I can’t believe it! I’ve been in Rabat for three weeks and I’m starting to feel really settled- perhaps a bit too settled! I can’t wait to travel Morocco. I saw Hassan Tower, The Mausoleum of Mohammed V, the Palace Gates, the Kasbah, Oudayas and ventured into the Medina countless times at this stage. I’ve made some Moroccan friends and I’m starting to get some insider knowledge about this beautiful country. I’ve decided to make a list of 5 Things I want to see and do in Morocco.
When I was researching about Morocco before deciding to study abroad here I heard a lot about Tangier. From its literary history, Tennessee Williams, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg all lived there for a time, to Anthony Bourdain’s visit to Café Baba in his documentary Parts Unknown. I found an excellent website that gives you an itinerary based on Bourdain’s documentary series and I hope to use it as a rough guide when I go. My Moroccan friends all talk about how beautiful the north is and the relaxed pace of life. Tangier partly inspired me to come to Morocco and that’s what makes it number one on my list.
Chefchauouen is famed for the distinctive blue washed buildings of its old town. Travel guides, blogs and documentaries about Morocco all feature this city for its beautiful yet smurf-like qualities. I could really browse Instagram photos of this place for hours. Located in the Rif Mountains it’s quite close to Tangier and enjoys the slower pace of life of Northern Morocco. There are several theories as to why the city has its unique blue colour. One is that blue signified to the city’s Jewish population that they should lead a spiritual life, another theory is that it keeps mosquitoes away and one simply says it was painted blue to attract tourists. Chefchauouen, much like Tangier is one of the places I read a lot about before coming to Morocco and I can’t wait to see the blue city in person.
In Ireland when people think Morocco, they think Marrakech. Maybe it’s because there’s a direct flight there with Ryanair. It’s often wrongly credited with being the capital of Morocco, Marrakech places highly on my list because of its fame. Marrakech is becoming more and more popular as a tourist destination especially among Irish holiday goers. I want to experience the hustle and bustle of its souks (markets) myself. Unlike Rabat where I am studying, Marrakech has a strong tourism industry and caters to them. I think it would be fun to switch from study mode in the administrative capital to holiday mode in Morocco’s tourism capital.
The Atlas mountains stretch a whopping 2,500 km through Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. The range includes Mount Toubkal, the largest mountain in the peaks and in Northern Africa is 4167 meters tall. Although I haven’t heard much about the Atlas Mountains from locals here yet, a friend from back home told me she went hiking and you can even go skiing there! Morocco really has it all it seems!
When people see me sweating in 20 degree desert they jokingly ask me have I visited the Sahara yet. I think I still have some acclimatisation to do before I brave the desert but its on the list! I’ve never been to a desert in my life which is why I added this one to the list. I was advised that you have to wait for the exact right cold snap to go so you’re not stuck in scorching heat unable to enjoy the experience. I found some good tips about venturing into the desert here.
Made infamous through the film, I had planned on watching Casablanca as part of my Morocco research until I learned it was filmed entirely in the US! Since I’ve arrived in Morocco, I’ve heard Casablanca can be crazy. It’s the largest city in Morocco and home to almost 7 million people. I was shocked that Casablanca was low on people’s recommendations for me to see when I’m here in Morocco given that its probably one of the Moroccan cities I knew before coming. It still makes my list because I want to see Hassan II Mosque. Built on overlooking the sea and the accommodate 105,000 worshipers I want to experience this monumental mosque in person.
So there you have it! Here’s the top five places I want to experience during my time here in Morocco. If you have any suggestions or places that I’ve missed out on please let me know! I will be sharing my experiences and tips and tricks as I travel Morocco. You can keep up to date with my adventures on Instagram here.
-The Student Explorer