Top 25 must-see places in Morocco
Top 25 must-see places in Morocco: Are you leaving soon and don’t yet know what to do in Morocco? I’ve put together a selection of the best places and activities to do when traveling to Morocco for the first time.
Of course, Marrakech is a good place to start, but it would be a shame to miss out on some truly incredible landscapes in the heart of the Sahara. The landscapes you’ll find in Morocco are so diverse that you’ll sometimes feel like you’re on a round-the-world trip! Desert, mountains, oases, cultural and historical visits, get ready to be amazed throughout this guide
A little bonus: all the places and activities in this guide have been designed so that you can link visits one after the other in the suggested order at your own pace in 7, 10, or 15 days.
Why visit Morocco?
I’m about to repeat myself, but the diversity of Morocco’s landscapes is truly one of the country’s main assets. For example, you’ll find great tourist cities like Marrakech, Casablanca, and Agadir, set between land and sea. You can also go on an adventure and choose between different hikes or even opt for a trek in Morocco in the High Atlas mountains, or discover heavenly spots in the Sahara desert for a change of scenery.
Another major advantage of Morocco? The local cuisine! You can discover specialties such as couscous, tajine, and mechoui, and fill your stomach with Moroccan pastries like beghrir over mint green tea. If you’re staying mainly in Marrakech, you can find out where to eat in Marrakech in my dedicated guide
I’ll say no more and let you discover a bunch of other reasons in this top 25 of the best things to do in Morocco. If you’d like to visit all these places, I very strongly invite you to take a road Morocco Tours!
What to do in Morocco? Visit Marrakech, of course!
If you’re in Morocco for the first time, Marrakech is a must, even if it is a very touristy city. In fact, if you’re looking for attractions in the city, I’ve devoted an entire guide to what to do in Marrakech. In the meantime, here are some must-see activities and visits in Marrakech
The heart of the city is Place Jemaa El Fna. It’s located in the middle of the medina, making it the busiest place for tourists and locals alike at any time of day. Why is it so? Simply because it houses a market for spices, food, clothes, and souvenirs. You’ll find only local, handcrafted products.
You can visit this square and the city’s other souks on a variety of guided tours, including a full-day private tour of the medina with a professional guide from €90 per person.
On the cultural side, if there’s one visit I can recommend, it’s a guided tour of the Bahia Palace, the El Badi Palace, and the Saadian Tombs. This really is a must, and you’ll discover centuries-old ruins for as little as €35 per person. With this ticket, you’ll have priority access to these sites.
If you’re staying in Marrakech for longer, you can also visit some of the city’s other essential sites:
The Marrakech palm grove in the heart of the Marrakech desert
The Koutoubia mosque
Try out the hammam at Marrakech’s top spas
Thrilling activities: quad biking in the Marrakech desert
Where to sleep in Marrakech?
If you’ve chosen Marrakech as your base, you’ll also need to find out where to sleep in Marrakech. What I recommend is to spend the night in one of Marrakech’s many riads, traditional Moroccan dwellings, so here’s a riad address and an address for a slightly more unusual night
Riad Mirage is the typical Moroccan riad I’d recommend. It’s at once traditional, modern, and very well located right in the heart of the medina. It also boasts a truly splendid roof-top for a breathtaking view of Marrakech. The price per night varies, but depending on the season, it’s available from €85 per night.
For an unusual night, Selina Agafay Nomad Camp is the perfect address. Here you’ll sleep in a luxury tent and spend the night in the desert of Marrakech: an experience to be tried at all costs! From €105, you can even enjoy a swimming pool in the middle of the Sahara. The other advantage is that you can set off on camel or quad rides from your accommodation.
Visit the Atlas mountains
After Marrakech, head south to the Atlas mountain range in the High Atlas region, which ranks alongside Kilimanjaro among the highest peaks on the African continent. It’s the ideal place for hikers and trekkers.
Several natural sites are among the must-sees, and I think adventurers know what I’m talking about. These include the Ourika Valley, national parks such as Toukbal, the Anti-Atlas, which is a little more suitable for novices, waterfalls, oases, and many other treasures.
During your Atlas tour, you’ll be immersed in Berber culture throughout. In fact, there’s an excursion from Marrakech to the High Atlas, where you can discover some of these very places with a professional guide. You’ll even have the chance to ride on the back of a camel. How much does it cost? Approximately €35 per person.
Around Marrakech, there are many exceptional places to discover, including the Ouzoud waterfalls. These are located around 150 km northeast of Marrakech and are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you’re traveling through the Atlas Mountains I mentioned earlier, this is a must-see.
The falls are no less than 110 meters high, falling at full force over three tiers formed naturally by the red sandstone rock. You can try to get as close as possible, but be careful, as the hiking path is rocky, otherwise, you can board a boat or cross a bridge over the deep-blue natural pool into which the waterfalls cascade.
