Look up ‘culturally diverse’ in the dictionary and there’s a fair chance you’ll find a note saying ‘See Morocco’. That’s because few destinations can match Morocco as an all-round holiday destination. Make the time and a trip could include rugged coastlines, snow-capped mountains, towering sand dunes, desert oases and ancient cities. And did we mention some of the best food you’ll ever taste? A Morocco travel adventure has a huge amount to offer – time to get out there and see for yourself.
Planning Morocco travel 2015 and don't know where to start? Check out our top 5 of the country's most essential experiences.
Marvel at the iconic Sagrada Familla in Barcelona.
Gaudi’s majestic creation has been wowing crowds since it first began construction in 1882. Since then, multiple architects have taken up the reins on the project, some honouring Gaudi’s original designs, other’s redefining the creation completely. The multiple and varied facades of the building, plus its sheer size and majesty, make it a must do for any traveller visiting Barcelona.See all trips that visit Barcelona
Indulge in traditional Andalusian delicacies in Seville.
Seville is renowned for its gastronomic offerings, and whilst the traditional dishes may be simple to prepare, they’re bursting with fresh regional flavours. Gazpacho, Pescaito frito and Huevos a la Flamenca are all famed Andalusian specialities, or for those preferring traditional tapas, Seville has around 4,000 tapas bars to choose from – take your pick!See all trips that visit Seville
Live like a King in the Royal Palace of Madrid.
Get a glimpse of life as the other half live with a guided tour of the Royal Palace in Madrid. The largest palace in Europe, the Palacio Real de Madrid is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family, though is only used formally for state ceremonies. Gorge your eyes on the many works of art by famed Spanish painters as you delve a little deeper into Spain’s rich history.See all trips that visit Madrid
Party till dawn in the clubbing mecca of Ibiza.
Nowhere on Earth will you experience clubbing quite like Ibiza. Home to some of the world’s most infamous clubs, come and join the party as night after night revered world class DJ’s play their hearts out to adoring crowds. Get into the mood with sunset cocktails at Café Del Mar then party till sunrise at Space, DC-10 or Ibiza Rocks.See all trips that visit Ibiza
Bask in sunlight on Barceloneta Beach.
Some cities are fortunate enough to have the perfect city/beach balance, and Barcelona is one of them. Whilst Barceloneta Beach may be man-made, the water is clear and refreshing and the beach is alive with travellers and locals alike chatting, swimming and generally loving life. Spend long leisurely lunches in the surrounding cafes and restaurants, hire bikes or rollerblades or just relax in the sunshine.See all trips that visit Barcelona
Explore the Islamic inspired fortress of Alhambra.
Rising from woods of cypress and elm, the Alhambra reigns supreme on the hillside of Gibraltar. Born in the 11th Century and then further developed over the 14th and 15th century’s, the fortress holds an extensive network of lavishly decorated palaces and irrigated gardens and gives those who visit it a glimpse into the rich history of the Spanish empire and the influence both Islam and Catholicism had on the Alhambra’s design.See all trips that visit Gibraltar
1. Marrakech International Film Festival – The International Film Festival of Marrakech is one of the biggest events on the country's calendar. It showcases over 140 films from more than 30 countries, and attracts many of the most famous names in cinema from around the world.
For more information on the Marrakech International Film Festival, click here.
2. Almond Blossom Festival – This traditional festival to celebrate the almond harvest takes place each year in February, when the almond trees are in full bloom. Set amidst ancient Roman ruins in the town of Tafraoute, it features local music, dance and storytelling performances in an incredible setting.
For more information on the Almond Blossom Festival, click here.
3. Festival of Roses, El Kelaa M'Gouna – The village of El Kelaa M'Gouna, deep in the Dades Valley, is home to the Moroccan rose festival. This annual event takes place over 3 days in May during prime rose-blossoming season. Expect song, dance, feasting and - naturally - a whole lot of roses.
For more information on the Moroccan rose festival, click here.
4. Sufi Festival, Fes – This 8-day celebration of Sufi culture takes place each April in the magnificent walled city of Fes, where you'll find a full program of dance, debate, art, and poetry readings alongside traditional Sufi music performances. Mind-expanding.
For more information on the Sufi Festival, click here.
