07 May Morocco, the country of One Thousand and One Nights
Morocco, the country of one thousand and one nights…or maybe just a weekend. But no matter how long you stay for, it’s the perfect place to escape from the routine. From its magnificent Middle Eastern architecture, exotic smells and delicious gastronomy, Morocco overpowers the senses from the moment you arrive. And what’s more, it only takes three and a half hours to fly there from London.
While many travellers make a beeline for Marrakech, you shouldn’t miss out on the other highlights of Morocco. So here’s our list of the best places to visit. Or read our other blog post on Morocco if you want to explore the sights and sounds in more detail. And if you need travel insurance for Morocco, get a quote here.
The main attraction in Tangier is the medina (which is the name for the old town in any Moroccan city). The medina is a labyrinth of alleyways and winding streets, all contained within the walls of a 15th century Portuguese fort. Here you’ll find the Grand Socco and the Petit Socco (Spanish spelling for Souk). The place really comes alive during the evenings, when vendors and street sellers hawk their wares.
Once you’re all haggled-out at the souks, venture outside the medina to the Caves of Hercules. Legend has it that this cliff-edge cave is where the Roman god Hercules rested. And directly above the caves is Cape Spartel, which overlooks the Strait of Gibraltar. Or if you fancy another excursion, you’ll find one of the most charming villages in the north of Morocco in Asilah.
Chefchaouen is famed for its blue-washed buildings throughout its old town. It’s impossible to take a bad photo when you’re in this city. But as well as being beautiful to look at, the colour choice has a more practical purpose: to scare away the mosquitoes.
Head down to the medina in the centre of the city and slap bang in the middle you’ll find Plaza Uta El Hammam. The cobbled plaza is lined with cafes and restaurants and is great for a spot of people watching. Or for a spot of nature, head just outside of the city to the waterfall at Ras El Maa. It’s the perfect place to get away from it all.
Tétouan is a striking town at the foot of the Rif Mountains. And with the coast just a few miles away it’s the perfect place to explore both the mountains and the sea. The medina in the town is a Unesco World Heritage Site and it looks like it’s been untouched by the hand of time for centuries.
The place has a strong Spanish feel, as it was once the capital of the Spanish protectorate. The white buildings and broad boulevards are strongly reminiscent of Andalucía. Some of the sights not to be missed include the Moroccan Art Museum and the Khalifa Palace.
Fez was once the cultural and economic powerhouse of northern Africa. And while it’s undoubtedly lost some of its influence over the centuries, it’s still a mystical place to visit. In the city centre you’ll find the largest urban car-free area in the world. Transportation of goods is still provided by donkey carts throughout the maze of alleyways.
Some of the sights definitely worth a visit include the Mausoleum of Moulay Idriss which is Morocco’s most important pilgrimage site. And In the Jewish Quarter you’ll find the Palais Royale which is the royal palace of the Alaouite sultan.
And of course Marrakech has to make the list! Get yourself down to the famous square in the centre of the medina, Jemaa el-Fnaa. This is the heart of the city and if you like jumping in at the deep end, then it’s definitely for you. Lose yourself in the meandering alleyways and try your hand at a spot of haggling. You’ll be able to find rugs, spices, handicrafts and jewellery, amongst thousands of other goods.
Outside of the souks there are plenty of other sights. This includes the Bahia Palace, which was built in the 19th century and was intended to be the greatest palace of all time. Also check out the Ben Youssef Madrasa which is an Islamic historical site. The Saadian Tombs are also well worth a visit, dating back to the late 16th century.
One last thing, if you’re planning a trip to Morocco anytime soon, remember to buy travel insurance. Morocco isn’t within the EU, so there is no cover provided by the EHIC. But with Coverontrip you can buy Morocco travel insurance from just £4.52 for 3 nights cover based on a 25 year old.
And with travel insurance for Morocco with Coverontrip, you get medical, cancellation, and baggage cover as standard, plus loads of other benefits. So get a travel insurance quote today.