Morocco is on many people’s must-visit lists, with its rich history and sense of cultural identity. The large well-known cities, such as Casablanca and Marrakech, are exciting—but the swelling crowds and hassle from street sellers can be overwhelming.
Why not check out some of Morocco’s alternative places? These spots are are well worth a visit, and give you a different insight to the history, traditions and culture of Morocco than some of the more heavily-trafficked locales.
Situated in the captivating Rif Mountains, Chefchaouen has some of the most verdant scenery Morocco has to offer. And this quaint little village has such charm you cannot help but fall in love with it immediately.
In essence, Chefchaouen is much like many other towns in the country; narrow, cobbled medinas, haggling with market vendors, the echo of the Imam calling prayer in the mosques and the delightful smell of charred meats.
The real draw is the relaxed pace, and Chefchaouen’s unique colour scheme. Every building in the town is painted either white or blue, the blue introduces by Jewish migrants in the 1930s to represent the heavens.
The architectural masterpieces of medieval Fez comprise a World Heritage site that rivals Marrakech, but without the hordes of tourists, Ibiza-esque nightlife and Tropezian pool clubs.
In actual fact, Fez is Morocco’s oldest imperial city and is drenched in history and culture. Locals argue their city is the sole reminder of Morocco’s past, before their culture was overturned by tourism and industry. There are still no cars permitted in the central medina.
The centuries-old souks and tiled palaces catch the eye, but delve a little deeper and you will find dozens of other enchanting discoveries along the narrow arteries and dusty streets.
Craftsmen sit in their workshops, hooded men and veiled women amble casually along the streets, and a precession of mourners enter the mosque to light candles in honour of the city’s founder, Moulay Idriss II. Fez is a truly mystical place that stays with you long after you have left.
It may be the most popular tourist spot on this list, but Tangier is still worth a mention for its historical importance, friendly locals and stunning architecture. It also has one of the best Kasbah experiences you will find in the country.
There is a distinct European influence in Tangier. Andalusian and colonial architecture create an interesting blend with against the Moorish and Moroccan structures, some of which are centuries old. It is little wonder that Tangier is a popular location for filming movie scenes in Morocco.
Since the early years of the millennium, Tangier has also witnessed something of a regeneration which has allayed its past reputation as a bit seedy –now, there is a vibrant decadence here that is addictive and infectious.
Named after the time-honoured secular founder of Morocco, Moulay Idriss is the sacred heart of the country and the final resting place of its namesake. Given the importance of the leader’s tomb, the town is frequented by pilgrims and has been dubbed “the poor man’s Mecca,” as it’s much easier to reach for many North African Muslims than Saudi Arabia.
Until 2005, non-Muslims were not permitted to visit the city, and they are still not allowed in the tomb of Moulay Idriss, although you are welcomed to attend secular events which provide a fascinating insight into the traditions and celebrations of Islam life.
The streets are less populated than other bustling medinas elsewhere in the country, and you can enjoy a leisurely stroll from the main square along the cobbled streets to the Roman hot-springs or the outer walls of the city to indulge in the engaging views of dramatic landscapes.
Morocco is one of the most refreshing and exhilarating countries that is within easy-reaching distance of the UK. Give it a try and you will not regret the adventure.