If there’s one destination I talk about the most as being unforgettable, it’s the country of Morocco. There are some truly unique and out-of-this-world experiences to be had. I find myself always itching to return, explore those winding medinas, and settle in the stillness of the Sahara.
Morocco has a wide variety of cities and outdoor destinations within itself. You can be in the heart of a bustling city like Marrakech and then with an hour’s drive be on the coast. From historic cities to the deserts of the Sahara, it’s a country where you can choose your own adventure.
Having spent two weeks there a few years ago, I wanted to revisit just why Morocco is the ultimate destination this year. If you’re looking for an itinerary, be sure to head here first. It outlines the ultimate two-week itinerary and includes all of the experiences listed before.
Ready to explore Morocco? Here are 7 unforgettable experiences.
[This post is created in partnership with Tourism Morocco and Travel Mindset. As always, all opinions are my own.]
1. A night in the Sahara Desert.
The feeling of waking up to the quiet of the desert is otherworldly. Though it’s an adventure to get there, it’s worth every hour. Staying in a tented camp and making the walk up the dunes to see the sunrise is incredible. On my trip, I stayed at this luxury tented camp and spent two nights here soaking it all in.
2. Walking the blue streets of Chefchaouen.
I’ve never quite seen anything like it in my lifetime. The blue colored buildings of Chefchaouen almost don’t look real, and when you see them in person, it’s even more incredible. Spending a night or two is a must on any itinerary when in Morocco. Read the full travel guide to Chefchaouen here.
3. Staying in a riad.
One unique part of Morocco that I fell in love with was the architecture and riads. Having never stayed in a riad, it was an absolute must when visiting. Staying in a few, my favorite was two nights at Le Riad Yasmine in Marrakech. It was one of the most beautifully designed riads I had ever seen. A riad is a structure built around a central courtyard that the rooms face into. Often decorated with mosaics, the inner courtyard is degrees cooler than the outside. It truly is an escape.
4. A morning at a traditional hammam.
Have you ever been to a hammam? It’s a large part of the Moroccan culture and an opportunity to relax. I visited quite a few on the trip and loved getting the “scrub” experience where after steaming, you get a scrub to pull off all of your dead skin cells. It’s totally different than any other spa experience I’ve had!
5. Visit a historic, clay village.
Not too far from Marrakech is the historic, fortified village of Aït Benhaddou. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this village was part of the caravan route between the Sahara to Marrakech. It’s incredibly beautiful (you may recognize it from “Game of Thrones”), it’s a chance to get an understanding of Morocco’s past. Today, five families live in the old village.
6. Pickup a traditional Moroccan rug in Marrakech.
No trip is complete without doing some local shopping, especially in Marrakech. If you’re eyeing those wonderful Moroccan rugs you often see in the States, there’s nothing better than getting one right at the source. The process of buying a rug is actually rooted in a deep tradition (be prepared to spend an hour or two). It was one of my favorite experiences in Morocco, going through the customs of the process. The shop seller will often offer mint tea and you’ll cheers to what’s to come. From there, rugs will get laid out and you’ll respond with “haali” if you’re considering it or “ishmaa” to send it back. Overall it’s an exciting bartering opportunity and you can read more here on the whole process of buying a rug.
7. Trying the local cuisine.
Food in Morocco is earthy, flavorful, and rich in ingredients. There’s a wide range of cuisine to try, especially as you tour the markets. One dish you have to try when there is tagine. Cooked in a cone-shaped vessel made of either ceramic or unglazed clay, they layer everything from meats to vegetables to cook in it. The end results? One of the most tasty and hearty dishes.