Visiting Morocco is a bit like attending a banquet; you can sample small delectable bites, or partake of a feast, depending on the time you have. Even if you only have a long weekend to zip over from Spain, you can find delightful destinations which will enliven your spirit, awake your senses, and leave you hungering for more. Morocco is that kind of place.
- Essaouira is an Atlantic coastal town with a flavour all its own, and if you plan a June trip to experience the annual three-day Gnaoua World Music festival, you won’t be disappointed. Music and mysticism unite at this festival which attracts visitors from all over the world. Be sure to book a hotel far in advance to enjoy the haunting sounds produced by the master musicians, descendants of slaves from black Africa, and the mediums and clairvoyants who are associated with them. Enjoy the medina; walk the ramparts at sunset. Treat yourself to a scrub at a local hamam. Partake of the fresh catch of the sea. Essaouira is a relaxed, smallish town. It’s a change of pace from the larger cities, and a relatively short bus ride from Marrakesh.
- Another beach town, Asilah, is on the North Atlantic coast, and is a perfect destination for a short holiday if you arrive in Tangier by air or take the ferry from Gibralter. It is thoroughly Moroccan in character, with a restored, clean medina, extensive beaches, wonderful wall paintings and a good souk. It also has an Iberian pulse because it was ruled by the Portuguese 500 years ago, and there are whitewashed homes that look almost like Greek island houses. The Greeks haven’t been here, however, for 1,500 years. If you visit during the August cultural festival, plan ahead for hotels and transportation.
- Get away from it all to the Dunes. Fly into Merzouga from Casablanca between October and February for two or three days to experience the Western Sahara. It’s like no other trip you’ll ever take; the town itself is only the gateway to what could be an exotic camping expedition including nights spent in Berber tents, camel rides and traditional Berber food. Or you can soar over the dunes in a hot air balloon. Another option is to explore the desert sands on a guided excursion by quad bike. Try not to miss the flamingos you’ll see, along with egrets, storks and many other birds, along the shores of DayetSrji, a salt water lake.
- Trekking in the Atlas Mountains. If you’re fit and looking for “high adventure,” a spring adventure to climb Jebel Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa, might be just what you’re looking for. Most treks begin in Imlil, about an hour’s drive from Marrakech, and numerous companies organise treks here and to other slopes. You’ll see spectacular scenery, traditional Berber settlements, waterfalls and wildflowers. AïtBenhaddou, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is situated along the Ounila River, and is another popular trekking destination. Plan at least three days in the region.
- Fez. Every visitor to Morocco has a favourite destination. The diversity, the history, and the mystery of this ancient city make it the choice of many travellers, and it will not disappoint, whether you visit it for the first time or return regularly as an old friend. Fez is always worth a long weekend getaway, because you will always discover a new street to walk, among the thousands of winding paths in the old medina. Get lost among the crowds, then find your way to the Bab BouJeloud gate and spend a long afternoon at one of the nearby rooftop restaurants, just drinking in the sights and sounds of one of the most magical spots on earth.
As with any travel to a foreign land, do some research in advance, buy guidebooks and maps, be wary of strangers and be safe. Short holidays in Morocco are thoroughly enjoyable; but, as part of a longer trip to the country, be sure to get away form the large cities at least once, if only to experience a quieter interlude.
About Author: Candy Wright loves to travel and experience all the world has to offer and recommends that you check out Image In The Sun if you’re up for learning more about Morocco or just want some travel inspiration.