Before coming to Morocco I had only a very rough clue as to what this country was all about. From the photos on Instagram I knew it was intricately ornate but could also be dangerous, especially for a woman. And while one excited me and one also made me a bit nervous, I wanted to go to the country to see for myself. What I found was a place that truly touched my heart by it's beauty, past, and of course the wonderful people I would meet here for the two weeks I traveled throughout the country. I've put together my snapshot guide to Morocco with my thoughts along the way.
This was my first time to Africa and I was definitely a bit nervous on what to expect having never been to this continent before. Morocco is, of course, like many countries, very different from the others. I found it to be one of the most unique places I've ventured too and full of many surprises.
Morocco Photo Diary
I have so many things I want to write and definitely have post ideas for each of the cities I visited. But I thought to kick things off I'd share my photo diary from the trip. This will hopefully give you a taste of what's to come.
Day 1 – Marrakesh
Greeted by a surprisingly lovely airport, warm temperature, and a buzzing medina we entered Morocco with a sense of wonderment. The Medina is the old part of town where you can always find it bustling with people selling food, fresh juice, jewelry, and of course lanterns. Just be careful not to step on the snakes- snake charmers frequent the square.
Dress found here. Location: Marrakech Medina
Day 2 – Beni Mellal and Ifrane
We started driving through the country on day two and headed north to the markets of Beni Mellal and towards the Atlas mountains. To our surprise there was snow on the ground! So much so we even had to rethink our route. We stopped in for lunch at a cafe in Beni Melall and dessert in Ifrane.
Location: Ifrane, Morocco
Day 3 – Fes
I was thrilled about going to Fes (or Fez depending on who you ask). My Dad traveled to Morocco years ago and proclaimed Fes to be the best. I have to admit, he was right. The market here is the largest and one of the oldest. It has the oldest University in the world which had superbly intricate architecture. What was so incredible was the tightly packed streets, sometimes so close together your shoulders touched the sides of the houses. We stumbled into one house serving mint tea and discovered some of the most detailed tile work I've ever seen, huge lanterns, and gorgeous wood work.
Location: Tea House in Fes
Day 4 – Fes
The Dar el-Makhzen or Fes Royal Palace is famous for its seven incredible golden doors. You can't go inside but the doors are worth the visit. The intricate and ornate structure is what the king stays in when he visits Fes. The doors are perfect to visit to get a glimpse of some of the beauty you'll encounter around Fes.
Day 5 – Volubilis
Who knew there were epic 2,000 year old ruins in Morocco? One of the most beautiful drives I've ever witnessed was the surprisingly lush green, rolling hills as we drove up to Volubilis. Situated at the foot of the Atlas Mountains are the Roman ruins that were started in the 3rd century B.C. This well preserved site is an interesting look into the past and makes for a great road trip to see the countryside.
Day 6 – Rabat
The capital of Morocco is a stark contrast to many of the other cities. Rabat is flowing with modern touches, clean railway systems, a bustling metropolis, and… wealth. Morocco is a poor country but much of the wealth is centered here, in the capital. Check out Hassan Tower- an ancient, unfinished tower. This is right by the Mausoleum of Mohammaed V. This might just be the most ornate burial I've ever seen. From here, you can also reach the coast and see the rough waves crashing against the rock.
Location: Masoleum of Mohammed V, Rabat Dress found here.
Day 7 – Casablanca
If you've ever seen the movie Casablanca then you know all about Rick's Cafe. Who cares that they didn't film the movie here? Who cares they created Rick's Cafe after the fact? Not me. We actually went here on Valentine's Day and it was so fun to have the old music playing and feel like I stepped right into a movie.
Location: Rick's Cafe, Casablanca
Day 8 – Casablanca
One of the most impressive things about Morocco are the incredible mosques. If you're non-Musilm there are not many Mosques you can enter, but in Casablanca for a small fee (about $12) you can enter in to Hassan II Mosque. It's the largest mosque in Morocco and the 3rd largest in the world. It took more than seven years and as many as 10,000 artisans to complete the intricate masterpiece of marble.
Location: Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca
Day 9 – Marrakech
Back in Marrakech it was time to find some hidden gems we might have missed. We skipped the line at Jardin Majorelle also known as the YSL garden. I highly suggest paying the extra 2 bucks and hitting up the Berber museum inside the garden. I wasn't overly impressed with the garden, but it's a nice respite in the busy city. But I adored the hustle and bustle of the Marrakech medina. At any point in time thousands of people are selling their wares, getting henna, eating in the market, charming a snake, buying a lamp, or haggling the price of their spices. There's always something to do in Morocco.
Day 10 – Merzouga Desert
We woke up at 6 am, grabbed our luggage, and hit the road to head to the desert. We were a bit nervous about the 8 and a half hour drive that lay ahead but were so looking forward to the peace and quiet of the desert.
The drive was picturesque and sometimes made us feel like we were on Mars. When we arrived at 4pm in the warm desert we were greeted by the kindest staff, tea, and hot towels. We were in for one of the best experiences of our lives.
An hour later we took a camel ride into the dunes and watched the sun go down. That night we slept in a tent complete with a comfy bed, heater, full shower, private bathroom, and hot water bottles to warm our feet. This might just be the closest thing to heaven. We booked with Merzouga Luxury Desert Camps and I honestly cannot recommend them enough.
Day 11 – Merzouga Desert
We spent the day sandboarding, riding camels, feasting likes kings, and roaming the dunes. The sand was so powdery soft you could roll around in it. At the Merzouga Luxury Desert Camps there is a chef on site for only 6-10 people so you can eat whatever, whenever you like. After a long day in the sun we turned in early so we could see the night show. We woke up at 3 am for the stars. I can't quite put into words just how magical the night sky looks in the middle of the desert. I've never seen so many stars in all of my life.
This photo is edited only to bring up the brightness but absolutely no stars were added. This is truly what the sky looked like!
Day 12 – Merzouga Desert
Our last day in the desert meant a huge breakfast and lounging in the sun. I didn't want to leave! The desert was definitely the highlight of my trip and one of the most peaceful and serene experiences I've had in my travels to date. Here's my full guide to planning a trip in the Moroccan desert.
Day 13 – Marrakech
Back from the desert we walked the streets of Marrakech and stumbled farther into the medina. Tiny alleyways that lead all different directions open up onto big squares and sometimes dead ends. We checked out the dyers souk and watched how the workers naturally dye vegetable silk with things like rock and mint leaves. It was incredible to watch and the clothes they create are absolutely gorgeous. We walked up to the top of the medina to get a glimpse of the silk drying in the wind, before it's woven into clothing.
Location: Dyers Souk, Marrakech
Day 14 – Marrakech
It was time to say farewell to this lovely country. We took a brief but smelly tour of the tanneries, ate extremely cheap and delicious sandwiches in the market, picked up some sandalwood incense, and peaked into some of the most elaborate palaces. We dined like kings at popular Nomad and watched the sun go down as the town lit up.
Location: Bahia Palace, Marrakech
It's safe to say Morocco left a deep impression on me. I went in hearing of its beauty but almost nothing of its people besides whispers to, “stay safe.” I found the culture to be one of my favorites. I loved everyone I met and I know it's a place I will absolutely visit again. I had so many questions about visiting Morocco: is it safe? Is it worth it? I hope to write a more in depth post but for now my answer is YES! I think everyone should visit Morocco at least once.
If you have any questions about Morocco please let me know below! I look forward to writing more.