Movie-makers have long made full use of Morocco’s diverse and stunning landscapes, historic sites, and bustling cities to create cinematographic magic. While some places spring out of the screen and scream Morocco, other places around the kingdom have been used to stand in for various global, or fictitious, destinations. Look out for snapshots of Morocco in many well-known films.
Ait Ben Haddou: Gladiator, Lawrence of Arabia, Jewel of the Nile, GOT
The glorious earth-built traditional Berber ksar of Ait Ben Haddou is a dream come true for photographers and film-makers. Indeed, the surrounding area is so popular in the world of cinema that there are several large film studios close to hand. The towering sand-colored walls, narrow interior pathways and staircases, traditional abodes, and panoramic vistas have featured in a number of movies, including Gladiator, Lawrence of Arabia, and Jewel of the Nile. Fans of Game of Thrones may recognize the glorious site as the fictitious Yellow City of Yunkai.
Meknes: Jewel of the Nile
The former imperial city of Meknes was used to shoot some scenes for Jewel of the Nile. The sequel to Romancing the Stone, the movie stars Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, and Danny De Vito, documenting their adventure as they search for hidden treasure.
Marrakech: Sex and the City 2, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Hideous Kinky
While the plot of The Man Who Knew Too Much centers around a family vacationing in Morocco, avid film fans may be surprised to find out that a hotel, Amanjena, in Marrakech was used as a stand-in for Abu Dhabi in the recent Sex and the City 2. Hideous Kinky, however, probably offers the best window into life in the Red City. The sights and sounds of the old imperial city are vividly depicted as the characters attempt to adjust to local life.
Casablanca: Desert Storm, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
Although Morocco’s largest city lends its name to one of the most iconic black-and-white movies ever made, many visitors may be surprised to learn that the romantic golden oldie of Casablanca wasn’t actually filmed in Morocco. The gigantic Chinese production of Desert Storm, on the other hand, did use Casablanca, in addition to Rabat, Agadir, Sale, Tangier, and other Moroccan destinations, for filming. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation shot a car chase through the narrow streets of the Derb Sultan neighborhood.
El Jadida: Othello
The 1951 movie Othello, directed by Orson Welles, was filmed in several places around Morocco and Italy. The eerie underground chamber of the old Portuguese Cisterns in the charming seaside town of El Jadida was used to shoot the famous fight scene between Roderigo and Cassio.
Tangier: Inception, The Bourne Ultimatum, and James Bond
The bustling Grand Souk in Morocco’s northern coastal city of Tangier was chosen as the perfect place to film the exhilarating chase scene in Inception, with Tangier also filling in for Kenya’s large city of Mombasa. Tangier also saw plenty of action during the filming of The Bourne Ultimatum, and it has featured in several James Bond movies, including From Russia with Love and The Living Daylights.
Erg Chebbi: The Mummy Returns
The majestic and towering dunes of Erg Chebbi inspire awe in most that see them. It is no surprise, therefore, that the site has been noticed by film producers. In The Mummy Returns, the Moroccan desert was used for scenes that supposedly occurred in the Egyptian desert.
Rabat: American Sniper, Black Hawk Down
The Moroccan capital of Rabat has been used in several movies as a stand-in for Iraq. While filming scenes of war may be unsafe and unwise in Iraq, Rabat’s neighborhoods are easily transformed for a convenient alternative. Both American Sniper and the earlier Black Hawk Down used the streets of Rabat and the nearby city of Sale to shoot harrowing scenes.
Essaouira: Game of Thrones, Othello, Alexander, Kingdom of Heaven
The popular coastal town of Essaouira was a major filming location in Orson Welles’ Othello, showing the impressive sea fortress of Skala de la Ville at the start of the movie as well as scenes from the beach, the Jewish quarter, the old medina, and more. If you love Game of Thrones you’ll likely enjoy exploring Astapor; Essaouira was the setting for the fictitious area. Essaouira was one of many global locations chosen to film Alexander, and it was transformed for Kingdom of Heaven to represent ancient Jerusalem.
Erfoud featured in movies like The Mummy and Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time showed many places around the kingdom. Oujda, Tangier, and Erfoud appear in Spectre, the 24th James Bond film. You’ll certainly be forgiven for experiencing feelings of déjà-vu as you travel around Morocco!
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.