Vacation in Morocco: where the country is located, and what a tourist needs to know
Morocco is a nation with a vibrant cultural history. Thousands of years of Oriental traditions mixed here with modernity. An overview of Morocco’s tourist locations will help you plan your vacation.
What a tourist needs to know about Morocco
Where is Morocco? The Kingdom of Morocco is located in the far west of North Africa.Europe is divided from it by the Strait of Gibraltar. In the north Morocco is washed by the waters of the Mediterranean Sea, in the west – the Atlantic Ocean. Although the official name of the country is the Kingdom of Morocco, among the local population there is also a self-name Al-Maghrib-al-Aqsa, which translates from Arabic as ‘far West’. What is the capital of Morocco? The capital of Morocco, Kasbah Taurirt in Ouarzazate, Morocco: Pixabay To reach Morocco, Kazakhstanis need to use the services of airlines operating regular flights to Marrakech or Casablanca. There are no direct flights from Kazakhstan to Morocco, but connecting flights are available from Almaty, Astana and Shymkent airports. Kazakhstan Tourism Association informs that to enter Morocco citizens of Kazakhstan must have a visa. It can be issued at the Moroccan Embassy in Astana within a few days. To obtain a visa at the embassy it is necessary to submit a package of documents and pay a visa fee of $25 for a single-entry visa or $35 for a multiple-entry visa.The Moroccan dirham is the nation’s recognized currency. Foreign currency (dollars, euros) can be exchanged upon arrival in the country. It is better to do it in banks or official exchange offices that issue receipts for transactions. its cultural and industrial center is the city of Rabat. It is the seat of the royal family.
Jamaa el Fna Square in Marrakech in the evening: Pixabay
The climate differs in different parts of Morocco. This is due to the country’s proximity to the Atlantic and the large variations in topography. On the Mediterranean coast the climate is subtropical, further south it is continental. It is believed that in the north-western part of the country the climate is milder, and in the south-eastern part of the country the proximity of the desert affects:Winter is warm, while summer is dry and scorching.. It often snows in the mountains of Morocco. There are two ski resorts in the country. The tourist season lasts from December to March. When is it better to go to Morocco? Morocco is a year-round destination for tourism, but the most favorable time to explore the local beauty and attractions is considered the period from October to April, when there is no debilitating heat: in October-November, the temperature range is waithin +25-28 °C; from December to February – within +21-23 °C; in March-April – +23-24 °C. The beach peak is during the summer months and early fall, when the ocean water warms up to +25-27 °C.
Chefchaouen (Blue City), Morocco: Unsplash/Heidi Kaden
To avoid ruining your vacation in any way, familiarize yourself with local rules and traditions beforehand: Don’t take pictures of people without their permission. It’s considered bad manners. It is forbidden to take photos of the royal family residence. Access to mosques for non-Muslims is prohibited with few exceptions. Women are not advised to dress provocatively, such as exposing their back, stomach, cleavage or wearing skirts and shorts that are too short. Avoid people who are intrusive and offer to help you find or purchase goods. Hugging and kissing in public is not accepted here. Observe local laws and norms of behavior. Respecting Moroccan cultural and religious traditions will save you from trouble that may arise during your trip.
Where to vacation in Morocco
Where is the best beach vacation in Morocco? Journal of nomads, Encounters travel, Touropia recommend traveling to Rabat, Casablanca or Fez for sightseeing, and Traveltalk tours recommends Agadir, Marrakech and Essaouira for a seaside vacation. Rabat In Rabat, Morocco’s capital, life is always buzzing. The city has a long and rich history and there are many sights to see. Journal of nomads recommends visiting Rabat’s Hassan Tower and its nearby mausoleum, strolling through the ancient medieval fortress city of Shelle, admiring the royal palace from afar, exploring the narrow streets of Kasbah Udaya, passing by houses with walls partly painted blue.
Casablanca is one of the largest cities in Morocco. It combines traditional Islamic traditions with modern European influences. Visit the Hassan II Mosque, stroll through the Old Medina neighborhoods and visit the Habous, check out the local museums and admire the royal palace in Casablanca.
Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca: Pixabay Encounters travel notes that Casablanca also has a natural attraction: the Buskoura Forest is located in the coastal zone of the city. The park was established on the shores of the Atlantic in the XX century. It consists mainly of eucalyptus, palm trees and pine trees that fill the air with their aromas.
Fez is among the oldest cities in Morocco. It is believed that the first settlement on the east bank of the Fes River was founded around 789. The colorful streets preserve the architectural heritage of the ancient city.
Fabric dyeing liquids at the Chowar tannery: Pixabay
Touropia resource recommends seeing the royal palace and Al-Qarawin Mosque-University (you can’t go inside), visiting the ancient fortress of Borj Nord, Ibn-Danan Synagogue, Nejarine Museum of Wooden Arts and Crafts, and the courtyard of Al-Attarin Madrasa. Here you can stroll through the landscaped gardens of Jnan Sbil and gaze at round stone vessels filled with dye and liquids at the Chowar tannery.
Tangier is a large port city nestled in a picturesque harbor. The main natural attraction of Tangier are the Hercules Caves, which emerged under the influence of the sea element millennia ago.
The resort attracts tourists to beaches with gentle sandy shores, mild climate, a wealth of attractions in the city and its surroundings. Traveltalk tours notes that in Tangier you can go on a camel ride on the sand dunes.
Vacation in Morocco;Essaouira is an ancient fort city on the Atlantic Ocean. Active sports enthusiasts travel here. The most popular sports activities are surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing. This is facilitated by high waves and wind, which blows here almost constantly
Essaouira’s evening beach: Pixabay
Essaouira beach is full of cafes and restaurants offering tourists local specialties and a chance to enjoy the ocean view. In the evening hours, the beach becomes a popular place for strolling and relaxing
. Both sightseeing and beach vacations are available in Morocco. Bustling cities, bright streets, colorful bazaars with dizzying aromas of spices immerse tourists in the atmosphere of an oriental fairy tale.
Sahara Desert in Merzouga
The name of the world’s most famous desert, which has become the symbol of Africa, has been on everyone’s lips. The Sahara occupies part of the area of more than 10 states, which includes Morocco.
Many tourists, heading to this marvelous place, imagine endless seas of sand, shimmering in the bright, scorching sun, but such dunes can not be found everywhere. Most of the desert area is dry earth and rocks.
In the Moroccan village of Merzouga, located 35 kilometers southeast of Rissani, tourists can enjoy rare views of the Sahara.The tallest dunes in this area can be 150 meters high.
Bahia Palace in Marrakech
The jewel of Morocco called Bahia Palace perfectly combines elements of oriental architecture and natural framing. Externally, the architectural landmark resembles a simple box, which surprisingly hides real wealth and luxury.
Each hall of the palace is filled with special beauty and incredible energy, distinguished from the rest by phenomenal decoration and style. The inner courtyard of Bahia is astonishing in its scale. The vast grounds feature gardens and fountains, and there is even a swimming pool in the center of the courtyard. The date of foundation of the mansion is 1900.
The old town in Chefchaouen
Painted in blue, Chefchaouen is widely considered the most beautiful Medina in the country. Walking through the streets of the Old Town, you can realize that every residential building is a different shade of blue from the rest. The houses here are like snowflakes – there is not a single identical pair.
The medina was built in the style of Spanish Andalusia. For decades, the city was considered a sacred place, where it was forbidden to come to non-believers. Therefore, today’s Chavin, as it is also called Chefchaouen, has retained its original medieval appearance.
Moroccan mosques, minarets and madrasas
Morocco is a deeply religious state, the overwhelming majority of the population of which professes Sunni Islam. Therefore, mosques are the main religious objects of the country. However, they are such that even a non-believer will open his mouth when he sees them.
Al Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech
One of the largest architectural sights in Africa is rightfully considered to be the Al-Kutubiya Mosque, about which many nations have written legends, and the whole structure itself is shrouded in mystery and darkness. By the way, its name is translated from Arabic into Russian as “library”, “bookstore”. The date of foundation of the shrine is considered to be 1147.
