Morocco Tourism: Destinations and Must-See Attractions
Bordered by 3,500 kilometers of coastline and crossed by various mountain ranges. Morocco is characterized by an incredible diversity of people and landscapes. Nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea in North Africa. Morocco is cut by the various fingers of the Atlas Mountains and the only Rif mountain range to the north. These characteristics give Morocco an air footprint unlike any other in Africa.
Morocco is quickly becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. From Casablanca to Rabat and Tangier at the tip of the continent; from the endless blue labyrinthine streets of Chefchaouen, and up to Fez, and even further south to the ever-extensive dunes of Erg Chebbi in the Sahara Desert. More to Marrakech and the laid-back coastal city of Essaouira. Morocco has an abundance of important natural and historical assets, not to mention a rich and diverse cultural heritage.
Morocco’s Attraction To Travelers
Society in Morocco is still steeped in its Muslim identity but tolerates various types of people, cultures, and religions. It’s Berber and Jewish past helps keep people’s minds open and. Morocco is the only country in the Muslim world to have a Jewish Heritage Museum (which you can read in our Casablanca travel guide).
Hospitality in Morocco is legendary and the young generation is more open than ever. change a traditional mentality in favor of a more open Western point of view while remaining dear to family, art, crafts, and religion.
We cannot talk about Morocco without mentioning a handful of regions that make this country such an attractive destination. Here are some of the highlights that stay in the minds of travelers when they visit (some further from the tourist trail than others). You can consult our map of Morocco to locate these different places.
Merzouga: is a small desert town located in the south-east of Morocco, 35 kilometers from Rissani and 50 kilometers from Erfoud. Merzouga is famous for its dunes in the Erg Chebbi region – the highest in Morocco. It is a destination for tourists who wish to ride a camel in the dunes and sleep in a Bedouin-style tent for the night.
Check Our Tour : 3 Days From Marrakech To Merzouga
Ziz Valley: The source of the water that feeds the Ziz Valley is in the eastern High Atlas. Although intermittent along its bed, the rivers were used to facilitate trade through this mountainous region. What most travelers do is take in the view from some of the higher angles available from the road; what more needs to be done is venture out to this lush oasis to learn more about the people and their sustainable farming style that has supported life in the region for a millennium!
Todra Gorge: Fifteen kilometers from the center of Tineghir, the area is home to a rising number of visitors and bus tourists that can make the location not as appealing as it once was.
Dades Valley: Fifteen kilometers from the center of Tineghir, the region is home to an increasing number of visitors and bus tourists who can make the location less attractive than it once was.
Dades Valley: This labyrinthine aspect is located in the upper Dades Valley, an oasis that begins with a river valley in the Middle Atlas Mountains and continues to the edge of Ouarzazate..
Ait Ben Haddou: This place dubbed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, in the province of Ouarzazate, has served as the backdrop to several famous films and is an interesting stopover for photo enthusiasts. Further on are the remains of Telouet – a place that compares to Ait Ben Haddou in both beauty and history, but not a common stop on the tourist trail.
Erg Chigaga: This is the rustic Sahara desert and withdrawn from Erg Chigaga that few tourists venture to, as it is slightly more off the beaten track than Erg Chebbi. The region offers breathtaking beauty, wildlife, traditional nomads, and sometimes extreme weather conditions that make it a more seasonal destination during certain parts of the year.
Main tourist destinations.
Check Our Tour : 3 Days From Marrakech To Erg Chigaga
Main Tourist Destinations
The main Morocco tourist attractions are topped by Marrakech, according to a report from the Ministry of Tourism. Then, the most visited cities are Agadir, Casablanca, Tangier, Fez, and Rabat, followed by Ouarzazate, Meknés, and even less visited places like Tetouan. To develop more of these popular places:
Known as the capital of Morocco under the reign of Youssef Ben Tachfine, this “Pearl of the South” known as Marrakech, remains one of the main attractions for tourists. It is also there that, as if in the retreat of two centuries, one can find boilermakers hammering metal in the copper souk, or other assiduous workers in Souj Laghzal dedicated to wool, or even in El Btana dedicated to sheepskins, or at Souk Zarbia where caftans and rugs are sold to the highest bidder. Marrakech highlights include Jemaa el-Fnaa Square, Madrassa Ben Youssef, Saadian Tombs, Majorelle Gardens, and Koutoubia Mosque.
