Morocco has many faces: it has both the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. It has both seeming endless desert and beautifully snow-capped mountains. There are labyrinth markets, cosmopolitan cities, palm-tree swaying oases in the middle of nowhere and an infusion of smells and colors bordering on sublime sensory overload. It is exotic and mysterious yet welcoming and hospitable. Morocco is simply a must-visit destination!
The Bella Vita Travels team has been hard at work researching our favorite destinations, accommodations and restaurants in this beautiful Mediterranean country and we are excited to begin curating custom luxury itineraries to this must-see destination.
“To visit Morocco is still like turning the pages of some illuminated Persian manuscript all embroidered with bright shapes and subtle lines.”Edith Wharton, writer
BEFORE YOU GO TO MOROCCO
There are direct flights to Morocco from New York, or you can fly via Paris or most other European cities. Casablanca has the biggest airport and therefore, the majority of flights (and often the starting point for our trips). Marrakech is next and then you have smaller airports into Agadir, Fez, Tangier, and so on.
With limited time (meaning, no less than a week, we suggest Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains. With an extended stay of 10-12 days, you may want to include a stay in the Sahara desert or a couple of nights in one of Morocco’s seaside resorts. In order to have the “grand tour” of the country expect to stay at minimum of 14 days. Additionally, Morocco is an easy add on to a trip to Spain or Portugal.
Our tailor-made packages include VIP airport assistance upon arrival, a private guide and driver for the majority of your trip, some internal flights and the occasional camel! The main roads are excellent but best navigated by local experts so you can enjoy the journey.
Moroccan food is exotic, rich in flavors, and delicious, but there is only so much variety. You will find more options in the major cities (Marrakech has just about everything), but don’t be surprised by the number of tagines you may eat on your trip!
Contrary to what many believe, Morocco is a wonderful destination for families. It offers so much in terms of culture, color and charm, not to mention lots of fun outdoor activities. Morocco is also sensory overload (in a good way!) and a romantic honeymoon option. Morocco is religiously and politically extremely moderate. It is a safe destination that is warm and welcoming towards tourists of all nationalities and ages.
The main language is Arabic, but many speak or understand English and French.
No visas are necessary for North Americans or Europeans coming for up to 90 days.
WHEN TO GO
Your favorite months are April – May and then again in October – December. The summer just gets too hot for comfort. The cities can be nice in the winter but it can be rainy.
WHERE YOU’LL STAY
Morocco has a varied spectrum of accommodations. Our favorite being the riad (a characteristic building of Morocco with an internal open courtyard) in the medina cities (Marrakech and Fez). There are also plenty of luxury resorts and lovely boutique hotels. You even have the opportunity to do a bit of “glamping” in the desert.
Keep in mind, staying in the medina is to some extent like stepping back in time—car free, chaotic, smelly, and sometimes a sensory overload. Mix up the medina cities with more remote lodges in the desert and mountains so you can return home relaxed.
MEMORIES YOU’LL MAKE
- Head up to the Atlas Mountains for traditional Berber outdoor markets, spectacular hiking or donkey trekking, and a stay at Richard Branson’s luxury Kasbah.
- Wander the labyrinth streets of Fes’ souks and visit the fascinating (but smelly!) leather tanneries, where, for centuries, locals have been tanning by hand leather and then producing unique and beautiful leather products. While in Fes, you can also have the once-in-a-lifetime experience of witnessing a private Sufi brotherhood ceremony of dancing, chanting and drumming, followed by dinner at a local family’s home.
- The very particular village of Chefchaouen– known as the ‘blue city’. An instagrammer’s paradise, the village is completely painted in blue and white, a stark contrast to the bare mountains surrounding it. Don’t miss a sunset or sunrise at the Spanish Mosque above the village.
- Relax at the laid-back seaside town of Essaouira and indulge in the fresh seafood and delicious French pastries (Morocco was a French colony for nearly 45 years so you can find a lot of French influence in the foods and wines). Get active by surfing, windsurfing and enjoying the beach. Visit its UNESCO-protected Medina and walk along its ramparts.
- If you prefer a more upscale and quiet beach holiday, Oulidia offers luxury hotels and long, sandy beaches to explore. Another perk of Oulidia is its oysters- one of the local specialties.
- Morocco is the set for many films and television productions set in the desert. Games of Thrones fans can visit the set of the Atlas Studios in Ouarzazate (also the sets of the Mummy, Gladiator and Kingdom of Heaven), the sand-castle like village of Ait Ben Haddou and the seaside town of Essaouira where seasons 3 and 4 were filmed.
- Marrakesh is a sensory overload – in the best way possible. So many exotic elements everywhere you turn: snake charmers, spice shops, fantastic shopping in the souks, excellent hotels, gorgeous restaurants. Prepare to fall in love with this city.
- Explore one of the lesser known (and less touristy) imperial cities, Meknes. Located in the wine producing area of Morocco, you can visit wineries and well as the nearby impressive Roman ruins of Volubilis. Nearby we also have a very special lunch spot where we can organize an amazing experience to make your day perfect.
- While in Morocco, you must make time to visit a Hammam. These traditional bath-houses are a relaxing break from sightseeing all of the wonderful places that you will be visiting. Upon leaving you’ll not only feel squeaky-clean, but also rejuvenated and ready to continue your adventures.
- A cooking class is always a wonderful experience in order to understand the culture and traditions of a country that you are visiting. In Morocco, this is even more so, since the variety of spices and flavors is so immense. We have a number of trusted cooking classes in Morocco, that range from the rustic, more homestyle cooking, to more sophisticated cuisine. This is a wonderful way to literally bring a taste of Morocco home with you!
- Casablanca boasts does the largest Mosque in the country, and one of the very few that is open to non-Muslims. En-route to your next destination, a guided visit to this mosque would be an interesting introduction to Morocco and its very moderate and tolerant Muslim culture.
- Rabat, the capital of Morocco, is primarily centered around the government structures. It does however have an extremely interesting ancient Roman settlement, the Chellah, which is also home to many families of storks!
- Have an unforgettable experience in the Sahara or Agafay deserts. While you get settled into your luxury tent accommodations, your hosts will prepare the scene for an unforgettable traditional Bedouin candlelit dinner beneath the wide desert sky. After dinner, lounge on the carpets strewn on the sand as you stargaze with the help of an expert astronomer. The following morning wake up early for a camel trek through the dunes to witness the sun rise over the Sahara. If you decide to stay longer, you can try your hand at ‘sand-boarding’ on the dunes or an exciting quad adventure.