Cities are always growing, changing, and reinventing themselves to attract visitors and keep them coming back. Which means that if you haven’t visited any Moroccan cities recently, your idea of what makes one great may be out of date. To give you an idea of what the country’s most popular urban centers are like these days, we’ve put together this list of 10 Moroccan cities to visit in 2018—and beyond!
Essaouira is a coastal city just over an hour from Marrakech. Boasting beautiful beaches, Essaouira is known for its diverse art scene and outdoor cafes. The town has quite a European feel, with street lamps, cobblestone streets and quaint restaurants lining the main drag.
This weekend I spent my time exploring Essaouira with my friends, seeing everything from some of the amazing artwork at Dar Si Said Museum of Traditional Arts and Crafts to a local café.
Marrakech is one of the most popular cities for tourists visiting Morocco, largely due to its proximity and fantastic outdoor markets. What you might not know about this North African city, however, is that it’s one of the most affordable major destinations in Africa.
Located on the mouth of the Sebou River, Rabat is an essential part of Moroccan culture and is both a historic and modern city. It’s a popular destination for travelers who want to experience all that Morocco has to offer, without leaving their home country.
Located just south of Rabat, Salé is often overlooked by travelers. Though it doesn’t have the same history as its neighbor does, Salé holds its own charm.
Casablanca has been a melting pot of cultures and communities since ancient times. Arab traders, Jewish traders, and Sub-Saharan Africans have all been part of the Casablanca community at one point or another. For a city with so much history, it’s no wonder that there are some amazing museums and art galleries.
Fes, Morocco’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the perfect place for travelers looking for culture. Check out the labyrinthine streets and artisan shops of the Fes Medina and get an idea of what life was like centuries ago. The storybook souk is also not to be missed.
Agadir is the oldest city on the African coast and the third largest in Morocco. It’s a bustling, crowded coastal city with colorful architecture. The souks are known for some of the best Moroccan food, spices, and handicrafts. Tourists can spend hours exploring these markets while listening to different languages being spoken around them. Agadir’s weather attracts vacationers from all over the world, bringing even more life into the already busy city center.
Meknes is a city full of life, rich with centuries of history. The city is often dubbed the Mecca of the West due to its construction and geographic location. Popular sites in Meknes include: El Attarine Madrasa, Djemaa el Fna Square, Moulay Ismail’s Palace and Grand Mosque, Bab Mansour Es Saadi Gardens, and many more!
Travellers flock to Ouarzazate for the nearby Cirque du Soleil performance. But don’t miss the Ait Benhaddou kasbah and palm oasis at Skoura – both are beautiful in their own right. The heart of Ouarzazate, meanwhile, has many cafés, restaurants and shops where visitors can mingle with locals while tasting regional fare such as harira soup and shakshuka eggs.
Tangier is a city located in northern Morocco that has been an important trading center for centuries. It is known for its long, picturesque harbor and souks, which are markets with local arts and crafts. Tangier’s bustling medina is home to restaurants, shops, and festivals like the Gnaoua World Music Festival, the Grand Prix horse race and the Tangier Folklore Festival.
The stunning oasis of Tétouan is situated only 50 kilometers north of Tangier and is the most popular stopover for visitors traveling from Europe to Africa. The pretty old town, home to a population of over 100,000 people, combines the best of both worlds; Islamic and Spanish cultures. Its mixture of architectural styles is what made Tétouan a UNESCO World Heritage Site.