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Featured Country: Things to do in Morocco?

Morocco lies on the western border of North Africa. This small country is where worlds clash, dividing Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. From the moment I choose this  life of long term travel I knew Morocco would be one of my first stops in 2013.

Morocco always brings the words mystery and magic to mind. A land of desert and Berbers; the imagination runs rampant at the thought of all the adventure that can be had.  Morocco is home to snake charmers, carpet vendors, and spice markets all begging to be explored. Its medieval cities are some of the most well persevered of the Arab world. Its landscape, colorful and serene, draws you into the rustic beauty and breathtaking mountains. It is almost impossible not to lose yourself in the sights, culture, and history of this place, there is just so many things to do in Morocco. Whether you’re camel trekking in the Sharia, having a public bath, or sleeping in a Riad; Morocco is nothing you have ever experienced before.

Now your asking yourself, what to see in Morocco, and Morocco one of the best backpacking countries? Let me tell you.

What to see in Morocco

Places

Marrakech

Backpacking in Morocco tips

Marrakesh will probably be one of your first stops when backpacking in Morocco. The former imperial city of Marrakech is located in Morocco’s northwest corner. Laying under the shadow of the snowcapped Atlas Mountains, the city is alive with the sounds of the old world meeting the new. Hiking in the Atlas Mountains is one of the best things to do when backpacking Morocco.

The city of Marrakech was founded by Berber families over a thousand years ago, and the roots of its heritage can still be seen today. It’s also home to one of Morocco’s most famous Mosque and icon, the Koutoubia.

Things to Do in Marrakech

Djemma el Fna

Djemma el Fna Markets might be a bit of culture shock and joy for travelers.  Here, you can find everything from snake charmers, magicians, and story tellers. An experience you won’t want to miss out on. These markets are the real heart of the city and hold many attractions that travelers will want to see. Another type of market you will want to explore are the Souks; these are covered market stalls were you can find anything from souvenirs to livestock.

Jardin Majorelle Garden

Marrakech is more than just markets and Mosques. It also has wonders likeJardin Majorelle Garden. Stretched across this stunning 12 acre garden are palms, olive groves, and bright cobalt blue buildings. Birds also flock to this magical place, playing in its bamboo forest and lily ponds. Talking a walk through this haven is an experience you won’t forget.

Fez (or Fes)

Things to do in Morocco

Fes is Morocco’s second largest city, and the best persevered medieval city of the Arab world.  Stepping inside Fez’s ancient walls is like entering another world. The city offers you plenty of sights, culture, and food to explore and eat. However, the real joy of Fez is wandering around, losing track of time while taking in the sounds, people, and history of the city. It’s easy to get lost in the city’s 10,000 streets; but that’s part of the joy and it’s always easy to find your way back.

 Bou Inania Medersa

Bordering on perfection, this well preserved Merenid monument might be the one building in all of Morocco you don’t want to miss. Named after the Sultan Bou Inania in the 1300’s the Bou Inania Medersa severed as both a mosque and an educational institute. It was the last Madrasa built by the Merenids and became Fez’s most important religious institution. If you are wondering about what to see in Morocco, I highly suggest this.

Fes el Bail

Remember how I said one of the joys of Fes was to wander around and get lost. Well the Fes el Bail is the place to do it. Inside the oldest walled part of the city lies this wonderful maze of streets and shops. Not only will you find, if you can, the oldest university in the world, and the Bou Inania, you will find Souks practicing their crafts that have remained relatively unchanged over the centuries. I have read that wandering these back alleys can make you feel like Indiana Jones. (A massive plus)

Essaouira

What to see in Morocco

Essaouira or Mogador, which is Berber for the wall, is a laid back beach city for those looking to relax. This city is so old that some archeological research suggests that people might have lived her since prehistoric times.

In Essaouira, you can busy yourself by riding quad bikes across the desert dunes, surfing the coast, or learning how to cook a Moroccan tagine, a traditional Moroccan stew. Essaourira is a place to set down your backpack, take a deep breath, and soak up Morocco. This is a great stop when backpacking in Morocco.

Smaller Markets and Souks

The markets in Essaouria are not as crowded as those in Marrakech or Fes. They’re smaller, so if you don’t like the idea of wondering around and getting lost in Fes, then these are the markets for you. Personally, I say check out both and when in Fes, enjoy getting lost.

Take a Bath

Essaouira’s also a great place to try a traditional steam bath. It’s part of Moroccan culture to still enjoy a hammam. So not only is it a unique cultural experience, but can be a great way to meet some locals. However, the bathhouses are separated by gender, so if you are going to meet local women, (or men) you are out of luck, but still worth saving some extra money for.

Things to do in Morocco

Camp With Berbers

Tours in Morocco often offer you a chance to spend a few nights in a Berber camp, which almost as special as camping in Big Sur.. On the tour I’m taking, we are staying with Berbers for three nights. Those three little words “staying with Berbers” throws me into a frenzy of excitement. Sitting around a fire, drinking and chatting with Berbers on the doorstep of the Sharia, while looking up at the millions of stars that light the Moroccan night sky, might be one of the most memorable adventures in Morocco.  It’s the one thing I’m most excited for in 2013. This is one of the top things to do in Morocco.

