Throughout Morocco it’s not unusual to be awoken by the melodic chant of prayers at 5am each morning. If you base yourself within a one of its ancient cities, there’s often hustle and bustle among the winding streets before first light. Watching locals flocking to their nearby mosque in their white prayer clothes is a particular unique cultural experience.
For a little traditional pampering, hammams are public steam baths within towns and cities, where local women go to bathe, scrub and socialise. You can usually find them close to the mosques, and it's a great way to experience the real Morocco. There are more luxurious spa-like hammams too, geared towards tourists which offer more Western style massages.
A visit to Morocco wouldn't be complete without a camel trek. There are plenty of places dotted across the country where you can ride them from, and if you head to the coast you can even ride one along the beach with surfboard in tow.
♕ WHAT TO DO
Morocco is famed for its magical Medinas, which are a maze of food stalls, craft stands, rug shops and locals living rooms rolled into one. Meander through the winding alleys and explore each hidden corner at your leisure. Those who take pleasure in getting lost will be in their element, as the medinas can be vast and attract thousands of people each day. Savour the fragrant food, smell the authentic spices and try your hand at haggling the charismatic shop keepers. Morocco is a delightful destination for the senses.
If you’re feeling creative, Morocco’s souks are full of skilled artists and artisans who lovingly make traditional pottery, brightly coloured Berber rugs, and glorious jewellery. Many local creatives are open to sharing their skills with travellers and will welcome you into their studio space for an hour or two.
For all you surfer babes out there, Morocco’s west coast is most probably on your radar as the magical "land of rights". And rightly so! The rugged coast offers perfectly formed breaks which peel from bay to bay, which will have you playing in the waves all day. Each small coastal town usually has a rental shop or two, so you can try your haggling skills for a bargain on a board.
One of Morocco’s most well known foods is couscous, or ‘Seksu’ as the locals call it. Meander down any main street and you’ll most likely stumble upon a cart with couscous being served up alongside fresh veggies, raisins and traditional Berber sauce.
Probably the biggest delicacy to tick off the ‘to try’ list in Morocco, is to drink traditional mint tea. Those with a sweet tooth will be hooked on the locals heavily sweetened drink of choice. The brew is poured into a pretty tea glass from a height, which creates a minty froth called the crown.
A dish that needs no explanation, is the Moroccan Tagine. A tasty rich dish slow cooked in a clay pot with a conical lid. Tagines are the most popular street food, and can be found bubbling away at every roadside cafe. They are even better when served with freshly baked bread for dunking into the sauce!
The Atlas Mountains cover the majority of Morocco and offer spectacular views from its highest peaks. Local families who live in the foot hills are known to welcome travellers into their homes for tasty tagine dinners, and even offer up a bed for the night! Hiking opportunities are endless throughout The Atlas Mountains, where the enchanting terrain varies from large sandy dunes, to snow capped summits, to deep-red, dried up riverbeds.
Put the majestical city of Marrakesh on the top of your ‘to visit’ list. A charming mix of Moroccan and international culture, Marrakesh is perfect for marvelling at the beautiful architecture whilst sampling sweet baklava at a local cafe. The city is more luxurious than most, so those looking for 5 star raids and Michelin star standard food will not be disappointed here.
Casablanca is an incredibly captivating city perched on the West coast of Morocco, dripping in art deco facades and authentic architecture, those in search of rich history will find it here. Be sure to visit at least one of the many museums and art galleries, such as Actua Space or Amphitrium.
The quirky coastal town of Taghazout has surf oriented accommodation dotted directly along the beach front, gifting breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and the opportunity to check the surf straight from bed at sunrise. Taghazout has a much slower pace of life compared to the cities, where locals will sit and talk to you for hours, donkeys mosey down the streets, and the most difficult decision of the day will be choosing which point to surf next. Surf Maroc, Sol House and Hyatt place are all favourable options, or opt for an airy Airbnb on the beach.
Those in search of a glamping experience like no other, should check out the Erg Chigaga Luxury Desert Camp situated in the Sahara desert. Arise to the sun peaking above the dunes and start your day surrounded by camels and mint tea boiling on the camp stove.
A Moroccan city escape is best spent sleeping in one of gorgeous raids, which look like something out of a film set. From luxury raids with private pools, to low key shared rooms, raids are a great way to experience the real Morocco. We recommend Riad Jardin Secret in Marrakesh (which has interiors to die for), or The Capaldi Riad which our photographer Meg Gisborne adored staying at during her recent trip.