Morocco is a popular travel destination… Popular to visit and also popular to think about. I get a lot of questions about travelling to Morocco, about its safety and things to do. There are so many things to do in Morocco that you need to think about what you enjoy and how you want to approach it. Are you on a budget or do you want to indulge? Are you looking for an independent travel adventure or are you happier in the comfort of a bus tour? Whichever way you want to do it, Morocco can welcome you and make your journey unforgettable. I have 20 excellent reasons to visit Morocco.
A World of Colours
The thing that strikes me most about Morocco is how vivid the colours are. Indeed, there is colour in everything: nature, food, clothing, homewares, art… Colour is a proud statement in everything and is rarely understated. For me, the best combination of colour synonymous with Morocco is the blue sky, the red earth and the green palm trees of the oasis.
The bright sunlight and the bold colours will create some beautiful visual memories. One of the best places to be dazzled by colours is the markets… Shopping in Morocco is plentiful and
A Fascinating History
Morocco has a rich history, from the Romans to Islam, Jewish communities and French colonial rule. Spain was also a strong influence, with disputed enclaves and controversial islands as a legacy. Moroccan people are very aware and proud of their history, and how their country has been influenced by different populations. There are museums in many cities, and a number of notable buildings have been renovated and open to the public.
Of course, there are still many places that need attention, but if you are interested in history, you will have plenty of opportunities to learn in Morocco.
Moroccan people are generally hospitable, friendly and welcoming. They can also be camera-shy and private so you have to approach them politely and gently. Tourism is a big industry and there can be a certain pressure on travellers but if you can go past that, you can have some lovely experiences meeting people.
Moroccans are easy to talk to and love making small talk, so it’s easy to learn more about the country and the culture through relaxed conversation. In your interactions with people, you should always be polite, patient and humorous. Social codes can be a little formal but if you do well, you will be rewarded.
Apart from some periods of rain in the north, the weather in Morocco is pretty kind and there is no real “bad time” to go and visit. In Marrakech, winter is especially beautiful: the nights are crisp and chilly but the clear air means that the Atlas Mountains are visible in the distance. From Europe, Morocco is an especially popular destination in the winter as there is plenty of sunshine. Summer can be very hot and dry so I don’t recommend July and August. I did get a fair amount of angry sky on my last trip but when the sun is out, it’s absolutely beautiful.
If you visit Morocco, I strongly recommend getting out to the countryside. Whether you drive or take a bus tour, you will be wowed by the beauty of the mountains and coast. There are some beautiful and isolated spots, definitely worth your best photography. I have a soft spot for perched villages in deep valleys, and some road trips.
In Morocco, the food is both hearty and delicate. Made with love and the freshest ingredients, food is an important part of Moroccan culture and hospitality. While the menu can be limited in some restaurants, you can experience incredibly refined meals. Typically, a Moroccan menu includes several dishes such as a salad or a soup to start with, a meat or vegetarian tajine or couscous. To finish, you can enjoy some fruit or some pastries.
Every time I arrive in Morocco, I am amazed at how fresh and tasty everything is. When eating your way through Morocco, you will discover some interesting spice mixes and a sometimes daring balance of sweet and savoury. I’m sure that for a lot of travellers, food is one of the main reasons to visit Morocco!
One of my favourite dishes is pastilla, which is pigeon (or chicken) meat cooked with angel hair pasta, wrapped in thin egg pastry and sprinkled with cinnamon and icing sugar. It takes hours to make and is an incredible mix!
The Art of Living
When visiting my friends in Morocco, I always spend time wandering around their houses and gardens, noticing all the fine details. I am always amazed at how much effort goes into decorating a room with ceramic tiles, well-designed homewares and delicate textiles. To me, that’s so revealing of the effort people make to create a nice living space. If you do your shopping right, you can recreate this sense of comfort and fine detail in your home.
It’s a Diverse Destination
Morocco is known for its mountains and its desert, and culturally rich cities, but there is also a beautiful coast on the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. If you have the opportunity to take a road trip, there are several diverse itineraries to take you from coast to mountain. You can discover various local cultures and indulge in a wide range of activities, from hiking in the mountains to a cultural tour of the Imperial Cities, there is something for everyone. You won’t run out of reasons to visit Morocco!
