Morocco is a land that cannot be placed in one box. As the most westerly of the North African countries, its culture is a mash up of European, Arab and African influences, and when exploring you’ll come across an equally rich collection of rolling deserts, jagged coastlines, mountain ranges, and ancient cities with meandering alleys and markets.
The place to start a Moroccan crusade, for us, has to be Chefchaouen, a mountain microcosm of a village, and which can only be described as, well, very blue – and very pretty. Almost all the buildings in the village are painted in shades of blue, and with the rise in tourism came an increased availability of accommodation, as well as great food and lots to do, including walking in the mountains, or taking a day trip to the beautiful falls of Ras el-Maa.
As one of Morocco’s two Saharan ergs (or sand dunes), the Erg Chebbi looks, frankly, like it could be a windows screensaver (in the best possible way). Located in the south east of the country, the village of Merzouga is a frequent stop off for tourists due to its proximity to the dune, but natives also travel to Erg Chebbi during the warmest time of year to be buried up to their neck in the hot sand, as this is believed to be effective treatment for rheumatism. So, if you’re feeling sore, why not take a camel to the dunes to ease your pain?
While Morocco’s villages and nature are breathtaking, the cities of the country also have a lot to offer. Casablanca, as you would expect from the largest city in Morocco, has great nightlife, delicious food and plenty of accommodation. For a birds eye view of the lights of the city, have a drink at Sky 28, a bar located on the 28th floor of the Kenzi Tower hotel, but if you’re still craving a bit of quiet R&R, the seaside city of Mohammedia lies 28km north of Casablanca.
No Moroccan meanderings would be complete without a stop off in Marrakech, another of the country’s largest cities, and a riad is the only place to stay in our opinion. Riad’s are dotted all around Marrakesh and the interiors of these traditional Moroccan houses are lined with mosaics, often features a courtyard pool and have daybeds scattered all over the place, making it a dreamy place to relax on a hot day. For an authentic experience of a Moroccan souk, or marketplace, the only option for us would be those north of the main square Jemaa el-Fnaa. The long street of Rue Souk Smarine is split into two alleys called Soul el Attarin and Souk el Kebir, from which many individual souks devoted to specific trades are run. The markets can be an overwhelming experience, and are often described as chaotic, but if you go prepared it will be an unforgettable experience for sure.