With its dramatic landscapes, fascinating history, and intersection of Berber, Arabian and European culture, Morocco should be at the top of every adventure traveler’s bucket list. I spent two weeks there in its cities, winding medinas, mountains and coastal towns. And one night under the stars in the Sahara.
To view the Morocco Photo Gallery as a slideshow, click on any photo in the grid to begin.
The Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, the largest in Morocco, with the highest minaret in the world at nearly 700 feet
Detail of the Hassan II Mosque, showing the mosaics and pointed arch found throughout Morocco and Islamic architecture
Meknes, one of the four imperial cities of Morocco, with Fes, Marrakesh, and Rabat
Mint tea is served hot and very sweet throughout Morocco. Found here on a rooftop above the Meknes El Hedim square
A “camel burger” from a seller in the Meknes souk
Interior of a restored mosque in Meknes
Volubilis, ruins of a Roman and Berber city near Meknes, fell to local tribes in 285 and was never retaken by Romans. During the early 20th century, it was excavated by the French.
Arch of Caracallas at Volubilis, built in 217 and reconstructed by the French in the 1930’s
Ruins of the basilica at Volubilis, used for the administration of justice and governance of the city
Detail of a Volubilis mosaic representing the 12 labors of Hercules
The gates of the royal palace in Fes, adjacent to the old Jewish quarter
Detail of the Royal Palace doors
Children play in the labyrinth of streets in the Fes medina (old city), founded in the 8th century.
A woman in the Fes medina wears a djellaba, a traditional Moroccan loose outer garment with a hood
Fes is famous for its leather products, all made in a process that remains mostly unchanged since medieval times. The legendary smell comes from the cow urine, quicklime, water, and salt used to prepare the hides.
Traditional Moroccan babouche slippers from the tanneries in Fes
An assortment of Moroccan salads and spreads including zaalouk, delicious cooked salad made with eggplant, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and spices
A savory and slightly sweet pie made from dough similar to phyllo, with cinnamon and confectioner’s sugar on top
An artisan in the Tamegroute Pottery Cooperative in Fes. Artists create, paint and hand-form mosaics and pottery pieces before your eyes.
The winding path of the Ziz River in Midelt, in the Middle Atlas Mountains
Sahara treks begin and end from an auberge at the edge of the desert. This is the view from an auberge in Merzouga, at the edge of the Erg Chebbi dunes.
Transportation into the Sahara – technically a dromedary (only one hump)
The start of the Sahara trek, a line of camels led by guides into the dunes of the Erg Chebbi
Sahara trek guides are multi-talented: leading your excursion, preparing meals and providing entertainment with traditional Moroccan stories and songs.
An overnight camp in the Sahara Desert
A Sahara guide in the dunes of the Erg Chebbi
The city of Tinghir (or Tinerhir) is the center or a large area of oases in Southern Morocco.
Ait Benhaddou is a ksar (fortified village) along the former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakesh. Today it is a site for film sets, including Yunkai in Game of Thrones.
The view from an arched doorway on the hike to the top of the fortress. A small number of sellers and families still live inside the ksar.
From the top of the ksar, you can see the more modern dwellings cross the river, and the earthen clay architecture of the ksar.
Berber carpets for sale along the route of a hike up to Aroumd, a small Berber village in the High Atlas Mountains.
The Berber village of Aroumd, in the High Atlas Mountains
The port at the fortress walls of Essauoira (formerly Mogador), on the Atlantic coast.
A cat in a shop of the Essaouira medina
An arched doorway of a home in Essouira
The Koutoubia Mosque, the largest mosque in Marrakech
Detail of a door at a home in the Marrakech medina
The marketplace of Djemaa el Fna in Marrakech. In the inner market, you can find artisans producing their wares which are sold in the chaotic outer stalls.
A reflecting pool in Majorelle Gardens in Marrakech, a twelve-acre botanical and landscape garden built by French artist Jacques Majorelle. Yves Saint Laurent and partner Pierre Bergé bought the Jardin Majorelle in 1966.
A daytime view of the Djemaa el Fna square, where you can find orange juice sellers and snake charmers by day.
At night, the Djemaa el Fna Square fills with dancers, magicians and musicians, as well as dozens of food stalls.
A peppermint-based drink from a seller in the square, with other spices like cardamom, ginger and galanga.
The train station of Marrakech, where you can catch the express back to Casablanca at the end of your trip.