It is extremely tricky to limit the number of activities that should be experienced in Morocco. However, if you travel with our Morocco tours, you will get to enjoy them all – and plenty more. Be prepared for a whirlwind of adventures in all sorts of settings as well as historical sites and landscapes so spectacular that words do not suffice.
Take a stroll around the lively Djemaa el Fna
Out of all the markets in Morocco, Djemaa el Fna really comes out on top. This square and festive marketplace in Marrakesh’s medina quarter (Old City) attracts locals and tourists in search of fresh produce, traditional fare and trinkets. On our Morocco tours, we will make sure that you have ample time to walk around all the stalls.
The hoopla (street theatre) has been ongoing since 1050 AD – when the plaza was used for public executions. As a result, the name of this UNESCO-designated area translates to ‘assembly of the dead’. Today, on a much happier note, you can witness snake charmers, storytellers, dancers and acrobats displaying their skills. On our Morocco tours, we aim to arrive around sunset, when the real action happens. An array of Berber musicians take to the streets; the plaza lights up and the smell of barbequed meats is sure to tempt everyone.
This night carnival is a cheerful affair and an excellent way to experience Moroccan culture. When you are worn out from wandering around, grab a seat at one of the nearby cafés and sip on a Moroccan spiced coffee or peppermint tea. We recommend bringing some dirhams to tip the performers and to purchase a few souvenirs and snacks.
This experience is a good chance to try your hand at haggling. In most of the stalls, the items will not have fixed prices and you can negotiate with the vendor of the stall. If you need any help or advice on how to go about it, ask your guide on your Morocco tour. You must never accept the first price given, but rather try to agree on a cheaper price. If you do not like the price, walk away and the vendor will usually call you back.
Explore the breathtaking Atlas Mountains
Whether it is by foot or car, exploring the Atlas Mountains is a must in Morocco. Many of our Morocco tours include an incursion to see this mountain range in Central Morocco. Soaring in the west by the Atlantic Ocean, the range extends in an eastern direction to the Moroccan-Algerian border.
Known as North Africa’s greatest mountain range, stretching along the frontier of the Sahara, the High Atlas Mountains are still populated by the Berber people – an ethnic group that is indigenous to North Africa. As we travel through the range on our Morocco tour you can spot the mud-built Berber villages. During some of our Morocco tours, you will spend the night at a traditional Berber camp in the Sahara Desert and sleep in Berber camel hair tents.
Three ranges make up the Atlas Mountains and the middle range is called the High Atlas Mountains. The slopes of the mountains are covered with pine trees interjected by lush, gaping valleys and overlooked by snow-capped peaks. The highest peak is Toubkal at 4,167m (13,671 ft.), which is located in Toubkal National Park. This enchanting nature reserve is a popular place for trekking with plenty of challenging routes passing by local villages and magnificent scenery. It would take around three days to reach the summit of Toubkal and the trek requires a good level of fitness.
As we drive through the Atlas Mountains on the Morocco tours, we cross Tizi n’Tichka – the highest pass in North Africa. The pass links Marrakesh with the southern oases. It is situated above the Great Marrakesh plains and is a gateway to the Sahara Desert. The tour will then descend towards Marrakesh and stop in the spectacular Ourika Valley just before. In this sublime haven, gushing waterfalls, rivers and crystal pools will surround you.
Check out the intriguing tanneries in Fez
This city in northeastern Morocco is seen as the cultural capital of the country. With a long history and a vivid collection of riads, monuments and souks, Fez features on the itinerary of many of our Morocco tours. As you stroll through the streets, you can still feel the medieval atmosphere and see remnants of the traditional way of life, including donkeys carrying goods.
An excursion on our Morocco tours is a visit to one of the Fez’s famous tanneries. There are three main tanneries in the city and the largest and most impressive is called Chaouwara Tannery. Dating back to the 11th century, this iconic tannery is situated in Fes el Bali – the oldest medina quarter of the city. Inside the tannery, round stone vessels are filled with dye of white liquids for softening the hides.
On our Morocco tours, your guide will tell you how preparing the hides takes two to three days. After being soaked in the different dying solutions, which use natural colourants, the hides are dried under the sun. This leather is then used to make Morocco’s famed leather goods. The entire process is completed manually and involves no modern machinery as well as methods from medieval times. We will give you time to browse through the leather shops and to purchase a leather product.
For the best view of the action, we will go to the leather shops in the galleries above Chaouwara Tannery’s central courtyard. From this viewpoint, you can spot the large vats of dye and the skins laid out to dry in the sun. You should be warned that the smell of quicklime and pigeon faeces, which is used to cure the hides, can be overwhelming.
Float over Marrakesh in a hot air balloon
There is no denying that adventuring through Morocco and visiting many of its splendours can be rather exhausting. That is why taking to the sky in a hot air balloon is imperative. For many of our Moroccan tours, Marrakesh is the starting and ending point. Even though you can enjoy a tour of the city, seeing the sights and famous landmarks from above is a completely different experience.
This major economic centre is bursting with elaborate palaces, impressive mosques and charming gardens. A towering wall dating back to the Berber Empire encloses the medina. On our Moroccan tour, we will seek out the treasures that lie at the end of winding alleys. During the walking tour, we will stop off at Majorelle Gardens – a surprising oasis in the middle of the city. From above, this verdant haven looks equally as impressive with its brightly coloured walls, water features and over 300 species of plants.
While you are soaring above the city, your Morocco tour guide will also point out the Menara Gardens and the Palmeraie area, home to over a thousand date palms. You will not miss the Koutoubia Mosque – the largest mosque in Marrakesh with a lofty minaret, which is a symbol of the city. The Bahia Palace is another notable sight and one of the most beautiful palaces in Morocco. Built in the 19th century, the building sits among manicured grounds and is known for its intricate Arabic architecture.
Your hot air balloon journey will also offer you views of the expansive Sahara Desert, Berber villages, deep valleys and the front of the Atlas Mountains. Another way to explore the desert is on the back of a camel or those who enjoy a faster pace can opt for a quad bike. On most of our Morocco tours, you can choose to try these activities on your first or last day in Marrakesh.
Go in search of style at Musée Yves St Laurent
If you are looking for inspiration this enthralling museum is sure to do the trick. On our Moroccan tours, we make sure to pop into this gallery of fashion. As you walk around, you will see several displays of carefully selected collections of haute couture clothing and accessories created by the famous fashion designer, Yves St Laurent.
The museum itself is also pleasing on the eye, with a unique structure designed by Studio KO to look like warped fabric. Ochre-hued bricks from Tetouan make up the building. Yves St Laurent was born in Algeria and drew his inspiration from the Red City (Marrakesh) for over 40 years. Inside, the museum features a 150-seater auditorium, a bookstore, a research library and a terrace café serving snacks. A temporary gallery presents the works of new Moroccan designers and artists.
The other museums that are worth surveying in Marrakesh include the Dar Si Said, which showcases Moroccan objects and artefacts and the Marrakesh Museum, with exhibits of contemporary art, embroidery and weapons. Maison de la Photographie is where you can view historical imagery of the city over the years. After you have finished browsing, have a walk around the grounds surrounding the museum. The landscape was designed to conserve water and with a minimalist approach in mind. The chosen plants are diverse and sourced locally from the Marrakesh region.