Beautiful scenery is something Morocco has no shortage of. Flowing from the shifting sands of the Sahara to the wave-lapping Med, the frothing Atlantic Ocean to the snow-capped High Atlas, Morocco is a lesson in these beautiful sceneries. One moment you’ll be wowed by the spice-smelling souks of Marrakesh. The next you’ll be scrambling up scree ridges beneath the mighty summit of Jebel Toubkal.
This guide to the 10 most beautiful places and scenery in Morocco will whisk you away on a journey through the highlights of the nation. It goes from the maze-like city of Fez to the quiet surf spots on the western shores. Along the way, you’ll find places where you can meet Moroccan people; explore the language of Morocco, and soak up the beautiful scenery that abounds. Let’s get started…
Explore The Northern Atlantic Coast of Essaouira
The waves of the Atlantic crash against a craggy shoreline. Blustery winds caress the city walls. Seagulls cry out from battlements built by Berber kings. There are hawkers touting argan oils and scented candles in the souks below. And paint-peeling fishing boats cluster around the docklands as the sunsets. Welcome to Essouaria.
This is known as the windy city of Morocco. It’s kissed by the summertime Alizee – a powerful coastal wind that’s helped to establish the town as a kitesurfing mecca. You can try your hand at that by making for the long beach to the south of the medina. It’s a glowing scythe of yellow sand filled with surf rentals and small bars.
But the real treats lurk behind the salt-stained walls of the Essaouira old city. Delve beneath one of the strong babs (gates) to find them. Argan workshops and carpet traders and scented coffee shops command the wide alleys there. And there are age-old bulwarks where you can stroll to see the evening light dying across the Atlantic Ocean. Stunning stuff.
Delve In The Countryside Of Imlil
A rattling ride in a local bus to the south of Marrakesh will bring you to the mountain town of Imlil. For backpackers, this has long been the gateway to the fabled Atlas; a place to wallow in the beautiful scenery of the Moroccan highlands. It rarely disappoints.
Even the journey in is something to write home about. Leaving the Marrakesh medina, you soon start to pass adobe villages and rural farms. Then the land crumples and its dusty hills and escarpments start to shoulder up. Past little Asni town, soaring mountains erupt to the left and right. Oases flourish in the valley bottoms. They paint a streak of green chestnut trees and pines where any water flows.
Then you reach Imlil itself. Up there, the weather in Morocco is noticeably cooler than on the Maghreb. A single central street weaves past teahouses and mud-built mountain lodges. On the horizon, the mightiest mountain in the Atlas looms Toubkal, at 4,167 meters up. Closer to home, you can spy the pass of Tizi Mzik and the first crags of Oukaimeden to the east.
Experience The Local Culture in Marrakesh
No visit to Morocco could possibly be complete without a jaunt to Marrakesh. This hectic and frenetic city bursts with souks and markets and bazaars. In addition, with one of the largest airports in the region, it’s likely to be your first port of call. So, prepare for a haze of music, noise, aromas, and Moroccan people – a real feast for the senses.
Of all the cities in Morocco with a medina, Marrakesh seems to hit the headlines most often. Its historic heart is anchored by the vast Jemaa el-Fnaa. One of the largest urban spaces in the world, it’s a circus of animal tamers, snake charmers, street dancers – you name it. Just to the north is where the main souks unfold. It’s fun to get lost within, dodging stacks of teapots and candles as you hear the mellifluous language of Morocco twisting in the alcoves.
Marrakesh also has another side. There are beautiful scenery and an escape from the fray of the town on offer at the Jardin Majorelle. It’s in the new area and was once the treasured property of world-famous French designer Yves Saint-Laurent.
Mesmerize The Scenery Of Lac Lalla Takerkoust
Spreading out in the shadow of the snow-capped Atlas, the vast reservoir of Lalla Takerkoust is a photogenic jewel of beautiful scenery. Look to the south and you’ll see the hazy outline of the Ouirgane Valley standing tall on the horizon. Look east or west and there are rough-hewn stone walls of Tamazirt farms and beige ridges speckled with goat herds.
Lalla Takerkoust was created back in the early 20th century when the French raised the colossal Takerkoust Dam. It lurches above the local town and marks the start of a murky-water lake that runs for miles. On the sides, you can sometimes spot little clusters of olive trees that give way to local Berber eateries. There’s also a large French presence mixed with the Moroccan people, with bistros and hotels that tout breathtaking views.
Explore The Uncommon Scenes In Fez
The capital of Morocco’s Fas-Meknas region and the hub of the east of the country is one to enthrall. Of all the cities in Morocco, it touts the largest medina (old town) going. And what a maze it is! Wiggling lanes weave this way and that to dead ends. Markets suddenly erupt in small squares you had no idea were around the corner. Tiled gatehouses give way to rabbit warrens of roads. Some alleys are as tight as a postbox hole. And you’ve still got to make room for donkeys, carts, mint sellers – the lot.
Fez is a curious mix of the frantic and the sacred. Its locals are proudly independent and conservative Moroccan people. They make few concessions to tourists despairing with Google Maps in the depths of the medina, which means this one can often feel more authentic than Marrakesh and other towns. Also: don’t miss a view of the traditional tanneries – one of Fez’s iconic sights.
