Making Memories in Morocco

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Images: Style Me Pretty | lifeasarts.blogspot.gr | Marrakech Design tile co

Travel to Morocco and enter a world of wonders. Visit the beautifully ancient Marrakech, sail on the River of Jewels (more commonly known as the Fez River), and feel the buzz of Casablanca’s metropolis. DECO steps into another world encapsulated with rich culture, history, adventure and majestic architecture. 

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Ben Youssef Madrassa in Marrakech, Morocco – Takashi Nakagawa | Flickr

What to do in Morocco?

If desert adventure is your thing, Morocco might just fulfill your every desire. Why not unlock the ancient secrets of its cities, stroll through the kasbahs, breathe in the energy of the culture, smell the spices of the famous markets and souks, and ride a camel in the desert while you’re there. Indulge in Moroccan cuisine, whether you’re staying at a 5 star hotel or enjoying a walkabout in the streets. Stay at a riad, a traditional house or palace with beautiful interior gardens. Riads boast magnificent architecture, leaving guests feeling like kings and queens. Visit the imperial cities of Marrakech, Fez, Rabat and Meknes and opt for a tour of historic mosques and museums. Morocco offers so much, with enticing gems around every corner.

“Marrakech is known as the red city (it’s more ochre really); Chefchaouen is blue. The past is written on the peaks and valleys of the Atlas Mountains in the form of abandoned earth-coloured kasbahs, or fortified palaces; and it’s very much present in the green-tiled roofs and intricate multicoloured mosaic tiling of medieval Fès.” TimeOut

 

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Fez, Morocco – Felix Odell | Flickr – Mimoone

Souks, the word originating from Arabic and North African roots, are traditional markets. Exotic, chaotic and invitingly overwhelming, they’re filled with flavours and flares from local vendors bargaining a ‘good price just for you’. Known as the heartbeat of Marrakech, lose yourself in its alleyways of endless shopping. Travel and Leisure points out the 5 Best Souks in Marrakech:

  • The Carpet Souk – The intriguing Berber carpets adorned with talismanic symbols.
  • The Spice Souk – A wide variety of spices and colours.
  • The Slipper Souk –  Bedazzled traditional Moroccan leather slippers called babouches. 
  • The Mellah Souk – Buy fabrics, beautiful trims and notions.
  • Metalworking Souk – Watch the craft wizards make the famous Morrocan lanterns.

“The Rif Mountains, High Atlas Mountains, Middle Atlas Mountains and Anti-Atlas Mountains all fight for attention from trekking enthusiasts. Located in the northern portion of Morocco, the Rif Mountains’ peaks may not be as high as those in the High Atlas Mountains, but they are covered with forests and caves. Journey Beyond Travel

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Todra Gorge in Morocco – global-lab.org | Atlas mountains – crossingislandnatur.tumblr.com

 Where to stay?

If the physical environment of Morocco has more than its fair share of beauty and drama, the built environment is equally entrancing and diverse.

– TimeOut

Walk the halls of the most beautiful historic buildings ever seen in Morocco. Perhaps the most famous accommodation for travellers are the luxurious riads. TimeOut guides you on a tour through Morocco’s loveliest hotels. Take your pick of an idyllic rural lodging, or take the city on with an array of different hotels and hostels to fit your needs. Whether you go coastal or head to the mountains, Morocco promises endless exciting alternatives and activities. Not finding what you need? Plan and book your desert dream holiday with the following:

 

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Todra Gorge, Atlas mountains, Morocco | La Tangerina Hotel, Tangier, Morocco – afar.com
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Medersa Ben Youssef Marrakech – Ruggero Poggianella | Condé Nast Traveler | Riyad Al Moussika, Marrakech – Martin Kaufmann

“Complimentary caftans are available to don within the riad; tea, hot coffee and treats are left outside your door each morning; and earplugs are offered should the evening prayer call disturb your sleep. Plus, a luxurious rooftop hammam (a steamy bath with head-to-toe exfoliation) elevates the traditional public bathhouse ritual with private treatments and massages available.” – Condé Nast Traveler

What to eat?

Spicy, flavoursome and beyond delicious, Morocco is famous for its steamy dishes and crusty flatbreads. Influenced by Arab, Jewish and French cultures, and whether it is lamb, chicken, beef or simple seasoned vegetables, they enjoy their meals slow cooked and beautifully presented. Spice up your life with a few Moroccan recipes on Local Adventurer’s Foods to Try . A definite favourite is Tagine, a stew of meat, cooked in a conical clay cooking pot, own to Moroccan culture. Get a taste of what’s on offer as Lonely Planet spills the beans on Morocco’s Best Dishes.

Eat only with your right hand and when you’re sharing a communal plate like a tagine, it’s polite to take only what’s in front of you.

 

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Shoreham Boy Photography | Chris Nease | Local Adventurer

 

“Mint tea is the national drink, often jokingly referred to as Berber whiskey. A sign of hospitality, preparing it is an art form: green tea is flavoured with sprigs of fresh mint and normally served with lots of sugar.” The Lonely Planet

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Image: Foursquare Wandershare

Here are a few basic Arabic words that came in handy from Local Adventurer :

  • Hello (Peace Be With You): Salam Alikome (salaam a eleikum)
  • Thank You: Choukran (shokran)
  • No Thank You: La Choukran (la shokran). This one is useful when you have a bunch of street vendors hassling you to buy something.

 

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Street in Marrakech – Chivchila | Souks – Style Me Pretty

What to pack?

Visiting a Muslim country may come with different expectations for women in terms of dress code, so do your research and be aware. It is a country where modesty is respected so be sensitive to this. It can be quite hot and humid in summer, but nights become cooler in winter. Think tunics, scarfs and sandals. The key is how to cover up, but still be comfortable and cool at the same time. A cardigan is always a good idea for colder temperatures. Here are a few more tips at hand:

  • wear light, breathable fabrics, appropriate and loose fitting.
  • wear comfy shoes for those long miles of sight-seeing.
  • go bold with textures and colours.
  • refrain from wearing tight or revealing clothes to avoid unwanted attention.
  • always carry a scarf or shawl for covering up at certain places.
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Instagrammer Müjgan Afra Özceylan’s Moroccan Adventure

Travelling alone?

Negative stories can create a void for a foreign country, but there is no need to be afraid. Discover a completely new world, you will sure be amazed at what you will find.  It can be scary, to say the least, but as Amanda Mouttaki from Marocmama says, Your best defence is a good offence. 

She shares her Top 10 tips for women traveling alone in Morocco.

 

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Fine dining in the desert, Dan Ashbach – Dan330 | G Adventures | Local Adventurer

 


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ELLE Deco SAInspired by minimalistic design, nature and the writings of Oscar Wilde and F. Scott Fitzgerald, ELLE Deco editorial intern, Franke pursues the world through languages and photography. Apart from content creating, assisting in sourcing and styling, she has a love for traveling to new places with new faces.

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