Morocco

About Morocco

Morocco is a fascinating country filled with mysterious beauty and extreme contrasts. Even though it is only one hour by ferry from Spain, it seems worlds apart with a deeply traditional culture based on Islam, that might be quite unknown to some of you. In one day, you will see young ladies in short skirts, women totally covered and only revealing their eyes, oln 'jellabas' (long robes with a hood) and water sellers in traditional costume. You can explore thousand years' old medinas, where you may feel as if you are walking in medieval times. Feel the modern rush of cosmopolitan cities, the quiet beauty and solitude of sand dunes in the desert near Merzouga or see snowcapped mountains dotted with Berber villages and beautiful beaches.

Travel in Morocco is intense and rewarding but not without complications. Young men will present themselves as guides, women may get more attention than they are use to and simply ignoring these complexities of daily Moroccan life doesn't always do the trick. But don't let this stop you. Like many contrasts in Morocco, there is another side of the coin: Moroccans generosity and hospitality. Once you have adapted to their way of life, there is a universe of intriguing travel opportunities and many hands to shake less then 50 miles from Europe.

The four great imperial cities of Rabat, Fez, Meknes or Marrakesh have medieval rhythms about them with their dynastic monuments, medinas and squares filled with snake charmers and story-tellers.

Three mountain ranges present diverse landscapes and three different ways of life: the Rif in the north, with my favorite mountain village, Chefchaouen , the High Atlas and the Anti-Atlas, that remains mostly undiscovered. Azrou is a quiet Berber town only 2 hours drive from Rabat, worth visiting for its forest and calm atmosphere. Three different Berber groups inhabit these mountains and, on the whole, these areas are more relaxing than the large cities. You should consider trekking, even if you are a beginner, so you'll catch a glimpse of one of the many aspects of authentic Moroccan life.

If you only have one week and you would like to see amazing geological landscapes, palm oasis, painted rocks, and the Berber way of life, Tafraoute is not to be missed. Only two hours drive from Agadir , the drive is almost as stunning as the destination.

The oases of the pre-Sahara present yet another timeless image of the Arab world with immense palm groves in the desert. Not to be missed are the fabulous mud kasbahs and ksours (palaces and family houses) which you can find near Zagora.

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