With mighty mountains, vast valleys, ancient medinas and an incredible cuisine to tuck into, there is so much more to Morocco than Marrakesh. Why not go hiking in the High Atlas, surf in the Atlantic and chill out in the desert? Here are a few of my favourite things to see and do in Morocco.
Get high in Chefchaouen
Located high in the Rif Mountains, Chefchaouen is an extraordinary city. Known as The Blue Pearl, this pretty city is painted different hues of blue, from the sidewalks to the houses and even the roads. It’s breathtakingly beautiful and easy to see why its been such a hit on Instagram. The city is also in the main marijuana growing region of the country. Shush don’t tell. So if getting boxed is your vibe, you’ll love it, and they have strategically placed bakeries throughout town, selling an array of delicious pastries and biscuits that, I heard, make the best munchies.
Embrace art in Asilah
Looking more like Mykonos than Morocco, this dramatic fifteenth century walled town on the North Atlantic coast has a vibrant art scene. Stroll around the laid back medina and take in the street art that adorns the whitewashed walls and then pick up a bargain at one of the many galleries in the souk.
Dive along the Draa Valley
For a change of pace, head south into the desert and explore the lush oases along the Draa Valley. Carved out of the scorched rock and sand, the verdant valley is packed with date palms, fruit trees and wild herbs. Head to the little village of Skoura and stay in the cutest Air BnB that’s located on the side of the oasis. Feast on stuffed Berber bread, cool off in the nearby lake and visit the abandoned Kasbahs in the surrounding villages.
Taste tangia in Marrakesh
It’s impossible to go to Morocco without a trip to Marrakesh, and for many it gets pretty hectic and can feel a bit like Disneyland, all those annoying snake charmers in the Jemaa el-Fnaa square. But trust me, there are some cool things to do. The Mellah, for example, is fabulous for an authentic shopping experience and tucking into a tangia is a must. This is a truly Marrakesh dish; hunks of lamb, braised in smen (clarified butter) and spices. I always head to Café Lamine on Mechoui Aly for a late lunch to feast on lamb tangia, bread, olives and mint tea.
Hike up into the Atlas Mountains
For the best hiking, drive into the Atlas Mountains where you can conquer Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa. From the little town of Imlil, you can hike up to the base of the mountain in about 2 hours. It’s a lovely walk, following the river up to the cafes that surround the Shrine of Sidi Chamharouch. From here, serious hikers go in groups to the top of the 4,167m peak.
Get lost in Fez
With a maze like, working medina, the ancient city of Fez feels so much more authentic than Marrakesh and is very easy to get lost in. There are no road signs and GPS doesn’t really work. But, get out there and explore the bustling markets, tuck into the street food and find a hidden rooftop café to absorb life in this incredible old city. To avoid a tourist meltdown, pick a landmark next to your hotel and get someone to write the name down for you in Arabic. This way you can show it to a passer by in the street and they point you in the right direction. Easy!
Surf the Atlantic Ocean
The blustery Atlantic coast of Morocco is famous for surfing and all along the West coast, there are hippy dippy surf towns to hit up and ride the waves. Taghazout is a good place to start. The small town, just north of Agadir, is where most of the surfing community are based.
BBQ in Larache
This bustling harbour town has one of the best fish markets in the world. Located on the side of the lively medina, the massive market is open in the evening so that you can head down there at dinner time, choose what you like from the incredible catch of the day and have it cooked to order at one of the sizzling little stalls that line the nearby streets.