Thinking about Morocco may conjure images of bustling, colorful souks filled with spices and bright textiles, vast desert treks, and ancient, beautifully tiled buildings. But there are a number of attractions in the African country that are lesser known — but no less worth checking out. Here are five things to consider adding to your Morocco itinerary.
1. Schedule a Visit to the Jewish Museum
The Moroccan Jewish Museum in Casablanca is the only museum in the Arab world dedicated to Judaism (Morocco is home to the highest concentration of people practicing Judaism in the region). The museum is a relatively new attraction in the ancient city — it was built in 1997 — and hosts a collection of artifacts, clothing, and educational literature that makes it an interesting and invaluable addition to the city and country.
2. Peruse the Wares of Coppersmiths in Marrakech
The Moroccan city’s souks are famous for their towering pyramids of spices, beautiful, elaborate textiles, bright tagines, and handcrafted traditional slippers. But Morocco is also home to a number of talented coppersmiths, who make (and hand engrave) beautiful pots, pans, plates, and lanterns. (Tip: if you’re thinking of buying something, wait till your last day. That way, you’ll know exactly how much space you have left in your suitcase.)
3. Hike through the Todra Gorge
The breathtaking scenery of the Todra Gorge is accessible to even novice hikers, thanks to paved roads that snake through the area. For those looking for a bit more adventure, the gorge’s rock walls are perfect for rock climbing, with more than 150 routes to climb along the way. In addition to the beautiful views, there are a number of Berbers who live in caves in and around the gorge; you’ll likely encounter them herding animals as you hike.
4. Go for a Walk around the World’s Oldest University
The University of Al Quaraouiyine, in Fes, was founded in 859 AD, making it the world’s oldest continuously operating university. The design of the building is austere and conservative, and, unfortunately, non-Muslims are not permitted within any of the university’s buildings. Nevertheless, visitors can tour the grounds, and peek inside the buildings through any open doors.
5. Go Surfing in Essaouira
Morocco is a desert country but’s not landlocked, and the coast of Essaouira boasts some great surfing opportunities. The coastal town has a number of surf schools and classes available for tourists and visitors, in addition to great swimming and opportunities for ocean-side strolls.