First Time In Morocco? Here are Some Must-See Destinations and Activities to Consider

If you live outside of Africa and casually mention that you were visiting, the first remark would probably be, “Oh, you’re going on a safari?” But, as most Africans will tell you, there’s so much more to see and experience on the continent than our unique animal life in southern and eastern Africa. Such as Morocco, the North African country bordering the Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea, known by its famous moniker, ‘the Kingdom of Light.’

A traditionally-dressed server at the Hilton Tangier
Morocco is a very traditional country with ancient practices, fashion and culture still alive today

Morocco is truly one African nation to explore if you haven’t done so already. Not only is it choke-full of interesting places to visit — Morocco is famous for preserving ancient traditions in every aspect of their lives from architecture to food, and even style — but there are so many things to do and see that we daresay a 2-week stay is barely enough to get acquainted with whatever city you choose to visit, talk less of the entire country.

Fresh from our Moroccan trip, here are some places that really intrigued us and we believe offer a good starting point to an exploration of the Kingdom of Light.

The Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca

Very cliché in terms of where to visit, but if it’s your first time in the country, it pays to start with a popular and important landmark as it serves as a great foundation of what to expect on your Moroccan adventure.

The storied mosque that took about seven years to build and thousands of hours of labour features mostly local materials and craftsmanship. Its strategic position by the Atlantic Ocean and just a little above it adds further appeal to its magnificent size and impressive craftsmanship.

The Hassan II Mosque
The Hassan II Mosque is perhaps one of the most easily recognised tourist landmarks in Morocco. Image courtesy of Afrik 21

Thousands of stories and articles on one of the largest mosques in the world with one of the world’s longest minarets abound, and it can almost feel like you’ve been there without having actually ever visited. But, unlike other popular tourist destinations, it is truly one place you must see for yourself to fully understand how beautiful and special it is.


Whether you are in Marrakesh (Marrakech if you prefer) or Casablanca, the one activity you cannot afford to miss is the traditional Moroccan Hammam, which is why it gets a special place on this list.

The rest area in the Hammam at the Sofitel
A typical Moroccan Hammam consists of different rooms, including a rest area like this.

The Hammam is basically a spa experience that starts in a dry hot room, then moves on to a hot, steamy room, which then gives way to a bathing room, and ends in the resting room, or, in some cases, goes on to yet another room, the massage parlour, where you receive a full body massage that melts away whatever stubborn stress might remain after this truly blissful experience.  You’d thoroughly enjoy the amenities and treatment from seasoned practitioners with decades of expertise using centuries-old local Moroccan practices, soaps and oils.


For most visitors, Casablanca may not have much to offer beyond the Hassan II Mosque and other smaller tourist attractions, but not Tangier.  This ancient medina, which is the meeting point of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, is the perfect place for limitless exploration, and when you want, blissful relaxation.

The high speed train connecting Casablanca to Tangier
The high-speed train connecting Casablanca to Tangier was inaugurated by King Mohammed VI in 2018.

Tangier is a  7-hour road trip from Casablanca, but, to get there faster, a 2-hour train ride from La Gare Casa would suffice.

Once there, you can choose to explore the Kasbah, a historic fortress and palace, housing the Dar Niaba museum, which showcases the city’s history and cultural artefacts. Or, if you would rather just sit back and take in the city, the Petit Socco, also known as Souk Dakhli, is the place to go. The Grand Socco, on the other hand, is a vibrant, bustling public square, surrounded by historic buildings, cafes, and shops, so should you get bored, you can easily hit the stores to buy everything from clothes and shoes and even prepare your unique body oil with whatever herbs, seeds and nuts of your choice.

Sweets and nuts at a souk in Tangier, Morocco
Sweets and nuts in the souks are locally-produced, and rarely imported

The Cape Spartel Lighthouse is one landmark you do not want to miss while you’re in Tangier. Situated at the northwestern tip of Africa, where the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean converge, this historic lighthouse, built in 1864, stands majestically on a rocky promontory, its shining bright beam guiding ships and travellers alike.

The Cape Spartel Lighthouse in Tangier, Morocco
The Cape Spartel Lighthouse is a confluence of two great seas and is as historic as it is symbolic

The Lighthouse is not only a marvel of engineering but also a sacred site, mentioned in the Qur’an and the epic poem, Ulysses by Homer. In the former, it is called the ‘Ras al-Tubul,’ marking the western extremity of the known world while Ulysses describes it as the ‘Pillar of Hercules,’ symbolizing the gateway between Europe and Africa.


You’ve probably heard about the picturesque blue town of Morocco, but Chefchaouen is more than its blue-and-white aesthetic. Its rich history, intentional architecture that preserves decades-old tradition and culture, and, very traditional cuisine that includes the tagine, a slow-cooked stew, all come together to make for a truly authentic, luxury experience like no other.

A sign at Chefchaouen, Morocco
The colour blue is significant in Moroccan culture as it is believed to ward off evil spirits.

Chefchaouen was founded in 1471 as a fortress to resist Portuguese invasions. The blue you see everywhere is intentional, as, in Moroccan culture, the colour is believed to ward off evil spirits and bring peace. This beautiful fortified medina, with its twelve gates and narrow streets, offers the best of Moroccan warmth and hospitality, and even if you do not get to visit other popular cities like Marrakech and Tangier, the one place you absolutely do not want to miss on your first visit is the very beautiful, very traditional, and very charming city of Chefchaouen.


Last on our list is Marrakech, and honestly, if the theme of your vacation is ‘busy days and countless media,’ Marrakech should probably be the starting point of your Morrocan adventure.

shoes at the dar el bacha museum marrakech morocco
Artefacts showcasing the local craftsmanship at the Dar El Bacha Museum

There’s so much to do and see that a week in Marrakech would probably be grossly inadequate. From the museums — like the Dar El Bacha, La Musée des Confluences — to the souks, to the public buildings open to tourists, to the different tourist activities like quad biking and camel riding, you’d never run out of things to do and places to see. Also, the architecture and craftwork, especially in the Medina, is simply stunning and breathtakingly beautiful.

camel riding in Marrakech
Camel riding may not be a novel idea, but it is worth trying out in Marrakech.

Even if your goal is to have a very peaceful Moroccan vacation, it would not hurt to add Marrakech to your list of places to visit, even if it is just for a day or two. The experience would definitely be worth it.

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