Iconic film locations in Morocco
Explore the locations of cult films shot in Morocco and immerse yourself in a captivating cinematic adventure.
Iconic film locations in Morocco: Morocco, with its diverse landscapes and historic cities, is an inspiring destination for many film-makers. From majestic deserts to labyrinthine medinas and sumptuous palaces, this multi-faceted country provides the perfect backdrop for unforgettable scenes.
From the poignant “Gladiator” to the epic “Lawrence of Arabia“, every location is host to a fascinating story. Whether you’re passionate about 7ᵉ art or simply in search of adventure, Morocco reveals its most beautiful sites immortalized by cinema. Walk in the footsteps of legendary actors and discover the fascinating story behind your favorite cult scenes.
If you dream of reliving certain scenes as if you were there, head for Ouarzazate. Nicknamed “Ouarzawood”, the region is one of the most sought-after by the 7th art industry. You’ll be dazzled by the range of landscapes that have served as backdrops for numerous films. Typical kasbahs, real architectural gems, have been the setting for memorable scenes. Local studios, such as Atlas Studios, have hosted such world-famous productions as James Bond’s “To Kill is Not to Play” and “The Nile Diamond”. The film “Legionnaire”, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, can also be added to the list. Relive these key moments on the silver screen.
Continue your journey to the Oasis de Fint, a verdant valley where the enchanting setting and lush nature have given their dimension to great classics. Remember the Vietnam scenes in “SpyGame”, starring Brad Pitt and Robert Redford. These iconic film locations in Morocco promise an experience rich in history and filming anecdotes.
Ksar Aït Ben Haddou
Come and enjoy a unique experience as you explore the mythical locations of Moroccan films! Be sure to stop off at Ksar Aït Ben Haddou. This highly photogenic location has provided the backdrop for many feature films, including “Lawrence of Arabia”, “The Mummy” and “Gladiator”. As you stroll through its narrow streets lined with adobe houses, you’ll be transported into the fantastic world of these legendary film productions.
Ksar Aït Ben Haddou has also been used as a set for historical films such as “Jesus of Nazareth” and “The Messenger”. Experience total immersion in the precise locations where these scenes took place. For aficionados of the “Game of Thrones” series, Ksar Aït Ben Haddou was also chosen to represent the fictional town of Yunkai. Last but not least, the location can be seen in “The English Patient” (1996) and “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” (2010).
Marrakech is another must-see Moroccan destination for film buffs. Cult scenes have been filmed in many of the Red City’s typical locations. In “The Man Who Knew Too Much” (1956), you can see scenes shot in Bab El Khemis, Bab Doukkala, and Jemaa El-Fna Square. Marrakech also played host to the “Sex and the City 2” crew, who filmed scenes in a luxury hotel in Abu Dhabi. Exploring these filming locations in Marrakech allows you to see the city in a different light.
Tangier, a major port city, has been the scene of numerous film shoots. Walk down the same alleyways as the cast of “The Thief of Tangier”, starring Tony Curtis.
Tangier is back in the spotlight in “La Vengeance dans la peau” with Matt Damon, where thrilling chase scenes take you right to the heart of the action. On the romance front, “Les temps qui changent”, starring Gérard Depardieu and Catherine Deneuve, invites you to wander through the narrow streets of Tangier and let yourself be carried away by the love story of its characters. Don’t miss the house in downtown Tangier, near the Grand Souk, which was used as the setting for scenes supposedly set in Mombasa, Kenya, in “Inception”, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
Head for Jebel Mudawwar, in the heart of the Moroccan Sahara. With its 50m high, horseshoe-shaped topography, this singular site offers natural protection from sandstorms. Once a refuge for caravans and a defense of the trade route to Sijilmassa, between the XIᵉ and XIIᵉ centuries. James Bond fans will recognize the crater from the film “007 Spectre”.
So, ready to embark on a cinema-themed journey through iconic movie locations in Morocco? From the winding alleyways of Marrakech to the vast desert expanses of Ouarzazate, the country is packed with stunning locations that have inspired numerous productions and contributed to their success. Share in the comments your suggestions for films shot in Morocco, or your own experiences of visiting these iconic locations. So, what are you waiting for to immerse yourself in the magic of cinema and discover what goes on behind the scenes of the greatest films?
