One of my favourite places to holiday is Morocco. Beyond the hectic souks and big cities, nature awaits. Palm groves, mountainous deserts, beautiful mountain ranges and even a coast, Morocco provides an amazing escape. Sadly, many visitors miss these hidden little gems, stopping only for photos, en route to more popular destinations like Fez, Merzouga, Marrakech or Essaouira.
If, like me, you prefer to soak up the atmosphere, meet the locals and really understand a place while relaxing, let me suggest the following little stops perfect for an additional night (or two). And with most guesthouses offering full- or half-board and a sunny roof terrace combined with the opportunity to meet friendly locals, it’s a perfect escape.
One of my favourite valleys in Morocco. Ruined kasbahs with stunning rock formations providing a dramatic background, lush valleys and palm groves, this is an ideal place for a hike. And two nights here would allow for afternoon arrival, dinner in the guesthouse, with an opportunity for a full-day hike, even more gorgeous in spring with the fruit trees are in blossom, before setting out early the next morning.
Kasbahs and palm groves provide a gorgeous background in this Berber village. Friendly locals, gorgeous scenery, palm groves for wandering, and delicious local cuisine, Nkob is one of my favourite places in Morocco. I could easily spend a few days just relaxing here and wandering around.
A tranquil little mountain village located between Fes and Meknes with views of Volibulis in the distance, Moulay Idriss is the perfect stopover between Casablanca/Rabat and Fes. Arrive in the afternoon after visiting Rabat, spend the afternoon wandering, enjoying the view from your rooftop terrace, and the next day explore Volibulis followed by a relaxing lunch with local wines.
With a cool art vibe throughout the quiet medina filled with galleries and just steps from the Atlantic Ocean, Assilah is well worth a two-night visit (minimum). Having discovered Assilah during summer vacation 2011, we were tempted to stay here beyond our initial three nights.
The picturesque blue and white medina of Chefchaouen is perfect for wandering, slowing down, and relaxing. Coffee in the square while watching the world go by, admiring the local dress, watching the weavers create gorgeous textiles, is all part of the charm. With easy access to the Talessamtane National Park, perfect for a day hike through fabulous rock pools to see amazing rock formations, Chefchaouen could easily take up three nights on your itinerary depending on your desired level of activity.
The capital of Morocco, Rabat is often overlooked or given only a half day on most itineraries. But with architectural gems like the Hassan Tower and the Mausoleum of King Mohamed V, the chilled-out kasbah district with great little cafes overlooking the ocean and perfect for a quick stop, the archeological site of Chellah, and a relaxed medina, Rabat well worth a laid-back wander.
My favourite little coastal city, Essaouira is changing. Vibrant arts and trendy restaurant scenes combined with a laid-back medina is perfect for wandering and shopping in a more relaxed manner. The cafe scene is expanding, perfect for people-watching in the afternoon sun. Minimum two nights here, especially if you want to spend a day on the beach.
Have you been to Morocco? Do you have any stops you to add? Or remove? What’s your travel style: see it all or slow down?