If you’re yearning for a holiday that extends beyond the Immigration Checkpoint but aren’t sure of the ideal location, how about considering the land of camels, couscous and argan oil? From strolling through the medina filled with alleyways and market shops, camel-riding across the Sahara to kicking off your shoes with a cup of mint tea in hand, doesn’t it sound like the perfect getaway vacation?
For first-time travellers to Morocco, it may get a little intimidating to find the best spots for Instagram-worthy pictures. There are so many things to do, places to visit and of course, how can we forget – authentic cuisines to drool over. If you have a week to spend, we highly recommend you to book a flight to this charm of a city. Fret not, we’ll take you through day by day so all you have to do is have your passports ready and enjoy a well-deserved holiday in true Moroccan style (and for more tips for first-timers to Morocco, check this out!).
Day 1 & 2 – Explore Marrakech
Day 1 – Stroll down Jemaa El Fna medina
If you wish to see the heart of Marrakech the minute you land, the souks in Jemaa El Fna hits the sweet spot. There is something magical as you wander down the medina and take in the sight of the Berber-speaking salesmen hard at work in tempting tourists with commodities like jewellery, carpets, candles, and textiles. It’s as though you’ve stumbled onto the routine of the residents here. You can’t help but stop and admire the intricate detailing made by local artisans, from handmade scarfs to ceramics. Make sure to bring a piece of Morocco with you on your return home!
Resembling a carnival coming to life in the night, the medina is occupied with street musicians, performing acrobats and henna-painting ladies. You’ll have trouble peeling your eyes away from flute-playing snake charmers and the slithering serpents.
Credit: UnofficialSquaw on Flickr
At the end of an exhausting day, sit back on the rooftop terraces for a bird’s eye view of the entire place, with a pint of mint tea ready by your side.
Credit: Johannes Zielcke on Flickr
If you’re a daredevil foodie, try out local delicacies sold easily in mule carts. From boiled snails in a tangy broth, sheep head cooked in an underground oven to stuffed camel spleen sausages, it is sure to ignite the adventurer in you! If you don’t have the stomach for it, opt for the couscous (which is a must in Morocco and easily available everywhere) or fall back on good ol’ burgers (yes they have them here!).
Credit: Zak Zavada on Flickr
Check out Al Nour for handmade scarfs, children’s clothing and other knick-knacks. The products are specially crafted by handicapped women, so what better way to shop and support a good humbling cause?
#HHWT Tip: Don’t be alarmed, it is common for motorcycles to whizz by you on the narrow streets. As seductive as the loots are, keep a lookout for the cyclists when navigating your way through the souks!
Credit: Jiska Kropveld-Ligtenberg on Facebook
There are plenty of hotels (or better known as riads in this city), so it’s relatively easy for visitors to browse for the best deals to suit their needs. We suggest Riad Les Bougainvilliers, an affordable 4-star riad inclusive of breakfast and a pool to lounge at. Located conveniently near Jemma El Fna, you can practically travel to and fro the hotel to unload your shopping bags. Bonus: The friendly staff are more than eager to help you with any requests!
#HHWT Tip: Riads are built as cosy apartments, perfect for couples and families. Instead of a high-end luxurious villa, how about choosing from one of the riads, where you’ll be able to appreciate Moroccan architecture?
Day 2 – Take a snapshot of scenic locations
Enjoy the fresh air in Majorelle Garden
Bask in a shady retreat in one of Marrakech’s popular eye-catching attractions, home to an array of vibrant botanic. French painter, Jacques Majorelle devoted forty years of work for the garden to bloom. The botanical garden houses some of the most vibrant floras, from the bougainvillaeas, geraniums, pergolas, and many others. As you saunter into the dream-like haven, you’re immersed in a twelve-acre real-life painting. Marrying the love for painting and planting together, Majorelle Garden offers tourists a view to fawn over. Enjoy the sounds of streams flowing and birds chirping as you admire the sight of a startling electric blue colour gracing almost all of the premises.
Credit: Maroc on Facebook
#HHWT Tip: The garden is open daily from 8am for a fee of 70 dirhams (about SGD$10). We recommend visitors to lounge in the cafe tucked in the floras and faunas and if you’re willing to cash out a little more, visit the Berber museum for 30 dirhams (SGD$4) situated at the heart of the garden. Stand in awe and marvel at the collection of artwork that showcases Berber culture.
Credit: Mark Heard on Flickr
Reconnect at Ali ben Youssef Medersa [Update (Mar 2019): Please note that the Medersa is currently closed for renovation and scheduled to reopen in 2020] As you enter what was the biggest Islamic centre in North Africa previously, you’ll be greeted by the engraving above: ‘You who enter my door, may your highest hopes be exceeded.’ Credit: eatswords on Flickr As you make your way inside, the walkway is laden with five-colour mosaics, stucco and cedar carvings, with a miniature pool in the middle of the palace-like building. The Medersa also contains a prayer hall that points visitors to the direction of Mecca, allowing a moment to recharge your soul.
Credit: Camilo Avila on Facebook
#HHWT Tip: The Medersa is open everyday from 8am. If you book a place to stay near Jemaa El Fnaa , it will be an easy ten minute walk from there to the Medersa.
Get lost in the blue city, Chefchaouen
One of the most alluring towns in Morocco, this charming city’s up in the mountains which makes getting to a tad difficult, but once you arrive, the view will take away your breath (and fatigue). A calm respite from the bustling hub of Marrakech, the electric blue town is for those who seek a little quiet time in their travels.
