Morocco travel guide

Known for its incredible cultural riches, Morocco has fascinated travellers for centuries. The name usually conjures up images of sprawling souks, walled medinas and towering minarets calling Muslims to prayer.

Morocco's biggest drawing card is Marrakech (also spelt Marrakesh), a vibrant city that Winston Churchill once described as "simply the nicest place on Earth to spend an afternoon." This sentiment still rings true for many travellers today.

But Morocco is more than just Marrakech. Tangier, in the north, sits just 13km (8mi) away from Gibraltar and is characterised by its whitewashed buildings and sandy beaches. Further down the Atlantic coast, you will soon come across Morocco's capital city Rabat, cosmopolitan Casablanca, atmospheric Essaouira, and the lively beach resort of Agadir, the latter is a firm favourite among sun-seekers and surfers. Inland, Fes (also spelt Fez) is a well-preserved medieval city famed for its high-walled medina. Talking about medinas, which essentially mean old walled towns, it is worth mentioning that the medinas of Essaouira, Fes, Marrakech and Tétouan are all on UNESCO's World Heritage list.

Beyond the cities, awesome landscapes await. Like an elongated spine, the Atlas Mountains run from the southwest to the centre of Morocco, before extending eastward to Algeria and Tunisia. These rugged landscapes offer spectacular scenery from deep gorges, verdant valleys to snow-capped peaks. People come here to trek, bike, or scale Mount Toubkal, the highest peak in the Atlas Mountains. The areas are also home to the Berber people, whose unique culture, crafts and costumes make for a fascinating visit.

While Morocco is generally a safe country to visit, travellers interested in the disputed territory of Western Sahara should seek the latest travel advice from their own government before departing. This sparsely-populated territory, which sits in the south of Morocco and northwest of Mauritania, is partly controlled by Morocco, a claim that the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), whose government is in exile in Algeria, disagrees. The sovereignty issue remains a sensitive subject.