The Best Morocco Experiences
Morocco is one of the most magical places in the world. From the traditional riads that take you back in time, to the intricate carpets hanging in every market. From the multi-coloured madness exploding in the tanneries of Fes to those forgotten villages hidden in the Atlas Mountains, everything about Morocco is captivating. Wherever you go in this world of frenzied hawkers, exotic snake charmers and smiling Berbers, you’ll find yourself being taken by surprise. And whether you find the pace exciting or a little bit overwhelming at times, we can all agree one thing: there’s no place like Morocco.
Check out some of our favourite experiences below
STAY IN A TRADITIONAL MOROCCAN RIAD
Traditional riads are like a gateway into medieval Morocco and staying in one can be a truly fantastic experience. Defined by their traditional architecture, their ornate interiors and lavish application of mosaic, and their incredible courtyard gardens, a luxury riad stopover is a bucket list must. Luxury seekers won’t want to miss this.
EAT SNAILS ON THE CHEAP
Snails have long been a luxurious French delicacy but in Morocco, you can get this tasty snack at a fraction of the price. For a few dirhams, you can have a piping hot bowl of snail soup – a popular local delicacy.
RIDE A CAMEL
It’s almost an obligatory activity in Morocco, not only because it’s such a fun way to get around and explore your surroundings, but also because these animals are such treasured creatures here. The story of man and camel in the Sahara goes back thousands of years, and camels have long been a symbol of wealth for rural Moroccan families. Camel ride prices start from around 300 dirhams for 30 minutes.
VISIT THE MUSEE DU PATRIMOINE AMAZIGH D’AGADIR
Amazigh is the correct name for the Berbers and this hidden gem in Agadir is a must if you want to learn more about Berber history. The Musee du Patrimoine Amazigh d’Agadir is one of the few museums dedicated to Berber artefacts and it opens between 9:30am and 5:30pm Monday to Saturday.
VISIT THE TANNERIES IN FES
If you don’t mind the smell, head to the tanneries in Fes. Leather making is a big industry in Morocco and tanneries open up their premises to the public so that people can get a glimpse into the world behind dyeing and treating leather. Images of the tanneries have made countless travel books, magazine features and coffee table hardbacks, so it’s one of the iconic tourist attractions on your Morocco holiday not to be missed.
VISIT THE SAADIAN TOMBS
The Saadian Tombs in Marrakech date back to the time of the Saadi Dynasty during the 1500s and early 1600s. They were discovered in 1917 and were later restored, and now the tombs are open daily to visitors from 9am to 4:45pm. Sultan Ahmed al-Mansour ed-Dahbi spared no expense on his tomb and this can be seen from the tomb’s incredible and intricately-designed interiors.
CAMP IN THE SAHARA DESERT
Take a tour of the Moroccan sand dunes and then camp under the stars at one of the Berber style campsites. This is a great thing to do with the kids! Luxury camps offer private family tents and have great bathroom facilities plus there will be plenty of activities including guided walks, cooking classes and stargazing.
STAY IN A TRADITIONAL BERBER LODGE
There are a number of hotels in the Atlas Mountains but we definitely recommend staying overnight in a traditional Berber lodge for the full Berber experience – the more rustic the better! Berber hospitality is second to none, so you’ll find the Berber community most welcoming.
FIND SECRET RESTAURANTS IN THE BACK STREETS OF FES
Unlike Marrakech, Fes’ restaurants are hidden, which if you ask us, is all a part of the charm. Many are tucked away in the backstreets of the city and if you book a table, set off in good time in case you find yourself lost in the labyrinth of winding roads and walkways.
CHECK OUT THE ARCHITECTURE IN CASABLANCA
If you love colonial architecture and European art deco, be sure to come to the elegant port city of Casablanca and don’t miss the Casablanca Cathedral, the Hassan II Mosque and the Maârif arrondissement.
SUNBATHE IN AGADIR
Agadir has some of the best beaches in Morocco and if you’re travelling with kids, this resort is a great place to come. Whilst most of the beaches are public, some beachfront hotels offer a private beach area which is ideal for sunbathing. The sea is warm and this is very much a family friendly holiday spot.
NIBBLE ON CRUMBED LIVER
Moroccans are big believers in nose-to-tail eating. Absolutely nothing is wasted when it comes to meat and one of the many delicacies you can try is the street-eat of crumbed liver, a fried liver snack. If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, you can sample cow’s udders, tongue or tripe.
EAT A TAGINE
Known for its complex yet mild flavours and unique preparation/cooking style, the national dish of tagine is not to be missed. Although packed with fragrance and warming aromas, this dish is not spicy so it’s suitable for kids too.
BUY FRESH OLIVES FROM THE MARKET
Eat and shop like a local. Moroccans love to snack on fresh olives and you’ll see so many varieties in the souks including pink olives, green olives, black olives and purple olives.
CHECK OUT THE MUSÉE TISKIWIN
For Moroccan art and locally-made crafts such as baskets, jewellery and accessories or carpets, head over to the Musée Tiskiwin on Rue de la Bahia in Marrakech. The house was owned by Dutch anthropologist, Bert Flint, who collected North African art from the Sahara Desert, different areas of Morocco, Mali and beyond.
DINE ON A ROOFTOP IN MARRAKECH
Rooftop dining is the best way to experience Marrakech at night. When you’ve been battling large crowds in the bazaars and busy squares, there’s nothing more rewarding than a luxury feast and an ice cold drink on a rooftop restaurant such as Le Foundouk or Terrasse des Epices.
