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Marrakech: Tradition meets modernity

The ancient imperial city of Marrakech has a great deal to offer within its red-tinted walls. Bustling, cosmopolitan and open to life, it offers experience-hungry travellers a vibrant city with deep-rooted traditions and bright flashes of modernity. Brimming with captivating UNESCO World Heritage monuments, it offers a hotchpotch of sensations, aromas and charming little spots that would appeal to Alfred Hitchcock himself – in fact, several scenes for his film "The Man Who Knew Too Much" were shot here.

 

Get lost in the magical universe of Jemaa el-Fnaa, one of the world's busiest squares, with its snake-charmers, water-carriers, dancers, fortune-tellers and henna tattoo artists; hunt down the perfect souvenir in the fascinating Spice Market or the labyrinthine and engrossing souk with its carpets, slippers, furs and jewels... stroll through the picturesque alleys and passageways of the Medina; allow yourself to be whisked away by the exclusive atmosphere of the modern city with its elegant French air, traversed by wide boulevards and full of designer establishments, luxurious hotels and exquisite leisure options for lovers of golf, thalassotherapy and the good life. The minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque, the Arabic Baths of the Medina, the Jewish Quarter or Mellah, the breathtaking Majorelle Garden and the Menara Gardens will make you feel like you have stepped into “One Thousand and One Nights”. Discover fascinating Marrakech.

Marrakech: Tradition meets modernity

Fez

Discover al-Qarawiyyin University and Mosque

The world's first university opened its doors in 859 A.D. in the Moroccan city of Fez, within the al-Qarawiyyin Mosque. It's a must for any traveller staying in bustling Fez, who may be surprised to discover that it was a woman, Fatima al-Fihri, who founded this mosque that became a centre of higher education and, over time, a major knowledge hub in the Mediterranean. Access to the mosque is reserved for Muslims, so you'll have to settle for taking a peek from the entrance. So, make sure you don't overlook this part of the untouched medina.

 

Madrasas and funduqs of Fez

When you immerse yourself into Moroccan culture, you'll come across two frequent terms: madrasas and funduqs. Madrasas are schools and two of the most stunning in the city are the Al-Attarine Madrasa and the Bou Inania Madrasa, both of which can be visited. Their typical architecture consists of an ornate central courtyard surrounded by arcades and rooms on all four sides, generally double height. Meanwhile, funduqs are medieval caravanserai where merchants would spend the night and store their goods. Ask in the medina for the funduq that has been restored and converted into the Nejjarine Museum and pop by to admire the wooden crafts.

 

Marvel at the leather tanneries

The most famous image of Fez, photographed by generations of travellers, is its Tanners' Square. You'll find it in the heart of the medina, with the old barrels filled with vibrant dyes to colour the animal hides. These will then be turned into bags, jackets and other leather goods that are on sale at the huge array of stalls. Tanning is an extremely hard job, but there's something hypnotic about watching it. The best view of the Tanners' Square is from the terraces of the shops around it. The shop owners will gladly walk you around, trusting that their courtesy will end up in a sale for them.

Savour the delicacies of Fez

In this city you'll be blown away by a truly wonderful cuisine. Make sure you try couscous (a tasty wheat semolina with meats and vegetables), tajine (a chicken or lamb stew served in a quirky earthenware pot that gives the dish its name), pastilla (a mouthwatering puff pastry pie (Ouarqua) with a sweet and savoury meat filling), and kefta (small, seasoned meatballs served with tomato). As a starter, order harira, which is a rich soup made from tomato, onion and chickpeas. And to round off the banquet, a mint tea with exquisite Moroccan pastries. Simply superb!

 

Unwind at the Moulay Yacoub spa

Morocco boasts a hidden treasure: its hot springs. Just fifteen kilometres away from Fez, in the middle of an arid valley, is the Moulay Yacoub spa. Its warm, sulphurous waters are famous for their therapeutic and soothing properties, which is why they're great for treating rheumatism, respiratory problems, skin diseases and more. The municipal thermal baths are frequented by families from all over the country, so you'll get to see a true slice of Moroccan life. A modern and luxurious spa hotel, the Vichy Termalia, has been built near them, and provides a wide range of thermal water treatments. It's the best place to unwind after a few days of intense sightseeing!

Fez

Casablanca

Visit a mosque on the water

On the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, built on an artificial promontory created by reclaiming land from the sea, lies the impressive Hassan II Mosque, one of the largest and most stunning in the world. It's possible to visit inside, always accompanied by a guide, so you'll get to see the stunning woods that fuse with marble and onyx, the symmetry of the arabesques and tiles, its ornate doors, its spectacular ceilings and columns, and much more. What's more, you'll definitely stand in awe at its spectacular 172-metre minaret, a fact that has given it the accolade of the tallest religious building in the world.

