Top 10 things to do in Morocco
This is a piece I’ve been working on for a while now, as it is my best intention to write about things, one should really try or experience once in Morocco. Now, there are some things, you can either best or only try if you have a local on your side. That’s the thing with Islamic countries. However, Morocco is one of the most liberal Muslim countries where tourism is an important aspect of the local economy and tourists are welcome at most places which are not religious or separated by gender. I hope you all enjoy this piece and if you have anything to add, just let me know in the comment section below.
My advice: have a local friend to visit
Moroccan people are great, kind, friendly, intelligent, have an amazing hospitality and they are excellent hosts. Motivated to visit a country to visit a friend is always the best motivation too. Having a Moroccan friend to visit is possibly the greatest way to be introduced to Moroccan culture. You can get to many places where you wouldn’t be able to get, if you are a foreigner and you are alone. You will also avoid all the general tourist stresses, stay safe and can enjoy some family life there, which is a key aspect to the local culture. Not to mention the yummy homemade food.
- Get in a real souk and enjoy the atmosphere
Every single Moroccan city has a souk and a Medina (old-town) these two often correlate. It is a very unique experience to get in a souk, to see all the thousands of goods there, which you wouldn’t be able to see in your home country and yes, just embracing the local atmosphere is something very special and you shouldn’t miss out on it. The best souks and Medinas can be found in Fez, Marrakech and Rabat, but as mentioned before, every city has it in a way or form.
- Buy souvenirs
Morocco is a real cornucopia of goods, no matter you want to buy something small as a souvenir or something bigger: Moroccan style has conquered the world of international interior design: in terms of lamps, seats, tables, tea –pots and tea –kits, rugs, leather ware, they are all great to buy and they can also act as key pieces of decoration to your home. And as an extra, once you find out the best way to carry them home, and the best place to buy them, they can save you tons of money too! Remember all those lamps cost at least 3 times as much if you want to buy them in your homeland.
- Drink mint-tea
By now, most people have heard about the health benefits of peppermint tea. But Moroccan peppermint tea is something special and so is its serving! The tea itself is made out of strong black tea served with a ton of fresh mint leaves that will give the tea that real fresh minty flavor. As for its key benefits, mint is a natural refresher, an immune system booster and it gives you energy throughout the day. The best times to consume it is for breakfast and in the afternoon hours, but there are people who also drink it at later times.
- Visit a Hamam
This program is also something you can almost only exclusively try if you go with either your friend or his/ her family members. Although the word Hamam means any sort of bathroom in Arabic, Hamam are traditional Arab style bathing places, where people use a good amount of soap, scrubs and with the help of the always dense steam, in the end of the whole process you will feel very clean and refreshed. Hamam is not a place where people go every day: it’s a place which people visit monthly or before special occasions.
- Try to witness a traditional Moroccan wedding
If you are in Morocco during the summer period ( before or after Ramadan ) you can be pretty sure that you will witness a traditional Moroccan wedding which is a huge street show, that generally continues on the roof of a house. Sometimes hundreds of people attend, there is a very unique music going on throughout the street-walk made with special long trumpets and you can also spot all the presents the happy young couple received from family and friends as they are carried after them with a car, truck or in a coach pulled by a donkey. The beautiful bride sits in a very unique looking heavily decorated coach on her own. This is a great carnival to watch on the street, generally starting in the early evening hours often lasts until the early morning. If the party is on a rooftop close to you, you can be rest assured to capture tons of local tunes (unfortunately sometimes to the cost of your sleep too).
- Eat a good Couscous – possibly homemade
Couscous, the real family meal is part of Moroccan culture and if you get the chance to enjoy one in family or friends’ circle definitely do so. In case you don’t still order one at a local restaurant because it’s great and tasty. This meal is served in its own bowl, traditionally it’s a Friday meal (Friday being the holy day in Islamic culture) and everyone eats from the same bowl using their right hands. Couscous is full of lovely boiled vegetables, healthy amounts of meat and it’s a very tasty and copious meal.
- Get a henna – for ladies
Henna as a body painting art and a friendlier alternate to tattoos is getting extremely trendy all across Europe but where else would be a better place to get one then in one of its homelands Morocco? It also serves you with a vivid memory of your visit and can last up to 2 weeks on your skin. Before getting a henna, have a look at the current and earlier works of the henna maker and always arrange the price ahead.
- Take part in a desert excursion
Desert tours are extremely popular in Morocco and if you are staying around Marrakech you shouldn’t miss out on seeing the huge Sahara with your own eyes. Riding a camel is also an experience you won’t forget that’s for sure. As an extra, if you go on a desert excursion you can get to see the gigantic sandcastle – like Ourzazate / Ait Ben Haddou, the scene of several movies, because it’s so unbelievable unreal in its beauty it will literally feel like you are transported back in time. If you can, enroll in a tour that also visits the gigantic Todra Gorge, another natural wonder of Morocco.
- Visit a Riad
Morocco is literally full of beautiful Riads, the traditional homes of the richer, now turned into hotels and are also the places where you can get to see some of the most beautiful gemstones in terms of traditional interiors. A Riad –with the word meaning “ garden” is a building that is totally closed from the outside, however it has a lovely atrium, a courtyard in the inside, that includes a beautiful garden, a beautiful Moorish style well and either a pond, a lake or a swimming pool even, where guests can sit, swim relaxed. The guestrooms can also be reached from the inner atrium area, their larger windows, doors and patios also face the inner courtyard. These buildings are great examples of Islamic way of living in privacy, yet in luxury unseen to the strangers’ eyes and today, Morocco gives home to some of the most beautiful Riads in the world.
- Get closer to Islamic arts, architecture and culture
Morocco is a real gem when it comes to learning about both the medieval and the modern Islamic arts and architecture. Housing tons of museums, mosques, old Medinas, souks you will get to see and learn about local Islamic arts and architecture without having to visit a museum. Every town and city has a great collection of beautiful architectural pieces therefore you can be rest assured to find beautiful buildings, wells, gardens, Riads , mosques in every single one of them.