Magical Morocco

From a silver contributor:

We flew into Casablanca and proceeded directly to Rabat. We stayed half a day in Rabat and visited two main attractions: Kasbah des Oudaias and the Mausoleum of Mohammed V/Hassan II. It’s best to visit these with a local guide.  From there, we proceeded to the city of Meknes.

image: britannica.com

A very cozy and nice hotel in in Rabat is Villa Mandarine.

In Meknes, we visited Heri es Souani (granaries and stables), Moulay Ismael Mausoleum, and El Hedim market. Again, we hired a local guide.

Palais Didi is a very interesting hotel in Meknes, with spectacular rooms and a beautiful rooftop view.

We then dove onwards to Fes, making quick stops in Volubilis and Moulay Idress. Volubilis is an excavated Roman city built in 3rd century BC. The ruins have been decently preserved. Highly recommended with a guide.

image: morocco-holidays-guide.co.uk

From there, we visited Moulay Idriss, an old town where the founder of Morocco is buried. This small town is a bit chaotic: there were donkeys carrying goods, an open food market, old cars making its way through the thousands of people walking the streets. A real mix of old and new.

In Fes, we visited a number of attractions, again with a guide, which is really necessary. It’s easy to get lost in Fes—there are thousands of alleys. One needs to be careful. Things to see: Souks (markets), Mellah (Jewish quarter), Medina (the Arabic quarter), and the pottery, tannery and leather factories. People say that Fes can be dangerous—on one evening we had four “bodyguards” lead us to a restaurant!  We did a half-day trip to Ifrane, a ski resort that resembles an alpine village. Not that much to see there except snow!

An amazing Hotel in Fes is Riad Fes.

We then had the very long drive to Marrakech. The first thing that stands out in Marrakech is that all the buildings – whether old or new – are red. Things to see/do: Take the hop-on hop-off tour bus so that you can see many parts of the city; visit the souks (starting in the late afternoon), and Djemaa el Fna, the world famous square where you have everything from food stalls to musicians to snake charmers! Marrakech is really a city that you can just walk around in for a few days and explore by yourself, no local tour guide necessary but a book will help. There are a number of beach clubs there, such as Nikki Beach, but these would be best visited when it’s warm!

image: holidayandtraveleurope.blogspot.com

Restaurant suggestion: El Fassia. This was the best I had throughout the whole trip. Overall, I was not that crazy about the food in Morocco (how many times can you have Tajin?) but this restaurant was outstanding.

Ksar Anika Riad. Is a hotel in Marrakech with a pretty good location and had a fantastic rooftop. Rooms were OK.

Recommended hotel—Hotel La Mamounia. This is a tourist destination by itself as it has a huge and famous garden. They are very strict about letting people in (there is a quota and you have to be dressed appropriately).

We then flew to Casablanca for a one night/half-day stay. Not much to visit apart from the Hassan II mosque, one of the largest in the world. Had dinner at Rick’s Cafe, which was opened about 10 years ago to recreate the one made famous by the movie, Casablanca. All I have to say about this place is that the food was average at best and the atmosphere was dull.

Casablanca hotel—Riad Jnane Sherazade.  Hotel was ok.  It was outside of the city in a quiet neighborhood, but be careful when walking around as one of our members nearly had their bag ripped of their shoulder by a passing motorcycle thief.

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