Marrakesh, a former imperial city in western Morocco, is a major economic center and home to mosques, palaces and gardens. The medina is a densely packed, walled medieval city dating to the Berber Empire, with mazelike alleys where thriving souks (marketplaces) sell traditional textiles, pottery and jewelry. A symbol of the city, and visible for miles, is the Moorish minaret of 12th-century Koutoubia Mosque.
Casablanca is a port city and commercial hub in western Morocco, fronting the Atlantic Ocean. The city’s French colonial legacy is seen in its downtown Mauresque architecture, a blend of Moorish style and European art deco. Standing partly over the water, the enormous Hassan II Mosque, completed in 1993, has a 210m minaret topped with lasers directed toward Mecca.
Fes is a northeastern Moroccan city often referred to as the country’s cultural capital. It’s primarily known for its Fes El Bali walled medina, with medieval Marinid architecture, vibrant souks and old-world atmosphere. The medina is home to religious schools such as the 14th-century Bou Inania and Al Attarine, both decorated with elaborate cedar carvings and ornate tile work.
Tangier, a Moroccan port on the Strait of Gibraltar, has been a strategic gateway between Africa and Europe since Phoenician times. Its whitewashed hillside medina is home to the Dar el Makhzen, a palace of the sultans that’s now a museum of Moroccan artifacts. The American Legation Museum, also in the medina, documents early diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Morocco in an 1821 Moorish-style former consulate.
Merzouga is a small Moroccan town in the Sahara Desert, near the Algerian border. It’s known as a gateway to Erg Chebbi, a huge expanse of sand dunes north of town. West of Merzouga, Dayet Srji is a seasonal salt lake that’s often dry in summer. When full, it attracts a wide range of migratory and desert birds, including desert warblers, Egyptian nightjars and, occasionally.
Zagora is a town located in the Draa River valley in the Moroccan region of Drâa-Tafilalet. It is flanked by the mountain Zagora from which the town got its name.