Morocco, a country with some of the world’s best architecture, it’s history and culture is unlike any other. Morocco is situated in the Northern coast of Africa. Its neighbouring countries are Algeria and Western Sahara, with Spain across the Atlantic ocean. The capital city is Rabat with Casablanca being the biggest city also known as the economic capital and Marrakesh being deemed the cultural capital. The local currency is the Moroccan Dirham (MAD).
Fun Fact! Morocco still has a royal family! They celebrate a ‘throne day’ for the King on July 30th.
So many films are being shot in Morocco! This country is home to the second-largest film set in the world!
If you’d like to know more interesting facts about this African country, click here.
So, let’s break this country up into PARTS.
The majority of the population are Arab-Berber people.
The official languages are Arabic and Tamazight. With other languages such as French commonly spoken.
Morocco is an excellent example of African cultural preservation.
With thousands of things to do and see in this country, I’ve broken down the attractions into what each city can offer.
Casablanca: This city is bustling and much different to the capital; Rabat, Casablanca has so much to offer. From the tallest mosque in Africa (Hassan Mosque II) to the biggest shopping centre in Africa (Morocco Mall). Head over to the old medina located in the heart of the city. Why not relax in the gorgeous botanical gardens of Jardin zerktouni or even visit villa des artes museum.
Fez: The former capital, is a cultural hub. Why not visit the medina, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and Dar Batha Museum to understand more about Moroccan history.
Chefchaouen; Home to those beautiful blue houses I’m sure you’ve seen on Instagram but there’s so much more that this city offers. Why not learn about the history to why these houses are blue at the Ethnographic Museum.
Tangier: The oldest city in Morocco, is a hub for cultural lovers. With must-visit places like; Dar el Makkhzen (17th-century royal palace), Kasbah Museum, Hercules Caves, and Park Rmilat. A mixture of the past and the present this city is sure not to disappoint.
Marrakesh. Probably one of the more popular tourist destinations is home to some amazing architecture in the country! With the medina being a UNESCO World Heritage site, it’s definitely worth a look. Make sure you watch your valuables and keep your wits about you. Some less-visited but precious destinations are: Menera Gardens (beautiful botanical gardens by the atlas mountains) and the Riad Yima Tea Room (art gallery)
Head to the Sahara desert! With so many safari deserts tours, why not take up the experience of a lifetime! Riding camels across the desert and camping out to marvel at the night sky.
Rituals and Culture
The majority of the population are Sunni Muslims. Morocco is considered as one of the more ‘liberal Islamic’ countries. Though modest dressing is highly advised, tourists can enjoy alcohol in bars and some restaurants.
Football is the most popular sport with and some Moroccan’s passion.
Some Moroccan specialties are: Tajine (meat stew with vegetables and spices), Couscous and Harira (tomato and lentil soup). Mint tea is a very popular drink, you’ll usually be given this at the end of your meal.
– Protect your skin! This country’s makeup is mainly desert and so you can imagine how hot the country can get. Remember to stay hydrated and pack lots of sunscreen on.
– Modesty is a must, especially as a woman. As the country is a Muslim country, foreign women and men should dress modestly to respect the culture.
– Learn the language. It may be useful to learn a little Arabic or French as English is not commonly spoken in smaller cities.
– Once the sun goes down in the desert, it can get very cold, so make sure you take this into consideration when booking your tour.
– As goes with any place, keep your wits about you. Especially in places like the medina
– Depending on where you are, I would suggest solo female travellers taking taxis to their destination after dark.
For more travel advice check out; FCO: Travel Advice
Outside of the UK: Please check your government’s travel advice carefully.
As of January 2020, I’ve been to Morocco 3 times. Visiting Marrakesh, Casablanca and Rabat.
My experience in every city was different which I will get into, but I want to firstly say how much I am in love with Moroccan architecture.
Not only has Moroccan architecture shaped many European cities like Granada but it’s also timelessly beautiful.
The first time I went to Morocco was a girl’s trip with one of my closest friends in 2016.
Admittedly, we did not research into the country and booked a cheap easyJet holiday to Marrakesh.
Though I think Marrakesh holds some treasures, my experience there and it being my first time in the country was overall quite a negative one. From constant street harassment, sexual assault, being scammed, nearly having my things stolen. It was way
more than I expected to have to deal with on my 1 week holiday. The experiences definitely put me off the country and I had no intention of returning to Morocco ever.
Fast forward to 3 years later and I’m planning my big trip across Africa, starting in Tunisia.
The logistics of my flights made it so that I’d have a long layover in Casablanca, which prompted me to explore the city and boy was I in love.
Now, to many people, Casablanca is a very manic city but I’m a Londoner and love the hustle and bustle of cities.
I spent my day in a park and ate some traditional food before checking into my hostel and then leaving to catch my connecting flight.
But I knew I had to come back and properly explore the city. Which I did a few months later, I booked a week’s trip, spending 6 of those days in Casablanca and 1 in Rabat.
My time in both cities was packed with excitement, I felt like a local hailing taxis, some days I would just take a taxi and see where I’d end up and get a little lost in the city, and though I felt completely safe in the city as a tourist you should be cautious.
My hostel was in the old medina area which, during the day was a breath-taking bustling medieval-looking market place but at night, the men in my hotel warned against going out at night and occasionally followed me to the nearby shops when I wanted to get food. The area when the sun went down quickly became very sketchy.
I found that Moroccan people in general were quite friendly.
I found that men often would want to help me or walk with me to ensure my safety, though these areas weren’t dangerous they just wanted to make sure nothing would happen to me. I think this is probably due to me being a solo female traveller.
Though there are some people who try and exploit tourists most Moroccans are happy to have tourists in their country and are intrigued to know our backgrounds.
Now I have said this a million times and will continue to say it. Morocco has some of the best architecture in the world! Buildings like the Hassan Mosque (Casablanca), kasbah dey hudays (Rabat), saadiyan tombs (Marrakesh).
Every city has its own beautiful architectural style.
Some of my favourite pleaces to visit include: (Casablanca) Old medina – Parc de la ligue arabe – Villa des Artes – Hassan Mosque – Morocco Mall (the biggest mall in Africa) – Sky 28, (Rabat) Hassan Tower, Mausoleum of Mohammed V, Kasbar of the Udayas and Chellah. Marrakesh El badil palace, medina markets and Koutoubia
With amazing food and architecture, this country will remain forever on my bucket list as I just can’t get enough!