The large-scale African mosque is decorated with five domes and the oldest 77-meter minaret, serving as a beacon for tourists, which can be seen from any corner of Marrakech. Only Muslims can visit inside, but for travelers this is no cause for upset, as the beautiful gardens enveloping the shrine are worthy of everyone’s attention.
Hassan Minaret in Rabat
The history of the greatest construction in the capital Rabat dates back to the distant XI century, when Emir Yaqub al-Mansur conceived the idea of creating the world’s tallest minaret and a unique mosque that could accommodate the entire army of the ruler. Large-scale historical events dramatically changed the course of the history of the construction of the Islamic complex.
Vacation in Morocco;After the emir’s death, the mosque’s building was halted after it had reached a height of 44 meters. Half a millennium later, a powerful earthquake completely demolished the mosque. Visitors may now take in a historic structure that hasn’t changed since the Middle Ages.
Madrasa Bou Inania in Fez
Near the Bab Boujeloud gate is the only Muslim shrine in Morocco that functioned as a community mosque. It is also known among the surrounding area as an example of the highest achievement in the history of Marinid and Moroccan architecture, and therefore visitors to the city do not avoid it.
Previously, the Madrasa Bou Inania served as a mosque.
On its facade you can see a system of unique water clocks, and in the center of the structure is a large fountain made of marble. Special attention in the temple building should be paid to the walls decorated with mosaics, as well as the carved ceiling made of cedar, reminiscent of a sea shell.
Ben Yusuf Madrasa in Marrakech
One of the oldest architectural sights of the kingdom is the Ben Yusuf Madrasa in Marrakech, which today is an important historical monument of the country and a museum. Unfortunately, only Muslims are allowed to visit the beautiful structure. However, other tourists can admire the incredible appearance of the Islamic temple.
In the heart of the religious institution is a rectangular-shaped pool where ablutions were once performed. Each room here is connected to the others through long corridors, and the mosque itself is designed entirely in pure Islamic style. The beautiful exterior of the madrasa mesmerizes visitors as much as the interior.
The unique nature of the Kingdom of Morocco
The Sahara Desert, the Atlas Mountains, national parks, beautiful waterfalls and other places created by Mother Nature are the best examples of what is worth seeing in Morocco.
Vacation in Morocco;A large mountain range located in the Maghreb in northern Africa, separates the named Sahara Desert from the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. The Atlas Mountains stretch along Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia for 2,500 kilometers.
At the heart of the Moroccan Kingdom sits the peak of the range, Mount Toubkal, which rises to 4167 meters.
It is hard to adapt to the harsh life in the mountains, but it has managed to the indigenous people of North Africa – the Berbers. Their settlements are located far from each other. In the Atlas Mountains you can also see rare representatives of fauna, listed in the Red Book.
Between the two majestic cliffs runs the Strait of Gibraltar, which connects Africa and Europe. One of the cliffs belongs to the UK, while the other remains part of Morocco. The latter goes by the name of Jebel Musa. Numerous tourists gather in this place not only to see a rare natural wonder, but also to relax on the beaches nearby.
Today, scientists still argue about the theories of the appearance of such a marvelous geographical object. Legends say that these mountains were once placed by Hercules, or Hercules himself, during his 10th feat. There are caves and grottos inside Hercules’ Rocks, favored by merchants of souvenir stores and stores.
Paradise Valley in Agadir
Vacation in Morocco;Tourists in the Paradise Valley can enjoy the murmuring of a crystal river, the singing of rare birds, the aromas of flowering trees and fresh mountain air. It is famous not only for its mesmerizing views but also for its honey production, which is why it is often referred to as the Honey Road.
The Draa River Valley in Zagora
The Draa Valley stretches 200 km south of the Atlas Mountains, enveloped by Berber settlements, palm groves and old Kasbahs. It is characterized by a special picturesqueness, brightness and beauty that cannot be found anywhere else.
The eyes of travelers are struck in this place by the rarest species of wildlife in its pristine world, as well as a special energy that evokes in everyone a feeling of lightness, warmth and peace of mind.