 

Shopping around town

Casablanca is a paradise for shopping lovers, with markets, stores and large shopping centres where you can buy all kinds of products. In the city centre, you'll find boutiques selling some of the world's most famous and luxurious labels, which are also available at many of Casablanca's shopping centres. One of the best is the Morocco Mall, the largest in Africa, with six hundred retail brands, a musical fountain and an aquarium that will dazzle you. If you love crafts, head to the medina and its souks, where artsans will sell you typical pieces such as trays, teapots, leather goods, footwear, pouffes and more. You'll be spoilt for choice!

 

Discover the Moroccan 'dolce vita' in its old medina

Just a stone's throw from the port of Casablanca, we recommend a stroll through the labyrinth of narrow streets in the old medina. It's the most recent one in the country, though, rebuilt after the devastating earthquake of 1755, and one of the most original, as its constructions fuse Arab-Muslim architecture with European influences. It still features the last remains of the city prior to the twentieth century. In this area, you'll see how Moroccans enjoy the good life in bars, restaurants and shops, as well as at all the cultural events that take place all year round.

 

Hop from the old to the new medina: the Habous district

Once you've visited the old medina and its traditional shops, you can't miss the new medina, also known as the Habous district. Designed by the French in the 1920s, it's an eclectic neighbourhood full of tree-lined squares, narrow streets, elegant arcades, colonial and Maghreb-style buildings alike, and pocket-sized souks selling Moroccan crafts. In its surroundings you can leisurely stroll along the Boulevard Victor Hugo and visit must-sees including the Royal Palace, the Palace of Justice, the Mohamed V Mosque and the Moulay Youssef Mosque. And make sure you try the pastries from some of the stalls.

 

Take a dip off its urban beaches

Nestled on the Atlantic Ocean, Casablanca is an amazing beach resort where you can unwind after a busy day sightseeing. In the centre, around the Aïn Diab commune located at the Corniche, the hotel complexes boast all kinds of facilities and services, combined with private beaches and water parks. Lalla Meryem is another beach that you absolutely have to visit. At both you can enjoy all kinds of water activities such as jet skiing, windsurfing and diving, or savour the local cuisine at the many bars and restaurants along the promenade, where you should also make sure to take a sunset stroll.

Casablanca

Rabat

Visit Hassan Tower and the Mausoleum of Mohammed V

These are two places you can't miss on your trip to Morocco's capital city. The Hassan Tower is an unfinished construction, designed by Sultan Yaqub al-Mansur in the twelfth century with the aim of erecting the world's highest minaret. He didn't have enough time to complete his project, but he did leave us one of the most iconic images of Rabat. Next door is the Mausoleum of Mohammed V, grandfather of the current Alaouite monarch. It's a fantastic piece of architecture that you'll immediately identify by its gleaming white marble façade. The complex includes a stunning mosque and a museum about the history of Morocco's ruling dynasty.

 

Travel back in time at the Kasbah of the Udayas

This beautiful citadel, restored in the period of the French protectorate, is perfect for a leisurely trip back to the ancient history of Morocco. It stands at one end of Rabat, very close to the sea. Originally it was a fort where the Udaya tribe settled, and that they later turned into a splendid citadel. Venture inside to explore the spectacular network of narrow streets, with their characteristic houses painted white and blue, and admire the wonderful views of the sea and the neighbouring city of Salé from the viewpoints on the wall.

 

Explore the multicultural Necropolis of Chellah

This was originally a port of call called Sala Colonia, a hugely important trading post thanks to its location on the banks of the Bou Regreg River and its proximity to the Atlantic. The Phoenicians are thought to have been the first civilisation to leave their mark on what would later become a Roman city. Later, the Arabs expanded the site to build a mosque and some shrines. Wandering through the Necropolis of Chellah will give you a clear idea of the succession of cultures that underlies this country's history. Today, Chellah is popular for playing host to the annual Festival Jazz au Chellah.

 

Exotic Gardens of Bouknadel

A love of gardens is deeply rooted in Arabic culture and its traditional architecture. Just twenty kilometres from the Moroccan capital, it's well worth visiting the Exotic Gardens of Bouknadel, designed by the French engineer Marcel François in the mid-twentieth century. Enjoy this stylish haven of greenery that mimics the jungle and exotic forests, full of exuberant vegetation in the heart of a country usually associated with the desert. You'll be able to see trees and flowers native to China, South Asia, the Congo, Japan, the Antilles, Polynesia, etc., all of them sharing this pocket-sized paradise.

