What to do in Morocco
What to do in Morocco
Our guide on what to do in Morocco
Morocco has a complex and varied history with many empires occupying the country. The Romans ruled the country until the 5th Century and left behind many Roman ruins which can still be visited. There has been an Arab influence in Morocco for many centuries and they brought Islam to Morocco. Islam is the dominant religion and Morocco has many beautiful mosques, the most spectacular is the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca. In modern times, France and Spain have had considerable influence in the region before Morocco gained independence in 1956.
The complex history of Morocco has resulted in a culture that is a blend of Berber, Arab, African, European and Jewish influences. In the mountains, there are still the descendants of the original Berber nomads who still live a very simple lifestyle similar to their ancestors. The Berbers prefer to be referred to as the Amazigh – which translates to freemen. They have lived in Morocco for thousands of years and have resisted attempts by the many invading forces to colonise them.
Most cities in Morocco have a medina, this is the old historic part of the city. There is normally a high stone wall around the area which was originally to protect the town from attack. Within each medina is a souk which is an Arab marketplace where many local people still shop. Wandering through the medina’s allows visitors to step back in time, the medina in Fes was built in the 14th Century and is still remarkably intact. A wide range of languages are spoken in Morocco reflecting its diverse population, languages include Arabic, Berber, English and Spanish.
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I am fascinated by history, culture, and vibrant local lifestyles, so naturally Morocco is one of my favorite destinations. Exploring the thriving ancient medinas and gazing at Morocco’s epic landscapes is incredible. I can’t wait to start curating your North African adventure!
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Best activities to do in Morocco
Morocco has a huge range of outdoor pursuits, history, culture and food to enjoy. To help you narrow it down we have put together a list of some of our favorites. Please talk to your consultant about what you enjoy so we can make specific recommendations.
Hike in the Atlas Mountains
The Atlas Mountains stretch across Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, with the High Atlas of Morocco home to North Africa’s highest peak. It’s a hiker’s paradise with scenic routes that bring views of lush, green valleys, cliffs, waterfalls and rare birds as well as remote Berber villages. Other outdoor adventures can be enjoyed in abundance too, including 4X4 excursions and mule treks.
Located along the Atlantic coast, Essaouira attracts surfers from across the globe, while providing a chilled atmosphere and postcard-perfect looks with its blue and white medina surrounded by walls, gates, bastions, and towers. It’s a lovely place to stroll, with winding alleyways and a lively souk. Stop to relax with a steaming pot of mint tea and an ocean view.
Dinner at Dar Roumana
Don’t miss the opportunity to dine at the Fes restaurant, set within a magnificently restored traditional home in the medina, framed by olive groves and the ancient walls. It has a rooftop for sipping cocktails with a view and an impressive French-Moroccan fusion menu that go beyond the usual tagine. Dishes like braised rabbit and yoghurt are inspired by local, seasonal produce.
Explore the Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech
The most impressive green space in Marrakech, this 2.5-acre botanical and artist’s landscape garden was created by French Oriental artist Jacques Majorelle. It includes a 1930s Cubist villa, while the garden provides a lush oasis with thick bamboo, rare flora, cactus and palm groves, with water lily-filled ponds, streams and a bright blue water fountain that matches the adjacent Berber Museum.
Shop in the souks of Marrakech
Enchanting Marrakech is home to many lively souks, which translates to marketplace or bazaar in Arabic. This is the original market town, with the souks serving as the heart of the medina as they have for a thousand years. There are more than 3,000 stalls selling everything from Berber rugs and leather goods to exotic spices, lanterns, tagines and scarves.
Visit the Tannery in Fes
The Chaouara Tannery opened nearly a thousand years ago and is the largest in the city of Fes. Here you can watch leather being made and dyed, using traditional methods that date back to medieval times. Go in the morning to capture a shot of the colorful dyes from the terraces above. It’s one of the best places for purchasing high-quality leather goods.
Experience street food at Jemma el Fnaa
The most famous square in Marrakech, Jemaa el Fnaa is located in the medina and serves as the epicentre of the city. The bustling atmosphere never slows, although it’s especially lively in the evening when it becomes a popular hub for entertainment and dining. Marvel at everything from musicians and monkey handlers to snake charmers while enjoying delicious bites from the food stalls.
Explore the ruins of Chellah
Near Rabat’s medina are the ruins of Chellah, it is one of the country’s most significant historical sites. It includes walled ruins of a Roman town and a mosque, now overgrown with olive and fig trees, bamboo and flowers. An elegant minaret is now topped by a stork’s nest. A pool with resident eels attracts couples who believe feeding them boiled eggs is a fertility charm.
Sleep out in the desert
Spend the night in a luxury tent in the Sahara Desert, you will travel across the desert in a 4×4 vehicle to your Berber camp surrounded by sand dunes. Dinner will be accompanied by local music and food before you retire to your ensuite tent for the night. In the morning you will head out on a camel to watch the sunrise over the desert.
Moroccan cooking class
A local chef will take you into the local souk (market) to shop for fresh ingredients for the meal you will prepare. The chef will guide you through the markets explaining the core elements of Moroccan cuisine and help you select the best ingredients. You will then go to the chef’s riad to learn how to cook some of the staple Moroccan dishes.
Experience a traditional hammam
A hammam is a traditional Moroccan bathing ritual. It varies from place to place but the general process is that you soak in a pool or steam room, you are then exfoliated before being rinsed and then having a massage. This is a rejuvenating experience and an integral part of Moroccan life.
Explore Ait Benhaddou
Spend a day with a guide exploring the ksar of Ait Benhaddou. A ksar is a traditional Saharan village, consisting of earthen buildings surrounded by a high fortified wall. Ait Benhaddou is an exceptionally well-preserved ksar located on the historic caravan route between the Sahara Desert and Marrakech. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987. The ksar is famous and has been used as Yunkai (the slave city) in Game of Thrones, Gladiator and many other productions.
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