6 Beautiful Moroccan Coastal Towns to Visit

6 beautiful Moroccan coastal towns

Morocco isn’t just winding souks and desert dunes: it’s also 1,200 miles of coastline running along the Atlantic Ocean all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. Along the coast, charming harbors, busy fishing ports and picturesque beach towns abound – they’re just as diverse as Morocco’s interior. There are many Moroccan coastal towns waiting to be explored, most of which are completely off the radar destinations.

Aside from Agadir and its package holiday resorts, most of Morocco’s coastal towns actually remain largely untouched making them ideal for laid back travelers curious to get to know Morocco off the beaten path. From stress-free medinas to incredible mountain backdrops, our top 5 Moroccan coastal towns have it all. Take your pick and spend your Moroccan getaway taking easy strolls along the beach.

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10 of Morocco’s Best Off the Beaten Path Villages

Off the beaten path Moroccan villages

If you’re planning your first trip to Morocco, chances are you’ll be tempted to visit the country’s best known sites: the busy souks of Marrakech, the historic mosques of Fez, the infinite sea of golden dunes in the Sahara Desert, the windy coastline in Essaouira, or the dramatic mountain landscapes of the High Atlas. While these will all be worthwhile destinations during your trip in Morocco, don’t forget to include Moroccan villages! There’s a case to be made for wandering off the beaten path and exploring some of the country’s lesser visited towns and villages. It’s here that you’ll get to taste a slice of real Morocco, away from the tourist crowds and at your own comfortable pace.

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5 Hikes in Morocco Worth Taking

hikes in Morocco worth taking

Although best known for its desert landscapes and labyrinthine souks, Morocco is actually home to some of the most stunning mountainous scenery in the world. Those who venture away from the country’s bustling medinas will find dramatic mountain ranges, high snow-covered peaks and lush green valleys. Best of all? Hiking remains a largely unexplored activity by foreigners here, leaving you to enjoy Morocco’s natural landscape all to yourself.

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7 Excuses to Visit Morocco in 2017

7 Excuses to Visit Morocco in 2017

So many destinations, so little time! With the New Year finally here, for many travelers the question isn’t if you’ll be traveling or when you’ll be traveling: it’s just a matter of where. Where should you go on your dream vacation? Where should you spend your days relaxing after a hectic month at work? Where will you be taking that once-in-a-lifetime family trip?

To make your life a little easier, we give you 7 excellent excuses to visit Morocco as your next destination in 2017.

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Everything You Need to Know About Visiting the Sahara Desert

Morocco's Sahara Desert

Image by Thomas Buttery

There are very few places on Earth that compare to the incredible landscape of the Sahara Desert. Located on Morocco’s western border, the Sahara Desert is the world’s largest hot desert covering an area similar to that of the United States. Many travelers visit Morocco specifically with the intention of venturing off into the desert and spending a night under the stars. And we can’t blame them! A desert adventure is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and we wouldn’t want you to miss out on it either.

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UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Morocco

Morocco's UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Morocco is home to 10 UNESCO World Heritage sites, an impressive showing. UNESCO World Heritage Sites are selected on the basis of having cultural, historical, scientific or some other form of significance, and they are legally protected by international treaties. These sites are seen as being an important part of the collective interests of global humanity. To be listed a country must first take stock of all their ethical and natural properties that are put forward to the International Council on Monuments and Sites and World Conservation Union who make the final decision. Since the inception of the program in 1972, 192 states parties have ratified the convention. In July of 2016, 1052 sites are listed: 814 cultural, 203 natural, and 35 mixed properties. (more…)

Mythbusting: 5 Common Misconceptions About Morocco

Mythbusting: 5 Common Misconceptions About Morocco

If you’re planning a trip to Morocco soon, chances are you’ve Googled something like “traveling to Morocco” or “travel tips Morocco” recently. And chances are you’ve come across articles about safety concerns in Morocco, detailing how to navigate this Muslim country as a non-Muslim or warning you about bargaining too much in this developing country.

Well we’re here to set the record straight. Below, we take a look at some of the most common myths about Morocco and give you the hard facts.

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Guide to the Beaches of Mirleft, Morocco

Guide to the Beaches of Mirleft

Mirleft, Morocco is a small and sleepy fishing town peacefully set back from untouched Southern Moroccan coastline and a handful of rugged beaches (some still totally wild). So laid back it’s almost horizontal, the friendly Berber town remains to attract low levels of foreign tourism and perhaps for good reason; there is not much to make up an exciting ‘things to do’ list in the town itself.

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Ancient Granaries: Saffron Fills the Senses (Part IV)

Morocco's Red Gold: Ancient Granaries

“Morocco, though it is visited by thousands of tourists every year, remains an unknown country – the greater part of it as uncharted to the European or American visitor as was Tibet a hundred years ago.”                            Gavin Maxwell, Lords of the Atlas, 2000.

The Ancient Granaries of Taliouine from Journey Beyond Travel on Vimeo.

Maxwell may have been writing almost two decades ago, early in the rise of google maps, satellite technology and the age of snap-happy travellers capturing selfies across the globe, but the quotation above still rings true. With so much of Morocco’s tourism being directed towards the Imperial cities and luxury riads of Fez and Marrakesh, many of the Maghreb’s treasures remain undiscovered by most or simply forgotten by all. (more…)

8 Tips for Eco-Friendly Travel to Morocco

Eco-Friendly Travel in Morocco

Eco-friendly travel and sustainable travel are the newest buzzwords in the global tourism industry – and rightly so. Traveling has enormous impacts on our carbon footprint. Everything from the CO2 emissions of airplanes to the waste of plastic in hotels means the tourism industry can end up affecting our climate system disproportionally. Today, many travelers are looking for ways to minimize their carbon footprint while jet setting across the world. The good news is the travel industry has taken note and is adopting newer and more eco-friendlier ways of doing business.

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Scenes from the Sahara

The Moroccan Sahara

The expanse of the Sahara desert which stretches across Morocco is divided into two main regions; the Erg (dunes) Chebbi and the Erg Chigaga. Both provide the spectacle of rolling, velvet sand dunes for as far as the eye can see, with the mountains of Algeria as a backdrop when looking east. Whether you decide to visit the Chigaga or the Chebbi dunes, you will enjoy beautiful camel treks, serene sunsets treks and stunning star lit nights, but each region had it’s own unique charm.

It can also be guaranteed that your journey from the Imperial cities of Fez or Marrakesh will take you through significant changes in landscape before you hit the dunes themselves; over mountains, barren rocky plateaus and lush oasis valleys. The route from Fez to Merzouga will take you over the green and fertile Middle Atlas mountains and alongside the Ziz Valley palmeries, while Marrakesh to Chigaga will take you over the High Atlas and through the Draa Valley palmeries. 

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The Gardens of Marrakesh

Gardens of Marrakesh

The hustle and bustle of Marrakesh is exciting, but can become overwhelming. One of the key secrets to enjoying an extended time in the Red City is by taking short breaks in the many gardens and parks across the city. Not only are they places worth visiting as a stand alone reason to go, they will provide moments to take a breath and get back to nature after trawling the shops and souks. Many of the gardens are free or only 10 dirham making it easy to pop into a park or garden for a short amount of time and chill out. If you find yourself needing to escape the madness of the medina, be sure to head to one of these gardens to refresh your spirits. (more…)

In Pictures: The Kelaat Mgouna Rose Festival

Kelaat Maagouna Rose Festival Morocco

Every year thousands of people gather in Kelaat Mgouna, a small city between Ouarzazate and the Sahara Desert to witness the roses bring the valley to life. With the Rose Festival of Kelaat Mgouna having drawn to an end for this year, we thought we’d share a visual insight into some of the faces and scenes behind the celebration. While we wish we could tell you exactly when the festival will be next year there’s no way to tell. It’s based on when the roses come into full bloom and can be anywhere from mid-April to mid-May. 

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Saffron Fills the Senses: Part Three

Moroccan Saffron Part Three

In parts one and two of our story unfolding saffron in Morocco we took you on a journey discovering Talouine, the city that is the heart of Moroccan saffron. From there we showcased the people behind the production and harvest of this precious crop. Today, you will see how saffron is separated and sold. Saffron farming truly is a labor of love that requires patience and accuracy – it is the most expensive spice in the world after all!

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The Doors of Morocco

16 Beautiful Moroccan Doors

Of all the things photographed in Morocco, doors may be the image most often captured. No two ever appear to be the same and on houses that often look similar on the exterior, unique doors are a way to set each apart. When you travel in Morocco keep on the lookout for colorful and unique doors waiting to be photographed!

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Visiting Morocco in Summer: A Survival Guide

Visiting Morocco in Summer- A Survival Guide

Morocco is an increasingly popular travel destination year-round. But as the seasons change throughout the year, so do the opportunities visitors have to experience Morocco’s culture and history. Whether you’re into water sports, mountain trekking, cultural experiences or historical sites – you’ll find that the optimal time for exploring all of these sides of Morocco can vary throughout the year. If you’re planning on visiting Morocco in summer there are a few things to keep in mind. (more…)

The BEST Places to Eat in Marrakesh

The Best Places to Eat in Marrakesh

There is a buzz surrounding Morocco’s food scene at the moment and its not hard to see where all the fuss is coming from; new and inspiring restaurants are popping up all across the country. Let’s be honest, Morocco has always been high up on the must-visit list for foodie travellers. But it is a new wave of fusion cooking and cultural dialogue that is at the centre of this gastronomical shake up and Morocco appears to be waking up to the creative re-imagining of traditional dining experiences that’s been happening in innovative eateries across the world. Intrepid travelers are looking for great places to eat in Marrakesh and beyond.  (more…)

Faces of Morocco: Stories of a Country

Faces of a Nation

The people are what make the core of any culture. Today we’d like to introduce you to some of the faces of Morocco. The people behind these images are our friends and neighbors. The portraits come from all corners of Morocco and are a small sampling of who you might encounter when you come to visit. We hope you enjoy this glimpse of Morocco!

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10 Photos That Will Make You Want to Visit the Sahara NOW!

Visit the Sahara with Journey Beyond Travel

Do you have a dream to visit the Sahara? Or, maybe you’re one of those people who insists there’s nothing there to see or do. If the Moroccan Sahara is your “must see” list or if you want to stay as far away as possible we’ve put together ten of our favorite images to show you just how amazing and beautiful it truly is. Pack your bags because after this, you’ll want to go for sure.

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Hidden Morocco: Aoufous and the Ziz Valley

The Ziz Valley, Morocco

Morocco is home to numerous stunning palm groves and your journey from the imperial cities of Fez or Marrakesh toward the vast Sahara will take you past an oasis valley before reaching the dunes themselves. As you pass through different towns and terrains, the landscape begins to notably change into a rocky scrubland, geographically indicating the beginning of the ‘desert.’ While many people rush through the area between Marrakesh and the Sahara,  those seeking a glimpse into rural Moroccan life slow down to appreciate the area known as the Ziz Valley.

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