Credit: dailytravelpill on Instagram
Nestled in the Rif Mountains, the eye-catching tones of mesmerising blues and whites paint a resemblance to Greece, but has an entirely different force of its own. Take an idyllic stroll along the architectural beauty or take a dip in mountain streams before calling it a night under a constellation of stars. Valleys and hillsides are sure to satisfy the wanderlust adventurer, while the colourful medina is chock-full of hand-weaved shawls, silver cutleries and tagine clay pots for the shopaholics at heart. The trinkets you’ll find are precious gems to bring home!
Credit: inmorocco on Instagram
As it may take up to 12 hours to get from Marrakech to this quaint town, this is only perfect for those who crave an idle vacation away from camel-trekking. As there’s no flights nor trains stopping by, your best bet is taking a bus to Casa-Voyageurs in Casablanca before boarding a train to Souk El Arbaa. From there, take a bus (situated one kilometre away from the train station) to Chefchaouen. The two-hour long bus ride will finally have you settled in this blue-tinted city for a relaxing day ahead.
For more information on travel journeys to Chefchaouen, find them here!
Day 3, 4 & 5 – Tread the Moroccan wilds
Trek with camels in Sahara Desert
Travel through the Sahara like a local nomad, atop the beloved hump-backed camel. You will be accompanied by clear skies overlooking endless dunes amongst other camel-riders like yourself. The hues of orange silhouettes at sunset is an unforgettable sight and deliver the ‘oomph’ to your Arabian stay.
Credit: @just_a_cheeseburger on Flickr
Camel trekking can be experienced in a variety of places depending on the amount of time visitors have to spare, but we recommend trying the route from Marrakech to Erg Chebbi. The dunes found in Erg Chebbi is said to be of the highest and most stunning in Morocco. You’ll also be able to witness many amazing sights along the way.
Day 3 – Time for an adventure!
First stop, Ait Benhaddou! The earthen red-bricked buildings known as a ksar is definitely a must-see in Morocco, even if you’re not one for getting friendly with the camels. There are tours that organise visits solely to Ait Benhaddou so be sure to check them out!
Credit: kellyneville on Flickr
If you’re fan of historic architecture, you’ll be delighted to be transported to the olden day Morocco. The ksar is so well-known that movie enthusiasts will recognise the familiar tint of red as the backdrop for movies like Jewel of the Nile and Gladiator. Perhaps, one of the pinnacle moments during the trip is the view of the High Atlas Mountains, draped in winter-like snow. The stunning panorama will have you whipping out your phones faster than you can say “Morocco Adventure!”
Credit: Antonio Cinotti on Flickr
Your destination for the night is the Valley of the Roses, with dinner and stay in a hotel overlooking the Dades Valley and the Valley of a Thousand Kasbahs.
Day 4 – Explore Erg Chebbi!
Pull up your socks and put on your trekking shoes! Get ready to pay a visit to the Todra Gorge, which is said to stand majestically at 300m above sea level.
Credit: Diana K on Flickr
When you arrive in Erg Chebbi, the excitement’s just beginning. You’ll trek into Erg Chebbi with the sun setting in the distance, making it the perfect, scenic photo to send back home. Your date with nature continues with a good night’s sleep under a blanket of stars.
Credit: vil.sandi on Flickr
#HHWT Tip: You’re able to sleep in a tent if sleeping au naturel is not your dose of comfort.
Day 5 – Back to Marrakech
You’ll awaken to the sun rays kissing your skin as you prepare for the journey back to Marrakech. If you’ve missed any sights while on the way over, now’s certainly the time to take a second glimpse.
Credit: Antonio Cinotti on Flickr
#HHWT Tip: If you’re keen to learn more, you can check out Trekking In Morocco!
Day 6 – Unwind with shopping and massage
After three days of being in the wilderness, it’s time to pamper your senses with MORE shopping and a leisurely massage. Head down to the Ensemble Artisinal for your splurge on kaftans, jewellery and carpets, giving you an alternative to the souks experience.
Credit: Ross Merritt on Flickr
#HHWT Tip: The sales vendors are proficient in Berber, Arabic, and even English so visitors are able to haggle with ease. However, those who aren’t confident in striking a bargain deal, the Artisinal is a great stand-in. You can even check with receptionists’ at your riad for places to spend your last couple of spare change.
Credit: Martin and Kathy Dady on Flickr
As the intensity of the camel trek and shopping (which is serious business for any tourist) take a toll on your skin, laze around in a hammam (Turkish bathhouse) that looks like it belongs in a castle. Let your skin rejuvenate with the savon noir (soap made of olives) and a mud mask prepared by the bath assistant. Your skin deserves a good refreshing dip as much as you do!
Credit: Hammam de la Rose on Facebook
Seriously, how can we end up not getting spoilt?
#HHWT Tip: A recommended hammam is the Hammam de la Rose, popular for its affordable costs and effective products.
Day 7 – Home sweet home
There you have it! Seven days of an exotic travel holiday, getting lost in picturesque landscapes that’ll take your breath away. We encourage you to create memories close to your heart, so go ahead and let loose your adventurous spirit, even if you have to deviate a tad from the itinerary. As you travel to escape the humdrum of routines and bury yourself in new adventures, it’ll trigger the reason why living is indeed, a self-loving quest.
After all, that’s what travels do, isn’t it?