Morocco | Culture, Facts & Travel

13/05/2024

Morocco is one of North Africa’s true gems, with rugged coastlines, bustling cities, breathtaking mountains and a rich cultural history. This sprawling country includes buildings, cities and architecture that must be seen to be believed, all nestled against a desert and mountain backdrop. Whether you want to experience Morocco’s famous markets and souks or watch a sunrise over the Sahara desert, there is no shortage of things to see and do in beautiful Morocco.

Erg Chigaga - the largest sand dunes in Morocco.
Erg Chigaga – the largest sand dunes in Morocco.

Where is Morocco?

Morocco is located in the north-western corner of Africa. Its unique position along the coast means it is home to beautiful coastal towns, deserts and mountains. Morocco’s main neighbours are Algeria to the east and Mauritania to the south.

A rich cultural background

Morocco has a rich and diverse cultural history that combines Arab, Berber, and Andalusi influences. Like most countries, Morocco has been under different rule throughout history, which is one of the reasons it is so culturally diverse. Today, the country is home to over 37  million people, mostly of either Arab or Berber backgrounds. For the record, Berbers are the region’s indigenous people, with many still living nomadic lifestyles.

As far as religion goes, around 99% of the population identifies as Muslim. You only need to look as far as the country’s architecture to understand its diversity. Depending on where you travel within Morocco, you’ll likely find ancient Roman sites, historic Islamic sites, French colonial architecture, and much more.

Moroccan language

The language in Morocco is either Moroccan Arabic or Berber. However, suggesting that only two languages are spoken is a little misleading. The main dialect is called Darja, and around 90% of the population can communicate in modern Arabic. The Berber language, though, has three major dialects for different regions. French is also popular, but if you’re a bit of a linguistics junkie, it’s worth checking which languages are primarily spoken in each region.

Indulge in delicious Moroccan cuisine

When you travel Morocco, you’ll be treated to some delectable cuisine. One of the most common dishes is known as ‘tagine’. The name actually refers to the clay cooking pot in which the food is prepared. Typically, it is a spiced meat stew with vegetables, and you’ll find them almost everywhere in Morocco.

Another highlight is pastilla, a traditional North African meat or seafood pie. It is made with warqa dough, which is similar to filo pastry. There are numerous local variations of the dish, using a range of different spices and fillings. If you want to try some of the best Moroccan cuisine, a trip to the medina in Marrakech is essential!

The High Atlas, the highest part of the Atlas Mountains of Morocco.
The High Atlas, the highest part of the Atlas Mountains of Morocco.

Explore the stunning Atlas Mountains

If you love the outdoors, the Atlas Mountains are unmissable. The mountain range extends for around 2400 kilometres, also forming part of Algeria and Tunisia. The highest peak is Toubkal Mountain, rising to approximately 4,000m. There are several species of plants and animals that can’t be found anywhere else. Through deep valleys, you’ll find small villages that have existed for centuries, and you can even meet some of the locals.

Hiking through the Atlas Mountains is a life-changing experience as you take in all of the natural beauty around you. Keen hikers can tackle the walk to Sidi Chamarouch, an ancient shrine that also offers awe-inspiring views of the mountains and valleys around you.

Photography tours in Chefchaouen

One of the most iconic cities in Morocco is Chefchaouen. It’s often referred to as ‘the blue city’, and you’ll see why as soon as you arrive. The town itself is quite isolated, sitting at the base of the Rif mountains. You can enjoy a photography tour of the city, with a local guide showing you all of the best photo spots.

The medina in Chefchaouen features houses and buildings in all shades of blue. Many of them have artistic and ornate decorations on the doorways, and the red-tiled roofs provide an amazing contrast. There is a big Spanish influence here, and it is certainly recognised as one of the prettiest towns in Morocco.

The UNESCO-listed city of Marrakech

Another site that shouldn’t be missed on a trip to Morocco is the UNESCO-listed city of Marrakech. In Marrakech, you’ll find the largest traditional Berber market and one of the world’s busiest squares, Djemaa el Fna. If you enjoy food, the Marrakech Medina is the place to try some local treats and learn more about Moroccan cuisine.

Colourful pottery at a traditional Berber market
Colourful pottery at a traditional Berber market

Marrakech isn’t all about trade though, as many people visit to enjoy the breathtaking architecture on display. Some highlights include Bahia Palace, Dar Si Said and the Saadian Tombs. The Jardin Majorelle is a spectacularly curated botanical garden that was built over forty years.

Are you ready to travel Morocco?

Crooked Compass offers a range of tours through Morocco, with something suitable for everybody. From exploring the Atlas Mountains to dining on mouth-watering Moroccan cuisine, we show you parts of the world that are less travelled. If you’d like to immerse yourself in a journey through some of North Africa’s most breathtaking landscapes, it’s time to visit Morocco. Contact the Crooked Compass team today, and prepare for an immersive adventure like no other.