If you are looking for an exotic type of destination, you should include Morocco on your destination list. This North African country is not your typical tourist destination. There is at least one activity that first-timers will surely love and would come back for more.
Explore spectacular destinations, taste delectable cuisines, and mingle with the locals. Morocco is a fusion of the past and the present. Much of its ancient structures are still there. At the same time, you can experience modern and fun activities that you would not want to miss.
Basic facts about Morocco
Morocco is a North African country that lies across the Strait of Gibraltar. It is beside Algeria (east), Spain (North), Atlantic Ocean (west), and Western Sahara (southwest). The native Moroccans, which mostly are Berbers, are descendants of Spanish and Portuguese refugees.
Its official name is “Kingdom of Morocco”. The country also became a French colony until 1956 when it gained its independence. On the other hand, Morocco annexed the majority of Western Sahara in 1975. It is composed of 6 major regions, namely:
- Saharan Morocco (near the Algerian border)
- Middle Atlas
- High Atlas
- South Atlantic Coast (where the beautiful beaches are)
- North Atlantic Coast (where the capital, Marrakech, is)
- Mediterranean Morocco (where the key ports and popular cities and towns are)
Where to go when you’re in Morocco
Like in any other kind of travel, you should do some research first before going to your destination. Morocco may not be as popular as South Korea or France in terms of a travel bucket list. However, there is so much that Morocco can offer. Here are some key places in Morocco that you should visit soon.
Town of Chefchaouen
The town of Chefchauouen is known for its vibrant blue-painted streets and walls. During the 15th century, Chefchaouen became a refuge for Jews and Muslims during the Reconquista era. This town also sheltered Jews from their Nazi persecutors during the WWII period. At present, this sleepy town offers cozy guesthouses, cafes, and craft markets.
Book in a traditional Riad
Riads refer to a traditional Moroccan home that is converted into inns or hotels. There are a lot of these traditional homes in Fez and Marrakesh cities. Some have pools and rooftop terraces with spectacular views of the outdoors.
Once you step into a riad, you will instantly feel that warmth and peace that you will feel at home too. Its cozy interiors are one thing; its intricate exteriors are another. You will definitely enjoy your stay here.
You might be surprised, but Morocco has a place to live your skiing dreams. Oukaïmeden may not have the same slopes as the ones in the Swiss Alps. But going here is a great alternative to have a memorable skiing experience. If you want to ski here, visit during December and January.
Hassan II Mosque
Morocco is home to hundreds of mosques and other similar structures. However, it is in Casablanca where you can find one of the best: the Hassan II mosque. Its minaret stands at 689 feet, which makes it the tallest one in the world.
King Hassan II instructed the building of the mosque. It was completed in 1993 and became one of the most iconic landmarks in the country. Pictures may not justify its real beauty when you see this in person.
A hammam is a Moroccan steam bath that is similar to that of Turkish baths. This is where people gather to cleanse their bodies and to gossip with other people. There are fewer hammams today.
However, this is another place you should try upon your visit to Morocco. Since this is a public bath, expect to be bare naked while bathing with other people (of the same sex). But if you feel awkward with that, you can visit a more luxurious version of hammams in riads.
The city of Fez is home to various leather products. The tanneries in this place have already been there since the medieval era. If you want to see a nice view of these tanneries, go to the leather shops above the central courtyard of Chaouwara Tannery.
The smell might be overwhelming. However, you will be amazed at how the tanners make these leather goods.
Their food is also known for its aromatic spices and unique cooking procedures. Moroccan cooking is a fusion of different cultures – French, Arabs, Berbers, and Andalusians. Some of the most popular Moroccan dishes include harira and tagine. You can also enroll in a cooking class and learn to cook these classic Moroccan dishes.
If you want some peace and quiet, visit the Majorelle Gardens in Marrakesh. The garden is named after Jacques Majorelle, a French painter and designer. This is also where they scattered Yves Saint Laurent’s ashes back in 2008. Spend quiet time and appreciate the peaceful nature and surroundings.
These are some of the things you should do when you visit Morocco. You can plan your next trip as early as now. But in the meantime, keep yourself safe from the ongoing virus and stay at home!