Morocco was on my To-See-List for a very long time. When, finally, I booked my flight to explore this north-african country with my friend, I was over the moon. And it really didn’t disappoint me. (Except for the food maybe. Don’t get me wrong, Tagine and Couscous are very delicious but there is not a lot of variety to it. You can get it with fish, with meat or vegetarian but that’s about it. So it gets a bit boring after three weeks.)
Marrakech is just how you expect it to be: busy, loud and full of tourists. It is worth a visit though. The smell of spices in the air, the Arabian market criers trying to get you into their shops and all those colourful rugs and bags all around the Souks left me in awe for most of my stay in that city. You should definitely have a dinner at the food stalls at the Djemaa el Fna, the main square right in the Medina, the old city, it’s quite an experience. And if you are really adventurous, you can try some snails there as well. (I did. But I wouldn’t do it again.)
The two places that really amazed me though were Chefchaouen and Essaouira.
In Chefchaouen, nicknamed the “blue city”, I could have walked around for hours (in circles probably, since the Medina isn’t too big) without losing interest in all those different shades of blue. The city was painted blue by Jewish Refugees during the 1930’s (at least that’s the official story, I’ve also heard it’s painted blue to get rid of mosquitos. Doesn’t make a lot of sense though, they were still there). On the main square there are a lot of different restaurants offering traditional moroccan food, so it’s a perfect spot to drink a mint tea (ask for less sugar, otherwise it will probably have twice the amount of sugar than mint in it) and relax after a long, hot day. Don’t ask for alcohol though, it’s not very easy to get anything alcoholic in Morocco, but especially in Chefchaouen.
Essaouira is a very small but energetic beach town. We were supposed to stay there for 3 days, ended up staying there for a week though. (I guess we would have stayed even longer but we had to get back to Marrakech to catch our flight home. Reality sucks.)
Every day we spent hours in one of the few restaurants right at the beach, where they actually served pretty good western food (nothing beats the taste of a salad after tagine and couscous for weeks!), while tanning, watching the Kitesurfers doing their thing and Moroccans trying to get tourists to ride their camels or horses along the beach. It was a perfect holiday feeling! The town itself also has a lot of different restaurants, stalls full of awesome leatherbags or great silver jewellery and some bars for a good night out. Try out Taros and Mega Loft when you’re there!
(For all the Game of Thrones Fans out there: A part of it was shot in Essaouira. And you can also do a trip from Marrakech to the Ait-Ben-Haddou, a small village, where they also shot a bit of Game of Thrones.)
So generally said: I’d definitely recommend it to everyone. I know there’s a huge Morocco hype at the moment and maybe it spoils it for some people, but trust me: There are still cities and places that are calm and non-touristy and give you a sense of what the real Morocco is like.