Planning your next trip to Morocco? From exploring the Sahara Desert to tasting the local cuisine, these are the 23 best things to do in Morocco.
From the craggy Atlas Mountains to the laid-back surfing beaches, there are almost as many things to do in Morocco as salivating smells wafting through the souks. One day you’ll inhale just-cooked tagine after getting lost in the labyrinth-like souk, and the next, you’ll be scaling Toubkal, North Africa’s highest peak.
Nestled on the Northwest corner of the African continent, cusped by the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, Morocco’s geographic, cultural, and even gastronomical offerings are so diverse that you’ll need weeks—heck, months!—to discover it all. And because it is so vast and varied, planning a vacation here may feel overwhelming. That’s why we’ve created this guide to answer your questions and share the can’t-miss things to do in Morocco.
But before deciding where to go, you’re probably wondering if it’s safe to go: is Morocco friendly to tourists? The short answer: tourist hotspots like Fes, Marrakech, and Tangier welcome tourism and are widely considered safer than straying off in remote regions like the Rif Mountains. Planning your trip and wondering what month is best for Morocco travel? While the summers don’t get scorching hot like some African or Middle Eastern countries, the best time to visit Morocco is in early spring (March and April) or Autumn (September through November), when the temperature remains warm without extremities. You may also be wondering if Morocco is cheap to visit. While you can indulge exclusively in five-star experiences, you’ll find that most of Morocco’s accommodations, bars, and restaurants are indeed budget-friendly.
So pour yourself a glass of that soothing mint tea and take note of the 23 best things to do in Morocco, a country saturated with discovery. You’ll be glad you did.
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Mount a dromedary camel to explore the desert’s undulating orange dunes and abandoned kasbahs, a magical region immortalized in film and fiction. If your itinerary doesn’t include the desert, camel rides are also available in Marrakech (near the Menara Gardens), and it is one of the best places to visit in Morocco for dual culture and adventure (and both can be accomplished between the humps of a camel!).
INSIDER TIPBeware that most operators will require an adult to ride with any child under thirteen.
Sip Mint Tea and Watch the World Go By
One of the most local things to do in Morocco is plopping yourself on a terrace for a fortifying glass of mint tea and a dose of people-watching. Because sometimes, just sitting back and basking in the chaotic ambiance is the best thing one can do in Morocco. Tea (sometimes called Berber whiskey here) is the essential social lubricant of the country, and this sugary sweet pick-me-up is used to welcome visitors and seal deals. Watch the intricate pouring performance: when serving the tea, the first glass is poured three times, ensuring the product is delightfully blended and sweet.
INSIDER TIPWant to drink your Berber whiskey like a real Moroccan? Forget the fancy café, and instead, find an unassuming location–the back alley of a souk perhaps–for a more authentic ambiance. And the more stray cats, the better.
Appreciate Koranic Scholarship at Ben Youssef Medersa
In the 16th century, the Saadian Sultan Abdullah al-Ghalib rebuilt this 9th-century madrasa as the largest Koranic school to rival Imam Fassi’s madrasa in Fez. The expansive central courtyard and exquisite tile mosaics show the visual impact and are a testament to the iconic blend of Andalusian-Arabic architecture. It’s one of the best-preserved historic sites in Marrakech and was the most prominent Islamic college in Morocco at its height. This historic Morocco tourist attraction teaches visitors about the country’s Islamic past and present.
Learn Moorish History at the Kasbah Des Oudayas
Rabat, Morocco’s administrative and political capital, may initially seem like an unassuming tourism destination. Still, when you stroll into the Kasbah des Oudayas, you’ll be engulfed in its evocative past. Built by refugees fleeing persecution in Moorish Andalucia, the Kasbah occupies a quiet spot above the palm-lined Bou Regreg River. Wander the crumbling Andalusian gardens, now home to and sip a mint tea (of course). You’ll emerge from the Kasbah to panoramic ocean views–a breath of fresh, salty air following the Kasbah chaos. And one of the best things to do in Rabat post-tour? Eat a sardine sandwich–popular with locals and where half of all sardines sold worldwide come from.
INSIDER TIPBe sure to admire the views from the terrace, as this is one of the best places to visit in Morocco for your imagination to run wild. A few cups of that Berber whisky, and you may seriously think you’re seeing Barbary pirates setting off from Salé across the river.
Shop and Wander the Souks
Marrakech is one of the best cities to visit in Morocco for perfecting your gift of the gab. Haggle for handmade rugs, leather, silver, and pottery crafted in ancient artisan workshops over endless cups of, yes, sweet mint tea. Wend your way through the narrow labyrinth of medina passages, alleyways, and squares. Even for those who disdain shopping, the souk is one of those quintessential things to do in Marrakech, showcasing some of the country’s hectic, lively spirit. The Red City (named for the beaten clay that gives Marrakech its deep reddish hue) thrills, entertains, and sometimes overwhelms even the most seasoned traveler. Wandering the souk with a local, licensed guide is the optimal way to make the most of your souk time–and avoid getting dizzyingly lost!
