Offering a picturesque coast and one of the most popular cities in Africa, Morocco holidays give the top tourist destinations in Europe a run for their money.
Morocco was introduced to the mainstream tourism market in the late ‘90s and this saw the addition of a new genre to the world travel library. All of a sudden, holidays took on a spicy fragrance rather than that of sun cream, and the backing track of waves underwent a remix with calls to pray.
Now, more than 8 million visitors come to Morocco each year searching for a beach break with a difference. Most choose Agadir as a base, and this is for good reason. The coastline here stretches for 9.5 kilometers (6 miles) and enjoys some 300 sunshine days per year. Agadir gently introduces you to Moroccan culture with typically European cafes and chic hotels standing alongside its busy souks and Moroccan-style eateries. Agadir is located close to the ever-changing Saharan desert sands. While the striking High Atlas Mountain range is about a four hour drive away.
Travel further north from the mountains and you will get to Marrakech. This city’s highlight is the Jemaa el-Fna square market place. Even if you aren’t looking to spend money it is still worth visiting. You are likely to see snake charmers coaxing cobras from baskets and bejeweled belly dancers.
For holidays to Morocco, the country experiences a diverse climate that varies seasonally and by region. Generally, the country experiences a tropical climate and temperatures climb as high as 35 degrees Celsius (95 Fahrenheit) and fall as low as 5 degrees Celsius (41 Fahrenheit) in the Sahara Desert. The coast experiences a warm, Mediterranean-type climate which is tempered on the east coast by trade winds from the southwest while areas inland have a drier, hotter, continental climate. In the country’s south, the weather is extremely dry and hot for most of the year, but temperatures can fall dramatically overnight, especially in December and January.
Rain occurs from November through March in areas on the coast. Agadir and Marrakech enjoy average temperatures of 21 degrees Celsius (70 Fahrenheit) during winter.
Djemaa el Fna is Marrakech’s heartbeat, and locals and visitors on holidays to Morocco alike throng here to take in the daily spectacle. At nightfall, this vast square springs to life as a teeming, open-air performance space packed with storytellers, acrobats, musicians and snake-charmers, all scented by the fragrances wafting from hundreds of food stalls. It has been this way for centuries here, making this one of the ‘must see’ cultural wonders of the world.
The complete opposite of the busy Djemaa el Fna is the Jardin Majorelle – a beautifully presented garden created by French artist Jacques Majorelle in the ‘20s by French artist Jacques Majorelle. Purchased by fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent 60 years later and restored to its former glory, this oasis is packed with rare botanical specimens – cacti, palms and bamboo flanking water lily-filled ornamental pools.
On holidays in Morocco, a semi-desert country, what could serve as more of an attraction than roaring waterfalls surrounded by greenery? That honor goes to the Cascades d'Ouzoud in the Central Atlas. They are a popular stop between Marrakech and Fez.
Travel back in time to the decadence of the bohemian days of Tangier in the Petit Socco and Grand Socco, where some of the greatest writers of the 20th century, beat poets, and rock stars such as the Rolling Stones found their inspiration while mixing with international spies and tax-exiled aristocrats. Even now, this port town’s rakish ‘ask no questions’ atmosphere is still thrilling.
The fertile green Draa Valley is dotted with Berber villages and striking kasbahs, some of them are built into the valley’s rock walls. This valley is a beautiful place to explore, and no time more so than evenings, as the setting sun makes the red earth glow.
Unravel the mysteries of Fez, this ancient center of imperial power and sacred learning. The maze-like streets are dominated by the towering minarets of the Al-Andalus and Al-Qarawiyin mosques and the centuries of history are recorded at the Dar Batha Museum. The medina in Fez is a listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO, and is the Islamic world’s largest, continuously inhabited medieval city.
Morocco’s Atlantic coast is a dream for beach-lovers. Be it Asilah, a small whitewashed beach town popular with the locals, Agadir’s large stretch of sand complete with all western comforts, or the ruggedly beautiful shores in the national parks of Souss Massa, Oued Massa and El Houceima.
Try your hand at haggling in the Marrakech Souk on Morocco holidays. This bazaar is legendary, chaotic and bustling and is the pulse of the city. This shadow-filled, vast canopy-covered maze situated north of the Djemma el Fna is always exciting. All manner of exotic goods from cardamom to carpets can be found among these labyrinth-like lanes.
Explore this stunning mountain range that runs almost the length of eastern Morocco. Hike to the top of the Jebel Toubkal – the highest peak at 4167 meters (13,667 feet). When you catch your breath you’ll be rewarded with amazing views.
Inside the urban sprawl that is Casablanca lies a quaint whitewashed Old Town, where fading art deco buildings from the city’s days as a protectorate of France sit with intricately-styled Moorish architecture. Casablanca’s residents tend to be most culturally progressive and westernized in the country.