There is an excursion from Marrakech that will allow you to hike and take a mini-cruise to the Ouzoud waterfalls at a cost of €25 per person, but beware, the excursion is one of the most popular activities in Morocco.
The next stop on our tour of places to see and things to do in Morocco is Merzouga, just south of Marrakech, past the Atlas Mountains. This town lies right in the heart of the Erg Chebbi desert, in the Sahara where the dunes sometimes rise up to 150 meters high, i.e. higher than the Ouzoud waterfalls 😮 It really is the landscape you see on a postcard if you think of Morocco and the Sahara desert.
Merzouga is also a highlight for tourists wishing to spend a night in the Erg Chebbi desert. Excursions lasting several days are available from Marrakech, but if you’re traveling with your own vehicle, you can drive straight to Merzouga for a camel ride and overnight stay in a Berber camp in the middle of the desert, from €63 per person.
Visit Tinghir, Morocco
South of the Atlas mountains, at an altitude of over 1,300 meters, you’ll find the town of Tinghir, famous for its palm grove. It’s a lovely place to stroll when it’s not too hot in the morning or early evening. Here you’ll find a deep-rooted tradition that Tinghir’s Jewish community tries to perpetuate: silver jewelry-making.
A must if you’re heading for the Toudgha River. Along the way, stop off at the lookout point on the road to the Toudgha Gorge.
Where to stay in Tinghir?
Top 25 must-see places in Morocco: Here are a few really nice places to stay in Tinghir, a town where you’ll certainly want to put down your suitcases for several days, given the activities and natural sites that surround it.
The Retour Au Calme guest house is a great place to stay in Tinghir and has won over all its visitors. I can recommend this very affordable establishment from €19 per night.
The Auberge Restaurant Atlas is just 5 km from the Toudgha Gorge and offers simply decorated rooms, as well as an outdoor swimming pool for a refreshing dip at the end of the day. The nightly rate is around €50 and includes breakfast.
The Toudgha River
The Toudgha Valley is named after the river that runs through it, the Toudgha (or Todgha). This river supplies the entire valley with water, including the Tinghir palm grove.
As you enter the valley, you’ll drive between impressive limestone cliffs. Finish the road between the cliffs on foot to reach the clear water of Oued Toudgha. Another activity to try out in these gorges, on the banks of the Toudgha River, is climbing.
Lovers of hiking, climbing, and rafting will be well catered for in the Dades Gorge. Some hiking trails start a little further on, in the Sidi Boubkar Gorges, and take you through some of the most beautiful natural pools in the Dades Gorges. Not far from the village of Boulmane, you’ll also find the famous “doigts de singes” (monkey fingers), which are actually thin rocks pointing skywards.
Let’s continue a little further west with another equally impressive gorge: the Dades Gorge. Its nickname is none other than the Moroccan Grand Canyon. On the roads through this valley, you’ll see much more diverse landscapes, including red sandstone mountains, orchards, and lush forests.
Ouarzazate is the meeting point between the Dades Valley and the Draa Valley, which I’ll tell you about next, but it’s also a gateway to the Sahara Desert. It’s also a city rich in Berber culture, architecture and ksour.
Ouarzazate’s most emblematic landmark is undoubtedly the Kasbah de Taourirt, which you’ll also find on the 50 dirham bill. It overlooks Ouarzazate’s medina or city center. More than 4 centuries old, it looks to me like a sand castle in the middle of the desert and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
When you see the photos of this place, you’ll certainly have the impression of having seen it before, even if you’ve never been to Morocco. That’s only natural! Ouarzazate is an emblematic location for French and international cinema. In particular, it was the location for the filming of Asterix and Obelix: Mission Cleopatra and Gladiator starring Russell Crowe.
Where to stay in Ouarzazate?
If you’re fascinated by the city’s cultural wealth and want to spend more time visiting it, I’d recommend spending a night in Ouarzazate, and why not at one of the addresses I’m about to suggest
Let’s start with the Kasbah Dar Daif to spend a night as close as possible to Moroccan culture, in a typically Moroccan building. From the fully-equipped, modern rooms, you’ll enjoy breathtaking views of the Atlas Mountains. An overnight stay costs around €80 and includes breakfast.
Riad Chay & Boutique is another way to enjoy a traditional night in Ouarzazate. Here, too, you can enjoy an exceptional view of the Atlas Mountains from the rooftop terrace. Spend a dreamy night from €90, breakfast included.
The Drâa Valley
Here’s another new valley, the Drâa Valley, which stretches for over 200 km. In this valley, you’ll find numerous Berber villages, including Agdz, Timidert, Tamnougalt, and Tinzouline. If there’s one village I’d take the time to visit, I’d choose Agdz, for its famous Kasbah du Caïd Ali. But that’s not all: the Drâa Valley is also famous for its palm groves, fed by the Oued Drâa, Morocco’s largest river.
