Morocco is an iconic destination, conjuring up images of boisterous souks, date palm oases, wild camel rides and belly dancing. While such stereotypes have some truth to them, there is much more to this North African country than mere cliches.
Morocco is located on the Atlantic coast bordering Spain across the Strait of Gibraltar, Algeria to the south, and the Mediterranean Sea to the east. A fascinating melting pot of cultures, Moroccan heritage combines nomadic Berber, African, Moorish, European and Arab influences.
Morocco is famous for its hospitality and tolerance, and welcomes hordes of writers, artists and those seeking an alternative lifestyle and enlightenment in an ancient and exotic land.
With its hypnotic Saharan desert landscapes, the snowy peaks of the Atlas Mountains, bustling souks, steamy bathhouses and labyrinthine medinas, this mysterious nation offers an unforgettable experience for which no Morocco Travel Guide can really prepare you. That's especially the case when you're dealing with real-life snake-charmers!
Although the country's capital is Rabat, several other cities are more popular with tourists, including Marrakesh and the remnants of its imperial glory, the coastal town of Tangier, and Casablanca, Morocco's primary port and largest city.
Far from the days when it was known primarily as a safe haven for pirates, contemporary Casablanca is the country's modern cultural centre, boasting art galleries, French Art Deco architecture and a trendy, cosmopolitan vibe.
Magnetic Morocco: a land of exotic adventure
If you're into exotic adventures you're likely to enjoy getting lost in Morocco's famous medinas – or old city quarters – which resemble a walled maze full of narrow alleyways, hidden courtyards, riads, palaces and mosques. The most famous are the World Heritage listed Djemaa el-Fna in Marrakesh and the 13th-century medina in Fès, which is considered the world's largest and-best preserved medieval Islamic city.
The legendary local spice markets have sparked a trend of Moroccan holidays focused on cooking, attracting amateur chefs from all over the globe to learn the secrets of the aromatic and sophisticated local cuisine.
While embarking on one of your Morocco tours, make sure to also stop at a café and enjoy a chat with the locals over mint tea, poured into glasses from a dizzying height. Or just watch the world go by, perhaps indulging in a plate of tajine, a bocadillo or a slab of delicious coconut fudge cake while you're at it.