The Epic Hot List: The Must-Do Experiences in Morocco in 2024

From the highest mountains to ancient medinas, there’s more to Morocco than meets the eye. Those curious enough to peel back the layers and lean into a slower mode of travel will reap the rewards of the country’s rich culture, unique experiences, and feel more alive than ever. 

Whether you find yourself on top of the big dunes of the Sahara or enjoying fresh seafood at a local surf spot, there are many ways to experience the Moroccan vibe, with new places to explore each time you travel. Here’s our pick of the hottest Moroccan destinations and ways to travel in Morocco in 2024.

Tangier’s transformation

At the northern tip of Morocco, just 14 kilometres (8.5 miles) separate Europe and Africa. It’s here between two seas that the eclectic port city of Tangier lies with all its different influences and stories. In the mid-20th century this northern Moroccan city was a laid-back, liberal artist hangout attracting the likes of Matisse, Tennesse Williams and The Rolling Stones before fading into the background.

While many travellers are drawn to the grander imperial cities, like Marrakech and Fez, Tangier is rapidly expanding and changing, shaking off its somewhat gritty past and offering a gentler entrance to life in Morocco. Tangier today is a city of opportunity, and its growth is turning Tangier from an“ugly” port to an elegant city. While the centre of Fez might feel chaotic and crazy, Tangier is calm, has become more cosmopolitan and is full of curiosities, like an art deco cinema, hip record shop, destination coffee shops, and cocktail bars (of all things)!

In 2024 we expect Morocco’s “Northern Stars” to fall onto the radar of those in the know. Travellers will opt for a loop across the north of the country, starting in Casablanca, journeying to Fez, into the Rif Mountains to Chefchaouen and Akchour, to the lesser-known coast where Tetouan lies, then into buzzing Tangier.

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Off-beat coastal destinations

While seaside Essaouira will always have a place in our hearts, in 2024 we’re looking to more off-beat coastal destinations in Morocco. For a peaceful vacation immersed in nature, try lesser-known coastal spots like Oualidia, Morocco’s petite oyster capital that combines coastal charm and delicious culinary experiences. This fishing village is set in a stunning natural location, where the Atlantic Ocean meets a calm lagoon. Here you can spend days beneath the Moroccan sun lost in a good book while watching fishermen move about the bay. 

Or much further north, look to Larache, a small and relaxed 17th-century Spanish-built city, and the quiet coastal medina of Asilah. Both spring to life in summer when Moroccan tourists descend on the beaches. You’ll be one of few international visitors, so come expecting local flavours, peace, and quiet. Best of all, for a more exclusive stay, eco-luxe La Fiermontina has its own private beach.

Read next: The Epic Hot List: The Must-Do Experiences in Portugal in 2024 

Give value to Morocco’s artisans in 2024

Are Morocco’s ancient trades dying out? This is a country full of artists, makers of the famed carpets and tapestries, leather tanners, families of potters… you name it and they do it in Morocco. But when speaking to local artists and artisans, some of Team Epic noticed a trending concern: will the younger generations continue the family trade?

Sustainable travel is about supporting local communities. Through the art of travel we can prove that artisans have value. What can be done while the country lives and breathes handicrafts? You can join a workshop or experience – from drum making to tile painting, leather binding to Islamic design principles, and meet and learn from master craftspeople, taking home an authentic souvenir. Better yet, become an immersive “artisan in residence” and absorb these ancient trades yourself. 

Alternative routes to the Sahara 

Like a sea of golden sand, Erg Chigaga emerges on the horizon with its undulating waves painted with hues that shift from burnished orange to deep ochre as the sun dances across the horizon. Stand at the edge and imagine the ancient caravans, merchants and nomads who once crossed this arid, harsh terrain. Camel caravans were used for trade across North Africa as far back as the third century, and the spirit of adventure and cultural exchange still drives modern-day adventurers to follow in the footsteps of the old routes. 

Those wishing to connect with the Sahara Desert once had to roam slowly, like those that came before them, but this year a new Ryanair internal connection, flying from Marrakech to Errachidia slices a nine-hour drive to the desert down to a short hop. This makes the endless Saharan dunes, especially the more accessible Erg Chebbi, closer than ever. 

If you’re short on time, Erg Chebbi is the perfect taste of the Sahara. But those with more time and a hunger for adventure should seek out the Erg Chigaga dunes close to M’hamid.

The Atlas Mountains are open

In September 2023 images of Morocco were splashed across the globe when a terrible earthquake struck the Atlas Mountains. But what’s it like there right now? We have boots on the ground actively supporting the local communities, visiting the areas affected to see what is needed and what is possible. 

The good news is that travelling in the Atlas Mountains is not only possible, but encouraged, and your visit can directly support local communities. You can still explore the hiking base of Imlil on a day trip from Marrakech, or go deeper to Ourika and Ouirgane, which are also great for hiking and offer both local and luxury stays, such as the stunning Olinto mountain resort

If you really want to escape from it all, venture out to Aït Bougemez or ‘Happy Valley’, a very authentic retreat from the demands of modern living. Those who choose to travel with Epic can feel good knowing we have staff in the Atlas actively helping, and we can build in-community support and give back opportunities to your 2024 Morocco trip.

Read next: Beyond the earthquake – Morocco awaits

A taste of North Africa’s vineyards

Whilst wines and vines would not jump to mind at first, Morocco has actually been a land of winemaking for centuries, stretching back to when the Phoenicians first planted vines on these lands. It was in the first half of the 20th century, during French colonial rule, that the country’s wine industry took off. After independence in 1956, many vineyards were abandoned or plowed over, according to Wine Mag.

In the ‘90s, King Hassan II helped revive the industry and Morocco now has one of the largest wine industries in Africa – producing around 40 million bottles a year. With vineyards at the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, or by the cool ocean, Morocco is actually a brilliant winemaking destination with seven distinct regions to explore.   

If you’re a wine lover, Morocco is calling in 2024. Stay at local vineyards where you’ll enjoy exclusive tastings, luxurious accommodations, and join special food tours or cooking classes. Near Essaouira, Domaine du Val d’Argan is a favourite of ours. Another one we love is Château Roslane, a beautiful estate with Spanish-Moorish architecture.

Seeking tranquillity beyond Marrakech

Marrakech is one of Morocco’s most vibrant destinations, but there’s no denying that one day can feel like three in the buzzing, chaotic center. Escape the city for verdant oases that lie just beyond the outer neighbourhoods. While Marrakech hides plenty of secret gardens within its walls, it’s beyond the urban clamor that these green sanctuaries come into their own. 

A favourite is ANIMA Gardens, a two-hectare botanical wonderland. Designed by Austrian artist André Heller, this creative outdoor oasis and gallery is a haven of tranquillity, contemplation, joy, sensuality and inspiration. Wander down winding pathways past vibrant flora and monumental sculptures. Within you’ll find works by Pablo Picasso, Keith Haring, Alexander Calder, Auguste Rodin and more. Another is the cacti gardens of Cactus Thiemann, another garden less visited than the infamous and overpopulated Jardins Majorelle.

Will you explore Morocco in 2024? If the North African country is top of your list, reach out to Epic and we’ll create and curate your dream trip.

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