AUTHENTIC MOROCCO: 10 UNMISSABLE CULTURAL EXPERIENCES
From camel rides across the sand dunes of the Sahara Desert and hiking in the High Atlas Mountains, to marveling at the intricate architectural details of Marrakesh’s mesmerizing mosques – the kingdom of Morocco has a host of adventures in store for the adventurous traveler. Here are a few Blue Parallel favorites to tick off your bucket-list.
The 1000-year-old Jamaa el Fna Square is the heart and soul of Marrakesh, and a must-see while visiting the Red City. Spend the early evening in the bustling square exploring the artisan stands for original, hand-made crafts, story tellers, acrobats and dancing cobras. As the sun sets, head to the rooftop terrace of one of the tea salons on the square for views of the magical Jamaa el Fna all lit up.
2. Get a taste for authentic Moroccan tagine
Savor the authentic flavors of Morocco: enjoy slow roasted meats and vegetables cooked with spices in a tagine – a traditional North African conical clay pot, and a staple of Moroccan cuisine. It’s a must while traveling through the region.
Get to know the Red City by visiting some of its most treasured landmarks. From the intricately designed Saadian Tombs to the Koutoubia Mosque (the largest mosque in Marrakesh), these unforgettable highlights reveal the unique history of Morocco and Northern Africa.
4. Take a morning stroll through the Jardin Majorelle
Before beginning a day of exploration, take a relaxing morning walk through the stunning Jardin Majorelle. This botanical garden filled with exotic plants took French artist Jacques Majorelle nearly 40 years to complete. In the 1980s, the gardens were bought by fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, and today house a beautifully curated museum in his honor – the Yves Saint Laurent Museum – as well as the fascinating Berber Museum that is also worth a visit.
5. Savor a cup of Moroccan mint tea
After a day of sightseeing, sit back and enjoy a Moroccan mint tea ceremony. Mint tea is an important element of North African culture, and is best served while watching the sun set over an authentically Moroccan landscape – whether it is the bustling Jamaa el Fna square in Marrakesh or the seemingly endless Sahara Desert.
6. Hike in Mount Toubkal National Park
Located just outside of the bustling city of Marrakesh, the Mount Toubkal National Park is a fantastic place to escape urban life and enjoy the natural landscapes of the High Atlas Mountains. Take advantage of this beautiful setting by mountain biking through the stunning Ouirgane Valley or hiking through the Valley of Asni to a small Berber village tucked away in the mountainside.
7. Indulge in a relaxing hammam experience
At least once a week, Moroccans will visit their local hamman where they spend hours following long rituals of cleansing and exfoliation while simultaneously catching up with friends. To take part in this cleansing ritual is to experience a unique aspect of Moroccan culture.
8. Visit the ‘door of the desert, the Ouarzazate region
The Ouarzazate region, situated 3, 810 ft in the middle of a bare plateau, acts as a geographical gateway between the Sahara Desert and the lush green Skoura Valley. Explore this unparalleled region and see for yourself why it is frequently called the ‘Door of the Desert’.
9. Enjoy privacy at a luxury Sahara Desert camp
Visiting the Sahara Desert is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but to make it even more special, stay in a private luxury desert camp staffed with a chef and your own personal guides. By day, explore the sand dunes by camel and visit nearby Berber villages; by night, dine on traditional Moroccan meals in your camp under the stars. But be warned: you might never want to leave.
10. Discover the old world heritage of Fes medina
Founded in the 9th century, Fes replaced Marrakesh as the capital of the kingdom in the 13th century, and remained so until 1920. Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site noted for its many cherished historical highlights – among them the Madersa Bou Inania, the Chouara tannery, the gates of Bab Bou Jeloud and the Royal Palace – and as the largest car-free urban area in the world.
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