Tinerhir, situated in the High Atlas’ shadow is a sun-bleached city that is still to register on the tourist radar. Wander through the run-down old Jewish Quarter, shop for a bargain in the souk or beat a retreat from the heat by strolling the oasis which extends miles through the city center.
Chellah, located in Sala Colonia – an old Roman city – is an ancient necropolis and is among the most magic sights in Morocco. Possibly the most important of the tombs here is that of el Hassan, a Merenid ruler legend and the builder of an empire recorded in the history books as the Black Sultan.
Essaouira features a picturesque medina and has fortress ramparts that jut into the sea, so naturally it possesses fantastic seafood restaurants, as well as a wide range of boutique hotels and an enthralling souk, this romantic, historic and artistic seaside town to Marrakech’s west is a favorite. The wide, windy beach, perfect for windsurfing that is world-class, puts the seal on the deal.
The Dades and Todra gorges are gorgeous, red-cliff sister canyons and arguably offer Morocco’s most stunning scenery and are at their very best in the late spring and the early summer when roses blanket the canyon floors. There’s also white-water rafting and rock-climbing on offer here.
The breathtaking old town of Chefchaouen with its medina comprised of blue-painted houses built on a slope in the middle of the Rif Mountains, is one of the prettiest in Morocco. Claimed by Spain in the 1920s as part of Spanish Morocco, its architecture is an interesting blend of Andalusian and traditional Arabic.
Feel the heat in the Sahara, head out into this vast ever-shifting ocean made of sand, trek by camel to visit nomadic settlements, oases, and the huge dunes at Erg Chebbi.
Visit Aït Benhaddou, a fortified city and UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site between Marrakech and the Sahara. It famed as a set for many high-profile Hollywood films, including The Mummy, Gladiator, The Last Temptation of Christ, Kingdom of Heaven, The Sheltering Sky and Prince of Persia.
The tourism industry in Morocco continues to grow, with forecasts of around 13 million visitors per year and this translates into no shortage of hotels for every budget-range, style and class and style for holidays in Morocco. Select from eco-lodges and converted kasbahs in the mountains, to package and luxury resorts on the beaches of the Atlantic coast through to historic riads in the medinas of the cities.
Riads are an accommodation type found only in Morocco and are traditional Moroccan houses built around a central open-air garden or courtyard. Most are found in the larger city medinas, and are very popular because of their privacy and authentic features. Some are centuries old and include original Arabic mosaic tiling. You can discover these for yourself on cheap holidays to Marrakech.
Among the most popular choices to stay in Morocco particularly for people seeking the simple trio of sun, sea and sand, are the holiday resorts. Most of the country’s resorts are along the Atlantic coast. Agadir remains the largest, with its range of hotel complexes for all budgets.
Found across the whole countryside and in almost all main cities and resorts towns, self-catering accommodation is available for a vast range of budgets, from country-villas to private kasbahs, beachfront apartments, and city riads.
Check out Booked.net’s full range and package deals to find the right accommodation fit for you.
Due to reasonably high temperatures in winters, and summers tending to be dry instead of unbearably humid, Morocco is a year-round destination. However, to avoid the worst of the heat on Morocco holidays, the best time to visit is in the shoulder seasons, which are April and May, and September through to November.
The easiest way to get start you holidays in Morocco is, of course, to fly. The country’s national airline is Royal Air Maroc. Other carriers operating flights from the UK to Morocco include EasyJet, British Airways, Thomson Airways and Ryanair.
The most busy international airports are at Casablanca, Agadir, Fez, Marrakech, Rabat, Ouarzazate and Tangier. July through September is the peak tourist season in Morocco, so flying outside of the summer months gives you the opportunity to take advantage of cheap deals.
Flight times to Marrakech from London and 3 hours and 40 minutes and from New York it takes about 11 hours and 30 minutes (with a stopover).
To Casablanca flights from London take 3 hours, 15 minutes and from New York it is 6 hours and 50 minutes.
A popular alternative to flying to Morocco is travelling by sea. The main ports are Tangier and Nador in Morocco.
Prices in Morocco, where the currency is called the dirham, are typically low making for cheap holidays to Morocco. Exceptions include purchasing fine goods, expensive hotels and tours into the Sahara desert. The rate of credit card acceptance is high in the larger cities, while you can withdraw dirhams at almost any ATM; many Moroccan cafes and restaurants accept US dollars and Euros. Wi-Fi availability and speed is generally good for Africa, but it is worthwhile to buy a local SIM card. Speaking some French will help you greatly—and speaking Arabic will help even more – however you can get by with English.
Book your accommodation or flight and accommodation packages for Morocco holidays now with Booked.net.
At the crossroads of Africa, Europe and Arabia, Morocco in the 21st century is an intoxicating and exotic land of fascinating culture, incredible landscapes, fantastic shopping, and unforgettable experiences, and the country is welcoming Western tourists in record numbers.
Discover this fascinating mix for yourself, the first ingredient is simply to book with Booked.net.