Morocco is increasingly gaining popularity as one of the world’s top travel destinations… and deservedly so! Nature has been generous, throwing up a colourful mélange of white pristine mountain peaks, smoldering deserts and azure Mediterranean seas. Interspersed in these are Morocco’s exotic cities, replete with historical monuments, bustling souks, ancient medinas and medieval tribes, all adding up to this colorful Arab nation making for one of Africa’s most intriguing visits!
Touring the Famous city of Marrakech
Situated in central Morocco, the "Red city" is a vibrant mix of ancient palaces and sprawling gardens, souks and informative museums. A visit to the Koutoubia Mosque, Baadi Palace and Saadian Tombs are a great place to get acquainted with Morocco’s religion, history and culture, or if you’re looking to add a bit of relaxation into your travels, take a stroll through the beautiful Menara & Majorelle Gardens. Follow your city tours up with a soak, steam and massage session at a traditional Hammam- a favorite method of relaxation enjoyed all over the country. Another must do while you’re in Marrakech is paying a visit to the Jemaa el-Fna. Marrakech’s main square and marketplace, this bustling center of commerce and entertainment condenses the essence and beauty of all of Morocco into one place.
The Northern City of Fez
Morocco’s third largest city of Fes, also known as the “Athens of Africa”, may catch you off guard at first, but by the time you have to leave, you’ll be aching to stay behind. There’s nothing quite like wandering the city’s ancient medina, getting lost amidst its colors, carts, smells, vendors and labyrinth-like layout. If you find your nose picking up one particular scent, follow it down to one of Fez’s main attractions: its tanneries. Fez is famous for its leather goods, and visitors can explore the product’s pungent, colorful origins alongside a Morocco tour guide. A local tradition since medieval times, watching the processes can be fascinating for the strong hearted… just make sure you bring along your nose plug!
The Imperial City of Meknes
Right from the lavish Gateway of Bab al Mansour to the still impressive ruins of the Da el Kabir Palace, one can see why Meknes was famously called the Moroccan Versailles. One could only be further impressed with the grandeur of its mosque, mausoleum and madrasa accompanied by a bustling medina, in what used to be the capital of the Moroccan sultanate, but is today a quiet and understated city waiting to be explored at its own laid back pace. Your Meknes tour guide will recommend making this a base to visit the ancient Roman ruins of Volubilis and the pilgrimage town of Moulay Idriss on the way.
A Coastal Taste of Morocco
If you’re ready to explore a whole different side of Morocco, head for the central coast city of Essaouira. Home to some gorgeous souks, beaches, a lively local fish market, excellent restaurants and unique, historical sites exclusive to this part of the country (the Portuguese ramparts, Jewish Quarter, etc.), Essaouira feels like an entirely different destination from the rest of Morocco. One of the most memorable aspects of Essaouira is staying in a riad. A riad is a traditional Moroccan home, typically suited with a beautiful interior garden and courtyard. Staying in one of these relaxing, historic and hospitable houses is one of the most unique things to do in Morocco and can truly make for some unforgettable memories during your stay in Essaouira.
A tip for travelers: Try and book your stay in a riad with an open rooftop- it will give you some incredible views of Essaouira!
Despite being one of the country’s most famous destinations (by name), Casablanca isn’t necessarily the most appealing destination in the country. Morocco’s biggest city and economic and industrial center, Casablanca has one particular site that makes a visit worthwhile: the amazing Hassan II Mosque. Home to the tallest minaret in the world and the third largest mosque in the world, this French designed structure can house up to 25,000 worshippers inside and 80,000 within its surrounding courtyard.
While these cities may be the most famous of the country’s urban attractions, numerous other Moroccan cityscapes that are equally as interesting and engaging beckon. The cities of Tangier, Ouarzazate and Rabat house everything from dramatic deserts and Kasbahs to gorgeous beaches and bustling medinas, each with their own unique and distinct charms. Book your trip to Morocco and explore these fascinating cities to discover so much more!
Image Details and Licenses:https://flic.kr/p/ni5Pb2 (Liz Mochrie, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0), https://flic.kr/p/6oQzCf(Frank Douwes,CC BY 2.0);https://flic.kr/p/eTd5of(David Castañón,CC BY-NC-SA 2.0);https://flic.kr/p/4dWQCQ(Pierre Metivier,CC BY-NC 2.0)https://flic.kr/p/7mRvjj(Marc,CC BY-NC-SA 2.0);https://flic.kr/p/e5dMTx(Chris Zielecki,CC BY-NC-SA 2.0);https://flic.kr/p/7rdYs6(Beum Gallery,CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)