5. Essaouira Gnaoua and World Music Festival – A festival of world music held annually each May, nearly half a million musical pilgrims attend over its 4-day duration. The program is a vibrant blend of traditional Gnaoua music with jazz and World Music stars from all corners of the globe. Just don’t mention Jimi Hendrix.
For more information on the Essaouira Gnaoua and World Music Festival, click here.
1. Tangier American Legation Museum – Officially presented to the USA in 1821 by Sultan Moulay Suliman, this beautiful building is home to the Tangier American Legation Museum and houses a collection of art ranging from 17th century to the present day. Don't miss the panoramic views of Tangier from its rooftop vantage point.
For more information on the Tangier American Legation Museum, click here.
2. Dar Si Said Museum, Marrakech – Located in a lavish palace in Marrakech's old town, this two-floored museum features a collection of everything from decorative clothing to ancient weaponry and traditional Berber jewelry. But it's the magnificent building itself that is the real star of the show.
For more information on the Dar Si Said Museum, click here.
3. Musée de Marrakech – Marrakech Museum is housed in the 19th century Dar Menebhi Palace, and features a collection of modern and traditional Moroccan art alongside various cultural artifacts. The classical Andalusian architecture of the palace is worth the price of admission alone.
For more information on the Marrakech Museum, click here.
4. Maison de la Photographie, Marrakech – This popular Marrakech museum is housed in a former inn for merchants and travellers, and features a collection of vintage Moroccan photography. Over 4500 photos and 2000 glass negatives dating from 1870 to 1950 await your perusal, offering a unique insight into vanished Moroccan and Berber culture.
For more information on the Maison de la Photographie, click here.
5. Matisse Art Gallery, Marrakech – Sited in an old aristocratic villa in Marrakech, the Matisse Art Gallery exhibits work by contemporary Moroccan artists, with solo exhibitions from newcomers and more established names. Best of all, admission is free.
For more information on the Matisse Art Gallery, click here.
Morocco's mix of Mediterranean, Arabic, Andalusian and Berber influences has given rise to a colourful and distinctive cuisine. Rich, spicy and aromatic, ingredients like cumin, preserved lemons and saffron vie for attention alongside staples like lamb, beef and couscous. Although alcohol is not common in Morocco it's compensated for handsomely by 'Moroccan whisky', the country's ubiquitous sweet green tea with mint, poured into cups from a height to create the requisite frothy head.
Tajine – The Moroccan tajine (a funnel shaped earthenware pot) is famed around the world, and gave its name to the succulent stews for which the country is best known. Beef, lamb and chicken are the usual suspects, served with couscous, a Moroccan staple.
Best eaten at –Souk Kafé, 11 Derb Souk Jedid, Marrakech
Harira – This thick and hearty soup contains tomatoes, onions, lentils, chickpeas and a fragrant blend of herbs and spices, with a bit of lamb or beef thrown in for good measure.
Best eaten at –Dar Rif Kebdani Restaurant, Rue Dar Baroud, Medina, Tangier
Zaalouk – Moroccans love a good salad, and few are prized as highly as zaalouk. This delicious cold starter co1568nsists of smoky cooked aubergine with raw tomato, seasoned with a little garlic, cumin, paprika and chili.
Best eaten at –Bazaar Cafe, Rue Sidi El Yamani 24, Derb Rokni 14, Marrakech
Makouda – These little deep-fried potato balls are a classic Moroccan street food item. Eat them on their own or as part of a sandwich, but don't forget the harissa (garlicky chili sauce)!
Best eaten at –Jamaa El Fna square food stalls, Jamaa El Fna, Medina, Marrakech
Pastilla – This traditional Moroccan pie combines sweet and savoury flavours within a crispy multi-layered filo pastry shell. The filling? Deliciously succulent slow-cooked and shredded pigeon, though nowadays chicken is a more likely candidate.
Best eaten at – Restaurant Le Foundouk, 55 Souk Hal Fassi Kaat Bennahïd, Médina, Marrakech
Wet wipes - Because few visitors come away from a trip to Morocco without at least one challenging bathroom encounter.
Earplugs - You're never far from a mosque in Morocco, so you'll need these if you don't want to get woken by the pre-dawn call to prayer.
Sandals - Essential for pottering around in the Moroccan heat.
Sunglasses - To save your peepers from the intense glare of the North African sun!
An adapter plug - Morocco uses the European standard 2-pin plug. You'll need a transformer to use appliances that run on USA voltage.