It may only be 20 miles from Europe, but Morocco feels a world apart. Its attractions are manifold: ancient cities, mighty mountains, dune-rolling deserts and warm, welcoming people.
Marrakech is preserved by an identity of labyrinthine medinas, bustling souks, ornate mosques, hookah bars, and the all-singing-all-dancing Djemaa El Fna square. The latter has been something of a live street theatre for the best part of a millenia – today you can find musicians, acrobats, storytellers, snake charmers and slapstick comedians entertaining the crowds.
Beyond here, there’s plenty more to discover; from capital Rabat’s Kasbah of the Udayas – an oceanfront, Berber-era fort surrounded by French gardens, to Essaouira’s historic medina, with its colourful spices, leather bags and conical clay pots, all to be haggled for. Elsewhere, take in the blend of Moorish and Art Deco architecture in Casablanca, lose yourself in Chefchaouen’s dazzling blue-washed streets, or watch artisans at work in Fez’s Chouara tanneries.
Morocco’s cities provide endless, fascinating diversions, but the valleys, deserts and gorges of the hinterland tend to leave an even greater impression. Go trekking in the rugged High Atlas Mountains, share a home-cooked tagine in a remote Berber village, or ride a camel in the Sahara – the variety of its terrains creates a dream journey.
You’ll find a wide range of hotels, apartments and friendly guesthouses in Morocco, but well worth considering are the traditional, often luxurious Riads found in most medinas. There are also laid-back hostels available in coastal towns like Agadir.