Morocco is so incredibly close to Europe but yet at times, it can feel like a million miles away. From the spices in the air to a culture that has all the flavours of the East, it can seem like North Africa is at once close and far away. It is also one of our 5 cheap destinations to travel in October with friends. Here are some top things to do in Morocco and to enjoy an unforgettable experience.
Bathing at a Hammam Spa
The first experience on our list has to be to indulge in some bathing at a hammam spa. This is essentially a public steam bath and is very common amongst all walks of life in Morocco. Hammams are segregated according to sex, with women´s hammams being the social centre. When you visit Morocco, it is entirely possible to find more touristic hammams, which offer massages and spa treatments. These can, of course, be pricy. The authentic hammams are cheaper and allow you to bathe, scrub and relax.
Find a bargain in Marrakech
When you visit Morocco, you cannot afford to miss out on a trip to Marrakesh. The most famous city in the country is shrouded in myth and magic and has inspired many movies, books and poems. The Djemma el Fna is the most famous part of Marrakesh, with curving streets that offer everything from entertainment to food. You can also witness local musicians performing impromptu concerts and snake charmers, tempting you with their show. There are also plenty of stalls to practice the art of haggling, as you choose which souvenirs to take back. Morocco is well-known for its leather products, so you can be sure to find a bargain.
Chefchaouen, the blue city
Another unmissable city on a visit to Morocco is that of Chefchaouen. This is one of the most photographed places in Morocco and one that will definitely be familiar. The entire town is painted in blue, which contrast against its mountain backdrop. The city is a little quieter than the bigger cities although it is always filled to the brim with tourists. You can really enjoy some local cuisine here, as there is more space to relax and linger over a meal. Try tagine, the typical Moroccan food, a stew that is served in its own traditional pot. Finish it off with some tea and take in the beauty of the central medina.
Erg Chebbi dunes
One truly unforgettable experience when you visit Morocco is a trip to the Sahara desert. This is the landscape of movies and there are many places where you can spend a night amongst the dunes. The most popular place to visit and most available to tourists are the Erg Chebbi dunes, where many movies have been filmed. You can only arrive here from Casablanca, but it is well worth any travelling to spend the night under the stars. Camelback tours are also arranged and you can take in a marvellous sunset over the Sahara whilst exploring the terrain on a camel. To really stay authentic when you visit Morocco, try staying in a Bedouin tent. Luxury options are readily available but will cost more. Make like a local and enjoy the traditional tent of people who have made the desert their home.
Stay in a Riad
If you are looking for something traditional when you visit Morocco, consider staying in a riad. These are homes that have been converted into hotels and have truly stunning architecture. Many have garden or roof terraces, which overlook busy streets. These hotels are a great option when staying in the bigger cities, as they are often centrally located but more relaxing than a chain hotel.
Take a trip to Fes
If this has tickled your fancy and you are desperate for more local culture, take a trip to Fes. This city is most famous for its leather production and if you visit Morocco, Fes is a must-see. You can visit the leather tanneries yourself, with many offering guided tours into the production of their wares. They have been incredibly well-preserved and have not been modernised since their beginning. The tanneries also offer the best range of leather goods for souvenirs and the prices are very reasonable.
Visit the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca
Last but not least, take the time to enjoy Casablanca, even if only for a day. Casablanca is often visited as a layover or a day trip but it is worth seeing when you visit Morocco. The Hassan II Mosque is one of the largest in the world and is truly spectacular. Blending Muslim architecture seamlessly into a typical North African background, you cannot leave Morocco without seeing this holiest of temples. Non-Muslims are not permitted to enter, but walking around the exterior will offer enough and can take a couple of hours. There are thousands of intricate mosaics as well woodwork that is simply breathtaking. Casablanca is also a perfect pitstop to spend some time relaxing by the beach and enjoying dinner by the seafront. For more information, visit our trips to Morocco.