Check Our Tour: Things To Do in Marrakech
Located on the trade routes linking the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, Fez in the north of Morocco is a crucial center of trade and industry (textile factories, refineries, tanneries, and soap), thus making crafts and textiles. an important part of the city. past and present economy. The city, whose old quarters are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a religious and intellectual center as well as an architectural gem. You can admire the beautiful Qarawiyin Mosque (built in the 9th century), the ramparts, and the imperial palace. Among the other places not to be missed: the Medersa (Madrasa) Bou Inania, the Saadian tombs, Bab Bou Jeloud, the Moulay Idriss II Mausoleum, Fondouk Nejjarine, as well as the king’s palace and the Jewish quarter is known as Mellah.
Against the backdrop of the mountainous peaks of the Rif, the Cité Bleue of Chefchaouen to the north-west extends its white slope from the medina, while to the south, as if to complete the picture, the river Oued Laou brings what it takes to make it appear the green and fresh banks. Founded in the 15th century to resist the Spanish and Portuguese invasions, Chefchaouen is today a small town that is proud to offer its visitors the beauty of the sweetness of life, especially with its blue ocean walls, for which it is called “The blue city”.
Located by the sea, the magnificent Bay of Tangier is the last vestige before the Strait of Gibraltar and Europe. This port city is a colorful place that looks to the future behind the white walls of the Medina. Tangier, inhabited by more than a million people, lives in this ambivalence. Yesterday’s intellectuals would hardly find the atmosphere they had come to seek; the walls still breathe Matisse and Bowles.
The name Essaouira comes from Al Souirah (a small fortified fortress). This city, located between Safi in the north and Agadir in the south, was once known as Mogador. Although its walls are protected against pirates of all kinds, Essaouira has its feet in the sea and its hands on the beach. The most prestigious monuments of Essaouira include the Porte de la Marine, built-in 1769, or La Skala du Port, a battery whose guns were made in Spain. Today, these arches and open-air museums do not seem to contradict modernity. Today, a sense of youth and freshness mingles well with the city’s archaic sites.
is the capital of Morocco and is a symbol of continuity in Morocco. In the heart of the city, stands the Hassan Tower, the last vestige of an unfinished mosque. Behind the marble columns, the Mohammed V mausoleum generates respect and reverence.
Known as the international metropolis whose development is inseparable from port activity, Casablanca is a major international business hub. As a commercial and industrial city, “Casa” includes a spiritual dimension with its iconic Hassan II floating mosque, one of the largest and most beautiful in the world.
Types of Tourism in Morocco
Morocco offers a wide range of options for a variety of travelers, whether they are budget, mid-range, or luxury. With Morocco’s gentrification comes higher prices, as European quality competes with more local accommodation options. Accommodation levels typically range from $ 20-100 per person per night at the budget level to $ 150-200 per person per night in the mid-range, and well above $ 300 per person per night at the budget level. luxury level. The country also has a fantastic range of walking and especially trekking opportunities in places such as the Atlas Mountains, which are home to several 4,000-meter peaks. These offer a spectacular and beautiful landscape dotted with ancient Berber villages and impressive snowmelt that transforms streams into gushing rivers each spring.
Mass Tourism in Morocco
Today, Morocco is paying the price for a decision taken 10 years ago with the emphasis on mass tourism in an attempt to emulate countries like Tunisia. For many, this seen as a major mistake as there are many opportunities for quality tourism in Morocco. Mass tourism can affect a country in different ways, distorting views, limiting real cultural encounters, and wasting resources.
Unfortunately, Morocco has not yet arrived at this lesson and mass tourism remains a major axis for the future of tourism in Morocco. It is now looking for mass tourism at a high cost; projects around Agadir (as an example) seek to transform this Moroccan coast into something akin to the “Costa Brava” with an accumulation of unattractive structures dotting the seafront.
In Morocco, a major refocus must take place where a more sustainable and rewarding type of tourism should be the main objective. The attractions should not be on casinos and slot machines but on genuine cultural encounters that do not disturb (but empower) local communities.