 

Take a cultural tour of its museums

Rabat is a modern city and a cultural destination with an outstanding selection of museums. One not to be missed is the former Archaeological Museum, which was recently refurbished and rechristened the Museum of History and Civilisations of Rabat. It's home to the archaeological finds from various sites in Morocco, such as Volubilis, Banassa and Thamusida. At the other end of the spectrum, we also highly recommend a tour of the Mohammed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, opened in 2014 in the new part of the city and designed in the French colonial style. Its vast collection of paintings, photos and other works will fascinate you.

Rabat

Marrakech

Wander leisurely around Jemaa el-Fnaa Square

This is the main square of Marrakech and the hub of city life for locals, a meeting place for you to wander leisurely around and discover its array of stalls while savouring the scents of mint and spices and listening to traditional music. Visit by day for a spot of souvenir shopping and by night to sample local delicacies at the food stalls. Our recommendation is to head to a bar with a terrace at sunset so that you can marvel at the beauty of this bustling square from above.

 

Visit Yves Saint Laurent's garden

In the heart of this ochre-toned city lies the Majorelle Garden, a haven of peace that captivates all visitors with its intensely blue villa and its exuberantly verdant vegetation. Owned by Yves Saint Laurent since 1980, the botanical garden is home to plants from different continents, a Moorish-style café-restaurant where you can unwind, and a Berber museum where you can learn about the rich culture of this people. Get your camera ready to take some of the best photos of your visit to the city!

 

Admire the beauty of the most important mosque

Stroll through the old town of Marrakech and gaze up at the sky to see how it’s pierced by the impressive 77-metre-high minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque, the most important in the city. It's sure to remind you of the Giralda in Seville, which was inspired by its design and proportions. Although only practising Muslims can go inside, you can admire the beauty of its exterior, with imposing walls and sandstone blocks decorated with filigree stone and tiles, while its gardens are full of palm trees, orange trees and other fruit trees.

 

Breathe in the fresh air at city’s top natural spaces

Marrakech isn't just culture, history and heritage, it's also nature and adventure. The city is surrounded by the impressive Atlas Mountains, perfect for enjoying all kinds of outdoor activities. Between the valleys of the N'Fiss and Ourika rivers lies the Toubkal National Park, where you'll find protected areas with junipers, oaks and a huge variety of animal species. We recommend climbing to the top of Mount Toubkal, one of the most stunning peaks in the country and even the whole of Africa. Make sure you always go with a knowledgeable local guide, though, as they'll be able to show you the most amazing hidden corners.

 

Savour Marrakech's mythical dish: the Tanjia

A must on a trip to any destination is the local cuisine. Morocco's is one of the most delicious in the whole world, and during your stay in Marrakech you really have to try its mythical dish: the Tanjia. This is a stew made in a clay pot and cooked for six to eight hours over coals. The ingredients include highly seasoned (especially with cumin) chunks of beef, lemon and saffron. As it's cooked for so long, the meat is mouth-wateringly tender and the sauce is so delicious that you'll definitely be back for more.

Marrakech

Moroccan cuisine

Morocco has some exquisite traditional dishes to offer. Popular recipes include couscous and tajine.Couscous is a delicious meal traditionally served on Fridays, made from steamed semolina along with vegetables and meat. Try out all of the different varieties – each region of Morocco has its own way of preparing couscous.

 

You should also know that Morocco's national dish is tajine. It is prepared with stewed meat, chicken or fish and stewed legumes. Moroccans' favorite dishes during Ramadan are Harira, baghrir, delicious crepes with honey, and for dessert they opt for Shebbakia, which are like sweet biscuits.

 

When to go?

Morocco welcomes millions of tourists from all over the world all-year-round, who are attracted by its culture, traditions, historical monuments and contrasting landscapes . In recent decades the country has made an effort to reconvert and expand its selection of hotels and to put together a tourist infrastructure that is increasingly suited to international tourism. Discover its fascinating cities full of history as well as its beautiful coastal areas.

 

DISCOVER MOROCCO ALL YEAR ROUND
Morocco is a country with a very varied climate, including desert areas, coasts with a Mediterranean and oceanic climate, and mountains where you can go skiing in the winter. It's up to you whether you visit the desert, the beach or the mountains!

 

Travelling in the spring
Travellers to Morocco at this time of year can look forward to mostly sunny days. The spring in Agadir and Marrakech is usually mild and pleasant with temperatures between 23°C and 26°C. The south of the country is usually very popular in the spring since there is also very little rainfall.

 

Travelling in the summer

In the summer the high temperatures are alleviated on the Mediterranean and Atlanticcoasts, which is why a large number of tourists opt to visit these areas. It is also the perfect time to enjoy the mountain climate and discover natural beauties like the Ifrane Valley, famous for its shrubs and waterfalls.

 

Come in the autumn

In autumn the temperatures ease in the interior of the country. The south continues to have a warm climate to enjoy the sea, which is why it is often a destination for both tourists and locals looking for a great atmosphere to unwind in.

