen (or as it is better known as the Blue City) was established in the 15th century.
It is remarkably known for its blue-colored buildings and is one of the top rated tourist attractions in Morocco.
In fact, the exact reason why the houses have been painted blue is unknown.
According to locals, however, this happened in the 70s of the 20th century in order to attract tourists.
The medieval town lies in the Rif Mountains, not far from Tanger, and is located only a hundred kilometers south of Europe (Punta de Tarifa in Spain).
The Blue City is also known for its scenic vicinity. Here you can find one of the largest Moroccan Caves, called Kef Toghobeit Cave.
The best time to visit Chefchaouen
The region has a very hot subtropical climate with a quite strong tropical influence so the best time to visit Chefchaouen is in spring and autumn (respectively April, May and October).
18. Legzira Beach
Although it is considered quite dangerous because of its strong currents, tides and underwater rocks, Legzira Beach is a magnet for visitors.
In fact, this is the most popular beach in Morocco and is considered one of the most scenic in Africa and in the world.
You will find it on the Atlantic coast of southern Morocco, about 5 hours and a half drive south of Marrakech and less than 3 hours south of Agadir.
It is located north of Sidi Ifni and is mostly known for its outstanding red-colored stone arches.
Because of its incredible colors, especially during the golden hour before sunset, the beach attracts photographs from around the world.
When to visit Legzira Beach
The temperatures in the area of Legzira beach are comfortable all over the year.
The climate is neither cold nor hot, no matter the month. The average temperatures during the day are:
January – 20°C / 68°F (water temperature – 20°C / 68°F)
February – 20°C / 68°F (water temperature – 19°C / 66°F)
March – 21°C / 70°F (water temperature – 19°C / 66°F)
April – 22°C / 72°F (water temperature – 20°C / 68°F)
May – 22°C / 72°F (water temperature – 21°C / 70°F)
June – 22°C / 72°F (water temperature – 21°C / 70°F)
July – 24°C / 76°F (water temperature – 22°C / 72°F)
August – 24°C / 76°F (water temperature – 23°C / 74°F)
September – 24°C / 76°F (water temperature – 23°C / 74°F)
October – 24°C / 76°F (water temperature – 23°C / 74°F)
November – 23°C / 74°F (water temperature – 21°C / 70°F)
December – 21°C / 70°F (water temperature – 20°C / 68°F)
Situated in southeastern Morocco, not far from the border with Algeria, Merzouga has become a popular tourist destination over the last few years.
They often call the small provincial settlement “the water city” which sounds ridiculous considering the surrounding landscape.
The nickname, however, is not an accident because underground lies one of the largest natural bodies of freshwater in North Africa.
According to local legends, the area was once covered by lush rainforests.
What attracts visitors in Merzouga nowadays, however, is the area of Erg Chigaga which is known for some of the largest sandy dunes on Earth, reaching to about 650 ft (almost 200 meters).
When to visit Merzouga
The area is known for it’s hot arid tropical climate with very limited precipitation over the year. The best time to come here is during the spring and autumn seasons, in March, April, May and October.
Situated between Rabat and Fes in northern Morocco, Meknes is an important cultural and economic center.
Being one of the old imperial capitals, it was established approximately around the 10th century.
The most significant tourist attraction of the ancient city is the medina that was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1996.
The city is known for its majestic stone wall as well as for the ruins of the ancient Roman city of Volubilis.
When to visit Meknes
The city has a subtropical climate and the best time to go is in spring and autumn, with May and October being the best months of the year. The average temperature during the day is 75°F (24°C) in May and 77°F (25°C) in October.
21. Bahia Palace
A real masterpiece of the Moroccan Islamic architecture, the construction of the Bahia Palace took place during the second half of the 19th century.
The fabulous building has been made of high quality Moroccan materials, including colorful tiles, cedar wood and hand-crafted Moroccan marble.
Stylish and elegant, the palace has been completed in a traditional palette of colors, such as emerald-green, white and blue.
The palace is known for its beautiful interior garden (known as riad garden), which can be seen in some regions in Europe, especially Andalusia.
You will find this palace in the historical Mellah district of the medina of Marrakech.
Is the Bahia Palace open to visitors
Bahia Palace is open to the public and is one of the most recommended tourist attractions in the country. You can enjoy its fabulous inner gardens and you can also visit almost all of its rooms.
22. Marinid Tombs
The Marinid Tombs is one of the most exciting historic sites in northern Morocco.
Constructed during the 14th century, this is an old royal necropolis on the top of a hill in the outskirts of Fez.
The tombs were built to serve the Berber Marinid dynasty, which ruled between the 13th and 15th century.
Built by marble, the necropolis is nowadays partially ruined but you can still get a very good idea of how it looked like during the medieval period.
Are Marinid Tombs open to visitors
The tombs are not just open to tourists but they should definitely be on your travel bucket list.
Besides the ruins, this place is known for the most amazing view of the city.
If you want to have the best experience, you better travel in spring or autumn because the weather conditions are most comfortable.
23. Paradise Valley
Situated about 12.5 miles (20 km) northeast of the coastal tourist city of Agadir or 36 miles (58 km) by road, the Paradise Valley is a real green oasis at the foothills of the scenic Atlas Mountains.
Covered by beautiful date-palm groves, the valley lies on the bottom of a deep orange-colored canyon.
It is known for its lovely emerald-green freshwater swimming holes and charming waterfalls.
According to rumours, the Paradise Valley was one of the most favourite places of the legend Jimi Hendrix.
The relaxing atmosphere is complemented by the wonderful tropical arid climate and clear skies.
When to visit the Paradise Valley
The best months to visit Paradise Valley are October and November in autumn and April and May in spring. Summers are quite hot, while winters sometimes bring lower temperatures, especially January and February.
24. Talassemtane National Park
Situated in the Rif Mountains in the northernmost parts of Morocco, Talassemtane National Park covers 227.6 sq mi (589.5 km2).
Established in 2004, the park is dominated by mountain Mediterranean forests, deep canyons, natural rocky bridges and beautiful waterfalls.
It is an important habitat of rare species of animals and plants, many of which are endemic and can be seen nowhere but here and in Andalusia in southern Spain.
Talassemtane NP was included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1998.
When to visit Talassemtane National Park
Since most of the area is occupied by mountains, the climate is much cooler in comparison with other destinations at the same latitude. You will find the most comfortable temperatures in June and September (around 72 – 74°F / 22 – 23°C), followed by July and August (around 79 – 81°F / 26 – 27°C).
25. Hercules Cave
Situated to the west of the popular tourist city of Tanger, not far from the summer palace of the King of Morocco, the Hercules Cave is an important tourist landmark which attracts tens of thousands of visitors per year.
Although it is natural in origin, the cave has been sculpted by people since ancient times. It has two openings and one of them has the same shape as the African continent.
Is it open to visitors
The cave is open to visitors all year round, and the entrance is paid. If you want, you can pay additionally for a guide tour. The cave is considered the most important and recommended tourist attraction in the area of Tanger.More from Morocco: