Movie Locations in Morocco: A Tour

Movie Locations in Morocco: A Tour

Morocco is a land of mountains, deserts, medieval cities, roman ruins and more than a few familiar movie locations. Thinking about Morocco and film undoubtedly conjures up images of Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in the 1942 American classic, Casablanca. Ironically none of Casablanca was filmed in Morocco, but many classics were, such as Lawrence of Arabia, Alfred Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew To Much, and Bertolucci’s The Sheltering Sky. More recently, not one but two James Bonds have been seen giving chase across the Tangier rooftops, while other hits like Gladiator, The Mummy and Game of Thrones were filmed on locations across the country.

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Gay Travel in Morocco: An Overview

Gay Travel in Morocco: An Overview

When the LGBTQ+ communities were being persecuted in Europe, centers in Morocco like Tangier and Marrakesh were seen as safe spaces. Not only are they wonderful destinations in their own right, but the local populations have a sort of worldly ‘been there, seen that’ attitude of acceptance. In many ways, this remains true even today.

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Book Review: Tangier by Richard Hamilton — The Ultimate Armchair Tour

Book Review: Tangier by Richard Hamilton — The Ultimate Armchair Tour

Tangier rests on a strange, wayward little corner of Africa. It is a great accident of history and privileged geography, having been the first stop in Africa for many people from around the world, as well as many foreigner’s first experience with a muslim culture. It has played host for thousands of years. “Much of Tangier’s history,” Richard Hamilton writes, “is a chronology of foreigners and exiles.” In fact, one could do a tour of Tangier solely on these misfits of history. These exiles have long been welcomed to promenade along the famed terrace of soor magazine, where 150 year-old cannons thrust out, down through the chaotic souks and on to the long stretch of sand along the bay. (more…)

Spanish Influence in Morocco

Martil, Morocco, Spanish Architecture, Martil Church, Martil Spanish Church, Spanish in Morocco, Spanish influence in Morocco

The Kingdom of Morocco is a diverse country with an easily recognizable and rich culture. However, when you look closely, Morocco is also a melting pot of foreign influences. The geographic position of Morocco and its history have resulted in a complex web of cultural contributions. Moroccans are extremely proud of this fact and thus view their country as open and welcoming. Apart from the recent and obvious French influence, Morocco has a strong connection to Spain. (more…)

A Literary and Artistic Tour of Tangier

Tangier Morocco artVisitors are drawn to Tangier because of its literary and artistic past coupled with its mysterious reputation as an international haven for spies. Tangier became a mecca for French painters in the nineteenth century, but the most famous artist associated with Tangier is the American writer Paul Bowles, whose first novel, The Sheltering Sky, was turned into a film by Bernardo Bertolucci. However, Beat writer William Burroughs also lived in Tangier during the 1950s and penned his most famous work, Naked Lunch, in the Hotel el-Muniria. Tennessee Williams, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Brion Gysin and the Rolling Stones also called Tangier home for short spells.

After a stroll through the Grand Socco, the plaza that serves as the gateway to Tangier´s medina, you can start your homage to your favorite artists at the Gran Café de Paris in the old medina’s busy central square, the Petit Socco. Bowles, Burroughs and their Beat friends gathered here to discuss life and literature while mingling among double agents and expats during the notorious time of international rule. Here, Tennessee Williams met one of Morocco’s most famous writers, Mohamed Choukri, author of a memoir titled Tennessee Williams in Tangier. The café provides an ideal place to observe the chaotic rhythms of the Petit Socco, where you can find people from all walks of life, rich and poor, foreign and local, merchants and businessmen.
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Morocco’s Northern Port Cities

tetouan moroccoMost people who venture to Morocco know about the famous port cities like Tangier, Casablanca and Rabat. The well-researched traveler (hopefully reading our blog!) has also most likely heard of Agadir, Essaouira and maybe even Safi. There are standard tourist stops in all cities but there are many other lesser known things to do and see in these big cities as well as smaller, lesser-known port cities.

The northern port cities are those bordering the Mediterranean Sea and portions of the Atlantic coast. These cities stretch from the Morocco/Algeria border to Kenitra on the Atlantic side. Whether visiting the northern or southern cities keep in mind the busiest times of year are in the summers when they are flooded with tourists and Moroccans alike. The down season is in the winter/rainy months. If you’re seeking anything other than just a sun tanning experience, the winter months might make for a great visit because of the cooler weather, fewer tourists and lower prices. If your visit finds you on the northern coasts of Morocco, here are some port cities and activities you might want to explore.
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Merja Zerga Nature Preserve

grey heron bird moroccoAs a habitat for more than 100 species of birds, Merja Zerga Nature Preserve in Morocco is one of the most important wetland sites in North Africa. The large tidal lagoon is fed by the Atlantic Ocean and the Oued Drader, a freshwater stream. The area has been designated as a biological preserve and has served as host site for the Ramsar Convention, an organization dedicated to the conservation of wetlands worldwide.