Enjoy The Moroccan Scenery At Its Best In Sidi Kaouki
Sidi Kaouki clutches the wild Atlantic shoreline south of Essaouira. You might not even know you’ve arrived, considering this one pales in size when compared to the cities in Morocco that are on this list. In fact, it’s little more than a fishing village, topped with an ivory-tinted Islamic shrine and a few groaning camels.
The main reason folk come is for surfing. A huge beach break runs for miles along the shoreline from the center. It’s got a number of places to try your hand on aboard. And there are some good Sidi Kaouki surf schools offering lessons just a few meters back from the sand.
The best time to visit Morocco coastal towns for surfing is typically during the winter. That’s when the winds die down and the swells get more consistent. Thankfully, little Sidi Kaouki receives hardly anywhere near the same crowds as Taghazout and other surf breaks on the Atlantic. That means you can almost always find a little peak to call your own for the day.
Set Foot In The Chefchaouen District
Famous among the cities in Morocco for its blue hue, Chefchaouen is a tourist favorite. Away from the drama of the Atlas Mountains, it sits nestled in the beautiful scenery of the Rif. Those (relatively) low hills open onto a shelf where palm trees and citrus orchards fade away to host the town.
But the setting aside, the joys of Chefchaouen are in its old center. Painted cobalt and navy, sky blue and tulip, it’s a maze that glows sapphire at every corner. You’ll almost certainly get lost, between the swaying washing lines, the Moroccan people dressed in traditional djellaba robes, and the flurries of dangling ivy and rhododendron flowers. But getting lost really is part of the fun.
There are a few other things to add to your plans in Chefchaouen. The Ras el Maa waterfalls that sit on the side of the town are great for hearing locals chatter in the language of Morocco. There’s a handsome Kasbah from centuries gone by. And, beyond the city, the secrets of the Rif Mountains mean canyons, cataracts, and hiking amid beautiful scenery.
Rabat – the capital of Morocco
Rabat might be the capital of Morocco, but it’s not the urban grit you might expect. In fact, it’s quite an elegant little metropolis, with oodles of culture and class up its sleeve. A lot of that is down to the French-planned Ville Nouvelle. Created under the guiding hand of the acclaimed city planner Henri Prost; it’s all wide boulevards, Parisian squares, tree-lined streets, and shady plazas.
However, Rabat isn’t void of old Moroccan touches. There’s a classic medina that goes higgledy-piggledy with markets and souks. (You can head there to buy your local carpets and metal-crafted Berber lanterns.) In addition, there’s also the welcome beachfront: Plage de Rabat. (Head there to see the beautiful scenery of the Atlantic coast unfold under the gaze of the walled capital of Morocco.)
Of course, being the capital of Morocco, Rabat is also relatively easy to reach. There are good train links across the country from here. Rabat International Airport sits in nearby Sale with plenty of short-haul links across the region and to Europe. In addition, you’ve got oodles of buses going to pretty much all of the other major cities in Morocco.
Traverse The Amazing Scenery Of Merzouga
Welcome to the Sahara. Merzouga is the gateway to the great desert that occupies huge swathes of southern Morocco. It rises like an oasis town from Arabian Nights. Mounds of sand and the silhouettes of camel caravans punctuate the horizons all around it. When the sunset glows across the landscapes, the beautiful scenery turns to shades of ochre and gold.
This is a fine place to come to escape the buzzing cities in Morocco. Small and surrounded by nature, it’ll be just you, your travel partners, and the Sahara Desert. It’s also a cracker for adventure lovers. For that, make for the mind-blowing Erg Chebbi. (It’s a sea of mighty sand dunes the likes of which you’ve never seen before. It towers more than 150 meters at some points, and is an enduring image of the stark hinterland of North Africa.)
Moreover, Merzouga is perfect if you’re keen to get a feel for the unique culture of the nomadic Berber Moroccan people. Desert camps and camel rides both leave from the town. Organize those and you could find yourself sharing traditional tagines and learning the language of Morocco as twilight sets in.
The Atlas Mountains
The Atlas Mountains are perhaps the defining geographical feature of Morocco. They crumple the country and split it in half. In fact, they form no fewer than three individual ranges, going from the craggy Anti Atlas in the south to the soft valleys of the Middle Atlas in the east.
However, the real beautiful scenery comes with the fabled High Atlas. These are the backbone of the nation. They host the highest peak in North Africa (Jebel Toubkal, which summits at a whopping 4,167 meters up). The infamous Tizi n Tichka driving route weaves through their heart, too. And, moreover, this is the only place in Morocco where you’re going to find skiing. (Check out the small resort of Oukaimeden, a favorite among Moroccan people during the winter months).
Getting to the Atlas can be done in a private taxi straight out of Marrakesh. You should aim for towns like Imlil, Asni or Ouirgane. They are all fine bases for breaking out on treks. A guide is required to climb Toubkal itself. Prices are in the region of $40 per day.
So, you’re planning a trip to Morocco?
Make sure you don’t leave out these beautiful sceneries on your itinerary. If you’re wondering what other things to do in Morocco, check out our other articles here. Share with us your thoughts if you’ve ever visited these attractions. We love to hear from you!