INSIDER TIPLike any densely-populated area where folks from all walks of life congregate, be mindful of pickpocketing and bag snatchers. The best way to do this is to ensure your purse is clasped and your wallet isn’t in your back pocket.
Go Camping (or Glamping) in the Sahara Desert
The sky’s the limit for this once-in-a-lifetime experience, an escape into the world of the Berber nomads and their epic natural playground. Explore these windswept Saharan dunes stretching 19 miles and rising to 820 feet. Select an overnight tour to stay in a Bedouin tent in the Erg Chebbi, a dizzying stretch of sand dunes just south of town, where you’ll sleep beneath the stars and wake to spectacular sunrises. This is unquestionably one of the best things to do in Morocco if you’re either a valiant explorer or looking to score a few points with your partner and elevate your romance.
INSIDER TIPHydrate! While reminding you to drink plenty of water when visiting a desert may sound elementary, you’d be surprised how much you should be gulping down. The general advice is to drink at least a gallon a day here–and double that if you’re going on a long desert hike.
Visit a Berber Village
Morocco’s Indigenous people take great pride in their way of life and enjoy inviting passing travelers momentarily into their culture. In the village, one can witness bread being baked in outdoor ovens and the lifestyle of families living close to nature. Many tour operators combine lunch or tea with a Berber family with a one-day trek or a visit to a local market. In many ways, life for semi-nomadic Berbers in the mountains and deserts of Morocco is reminiscent of the struggles their forefathers endured.
INSIDER TIPWith any intimate cultural experience, it is essential to respect the locals. We suggest dressing modestly for this visit, and bringing small gifts for the children is an excellent token of appreciation. And, of course, accept the many offers for mint tea you’ll inevitably receive.
Trek the Mountains of the High Atlas
For spectacular vistas and fresh air, the High Atlas is a perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of urban Morocco. North Africa’s tallest peak, Djebel Toubkal, rises to nearly 14,000 feet and is only a two-day climb, best done in late summer. Amateur hikers with guides follow less strenuous (but equally rewarding!) routes through rural Berber villages and rocky paths. Head to the Ourika Valley for various outdoor adventures—it’s a justifiably famous region to hang glide, ski, or ride mules to hidden waterfalls and tranquil hilltop gardens. The popularity of such outdoor pursuits has escalated in Morocco in recent years, with world-class operators offering memorable training camps and excursions. And if you’re looking for adventurous things to do in Morocco in December, the Atlas Mountains are blanketed in snow, creating an ideal playground for winter hikers and dauntless skiers.
INSIDER TIPSome 40 miles southwest of Bin el Ouidane Lake, the majestic succession of Cascades d’Ouzoud waterfalls plunge into the canyon of Wadi el-Abid 330 feet below, surrounded by native Barbary apes. It is a natural wonder not to be missed.
Explore the Old City of Fez El-Bali
If you want to experience a certifiably local thing to do in Fez, step into a time warp in the 9th-century medina, the world’s most active and winding medieval city. With culturally important fondouks (medieval buildings designed as urban hostels), riads, medersas, mosques, and palaces dating back 1,000 years filling the 9,500 alleyways, it’s no surprise the dynamic Fez el-Bali is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
INSIDER TIPUse your nose as a guide to explore the legendary tanneries of Fez upon entering the old town. Your snout will pick up the odor of leather tanned by hand in the traditional Moroccan method long before your eyes catch up. Follow the stench to witness workers standing in gargantuan vats, processing animal skin, which is a site that will be etched in your memory (and nostrils!) for quite some time.
Catch a Wave, Moroccan Style
WHERE: The Atlantic Coast (Essaouira)
The coast between Agadir and Essaouira, nicknamed the “Wind City of Africa” for its coastal breezes, is one of the best places to visit in Morocco for water sports. In fact, one of the most adrenaline-pumping things to do in Morocco is to head to Taghazout for surfing, Moulay Bouzerktoun (north of Essaouira) for windsurfing, or Essaouira for kitesurfing, windsurfing, and surfing. Equipment can be hired at all beaches, and stand-up paddle boarding is also possible on calm days. These activities are family-friendly and a stellar way to get the brooding teenagers moving. Surfs up!
Spot Goats in Trees
The Southern Atlantic region of Morocco is the only region where the argan tree, famous for its nut oil’s cosmetic and culinary properties, grows. While these gnarled plants, grown exclusively in Morocco and western Algeria, won’t win awards for their beauty, they are popular with goats. That’s right. Commonly known as “Berber gold” for the income the oil has brought to local communities, argan nuts are also a favorite snack of these mammals. Along routes in this region, you’ll spot goats in trees–sometimes more than one dozen occupying a single tree–feasting on the yummy nuts.
