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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
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.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
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!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
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.