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Travelling, even if it’s only for a week or two on holiday somewhere, is always an exciting time. Whether it’s your first or fifth time to a place doesn’t matter – you usually have a great time nonetheless, but what if you want something a bit more challenging with some deep culture and interesting traditions to experience as well? No worries – that’s why we’ve put together this easy to follow, handy guide to a week in Morocco – one of northern Africa’s true gems.
Marrakesh is one of the more inviting cities in Morocco, with Rabat and Casablanca being your typical big, industry based and overcrowded cities. Marrakesh on the other hand, is a smaller area with a lot of things to see and do. Whether you like history or culture or a bit of both, Marrakesh is the place to be. With a maze of souks, a huge open market by night in Jema el-Fna Square, and numerous attractions such as the Saadian Tombs, Marrakesh is a great place to start your Moroccan journey. Book a cheap flight to Marrakesh and make sure to stay in a riad – a traditional Moroccan guesthouse, providing a real taste of life in this beautiful country.
We’d recommend around two days in Marrakesh to get a good feel for it. This allows you ample time to explore the souks and back streets, tombs, mosques and generally get around the city to other points that may interest you. Don’t miss out on a luxurious hammam (steam bath and scrub) by booking into the likes of Les Bains de Marrakesh, a beautiful spa with swimming pool not far from Jema el-Fna.
Fez (sometimes spelled Fes) is a unique city, similar to Marrakesh but with one huge, important difference: Fes is home to a huge network of impressive leather dyeing vats. These vats have been in use for hundreds of years and much of the leather product you can find in the city has been tanned, dyed and produced right in the city with the help of these vats. While a bit of a smelly endeavour, it does give visitors a great look into the leather industry of the city, as well as some really cool photo opportunities from a bit higher vantage points.
Spend at least a day or two in Fez to explore it in detail with its walled Medina, leather vats and colourful, old-world charm. As some of the experience can be similar to Marrakesh, we’d recommend staying only two nights in one and one night in the other.
The north coast of Morocco is home to a number of interesting towns and villages set along waterfronts with great opportunities to kick back and relax on sandy beaches while sipping mint tea and coffee. Throughout the northern region, mountainous villages beckon the traveller who wants to escape the hot plains of the rest of the country, with places like Chefchaouen being enormously popular places for backpackers and luxury travellers alike due to its unique buildings, almost all of which are painted in different blue hues.
Stay at least two nights in Chefchaouen to take a load off and get away from the heat and hectic vibe of Fez or Marrakesh. This gives you lots of time to explore the town and get some of the most impressive photos of your life!
The west coast of Morocco is home to numerous different towns and villages, some with resorts and impressive yoga/meditation or surfing retreats. The city of Essouira is a great stop to make, especially for Game of Thrones fans who want to explore some of this famous series’ filming locations. Aside from that though, Essouira is a great place to just explore, get lost and sample delicious street food. Oh, and did we mention it’s where the annual Gnoua World Music Festival is held in June? Book hotels well in advance though – they fill up fast!
We’d recommend one to two days in Essouira, however you can spend a whole week on this coast (or more!) if you’re learning yoga, surfing or the like. You won’t regret the wide open spaces and feeling of time standing still as you watch the sunset reflect of harbour walls or clock towers with gulls cawing and fishermen bringing in unique catches like conger eel or blue shark.
An absolute must for anyone who is coming to Morocco. Tours to the desert can be booked in advance or through different agencies once you’re in the country. The Sahara is a wonderful experience where you stop off for a night in a gorge along the way from Marrakesh, before heading out to the dunes with Berber tribespeople on camelback to a camp nestled in the sand. Something has to be said for the night sky in the Sahara – what with an unobscured view of the Milky Way and millions upon billions of stars. The usual time for the tour is 2 full days, with breakfasts and dinners included as well as accommodation.
So if you’re looking for a great getaway this year, why not consider heading out to Morocco for a bit of sun and sand (maybe not sea!). With such a rich culture and heritage and ample opportunity to explore beautiful walled cities and medinas, you will find yourself dreaming of Morocco time and again. So book yourself a cheap flight to Morocco and enjoy this beautiful country this year.