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The best of Morocco
January 10, 2016, 9:17 am
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With long beaches, fortified fishing ports, lush oasis and the High Atlas Mountains, Morocco’s coasts and countryside offers plenty to interest travelers. Throw in the imperial cities of Fez, Meknes and Marrakesh with their superb examples of early Islamic architecture and you will understand why Morocco is a great travel destination.

Top tourist destinations:

 

Rabat: Although, Rabat, the capital has not yet established itself as a tourist destination, visitors nonetheless find it a gem of a city. With its stunning colonial architecture and palm-lined boulevards this is a place to be.

 

Imlil: A village in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco, Imlil is a good starting point for all trek lovers as it offers Mt. Toubkal, the highest mountain in North Africa. The route to Toubkal starts from the village, which also has a variety of shops and is a base for guides and trekking parties. The money from tourism here goes to a variety of projects to develop the village.

 

Fes-al-Bali: The former capital of Morocco, Fes is now the country’s third largest city. Home to University of Al-Karaouine, the world’s oldest university, Fes is an ancient city that still retains two old medinas. Travelers may want to begin their visit by walking through the Fes el Bali medina, where goods are transported by donkeys and handcarts. Traditional adobe homes and courtyards ornamented with mosaic tiles line a maze of narrow streets and alleys filled with souqs and shops.

 

Djemaa el Fna: The highlight of any visit to Marrakech, Djemaa El-Fna is one of the top tourist attractions in Morocco. By day this square at the heart of the medina is largely filled with snake charmers and people with monkeys, as well as some of the more common stalls. By evening, story-tellers, magicians, and peddlers of traditional medicines take their place. As dark descends Djemaa El-Fnais crowded with dozens of food-stalls and visitors.

 

Chefchaouen:A gorgeous mountain city in North-Eastern Morocco, Chefchaouen is a picturesque medina, set against the dramatic backdrop of the Rif Mountains. Filled with white-washed homes with distinctive, powder-blue accents, it is a popular shopping destination offering many native handicrafts that are not available elsewhere in Morocco.

 

Draa Valley: Located south of the High Atlas Mountains, the stunning Draa Valley, lined with old Kasbahs, Berber villages and palm groves, spreads from Ouarzazate in the west to Zagora in the east. A drive through the valley is undoubtedly one of the most scenic journeys in Morocco. The Draa Valley is intersected by the Draa River which starts in the High Atlas and ends in the Atlantic Ocean; though in reality the river normally dries out before reaching the ocean.

 

Erg Chebbi: Located in the Sahara Desert, the Erg Chebbi dunes are as high as 150 meters tallmaking everything feel small in their shadows. Erg Chebbi’s special feature is its beautiful unique orange colored sand. Excursions to the dunes normally start from the village of Merzouga which is located on the edge of the erg. Camel trekking is the most popular option of travel although it is not the most comfortable one.

 

Essaouira: A relaxed fishing port, Essaouira is protected by a natural bay. It is renowned for its kite and windsurfing. The medina of Essaouira is home to many small arts and crafts businesses, notably cabinet making and wood-carving.

 

Al Hoceima National Park: A remote, ragged and seldom discovered treasure of the region is the Al Hoceima National Park. Home to the Bokkoya people, the Park boasts astonishing biodiversity as well as a winsome assortment of trees such as pomegranate, wild olive, ilex and the endangered thuya.

Shopping in Marrakesh:

 

Marrakesh has been a trading town since the 11th century. Their warrens of souks are the quintessential Moroccan shopping experience. Leather bags, rubber jewelry, carpets, kaftans and various other handicrafts are beautifully laid out in the souks and boutique shops to tempt visitors to reach out. It is the ultimate place for blowing the budget.


Moroccan cuisine:

Moroccan food is influenced by Morocco's interactions and exchanges with other cultures and nations over the centuries. Moroccan cuisine is typically a mix   of Mediterranean, Arabic, Andalusian and Berber cuisine.The most famous of Moroccan food is Couscous. It is a berber traditional North African dish ofsemolina, which is cooked by steaming. It is traditionally served with a meat or vegetable stew spooned over it.

Festivals:

Whirling dervishes and sacred orchestras take the stage in June every year for the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music. Not only does the festival draw world-class performers, but it has also found a perfect home in a medieval city replete with venues that include acoustically rich palaces and gracious old homes. Staged for the first time in the aftermath of the first Gulf War, the festival has one very simple aim: to make peace through music by bringing together the musicians of the world regardless of cultural or religious background.

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