Unique Places in Morocco

  • Camel Market
    Camel Market
    by JessieLang
  • Aguelmane Sidi Al, Morocco
    Aguelmane Sidi Al, Morocco
    by EviP
  • Aguelmane Sidi Al, Morocco
    Aguelmane Sidi Al, Morocco
    by EviP

Most Viewed Off The Beaten Path in Morocco

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    Asilah

    by solopes Updated Dec 16, 2013

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    Close to Tangier this old city with a wide beach, keeps well visible the signs of Portuguese occupation. With its white houses, Asilah is a good stop.

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    Ksar es Sghir

    by solopes Updated Dec 16, 2013

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    A small village, once occupied by the Portuguese, lost all its importance since then. At least that's what it seems, since for many years I couldn't find it in VT.

    Now it already is, but, as I saw it in my visit to Tangier, and have not much to say about the place, I will leave the tip in Tangier's page as originally.

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    Csar el Quibir

    by solopes Updated Dec 16, 2013

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    Following the coast between Tanger and Rabat you will pass a town that, according to Portuguese will, would never exist - Alcacer Quibir. That was the place of our most shaming military defeat, with the king's death forcing the loss of independence to Spain for 80 years. Fortunately the event is only commemorated with a small and discreet monument.

    So, if you pass there, remember: you never read me, you know nothing, don't look, it's just a common place with a common old canon.

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    Kenitra

    by solopes Updated Dec 16, 2013

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    I only stopped in Kenitra to see the tropical garden.

    I don't know if this small city has any other interesting point but the garden is a refreshing brake in any trip.

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    Aguelmane Sidi Al

    by EviP Written Aug 17, 2013

    On the road from Midelt, after the Oued Ziz Valley, about 52 before Azrou the scenery seems to be littered with dark pumice rock.

    A turnoff to the right directs toi , the largest of the region's many mountain lakes, which is pooled in extinct craters and it is said to have plenty of perch, pike and trout.

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    Take winter warmers for the kids when driving

    by angiebabe Updated May 8, 2013

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    Each visit to Morocco Ive always taken things with me that I can give to the local families - especially the children - and especially when I was regularly visiting Telouet - many berber families are still living and working off the land and doing whatever they can do to earn enough to live on or working in labour jobs and earning only 40-60 dirham a day - miniscule to what Moroccans in the cities and town with big cars and big houses have.

    Living out in the remote areas usually means harsher living conditions - ie washing clothes by hand, minimal electrical appliances - so people are making do with less - even donkeys, mules and horse and cart still.

    People including teachers we have met or stayed with out in these areas still stay it can be a very good thing to take school stationery supplies, interesting childrens book and arts and crafts to generate interest in their education, rather than choosing to stay a shepherd like their parents to support their family, and take them to a country school to distribute to children - often though it is best to find a gite owner or someone in tune with whats happening in the locality and where to take things to as there is also the rort of taking items to schools and the teachers family and friends end up with it all...we found a good time to do it is in front of the children and other adults at the school.

    Also hygiene items that we regard as a necessity that often become only a luxury such as tooth brushes and toothpaste......sanitary towels and wash clothes....these can also be given to clinics that are in remote areas such as at Tabant in Ait Bougoumez or the Ameln valley near Tafraoute for example.

    I believe theres still that fine line between helping as in understanding lack and wanting to help make things better in any way and the notion that foreigners have everything and have it easy and give handouts - so put your hand out and you will get something ie tourists are easy to manipulate....

    An example of one of my trips was flying to Marrakech with the intention of driving to Agadir for some warm sunny days with friends there but knowing how cold it gets in Morocco and knowing I intended to drive the TiznTest road which has numerous country villages along the way including up in the snowy and very cold mountain areas nearing the pass.
    And because we have a very good '£' shop near us with sets of scarves, hats and gloves and sets of light raincoats and packs of socks I was able to get quite a few of these to have with me while I was out driving.

    And along the way when I did stop to take photos - especially of scenic villages in the scenic valleys - when you think noone is around out appear children to say hello! And there were my opportunities to give to these children who were in dirty clothes and looking very skinny - might not be a great deal of help but I think its something to at least give them these things to help them with the cold and wet.

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    highlights in Morocco

    by kitsou Written Feb 10, 2013

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    September is beautiful in Morocco. Only the interior stays warm longer. Essaouria is my favorite place in Morocco for it's layback atmosphere and beach. Rabat has a beautiful historic old city in shades of white and blue. Fes was a culture shock of winding, crowded narrow paths in the old medina. I didn`t like Marrakech where the locals can be very agressive towards tourists. Watch out for pickpockets in the main square.You should make a point of including the Roman ruins outside Meknes and the pinetree forests of the interior at Efrane. You`re in for a `treat` navigating the Atlas mountains on switchback roads from the coast to Ouarzazate. Include the valley near Tinehir, for amazing rock formations. What about getting into the Sahara at Merzouga.....

