A myriad of people and places, Morocco is a buzzing hive of cosmopolitan culture. Drawing on its Arabic, African and European roots, through the centuries the country has melded its very own traditions and practices which are at once unique and familiar, making it an exotic yet enchanting destination. Nowhere is this multifaceted way of life more evident than in the cacophony of its atmospheric cities; the shouts of the marketplace stall holders, the calls of animals in and around the city, the chiming of a church bell and the morning call to prayer all mesh into one, glorious, symphony of life.
Far better than a modern shopping mall with its people watching opportunities, constant bartering lessons and enthusiastic human interactions, the Medinas of Morocco are like a marketplace Mecca for the shopaholic. Towering piles of fruits, nuts and grains sit alongside glittering caves of jewel-bright lanterns, while at your feet Berber rugs, which have been carried from the mountain communities by camel, are laid out for inspection. All crammed together in a gorgeous maze of sensory delights, it isn’t only cash-flashing visitors who’ll be at home in these streets; foodies, culture enthusiasts, photographers and thrill seekers will also find the medinas a draw.
Between Morocco’s lively cities and towns lies an untouched realm of blissful tranquility. With challenging peaks on one side, the desert on the other and the rolling waves of the sea before you, the opportunities for outdoor adventures are endless. One particularly notable feature of the landscape here is the absence of light pollution which gives the multitude of stars in the sky here a burning vibrancy unlike anywhere else on earth. And what better way to enjoy this utterly incredible sight than after a day’s camel trek or an exhilarating mountain hike?
One thing visitors can’t fail to notice when visiting Morocco is the enthusiasm of the locals to share their culture with guests. So roll up your sleeves and get stuck in the cookery classes, craft lessons, local house visits and all the other exciting and welcoming activities the area has to offer, after all, why go abroad if not to experience a different world?
Two essential parts of any holiday in Morocco; camels and desert dunes, conveniently merged into one awesome activity that can be enjoyed by all ages. Whether you choose to take part in a day trip that gives you a taste for desert life or go the whole hog and venture into the unknown on a week-long trip, you’ll find that a trek in the Moroccan desert is more than just sitting atop a lumpy steed. Popular stops on the tours include fantastical oases and desert-dwelling community settlements, while the breaks involve lying beneath a canopy with a mouthwatering selection of treats and nibbles is laid before you.
A Moroccan attraction not to be missed, Volubilis is a Roman ruin which seems wildly out of place in this remote stretch of land. A UNESCO World Heritage site since 1997, it’s perfectly preserved mosaic tiling is just one of the many hauntingly beautiful features this spectacular ruin is famous for. An incredibly vast site at more than 95 acres, there is still so much to discover as half the site has yet to be excavated and examined by archaeology experts. Visitors to the area should make sure to pack plenty of water and sunscreen as the day time temperatures in this region can reach fierce levels.
An increasingly common ingredient in Western cooking, the national dish of Morocco is the moreish couscous, known as seksu or sikuk. Every family will have their secret couscous-based recipe, so no two meals containing this wholegrain will be the same. Enjoy it in a stew, as a dessert, a salad or as even a plain side. The most common way to cook the grain is in a couscoussière (steamer) with a blend of country-specific flavours including cinnamon, garlic, onions, dried fruits and nuts. Visitors should note that this is a dish eaten using the hands.
Depending on your temperature preferences, Moroccan weather offers visitors year-round opportunities to visit. Whilst coastal regions are generally pleasant at any time, with a standard, toasty 20 degrees, inland is a different matter. For pleasantly warm weather with minimal tourist traffic, it is recommended that visitors visit Morocco in either the spring or autumn. The Moroccan spring runs from the middle of March and the end of May and its autumn begins at the start of September and finished at the end of October.
You will not need a visa to enter Morocco if you are a British citizen, unless you are planning a holiday lasting more than 90 days. For the latest information on travel regulations, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/morocco/entry-requirements.
In Morocco, the currency is the Moroccan Dirham (MAD).
The main language spoken in Morocco is Arabic.