Camel Trek in Sahara Desert

Riding a camel is something to remember, but riding a camel in the world’s largest hottest desert is the experience of a lifetime.  Bobbing up and down on a sea of sand dunes, the sweat trickling down your face as you peer wide eyed for an oasis, might not sound like the most comfortable ride in the world. Sometimes you have to sacrifice a little comfort for a kick ass experience. This is one of those moments, and if it isn’t on your bucket list it should be. It is one of the Famous Attractions in Morocco.

Haggling in the markets

This post has talked a lot about markets, but that is because they’re everywhere in Morocco and a big part of the experience. Haggling is an art form and common practice in these markets. If they are anything like the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, then I’m ready to take them head on. I was afraid to haggle in the Grand Bazaar, not wanting give off the “ass hole “American stereotype. Then a Turkish man pulled me to the side and whispered, “You know they consider it an insult if you don’t haggle with them.” (I’m paraphrasing his broken English). After that it was game on! I became addicted to haggling. Not only can it be fun and enjoyable for all parties, but everyone can come out winning.

Morocco is a country that thrives on beauty and experiences. It’s culture and history are rich, and it’s cities are unique. It is a country you should visit with open eyes and a wide mind, and you will have the experience of a life time.  I know I’m going to!

  • People from the United States, European Union, Australia, The EU or Canada; do not need a Visa to enter Morocco. If you are unsure whether this applies to you, view the list of Visa exempt countries here.
  • Morocco is in North Africa so you will need some shots. You will at least need Hep A/B, typhoid, and Rabies (All in the arm). Click here for the list of other routine shots.
  • The currency is the Moroccan Dirham.
  • There are many ways to travel around Morocco. However, buses or hiring cars seem to be your best bet. I would personal buy a camel and ride it everywhere…just saying

There are lots of things to do in Morocco when you are backpacking! What do you think of this must do things in Morocco? What would you be most excited to see and experience? Let your voice be heard in the comments below!

34 thoughts on “Featured Country: Things to do in Morocco?”

  1. Great write-up! I was sent to Morocco for work back in 2009 and spent 10 days in Agadir. From what little I got to see between work meetings, I am excited to go back and explore more. The market in Agadir was amazing, the smells, the spices, the colors. Your article brings back some good memories!

    Thanks for sharing!
    Maria

    1. You’re too kind mate. I will have to check out Agadir for sure. I’m glad I could help bring back some good memories. Thanks for your comment.

    1. Hey Nick. Morocco does seems amazing. I won’t be their till August, I’ve just researched and bugged people who have been there. It’s one of the places I’m most excited for.

  2. I’ve always wanted to go to Morocco, especially after seeing a show about it on Lonely Planet and when the host (Ian I believe) got a Moroccan message, I was sold 🙂

    1. I’ll have to look up that show. If Lonely Planet tells you to go to a place you know it is good. Thanks for the comment Micheal.

  3. make sure you get down south to Taghazout…it’s the surfing capital of Morocco and heaps of amazing breaks to cover all levels. Proper sleeping little place that revolves around the waves 🙂

  4. Thanks, Stephen. My wife and I will miss you by five months. We’re spending March there in Casablanca, Marrakech, Chicaga (desert/camel country), Fez, Meknes, Chefchauoen, and Rabat. Anything you want me to check out while we’re there? –Bob

    1. Wow thanks Bob. Check out everything lol. I’m going to most of those places as well anything you find useful or amazing feel free to send my way. Let me know the highlights of your journey!!

  5. Did you really get the shots? or are they just recommended from the CDC? And no, i am not afraid to get them, just prefer to not get drugs from any source unless absolutely necessary or I am in need of a drink! (I’m a chiropractor who travels the globe!)
    Morocco is on my bucket list for sure!

    1. Yea I’ve had one round of shots, two more rounds to go. I think they are all just recommended, but better safe than sorry.

  6. I don’t know why the hell I haven’t been to Morocco yet! Looks like an interesting place to be in with so many diversities. And haggling in markets? Bring it on 😉 Great post!

  7. I went to Morocco years ago and have many great memories from the country, thinking of going back there this spring again, maybe try some surfing too 🙂

    1. Hey Sofia have a mate teaching surfing there right now. He says Morocco is great for surfing. You can check out his website if you interested. It’s backpackerbanter.com

      Thanks for your comment!

    1. Thanks Nate. I love writing post where the man focus is other countries. Now that I’m getting ready to hit the road again I’ll be adding in some personal journeys which I’m very excited to write.

  8. Great post, I really love Morocco! My husband & I got married in the Agafay Desert, 45 mins from Marrakech in 2011 and are planning on moving there in the next year or two. You will have a fantastic time i’m sure! 🙂

  9. You nailed it. Thank you for posting that. I’ll definitely come to your site to read more and inform my friends about your posting.

  10. I went to Morocco a few years ago and have done a camel trek through the safari too. I haven’t walked properly since. 🙂 Make sure you have some kind of padded pants when you go.

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