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    Telouet Kasbah - Morocco

    by aussirose Updated Jan 15, 2013

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    After traversing the Atlas Mountains on the first day of our Desert trip from Marrakech, we were headed towards Ouarzazate. This was our first tourist stop along the way.

    Kasbah Telouet is somewhere between Marrakech and Ouarzazate. This Castle is going through the ravages of time and crumbling. In 2010 work started to restore the Castle to it's original splendour. I am glad because the inside attests to the amazing intricate Moroccan designs and brilliant tile work.

    The story behind Kasbah Telouet is entertaining in itself. I relate a little in my travelogue.s*

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    • Desert
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    Ad-Dakhla

    by maykal Written Jun 28, 2012

    Ad-Dakhla is the end of the road. As far south from Europe as you can go overland without needing a visa, apparently. And on arriving in Ad-Dakhla's half-finished town centre after an eight hour bus jorney through monotonous desert scenery and half a dozen checkpoints, one question you might ask yourself is "why did I bother?". Ad-Dakhla really could be anywhere in Morocco, a modern town by the sea with few redeeming features. At least at first glance. Stay a while, and you'll discover a lively souk, a seafront promenade, a tiny old "African" quarter inhabited by migrants from further south, a Spanish cathedral, and a couple of Spanish seafood restaurants. Morocco has big plans for ad-Dakhla, with a couple of top-end hotels already in operation, and whole neighbourhoods laid out on the outskirts of town, pavements and lampposts and mosques all ready but as of yet, no houses or people. North of town are some fantastic beaches, attracting a steady stream of adventurous kitesurfers, but without your own transport, all you'll see of these is a quick glimpse from the bus as you leave.

    Ad-Dakhla...well, it felt like I had to go down there, after spending years looking at it on google earth, but it really is the end of the line, a dead end at long as the Mauritanian border remains closed to foreigners. A pleasant enough place, but probably not worth the looooong bus ride to get here. Still tempted? Have a look at my Ad-Dakhla page (listed under Western Sahara, not Morocco)...

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    Western Sahara: Laayoune

    by maykal Updated Jun 28, 2012

    The largest city in Western Sahara, Laayoune is an odd sort of place. Traces of the original Spanish settlement are still there, a cathedral and a plaza in a run down corner of town overlooking the desert, a few Spanish street names and whitewashed domed houses, a Parador hotel. A spanish priest still gives mass occasionally to a handful of Spanish residents. But the Moroccans have added a whole new city behind it. Huge empty squares, big shiny monuments, enormous stadiums, and row upon row of apartment blocks. The waiters and shopkeepers and hoteliers all come from Tangier or Fes or Agadir. The UN are here too, swishing about town in white land-rovers. But what about the Sahraouis? Well, they're less visible. Still around, but only noticeable when they wear their traditional clothes, the colourful sari-like head-to-toe coverings of the women, and the deep blue robes of the men. They make tea and handicrafts in the Ensemble Artisanal, and protests on Fridays.

    Laayoune may not have too many attractions for the tourist, but it is an intriguing place to spend a day or two, especially if you clamber over the rubbish and rubble down to the Seguiat el-Hamra, a semi-dry river bed rich in birdlife and surrounded by orange sand dunes of the type you dream about. Tourists pay good money to visit the sand dunes at Merzouga with lots of other tourists, but climb a dune here and you're on your own. Read much more on my Laayoune page (listed under Western Sahara, not Morocco)...

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    Smara

    by maykal Written Jun 28, 2012

    Smara didn't use to exist in guidebooks, and while Moroccan tourist literature used to admit to its existence, it was only with a vague description, "historical town of Smara" in small print at the bottom. As a garrison town close to the front line in the war with Polisario, until recently tourists weren't allowed in, but things have relaxed and if you can talk your way through the checkpoints, there's nothing to stop you exploring this vaguely historical town. Historical in Smara means dating back to 1895, when the Zaouia Sheikh Ma al-Ainein was founded, one of the oldest buildings in all of Western Sahara. Aside from the zaouia and a ruined mosque beside it, Smara is very much a military town full of soldiers and prostitutes and UN workers. Still, those not falling under any of those categories are friendly and chatty, and pleased to see a tourist. Read more on my Semara page (listed under Western Sahara, not Morocco)...

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    Western Sahara

    by maykal Written Jun 28, 2012

    It may be listed on VT as a separate country, but as far as Morocco is concerned, Western Sahara is just southern Morocco...I won't argue here whether it is or it isn't, but I will offer a few tips for the few travellers who make it this far south (fewer and fewer, now that the border with Mauritania is so difficult to cross).

