Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman may havegiven the world Casablanca, but there is much more to see in Morocco than its largest city.
This Atlantic coast country gives travelersthe opportunity to experience life in an ancient Arabic culture, sunning on beaches or snowskiing in the mountains.
Whether rambling through ancient medinas, sampling cuisine at a local souq or relaxing in the sun at a white-washed seaside town, the past is always present in this diverse and colorful country.
Here’s a look at the best places to visitin Morocco: Number 10.
Legzira Beach Located south of Agadir, Legzira Beach isconsidered Morocco’s most unique beach due to the gigantic sea arches that dot the beach.
They are so big that a person standing underneathone at low tide will seem like a small doll.
The arches glow red at sunset, making a verypicturesque scene.
The beach is popular with hang gliders andparasailers, but it’s also a good place to sit and enjoy the spectacular sea arches.
Casablanca Everyone knows the city of Casablanca as thecolonial setting of the 1942 romantic film, but the city of today doesn’t quite reflectthat dreamy, enchanting feeling.
Instead, modern-day Casablanca is a tradingpowerhouse.
The importance of the port city means it isMorocco’s economic hub.
You can still take a walk around Casablanca’scurious old downtown to discover its past.
Ornate Moorish architecture is infused withEuropean shapes and styles.
If you really want to hark back to black-and-whitefilms, have drinks at Rick’s Cafe – the famous bar from the film.
It’s a reconstruction, but we can all pretendright? Number 8.
Meknes Meknes is one of the four Imperial citiesof Morocco and its name and fame are closely linked to that of Sultan Moulay Ismail.
The sultan turned Meknes into an impressivecity in Spanish-Moorish style, surrounded by high walls with great gates.
While Meknes is an imperial city with a lotof historical monuments and natural sites it is also the nearest city to the Roman ruinsof Volubilis.
Chefchaouen Chefchaouen might just as well be called theblue city because it’s filled with – what else? – buildings in various shades of blue.
Located in northwest Morocco, Chefchaouenis close to Tangier, making it a popular tourist destination.
Surrounded by breathtaking mountains, thecity’s narrow labyrinth of lanes hide plazas and ancient kasbahs, with plenty of photoopportunities around every corner.
It’s popular with shoppers who can findMoroccan handicrafts, such as woven blankets, not found elsewhere in the country.
Asilah Now a popular seaside resort town, Asilahhas a glorious history that dates back to when it was a trade center for the Phoeniciansin 1500 BC.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, pirates usedit as a base of operations.
Fortifications from these bygone eras remain, surrounding the restored medina.
Whitewashed buildings complete the picturesquescene.
It has a good selection of budget hotels andrestaurants, and a growing art scene.
5 miles south of Asilah lies Paradisebeach, a wonderful wide stretch of sand, popular with locals and tourists.
Essaouira Essaouira boasts pretty, sandy beaches, butthe strong winds make sunbathing out of the question.
Water-sports fans know the benefit of thewind, however, and meet up on Essaouira’s beaches in the summer months to practice theirwindsurfing skills.
The harbor and old city walls add a depthto the city’s history and, with its small lanes and interesting streets, make for theperfect place to get lost and discover new and interesting secrets hidden among the walls.
Once the capital of Morocco, Fes exudes cultureand history.
It’s emblematic medina is a huge pedestrianizedsprawl that oozes ambience and history.
It can seem completely overwhelming to manyvisitors, whilst others fall in love with the ebullient atmosphere.
Those who are brave enough to wander downthe narrow alleys can discover the city’s two Islamic schools.
Dating back to the 14 Century, both madrasahave intricate faces carved from cedar as well as elaborate tiles.
The 11th Century Chouara Tannery is one ofthe oldest in the world and has been making leathers for traders for many generations– make sure to look out for it in the bustling marketplace.
High Atlas The High Atlas is a mountain range that runsfrom the coast of Morocco towards Algeria.
The tallest mountain range in North Africa, the High Atlas offers outdoor recreation opportunities year round, from snow sports in the winterto hiking in the summer.
One of the best place to visit is the TodraGorge in the eastern part of the High Atlas.
Both the Todra and neighboring Dades rivershave carved out steep cliff-sided canyons through the mountains.
On the edge of the High Atlas Mountains isAït-Benhaddou, a traditional Mud Brick city that has appeared in many movies includingLawrence of Arabia and Gladiator.
Merzouga is a small village in southeasternMorocco not too far from the border with Algeria.
It’s on the tourist route because of itsproximity to Erg Chebbi, sand dunes created by winds that reach up to 500 feet high.
Travelers looking for a unique experiencemight want to take an overnight camel ride through the wavy, deep reddish-orange dunes.
Most group tours end up at a pre-setup campat the base of some very large dunes, where the various tour operators have their Berbertents set up.
Dinner will be cooked here, perhaps some musicplayed, and visitors can frolic on the sand dunes under zillions of stars.
Marrakech Formerly one of the country’s imperial cities, Marrakech is sometimes referred to as the Red City because of its sandstone buildings.
During the 1960s, Marrakech was known as a“hippie mecca, ” attracting famous celebrities such as The Beatles, Yves Saint Laurent andthe Rolling Stones.
Comprised of beautiful old architecture andcourtyards of orange, palm, apricot and olive trees, Marrakech today is still one of Africa’smost popular tourist destinations.
The best way to sample its charms is to takeoff walking through the medina: watch a snake charmer, haggle over an old carpet, eat localdelicacies such as sheep’s head or have a massage in a public bath.
Other possibilities include strolling throughthe Jardin Majorelle, a botanical garden that blends art deco and Moorish features, andsipping mint tea at a traditional tea house.