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Centuries of history and fusion of cultures come together in the winding, cobblestoned alleyways of Morocco. With several cities, a few desert areas, and a unique mixture of French and Arabic languages, Morocco is a treat for the senses. If you’re planning on visiting this beautiful place, you’re in for a wonderful surprise.
Get Lost in the Medinas
The markets, or medinas, of Morocco are some of the most exhilarating displays of color, artwork, scents, and people. Typically located near central areas of each city, it’s worth spending a whole day during your holiday in Morocco just wandering around the medinas. Here you can see traditional Moroccan goods, buy spices, listen to the French/Arabic mixture of language, and haggle with shopkeepers for a brightly colored pair of babouches. You can also purchase fresh-squeezed orange juice (yum!) or original Moroccan argan oil. Pro tip: while perusing the market stalls, be sure to carry your valuables in a money belt or on your person.
Take A Running Tour
Lace up your running shoes! If you’re feeling the need for an on-the-go adventure, a running tour in one of Morocco’s cities may be the option for you. In Marrakesh, Running in Marrakech Tours offers guided running tours you can take that span 5, 10, or 21 kilometers around the city. No matter how fast you are, the guide will go your pace (and will even walk with you if you prefer). This is a unique way to catch a glimpse of Old Marrakesh’s many alleyways and historic landmarks, all while learning a bit about its history.
Certain running tour operators have guided runs through other areas of Marrakech, including trail runs in the desert and long runs through the resort area, La Palmeraie. Morocco is pretty dry and hot, so be sure to bring plenty of water to stay hydrated!
Join a Cooking Class
Moroccan food is a unique blend of spices and flavors, as evidenced by the mixture of unique smells when walking through the market areas. So many delicious scents float through the medinas, beckoning to passers-by to give them a taste.
You can learn all about these spices and how they’re used every day in a Berber kitchen. To create and taste some of Morocco’s traditional dishes, such as tajine and couscous, sign up for a cooking class in one of the country’s major cities. These classes typically run from 30 to 100+ Euros and range from a few hours to a full day of cooking. Be sure to check whether ingredients are included in the price of your class – and definitely leave room in your budget to take some unique spices home with you!
Share Some Moroccan Tea
No holiday in Morocco is complete without a traditional cup of tea. Moroccans take pride in this display of hospitality, and many will invite you to sit with them and enjoy some warm, sweetened mint tea. Although often very sugary, this tea is absolutely delicious and is a staple of Moroccan culture. When you arrive at a riad, hotel, hostel, or homestay, the first thing the hosts will often do is sit you down for a cup of tea and a few sweet cookies. Accept this gift graciously and enjoy it!
Sometimes, it’s good to enjoy the finer things in life. If this sounds like you, check out one of Morocco’s many desert “glampsites.” If you’ve never heard of glamping before, it’s basically camping in a tent that’s outfitted with luxury items, like a bed, a full-service bathroom, and nice décor. In Morocco, these glamping areas are often in the desert. Often without electricity, these retreats encourage visitors to unplug and enjoy the quiet of nature for the duration of their stay.
Glamping is becoming increasingly popular in Morocco for the budget luxury sector, as many of these resort-like campgrounds are fairly affordable. Additionally, many of the nightly rates include transportation to the site, all meals during your stay, and certain activities such as desert tours and walks. For the traveler looking for a day or two of down time, glamping is a fabulous option. If you’re planning on spending some time in the desert, I strongly recommend bringing a solar powered rechargeable battery to keep your electronics charged and a headlamp to be able to illuminate your path in the dark evenings.
Where to Stay
The best places to stay in Morocco are called riads, or locally-owned guesthouses. In most areas of the country, these riads are tucked into slender alleys and can be difficult to find. However, once you arrive, you may be surprised at the beauty of traditional Moroccan architecture and the hospitality of your hosts.
In Marrakech, I recommend staying in the Old City. For those traveling solo, Riad Hostel Marrakech Rouge is a wonderful place to spend a few nights and meet some friends. Airbnb also offers several comfortable and affordable options.
The Bottom LineMorocco is a vibrant country, and it boasts a number of interesting activities and adventures to experience. When you visit, be sure to spend some time wandering around the streets and learning about its unique culture and history.