INSIDER TIPThe goats on the Marrakech-Essaouira road are typically staged for tourists, and the goat herders expect payment for photos. Though this does pose a threat to the trees’ sustainability, it does propel tourism and entrepreneurship (especially for local women!) in an otherwise desolate and rural area.
Attend a Moroccan Music and Culture Festival
One of the best ways to experience the rich heritage of Morocco is to participate in a local event–and there are plenty of them to choose from! Head to Kelaâ M’Gouna in the Dadès Valley in May, home to the country’s largest rosewater distillery plant. Each spring, the small oasis village celebrates the flower harvest.
In late June, the traditions of Gnaoua music, a blend of African and Berber song and dance, are celebrated in the seaside resort village of Essaouira.
The Marrakech International Film Festival is one of the top things to do in Morocco in December if you want to mingle with international celebrities (or at least spot them from a distance!).
The all-important Eid al-Fitr (Feast of the Fast Breaking) showcases Moroccan tradition with three days of joyous celebration at the end of Ramadan.
Get Pampered at a Hammam
Getting scrubbed and steamed at a local hammam does wonders for the weary and is one of the most luxurious things to do in Morocco if you’ve been on the road for some time. Whether you choose a communal public bath or private room in an upscale spa, this traditional therapy of brisk exfoliation and bathing using natural cleansers has promoted physical and mental hygiene and restoration for centuries. Public hammams are clean and generally inexpensive.
First-timers may wonder what to wear for a hammam experience in Morocco. Generally, clothing rules are relaxed, with women undressing fully and men wearing either a towel or loincloth.
Learn How to Make a Moroccan Couscous
What is Morocco known for, culinary-wise? While many salivating Moroccan dishes could compete for that accolade, the national dish is couscous, steamed teeny-tiny balls of wheat semolina. Once you understand how enchanted a tagine or meaty brochette is with a steaming pile of couscous on the side, you will want the secrets of cooking it. One of the best places to visit in Morocco to learn to make couscous and tagine with that *chef’s kiss* touch is Cafe Clock in Marrakech. This course teaches travelers how to shop for produce like a local before creating four emblematic Moroccan dishes.
INSIDER TIPMoroccan cuisine typically utilizes many fresh and local ingredients to give flavor. The assortment of spices may be a lot for pickier palettes, but chicken brochettes (kebabs) tend to hit the spot for any visitor.
Instagram the Blue Town of Chefchaouen
Founded in the 15th century by Spanish exiles, the village of Chefchaouen, in the foothills of the Rif Mountains, is widely considered one of the best cities to visit in Morocco to be wholly enchanted (and create some pretty envy-inducing content for the ‘gram!). Relax beneath verdant shady trees on the cobblestoned Plaza Uta el-Hamman and wander the steep Andalusian passageways, where buildings bathed in cobalt and indigo hues blend with terra-cotta-tiled roofs, pink-scarves women, violet blossoms, and ocher-and-poppy-red wool carpets to create a vibrant canvas of color.
INSIDER TIPChefchaueon’s remote location is part of its allure. However, without a local airport nearby, we suggest flying into Tangier, Fes, or Rabat and hiring a reputable taxi driver from one of the city’s transport offices.
Visit the Hassan II Mosque
The largest functioning mosque in Africa, Hassan II Mosque, covers almost a million square feet and holds up to 25,000 people. Two-thirds of the building is over the sea, where the minaret’s light beacon shines 20 miles toward Mecca. It ranks as the country’s most exceptional representation of Moroccan artistry for its ornately carved stucco, zellij tile work (a type of mosaic), and onyx-and-marble details. One of the essential things to do in Casablanca is to experience the country’s culture and religion.
INSIDER TIPHassan II Mosque is the only mosque in Morocco that allows non-Muslims to enter, though be cognizant this must be outside prayer times and with a licensed guide.
See the Well-Preserved Roman Ruins
Easily combined as a day trip from Fez or Meknes or with an overnight stop in the historic town of Moulay Idriss, Volubilis is a Moroccan tourist attraction that has depth–quite literally. This UNESCO World Heritage site is well-preserved and showcases an impressive array of Berber-Roman ruins. Its historical significance and surrounding verdant hills make it one of the best things to do in Morocco for historians and outdoorsy folks alike. Local olive production cultivated great wealth for Volubilis, which can literally be seen in its city walls, grand residences, triumphal arches, and parliament buildings. It remained an active and inhabited city until the 18th century, and today is best experienced on tour with a vetted guide.
INSIDER TIPWhile you can (and should!) marvel at intricate mosaics and majestic columns, take a hat and sunscreen—there isn’t much shade.
