Filled with ancient cities, coastal resorts, vast desert landscapes, and towering peaks, Morocco is a country that covers just about everything when it comes to adventure travel. Beachgoers will find a coastline that stretches from the Mediterranean to the western Sahara. Hikers can tackle both high-altitude treks and desert journeys to unexpected oases. And all visitors will experience the unique culture that has served as the bridge between Africa and Europe for several millennia. A trip to Morocco involves both a visit into the past and the chance to explore a burgeoning playground for outdoor enthusiasts. If you haven't ever considered Morocco as a vacation destination, it's time to start. Here are 10 reasons why more and more travelers are finding Morocco so enticing.
1. The Mountains Are Calling And You Must Go
While many climbers aim to summit North Africa’s highest peak, Jebel Toubkal, the lesser-traveled Anti Atlas mountains also offer ample opportunities for serious trekking. Travel through Berber villages and tackle the impressive Jebel L’Kest, known as “amethyst mountain.” You don't have to be a serious mountaineer to explore the Moroccan high country—trails are available for all ability levels. And pack your skis: In winter the small ski resort of Oukaïmden offers the opportunity for you to ride the highest chairlift in Africa at the bargain lift ticket price of $13.
2. Explore the Sahara
Morocco's fascinating and beautiful deserts are a thrill to explore. The best way is to take a camel trek, which can be a relatively short ride or a longer exploration of the desert landscape. On overnight trips you'll often camp in traditional Berber tents and spend the night around a campfire under a sea of stars.
3. Sky’s the Limit
Red rock, blue sky? Can’t lose. From bouldering to multi-pitch climbs, Morocco has some great options for the cliff-inclined. The country has a small but growing climbing community and a mix of established climbing areas and undiscovered gems. Many climbers opt to head to the dry Anti-Atlas region for its solid quartzite rock and good access to routes.
4. Delicious Cuisine Around Every Turn
No doubt you’ll work up an appetite adventuring, and Morocco has you covered. Tuck into a mouthwatering tagine, a traditional stew of meat, vegetables, and spices, or a b'stilla, a sweet-savory pastry filled with meat. Street-corner vendors grill fish fresh from the Atlantic coast with a chermoula marinade of cilantro, garlic, lemon, and spices. The county features at least nine regional cuisines, each with its own signature specialties, and you'll have no trouble finding vegetarian-friendly meals. Morocco even has a small wine industry that is producing excellent full-bodied reds.
5. See the Country By Saddle—Bike or Horse
Swerve and swoop your way through the country on thrilling mountain-bike trails. The rugged, dry landscape is a singletrack paradise. The Draa Valley is especially known for combining superb biking alongside its stunning, palm-studded oases. Likewise, horseback riding is a wonderful way to explore the countryside for several days or just an afternoon. Traveling slowly allows you to discover empty beaches, seldom-visited mountain villages, and vibrant rose plantations.
6. Harness the Winds
The “windy city” of Essaouira on the Atlantic coast is a charming coastal town that beckons sailors to take to the ocean. For most of the year, the weather makes the coastline perfect for thrill-seekers who want to try windsurfing, kiteboarding, or sailing. If you prefer sunbathing to adventure sports, take a day trip north or south and discover your very own private, unspoiled beach.
7. Birds Flock Here and So Should You
The diverse landscape of Morocco offers exceptional birding for nature-lovers, who can expect to see a range of raptors, larks, waterfowl, warblers, and more. Not only is Morocco home to a plethora of resident birds, but it also offers refuge to millions of birds on migratory routes every spring and fall.
8. Plenty of Opportunities to Get Lost
The magic of Morocco’s cities rests within the walls of the old city centers, the medinas. The maze-like streets of these medinas offer fascinating exploration in the ancient cities of Morocco. Witness goods being transported by donkey, shop in the colorful markets, and admire the intricate doorways as you spend hours visiting the nooks and crannies of these bustling markets.
9. Hang Ten in Paradise
Morocco welcomes surfers of all abilities to enjoy the laid-back surfing enclaves that dot the coast. Experienced surfers will discover challenging breaks while beginners can easily seek out lessons and rentals in villages like Taghazout. Work up your appetite for fresh fish served at funky eateries run by locals and expats who live for the waves.
10. Hammam’s the Word
After a long day of cultural exploration and physical activity, you’ll have earned a rejuvenating cleansing at a traditional hammam, a bathing ritual that has been popular in Morocco since Roman times. Whether you choose to visit your hotel’s private hammam or venture to a public bath, you can expect to luxuriate in rooms of different temperature and receive an exfoliating scrub from an attendant that won’t leave one speck of Sahara sand on your body.
Originally written for Come to the Sahara.