For many people, Morocco is a dream from 1001 nights, a foreign, fascinating world. I fell in love with this country during my first holiday in Morocco, a hiking tour in the Sahara. A few years later I moved here. And I still find new reasons to love this country all the time.
Of course, not everything is always great. But nowhere is.
In the last article I wrote about why you might hate Morocco. Now here is the article about the opposite, why you will love Morocco.
The breathtaking landscape
Morocco is one of the most diverse countries in the world. Even when it comes to the landscape. There is everything from sandy beaches to high mountains, from green forests to the sand dunes of the Sahara. Wherever you feel most comfortable, you’ll find it in Morocco. And best of all, the distances are relatively short.
The desert is the part of Morocco I love the most. And it is much more varied than you might think. On my 16-day hike from Zagora to Merzouga, no two days were the same. We started in a stone desert, crossed several ergs and ouads and passed over a few small mountains. Ergs are the classic dune fields that everyone imagines when they think of the desert. And ouads are dried-up riverbeds, mostly with sandy bottoms and with lots of greenery around.
And in between there were always wide stretches of flat land littered with coloured stones, sometimes green, sometimes reddish, sometimes black and sometimes all colours at once. And best of all were the days when we met nomads driving their camels or goats through the desert in search of food.
And a major highlight was of course the starry sky at night! You can see the Milky Way and, with a bit of luck, a shooting star or two.
If you are interested in desert hiking, you might want to check out our tours.
The mountains in Morocco are also very varied. There are several mountain ranges, the Rif Mountains in the north, the High and Middle Atlas, which divide the country into north and south. And the Antiatlas, a very beautiful mountain range that is basically already part of the Sahara. There are some impressive gorges in the southern foothills of the Atlas, the Todra Gorge and the Dades Gorge are probably the most famous.
With a coastline of almost 3000 km, there are plenty of beaches. Popular swimming beaches are found mainly on the Mediterranean coast, e.g. in M’Diq or Al Hoceima. The Atlantic beaches often have high waves, and it is often windy. Therefore, they are more suitable for surfing. But there are some of the most spectacular stretches here, like Legzira. And I personally love these rather wild beaches, especially the one south of Essaouira, my favourite city in Morocco.
In the north and centre of the country, you’ll find some beautiful forests and lots of waterfalls. Especially the region around Ifrane and Azrou in the Middle Atlas is recommended if you are looking for some greenery.
The colourful markets
The souks in Morocco are legendary! You can find everything you can imagine here. I love to just let myself drift and soak up the atmosphere. It’s colourful, loud and full of foreign smells.
There are the more touristy souks in the big cities, where you mainly find products for tourists these days. But, if you search a bit, you can still find authentic items of good quality.
And in the smaller, more unknown towns, there are souks where the locals shop, where the weekly market is held and where you can sometimes find the best souvenirs.
There are now even tours of the souks of Marrakech, where you can visit the most hidden corners.
The yummy food
I don’t think I know anyone who doesn’t love Moroccan food! With so many international influences, the food in Morocco is incredibly diverse. The most unique and at the same time the most varied Moroccan dish is the tajine. Tajine is also the name of the ceramic dish in which food is slow cooked, and there are many, many variations.
If you stay in Morocco for a week, you can order tajine every day without eating the same thing twice. I’m sure there will be a variation that you’ll remember and crave every now and then after your trip.
You can read more about the many different Moroccan dishes here.
The amazing Architecture
There are good reasons why Morocco has 9 sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List. There is so much impressive architecture, from the remains of the Roman city of Volubilis to the riads and palaces in the medinas to the more modern buildings in Rabat, for example.
Moroccan architecture is a mixture of Arabic, African and Andalusian influences, which makes it unique in the world. Of course, the architecture varies within the country. The most beautiful buildings are found in the cities, while the buildings in the countryside are mostly single-storey mud-brick houses or large kasbahs.
I can’t get enough of the beautifully decorated buildings, the colours and patterns. You will not know where to start taking pictures.
An example of great Moroccan architecture is the Madrasa Bou Inania in Fes. It is one of the very few Islamic buildings in Morocco open to non-Muslim visitors and one of the largest and most important madrasas in Morocco.
The riads in Marrakech and Fes are also architectural masterpieces. The traditional courtyards in particular are elaborately decorated, with mosaics and stucco work. A feast for the eyes and every photographer!
The lovely people
And the best for last. The people. Especially the Berbers, who live mainly in the mountains and in the desert. One thing that really stands out about the Berbers is their hospitality. No matter how poor they are, they will invite you in and share what little they have with you. And that is despite the fact that you can hardly communicate with each other.
One of them is a seamstress and I have had some dresses, skirts, trousers, and T-shirts sewn by her. When I’m at her place for a fitting, I play with her children, get to pick lettuce in her garden and she teaches me new words. So I do consider her my friend by now.
So, if I still haven’t convinced you, read about more reasons why you should visit Morocco here.
You can find all the articles and more information about Morocco here.
For more general information on Morocco, also check out these posts:
For your trip planning, also look at these posts:
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