The Kingdom of Morocco is one of the most unique places in the world. The culture is Arabian, yet the location is African, and if a visitor looks closely, they will also see the faintest hints of European thrown into the mix. All three facets of this beautiful country refract and blend in the most hypnotizing way.
Travelers looking for things to do in Morocco will find both a literal and figurative feast for the senses when experiencing this place. The country is easy enough to access from Spain, via the Straight of Gibraltar, with a comfortable 90-day visitor’s policy for United States citizens*. For visitors from the Western Hemisphere, it is an appealing way to appreciate another way of life without the hassle of twenty-four hours of travel time.
There are many wonderful things to do in Morocco. Adventurers will find plenty to explore, the Gastronomists will be satiated, Historians will be fascinated, and the Wanderer will never want to leave. Whether the destination is Casablanca, Tangier, Chefchaouen, or Marrakech, a treasure trove of once in a lifetime experiences await the willing traveler.
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Finding things to do in Morocco is more about experiencing the country and less about checking off a list.
Morocco is best observed throughout the day in and day out of street food and talking with the locals. This subtle shift away from bucket lists and tossing coins into iconic fountains makes all the difference when planning a trip to this country.
Top 5 Things to do in Morocco
1. Explore the City
The old cities of Morocco are teeming with history, culture, stories, and architecture. Exploring these cities is a great way to appreciate the local environments. Unless the traveler has enough savvy and a grasp of the Arabic language, it is a good idea to hire a guide to help navigate and to fully appreciate the city.
The architecture of common buildings looks like something out of a movie set. There are high archways that curve and peak in beautiful designs and intricately patterned reliefs at every turn. Iconic blue doors line the streets making any photographer’s dream come true.
While walking around any major city in Morocco, visitors are sure to stumble upon an old citadel, or “Kasbah”, from days long ago. Touring these fortresses of old is an experience that will not be soon forgotten.
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2. Observe Another Way of Life
Beyond the feast for the eyes that Morocco offers to tourists, it is important to take time to observe another way of life. Morocco lacks that arresting culture shock that some foreign countries have. The people are kind, welcoming, and proud of their heritage.
While the country has a vastly different way of life than most Westerners are accustomed to, yet with subtle European influences, it is not difficult to relate and understand the local customs.
Much like visiting a city such as Paris, wondering at the wonder and beauty of a country like Morocco is an engaging activity in and of itself.
3. Sample the Local Food
Naturally, one of the best ways to experience any new culture is through the local food. Thankfully, Morocco is a wonderful place to enjoy the finest parts of Mediterranean and North African cuisine.
The pride and joy of Moroccan food is known as “tagine”. A stew of spices, chicken, and vegetables all cooked in an iconic pyramid-shaped earthenware over an open fire. Visitors are often asked if they tried the tagine while visiting Morocco; it is best to not disappoint and enjoy this unique dish.
Olives are another mainstay of the local cuisine. The olives in Morocco are a far cry from the tinned ones lining the grocery store aisles “back home”. They come in a variety of colors, flavors, and textures. Delicately salted and seasoned, there will be no going back to the normal olives after trying these. Also, what trip to Morocco would be complete without trying couscous topped with a wood-fired kebab?
Of course, experiencing the local food will be amazing, however, be sure to use common sense when it comes to sampling the food of an unfamiliar country. Make sure the food is hygienically prepared, thoroughly cooked, and comes from a reputable vendor. While Morocco is a wonderful place to experience delicious food, it is important to be smart about what is consumed.
4. Take a Camel Ride
Another epic activity to take part in when visiting Morocco is to embark on a camel ride. Nothing evokes feelings of Arabian Nights quite like riding a camel across the Sahara Desert. This is an ancient mode of transportation, still used by some people groups, and is widely available to tourists today. There are many options for visitors to choose from when it comes to picking the perfect camel-centric excursion.
Local tour guides offer all-inclusive, multi-day treks connecting cities to remote campsites and back again. Be sure to thoroughly check all reviews and do some research to verify the validity of any tour company before booking. If a lengthy trip from Fes to Marrakech is not going to work with a limited itinerary, then consider a quick day ride along the coast. There are plenty of options available that are well worth the time and money. The views will be nothing short of spectacular and the mode of transportation will, of course, be unforgettable.
5. Shop the Markets
What kind of trip abroad would be complete without buying a few souvenirs? Shopping takes on a whole new persona in Morocco. Say goodbye to the typical obligatory souvenir shopping experiences of previous trips with tidy trinket shops and 2-for-1 t-shirt deals. From open-air markets to shops lining tiny alleyways to street hawkers, there is certainly plenty to see and buy in Morocco.
Interestingly, most visitors will be surprised to know that often there aren’t set prices. Bargaining and haggling is king in the mercantile arena. However, do not be shy about negotiating a price. Everyone does it. To assume prices are set is to be the rude one. Also, be sure to bring plenty of cash as credit card machines are not as ubiquitous as one might assume in this day and age.
Most shops in Morocco are dedicated to one particular craft. There will be a place to buy the iconic glass and metallic lamps, and another to purchase some famous Moroccan spices. “One-stop-shopping” is not a common thing in Morocco. Local shop keepers pride themselves in their artisanal selection of goods. So, take time to look at and appreciate the craftsmanship of each item. Spice and food markets are a wonderfully immersive activity that every traveler should experience.
The local shops in Morocco sell beautiful and unique products from hand-carved figurines to iconic pottery. In this era of automation and mass production, it is nice to see that there are still handmade artisanal products available for purchase without paying a King’s ransom. Get out of the old comfort zone and browse the stalls and enjoy the ride of shopping the local markets, with the bonus of having some epic mementos to bring home.
There is something about Morocco that appears foreign but feels familiar. The country possesses an exotic atmosphere that is truly unforgettable, and yet the lack of pretense from the locals makes a visitor feel well at home.
There are plenty of things to do in Morocco, but the most important thing is to go. To go and experience.
There is no need for luxurious spa treatments or days spent in an air-conditioned museum, no, Morocco is a place to take the time and experience everything with every fiber of one’s being. It is the place that hums with ancient stories scattered throughout the old citadels and sand dunes. Visiting Morocco will slay a visitor’s sense of time and wonder.
It’s a worthwhile place to visit that will capture the traveler’s heart. Not through tropical luxury or high-street shopping, but rather through a steamy bowl of tagine and the rhythmic sway of a camel pacing across the sand.
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*Source: The Moroccan Consulate’s Website