Morocco — Fragrant and Unique
Morocco, a North African country bordering the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, is distinguished by its Berber, Arabian and European cultural influences. Marrakesh’s medina, a mazelike medieval quarter, entertains its Djemaa el-Fna square and souks (marketplaces) selling ceramics, jewellery and metal lanterns. The capital Rabat’s Kasbah of the Udayas is a 12th-century royal fort overlooking the water.
Combine a breezy beach, stunning mountains and an exciting city in an 8-days break.
Day 1 – 3: Essaouria
Upon arrival in Marrakesh airport, the driver of our pre-booked taxi [on this website] picked us up and took us straight to Essaouria. The cab took two hours and was good value between the five of us in our group – the driver was helpful, and the car was spacious, highly recommend this taxi service in Morocco! Note: I would recommend not changing money in the airport arrivals lounge since it charges you a significant commission – better to wait until you get to an ATM outside.
When we arrived in the lovely sunny coastal town of Essaouria, we went straight to our Hotel [Wassim’s our manager]. This riad was excellently located in the old city and had a gorgeous roof terrace. The host Wassim is amiable.
Check it out here: Riad Al Madina – Essaouira Hôtel
Essaouira has a very relaxed vibe compared to Marrakesh, and while many tourists save it as the last item on their itinerary after the hectic bustle of the capital, starting there is a great way to ease into Moroccan life.
There is plenty to do in Essaouria: explore the markets and souks, climb the ramparts, windsurf, ride camels on the beach, or enjoy fresh fish and orange juice on a sunny roof terrace. Great places to eat include: [The set menu place] for a cheap and abundant candlelit dinner, Café des Reves for a sunny lunch on the roof, and [the site next to the Western breeze hotel] for delicious tagines, [the brunch place] for yummy breakfasts with Moroccan specialities like amlou, msemen and nousnous coffee.
Although the beach is not great for swimming and sunbathing (it is very windy, and most women are covered up, being a Muslim country), it is a charming place to walk along and get a beachside drink.
Be sure to wander down all the side streets and take in the sea breeze!
Day 4 – 7: Atlas Mountains
We took a shared taxi to Marrakesh and stayed the night in a riad in [Bab neighbourhood?], and had dinner in Café [Lassoura?]. The next morning, we were picked up at 9 am for our pre-booked 3-day trek in the Atlas Mountains. We booked this on Viator
It was a great experience from start to finish: Our guide Ali was knowledgable, funny and patient, the accommodation and food were excellent, and the scenery stunning. The trek can be as challenging as you like and takes you through several mountain villages with lots of interaction with local people. I recommend going in early spring for clear skies and a low season atmosphere. Expect panoramic views, goats, mules, apricot, juniper, apple and walnut trees, little mosques, children, farmers, and argan oil co-operatives.
Bring sunscreen, insect repellant, good walking shoes and a cap!
Day 8 – 9: Marrakesh
Finally dropped off back in Marrakesh, we stayed in an Airbnb called Dar Tayib in the heart of the old city. Highly recommend this beautiful space (with a great terrace, orange and banana trees and fountains inside, and lovely breakfasts). The host Vincent is incredibly kind and helpful.
Marrakesh is a great place to spend the last few days of the trip. You can haggle for souvenirs in the souks, dine and watch the sunset on rooftop terraces, soak your sore muscles from the trek in a hammam, or visit the Jardin Majorelle and museums plenty of options!
The rest’s up to you to discover!
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