When 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.
2. Beaches in Morocco line the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts. What kind of beach are you looking for? The Mediterranean Coast has a rockier coastline, and the water on this coast tends to be a little rougher. If you want to swim, head toward the Atlantic Ocean. Surfing is also a popular sport in Morocco.
3. The Imperial cities of Morocco are teeming with history. Marrakech, Fez, Rabat, Casablanca and Meknes house a variety of palaces, churches, mosques and museums. Tours through the Imperial cities usual offer a day or two in each destination.
4. Riads offer an interesting study of Morocco’s architecture. At one time, Riads in the cities were palaces or grand courtyard homes, but today they’ve been turned into hotels. Not just any hotels though. These grandiose, majestic structures offer an inside look at Morocco’s culture through the distinct architecture. Even if you have already booked accommodations, take the time to explore some of the more elaborate Riads.
5. The expansive Sahara Desert can only be appreciated once you see it for yourself. Whether you prefer to explore the Sahara Desert on a camel trek or a 4×4 tour, this area of Morocco is truly unlike anything you’ve ever seen or experienced before. Quad tours will quickly transport you over the sandy roads and through the desert villages while the camel rides allow visitors to take in the otherworldly beauty of the desert at a slower pace.
6. Moroccan cuisine is flavorful and fun. Turn your dining excursions into cultural experiences with meals rich in stews and couscous. Moroccan cuisine is filled with subtle flavors of herbs and spices. Dishes are often prepared with locally caught fish, chicken or lamb. All meals are accompanied by mint tea unless you request something different.
7. Shopping in Morocco is an experience to be remembered. Fez, Casablanca and Tangier are the most popular shopping hubs in the country. It’s easy to get lost in the winding mazes of souks packed with ceramics, leather goods, baskets, carpets and jewelry. The medinas also have plentiful shopping opportunities. While shopping, you will be expected to bargain for the goods you are interested in purchasing.
8. Morocco’s intricate culture is apparent as you travel throughout the country. The country’s history encompasses the Berber people, Roman Empire, French and Spanish settlers who tried to claim Morocco as their own. As you move from city to city or region to region, you’ll be able to see what influences these different cultures have had over the years.
9. Moroccans love festivals. Whether you’re looking for music, dance, storytelling or something else, chances are there’s a festival taking place somewhere in Morocco at any given time. Mingle with the locals and enjoy the cultural vibe when you plan your holiday to incorporate one of the many festivals.
10. You can relax and learn a little something about Morocco at a traditional steam bath. People have been visiting the country’s steam baths for many years. Visitors today can either visit modern spas or seek out a traditional steam bath after a long day in the sun.
Posted by JoAnna Haugen, managing editor at Journey Beyond Travel and author of Kaleidoscopic Wandering.
Photo by Luca Penati.