There are so many places that I would love to visit in the world, from cruising around the Caribbean to skiing in the Alps, seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland and elephant rides in Thailand. Every now and then Gaz and I write down all of all of the places we would like to see and tell ourselves that one day we will cross each of them off the list, either as a family or later in life when the children are grown.
One of those places, and somewhere I have always wanted to visit, is Morocco. Located in Northern Africa, Morocco is a country with epic mountain ranges, ancient cities, sweeping deserts and wide diversity. Over the last few weeks I have been looking at villas in Morocco and researching all of the wonderful things to see and do there. I thought that I would compile a list of the things which appeal to us the most in the hope that one day soon, we will get to see all of them with our own eyes.
1. Visit The Sahara Desert
The Sahara Desert is the largest hot desert and the third largest desert in the whole world. At 9,200,000 square kilometres it is comparable to the area of China or there United States, a thought which is pretty mind blowing! The Sahara Desert is a real tourist attraction in Morocco with many travelling there for the sole purpose of visiting the desert.
There are so many ways to see the Sahara, with guided tours on camel back or over night camping tours, all of which sound equally appealing and for us, would be at the top of our list of things to do!
2. Shop at the markets in Marrakech
When locals refer to the souks they mean the maze of market streets that stretch north from the Djemaa el-Fna. The main thoroughfare are Souq Semmarine and Souq el-Kebir, originally dedicated to leather work, they now sell all manner of things and trinkets.
There are thousands of small market stalls in Marrakech, each selling something unique, and the atmosphere is said to be loud and lively with a variety of aromas, music and laughter. I love visiting markets when we travel and picking up some local souvenirs.
3. Rock climbing at Todgha Gorge
Todgha Gorge is the most spectacular canyon where a 300m-deep fault splits the orange limestone into a deep ravine at some points just wide enough for a crystal-clear river and single-file trekkers to squeeze through. The road takes you through the most beautiful green palmeraies and villages where there are often small markets to wander.
For the more adventurous wanderer, there are guided walks or rock climbing experiences to take part in, something which would be such a memorable experience with the beautiful orange limestone as your backdrop. I know this is something that Lewis and Gaz would jump at the chance to do!
4. Eat a traditional Moroccan Tagine
It would be a sacrilege to visit Morocco and not try a tradition Moroccan tagine. A tagine is a slow cooked savoury stew, typically made with sliced meat, poultry or fish together with vegetables or fruit. Moroccan cuisine uses a real mix of spices, commonly ginger, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, saffron, paprika and chilli, and create a beautifully rich dish served with fresh Moroccan bread to scoop it all up.
We love Moroccan food and would love to experience it in a real Moroccan restaurant setting, I am told there are wonderful places to eat on every corner!
5. Visit Bahia Palace
The Bahia Palace is located in Marrakech and was built in the 19th century as the greatest palace of its time. The floor-to-ceiling decoration here was begun by Grand Vizier Si Moussa in the 1860s and embellished from 1894 to 1900 by slave-turned-vizier Abu ‘Bou’ Ahmed. In 1908 the palace’s beguiling charms attracted warlord Pasha Glaoui, who claimed it as a suitable venue to entertain French guests. They, in turn, were so impressed that they booted out their host in 1911, installing the protectorate’s resident-general in his place.
Although only a portion of the palace’s eight hectares and 150 rooms is open to the public, there is still so much of the stunning architecture and grand interiors to see.
6. Hassan II Mosque
The Hassan II Mosque is situated in Casablanca and is the largest mosque in Morocco. It’s minaret is the worlds tallest at 210 metres tall, topped with a laser, the light which is directed towards Mecca. Accommodating 25,000 worshippers the mosque is of epic proportions and the interior is just as spectacular as one would imagine. With hand carved stone and wood, marble flooring and ceramic tiling throughout, guided tours are conducted outside of prayer times for those who wish to see this elaborate building.
To take part in one of these guided tours visitors must be ‘decently and respectfully dressed’ with knees and upper arms covered.
There are so many more wonderful places to see in Morocco, not just including the many tourist attractions but some of the hidden gems which can only be discovered through exploring the colourful markets, wandering the back streets of an array of bustling villages, and sampling some of the most delicious Moroccan delights along the way.
I always thought of Morocco was a place we would visit when the children were older but actually, knowing how much they would love to trek across the desert on camel back or eat delicious tagine in lively restaurants, I can see them enjoying it just as much while they are still young. After all, there really is nowhere quite as perfect for building sandcastles than the Sahara itself!
** This is a collaborative post **