Top 25 must-see places in Morocco: Not far from Ouarzazate (approx. 30 km away) and the Drâa Valley is Aït-Ben-Haddou. This typically Maghrebian village is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the country’s best-preserved ksars. It offers visitors an unforgettable experience between the defensive walls and the terracotta and ochre-colored earthen dwellings.
Aït-Ben-Haddou is over 180 km from Marrakech, but it is still possible to take part in an excursion to Aït-Ben-Haddou from Marrakech. On site, you’ll have lunch and make several stops along the way at various Moroccan landmarks. The cost is €25 per person.
The Tizi n’Test route
Top 25 must-see places in Morocco: During your journey in and around the Atlas Mountains, you’re sure to take the Tizi n’Test road. This 180 km-long mountain road links Marrakech and the N10 and will take you to the next emblematic “must-do” places in Morocco: Taroudant.
The scenery along the way is extremely varied. From the Sahara desert to the Atlas mountains, from the Kik plateau to the N’Fis gorges.
The route is accessible with any rental vehicle, car, or 4×4. Even the tour buses, if you decide to take part in some of the excursions I’ve described, use this route. If you’re driving, I’d advise you to take care on the road and not to overtake dangerously. For the more courageous, this road is of course the subject of numerous hikes.
What to do in Morocco? Visit Taroudant, of course!
Top 25 must-see places in Morocco: A new valley, a new town, very charming and authentic, and in my opinion a must-see: Taroudant in the Souss Valley. A little point of culture for Taroudant: it’s one of the oldest towns in Morocco.
The town and medina are protected by ochre-colored ramparts. These ramparts can be crossed via 9 gates, including the oldest, Bab El Kasbah. Taroudant is often referred to as Little Marrakech, as its city center is very similar to the cosmopolitan city a little further north. Here you’ll find souks selling spices and handicrafts, the 2-star products being argan oil and saffron, the red gold. I won’t tell you more, but invite you to take a look around and discover other local products.
Around the ramparts, you can also stroll through gardens and an impressive oasis of greenery: the Tiout palm grove, perfect for breathing in the fresh early evening air in midsummer. If you’re afraid of getting lost in the palm grove and need a guide to visit the medina, I recommend this day trip to Taroudant and Tiout, including lunch, for €55 per person.
Where to stay in Taroudant?
As with all of Morocco’s must-see cities, here are 2 great places to stay if you decide to extend your stay in Taroudant
Riad Tafilag in Taroudant is a traditional establishment halfway between the ramparts and the medina, providing the perfect balance for your stay. It’s also close to Place Assarag and Place Talmoklate. Enjoy a double room with an outdoor pool from €60 per night.
The Palais Villa Talaa Resort is without a doubt my favorite in Taroudant. Breakfast is included in the room rate, the decor is modern and luxurious, and the hotel has a swimming pool and bike rental service. In short, everything is perfect for an exceptional stay at a price of €90 per night.
Top 25 must-see places in Morocco: Tafraoute (also spelled Tafarout) is the next town where I recommend spending a few hours or days. The culinary specialty par excellence? Tajine with prunes and almonds is a real delight believe me
Another special feature of the town: it’s perched on the Anti-Atlas and overlooks a palm grove of almond, olive, and palm trees, of course. If you’re looking to see these trees in bloom, you’ll need to travel to Morocco between December and February.
Like most Moroccan towns, you’ll find a strong Berber influence in the architecture of the buildings. The town is well worth a visit, but above all, it’s a starting point for discovering other natural sites and small villages such as Oumesnat and Agard-Oudad.
After this detour into the Atlas Mountains and surrounding valleys, I’d like to take you into idleness mode, because yes, it is possible to swim in the ocean in Morocco! You’ll see later that there are a few seaside resorts a little further northwest, but I wanted to focus on Legzira beach, a few kilometers from Sidi Ifni.
What makes it particularly beautiful is its wild side. Legzira Beach is also famous for its rocks, one of which forms an arch that’s a must-see. It’s also a landmark for surfers.
Paradise Valley is the last thing you’ll see on your way into Agadir from the north. It’s aptly named, as it’s a veritable haven of peace, a lush oasis of waterfalls, natural turquoise pools, and streams flowing from the Tamraght River. The flora of Paradise Valley is equally ubiquitous and highly diverse.
Top 25 must-see places in Morocco: Agadir is a Moroccan seaside resort on the Atlantic coast. Its nickname is none other than the White City. The town is in the midst of a tourist boom, with more and more hotels being built along the 8 km of beach. As you can see, tourism is the main activity in Agadir, but thanks to its port, the largest in the country, Agadir also benefits from international trade.
A number of excursions from Agadir will take you to Paradise Valley, which I mentioned a moment ago. And, in the city itself, I invite you to visit the El Had souk, where you’ll find local crafts and products such as argan oil. For families visiting Agadir with their children, take a detour to the Agadir Crocoparc, or simply spend a lazy day on Agadir’s beaches.