Beautiful Marrakech, one of the great things to do in MoroccoThe city lights of Marrakech

When visiting a country as exotic as Morocco, it’s easy to get bogged down in the details of planning. To help you out, we’ve made a list of the top ten things to do in Morocco, written from personal experience!

1. Wander the souk

One of the best things to do in Morocco is visit the market. Moroccan markets are called souks and exist in every major city. These markets are like nothing you’ve ever seen before, stretching for what seems like miles in every direction and filled with artisan wares, leather goods, crafts, souvenirs…you name it! You can test out you bargaining skills with the shopkeepers, who all speak enough English and Spanish to drive a hard bargain. Be sure to check out the leather, famous around the world.

2. Drink mint tea

After a long day of shopping, retire to one of the teahouses above the central square for a nice glass of Moroccan mint tea. Be warned, the tea is super sweet and super hot. But there’s nothing like sipping your tea and looking out over the city as the streets bustle below and the call to prayer echoes through the buildings.

Moroccan mint teaMoroccan mint tea with sugar

3. Ride a camel

Take a few days to go down to the Sahara, where you can stay several nights in your choice of tent style, either traditional Bedouin or luxury. The best way to explore the dunes is by camel, so saddle up and you’ll be on your way to a Saharan adventure. The most popular area of the Sahara sandscape is a small town called Merzouga.

4. Visit the tanneries

Like I said before, Moroccans are famous for their leather goods. And not only can you buy them from the market, but you can also visit the tanneries where they’re made. The most famous tannery in Morocco is in Fez, though you can visit them in Marrakech as well. However, you may want to do your leather shopping before your visit, because the smell sticks with you for some time after.

Tanneries in FezThe colorful tanneries of Fez

5. Eat, eat, eat

Moroccan cuisine is absolutely incredible. For a very reasonable price, you can feast on cous cous filled with any variety of vegetables and meats. Moroccans use tajines to cook their meat, leaving it tender and juicy like you’ve never had it before. Don’t miss pastilla, either, a chicken breast coated in pastry dough covered in almonds, cinnamon and sugar. Finally, Moroccan sweets are just to die for, and their jus d’avocat (avocado juice, an avocado smoothie made with milk and sugar) will never fail to impress. However! Make sure you don’t eat the food off the street, especially not the orange juice. Morocco is an easy place to get sick, and that’s the last thing you want.

6. Stay in a riad

A riad is a traditional Moroccan palace or ultra-wealthy home, traditionally built with an interior courtyard and beautiful terraces. These days, many riads have been converted into restaurants and hotels, many of them very affordable for American and European travelers. Stepping into a riad, you’ll feel transported to a different universe.

RiadThe courtyard of a Moroccan riad

7. Take the train

When travelling from place to place in Morocco, there’s no better way to see the countryside than by train. Tickets are very inexpensive, usually less than 20 US dollars, and they give you the chance to see parts of Morocco you may never visit on your own.

8. Bathe at the hammam

The bathhouses in Morocco are famous and still in use, and there’s no better way to relax after long days of travelling than to take a spa day at the hammam. Enter in either a bathing suit or nothing at all, and you’ll be presented with famous Moroccan black soap to wash yourself with. This is a social occasion for Moroccan women, so don’t be surprised if you end up having a nice conversation with a complete stranger.

9. Visit the Hassan II Mosque

Generally speaking, it’s forbidden to enter the mosques of Morocco if you aren’t a Muslim. However, the Mosque of Hassan II is open to the public, and if you have a chance to stay a day in Casablanca, make sure you take a tour of this awe-inspiring monument. The architecture and design will take your breath away.

Hassan II MosqueThe famous Hassan II Mosque

10. Watch the sunset

There’s a famous story about the time that US President Roosevelt and UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill visited Marrakech, when Churchill told Roosevelt that he simply could not come all the way to North Africa without seeing “the sunset on the snows of the Atlas Mountains. It’s a breathtaking sight.” If it’s good enough for Churchill, it’s good enough for the rest of us. Take an evening stroll to watch the sun set over the Atlas Mounains, because Churchill said so.

The sunset over the Atlas MountainsThe sunset over the Atlas Mountains

Morocco is such a vibrant country with so much to do, it’s hard to narow our list down to just ten. That said, let us know if you have anything to add.

Have you visited Morocco before? What are your favorite things to do in Morocco?

Photos courtesy of YoTuTflequiicelightsdbjkhalid Albaihdave massie