Five Must-See Cities In Morocco

Morocco is filled with UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Here are five cities that are home to some of them
The sun sets over Rabat, capital of Morocco, and the River Bou Regreg. Credit / Leonid Andronov
The sun sets over Rabat, capital of Morocco, and the River Bou Regreg. Credit / Leonid Andronov

The FIFA World Cup 2022 has brought the spotlight back onto the age-old Kingdom of Light, Morocco. An ancient country with its capital at Rabat, Morocco has seen civilisations rise and fall since the palaeolithic age. Right now, Morocco is making news again as it is the only African nation ever to reach the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup football competition.

The Atlas Lions, as the team is called, defeated Portugal in the quarter-finals and, before that, Spain in the Round of 16, or knock-out rounds. The victories are historic for another reason, Portugal was a former colonial power, and Spain was Morocco's very own colonizer. It had protectorates across Morocco before the country's independence in 1955. Spain continues to own the enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla in Morocco. In the semi-finals, Morocco will face another of its oppressors, France.  

Located in north Africa, with the Mediterranean Sea at its north and the Atlantic Ocean, Europe lies to the north of Morocco, a boat ride away across the Straits of Gibraltar. The country is a melting pot of cultures and is dotted with UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You may be familiar with the names of some of its world-renowned cities, such as Casablanca (its largest) and Marrakech (one of its oldest). Both cities are glorified in popular entertainment fiction and historical tomes. Morocco has adopted responsible tourism, and several of its beaches are Blue Flag as proof of the country's dedication to the conservation of the oceans. 

To know a country well, it is best to go deep into it, to its lesser-known destinations. When in Morocco, apart from visiting the places, which are on the popular circuits, step outside your comfort zone and into these five sites. 


Featured in the series Game of Thrones&nbspas the red city of Astapor, Essaouira of Morocco is a windy coastal city on the Atlantic side of the country. It is also known as the Bride of the Atlantic and is adorned with homes with white and blue facades and wind-indented walls. The location and climate of Essaouira lend themselves beautifully to water-based activities such as water surfing, kite surfing, and windsurfing. However, you can also take quiet walks along the ramparts as you spot the Purpuraires Islands and birds such as falcons and seagulls. Walk to the fishing port market for a dekko at the catch brought in early in the morning. If you rent a place for the holiday, you can bring back some good fish for your meals. Later, wander through the alleys of the medina, and if you are there in the summer, mid-June to September, enjoy the Gnaoua Festival, as it celebrates Afro-Maghrebin rhythms.


Called the pearl of the Atlas Mountains, Azilal is located in their centre, full of charming landscapes. Responsible tourism is its mainstay, as it protects and develops its vivid culture, crafts, and architecture. Enjoy the gastronomy of the region, ranging from couscous to fish tagine. Once satisfied, head to any one of the natural wonders of Azilal, such as the waterfalls of Ouzoud the natural bridge of Imi N'Ifri, near Demnate the azure waters of lake Bin El Widane the gorges of the Ahansal wadi and the natural reserve of Tamga. Lastly, visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site A&iumlt Bouguemez valley, or the valley of happy people. Here you can sip on mint tea and Moroccan pastries as you meet with the locals.


A vision in azure, Chefchaouen, built on the side of the Rif Mountains, is a heritage city brimming with attractions. Walk along the winding alleys of the medina to taste Moroccan delights, such as freshly baked bread and expertly cooked tagines. Head to the red-walled fortress of Kasbah, in the old quarter, for its lush gardens. Its ethnographic museum houses ancient weapons, textiles, and photographs. Chefchaouen is heaven for hikers and trekkers, as the mountainous regions offer many routes and related activities.


The medina of Tetouan is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the city boasts a peaceful ambience, much like Tangier. The 2,000-year-old city was a Spanish protectorate and known as the daughter of "Granada". Tetouan is a city with Hispano-Moorish footmarks and one of Morocco's major ports. Enjoy a relaxing day on the fine sands of its beaches and in the crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea.


With a 10-kilometre-long seafront, Agadir is on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. A sunny city filled with trade winds, it affords superb ocean views and, therefore, hours of relaxation-filled days. It is one of the central resort regions of Morocco due to its 300 days of sunshine in a year and is a hub of water-based activities. The city's interiors hold the El Had souk, which has more than 6,000 shops to pick your souvenirs. Be ready to bargain like never before. Every summer, Agadir hosts the Timitar Festival, which is dedicated to the world, and especially to Amazigh music.  

Do visit the Legzira beach in Sidi Ifno, about two hours away from Agadir. It has been ranked 29th among the 40 best beaches in the world, ahead of the famous Taghazout beach in Agadir.

The Information

How to get there Flights to Rabat, Morocco, are available from Mumbai, New Delhi, and Bengaluru.

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