Ancient and bustling medinas, mysterious and lush mountains, desolate Saharan dunes, streets lined with snake charmers and story tellers, the constant aroma of spices tantalising your senses…
It all sounds so exotic, so inviting, so warm, and so appealing. Do you know what else it sounds like? It sounds a lot like Morocco. Yep, this North African land is getting a lot of love lately, and there’s quite a few reasons why. Do you fancy Rocking the Kasbah?
It’s only three hours from the UK…
You can fly to Marrakech in just over three hours from London. This means it’s perfect for a long weekend in these cold winter months. Escape the dull UK on a Friday, climb the Atlas Mountains on a Saturday, get lost in souks and alleyways on Sunday, spend a night under the stars in the Sahara, and be home in time for Eastenders on Monday night.
It’s Cheap, So You won’t part with too much spending money
Morocco can be a cheap and cheerful escape, especially in the winter months. Accommodation starts from £15 per night, and we’re not talking shared dorms with one bathroom; we’re talking 200 year old traditional Riad’s with decorative courtyards and stunning terraces.
Food prices will vary from town to town, but you’ll be able to pick up some tasty street food from about £2 and have a relaxing sit down meal for about £9.
It’s Got The Atlas Mountains…
Delve into the Atlas Mountains for a real taste of Berber culture. As you approach the mountains through small villages and winding roads, your eyes will become accustomed to the castles, forests, and gorges that add to this regions enchantment. You’ll see scenery so incredible you’re camera will come alive just to take some photos of its own.
Unsurprisingly, this place is a hot spot for hikers. Thousands flock here every year to spend their days trekking the challenging and rewarding pathways, and nights eating home cooked meals in cosy gites. If the thought of being on your feet so much isn’t appealing, you can always explore it by 4×4. Make sure you wrap up warm, the high altitude makes for some chilly evenings, even in the warmest of summer months.
It’s Where Hectic City Life Is Embraced, Not Avoided…
Think of Marrakech, and you think of a fast paced, busy, demanding, eventful and non-stop city. It’s the kind of environment that would perhaps be avoided at home, but Marrakech mixes it with a vibrancy, the unknown, mind-boggling medinas, spices aplenty and the most incredible and mouth watering tajines. It turns hectic into something exciting.
If it all gets a little too much, you can find one of the many roof terraces that will offer a comfortable seat and some hot mint tea, which is surprisingly refreshing in the heat. Or take a trip to the Majorelle Garden in the New Town, once owned by Yves Saint Laurent, for a relaxing wander.
Fes, the oldest city in Morocco, is another must-see city, and has been described by many as life changing. It’s home to a labyrinth of tiny streets, and some of its houses can only be accessed by a drop ladder. If architecture has never been something that draws you to a city, be prepared to become a building buff. Fez hosts some of the most elaborate buildings such as the amazing Medersa Bou Inania, and the Andalusian and El Quaraoiyin Mosques.
It Has Captivating Beach Side Towns…
Cities and mountains aside, Morocco is home to some impressive coastal towns. Essaouira is situated just west of Marrakech and is close enough for a day trip out of the city. The town is somewhat of a hippy hangout, and boasts a thriving art scene. It’s also known as the ‘Wind City of Africa,’ so if you’re a keen windsurfer, or fancy giving it a go, then this is where you need to be.
Enjoy some local seafood as you stroll around the old Portuguese Port, medina and sandy beach, or If you’re hankering for a wind-free sunbathe, then head further south to Agadir, which boasts 300 days of sun per year.
It Has Mouth Wateringly Good Food…
Try to go beyond the abundance of tajines and couscous on offer – as tasty as they are, there’s a lot more to experience. Head to Marrakech’s Jemaa El Fna, a large square that fills with food stalls at night, to try spicy merguez sausages, fried fish, and the freshest salads that will ever pass your lips.
Lamb is by far the most popular meat out here, and is thrown into a variety of meals with prunes and spices, but you’ll also come across some interesting pigeon and camel concoctions. Veggies have no need to feel left out as tajines are commonly cooked without the meat, and there’s loads of fulfilling dishes such as b’sarra (white bean soup) and Harira (Morocco’s famous tomato and lentil soup).