On our first visit to Morocco, we swore that we’d never return.
We had enjoyed and marvelled at the delicate beauty that can be found in the country and become entranced with what we captured through our lens. And yet, it was the handful of negative experiences with its harsher aspects that were to remain at the forefront of our memory; heatstroke in the summer sun, the frequent (and sometimes aggressive) accostments within in its medinas, and the lack of respect that Emily seemed to garner in this male dominated world.
Nobody was more surprised than us when, five years later, we chose to return, to enjoy another side of this eternally photogenic country; our hard-earned first experience paving the way for an incredible second, and a chance to enjoy everything that Morocco has to offer.
Here are the reasons why we think you should still put a visit to Morocco on your travel list, sooner rather than later.
The Architecture is Stunning
You’ve probably drooled over it on Instagram more than a few times. But trust us when we tell you that the distinctive architecture found in Morocco is even better in real life.
Ornate geometric patterns, thousands upon thousands of intricately placed tiles, and majestic archways - the cities of Fez, Marrakech, Meknes, Rabat, and Casablanca host some of the best examples of Islamic and Moorish architecture, and each will captivate you.
A great place to start? Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, Ben Youssef Madrasa in Marrakech, and the gates to Fez.
It suits budget backpackers and those looking for luxury
Marrakech, the most popular city for tourists in the country, captures how well Morocco is suited to travellers of all budgets.
It’s possible to stay in a basic budget hostel, eat in the souks, spend a little on coffee or tea, and discover the city without any guides, transport or very little money. However, it is also extremely popular to stay in a 5 star hotel or riad, indulge in a luxurious spa, spend lots on food, tours, meals and experiences.
And the best thing? Travelling on a budget or spending a lot more cash are both absolutely viable and enjoyable within Morocco as the country is well set-up for both types of tourism.
Read this post to find out the typical travel costs in Morocco, and plan your own budget.
It has accommodation like no other
If there is one singular reason which should make you come to Morocco, then it’s the spectacular and wholly unique accommodation. A riad, meaning ‘garden’ in Arabic, is a beautiful, ornate and serene oasis of cool calm in contrast to the medinas in the city. All have a central courtyard, often with a small pool or fountain, with guest rooms dotted around the various floors, and are filled with delightful design features and decoration all over. They really do capture the spirit and aesthetic of that wonderful Moroccan architecture.
Staying in a riad is, for us, mandatory for any visitor to Morocco as they are simply wonderful. We recommend that you search for the best prices for hotels and riads in Morocco in advance and make your reservation early so you can stay in your dream one! You can also see our pick of the best budget riads in Marrakech.
It’s made for a Road Trip
A big reason that our second visit was such a fantastic travel experience was due to our Morocco road trip. Travelling from Marrakech to Merzouga over the course of seven days in our own rental car, it really took us off the beaten track and into some of absolutely majestic Atlas mountain landscapes for which Morocco is becoming better known for (especially for hikers and trekkers).
Since then, a number of our readers have followed our route and told us how thrilled they were at their choice to discover Morocco that way.
For UK travellers, day-to-day life in Morocco offers a real contrast to home.
So much is different, and as you navigate the labyrinthine medinas of a thousand narrow streets, it can feel like you’ve been transported to a different world a times. Isn’t this an experience for which we all travel? Aside from its deeply religious roots and visible traditions, wandering around the souks (markets) and medinas (old town areas) provides you with a direct insight and experience of somewhere which feels to wholly capture the term ‘exotic’ and which you may only have hitherto ventured to in films and books on travel in the Middle East and North Africa.
Be curious, be intrepid and be sure to put yourself out of your comfort zone.
Shop, Shop and Shop Some More
Moroccan souks are special places, frantic and frenetic, where you can jostle, hustle and haggle. Within these markets, filled to the brim with stalls selling ceramics, leather goods, carpets, textiles, spices, jewellery, lamps, shoes and everything in between, you will get lost and you will have to resist your urge to buy absolutely everything. It’s vibrant, colourful and some great deals can be found.
Our tip? Never travel to Morocco with a completely full suitcase, and if you’re looking for some really unique and affordable design features for your house, then you will certainly find them here.
Flights are short and usually cheap
At just over 3 hours flight-time from the UK, it’s no surprise Morocco is expected to host one million British tourists annually. We can’t think of anywhere else you can fly to in that time which transports you to an almost entirely different world, plus offers almost guaranteed sunshine, good affordability, and a stable environment for tourism. Indeed, although it has its small-scale annoyances and risks for visitors, Morocco is one of few countries in North Africa which is a viable and sensible tourist destination (at the time of writing there are severe travel warnings for Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Sudan and South Sudan, whilst nobody will be going to Libya any time soon).
Also, as it’s an excellent choice for a winter break destination, great year-round return flights for under £150 can often be found on Morocco flights from the UK - principally if you fly to Fez, Agadir or Marrakech.
You Can Visit The Sahara Desert
Who hasn’t dreamed of walking barefoot in the Sahara desert and camping there under the stars? A huge draw for travellers is the set-up in Morocco for visiting and staying in the Sahara desert, something we experienced on our second visit to the country.
From its untouched mountainous dunes to wondrous sunrises & sunsets, a visit to the iconic Sahara desert, starting off from Merzouga, will be a tonic for your soul - just make sure you factor in that it will require at least three days of time in your itinerary.
It Will Improve Your Instagram Game
Ok, we’re only being half serious here. There is so much more to this country than Instagram potential!
But there’s no doubt that Morocco’s popularity as an ‘Instagram Destination’ has made a country that is very much on the radar of millenials. From that riad in Marrakech to easily accessible Game of Thrones destinations, to the wonderful blue city of Chefchaouen in the north-west, you will find countless spots for the ‘gram.
In all seriousness, in all our travels around the world, Morocco still ranks number one as the most photogenic destination we’ve visited.