Morocco is a destination that remains popular amongst all kinds of travelers, from those who enjoy backpacking to those who travel for food. As a country that bridges Africa and Europe, there is plenty of culture and influence to both see and experience. As you dream of embarking on your own journey through imperial cities and the Sahara Desert, this short guide might just inspire you to start planning your trip.
Known as the Blue City of Morocco, Chefchaouen is possibly one of the most aesthetically pleasing places in the country. Most of the houses here are painted in shades of blue and there have been various explanations put forward to explain why. One theory is that it was painted blue by Jewish refugees who fled to the city either during the Spanish inquisition in the 15th century or during the 1930s. Another theory proposes that the houses were painted blue to ward away mosquitos. Wander around the Medina, Chefchaouen's old town, and experience the best of Moroccan food and shopping. Here, you can find woolen blankets and woven garments that can't be found in other Moroccan towns. You can enjoy nature as well as culture here by visiting the Ras el Maa Waterfall, the Bridge of God and Talassemtane National Park. From Chefchaouen, you can enjoy a bus ride to Fes, watching the beautiful scenery go by as you head to another city.
Fes is the cultural center of Morocco with the country's largest Medina so there is plenty to see in this unique city. It's home to the magical Bou Inania Medersa, a religious building with stunning architecture and green tones, and it's completely free to the public!
Fes is well-known for its handicrafts, and you can find many vendors selling carpets in the main streets of the Medina in all different patterns and colors. The Blue Gate is one of the city's most iconic landmarks, a towering entryway made from mosaic tiles, which is blue on one side and green on the other. On the other side of this gate you'll notice the sound of traffic disappear as you enter the old Medina, the world's largest surviving medieval city and urban car-free zone. There are plenty of delicious eateries here and if you take a place at the top, you can watch all the livlihood of this city.
The Sahara Desert really is an absolute must if you are taking a trip around Morocco. There are many desert tours to choose from and it can be easily fit into your itinerary. Most tours cover a total of three days. The desert itself stretches an incredible 9 million square kilometers, amounting to 31% of the African continent!
On the tour expect to see outstanding natural wonders such as the Barrage Al-Hassan Lake and also unique wildlife like the Barbarian Apes. When night comes, your eyes will feast upon millions of stars which shine ultra-bright in the desert sky. You can even go glamping in the desert and enjoy the nature in true luxury.
During the tour, expect a change of landscape as the desert changes to deep cliffs and snow covered Atlas Mountains. You will also stop by the Ait Benhaddou, the location of choice for many film directors. The well known historical drama, Gladiator, was shot in this exact spot.
Be prepared when you visit Marrakech as it's Morocco's most chatotic city moving to its own frantic beat. Start your tour of the city at the Ben Youssef Madrasa, an outstanding and well preserved former Islamic school that dates back to the 14th century. It truly is a prime example of Moroccan design and architecture, complete with thousands of delicate mosaic tiles. Fast forwarding to some modernity, a spot you cannot miss is the Maison de la Photographie that takes you on a historical journey of Marrakech through excellent photography for free. The Jemaa el-Fnaa is Marrakech's square and market place around the Medina quarter and is used by both tourists and locals alike. At dusk there are plenty of stalls to choose from for traditional Moroccan cuisine. Your finally stop here should be the Majorelle Garden, which is a two and a half acre botanical garden created by the French Orientalist artist, Jacques Majorelle, complete with a great variety of plants, ponds and a museum.
Towards the end of your trip, spend some time in Morocco's cosmopolitan economic hub, Casablanca. Many businesses and creatives thrive here, as the city has its own unique charm. As you begin to explore, you'll notice that the streets are filled with examples of beautiful French colonial architecture, grand vintage hotels and busy European cafes. One of the greatest landmarks of Casablanca is the Hassan II Mosque, the tallest building in Morocco and the world's third largest Mosque outside of Mecca. As most mosques in Morocco are closed to tourists, this is a great opportunity to visit one. The mosque itself is located on the shore overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, so after your visit you can stroll along the promenade. Right in the heart of the city, you can find the Marche Central, a great place to go for some traditional Moroccan or French food. After tucking into some local cuisine, be sure to visit the Royal Palace, an Islamic architectural masterpiece. This grand palace is the residence of the King and his family when they come to stay in Casablanca. A visit to Casablanca will act as a welcome break from the tourist crowds found in other Moroccan cities like Marrakech.