If you are looking to travel somewhere exotic this year, where the sunsets melt in ravishing shades of orange like you have never seen before, where snake charmers play their entrancing tunes while the wild wind blows over the dunes, Morocco is your destination.
This North African gem, sprawled at the feet of the Atlas Mountains and just touching the desert will have you charmed in no time. This is where the African and the Arab meet, with just a hint of European.
Morocco has been the inspiration of artists and writers for decades, and if you are looking for ideas on where to start exploring this colorful country, here are a few suggestions.
The Buzz of Marrakesh
The vibrancy of the Marrakesh Medina is what stays in the minds of all those who venture to this meeting place of cultures and tastes. You enter the old city through the amazing Djemma el-fna Square, which is, in fact, Morocco in a nutshell. You can find anything here – spices, snakes, musicians and a thousand and one shops, like it has sprung from a tale of the Arabian Nights. You should also visit some of the souks, or bazaars: the shoe souk, the leather souk, and the carpenter’s souk are just some of the available charms.
While you are in Marrakesh, you should also visit the Medersa of Ben Youssef. This is the largest theological school in Morocco, and its architecture will have you craning your neck during you visit, to embrace all the wonderful tiling.
If you are looking for peace, you should visit the Manara Gardens, hidden away in the heart of the city. There is a large pool in the center of the garden, upon which a pavilion was built in the late 19th century. This is where many families from the city come to breathe in a little tranquility on the weekend.
The Charm of Fes
Unlike Marrakesh, Fes has not yet been overrun by tourists. The Old City will get you lost in about two turns, but you will not mind one bit. You will be too mesmerized by the gorgeous doorways and wonderful houses. Another popular attraction of the town are its tanneries, if you can withstand the smell.
You should also visit one of the Medersas (a Medersa is an Islamic school of learning). The Medersa Bou Inania is one of the few buildings non-Muslims can enter, and is a true architectural gem. The Medersa el-Attarine is yet another example of the finest tiling and cedar carvings.
The Touch of Tangier
If you are looking for something a bit more European, then Tangier is the place for you. It has become famous as the inspiration for William Burrough’s Naked Lunch. Today, it is a bit more cultured than it used to be, with its bohemian cafes, but you will still be able to explore the history of the city and its impact on literature.
The Tranquility of Essaouira
If you are looking for something a bit more laid-back, then Essaouira is the perfect place for you. This quaint little seaside village was once known as home to many a hippy in the 1970s, and has retained much of that charm to the present day. Today, you can enjoy the sight of the fishing boats bobbing up and down the coast, or explore the fort above the sea.
The Mystery of the Dunes
While you are in Morocco, you must not miss out on the chance to enter the Sahara. The place you are looking for is the Erg Chebbi, where many an aspiring adventurer sets off to explore the desert. You can choose to go authentic and ride a camel, or choose to ride a four wheeler and surf on the sand. If you would prefer to enjoy the tranquility of the sand, you can choose to have a picnic in the desert, and ponder upon the mysteries of the universe.
Choose to visit Morocco this year and you will not be sorry – treat yourself to an all inclusive holiday in Morocco, and enjoy the sunshine, the exotic smell of spices, and the bustle of the busy streets which are like nothing you may have experienced in Europe.
The difference in cultures will be a welcome change to wake you up and treat you to the holiday of a lifetime.