Top 5: Morocco

5) Fez

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The medina in Fez is the world’s largest car-free urban area and it has to be experienced to understand the colossal size of it. You enter through the famous blue gate of Bab Boujeloud and it will feel as if you have been transported back in time with locals at work or mules pulling carts laden with anything from vegetables to dyed leather. Locals still live and work within the medina walls so the souks feel as authentic as any within Morocco. The dark alleyways will feel like a maze within this UNESCO world heritage site and you will undoubtedly find yourself a little lost, however locals are happy to point you in the right direction if you need a helping hand!  Within the medina walls are the world famous tanneries, dried animal skins get turned into a variety of leather items and many of the shop owners will take you up to a viewing platform to get a birds eye view of the work in action. You’ll know you are getting close to the tanneries in the medina by the smell, once you’ve been you will know what we mean!

How to get there?
As with Marrakesh, Fez is linked to all major Moroccan cities using the rail services and anywhere they don’t go, there are a variety of bus companies (supratours and CTM) that will take you to anywhere you want to go.

 

4) Essaouria

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A 3 hour hop east of Marrakech is the windy city of North Africa. Offering beautiful weather with Atlantic wind, this is a perfect surf or kiteboarding spot and there are lots of opportunities to do it. The old town and medina is surrounded by high walls protecting from the wind and invasion. You won’t find seafood fresher in Morocco, follow your nose and head down to the port for an authentic experience. Whilst local cats try to sneak off with a sardine or two its best that you purchase your lunch at one of the many bbq restaurants by the port, you won’t be disappointed.
In the afternoon, walk off that fish with a stroll down the 10km beach, past swathes of locals playing football on the beach or trying to catch the surf.

How to get there?
CTM and other bus services run from Marrakesh and cost around 70 dirhams one way.

 

3) Chefchaouen

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Nestled in the Rif mountains, this beautiful blue town is worth the effort to get there. While local cats stretch out in the mid afternoon sun, relaxed souks and winding cobbled streets offer a contrasting market experience to that of Fez or Marrakesh.

The blue and white buildings, painted this way by Jews escaping the Spanish Inquisition in the late 15th century are best seen from the viewing point at the Spanish mosque located at the top of the hill to the east of the town. It’s about a 15/20 minute walk up but isn’t strenuous.

This little town offers exceptional photo opportunities and it’s relaxed atmosphere and friendly locals are a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of some of the bigger Moroccan cities.

How to get there?
A 3 hour bus ride from Tangier or a 4 hour journey from Fez

2) Marrakesh

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A visit to Morocco isn’t complete without visiting ‘The Kesh’. Vibrant, loud and if it’s your first time visiting it’ll seem like a completely alien world. The Jamaa el Fna square and medina bustles during the day with snake charmers and acrobats and only gets louder when the sun goes down. At night the acrobats swap for local musicians and food vendors replace the snake charmers to try and lure you to their stalls with promises of ‘no diarrhea guaranteed!’
Get lost wandering through the maze of the souks in the medina. It’s like no market you’ll have ever experienced and certainly worth a few hours of your trip. From lights to magic boxes and teapots you can get anything you could dream of and for a good price if you’re haggling skills are good! The Hostel Riad Marrakech Rouge hostel is a cheap and interesting place to stay, a few minutes walk to ‘the square’.

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How to get there?
Marrakesh is linked to all major Moroccan cities using the rail services and anywhere they don’t go, there are a variety of bus companies (supratours and CTM) that will take you to anywhere you want to go.

1) The Atlas mountains

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Located just an hour from Marrakesh a grand taxi shouldn’t cost you more than 300 dirham. As you approach the Atlas Mountains you’ll be amazed by two things; the views and the seemingly ludicrous driving by the locals on these narrow mountain roads, it’s best just not to watch!
Iblil lies in the shadow of North Africa highest peak Toubkal and is an ideal little village to explore the Atlas Mountains. Plenty of riads and refuges here for you to stay in and plenty of guides to hire when you get here if you want to tackle the mountains. Don’t pay over the odds for an organised tour just get yourself to Imlil. We opted for a 20km day hike which whilst challenging offered some of the best views of the trip and some great experiences of walking through Berber villages where the children will offer to guide you for the rest of your walk!

How to get there?
Jump in a grand taxi from Marrakesh, it takes around an hour and will cost you around 300 dirhams.

 

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