Morocco is a culturally diverse country and a land full of vivid beauty. This is a very common statement and you must have heard it before. So what makes it such an incredibly unbelievable destination? Venture from the Sahara Dunes to the Atlas Mountains in one day, savor amazing foods from different cities in the country and stay in some of the best hotels you’ll find in the world. There is so much to do and see here that will answer that question and definitely have you coming back again.
One thing that strikes you in Marrakech is how sandy everything appears to be in tone and texture. When you look closer though, you’ll begin to spot the little details and splashes of color all around the city that are not so noticeable at first sight. It is a remarkable city with many sides to it. During the day, you will find history and culture calling to you in the various tourist attractions but at night its more exotic side is found within the blush-pink walls of the ancient Medina. Like many Moroccan cities, Marrakesh comprises an old fortified city packed with vendors and their stalls, bordered by modern neighborhoods, the most prominent of which is Gueliz. Today it is one of the busiest cities in Africa and serves as an important economic center and a major tourist destination.
What to do
The Medina is a must-go location when you are visiting Marrakech. It is literally the heart of the city and embodies everything that Marrakech is about, with its ancient walls, over 20 gates and a central courtyard where people live the traditional way of life day in and out. Hammam bathhouses, and spice and textile souks line the maze of cobblestoned lanes that make up the Medina, which occupies Marrakesh’s original fortified citadel. As evening approaches, Jemaa el-Fna square teems with snake charmers, folk dancers, and street food vendors and it is truly a sight to see.
Designer Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Berge rescued Jacques Majorelle’s gardens from being turned into a hotel complex in 1980 and restored it to the epitome of beauty it is today. Stroll through the bamboo groves and coconut palms, and you won’t remain the same. Designer, Yves Saint Laurent loved the gardens so much that his ashes were scattered in its rose garden and a memorial to him now stands there. After seeing the gardens, you can learn more about Morocco’s indigenous cultures at the famous Berber museum not far from it. There is both a bookshop and a boutique where you can purchase such high-end Moroccan products such as jewelry, scarves and silk slippers to take home as souvenirs from your vacation.
Where to stay
Located just outside Marrakech, Amanjena is the perfect retreat in Marrakech. It’s situated away from the hustle and bustle of the ever buzzing city, and you’ll find a sense of peace and tranquil here. With spacious pavilions overlooking the gardens, and a number of private pools, you’ll feel relaxed no matter the time of day but what else would you expect from an Aman Hotel?
Essaouira is famously called ‘the jewel of the Atlantic’, and is a small town that was built in the 18th century. It played a huge role as a trading seaport that connected Morocco and Sub-Saharan Africa to the rest of the world. Not only is Essaouira one of Morocco’s coolest cities, it’s also recently become one of its most accessible. Essaouira has become a hot destination for travelers in search of an adventure, and the city is well equipped with all the comforts and exotic tastes you’ll need. Luckily, they are never far from reach. While it’s much smaller than Marrakech, there’s something unique and special about this city that makes it a must-see destination.
What to do
Skala de la Ville
Built in the 18th century, the fort is set along the cliffs of Essaouira. Brass cannons are lined up on its walls and were used to defend the city from sea attacks which were common in past times. The fort is a picture of European military architecture at that time. The opening scene of Orson Welles’ Othello was shot here and every detail of the fort seems to hint to its history and story. It’s also the best spot to admire the Purple islands and the stunning sunsets will wow any traveler day in and out.
Where to stay
Heure Bleue Palais
A 19th century riad in the city center, the Heure Bleue Palais is designed to portray a style influenced by the oriental and colonial era. The design and décor are drawn from Africa, the Kingdom of the Moors, Portugal and the hotel is truly relaxing, befitting the setting of cool Essaouira. It is important that you visit the hotel’s spa while you’re there. Staying true to Moroccan traditions, Le P’tit Spa de L’Heure Bleue Wellness offers treatments derived from ancient Moroccan teachings. From a traditional hammam bath to revitalizing massages with Verbena, you’ll feel good as new after you’re done here.
Fez is a northeastern Moroccan city that is often referred to as the country’s cultural capital. It’s become a popular destination and is very well known for its Fes El Bali walled Medina, with medieval Marinid architectures that evoke and old-world atmosphere. The famous Medina is home to religious schools such as the 14th-century Bou Inania and Al Attarine, which are both decorated with elaborate cedar carvings and ornate tile work, unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.
What to do
Borj Nord or Burj al-Shamal is a fort in the city of Fez, Morocco. It was first established in 1582 by the Saadi dynasty, modeled after the Portuguese Forts in the 16th century. Today the fort houses the Museum of Arms. Founded in 1963, it was the first museum in Morocco specializing in the history of arms and armour, and it’s collection includes up to 5000 pieces originating from 35 countries and dating from prehistory to the 20th century. One of the most notable artifacts on display is an enormous Saadian cannon that was used during the Battle of Three Kings in 1578, nearly 5 meters long and weighing around 12 tons.
Where to stay
This opulent riad hotel sets the stage for a Luxurious Moroccan stay. Relax with a cocktail in the living room by the fire place, have a drink on the rooftop bar, and lift the lid on the Moroccan way of life in every way. Serene, peaceful, beautiful, this 17th century palace with its carved plaster arches and orange-tree shaded courtyard will steal your heart in every way possible.