Morocco Travel Guide
Though only an hour’s drive from Spain, Morocco seems at once very far from Europe. Throughout your travel to Morocco, you will discover a country that is both African and Arabian, with a dash of colonial French and Spanish glamour thrown in for good measure. The infinitely varied landscape is also extraordinary: from a Mediterranean and Atlantic coast, through four mountain ranges, to the sculpted seas of the Sahara.
The image a travel to Morocco conjures up is sensory overload at its most intoxicating, from sand dunes and mountains, to vibrant markets and hidden courtyards. However, Morocco has its challenges too, so you need to carefully prepare your trip and plan your journey to enjoy an intense and rewarding Morocco travel.
Morocco Travel: Getting There
Morocco is now easy to reach from Europe thanks to a range of cheap flights. In the UK, besides charter flights operated by British Airways and Royal Air Maroc, there is a great deal of cheap flights offered by budget airlines, including EasyJet, Ryanair and Thomsonfly. Check our Flights to Morocco guide for major destinations in the country and flight schedules from the UK and continental Europe.
Tangier and Ceuta are the major ferry access points to Morocco from Spain and France. Tanger ferry routes include Algeciras in Spain and Séte in France, while the Spanish enclave of Ceuta has regular ferry crossings to Algeciras in mainland Spain.
Morocco Travel: Sights and Activities
Morocco’s Atlantic seaboard takes you from the clamour of the north to the deserted beaches of the south. If you take the ferry from Spain, your introduction will be at Tangier, a beautiful city shaped by a mosaic of cultures and a colourful history. The major package tour resort is at Agadir, a town with a few sights of its own but a functional enough base for exploration. More off the beaten track are artsy Asilah, loaded with whitewashed charm, Spanish-influenced Larache and Essaouira, perhaps the most likeable and easy-going resort.
For a taste of Morocco’s medieval past, immerse yourself in its major imperial cities. Marrakesh, the clamorous heart of Moroccan tourism, is perfect for an intoxicating mix with its imperial architecture, myriad of souks and multitude of street performers. Fez in essence is the real capital of Morocco, its spiritual and cultural capital of and the oldest imperial city. Fes el Bali – the old Fez – is a living museum crammed with palaces, souks and monuments and extraordinary tanneries. Meknes is the imperial capital of Moulay Ismail, a town of endless gates, over 45 grand palaces, gardens, barracks, stables and varied and hassle-free souks. Rabat, the Capital of modern Morocco, might lack the charm of more illustrious Fez or Marrakech, but behind its modern grid you will discover a 12-th century Medina that hints at its former grandeur.
For a Saharan adventure, a good base of exploration is at Ouarzazate – a modern Saharan town offering a strategic location and fantastic accommodation. From here, you can explore gorges and astonishing desert oases along the Dades Valley. On the other ridge of the Atlas is the Kasbah-littered Draa Valley, a ribbon of orchards, palm groves and stunning Berber villages.
Morocco Travel: Accommodation
Accommodation in Morocco ranges from friendly budget hostels to expensive, top-of-the-range luxury hotels, county estates and grand converted palaces, so you can pick from a wide range. Space is generally easy to come by, but there can be a shortage of places in the major cities and resorts in August – so book ahead or arrive early.
For European / American standards of comfort, you should be looking at 4-star classified hotels. At five-stars, you’re looking at real style with pool or garden view and all the comfort creatures. At the upper-end of this scale are converted old palace residences, such as the Palais Jamai in Fez and Mamounia in Marrakech. Check our Morocco Hotels for more information on classified hotels in Morocco.
Accommodation options have been recently transformed by an explosion of style: riads, traditional guesthouses in Morocco’s old towns (medinas). Built around a garden patio, these retain a sense of beauty and mystery and can be the perfect options for those looking for holiday chic and a personal touch. More information at our guide to Morocco Riads.