7 Ancient Sites in Morocco That You Probably Haven’t Heard Of

Explore the many ancient sites that Morocco has to offer
Explore the many ancient sites that Morocco has to offer | © DEA / C. BALOSSINI / Getty Images
Dagney McKinney

Morocco is a country full of history. From Roman ruins to stone circles, set your history enthusiast free with this guide to the country’s best ancient sites.

Loved by over 40s

The country of Morocco is over 1,200 years old, but the land itself is far more ancient. Phoenicians, Romans, Carthaginians, Christian Berbers and Muslim Arab dynasties all built empires within Morocco. The country hosts a cornucopia of ancient and prehistoric sites, perfect for history lovers.

Morocco is known for its labyrinthine old towns, colourful souks and jaw-dropping riads. While you can spend your entire trip soaking up the history of the old towns, there are plenty of important historical sites beyond the medinas. Here are seven ancient sites in Morocco worth leaving the old towns to explore.

Chellah (Sala Colonia)


Mosque and minaret ruined of Chellah necropolis. Rabat. Morocco.
© Photooiasson / iStock
The tawny stone ruins of the Chellah comprise one of the most visited ancient sites in Morocco. It was originally a Phoenician trade market as early as the 3rd century CE. Around 40CE, the Romans built their own city: Sala Colonia. But the Romans lost control of Sala Colonia around 250CE, and it came under Christian Berber rule before they abandoned it in 1154. After that, the Arab Muslim Almohad dynasty continued to use the site as a necropolis. Since the Chellah is in Rabat, it can easily be reached on foot or by taxi.



The Volubilis site in Morocco
© Pierre-Yves Babelon / Getty Images
Walking around Volubilis among the looming Roman ruins and large, intact mosaics, it’s easy to forget you’re in Morocco. Volubilis is widely considered the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Mauretania. The city was continually occupied between the 3rd century BCE and the 11th century and used by the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans and Idrisid dynasty in different capacities. In 1997, Volubilis was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. The best way to visit Volubilis is as a day trip from Meknes, where there are both private tours and shared taxis available.


Historical Landmark

The enigmatic megalith grouping of Msoura is one of the largest remaining stone circles in the world – and possibly the burial site of one of the first Mauretanian kings. Little is known about the site, but it is believed to date back to the 3rd or 4th century BCE. There is also evidence that the stone circle has astronomical significance. Visit at your own risk, as many Moroccans believe Msoura is cursed. Since it is remote, it’s best to go to Msoura with a guide from Tangier or to hire a taxi in Asilah.

Phoenician Tombs

Historical Landmark

Punic Necropolis in Tangier
© Gwengoat / iStock

Although this ancient site is a popular picnic and photo spot for Tangier locals, it doesn’t get much love from tourists. It may seem glib to hang out on top of a 3,000-year-old cemetery, but it’s easy to forget where you are when you see the views. On a clear day, you can even make out Tarifa, Spain in the distance. Unfortunately, the tombs sometimes get trash caught in them, especially due to the wind. The Phoenician Tombs are located a 15-minute walk from Tangier’s Kasbah Museum, right next to Café Hafa.

Prehistoric engravings near Ait Ouaazik

Historical Landmark

© Nicolas VINCENT / Getty Images

In the heart of the Sahara Desert are prehistoric rock carvings depicting various hunting and battle motifs and various animals. Cattle and antelopes are the most popular, but rhinos, giraffes and elephants are not uncommon. There are over 300 rock art sites around Morocco concentrated mainly in the High Atlas Mountains, and across the Sahara Desert. The site near Ait Ouaazik is one of the most accessible. It is possible to drive here, but better to go with a local guide if you are unfamiliar with Moroccan roads. Alternatively, you might be able to visit as part of a desert trek from Zagora.


Historical Landmark

Lixus Roman Remains
© K.M. Westermann / Getty Images

The dusty, sun-drenched stones of Lixus were first settled by the Phoenicians over 2,000 years ago. Since then, several civilisations have controlled and built over different parts of Lixus. Local lore suggests that it was also the mythological Garden of the Hesperides. There are Roman baths, mosaic floors, an amphitheatre and a Christian church, so make sure to give yourself plenty of time to get lost amongst the jostling remnants of antiquity. The archaeological site of Lixus sits on the outskirts of Larache on the northwest coast of Morocco. It’s an hour-long walk, or a taxi ride from nearby Larache.

Caves of Hercules


Hercules Cave
© Zakaria El Yamni / Getty Images
Legend has it that the ancient Greek hero Hercules rested here before one of his 12 labours. This cave complex is at least 8,000 years old and was originally believed to be bottomless. It has two entrances, the more famous of which is the “Map of Africa” – a supposedly Phoenician man-made entrance that faces the sea and is shaped like the continent of Africa. The Cap Spartel lighthouse stands close to the Caves of Hercules at the entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar – the northwesternmost point of mainland Africa. It is a 15-minute car ride from Tangier.
culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.