A Week in Morocco

 

Sharing the highlights of my recent weeklong trip to Morocco in this post (mostly so I don’t forget)! Hope you are inspired to check out these incredible places on your own and that you find my advice helpful!

Note: my group and I were running on a tight budget, so while we made a few splurge stops, most of the places we went to were very affordable. 

2 days in Chefchaouen- “The blue city”:

Food:

  • Hamsa Cafe in the main square. European style coffee shop (rare for what we saw in Chefchaouen) that was one of the only places I found to have cappuccinos (my favorite). The second floor is indoors and has comfy seating (and wifi) and the third floor is on the rooftop and has views of the city centre and the all of the blue buildings. Fresh juices, foods, espresso drinks, unique teas and pastries, what more could you ask for?

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  • Restaurant Tissemlal o Casa Hassan: 2 floor restaurant. For 95 dh (10 dollars) you can get a three course meal (appetizer, main course, and dessert). This is considered a nice restaurant in Chefchaouen! Is it weird that my favorite part of this meal was the fresh butter with fresh herbs mixed inside?! This was our first meal in Morocco and I assumed all restaurants would serve herbed butter with Moroccan bread. It seems as though it was just this restaurant!

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Things to do:

  • Get lost in the blue streets of Chefchaouen and see the markets, take a photo shoot!img_5402.jpg
    • Get henna at the main plaza. For 20 dh (approximately 2 dollars) you can choose your own henna design!IMG_1299.jpg
    • Take a hike to the Spanish mosque, where you can see views of the entire blue city IMG_2677 2

Hostel: Casa Amina– very friendly host, private (and clean) rooms for an affordable price (10$ a night)!

Note: Chefchaouen is a small city in the middle of the mountains, so there is not much to do here compared to other cities of Morocco! Even if I had more time to travel, I’d use it to explore other cities in Morocco. I loved visiting, but two days was definitely enough.

3 days in Fez:

Food:

  • My favorite restaurant we went to in Fez was Ruined Garden. I was in a group of people who were all on a tight budget, and all of us enjoyed spending a little more for this meal. The food at Ruined Garden is made with local ingredients, and the menu changes every night. A beautiful place to enjoy the sunset!

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  • The people in my group also enjoyed Cinema Cafe, a cinema themed restaurant. It has traditional Moroccan dishes and international cuisine from around the world for those in your group who are looking to take a break from Moroccan cuisine. Even though this restaurant serves international food, it actually had my favorite vegetable couscous I ate in Morocco! I ordered it with add on caramelized onions and raisins and it was divine! I did hear the pizza and milkshakes weren’t great here, but I did love the melted chocolate I ordered here as well. This is a great place to stop by for a quick coffee and snack too.

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Hostel: Riad Verus: At 100 dh (10$) a night you can get a bed at this hostel. Included with the price is a breakfast feast: two different types of moroccan stews (lentil soup and beans in tomato sauce), an avocado egg toast, a yogurt parfait with fresh fruit, and pastries. Plus orange juice and your choice of mint tea or coffee! Moroccan mint tea is also served in the evening. This hostel is incredibly social, with friendly staff, tours running out of the hostel, and friendly hostel stayers from all over the world. Screen Shot 2019-03-05 at 1.22.46 PM.png

  • Things to do:
    • Visit the souk (market) and enjoy fresh moroccan cheese, pastries and breads IMG_5622
    • Visit the tannery (where they make leather). I had a hard time here as a vegetarian seeing all the dead animals. The smells here are also very strong and awful (in my opinion) so prepare yourself!IMG_5575
    • Have a hammam experience. My friend and I went to Hammam Mernissi & Spa based on recommendations from trip advisor and Moroccan locals. We did a private hammam experience and then got a massage. I love massages, but I have to say the hammam experience was my favorite part! IMG_5620.jpg
    • Marinid tombs- beautiful view of the entire city of Fes IMG_5632.jpg
    • Take a day trip to Volubilis (ancient Roman ruins)-   We didn’t come with a guide to Volubilis but we hired one of the guides on site. He gave us an affordable tour and provided us with a lot of interesting information and history! Fun fact, there is a large stone penis structure here (which was used to indicate the way to the brothel). Try to find it on your trip (our tour guide skipped over it)IMG_3148 2.jpg
    • During this day trip we also went to Meknes, but we didn’t take the time to do research about places to see here and ended up in tourist traps. Make sure to get a guide or do your research before going!
    • Grab a drink at Riad Fes, rooftop lounge bar. My friend recommends the Rose Drink

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1 day in Marrakesh:

Note: Honestly wish I had a longer time here, there is so much to do that I missed!

Things to do:

  • Bahia Palace:

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  • Jewish tour: Slat Lazama Synagogue Marrakech- an active synagogue that also tells the story of the last 500+ years of Jewish history in Morocco. We also visited the Miaara Jewish Cemetery Make sure to get a tour guide for this location to learn more about the famous rabbis buried here and the ritual practices observed here by Moroccan Jews.

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  • Place Jemaa El-FNaa– large square with food stalls, very busy but good for people watching. Very touristy, you will see monkeys on chains and snake charmers. Don’t take a picture of these unless you want to pay them money!
  • Take a look inside the #1 hotel in the world according to Conde Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice 2018, La Mamounia hotel! If you catch security in a good mood they will let you inside to explore the hotel without being a hotel guest. Plus there are restaurants inside the hotel that you could try as well (they were just beyond our price range). IMG_5738.jpg
  • Nightlife:
    • Comptoir Darna– this was my only night out in Morocco, and it was a blast! This is a very sexy, international restaurant/club with a Moroccan twist. Great place to grab drinks and dance at night! Live DJ, interesting cocktails, male Moroccan dancers to hype the crowd (first time I saw those during my trip), and a live belly dance performance!

I could only stay for Morocco for a week, but there was so much to do and explore, I definitely wish I could have stayed longer! The following are recommendations from my friend Amanda, who stayed in Morocco one week longer than I did.

Note: All Moroccans told me it was a shame I wasn’t visiting Essaouira, many mentioned it was their favorite city in the country, and has incredible seafood and views (it is a port city).

Marrakech (cont’d): 

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