Things to do
Marrakech: AKA the Red City – is worlds away from your average Med resort, but that’s all part of the pull. Morocco’s most exciting city, Marrakech, has the Jemaa el-Fna as its showpiece, the main square where you’ll cross paths with acrobats, fire-swallowers and soothsayers. Other biggies include the Koutoubia Mosque’s soaring minaret, the Saadian Tombs’ mosaics, and the late Yves Saint Laurent’s Majorelle Gardens.
Essaouira: Enjoy an authentic taste of Morocco on holidays in Essaouira. This coastal town is a firm favourite with holidaymakers thanks to its long sandy beach, abundance of sunshine, fresh seafood, a laidback atmosphere and the opportunity to see Morocco in all its glorious colours.
Casablanca: This large, modern city, formerly a French colonial post still allows myriad movie moments for those who want to revisit love in the medina and Old City. Casa (as locals call it) isn’t too touristy, but it’s the most cosmopolitan and Western-feeling city in Morocco. Visit the King Hassan II Mosque and Casa’s Medina.
Fez: The oldest university in the world isn’t Oxford or the Sorbonne—it’s the University of Al-Karaouine, and you’ll find it in Fez el Bali. This walled city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, will transport you back to mediaeval times. Visit the ancient maze-like quarters of the Medina to Fez el-Bali and the four imposing Gates of Fez, with their distinctive Moroccan tile work.
Tangier: Located on the Strait of Gibraltar where Africa meets Europe, Tangier has long held strategic importance. Ruled through the centuries by waves of conquerors including Romans, Vandals, Byzantines, Arabs and Portuguese, the city is more than two and a half millennia old, making it one of North Africa’s most ancient. The medina, kasbah, bazaars and souks are among the country’s most vibrant, and the beaches are excellent.
Rabat: Morocco’s coastal capital since 1912, Rabat has just over a million people. Modern and even reserved by Moroccan standards, the city also has many fascinating historic sites, including the picturesque Kasbah of the Udayas, built in the mid-12th century. The unique Hassan Tower, begun at the end of the 12th century, was meant to have the world’s largest minaret, but was never completed. Just opposite the tower lies the 20th-century Mausoleum of Mohammed V, another of the city’s main attractions.