In Morocco, the land between tradition and modernity, you’ll find the oldest evidence of Arab culture. Royal cities such as Marrakesh and Fes are listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites, and their streets are lined with magnificent mosques with imposing minarets, ornate Koranic schools, Arabian palaces, and oriental markets bearing witness to the flair of Arabian Nights. The medinas of Morocco are labyrinthine, in them you’ll find ocher-clay houses and souks marketplaces, where you can buy traditional crafts, spices, and rugs. The hotels in Morocco are situated in imposing townhouses or palaces, so-called riads, usually luxuriously appointed with sprawling pools in palm-lined courtyards behind Moorish gates.
Where to stay in Morocco? Important locations and regions at a glance:
Marrakesh: Oriental fairytales, luxury, and shopping
In the “Pearl of the South”, Marrakesh, spend nights in luxurious resorts within the facades of pompous palaces. In addition to the mosques, the Royal Palace, and the beautiful city parks, the city is known for its Djemma-el-Fna, a gathering of street artists, jugglers, and fairytale-tellers. A large camel market brimming with special souks and traditional ware for purchase, such as lanterns, vases, and wool, makes the city light up with local flavor and provides plenty of chance for picking up souvenirs. In romantic or boutique hotels, or a riad in the medina, city center, lose yourself in all the oriental splendor that Morocco’s dazzling economic center has to offer. Alternatively, stay just outside of the city in a spa or luxury hotel with plenty of room to spread out and take advantage of first-class service and amenities. These spots are totally deluxe, sometimes offering limousine transport, a butler, and always, perfectly discreet service.
Casablanca: Colonial-chic, movie sets, and nightlife
Famous for the eponymous film starring Hollywood legend Humphrey Bogart, this coastal town is all about a fusion between Arab culture and the city’s French colonial history. A simple wander through Casablanca will have you stumbling upon evidence of both of these influences, as well as a myriad museums, authentic restaurants, and Morocco’s largest port. Unmissable is the Hassan II Mosque, which boasts the highest minaret in the world and is a sight to behold for its uncapped grandeur. The beach district Ain Diab, together with the legendary “Rick’s Cafe”, stand as reminders of the city’s film history. In boutique, apartment-style hotels, settle in for a luxurious stay between ancient views and modern facilities. On sunset strolls, pass by art-deco buildings, through old stone alleyways, to the Morocco Mall, one of the Africa’s largest shopping centers. In terms of nightlife, from trendy tapas bars to rowdy discotheques, the streets light up at night and offer a special kind of entertainment in for all types of travelers.
Fes & Rabat: Arabic history and sightseeing
Fes is the oldest city in the country and brims with Arabic cultural assets, such as the Royal Palace, the green-bricked mosque, the imposing Ban Boujeloud gate, and the grand Place Nejarine, with its unique Moorish architecture. Find also in Fes the largest Moroccan market, where one is beguiled by smells of oriental spices between donkey-sightings and food stalls. Stay at a mosaic-lined riad for a romantic escape into the old world, or a family hotel to give the kids something they’ll never forget. Morocco’s capital, Rabat, has a similar cultural significance, in addition to a large national museum with archaeological finds and an imposing fortress. Situated on the coast, choose a riad here for private decks with pools, stately courtyards ornamented in white, and first-rate in-house kitchens serving up delicious regional fare.
Agadir & the Coast: Beach holidays, waters sports, and excursions
Agadir is considered the most beautiful resort town in Morocco, boasting a mild climate and fine-sanded beaches, palm-fringed promenades, modern and stately hotels, and restaurants where traditional couscous is served. Just out of town are remote bays where surfers dot the crashing waves. Elegantly perched on the Atlantic Ocean, Agadir tells a story of rebirth after a 1960 earthquake and total rebuilding of the city’s structure. Lovers of wellness will find that the Hammam baths are not to be missed; for something extra luxurious, head to the local-favorite Argan Palace, and discover a warm interior conducive to awakening the senses. Agadir is also a great home base for day trips inland: hikes to the impressive Kasbah Ait Benhaddou, long trekking tours in the High Atlas Mountains, or educational breaks in the Tamegroute ancient library. A ways north up the Atlantic Coast, find the lovely Essaouira, where the hotels are sprawling and deluxe, tucked elegantly right on the beach. The rest of the windswept coast boasts a more laidback energy and liberal mentality than the larger inland cities, making the many historic ports and charming fishing towns fit for a relaxing holiday.