Dreaming of camel treks and camping under a million stars in the Sahara? Book a night or two in the Berber tented bivouacs in the desert. Historic and architectural itineraries may be centered on ancient Kasbahs (fortified towns) in the south or the elaborate monuments, mosques and madrasas (Koranic schools) in the kingdom’s royal cities. Sports such as horseback riding, golf, climbing, hiking and windsurfing are other options.
There are many exciting destinations to visit in Morocco. Here are the highlights:
Casablanca, the international port, is most likely where your plane will land. It is the business capital of Morocco. Hard to believe just over a century ago it was a small fishing port. Now it's the country's largest city. Try to visit the famed Art Deco quarter, built by the French. The exquisite Hassan !! Mosque was completed in1999 and is breathtaking on its seaside location. (FYI the movie, Casablanca, never left Burbank, CA!)
Rabat is the country's capital, seat of the kingdom. It is the most cosmopolitan of the royal cities due to the many embassies located here. Archeological findings have been traced the 4th Century BC. Do not miss the vast Roman Chellah Necropolis with its beautiful garden setting, The Kasbah of the Udayas, the Tour Hassan and the architectural gem of Mohammed V's Mausoleum completed in 1971.
Marrakech The center of Morocco's South, Marrakech was founded in the 12th century. This rose-colored city sits on a plain with a gorgeous backdrop of the snow-covered High Atlas Mountains to the south. A cosmopolitan city, there are designer enclaves within the city and resorts and estates outside in the Palmarie. Marrakech has experienced explosive growth in recent years. Do not miss famed Majorelle Gardens and the vast and frenetic J'maa el-Fna, the largest square in Africa. A shopper's paradise exists in the vast souks.
There are many delightful places to stay by the sea, from tiny villages to large international cities where cruise ships call. Casablanca, Rabat, Safi and Agadir are all on the Atlantic coast, while Tangier sits on the confluence of the Atlantic with the Mediterranean.
My favorite Atlantic seaside destination is Essaouira, also known as Mogador, where I lived from 2014 to 2017. The seaside ramparts were built by the Portuguese in the 17th century. Essaouira is also the center of Argan oil production. This fishing port is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is due west from Marrakech, three hours away. This small city is perfect to shop for Moroccan souvenirs.
This charming small town nestled in the Anti-Atlas Mountains is compared to Arizona's Sedona, with its unique rock formations and uniquely-colored houses. Try to visit on Wednesdays when the weekly market is held. This is a destination that takes you far off the beaten path in the country's deep south. If you have time, Tafraoute is one of my favorite towns, not only because they make the most incredible shoes in the kingdom!
Only a few miles from Europe, this sparkling white city is located on a bluff overlooking the azure Mediterranean. An International Zone from 1923 to 1952, Tangier was a magnet for many artists and Beat Poets, including Paul Bowles and Alan Ginsburg. Many visitors experience Morocco the first time via a ferry from Spain. It is a booming city, but still has many historic attractions.
Sand dunes, camels, oases, caravan routes ~ the Sahara is vast and mysterious. Spending a night or two camping in a Berber bivouac is unlike any camping you have previously experienced. Our camps are comfortable, clean and the meals and other amenities are first rate. Please keep in mind, the desert is distant from major cities in Morocco, so getting to and from the Sahara takes a couple of extra days in your itinerary.
The most ancient of Morocco's royal cities, Fes was founded in the ninth century. Home of the world's oldest university, its medina (old city) with its maze-like lanes is the most populated in the kingdom, with over 200,000 living in a 1.2 square mile area. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1981.