Morocco is a wondrous, eyes-open taste of the exotic, with snake charmers and conjurers, souks piled high with hordes of treasures and endless glasses of mint tea. It's also an adventure into some of North Africa's most stunning scenery with the desert on its doorstep and the craggy heights of the Atlas Mountains beyond.
Morocco is also a journey into a timeless, tranquil world of cute coastal villages, colourful-painted towns that cling to hillsides and remote outposts defended by fairytale adobe forts. This fascinating country is a merging of the African and Arab worlds, and is steeped in age-old customs. It's no wonder Morocco has been feted by artists and writers for decades and continues to enchant all who visit.
1 Marrakesh Medina
The bustling and vibrant buzz of Marrakesh Medina sums up Morocco for many visitors. The old city is entered from the vast plaza of Djemma el-fna Square where, it seems, half of the city converges throughout the day and into the evening to hang out with the stall vendors, traditional musicians, snake charmers and random acrobats. Once inside the Medina itself, you enter a world of maze-like alleyways and shopkeeper hustle. It's an experience of full of colourful and noisy local life, and not to be missed on your Moroccan sightseeing trails.
2 Hassan II Mosque
Casablanca's landmark building, the Hassan II Mosque is a lavish symbol not only of the city, but also of Morocco itself. This modern mosque (finished in 1993) doesn't do things by halves. The decoration detail covering every centimetre of the mammoth 2 ha site took 10,000 artisans to complete. Intricately carved marble pieces, vibrant mosaics and zellige tile details pay tribute to traditional Islamic architecture, and yet still manage to feel contemporary.
3 Oudaias Kasbah
Rabat's Oudaias Kasbah neighbourhood is a peaceful and perfectly quaint district that feels miles away from the city, yet is right in the heart. Inside the walls of this old fortress are lanes of neat white-and-blue houses rimmed by colourful flowerpots and flapping washing. It's the prettiest corner of the capital.
4 Fes el Bali
Along with Marrakesh, Fes is Morocco's other big cultural destination. But unlike its sister Imperial City to the south, Fes hasn't been trussed up for the tourists. Fes el Bali (Old City) is an authentic muddle of a place where it's near impossible to not get lost. The back alleys here with their chipped plaster-work and gorgeous old doors will have you stopping for photos on every corner, while the stinking tanneries are one of Fes el Bali's most popular attractions for those who can handle the smell.
The most European of all Morocco's cities, Tangier has a fascinating and slightly debauched role in 20th century literary history, and this past is what draws many tourists here. This is the city that inspired famous works such as Paul Bowles' "The Sheltering Sky" and William Burroughs' "Naked Lunch". Tangier may have been scrubbed up since their day with the bohemian cafes and louche bars long gone, but you can still catch a whiff of the decadent days gone by.