10 Best Moroccan Cities To Visit

Moroccan cities

Morocco is a fascinating country and having spent several weeks travelling all over the country these are the best Moroccan cities that I found to visit.

This doesn’t cover every Moroccan city, even if it was one I went to, as this represents the best of the Moroccan cities that most people will want to see and experience.


Best Moroccan Cities

The whole of the itinerary options for the Moroccan cities covered here will depend on exactly the kind of things you’re looking for.

Want to see mostly cities and explore the souqs (markets) for shopping, have plenty of food options, and enjoy the history that came through these old cities? Great! it’s more of a city trip.

Want to spend maybe just 1-2 days in a city to start (the one you fly into) and then head into nature. Great! It’s a nature trip.

Or maybe you’re just planning a weekend city break from Europe, for example, and this will help you choose the city(s) most interesting for you.

When you know what kind of trip you want then it will be a lot easier to decide on an itinerary as realistically you will not be able to mix and match between 2 options that much with a 1 week Morocco trip or a weekend break.

For example, if you want to explore some of the old Moroccan cities in the north there’s no way you will have time to get to the south and enjoy a Sahara Desert safari. Well not without some serious rushing around which would kill the vibe of the holiday.

I’ll explain the best city options, the best natural options, and the best of a little bit of mixed. Personally, I would suggest not flying into and out of the same city so you don’t need to backtrack unless you’re short on time and visiting just that city.

I’ve added some tours you can do with my favourite guide company if you want to plan ahead some of the activities.


Moroccan Cities In One Week

One week in Morocco is enough time to see 2-3 cities if you want to get a rough experience of them.

I recommend flying into Marrakech to start and then working your way up to Tangier in the north. Both have budget flights into them if budget is of concern and you could start in either direction. 

This would be a very fast itinerary and would involve a lot of rushing around and transport, but if you want to see a lot of Morocco’s cities in a short time then this is it!

If you decide to take it slow then just cut off the flying out point from say Fes instead of Tangier.

Actually, the Marrakech to Fes route is very popular as it takes in the main big cities.


Marrakech 

What to say about Marrakech (sometimes pronounced Marrakesh).

Well if you’ve never been to Morocco before (and if you’re reading this I’m guessing you haven’t) it could be a shock.

It’s a very lively city full of history and the hustle and bustle of all that. But for some people that hustle can be translated into ‘hassle’.

The main square in the centre of Marrakech is where everything goes down as far as the evening goes as you will see street entertainment, find excellent food, and the shopping streets/alleys converge onto it if you want to do a bit of shopping in Marrakech.

Marrakech is one of the four imperial cities of Morocco, the others being Fez, Meknes, and Rabat, which are mentioned further down the article.

There are so many unique things to do in Marrakech that you won’t get bored there over a few days.

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The main square in Marrakech.

The main problem is it gets very, very, busy and it can be overwhelming after a while.

On top of that, you can get some aggressive touts there that won’t leave you in peace, given that it’s the main tourist spot in the city.

Having said that it is fun to jump in and experience it all.

things to do in Marrakech
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Bustling Marrakech market at night.
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Shopping in Marrakech in the souq.

Some of the best food in Morocco is to be found around the Medina area in Marrakech.

Marrakech food
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Friendly cook with meat on a stick!

Marrakech could certainly be put down as one of the best cities to visit in Morocco. Its exotic history sees to that and it’s one of the biggest cities in Morocco as well.

More about my first-time visit to Marrakech in this post.

Find places to stay in Marrakech here


Essaouira

Disclaimer: I have a soft spot for Essaouira. For me, it’s the best Moroccan city, even if it’s one of the smallest with a population of around 80’000 people.

Essaouira is located on the Atlantic coast and is around a three-hour drive from Marrakech so that makes it easy to combine the two cities together.

Even coming for just a night is worth it and as it’s located on the coast you can find some of the best seafood in Morocco and the fish tagines are to die for.

The Essaouira medina is a Unesco World Heritage site.

things to do in essaouira
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Old fishing boats by the sea.