    - Be prepared for long distances with not much to look at out of the window. Laayoune to Ad Dakhla takes 8 hours by bus, and there is only one town in between. Occasionally the road passes close enough to the shore for you to be able to see shipwrecks on wild beaches, but for the most part, it is just desert...and not the pretty kind of desert. No rolling dunes (apart from a few close to Laayoune), we're talking bare sandy-coloured rock in a completely flat landscape. Bring headphones and a good book.

    - Be ready for checkpoints. Travel south of Tan Tan, and you'll be stopped at a police checkpoint or several, generally at the entrance to towns. Be polite and friendly, answer all the questions no matter how inane they might be, and have a good idea why you are travelling in Western Sahara. One guidebook suggested preparing a sheet with things like name, nationality, date of birth, date of entry, date of departure, address, local address (make one up), reason for visiting, passport number, date of issue, etc. It might save a bit of time, but you'll be pulled off the bus or taxi anyway. Knowledge of French or Arabic is a plus, especially if you don't have a sheet ready to hand over.

    - Don't talk politics. Whatever your thoughts on the Moroccan occupation, keep them to yourself. You could get in trouble, but more likely is that you'll get the person you spoke with into trouble. Demonstrations by Sahraouis are not uncommon, but don't try to watch or photograph them, unless you want to see the inside of a prison cell. Friday after prayer seems to be a common time for these, and if the police tell you to move on, move on.

    - To find out a bit about Sahraoui culture without getting yourself or others into trouble, try visiting the local Ensemble Artisanal. These seem to be the only places where Sahraoui culture is actively encouraged, and even if they are somewhat sterile and soulless places, the people working in them certainly aren't.

    - Be careful where you point your camera. The Moroccan Army are everywhere, and every other building seems to belong to them. Ask before taking pictures.

    - For Arabic speakers and learners, the Sahraoui dialect is closer to Hassaniya than Moroccan dialects, and I found it a lot easier to understand as there were some similarities to Sudanese Arabic. However, many people in the cities are migrants from places like Meknes, Marrakech and Rabat, so you're more likely to hear Moroccan dialects on the streets.

    - Even though this was formerly Spanish Sahara, the heavy flow of migration from the north has brought French influences. French is far more useful as a foreign language, and aside from the occasional old street name, you won't come across much Spanish.

    - Don't expect too much in the way of tourist attractions. Laayoune, Smara and Ad-Dakhla all have their charms, but there are very few historical monuments, and they are essentially bland modern Moroccan cities, just in out-the-way locations. The coastline is fairly inaccessible for the most part, with the exception of a few spectacular beaches just outside Ad-Dakhla. However, if you like all things quirky and odd, have a deep interest in the history or politics (as long as you keep quiet about it)or won't rest until you've been to the remotest corner, Western Sahara might just be what you are looking for.

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    visit an old mosque

    by crazyman2 Written Jun 6, 2012

    In the Tizi n'Test pass there is one of the only two mosques that non-believers may visit: the Tin Mal mosque in the village of Tin Mal.
    It is still in use on Fridays ---as a non-believer you cannot enter that day. The entrance fee is about 10 dh.
    The 12th Century building, some of it restored, is in the Almohad style. A lot of the fine detail can be seen and it's a fabuolus place for photography. The roof has gone and our guide told us that towers were missing too. However, it is well worth a visit.
    Would I return here if I were in the pass? Yes!

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  • Great Place in Sahara Desert Merzouga Erg Chebbi !

    by saharacristina Written May 10, 2012

    We planned to stay one night here and 6 days later wept on having to leave. The garden is in pole position for the dunes. End of the piste - the expanse of small dawn-watching dunes opens right behind of the tents and the most majestic of the high sunset-watch dunes are just a stroll (or dromedary plod) away. And it truly is a garden - palm trees, vegetable plots and hundreds of little birds. The tents are very comfortable. The food is delicious. The staff are welcoming, helpful and also great fun. (And natty turban/jellaba wearers) Evenings are spent round the fire with the nattily dressed waiters being joined by some of the local camel drivers, guides and rock sellers for drum, cymbal and voice jam sessions, dancing and joking. Brahim presiding over everything and making sure everyone is happy. And we certainly were. We'll be back, life in the desert is idyllic in the Sahara Garden. we recommend Sahara-Gar, Yden.comES!

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    Ziz Valley

    by Robmj Written May 4, 2012

    This is a barren but spectacular landscape in south eastern Morocco down by Erfoud and Merzouga.

    The valley actually starts around a small town of Rich, part the Garrison town or Er-Rachidia and onto the desert towns of Erfoud, Merzouga and Taouz which is by the Erg-Chebbi desert.

    The town of Rissani which is in the valley has many architectural sights and there is a great 21km circuit that will take you past many.

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