The area surrounding Merja Zerga was populated during Phoenician times and during the Roman period. During the Islamic period, a religious leader named Moulay Bousalham established a base there. Now, the small village that is nearest the preserve is named after this Muslim holy man. It’s a quiet, agricultural area whose main crops include strawberries and watermelons. (more…)

Day Trips from Tangier, Morocco

The short ferry ride from Europe to Tangier has made this port city a popular entry point to the country and a convenient base for exploring northern Morocco. During a day trip from Tangier you can drive along the Mediterranean coast or the Atlantic coast.

Tétouan

Located about an hour’s drive from Tangier via CTM bus or grand taxi, Tétouan is an excellent place to learn more about Morocco’s colonial history. Having served as capital of the Spanish Protectorate from 1912 to 1956, the city’s architecture features a blend of Moroccan and Andalusian influences. Its medina has been named a UNESCO World Heritage site for its unique display of craftsmanship, and it is regarded as one of the best-maintained historical sites in Morocco. After strolling around the three-mile long walls of the old city, you can head to the National Institute of Fine Arts or dine in a Spanish-era cafe. (more…)

Art Museums in Morocco

Morocco door

Whether you are an art history scholar or a casual observer who appreciates something that pleases the eye, Morocco abounds with awe-inspiring art such as tile mosaics, intricately carved handicrafts, woven carpets and more. While you can encounter artistic displays throughout the country’s cities and villages, art museums often tell a story more clearly than publicly placed mantles or a paragraph in a guidebook. Below are a few of the art museums in which the exhibits tell a story. (more…)

Popular Coastal Cities in Morocco

walking in the sunset in moroccoMorocco may conjure images of sand dunes, dusty mountain trail heads and steamy medina alleyways, but that doesn’t mean those are your only travel options. In fact, not only does Morocco have an extensive coastline to explore, but its coastal cities are some of the most beautiful in the country.

Whether you’re looking for sand or surf, a holiday in Morocco can provide it all. Here are some of the must-see cities on the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts.

Sidi Ifni – In the far south you’ll find Sidi Ifni, a former Spanish port city that still wears much of its history on its sleeve. The town’s art deco architecture is one of the main tourist draws, but don’t overlook the dramatic seaside cliffs and roaring surf below.

Mirlift – Just north of Sidi Ifni is the tiny fishing village of Mirlift. Easily reached by taxi or bus from Tiznit (15 km down the road), it’s an easy day trip, and one that promises a mellow atmosphere. Stroll along the wide sands, collect shells and beach glass or explore the caves on the northern edge of the beach. (more…)

Exploring Ceuta: A Piece of Spain in Morocco

Fuerte de Aranguren Ceuta SpainIf you find yourself in northern Morocco, consider stepping over the land border into Ceuta, Spain. Located about an hour east of Tangier by taxi, this autonomous Spanish city is an easy day trip for travelers and a tranquil home to both Arabs and Spaniards.

The lush growth of palm trees so common throughout Morocco continues into Ceuta, decorating the city’s major streets and coastline. The main promenade that overlooks the coast is spacious and clean, and offers numerous fountains, statues and benches.

Though windy at times, the promenade makes for a scenic stroll by day and animated people watching after sunset. As evening falls, a cheery ambiance settles on the well-lit area as families, couples, clusters of teenagers and joggers meander by. The contrast of western attire and traditional Muslim dress highlights the city’s diversity. (more…)

Things To Do in Tangier, Morocco

Tangier MoroccoWith ancient Berber, Phoenician and Carthaginian roots dating back to the fifth century B.C.E., Tangier is one of Morocco’s largest northern cities. Situated on the North African coast adjacent to the Strait of Gibraltar where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean, it is a multi-cultural hub where Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities co-mingle. The city is also the capital of the Tangier-Tétouan region and of the Tangier-Assilah Prefecture. (more…)

10 Reasons to Vacation in Morocco

morocco things to doWhen you travel, do you like to poke around palaces, indulge yourself in history at a museum or sip coffee at a local café? Do you prefer to take part in extreme sports or wander through the wilderness?

The beauty of Morocco as a vacation destination is that it’s a country diverse in adventure, culture and heritage, and regardless of your travel style, you’ll find something here that suits you. Whatever your preferences when it comes to travel, here are ten good reasons you’ll want to make Morocco your next holiday destination:

1. Trekking experiences are plentiful. The main mountain ranges in Morocco are the Rif Mountains, Atlas Mountains, Middle Atlas Mountains and Anti Atlas Mountains. The Rif Mountains, located in the northern section of the country, are covered with cascades, forested land and caves. Expert trekkers will find more challenging terrain in the High Atlas Mountains. (more…)

Tantalizing Tangier, Morocco

Why would you want to start your Moroccan adventure in Tangier (sometimes referred to as Tangiers)? You have probably heard the rumors that Tangier is not safe for travelers and prices are high. Once the city, boasted a population of Americans and Europeans that partied hard. However, all that has changed in the last few decades. The Moroccan government has scoured Tangier Morocco. Savvy travelers of today have no trouble enjoying the Moroccan treasures found here. (more…)