Where to Go in Morocco Beyond Marrakech

Snowcapped mountains, colorful buildings, and endless desert -- these are a few of the things you might see while driving through Morocco. The north African country offers the perfect combination of Africa and Europe -- both French and Arabic are widely spoken languages and dining on crepes is just as popular as noshing on couscous or tagine. But a word of advice: while most travelers are drawn to visiting Marrakech during their trip to Morocco (and understandably so!), there are plenty of other places to add to your bucket list, too. Ahead, we compiled eight Moroccan destinations worth checking out plus a corresponding riad (a traditional Moroccan house with an interior courtyard) or hotel.

Chefchaouen

Known as The Blue Pearl, the mesmerizing city of Chefchaouen feels like a dream world. The majority of the city is painted a vivid blue hue -- a tradition that was initially brought over by the Jewish Spaniards who settled in the area during the 15th century. The color is said to have been chosen because it mirrors the sky and represents God. And in case you're wondering, Chefchaouen, which translates to horns, was named after the two mountains that tower above the city and are reminiscent of a goat's pair. While here, visit the picturesque medina, hike the nearby mountains, or pamper yourself at a hammam.

Where to Stay:

Akchour

Photo courtesy of Flickr/travelwayoflife

Photo courtesy of Flickr/travelwayoflife

Located a 45-minute drive from Chefchaouen, Akchour is a popular destination among locals and tourists, thanks to its stunning waterfalls, pristine pools, and God's Bridge, a scenic natural rock bridge. Cool off in the water after making the two-hour hike to the bridge or brave the more difficult trek up to the Grande Cascade waterfall. Be sure to park yourself a hearty lunch for the day or get your fill of Moroccan dishes at any of the little cafes that are located near the grand taxi stand in Akchour.

Fes

Fes, the second-largest city in Morocco and once the nation's capital, is about as lively and busy as Marrakech. Located in the northern part of the country -- a five-hour drive away -- the city is home to one of the world's largest urban pedestrian zones, called the Fes el-Bali medina, as well as a huge market that's simultaneously beautiful and overwhelming. Shop for trinkets or authentic leather purses in the medina or visit the outdoor tannery to see where all the leather in town is dried, dyed, and crafted. 

Where to Stay:

Rabat

Photo courtesy of Flickr/YoTut

Photo courtesy of Flickr/YoTut

Home to more than one million people, Rabat is much less of a tourist stop than the other destinations on this list. Conveniently located next to the Atlantic Ocean, the former major port city is now a beach destination and one of the four imperial cities of Morocco. Visit the Mausoleum of Mohammed V to see the impressive architecture and stand beside King Mohammed V's tomb or get lost in Kasbah des Oudaias, a city within a city. Visitors can also explore Rabat's large medina, soak up some Moroccan culture at the Museum Mohammed VI of Modern and Contemporary Art, or dine on French and Arabic fare at one of the many restaurants in town. 

Casablanca

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Martin Alvarez Espinar

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Martin Alvarez Espinar

The largest city in Morocco, Casablanca is also one of the biggest financial centers on the continent. The culturally-rich port city represents 50 percent of the international commercial flow of imports into Morocco. But that's not its only talking point. Situated on the Atlantic Ocean, the city was also made famous around the world, thanks to the 1942 movie that bears the same name. Visit the Hassan II Mosque to learn more about the local religion, drink mint tea in Quartier Habous, or people-watch on one of the busy and hectic streets.

Where to Stay:

Agadir

Located at the foothills of the Anti-Atlas mountains, Agadir is a beach-lover's paradise with palm-lined streets and busy oceanfront bars. Here, you can ride a camel on the sand or rent a four-by-four after having your fill of frolicking in the water. Folks can also stroll along the seafront promenade or play a round of golf at any one of the nearby courses. For families traveling with kids, there's Crocoparc, a reconstructed ecosystem and lush green space that’s filled with hundreds of crocodiles. 

Where to Stay: 

Tangier

Tangier, Morocco's closest city to Spain, may be most known as the last city you visit before taking the ferry across to Europe. With only 25 miles of ocean separating the two continents, the city has also gained a reputation as a safe house for spies and smuggling. Drive 15 minutes away from Tangier and spend the day exploring Cape Spartel and the Caves of Hercules, in which the hero is said to have stayed and slept. At dusk, don't miss the sunset over the ocean. 

Where to Stay: 

Sahara Desert

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Alexander Cahlenstein

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Alexander Cahlenstein

A trip to Morocco wouldn't be complete without spending a night camping under the stars in the vast and stunning Sahara desert. Camel trekking, star-gazing, and even luxury camping can be enjoyed here. Most private tours leave from either Marrakech or Fes. It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience you won't want to miss.

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