Spanning a range of terrains from the stunning Sahara Desert to the impressive Atlas Mountains, Morocco is a delight for the senses, a gorgeous blend of influences. Morocco has a lot to offer travel enthusiasts being a small country that hugs a coastline, a desert, and boasts of rocky Mountains within. Spread over an area of 446550 km and with a population of about 37 million, the country has a mixture of Arab and European cultures.
The Geography of Morocco
Geographically, Morocco is mostly mountainous with the Atlas Mountains and Rif mountains surrounding the boundaries. The country has Mauritania and Algeria as southern and eastern borders. The coastline of Morocco is the Mediterranean Sea on the northern coast and the Atlantic Ocean on the western side. The western coast is lined with gorgeously sandy beaches and separated from the mountains by fertile plants. On the southeast of Morocco, you will find the great Sahara Desert, the hottest desert in the world and third-largest. The desert has a huge rocky plain extending from the foot of the mountain right up to the Atlantic coast.
Moroccan architecture is traditional, having developed during the Islamic period, and is known as Moorish art. It has a blend of Berber and Spanish cultures. Modern architecture has its traditional Moroccan influences too. As you walk across the cities in Morocco, you will experience the historical and spiritual journey of modernity and traditions.
Lip Smacking Food
It is very important that you do not miss the Moroccan cuisine on your travels. It is a gastronomical treat like no other – a combination of Arab, Iberian, Jewish, French, and Mediterranean flavors. You can get hands-on cooking lessons too. You simply cannot leave Morocco without trying its famous Chicken Bastilla, Tagine, or Lamb Mechoui along with the ever-popular couscous.
You are sure to falling in Love with Magical Morocco with the variety of flavors and incredible combinations of ingredients that Moroccans are only too happy to serve!
What Climate to Expect
Mediterranean climate prevails in Morocco, with hot dry summers and mildly wet winters. Rainfall is quite low, and high-pressure ridges result in droughts. The average summer temperature in the coastal areas goes up to 28 degrees and in the interiors, it is about 35 degrees. Different types of climates exist in the Rif and High Atlas mountains, leading to a humid and temperate climate with moisture enough to propagate the growth of moss carpets, Atlantic fir, and oaks. Thick and lush forests are found in the valleys. Ski resorts are found in the higher elevations due to the alpine climate.
Best Time to Visit Morocco
With the weather warm and pleasant, the best period to visit Morocco is between mid-March to May or September to October. You can visit the coastal regions during any part of the year. If you want to cover Morocco fully, you may need about 3 weeks. However, if time is a constraint, within a week’s time, you can cover the best sights in the country.
Spectacular Flora and Fauna
About 210 types of bird species are found in Morocco which includes flamingos, storks, woodpeckers, and spoonbills. Many endangered species are also seen. Among the animals, majorly golden jackals, gazelles, leopards, and red fox find their homes in Morocco. You will also get to see dolphins, sea birds, and porpoises. Date palm is largely cultivated in the oasis’s areas. One can find shrub growth, wild olive, kermes oak, heather, pine, cedar trees on the lower mountain slopes.
A Melange of Mixed Cultures
A country of rich civilization and culture, Morocco has witnessed people coming from many countries. Painting, music, filmmaking, amateur theatre, and sculpture have flourished in the country. They were all falling in love with magical Morocco. Every region has contributed to the combining of Arabic, Jewish, and Berber cultures along with French and Spanish influences. A recent influence has been the Anglo-American lifestyle. Morocco pays utmost importance to protect its cultural heritage. Each festival or special gathering denotes the living arts of the country.
The Medinas are a good option if you really want to know more about Moroccan culture and tradition. You will get to witness the colorful folklore celebrations, the memories of which are just amazing to carry back home.
During the Moussems and other festivals, religious events take place. You just cannot afford to miss the Tan-Tan festival known to be part of the cultural heritage since 2008. The Cherry Festival held in Sefrou is a reminder of Moroccan culture. Gnaoua music has a long cultural journey. It tells you about the story of slaves from Africa. You will surely sway to the music and dance to the ritual song. The two famous musical instruments, Lguembri and Qraqeb have even attracted many popular music directors to Morocco to perform along with the musicians!
The country largely follows Islam with other groups accounting for a minuscule of the population. The next largest religion of Morocco is Christianity. Very few Jews are living in the country. The official languages of Morocco are Arabic and Amazigh. Classical Arabic is used as the administrative language, and you may hear Moroccan Arabic spoken by people. Also, French, Spanish, and English are the other languages of the country.
How to Plan Your Morocco Vacation
When planning a trip to Morocco, ensure that your passport has at least 6 months of validity when you enter the country. One blank page is needed for the entry stamp. If you are going to be in the country for a period of fewer than 90 days, you do not need a tourist visa. You will be bound by the local laws, failing which you have to face the punishments as applicable. You will get public buses and taxis which are not expensive. A word of caution – you will find that the driving habits are not risk-free. Trains are considered safe and comfortable for tourists.
Moroccan Highlights You Simply Cannot Miss!
You will find the old cities of Marrakech and Fes the most beautiful and most grand places to stay in a Morocco courtyard home (riad). You will be reminded of the Arabian Nights when you visit the rooftop of Riad Farnatchi or Riad Star, once a part of Royal Palace. If you are a honeymooner, the ideal place will be Riad Fes. You will simply be mesmerized by the sunset casting various colors on the sand dunes of the Sahara Desert. You can also spend the night in the warm tent, gaze at the stars, and take a hike on the dune. Sitting on the top of Hotel Continental you can sip tea and have a great look at the port. Makes you falling in love with Magical Morocco.