Ups and Downs in Tourism to Morocco
Although Morocco remains more visited than other Arab countries, the global financial crisis of 2008 is still having its effects and lingers in Europe (the main source of tourist attendance) while other events such as the swine flu, the eruption of volcanic activity in Iceland, the cancellation of the Paris Dakkar rally, and the events of Marrakech in 2011 over the years have slowed the rise of travelers visiting the Kingdom of Morocco.
Due to political uprisings in neighboring countries, Morocco has seen a significant increase in the total number of tourists over the past three years. Initially, travelers thought that Morocco too could show signs of instability, but this never happened. Over time, the number of tourists has increased as travelers discover how secure and stable Morocco continues to be.
Given the competitive nature of tourism in the Mediterranean region, Morocco is the subject of aggressive promotional tactics which will hopefully bear fruit in the long run. However, several types of tourism in Morocco have not been well developed, namely rural, cultural, and ecological tourism.
Planning Your Morocco Cultural Adventure
Plan your cultural adventure in Morocco
DesertBrise Travel, we have over a decade of experience as one of the leading travel agencies in Morocco. Do not hesitate to contact our experts to start your projects.
Accessible tourism in Morocco: an overview
Accessible tourism in Morocco
The definition of accessibility and disability can vary greatly from person to person. Whether it is a physical disability which means a wheelchair is required for the visual and/or hearing impairments and everything in between, it is possible to visit Morocco and have an amazing experience. Morocco is still a developing country and therefore does not have the same legal requirements as countries like the United States, Canada, and the European Union. Visitors with accessibility needs will need to do a little more research to ensure their needs are met.
Moroccan cities present challenges for visitors with disabilities. Often the streets are cobblestone and uneven. They can be crowded with people, carts, shops, and animals. It is highly recommended that anyone visiting has at least one person with them who can help with advice and navigation. You will find Moroccans to be very helpful and creative when it comes to helping people with disabilities.
Activities that everyone can enjoy in Morocco
While you may face challenges, there are dozens of activities that are possible for everyone! Some of them include;
- A traditional Moroccan cooking class. The kitchens are often on the first floor of riads or schools, which facilitates access.
- 4 × 4 rides in desert areas and overnight in a luxury camp.
- Visit Hassan II Mosque (Muslims and non-Muslims can enter this mosque)
- Museums; in several cities, museums are on several levels, but access to the first level is almost always possible.
- Visit the medinas of the cities. Some are easier to navigate than others. For example, the medina of Fez can be difficult without assistance due to the many hills and steps.
- …and more!
There are of course challenges that come with visiting Morocco. One example is the lack of public toilets. Few are available for the general public and even fewer are accessible to people with disabilities. There are more under construction, but there are no regulations in place that make it a requirement in buildings. A second challenge is a transportation. There are a limited number of vehicles in the country that include a wheelchair lift. Train travel in Morocco is not possible for people in wheelchairs because train cars are not accessible. Finally, if you want to stay in a riad, a typical Moroccan style house, this can be a challenge as they are often not designed for those with limited abilities.
Overcome the challenges
There are ways for visitors with disabilities to overcome some of the challenges presented. If the use of a wheelchair is required, a stroller will be much easier to navigate than an electric chair. It is possible to hire an assistant to help with navigation and pushing. When choosing a wheelchair, the smallest wheelchair, while being comfortable, will make navigation easier. Choosing where to stay can also be a challenge. In most cases, hotels are better equipped for travelers with accessibility needs, but not all are accessible. Be sure to check when booking for your specific needs. For example, if a roll-in shower is required, not all hotels have one. They may claim that the bedroom is wheelchair accessible, but is the bathroom? Is the breakfast room accessible or does it require stairs? Some riads can be accessible, but very few have elevators, so while a ground floor room is possible, visiting the roof terrace will not.
A visit to Morocco can be an amazing experience for anyone. Don’t let physical challenges keep you from seeing the stars of the Sahara or soaking up the views of the ancient souks!
Visiting Morocco is possible for anyone with a little planning and coordination. The Journey Beyond Travel team prides itself on providing disabled-accessible itineraries tailored to the needs of each individual or group of travelers. We have partnered with riads and hotels that provide guests with exactly what they need for a pleasant visit. Our guides and drivers have the tools and experience to help visitors of all skill levels. Contact us today to start planning your visit to Morocco.
Statistics of tourists in Morocco – Report by Ministry of Tourism