Morocco’s strength lies in its integral position for trade with the rest of Africa, as such, the country has seen many influences infused with its own Berber traditions. From French to Spanish and others in between, each of Morocco’s cities – whether they be cosmopolitan metropolises or traditional medieval towns.
Full of color, warmth and charm, Morocco overflows with beauty, from the dramatic Atlas Mountains stretching throughout the country, to the sparkling azure sea contrasting with the yellows and golds of the desert sands. The country is also home to uncountable beautiful towns, each adding to Morocco’s unique landscape and culture.
Here is our pick of the best cities in Morocco to help you to plan your next trip.
8 . OUARZAZATE :
Ouarzazate may look familiar to many, having featured in numerous Hollywood films such as Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Gladiator (2000) and The Mummy (1999). It’s not hard to see why. The town and its surroundings are incredibly scenic, sprawling over a dramatic natural plateau, and bordered by the Atlas Mountains and the desert. The town itself is notable for its numerous examples of beautiful Berber kasbahs, including the Ait Benhaddou, Atlas Studios, where Morocco is transformed into a mini-Egypt with the sets and props from many of the area’s most famous films.
7 . ESSAOUIRA :
Situated on the west coast of Morocco, along the dazzling sea and soft sandy beaches, Essaouira is one of Morocco’s best kept secrets, largely warding off crowds of sun-seeking tourists due to its windy conditions. Aside from the stunning natural beauty which surrounds the town, Essaouira itself is notable for striking buildings, charming souks and a bustling harbor, filled with colorful boats. From the harbor rise the city walls, drawing around colorful market places, white-washed houses, and winding alleyways. The city walls also boast a beautiful view of the surroundings, from the clustered buildings of the town to the Iles Purpuraires in the distance.
6 . TANGER :
Tangier is the gateway to Africa for those traveling by sea from southern Europe. While the city doesn’t have quite the charm it did in the 1940s and 1950s when you could rub shoulders with the likes of Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams, there’s still a lot to see. Highlights include the medina, the Kasbah Museum and the French-inspired Ville Nouvelle. The harbor also offers interesting views of the Strait of Gibraltar and distant Spain, while a short drive away from the city center reveals some pretty beaches.
5 . CHEFCHAOUEN :
Nestled amidst the scenic peaks of the Rif Mountains, Chefchaouen is a small town in a big landscape. It is a center for creativity, attracting painters and photographers with its clear light, serene blue-painted houses (and its reputation as the cannabis capital of Morocco). Browse local arts and crafts in the quaint shops of the medina, enjoy a drink amidst the architecture of Uta el-Hammam square or sample fine Moroccan cuisine at a riad restaurant. The surrounding countryside is full of beautiful hiking trails.
4 . IFRANE :
Ifrane is one of Morocco’s most surprising cities, resembling a Swiss mountain village more than it does its own country’s desert villages and Moorish architecture. The town’s modern aesthetic is largely due to French colonial settlers, who built the town as a place to escape to during the hot summer months, Ifrane being located high in the Atlas Mountains with snowfalls during the winter. As well as charming clusters of European-inspired chalets, the town is striking for its large numbers of gardens and parks, creating an oasis of lushness and tranquility within the hustle and bustle of Moroccan life.
3 . TETOUAN :
In the north of the country, the little city of Tetouan – which translates as ‘the water springs’ – sits strikingly at the foot of the Rif Mountains. The city is an important port on the Mediterranean sea and was once the capital of Spanish Morocco.
Its streets are filled with square, white-washed, Spanish-style buildings and wide boulevards – make sure to visit the city’s wonderful medina and feel like you have stepped back in time.
2 . CASABLANCA :
Everyone knows the city of Casablanca as the colonial setting of the 1942 romantic film, but the city of today doesn’t quite reflect that dreamy, enchanting feeling. Instead, modern-day Casablanca is a trading powerhouse – the importance of the port city means it is Morocco’s economic hub.
1 . MARRAKECH :
One of Morocco’s most popular cities, Marrakech has become an unmissable destination in recent years for those wishing to experience the beauty of Moroccan history and culture. The old city is famed for its abundant markets, with a maze of alleys and souks revealing new treasures at every turn, including aromatic spices, colorful textiles, sparkling lamps, and jewelry. The surrounding landscape around the city is equally breathtaking, as the shifting sands of the desert spread out from the town, meeting the snow-capped Atlas Mountains in the distance.