SHOP FOR SOUVENIRS
Before you finish your tour of Morocco, make sure you’ve dedicated a little time to shopping for souvenirs. Some great things you’ll be able to find include leather goods, inlaid wooden boxes and trinkets, hand-crafted jewellery and Moroccan lanterns.
GO INSIDE EL BADI PALACE
El Badi Palace is a ruined palace in Marrakech, dating back to the 1500s and took five years to build. It was commissioned by the Arab Saadian sultan Ahmad al-Mansur. It opens from 8 am to 5 pm daily and guests can walk around inside.
GET A HENNA TATTOO
Henna tattoos are a safe and painless way of inking the skin, and skilled henna artists usually line the streets of tourist areas offering both traditional and modern designs. Henna lasts for up to three weeks on the skin and it makes a fantastic semi-permanent souvenir.
TAKE A DAY TRIP TO THE ATLAS MOUNTAINS
Day trips to the Atlas Mountains are great for getting out of the city. Day tours leave from central Marrakech and you will enter a whole new world as you start to climb up and up and the scenery changes from the desert of the Agafay to the juniper-encrusted slopes of the high mountains.
HAGGLE IN THE MARRAKECH SOUK
No trip to Morocco is complete without some good old-fashioned haggling. The famous souks of Marrakech are the perfect shopping spots to put your bartering skills to the test. Moroccans can hold their own when it comes to negotiation, so be ready to put up a fight! And remember, if someone says you haggle like a Berber, that’s a compliment.
TREK TO THE PEAK OF JEBEL TOUBKAL
Toubkal is the highest peak in North Africa and it stands at 4,167 metres. An ascent to the top is a strenuous uphill climb and in winter you will need crampons and ice axes (available to hire). This is a real challenge but well within your grasp if you are reasonably fit. Set off is at around 4.30 am so you can watch dawn break over the mountains
VISIT THE MUSEUM OF PHOTOGRAPHY AND VISUAL ARTS
Marrakech has a thriving art scene with the Biennale attracting international artists. The Museum of Photography and Visual Arts is one of the galleries at the heart of it. There are usually a couple of exhibitions on at any one time so it’s definitely worth a visit whilst you’re here.
SEE JEMAA EL-FNAA BY DAY
Marrakech’s main square is a sensation and it acts as a meeting point, a cultural hub, and the heart and soul of the city. Come here in the day and be confronted by the snake charmers, “lucky lucky” men, orange juice vendors and hassling hawkers.
GO SHOPPING FOR LEATHER
Morocco is famed for its amazing leather and you can get awesome leather goods such as handbags and purses, leather belts and leather moccasins/slippers at very affordable prices. Leather goods are handcrafted and totally unique – never factory made!
WATCH A BELLY DANCING SHOW
Marrakech socialites will probably tell you that the era of belly dancers in restaurants is “so over”. But they would be wrong. There are lots or places that feature belly dancers, entertainers and live music over dinner.
GET A SCRUB DOWN AT A TRADITIONAL HAMMAM
Getting a body scrub and massage in a traditional Hammam spa is an interesting experience. You’ll feel totally refreshed and invigorated afterwards and your skin will be as soft as the proverbial baby’s bottom.
DRINK MOROCCAN MINT TEA
Mint tea is the drink of choice here. It is a green tea prepared with mint leaves and sugar. The pouring of the tea is done from a height of at least 12 inches – this is done to create a foam. If there is no foam when you pour, it means that the tea is not ready and should be poured back into the teapot to steep a little longer.
DRINK A FLAG BEER
You’ve not experienced Morocco until you’ve had an ice cold Flag beer. Another regional beer to try is Casa Beer which is the official beer of Casablanca.
ATTEND THE TIMITAR MUSIC FESTIVAL
If you love music, be sure to check out the Timitar Festival which takes place every year. More than 500,000 people attend to see the 40+ artists perform on stage and the music ranges from Amazigh traditional music and music from the Maghreb to modern day rap, jazz and hip hop.
GO TO THE KASBAH OF THE UDAYAS
One of Rabat’s top tourist sights, the Kasbah of the Udayas is well worth a visit if you’re interested in World Heritage Sites and history. This old Islamic city dates back to the Almohads and visitors will feel like they’ve travelled back in time as they walk around inside the city walls.
RAFT DOWN THE AHANSEL RIVER
In search of an extreme adventure? River rafting down the Ahansel River is made for adrenaline junkies. The continuous white water varies from steep rapids to big wave trains – perfect if you’re looking for a physical challenge.
GO CYCLING IN SOUSS-MASSA NATIONAL PARK
Souss-Massa National Park sits along the Atlantic coast of Morocco and the best way to explore it is on two wheels if you ask us! You can hire a bike from various rental shops in nearby Agadir or you can book to go cycling with a guided group.
HAVE BESSARA FOR BREAKFAST
Skip the toast and pancakes and opt for a traditional Berber brekkie. Bessara is a hearty bean soup which will keep you fuelled up until lunchtime. The perfect breakfast food if you’re setting off to climb the Atlas Mountains.
SEE JEMAA EL-FNAA BY NIGHT
By night, you’ll get to see a complete flipside to Jemaa el Fna square. Hawkers and snake charmers disappear as the square fills with back to back stalls selling tasty street food. As soon as the sun goes down and the daytime heat disperses, the locals all come out to meet with friends and family and this is when you’ll see the square at its liveliest.
TAKE 5 IN THE MAJORELLE GARDENS
Need to get away from the hustle and bustle of Jemaa el Fna? Take five minutes to chill out in the stunning Majorelle Gardens on Rue Yves St Laurent. This 12-acre botanical site was designed by Jacques Majorelle in the 1920s and it offers a peaceful retreat away from the crowded streets.