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.
Essaouira is a port city and resort on Morocco’s Atlantic coast. Its medina (old town) is protected by 18th-century seafront ramparts called the Skala de la Kasbah, which were designed by European engineers. Old brass cannons line the walls, and there are ocean views. Strong "Alizée" trade winds make the city’s crescent beach popular for surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing.
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.
Chefchaouen, or Chaouen, is a city in the Rif Mountains of northwest Morocco. It’s known for the striking, variously hued blue-washed buildings of its old town. Leather and weaving workshops line its steep cobbled lanes. In the shady main square of Uta el Hammam is the red-walled casbah, a 15th-century fortress and dungeon with ethnographic and art exhibits. The octagonal minaret of the Great Mosque rises nearby.