Relax in a Riad
What to do in Morocco if you’re craving eccentric architecture and warm hospitality? Spend a night in mosaic splendor in your choice of countless riads, which often immaculately showcase the magic of bygone Morocco. Forgo a hotel room and head for a room with authentic charm in one of these hidden gems, usually found in a city’s vibrant medina. There isn’t necessarily air-conditioning, the pool might only be the size of a bathtub, and breakfast is most likely served on the roof. But hey, you’ll experience something authentically Moroccan, complete with fretwork screens, sumptuous upholsteries, and cool tiled floors.
INSIDER TIPDon’t judge a riad by its cover. Moroccans tend to be modest, so the entranceway will likely be unassuming, even for the most high-end riads. Once inside, however, you’ll be enchanted by the unique (and always colorful!) interior design.
Hunt for Fossils in the Sahara Desert
WHERE: The Sahara Desert
Children and children-at-heart will revel in the thrill of hunting for fossils in the Sahara. If you’ve pondered what Morocco looked like way before we had iPhones to capture everything (or any humans on Earth, for that matter), this activity unveils a detailed glimpse into the past from the perspective of rocks, that is. If you book a fossil hunting and mineral tour with a certified guide, you’ll soon understand that this desert is far more than sand. An area that was once a sea, the desert sands now hide vast geological treasures, ready to be uncovered by intrepid explorers.
Treat Yourself to a 5-Star Luxury Resort Stay
We’ve all seen Inventing Anna and know that extreme opulence in Morocco not only exists but is part of the reason international tourists flock here. And while a stay at La Mamounia, the enchanting riad (a guest house built around a central courtyard), may make you feel like the imposter heiress herself, there are many other five-star options throughout the country that evoke genuine star status.
For example, The Conrad Rabat Arzana, sitting on the rugged Atlantic Ocean coast and just 20 minutes from the capital, opened in late 2022 and is already drawing attention from Moroccan and international elite alike. Whether it is their avant-garde architecture, infinity pools melting into the skyline, or the 2100 square foot “Royal Suite,” the property is at the forefront of Morocco’s continually blooming luxury scene.
While you’ll want to inhale all the Moroccan goodness throughout your travels, if your palate is craving something different, the five-star properties tend to have diverse food options. For example, The Conrad Rabat has an elegant Japanese restaurant, and The Fairmont Tangier Tazi Palace is home to a Mediterranean grill and Parisa, a modern take on Persian hospitality.
Drink Moroccan Orange Juice—Seriously!
One of the most mouthwatering memories you and your family will return home with is just how fresh the orange juice is here (so delicious that it makes our list of best things to do in Morocco!). With its orange trees scattered throughout the city, Marrakech is the obvious choice for a glass of pulpy goodness. However, if you happen to find yourself meandering through the Blue City, one of the best things to do in Chefchaouen is to sip on a glass of orange juice at Rahmouni Café, costing only a couple of dirhams (and, bonus, it comes with a complimentary view of the mountains!).
INSIDER TIPWhile Morocco is surprisingly rich in seasonal goodies, it is imperative only to eat fruit that has been peeled, washed, or cooked before consumption.
Hit up the Beaches of Agadir
If sunshine and turquoise sea sound like a necessary respite from the mayhem of Moroccan metropolises, head south to the beaches of Agadir. While admittedly not the most culturally-dense destination, Agadir is a holiday town suitable for all travelers–from sun-seekers to families alike. The beaches here tend to be cleaner than other Moroccan coastlines, so spend the entire day sinking into your rented sun lounger, soaking in the heat, and knowing you’re enjoying a beach holiday at a digestible price tag.
INSIDER TIPIf you’re heading to Agadir in the summer, book early, as Europeans flock here for sun and cheaper beers than their home countries. If you want a hint of solitude, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons, when the weather is milder and the crowds more manageable.
Experience Tangier’s Rich Architecture and History
Morocco has been influenced by many cultures throughout history, and nowhere is that more evident than in Tangier. This North African metropolis has long functioned as a semi-independent international trade, culture, and food zone. Jews, Muslims, and Christians coexisted here for decades, and Spanish was the common tongue. Today, Tangier is one of the best places to visit in Morocco to better understand the country’s fascinating geo-mythology, magnetism to international artists like Jack Kerouac, and its physical significance as the “Gateway to Africa.”
Stay at the just-opened Fairmont Tangier Tazi Palace, a once-ornate palace that pays homage to Moroccan high craftsmanship with Andalusian-style gardens and a daily tea time (Moroccan, of course!) You’ll be treated to birds-eye views of the Old City, the mountains peaking on the horizon, and hammam and spa experiences that exude total royal vibes. And one of the best things to do in Tangier is to indulge in the hotel’s lavish Sunday brunch, overlooking the kingdom–er, city–below.