On the doorstep of Europe, Morocco sits at the north-western tip of Africa – only an hour’s trip from Spain by ferry. It is well-served for travellers through its major airports at Marrakesh Menara and Mohammed V International, Casablanca.
Morocco is a fascinating experience, with a rich cultural heritage and a wide variety of experiences and sights.
Morocco offers adventurers the vast expanse of the Saharan Desert, the famously bustling markets of Fes and Marrakesh, the hidden gem of Chechaouen – a blue-painted town to the north of the country and world-class hiking in its many mountains. Better still, its modern rail network makes travelling between the major cities accessible and is much preferred to the more chaotic bus and road network.
The culture is a mix of Arabian, Berber and French influences – most clearly experienced through the excellent Moroccan cuisine. Hearty tagines, its infamous couscous, mint tea and rich pastries like Bastilla – layers of filo pastry filled with a variety of cheeses, spices or meats.
Morocco is also famed for its many hammams (bathhouses) and spa offerings found in its cities. Many visitors opt to stay in the lavishly decorated, family-owned hotels called riads rather than major hotels – which are less common than expected.
Many visitors will aim for the famous medieval cities of Fes and Marrakesh or the popular package holiday destination of Agadir, but lesser-known destinations like Tangier, the mountains of Rif and Atlas or some of the many oasis towns are all worthy of further investigation.
The modern cities of Rabat, its capital, and Casablanca are generally not particularly notable for tourism. Whilst the name Casablanca may conjure an ideal of Hollywood glamour (The famous movie Casablanca was filmed in America!) the city itself bears little resemblance to that portrayal.
The impressive Hassan II mosque in Casablanca has the world’s tallest minaret (tower) and as the 7th largest mosque in the world is the city’s major attraction so is still a worthy stop on your travels.
Visitors to Morocco need to be aware that as a Muslim country the dress code is modest – although not legally enforced – and drinking alcohol is less common. The locals (especially in Marrakesh, Casablanca or the country's many markets) will expect a degree of haggling in pricing discussions.
Morocco is a safe, welcoming country the aroma and bustle of its markets have charmed visitors for centuries and will no doubt continue to grow in popularity.