Morocco is one of my favourite travel destinations! The first time I went for 6 weeks, and the second time I took my mom for 2 weeks. It’s got everything that you’d desire from a ‘culture vulture’ perspective – Mosques, history, Arabic language, gorgeous food (Oh, the tagine!) and amazing people. The Berber people of the Atlas Mountains are amongst the friendliest and most generous that I have ever met. I totally recommend it, and here’s my top highlights of Morocco…
Many people mistake Marrakech for the capital of Morocco. It’s not, the capital is actually Rabat. But Marrakech is probably so famous because of it’s rich culture and history. It’s very accessible and flights go direct from Manchester (Easyjet) and London Stansted (Ryanair). It’s a great city to use as a base to travel out from, due to it’s proximity to the coast and the Atlas Mountains. Don’t miss the Marrakech Museum, Koutoubia Mosque and Ben Yousef Medersa Old Qur’anic School. Also, part of the experience is getting lost in the souks! On the evening, visit Place de Fna for the fabulous food market.
Head to the coast to Essaouira for the popular Game of Thrones travel destination of Astapor! Visit the ramparts early in the morning and then walk through the fish market, where all the salesmen will be sure to tell you their number and snap some crab claws for you! Then you can spend the afternoon exploring the Medina, relaxing on the beach, going shopping and eating in some of the lovely cafes and restaurants. Essaouira is also the perfect place to surf.
The journey from Marrakech to Ouarzazate will take you over the scenic Atlas mountains for stunning views. From Ouarzazate you can take some amazing day trips to Ait Benhaddou, Atlas Studios (where they filmed The Gladiator) and Dades Gorge. I recommend staying at the beautiful and homely Dar Rita.
Don’t miss the blue city, in the North of Morocco, and famous for it’s blue washed buildings in the old town. Top sites include the Medina, the Great Mosque and the Ethnographic Museum. Using Chefchaouen as a base, you can also take a hike in the Rif Mountains.
Casablanca is famous for the White Mosque – the only Mosque in Morocco that tourists are actually allowed to enter. It’s coastal climate is more refreshing than the desert climate of Ouarzazate and Merzouga (desert trek). Casablanca is also a great restaurant town with a thriving arts and culture scene.