Morocco is the most visited country in northern Africa. It’s one of the most diverse places in the world - it basically has everything - beaches in the north, world’s famous Sahara Desert in the south and spectacular Atlas Mountains where you can even find ski resorts. Not too mention the unique architecture in the cities such as Chefchaoeun, Fez or Marrakesh. The country has so much to offer, however, from time to time, we can hear some unnerving stories about the safety issues. What is like to visit Morocco? Is Morocco safe?
The city of Marrakesh is often the first contact with Morocco for many. Thanks to the budget airlines that offer numerous connections with Europe, the gate to this exciting, exotic country were open and Morocco is constantly gaining in popularity. Marrakesh - with its old markets along the tiny, winding streets in Medina, unique architecture and numerous palaces is a good starting point to begin your adventure in Morocco. Although, due to the culture shock, Marrakesh wasn't my favorite city in the country (Fez, Essaouira and Chefchaoeun were better) - it's still worth a visit - you'll have a chance to see how diverse and chaotically beautiful Morocco is.
It's probably the only post on this blog about a place that we visited for around 45 minutes. We'd never heard about Dades Valley before - when we saw the pinkish, twisted rock formations, little villages with houses perfectly blending with the barren landscapes and oasis full of bright green vegetation that created a sharp contrast to the red rocks, we were immediately taken aback in the most positive way.
I hope you'll like the photos below and you'll include Dades Valley on your itinerary in Morocco. Especially that it's located on the way to the most popular sites, like the town of Ait-Benhaddou (which I'll write about soon) or the amazing golden sand dunes of the world's most famous desert - Sahara (take a look at our adventure in Sahara here).
Green hills, olive and orange groves, Mediterranean atmosphere, fresh air, mountainous peaks covered with snow for half a year, cozy villages among enormous, red-rock formations - it's not the way Morocco is portrayed in the media. First thing that comes to mind about this exciting destination is endless dunes of Sahara, Bedouin houses and even entire villages made from mud. I had a similar image of Morocco before the trip to this North African country. Once again I got a proof on how traveling can change the stereotypes and the way you think about the world. One of the reasons why I love it so much!
When you think about Morocco - most probably, one of the first things that come to mind are endless, golden sand dunes of Sahara Desert, oriental cities and picturesque Berber towns that consist of houses built with clay and mud. I'd had similar assumptions before traveling to this northern African country. In this article, however, I want to show that there's so much more to Morocco - how much this exciting country surprised me. Besides the barren, desert-like landscapes, you can admire red rock formations, lush green cedar forests, beautiful lakes, snowy peaks of Atlas Mountains and villages with temperate climate and European architecture. That's the beauty of travel - you always encounter something unexpected!
The famous blue town of Chefchaoeun in Morocco is a place that should not be missed by anyone who loves original, magical, cozy little towns. For those who have done the Sahara trip, the surroundings here may seem completely different. The typical scenery you can associate with Morocco - golden sands of the endless desert, green oases rich in date palms, "biblical" villages made entirely out of mud and rugged peaks of Atlas Mountains move out of the way in order to bring a landscape you may find somewhere in Tuscany or Spain - lush fields, more gentle hills, olive groves and orange as well as lemon trees. Among all that natural charm, in a beautiful valley lies fascinating Chefchaoeun - the blue town which will make you feel as if you have entered an entirely different, wonderful fairy-tale like world.
The Sahara desert, although many might think so, is not the largest in the world. However, it's only beaten by the coldest places on Earth - The Antarctic and Arctic regions which are the greatest barren land areas on our planet. Having said that, the Saharan territory is shared among 11 countries and stretches over 9 million square kilometers (3,5 million square miles). Its magnificent, golden, perfectly smooth dunes attract many visitors from around the world and the easiest way to reach them is through Morocco - stopping by the fascinating Berber oases and villages on the way.
Essaouira is a beautiful coastal town in Eastern Morocco, very easily accessible from nearby cities, like Marrakesh or Casablanca. Surprisingly, its climate is much milder than in the rest of the country, so if you are looking for an escape from the scorching Moroccan heat, Essaouira is a great choice! Even in the summer, the high temperature averages are well below 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit). When I got there, early may, Essaouira was immersed in fog and it was only around 18 degrees Celsius (64 degrees Fahrenheit), while in Marrakesh - 32 degrees Celsius. Also, the town has a different, colonial, old-European feel. Less chaotic and more relaxing than Marrakesh, with amazing architecture and many beautiful local shops with hand made craft items, should be visited for at least day or two during your stay in Marrakesh.