The old city inside its fortified walls is where you will want to stay and spend your time, with relaxed cafes and eateries and a short walk to the old harbour where you can see the hustle and bustle of the small fishing port.

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Essaouira at sunset on the fortified wall.
essaouira food
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Fish tagine in Essaouira.

At sunset head to the old fort walls and watch the fishing boats coming in from the day and enjoy the peaceful evening vibe where people get together.

Essaouira Morocco sunset
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Sunset in Essaouira.

As far as cities in Morocco go (even though it’s a bit out of the way) at least one day in Essaouira should be on any itinerary.

Find places to stay in Essaouira here


Ouarzazate

Going in the other direction from Marrakech, instead of to Essaouira, is the desert city of Ouarzazate. It’s a small city but is very scenic to visit and easy to reach from Marrakech, and you could even make it a day trip from there.

Ouarzazate is known as “Morocco’s Hollywood” as many movies have been filmed around there.

The main reason to be in Ouarzazate is for day trips you can do around there like to the Ait Benhaddou earthen houses.

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Aït Benhaddou.

Personally, I spent a day exploring Ouarzazate and definitely found it to be one of the more atmospheric Moroccan cities, although I did not stay there as I went further to a small town called Agdz in the Atlas Mountains and near the Draa Valley.

Agzd is not a city which is why I’m not making it a big thing in this list but I would highly recommend going to check out the area around there and staying in a historic kasbah accommodation.

best Moroccan cities
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Market in Agdz.

Casablanca & Rabat

Casablanca and Rabat seem to get overlooked by many tourists looking at Moroccan cities to visit, from what I could see when there, with many opting to go the more popular options of Fez, Marrakech, and Essaouira.

But the two cities have their own unique charms.

Although I didn’t like Casablanca that much (it’s Morocco’s biggest city with 3.4 million people) I did enjoy the French architecture in Casablanca in the old quarter of the city as they are grandly rustic.

Also, it’s where you can find historic cafes such as the Petit Poucet where an old French charm can still be felt.

Casablanca 

Casablanca morocco
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Old French architecture in Casablanca.
Moroccan cities Petit Poucet
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Inside Petit Poucet.

One of the largest mosques in Morocco can be found in Casablanca and is in a pleasant spot near the sea.

Casablanca mosque
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The largest mosque in Casablanca.

Rabat

Rabat was a surprise for me as I was expecting just another one of those big Moroccan cities (it is) but the coastline and the old fortress area is such a cool place to wander around.

Kasbah Oudayas is a medieval fortress and you can find Moorish cafes and an Andalusian Garden in its peaceful little streets.

That is the best place to see and experience Rabat.

rabat Morocco
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A view to Kasbah Oudayas.
rabat fortress Moroccan cities.
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Looking out from Kasbah Oudayas fortified walls.

Find places to stay in Casablanca and Rabat.


Fez

Fez is one of the most popular cities in Morocco to visit and that is mainly due to the Fez tannery where they still use old methods to dye leather. Note that Fez is also called “Fes.”

It’s also the oldest city in Africa which is just one of many interesting facts about Morocco to know before visiting Morocco.

things to do in Fez -  Moroccan cities
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A man works the leather in a Fez Tannery.
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Fez Chouara Tannery.

The ancient Fez Medina is also another reason to visit as it is (in my opinion) the best Medina in Morocco.

shopping in fes
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Wandering inside Fez Medina.

You can see so many things on sale there and the atmosphere is electric.

Fez metal workers - best Moroccan cities
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Making copper pots the old traditional way.

Find places to stay in Fez here


Side Excursion: Moulay Idriss Day Trip From Fez

Moulay Idriss and the Roman ruins of Vouliblous can be done on a day trip from Fez.

Some people will stay in Meknes and go from there but I suggest staying in Fez as the base for 2 nights as it has a better atmosphere overall.

Moulay Idriss isn’t a city but it’s in this post simply because it makes a great day trip from Fez.