Once you’ve had your fill of Marrakech, plan your trip to Ouarzazate. Although it’s only 200 km away, plan the whole day and leave early in the morning to leave yourself plenty of time. Spend the night in Ouarzazate in a hotel that is a museum of cinema in itself, the fabulous Palais Berbère.
The first film location you encounter on your way to the High Atlas is the desert outside Marrakech, where scenes from Alexandre (2004) were shot. As the road climbs higher and higher into the mountains, you’ll come across several roadside boys selling sand roses, crystals, and amethysts.
One of these villages is Taguenzalt, where parts of Babel (2006) have been felled. You’re now in the southern foothills of the Atlas Mountains, above the Valley of the Roses. In spring, the whole valley is in full bloom, and the flowers are picked by local women to be transformed into perfumes, soaps, and other scented products.
Atlas Film Studios and Film Museum
Iconic film locations in Morocco: Just 8 km from Ouarzazate lies the world’s largest film studio: Atlas Studios and Movie Museum, covering 322,000 feet of breathtaking desert. Opened in 1983, it has been used to shoot countless Hollywood films that, in one way or another, required a desert backdrop. You can visit the studios, but set aside a few hours to do so. You’re greeted by a jet plane used in Jewel of the Nile, then visit Egyptian tombs, statues, temples, and much more. All these sites will seem familiar if you’re a film buff, albeit a little dilapidated and dusty.
Abandoned Hills Have Eyes Set (2006)
An abandoned film set from The Hills Have Eyes just outside Ouarzazate is a fitting reminder, a ghostly dust-covered setting. From the desert rises an American-style gas station, with signs creaking in the wind. Littered with rusting car wrecks and an abandoned “restaurant” with puppets sneaking through the windows, broken glass bottles, and soda cans, it’s a place that can give you nightmares.
Accessories at the Berbere Palace Hotel
A much more enjoyable trip to the cinema can be found at the Hotel Berbère Palace, which we mentioned above and recommended you spend the night at. The theme of the hotel is simply “movies” and the lobby, gardens, rooms, and bungalows are decorated from top to bottom with original props from the films shot here. You’ll find Cleopatra’s throne, Zira from Planet of the Apes (although it wasn’t filmed in Morocco), photographs, and documents. The rooms are spacious and beautiful, and the large swimming pool is much appreciated after a long day’s drive through mountains and desert. For food, try one of the tasty tajines, the Moroccan stew cooked slowly in an earthen pot over an open fire.
Morocco is one of the top 10 “cinematographic” destinations for filming and significant productions.
Experts from the generalist travel agency Kuoni analyzed the filming locations of over 3,400 films and ended up selecting the 10 countries that most attract international film production companies.
The result is that, with 31 films, Morocco occupies the honorable 10ᵉ place in the ranking, according to the Kuoni agency.
The United States comes out on top with 1,523 films shot in the country, where Los Angeles dominates, totaling 543 films. They are followed by the UK (778 movies), France (170 movies), Italy (127 movies), and Canada (105 movies). Spain occupies 5ᵉ place with (61 films) followed by Germany (57 films), Mexico (55 films), and Australia (34 films).
France ranks 3rd with 170 films shot in France, 99 of them in Paris. The UK has made a name for itself over the past few decades thanks to its lavish film studios and vibrant cities on the sunny south coast”, analyzes the Kuoni agency.
Opulent settings, wild landscapes
Iconic film locations in Morocco: Morocco is one of the top 10 most filmed countries, with major productions such as “James Bond”, “Mission Impossible” and “Men in Black”. As well as the film “Gladiator”, which was shot in the southern Moroccan town of Ouarzazate, home to Atlas Studios. Among the world’s largest film studios, Atlas is the 5th most-searched location on the Google search engine, with over 22,000 searches.
Atlas Studios was built in 1986 by the Salam hotel chain. It covers an area of 25 hectares. Much sought-after by international filmmakers, the studios have played host to legendary productions such as “Kingdom of Heaven”, “Game of Thrones”, “Vikings” and “Prison Break”.
So, with its opulent backdrops and wild, natural landscapes, the Kingdom seems well deserving of its title, Morocco, Land of Cinema.
National Geographic Traveller magazine celebrates Moroccan cities
The latest issue of the UK’s National Geographic Traveller magazine continues to celebrate Morocco’s scenic and cultural landscapes.
