Morocco, colourful country with a mint aroma

by Eliza


A colourful country with a mint aroma.

Did you know that is one of the few countries in the world (might be unique) you can visit for ski on the mountains, surf on the ocean and sandboard in the desert at the same week? A travel destination for a wide range of people and needs, ideal for the adventure seekers, city lovers or the gastronomy explorers. Either you visit it’s big cities or the smaller towns, the people will offer you a warm welcome and definitely warm mint tea.

Morocco’s most cosmopolitan city is Marrakesh, also known as the pink city. Once you are there do not miss the chance to wander into the narrow, labyrinthine alleys of Medina where you will lose sense of orientation. This is the best way to discover the ”Souks”, marketplaces located in all directions where you can find pretty much everything. What stands out is the handmade ceramic pottery, the handmade carpets, the textiles and the traditional shoes which often can be very fashionable. I highly doubt it that anyone will leave empty handed from there!

The Medina can be often extremely crowded. It’s a place where everybody looks busy but the merchants wont miss any opportunity to drag you into their stores and try to sell you their merchandise. This feeling escalates at the famous central square, Jemaa el Fnaa. A place that never sleeps, the heart of Marrakesh full of music, street food, snake charmers, tourists, children playing . It has a unique ambience which will take you to another era. When you manage to cross the square (it does require some time and energy) you will be rewarded with the view of one of the most impressive mosques in the world, the Koutoubia mosque. Fully painted in pink!

Traditional Riads are the oases of calm in the city buzziness for locals and tourists. They are houses with interior gardens which were first built to provide a peaceful escape from the busy Medina to the wealthy locals. However, lately they have become popular among tourists because they can offer a more authentic experience  during the stay in Morocco. Definitely worth trying it out and expect to get impressed by their stunning architecture.

Another calming retreat from the bustling Medina and a must see when visiting Marrakesh is the garden of Majorelle (Jardin Majorelle) where Yves Saint Laurent spent many years of his life. It’s not coincidence that the famous designer decided to buy and preserve this delicate little heaven on earth (even after his death). More than 200 species of trees and exotic plants surround the house of YSL painted in the characteristic blue colour, nowadays know as the Majorelle Blue. At the end of your stroll don’t forget to visit the café of the gardens, one of the most peaceful places in the city.

It’s amazing how easily you can escape the fuzziness , the crowds and the noise by only entering a roof garden restaurant, climbing up few steps. This is what we did every time we were into the ”escape” mood. Enjoying the local cuisine and the great service in such relaxing atmosphere was our daily reward moment.

  • For delicious local cuisines with great city views: Nomad , Places de epices.

Two to three hours away from Marrakesh perched on the Atlantic coast lies Essaouira, known also as the Wind city of Morocco. Its a laid back destination which makes the town ideal for relaxed strolls in Medina or at the 10klm long coastline. Also surfers’ and kitesurfers’ paradise. This extraordinary historical and fishing village has been listed by UNESCO as World Heritage site in 2001.

The 18th century castle , the blue boats resting at the decks and the fishing docks are the city’s trademark. Due to it’s charming scenery it was even chosen by Game of Thrones for shooting some scenes with Daenerys Targaryen. And indeed if you just ignore for a moment the cars you will feel like you’ve travelled to the past. For an authentic experience don’t miss the chance to try out fresh fish food at the port. The facilities are not fancy but the scenery and the great food  compensates for it. Once you pass by, the locals will get your attention and it can be hard to ignore them.

  • For traditional food with western influences : the Loft, Caravane Café
  • For coffee or drinks with breathtaking view: Taros

Luggage necessities:

  • Hat and sunscreen ( it’s Africa)
  • Loose long pants and dresses (especially for the ladies it’s better to be considerate and respect the local values)
  • Sneakers (choose the pair you don’t mind getting dirty or full of sand )
  • Antibacterial hand gel (stay healthy)

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