Q~ I need some recommendations for a sample itinerary for a 10-12 day visit to Morocco. I’d like a combination of do-nothing beach relaxation as well as historical stuff. What are the must-visit cities?
[simage=2897,160,c,left,] Awesome choice, Morocco was one of my favorite countries. Marrakesh is the obvious must-see. Pretty touristy, but great restaurants, traditional Riads (homes converted into hotels) and restaurants. That’s where you’ll find the snake charmers, spice stalls, trained monkeys and kiosk tooth extractions. The shopping is incredible, the souks (markets) go on forever. It’s a great jumping off point for day or overnight trips to see some great ruins or Sahara treks. You can wait til you’re there and book the day trips.
[simage=2899,160,c,right,]For beaches my favorite was Essaouira. Pretty chilled back, some nice lounging, laid-back nightlife. People are friendly and the fresh fish is incredible. There’s a beautifully preserved fortress and arching city walls. It takes you back in time with the traditional life. Agadir is further south, I’ve heard mixed reviews. It’s bigger and busier than Essaouira but also more developed.
[simage=2898,160,c,left,] I’m really sorry I never got to Fes, it’s supposed to be a real gem. It’s also right close to Meknes, which has some things to see. I went to Chefchaouen instead. It was very pretty, everything whitewashed in whites and blues. Supposed to be the hashish capital of the country but all I saw was kids selling chunks of tire glue. Not much to do there, and a long overnight bus journey, so I would skip it if you’re short on time.
[simage=2900,160,c,right,] Casablanca is a big business city, but I have some wonderful friends there so it’s somewhere I’ll always return to. The Hassan II Mosque in Casa is the largest mosque in Morocco and the third largest in the world. Definitely worth a stop just for the mosque, but I also still enjoy the bustle of the big cities.
[simage=2901,160,c,left,]No matter where you go, be sure to take time to get to know the locals. Incredibly friendly and open, they open up their hearts and homes. Although at times it can be motivated by a carpet sale. The purchase of anything will take several cups of tea, family photos pulled from wallets, offers of cigarettes, and an openness that seems proprietary to children in the west. To sit and sip a sweet mint tea with a shop-keep, or be blessed with an invite to a home, is the ultimate experience. I made some friends in a market, and stayed in the family home for a week. That week made Morocco one of my most treasured memories. So enjoy the beaches, the fish, the markets and the architecture, but do your best to delve into the people. They will truly be the highlight of your trip.
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