Monday July 22nd, 2024
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The Most Vibrant Cities You Should Visit in the Kingdom of Morocco

The Kingdom of Morocco has no shortage of vibrant and view-inclusive cities. These are the ones you should definitely visit.

Hassan Tarek

The Most Vibrant Cities You Should Visit in the Kingdom of Morocco

The sun is setting over the ancient medinas, casting long shadows across narrow, winding streets. The air is thick with the scent of spices, while the call to prayer echoes through the alleyways, mingling with the clatter of daily life. 

This is Morocco, a series of moments that unfold like a vibrant zoetrope. Here, tradition informs modernity. 

In this piece, we explore five cities that epitomise the essence of Morocco, each with its own rhythm, its own narrative, and its own mysteries, waiting to be discovered.

MARRAKECH

Marrakech, also known as the "Red City" for its distinctive rose-hued sandstone buildings, offers a captivating mix of history, culture, and bustling energy.

This vibrant city boasts a UNESCO World Heritage Site at its heart – the Marrakech Medina. Within the labyrinthine Medina, visitors can wander narrow, winding streets overflowing with shops and stalls. The souks are a treasure trove of local crafts and a feast for the senses, while architectural marvels like Bahia Palace and the Koutoubia Mosque provide a glimpse into the city's rich past.

Jardin Majorelle offers a tranquil escape with its lush gardens, a welcome change of pace from the lively streets, while Jemaa el-Fnaa square, which lies at the heart of the Medina, pulsates with an energy unlike any other. Food stalls offering a variety of local delicacies tantalise the taste buds, while street performers, musicians, and artisans showcase their talents, creating a vibrant and lively atmosphere. Here, visitors can experience traditional Moroccan culture firsthand.

For a contemporary take on Moroccan cuisine, head to Nomad, which utilises fresh, local ingredients to create delectable dishes, offering a modern twist on traditional flavours. The rooftop terrace provides a stunning backdrop for a memorable dining experience, complete with breathtaking views of the city.

For a luxurious and convenient exploration of the city, Riad Kniza is a well-situated hotel. Located just steps away from the bustling Jemaa el-Fnaa square, the souks, and Marrakech's most important historical sites, Riad Kniza offers tastefully decorated rooms for a comfortable stay.

FEZ

Steeped in history and culture, Fez is often regarded as the spiritual and cultural heart of Morocco. This vibrant city boasts the world's oldest continuously operating university, Al Quaraouiyine, founded in 859 AD.

Those seeking a journey back in time can explore Fez el-Bali, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the world's largest and most well-preserved mediaeval medinas. The medina itself is a labyrinth of narrow alleys lined with traditional souks, where visitors can delve into the sights, sounds, and smells of Moroccan commerce. Several historical sites dot the Medina, including the Bou Inania Madrasa, a former theological school known for its exquisite stucco and cedar-wood architecture.

The Chaouwara Tanneries, with their vibrant dye pits, offer a unique glimpse into a centuries-old leatherworking tradition, while Dar Batha Museum, housed in a former palace, showcases a collection of Moroccan art and artefacts, providing a deeper understanding of the city's rich heritage.

As for where to grab a meal, you should try Restaurant Dar Roumana, which offers a delightful fusion of Moroccan and French cuisine. Housed in a beautifully restored riad, the restaurant's charming ambiance is complemented by a rooftop terrace with stunning vistas of the Fez Medina.

For a luxurious and culturally immersive stay, Riad Fes - Relais & Châteaux offers a perfect location within the medina. This beautiful riad blends traditional Moroccan architecture with modern amenities, featuring elegantly decorated rooms, a peaceful courtyard, and a rooftop terrace with breathtaking panoramic views.

CHEFCHAOUEN

Nestled high in the Rif Mountains, Chefchaouen, also known as the "Blue City," is a visually captivating destination. Awash in various shades of blue, the city's buildings and streets create a picturesque dreamscape that has become a magnet for photographers and artists.

Beyond its aesthetic charm, Chefchaouen offers a relaxed and serene atmosphere.
This, coupled with the beauty of the surrounding Rif Mountains, makes it ideal for those seeking tranquillity and a connection with nature. Hiking trails provide opportunities to explore the stunning landscapes, while the city itself invites leisurely exploration.

Cafe Clock is a popular spot for both locals and tourists seeking a diverse culinary experience. The menu offers a fusion of Moroccan and international dishes, catering to a variety of palates. The relaxed atmosphere, rooftop terrace with panoramic views, and regular cultural events like storytelling and live music create a vibrant and welcoming space to enjoy a meal.

For a comfortable and culturally immersive stay, Dar Echchaouen Maison d'Hôtes & Riad offers a convenient location near the main square. This charming guesthouse features cosy rooms decorated in a traditional style. A beautiful garden, swimming pool, and terraces provide a haven of relaxation, complete with breathtaking views of the blue cityscape.

CASABLANCA

Casablanca, Morocco's bustling economic heart, offers a captivating mix of modern dynamism and rich heritage. The city's iconic landmark is the Hassan II Mosque, one of the largest in the world and a true architectural marvel. This magnificent structure boasts a stunning location overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, its towering minaret and intricate details a testament to Morocco's artistic legacy.

Beyond the mosque, Casablanca offers a vibrant tapestry of experiences. Art Deco architecture enthusiasts will find much to admire, with buildings reflecting a bygone era. The city also pulsates with a lively nightlife scene, catering to different tastes. Upscale shopping districts cater to luxury pursuits, while a diverse array of international and Moroccan restaurants ensures there's something for every palate.

La Sqala offers a delightful culinary experience steeped in Moroccan tradition.
Housed within a historic fortress, the restaurant boasts a charming garden setting, creating a truly unique atmosphere. Their menu features a delectable array of traditional Moroccan dishes, such as tagines and couscous, promising a taste of local culinary heritage.

For a luxurious and tranquil stay, Hotel & Spa Le Doge - Relais & Châteaux provides a perfect haven. This boutique hotel, nestled in a quiet area, features elegant Art Deco-inspired design and individually decorated rooms, offering a cosy and personalised ambiance. The rooftop terrace provides a welcome escape, while the on-site spa promises relaxation after a day of exploration. 

ESSAOUIRA

Unveiling a rich history and relaxed charm, Essaouira captivates visitors with its coastal beauty and vibrant culture. The city's heart lies within the UNESCO-designated medina, a maze of well-preserved fortifications and narrow streets. This vibrant space pulsates with artistic energy, showcasing the works of local artisans and fostering a thriving creative scene.

Beyond the medina walls, Essaouira is home to stunning beaches, their breezy climate and rolling waves providing a haven for wind- and kitesurfers. Fresh seafood features prominently on local menus, a delectable reward after a day spent enjoying the city's natural splendour. Essaouira's cultural scene thrives throughout the year, culminating in the annual Gnaoua World Music Festival, a vibrant celebration that attracts musicians and visitors from around the globe.

Triskala Café serves as a popular gathering spot, known for its eclectic decor and relaxed vibe. The menu offers a delicious fusion of Moroccan and Mediterranean cuisine, with vegetarian options catering to diverse preferences. The cosy ambiance and friendly service make it a delightful place to savour a meal and soak in the atmosphere of Essaouira.

For a comfortable and culturally immersive stay, Riad Chbanate offers a charming retreat within the medina. This beautiful riad blends traditional Moroccan design with modern amenities, featuring elegantly decorated rooms, cosy lounges, and a rooftop terrace – a perfect spot to unwind after a day of exploration. The friendly staff and central location ensure a comfortable and convenient base for exploring all that Essaouira has to offer.

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