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Morocco is a country of many faces, reflecting its long and colorful history. It is predominantly Moslem but was a haven to Jews during the inquisition and home to the world’s first university, established by a woman in 859 CE and still active. The country is renowned for good food, beautiful architecture, exotic souks and a flourishing Berber culture. Geographically, Morocco is characterized by rugged mountains and magnificent deserts. It is one of only three countries (with Spain and France) to have both Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines. It has long been a favorite of French travelers, among them Yves St Laurent whose home there is now a beautiful art museum.

Casablanca is the business center and is pleasant, but without great interest for tourists. Marrakesh and Fez are much older and they, along with Rabat and Meknes are considered the Imperial Cities. To enter Fez’s medina (old city) with its winding alleyways and ancient traditions is to enter a time machine that takes you back to its founding by Moulay Idress II in the 9th century. In contrast, Marrakech’s bustling souks (markets) – where you can buy handwoven textiles and mouthwatering spices – are very much in the today, though replete with historical influences. Luxury hotels with spas and modern hammams (bath houses) pamper the most discerning of clients. Traditional Moroccan cuisine make restaurants in Marrakech and Fez destinations for foodies. Cultural sites, such as the tomb of Fez’s founder Moulay Idriss II (ruled 807-828 CE) and the medina of Fès el-Bali (Old Fez) or the Medina of Marrakesh are fascinating. Further afield, the Atlas Mountains and the Moroccan Sahara beckon those looking for "off the beaten path" experience and beautiful hotels mean that you really can "have it all."

The official languages are Arabic and Berber. While the summer months tend to be the busiest travel season, with excellent cultural festivals, do expect hot weather in Marrakesh and Fez. Ironically, areas closer to the desert benefit from a cooler ocean breeze. April thru early June and September thru November are much more comfortable and there are fewer fellow tourists.

Secrets and Tips

  • A good guide is invaluable everywhere, and essential in Fez
  • Don’t miss the photography museum (Maison de la Photographie de Marrakech) and the Majorelle Garden
  • Take a day trip to Meknès

Frequently Asked Questions

Morocco is such an incredibly diverse country that we simply couldn’t pick just one or two areas. Marrakesh is just exotic enough to be interesting.  People, especially the French, go here to enjoy the sun, good food, and lovely people in an exotic but relaxing and accommodating environment. Fez, on the other hand,  is so incredibly exotic and unique that it is a total “must see” city. In places you feel like you are in a time warp that has transported you to the middle ages! The Moroccan Sahara and the Atlas Mountains offer unprecedented beauty and encounters with the natural world. Combining these areas creates the perfect journey, a  complete and unforgettable picture of this incredibly exotic country.

Because Morocco is so diverse, it has a little something for everyone. Socialites regularly hit the town in Marrakesh, while history, archaeology and architecture buffs keep busy in cities like Fez and Meknès. Active travelers enjoy sandboarding or camelback safaris in the desert and hiking/camping in the Atlas Mountains. A more adventurous traveler will more fully appreciate all the area’s offering.  Because of the range of accommodation, from simple to extraordinary luxury, anyone with a taste for adventure and beauty who appreciates experiencing cultures other than their own is sure to enjoy Morocco.

People who want clean, orderly destinations that resemble home wouldn’t like Morocco. The sights, smells and sounds of the Moroccan souks are infamously overwhelming (not to mention getting lost in the city’s winding passages); although, a guide can be a lifesaver, particularly if you are unsure of your comfort level. Additionally, single female travelers may not want to explore Morocco alone. Moroccan women do not enter pubic areas on their own, so men assume you are "not respectable" if you are alone. And they are persistent and numerous! Cities, in particular, can be challenging for solo travelers. However you can get around this by using our local guides and doing some touring with groups that we can arrange for you.

April thru early June and September thru November are much more comfortable and there are fewer fellow tourists.

While the summer months tend to be the busiest travel season, with excellent cultural festivals, do expect hot weather in Marrakesh and Fez. Ironically, areas closer to the desert benefit from a cooler ocean breeze.

Costs for food, accommodation and travel in Morocco are low by European or North American standards. If you eat local and share expenses with another person, the price is reasonable. You could live well on $300-$500 per person per night; however, with $700 -$1,000 pppn, you would be approaching luxury and a really magical experience.

Experiencing Morocco is really all about appreciating the culture and traditions of this truly magical place. Don’t be afraid to be a tourist, particularly in Fez, where history smacks you in the face at every turn. Eat and drink your way through the medina in Marrakesh .. Then, experience exceptional music at dinner in the ville nouvelle. You can day trip to a couple of the lesser known imperial cities, such as Meknès, and travel to the desert (even if it’s just for a night!). We also recommend spending one or two nights in the Atlas Mountains hiking and experiencing the raw beauty of the landscape.  

Regions in Morocco

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Lara Ray