In almost all cities, you will find a bathing house (Hamam) where you can use water set to various temperatures and get a relaxing massage from the staff there.
Day trips to Berber villages are the highlights of traveling to Morocco. A hike in the High Atlas mountains and a stay in a Berber home for the night are the further attractions of your travel.
Enjoy the traditional Moroccan cuisine at Café Clock in the ancient medina of Fes. When you visit Essaouira you will no doubts enjoy kiteboarding, wave-surfing lessons, and windsurfing. Meknes, the ninth-century medina will make you enjoy the historical sites and royal palace if you are looking for great Arabian experiences.
The seaside of Asilah is something you should never miss as you will feast on the city walls covered in colorful paintings and the beautiful sandy beaches. August month marks the arrival of the annual Arts festival which is the main attraction for everyone.
Fun fact – If you are a movie buff, you would have enjoyed Game of Thrones. It was shot in Essaouira, a popular beach hangout for one and all. Do you have an eye for colors? If yes, a never-to-miss place is Chefchaouen, also known as Blue city with blue and white painted houses.
Yet another city you should visit is the city of Rabat, which is known for its excellent weather and beautiful beaches. Casablanca has stunning Moresque buildings which are a blending of traditional Moroccan and French colonial cultures.
If you are excited about desert classics, then Quarzazate is one such place where you will get some fine backdrops for your pictures. Located in the center of Todra valley, Tinghir is full of colorful flower gardens and rustic narrow streets, which are indeed a feast for travelers’ eyes.
Yet another best place where you can falling in Love with Magical Morocco to visit in Morocco is Agadir which has a beautiful waterfront, and there are plenty of activities that you can do in Agadir.
Hiking in Morocco
Heard about hiking in Morocco? It is a beautiful country with captivatingly long trails and rough peaks. You will get some amazing experiences and views, and you will definitely not regret the challenges you will face while hiking. Mount Toubkal is considered the starting point for hikers and is also called “Little Chamonix of Atlas Mountains.” It is the highest peak found in North Africa with snow-filled peaks. You can pick the mules from Imlil and take the help of local guides to complete your hike successfully. Atlas mountain hiking can be for a day or up to 16 days depending on your fitness levels. You need to have all the essentials, warm clothes, and a first aid kit before starting the hike.
You should never miss the trek in Mount Toubkal, Jbel Saghro, M’Goun Massif, Sirwa, and Rif Mountains. Morocco is where you will get visual treats, falling in love with Magical Morocco, and adventures to last you a lifetime.
Sustainable Tourism – Morocco Leads the Way
With its landscapes, mountains, beaches, and deserts, Morocco is a leading country in sustainable tourism. The environment is such that it enhances the heritage and culture of various regions, thereby improving tourism to create value and wealth. The country takes many initiatives for sustainable tourism. Hotels and beaches are awarded highly for their cleanliness. The country is very keen on preserving the natural parks and reserves. Many cities have wastewater treatment plants. The tourists are offered a lot of activities which also focus on eco-tourism.
There are many Moroccan holiday packages to preserve the biodiversity of the country. You can taste Berber specialties made of natural poultry and vegetables, even while enjoying the natural habitats of animals and turtles in Essaouira. The country is very keen to conserve its natural and cultural heritage which indeed attracts tourists to visit the country again. As part of the sustainable tourism, you will get to see Fair Trade programs, High Atlas Foundation, Education for All, Village of Khemlia where Gnawa music is quite popular.
Travel Magical Morocco is proud to have obtained the Travelife Partner Certification; proving to be a sustainable travel agency
Why Holiday in Morocco
There are many reasons why people want to go on a holiday to Morocco. Even if it is for a short period, the country makes a fantastic holiday destination. The 1200 miles beautiful coastline, Sahara desert that offers a typical Moroccan cuisine, the varied culture and history as seen in the unchanged cities, medinas using traditional ways, crafts and museums, very interesting activities such as trekking in Atlas mountains, cookery lessons, hot air ballooning, and white-water rafting.
If you want to experience the culture and meet the local people, Morocco is an ideal place. The natural landscapes such as beaches, ancient cities, mountains, deserts are a feast to the eyes. The country enjoys a temperate climate that is perfect all through the year and is a fine winter destination found in the southern regions.
Morocco is a very safe place for tourists. Crimes rates are very low, and the chances of your being assaulted or attacked are very less.
When you have the plan to visit Morocco, you can expect to have totally relaxed, adventurous, and exotic stay there. You will simply enjoy the culture-centric hospitality of the people. The camel ride in the Sahara sand dunes and urban souks in Fez medina will make your travel a pleasant and memorable one. The palm oases, gorges, and formations from the varied weather conditions are a feast to the eyes. Desert animals such as jackals and gazelles, nomadic people handling their sheep during the travel will impress you undoubtedly. You will need at least 5 days for a road trip on the Road of the Kasbahs filled with the desert landscape. Do not miss to buy fresh dates and apricots from the roadside vendors when you pass through the Berber villages. You will get an eyeful of the tanneries using natural dyes and caravans carrying goods in the narrow streets.
Morocco is a fairyland, full of colors, and ethereal destinations. It is a mixed culture of the old and new. You can expect inviting, warm, and enthusiastic people. All travelers and tourists are welcomed by highly hospitable people. There are mostly no restrictions with regard to the way you dress, dine, or dance. You will find Morocco comforting, fascinating, and enchanting. Morocco should definitely be on your list of places to visit!