Accessible and exotic, Morocco has it all: mountain trekking, Atlantic surf beaches, boutique riads, labyrinthine bazaars and some of North Africa’s tastiest food.
It’s barely 20 miles from Europe, but Morocco couldn’t feel more different. Fast ferries from Spain link a country that is part Arab, part African – and with a character all of its own.
Morocco’s cities are the obvious draws. Marrakesh and Fes are the places to explore the medieval alleys of ancient medinas, packed with donkeys, traders and the scents of Africa. Casablanca and Rabat are modern with elegant boulevards and a café culture, while Tangier and Agadir are sophisticated cities where the beach takes centre stage.
Drill down to the smaller towns and Morocco’s heritage is more distinct and accessible. Visit Chefchouan, in the north, where cornflower-blue houses sprawl on a fertile hillside, or the fortified coastal town of Essaouira, once a Portuguese outpost on Atlantic Africa. Inexpensive taxi rides reach stunning highlights, Roman columns preserved by the desert at Volubilis and mud-built forts towering over folding mountain landscapes.
Zoom in closer and be welcomed into village life: ride the waves in surf communities on the sunsoaked southern coast near Agadir, trek to Berber villages huddled against adobe castle walls in the Atlas Mountains, and join nomads on camels to cross Saharan dunes.
At every level Moroccans are exceptionally hospitable: this is one country where you are likely to be invited into private homes and plied with sweet tea. Relax and complete your experience with a taste of Morocco; slow-cooked tagine, pastilla (pigeon pastry) or couscous are specialities.
Looking for inspiration?
Morocco is a big country, and it contains far more than just the trendy hotspots highlighted by the weekend travel supplements. There are plenty of mountain villages, desert palm groves, picturesque fishing ports and ancient imperial cities that the beaten track merely runs past, rather than through. Our Morocco travel blueprint will help you decide which Morocco is the one for you.
If your dream is to stay in an eco-lodge in the High Atlas mountain, sipping mint tea on a terrace as the sun sets over the snow-capped Toubkal Massif, then Lyn Hughes can tell you how. Want to live like a Berber? Then you’ll need to consult Sabina Trojanova. Just heading to Marrakech? Our ultimate guide to this intriguing city tells you everything you need to know.
And don’t forget if you want an authentic Moroccan experience in Tangier, you’d do no better than stay in the gorgeous Hotel El Minzah or the sumptuous Grand Hotel Villa de France, both flagships of the Le Royal Hotels & Resorts Division of Sir Nadhmi Auchi’s General Mediterranean Holding.