Morocco cities moulay Idriss
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Sunset over Moulay Idriss.
moulay idriss
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Part of Moulay Idriss is perched on a rocky escarpment.

The Vouliblous ruins can easily be reached from Moulay Idriss and you can even walk out to them in around 30 minutes.

Morocco roman ruins
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Part of the ruins of Vouliblous.

If you decide to stay the night in Moulay Idriss you can find places to stay here.


Meknes

Although I didn’t spend too much time in Meknes as I concentrated more on Fez, the city is good to have a look around and it is one of the four imperial cities of Morocco and is also a Unesco World Heritage Site as a historic city.

Meknes medina is definitely worth a look around and if you do want to stay in Fez as a base then you can easily do a day trip to Meknes from there.

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Inside Meknes souq.

There are lots of historic mosques in Meknes to explore as well making it one of the better Moroccan cities for history and it has some great Islamic architecture.


Chefchaouen

Chefchaouen has the most colourful Medina in Morocco and is the main reason to visit.

It’s famous for its blue-washed walls and charming alleyways and the fact that it lies nestled up in the Rif Mountains just adds to its charm.

It’s known as the “Blue City of Morocco,” and is one of my favourite Moroccan cities that I went to.

It’s also perfectly located between Fez and Tangier so it can be visited between one or the other.

chefchaouen
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Women herd goats at sunset overlooking the blue city of Chefchaouen.
chefchaouen
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Blue alleyway in Chefchaouen medina.
chefchaouen Medina
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Shopping in Chefchaouen medina.

Find places to stay in Chefchaouen here


Tangier

To be honest (in my opinion) Tangier is not that exciting but has more of a Mediterranean vibe, being that it is at the start of the Mediterranean and it is a great port city of northern Morocco.

The fun thing about Tangier for me was visiting the places that the beat generation in Tangier used to hang out at.

Places like the Petit Socco cafe square are good to relax in and take a walk around some of the old fortress.

tangier square
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The Petit Socco.

Find places to stay in Tangier here


Asilah

Asilah is known for the Asilah murals but the city itself is a really relaxed place to visit, especially the old part.

It is easy to get to from Tangier as it’s only a few hours drive down the Atlantic coast so you could do a long day trip to Asilah from Tangier or spend the night in this peaceful old city by the sea.

Asilah morocco
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Asilah old town by the sea.
Asilah murals
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Simple wall murals in Asilah.
Asilah morocco
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Relaxing by the sea. It’s very peaceful there.

Find places to stay in Asilah here


Bonus Moroccan City: Sidi Ifni

Sidi Ifni in the far south of Morocco is one of the prime surf cities for surfing in Morocco, but even if you have no interest in that it is a very quiet place to escape to for a day or two.

To be honest, there is not much to do there but explore some of the old colonial Spanish architecture and just relax by the beach, but after busy cities that could be just the cure.

I wouldn’t recommend going here though if you’re short on time as the other Moroccan cities mentioned here will have a lot more to offer.

surfing in Morocco
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Find places to stay in Sidi Ifni.


Moroccan Cities Break

Just choose one of the main Moroccan cities and regions that appeals to you most from this article if you plan a few days, say on a weekend break from Europe, and do a day trip to one of the other nearby cities in Morocco.

Fly into Fez for example for 2-3 days and do a day trip to Moulay Idriss and spend the rest of the time in Fez. Or choose to go to Chefchaouen for the night maybe instead.

Likewise, you could fly into Tangier and day trip to Asilah or Chefchaouen from there.

Again the same thing for Rabat and Casablanca, fly into one and day trip to the other.

And again, fly into Marrakesh and day trip, or spend 1 night (my recommendation) in Essaouira.

Basically, stick to one area if you only have a few days in Morocco on a city break.


Moroccan Cities

This will hopefully give you an outline of some Moroccan cities to visit for your trip. Choose the best options for yourself and have a great time.

For a comprehensive guide to Morocco pick up the Lonely Planet Morocco (it’s what I used).

Get travel insurance for Morocco just in case.


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