Morocco is a mystical, almost magical country in North Africa whose largest city, Casablanca, has captured the hearts of millions for decades after the release of the famous film of the same name. But Morocco isn't just about Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. Its desert landscape makes it an amazing place to explore, and there are many big cities that tourists flock to every year. If you want a more personal, less crowded experience, though, here are four things to see in Morocco that no one tells you about.
Fez - The Ancient City
When people give suggestions for where to go in Morocco, Marrakesh is usually the first city they mention. In recent years, though, this "desert oasis city" has become more and more popular, resulting in overcrowded streets (2 million tourists visited in 2017 alone) and an air of artificiality. Fez, though, has retained its authenticity, and still looks much like it did when it was created over 1,200 years ago. It is one of the best-preserved cities in the Arab world, partially because cars are not allowed within the city limits. Instead, people use hand carts pulled by donkeys to move things from one place to another, which only serves to add to the illusion that you have stepped back in time.
Jebel Sahro - The Volcanic Mountain Range
If you love trekking and are looking for someplace that is off the beaten path (literally), then you should hike out to Jebel Sahro. This mountain range is unlike any you have ever seen: it has deep, breathtaking gorges, flat top mesas, stunning cliffs and volcanic spires that reach high up into the sky. The Jebel Sahro is not for the faint of heart, however. This is a trek that lasts around five days, and involves camping out under the stars, sometimes in the snow. But it is all worth it for the incredible view.
Sidi Ifni - Art Deco Architecture
If you are enchanted by the Art Deco style of architecture that Casablanca is famous for, then Sidi Ifni should be first on your itinerary. This city is not as full of tourists as Casablanca, but it has the same type of buildings and structures, all decorated in bright pastel colors and floral patterns and whitened by the sun. If you are looking for something a bit more adventurous to do here, check out the fried squid at one of the local fish stands for a true taste of local cuisine.
Lixus - Roman Ruins
One of the most amazing sites in Morocco is one that barely gets any press. The Roman Ruins of Lixus have been standing for thousands of years. This place was constructed by the Romans, and later held by the Phoenicians and Carthaginians, making it a true part of history. It is also said to be the spot where the mythical Hercules stole the golden apples for the second to last of the 12 labors assigned to him by the gods. The Roman Ruins at Lixus are especially amazing to explore because there are no signs here to guide you - you simply move about as an ancient Roman would have done centuries before you were born.