Rabat – The UK’s National Geographic Traveller will be celebrating Moroccan cities and “the country’s unforgettable experiences” in its April issue.
The magazine’s April cover depicts the spellbinding beauty of Western Sahara with the caption: “The sand, songs, spices and stars of Morocco: an epic journey from the Atlas Mountains to the souks of Fez”.
“Beyond the souks and kasbahs of Fez, Tangier, Casablanca, and Rabat, Morocco’s wealth of adventures includes everything from mountain biking to Sandford to skiing. Head to the foothills of the Atlas Mountains for extraordinary scenery; explore the Atlantic coast, home to an established surf scene; or travel through the rolling sand dunes of the Sahara Desert,” the magazine wrote in the issue’s announcement.
In addition to focusing on Morocco, the April issue will also feature articles on other well-known vacation spots like Ibiza, Paris, Warsaw, Australia, Georgia, and Islay.
Iconic film locations in Morocco
National Geographic Traveller’s choice is no surprise, as Morocco has topped the list of favorite destinations for European tourists for years, particularly French tourists.
Geographical proximity, low cost of living, mild Mediterranean climate, and cultural heritage attract European tourists to this North African country.
In 2022, French tourists ranked Morocco 15th on the list of the top 20 travel destinations.
French travel magazine Retraite sans Frontières placed Morocco fourth out of 10 on its annual list of retirement paradises for French retirees.
While Morocco continues to be a favorite destination for foreign tourists, the country’s tourism sector has been hit hard by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in significant losses for operators in the sector.
Following the reopening of airspace on February 7, the Moroccan National Tourist Office set up a number of meetings with travel agencies in European nations like the UK, France, Spain, and Germany to rekindle interest in the products offered by the Moroccan tourism industry.
To draw tourists from abroad and from Morocco, the office also developed two campaigns, “We are Open” and “Aji” (coming).
Good reasons to leave everything to live in Morocco
Tired of the daily grind? Dreaming of a radical change in your life? How about leaving everything behind to live in Morocco?
This fascinating country nestled between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean offers a unique way of life, a rich and diverse culture, and breathtaking scenery. In this post, we’ll explore 10 good reasons to leave everything behind and move to Morocco. So join us in discovering why moving to Morocco could be the best decision you’ll ever make!
Iconic film locations in Morocco: Morocco is a beautiful country with a rich history and fascinating culture. The people are warm and welcoming, and there’s so much to discover. Here are 10 good reasons to leave everything behind and move to Morocco:
Morocco offers breathtaking scenery, from arid deserts and snow-capped mountains to the idyllic beaches of the Atlantic coast. There’s something for everyone!
One of the best cuisines in the world is Moroccan! The dishes are tasty, spicy, and colorful, and there’s something for everyone. You’ll never get tired of eating here!
Dynamic city atmosphere
Morocco’s cities are bursting with life and activity! Whether you’re into shopping, extreme sports, desert safaris, ocean surfing, lounging by the Mediterranean, hot-air ballooning, the nightlife or simply strolling the bustling streets, each Moroccan city has its own characteristics and activities to offer you the best of the city.
Life in Morocco is more affordable
Morocco is a beautiful country with a rich culture and fascinating history. The people are friendly and the country offers many opportunities for adventure.
Life here is also less expensive than elsewhere, making it an ideal place for those who want to live abroad without breaking the bank.
A pleasant year-round climate
Morocco is a beautiful country with a pleasant year-round climate. Temperatures are mild in winter and pleasantly warm in summer. There’s little rain, so you get plenty of sunshine all year round.
Morocco is also a very welcoming country, with friendly people who are always ready to help.
The food is delicious
The food in Morocco is delicious! There is a wide variety of dishes and cuisines, and you can always find something to your taste. Moroccan cuisine is mainly made up of fresh, natural products, which makes it healthy and tasty.
Dishes are generally very spicy, but there are always milder options for people who can’t eat much chili.
Morocco is also renowned for its delicious desserts, including honey cakes and fruit tarts.
The people are welcoming.
To put it mildly, Morocco is considered the friendliest country in the world.
You’ll never get lost on your travels, and you’ll never pass through a village without being invited to have a glass of tea with the locals.
It’s the history that has built this kingdom that has given all its authenticity to the welcome of the Moroccan people.