It Suits All Budgets
Morocco is a relatively cheap destination. Because tourism is a rather mature industry, there is plenty of choice in terms of accommodation and dining in the large tourist centres. Indeed, you will come across backpackers and luxury travellers in Morocco. Food and local transport are usually quite cheap. If you are doing bus tours, I would recommend investing in a reputable company with a good track record. If you are looking to indulge, a few nights in a beautiful riad is an unmissable experience in Morocco. I always spend time in a hammam or spa for some self-care too!
Art & Culture
There is a very lively art and culture scene in Morocco, including contemporary. Moroccans are very fond of their history and cultural heritage, and craftsmanship is at the heart of everyday life. Indeed, Morocco is a society where a lot of things are still handmade. Even the smallest details tell a story… And of course, Morocco has impressive architecture!
It’s Family Friendly
I visited Morocco as a young child several times and I always remember people being really attentive and friendly. I remember Morocco being incredibly exotic, with camels and colourful markets… These days, I notice how families with young children are welcomed in hotels and restaurants. Moroccans are very fond of children and will stop at nothing to assist with manoeuvring prams up and down steep stairwells…
Driving is Easier Than You Think
A lot of people wonder about driving in Morocco… I think there is an expectation of wild driving, goats on the road and massive potholes… All of the above can be true but my last trip to Morocco was a complete success on the roads. The roads are a lot better than I remember them, and so is the driving. Driving is a great way to see the countryside and discover some remote and beautiful places, I strongly recommend it. Read my post on driving in Morocco here so you can decide whether this is the way for you to travel.
In Morocco, the combination of friendly people and a fine art of living results in a high standard of hospitality. From private homes to restaurants, Moroccans have a genuine interest in making sure that their guests (paying or not) are comfortable. Whenever you are invited to someone’s home, tea and biscuits will be served, and it’s a nice ritual to enjoy. I also love that olives are always served before a meal, and they’re probably going to be the best olives you will taste in your life!
It’s an Adventure
Morocco is exotic, mysterious, beguiling… It is a destination filled with new tastes and smells, exciting shopping and delicious food experiences. You are a million miles from home and the language or cultural differences can be no barrier to having a great time. Driving through isolated valleys or riding a camel in the desert, and you’re in dreamland… Enjoy the novelty and the complete change of scenery.
There are many places in Morocco that are a haven for wildlife. In cities and the countryside, birdlife is especially prevalent. Every garden has its plethora of birds and some areas of Morocco even have wildlife sanctuaries. Camels, sheep and goats are also very common. I remember reading about goats climbing argan trees before my last trip and assuming it was a story for the tourists… But no, it’s true. They eat the argan nuts off the tree and it’s quite a spectacle.
A Photographer’s Heaven
There are many reasons to visit Morocco but with all its colours, beautiful scenery and genuine life scenes, this country has plenty to offer keen photographers. People can be quite camera shy so you have to assess whether street photography is appropriate. But if landscape photography is your thing, a trip to Morocco is thrilling, as there are plenty of dramatic views to be taken.
Tourism is Valued
Tourism is an important part of the Moroccan economy, with the authorities setting goals to increase visitor numbers. Morocco became a very popular and exotic destination in the 1960s, with Marrakech spearheading the trend, so the tourism industry is quite mature. There are plenty of options for tours and accommodation, and most operators are quite good. Moroccans have a strong sense of hospitality and value tourism. There is a financial aspect to all of this, of course, but they also love to show off their country and are genuinely touched by any nice comments travellers may make. If you are coming from Spain or Portugal, Tangier is a great place to enter Morocco. A lot of funds have been invested and the place is now very tourist-friendly.
The Sahara Desert
From a Western point of view, the Sahara Desert may seem like an unreachable dream destination. Walking around the peaceful and majestic sand dunes is a fabulous experience and Morocco is an ideal destination for this.
Morocco has some incredible Islamic architecture on show. From intricate stucco and cedar wood carvings to dizzying zellij, the architecture is very much part of Moroccan culture and an incredible national pride. The tradition of erecting grand buildings is still very much alive in Morocco and there is a buoyant craftsmanship industry.
There are Cats Everywhere
This is probably a more personal reason to visit Morocco, but I love how there are so many cats. Admittedly, they are not always healthy and many don’t live for very long. However, they are everywhere and take ownership of homes, restaurants and market stalls. To me, they are a great photography subject, especially in Chefchaouen and Tetouan.
Things to know before travelling to Morocco
Morocco Shopping Guide
What to Pack for Morocco
Do you have more excellent reasons to visit Morocco? Tell me in the comments below!
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