The North African country of Morocco is known for its fascinating blend of cultures, languages and cuisines. The people of this ancient land are predominantly Arab and indigenous Berber, however, African and European influences can also be found here. Arabic and Berber dialects are the official languages of Morocco, however, this country was once occupied by Spain and France, whose languages are still spoken here today.
This mix of people and cultures has not only created some fantastic architecture, but some amazing cuisine as well. A visit to Morocco wouldn’t be complete without seeing the ancient, crumbling sites, raw nature, magnificent mosques and of course, divulging in the scrumptious sweets and culinary delights.
Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca
This mosque is the largest in Africa and the 7th largest in the world. Accommodating an astonishing 105,000 people at a time, and with the world’s tallest minaret, this truly is an amazing feat of engineering! The Hassan II Mosque sits on a rocky outcrop with beautiful views of the Atlantic Ocean, a portion of the structure actually hangs off of the edge. The architect was brilliant when making a glass floor on this section of the building, giving worshippers fantastic views of the sea below.
The Blue City of Chefchaouen
This may not be a particular sight, but the whole city is amazing! Practically every building is painted blue and the temperature here is blissfully cool. Make sure to stroll through the welcoming medina and visit the cobblestone Plaza Uta el-Hammam, a great place to people watch with a cup of fresh mint tea or a piping hot latte.
Fortress Walls & UNESCO Medina, Essaouira
This 18th century walled city is set in a stunning location on the Atlantic Ocean. Hike up to the crumbling fort towers and gaze past the cannons for fantastic views over the harbor. The medina here is a UNESCO Site and apart from the speeding motorbikes, it’s a beautiful place to slowly saunter around.
Ancient Medina & Tannery, Fes
The medina (market) here is a maze of crumbling walls and narrow alleyways. Not much has changed over the centuries and if you’re brave enough to explore, you’re in for a real treat. Stroll past carpet salesmen, spice stores and vendors selling everything from dates to fish to copper urns.
Follow your nose to the tannery where numerous stone containers are filled with dyes and other smelling liquids! The tannery here processes the skins of goats and cows to produce the leather products you’ll see for sale all over this city. If you can stand the smell, it’s a very interesting process to witness. It’s inevitable that you’ll get lost in this medieval maze, but that’s all part of the fun. Just pay a young kid to show you the way out and he’ll be more than happy to help.
Named after the clay pot in which it’s cooked in, this is our favourite Moroccan dish! This slow-cooked, savoury stew is seasoned to perfection with ginger, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon and saffron. Lamb, beef, chicken or fish are the typical proteins, each being combined with different vegetables or dried fruits. Our favourite was the chicken tajine, which was served in a steaming hot clay pot with potatoes, carrots, peas and olives. Perfection!
This Moroccan meal is very filling and delicious. Couscous is combined with your choice of meat and seven or so other cooked vegetables. This massive mound will arrive at your table with a side of chicken stock/juice to drizzle over the entire dish, making all of the ingredients nice and moist. Typically, olives and bread will accompany this meal.
This traditional Berber soup is made with tomatoes and lentils, and is fantastically seasoned with cinnamon, ginger, pepper, parsley and cilantro. Recipes vary from family to family, with some people preferring to add rice, chickpeas or broken vermicelli noodles to the soup.
Moroccans love their sweets and you will too! You won’t be able to wander very far without being enticed into one of the many sweet shops lining the streets. The cakes and treats are on display in the windows, making them difficult to resist! From baklava to biscuits to macaroons and cakes, there’s something to satisfy every sweet tooth.
Travelling from anywhere in Europe to Morocco is easy and cheap. If you’re flying out of England, you can find very affordable flights on airlines like Easy Jet or Ryan Air, two of the top budget airlines we’ve ever come across. Flights from London, Gatwick to Marrakesh can be found for around 70 GBP each way. Flights also leave from London Stansted Airport.
If you choose to drive yourself to the airport, you can park your car with Airparks. If you’re parking at the Gatwick Airport click here, this company has great rates for long-term stays, park & ride options and if you book online you can save up to 60%.
If you’re travelling to Morocco from Spain, you have the option of flying, or, you can take a boat across the Strait of Gibraltar! We boarded the FRS Ferry in Algeciras, Spain and disembarked in Tangier, Morocco.
We spent 3 weeks in this magical land and although we had some issues with the local people, we still found this to be a beautiful country filled with interesting architecture, stunning scenery, fantastic flavours and exquisite smells. Whether you’re into photography, history or food, a trip to this North African country should be on your bucketlist.