After travelling Morocco independently a few years ago, and falling in love with the country, we often think about returning but with so much to see and do knowing where to head during our next trip is still being debated.
Travelling Morocco Is An Experience
Morocco is a country full of contrasts, so heading back to Marrakech would give us a different experience than if we were to head to Casablanca for example.
So Where Should We Head to Next?
Fes, is a city that needs time to grow on people. The distinctively pungent smells that seep into the fibres of you clothes and sneak up your nostrils before you have time to stop them are so strong that as a first-timer, travelling in Morocco this many not be the place for you.
We landed in this city for just one night and whilst we loved our riad, the city itself left somewhere of a bitter taste in our mouths.
Perhaps it was because it was our first ever experience of a city like this. Where market stalls selling everything from breads or live chickens mix with those vendors selling clothes.
Maybe it was the fact that as a vegetarian I couldn’t quite get past the goats heads still dripping with blood laying out on the side of the butchers stall swarming with flies just waiting for someone to purchase them for their evening’s supper, or the fact that as we wandered past one live chicken stall a customer chose their chicken for the evening and I witnessed its decapitation with one easy blow.
Being brutally honest Fes was a city that tested me. It was the start of us travelling Morocco and on that first evening, whilst relaxing on the rooftop of the riad, looking out over the dusty city below I had to wonder what on earth were we doing; why on earth have we decided to tour Morocco?
Looking back now, I was in shock. No other place I had ever visited had ever thrown that much at me in one day. The smells, the sights, the cacophony of traffic whizzing around the outer city gates. For the first time in my life I had experienced anxiety on my travels – the culture shock had been drastic.
So knowing what I know now, perhaps we need to return to Fes for slightly longer to see whether we were fair to this city, after all unlike its famous sister, Marrakech, Fes sees far fewer tourists and therefore is still relatively untouched by tourism.
Rabat is another city that holds intrigue for me. Set on the coast, this capital city is described as having a European feel to it with is Art Deco style buildings and laid back beach vibe.
It’s a place where we would have the best of both worlds – the culture and the beach. We could spend time exploring the historical side of the city in the morning before relaxing on the yellow sandy beach in the afternoon.
Plus, Casablanca is only a 45 minute train journey from here so once we have had enough of Rabat there is nothing stopping us taking a trip down to the city made famous by Humphrey Bogart back in 1942.
There is of course, also the option of travelling to the famous blue city of Chefchaouen from Fes. With its distinctive blue-washed buildings in various shades, this city up in the Rif mountains is an eye-catching wonder and for Paul, would be a photographers delight.
But What About Further South?
When we last visited this was the area we really loved it. Marrakech is a vibrant city mixing both old and new together to create something that everyone will love. From the serene Majorelle Gardens to the hectic souks Marrakech is a city you can’t help but fallen in love with. Add to this the fact that the riads here are absolutely stunning and it is hard not to instinctively just purchase a plane ticket and travel directly to this city.
On top of all this however, there are still so many other places to visit. Essaouira on the coast for example, is meant to have some of the best seafood restaurants in the country whilst we haven’t yet ruled out another night or two in the Sahara Desert.
So How Are We Meant to Decide?
Last time we travelled, we did so independently which meant that we had the freedom to visit where we wanted when we wanted but it did also mean that we had to find and source our own transportation and unlike other countries both in Europe and Asia, travelling by bus and train can be slightly more tricky here and until recently I didn’t think a package tour would really suit us. However, with the increasing number of visitors to travelling around Morocco it seems that more and more travel companies are offering tailored packages to suit your needs and could potentially be the way forward for us next time we visit.
Encounters Travel is one such company. It offers a wide variety of set tours or alternatively you can design one for yourself which I think is fantastic. The last time we travelled Morocco we spent a fair amount of money hiring a driver to take us from one location to another and whilst this service was extremely good it also came at a cost, making a travel company like Encounters Travel more appealing.
Have you visited Morocco? Where would you advise we visit next?
We really would love your suggestions. Morocco is a country we would love to return to we just can’t decide where to head.