 

Come in the winter

Temperatures at the highest altitudes drop in the winter. Lots of people come to the Middle Atlas to go skiing, while you can also continue to enjoy a refreshing swim on the southern shores.

 

TRAVEL TO MOROCCO AT AN AFFORDABLE PRICE

If you're looking to get to know Morocco at the best price you need to plan your trip in advance in order to find flights and reservations at the major hotels. Online agencies like ours offer the best and most affordable option with package reservations for hotels and flights with transfers.

 

TIME ZONE

The time zone in Morocco is the same as in the UK. Mainland Europe is one hour ahead of Morocco.

 

ELECTRICITY

As far as electricity is concerned, when charging phones or plugging in a hair dryer or a shaver it is very important to keep in mind that most plugs are 220V and the frequency is 50 Hz, but it is always best to check in advance by enquiring at your hotel or whatever establishment you are in. If you are not sure about the voltage, it is very easy to buy small adapters in any Moroccan city.

Documentation and customs

NECESSARY DOCUMENTATION

For citizens of the European Union, valid ID (passport) is required with an expiry date at least three months after the date you arrive in Morocco. This allows you to stay in the country for a maximum of three months. If you plan on staying longer, you will have to request a visa. It is important to remember that visa requirements depend on your country of origin, so we recommend that you enquire at embassies and consulates before starting your trip.

 

CUSTOMS

You will have to fill out a Customs Declaration form during your flight to Morocco or when you arrive at the country's border, and then hand this in at passport control.

How to get there

BY PLANE

Mainly by plane, although agencies like ours also offer interesting routes to allow you to discover the country's beautiful cities, cuisine and customs in just a few days. The most popular tours include Morocco in Full, Morocco Imperial Cities in Full starting from Marrakech, and the Morocco Desert Getaway.

 

MAIN AIRPORTS
Morocco
has ten international airports. The main Moroccan cities can be reached from London and Manchester and all major Spanish and European cities. Note that, during the high season, various chartered flights link major European destinations with the main cities in Morocco.

 

Marrakech Airport (RAK)

    <li>Address: Ménara, Marrakesh 40000</li>
    <li>Telephone: +212 024 447 910.</li>

 

Casablanca Airport (CMN)

    <li>Address: Nouasseur, Casablanca, Morocco</li>
    <li>Telephone: +212 5225-39040.</li>

 

Tangier Airport (TNG)

    <li>Telephone: +212 5393-93649.</li>

 

Rabat Airport (RBA)

    <li>Telephone: +212 5224-35858.</li>

Health and safety

HEALTH INSURANCE

The European Health Insurance Card is NOT valid in Morocco. Healthcare is public, but there is also semi-private and private care. It is advisable to take out private health insurance if you are going to stay in Morocco for a short time. In an emergency you can contact the British embassy or consulate , which will provide you with a list of doctors and hospitals near you.

 

VACCINATION

Vaccines are not required to travel to Morocco, except for travellers arriving from countries where yellow fever exists. It is advisable that you are up to date with vaccinations against hepatitis and typhus, however. Ask your doctor if in any doubt.

 

ADVICE ON HYGIENE AND CUSTOMS

When travelling the body's defences can become weaker while it adapts. Wash your hands frequently, request that water bottles be opened in front of you, and avoid consuming ice. As in the rest of the world, stomach upsets are mostly caused by water and undercooked or badly washed food.

Where to stay

There is a wide and varied range of accommodation on offer in Morocco . Morocco has a huge selection of hotels to suit all tastes and budgets. There are more and more luxury hotels in addition to the guest houses that are often located in riads, beautiful traditional houses with an interior patio and converted into hotels where you can enjoy traditional Moroccan hospitality. One recommendation is to avoid travelling without an advance reservation: especially in the spring and at the end of the year it can be difficult to find accommodation.

 

Morocco's Ministry of Tourism has created an official hotel classification system ranging from one to five stars with subcategories A and B to cover criteria including quality and the number of services. In this country of traditions a great deal of value is still placed on hospitality, so enjoy your stay in Morocco and discover a country that is full of surprises.

If I book Flight + Hotel, when will I receive my travel documents?

Once the booking is confirmed you will receive a confirmation e-mail. The voucher for the hotel will be also sent by email plus the vouchers for any other services (car hire, transfer, travel insurance) if booked.

Please note that no flight tickets are sent due to most airlines using e-tickets. You only need to print our confirmation email where the Airline`s booking reference appears and take it with you to the airport with your ID/Passport documents.

Important: Some Low Cost Airlines (Ryanair, Easyjet, Wizzair, Blueair and others) now request all passengers to check-in online and print the Boarding Cards before departure through their corresponding websites. Failure to do so, these airlines will charge you a supplement at the airport.

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