Beautiful places in Morocco. The amazing Kingdom of Morocco means sandy beaches of the Mediterranean Sea and waves of the Atlantic Ocean, bustling oriental bazaars, medieval medinas, blue houses and terracotta fortresses, neighborhoods of artisans, endless dunes of the Sahara and luxurious palaces. We tell you what to see in Morocco.
Requirements for entry to Morocco in 2022
As of May 17, 2022, tourists from Russia will be required to present a certificate of vaccination (recognized by Sputnik V and Sputnik Lite) and complete a health questionnaire in order to enter Morocco. Three doses of vaccine are required, it is allowed to enter with two doses, but on condition that the second vaccination was given no later than four months in advance. This does not apply to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, where a single dose is equivalent to two doses of other vaccines.
Unvaccinated travelers, with the exception of children under 12 years of age, are required to submit a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours in English upon entry into Morocco. Upon arrival, a randomized antigen test may be conducted at the airport or hotel within 48 hours.
No visa required if you plan to spend less than 90 days in Morocco, no quarantine either.
You still need to wear masks in public places. At the entrance to restaurants, hotels, spas, stores and other establishments they take your temperature.
How to get there
There are no direct flights from Russia to Morocco at the moment. You can get there with a connection in Istanbul, Antalya or Bahrain. The ticket price from Moscow to Casablanca for one person starts from 54 000 Rubles, to Agadir – from 60 000 Rubles, and this with two connections. You can fly to Tangier starting from 68 000 Rubles, with the bonus of being able to walk around Istanbul or Casablanca during the connecting flight. An alternative, but not the fastest and cheapest way to get to Morocco is to try to enter the Schengen area and fly from there.
When it’s best to go
If you’re interested in beaches, go to Morocco from late May to early October. At that time the resorts have comfortable weather with an average temperature of +25 ° C. In midsummer attract lovers of warmer waters. Excursions available year round: what is Moroccan winter with +5 ° C for the hardened Russian tourist? That’s right, you can safely pack dresses and short-sleeved shirts, but keep in mind that in the off-season you can get caught in the rains. And skiers pull up in the Atlas Mountains early in the year.
In the north of Morocco lies the two-faced port city of Tangier, familiar to all fans of the Star of Africa board game, fans of Henri Matisse and the film Only Lovers Survive.
On one side of the city is washed by the Mediterranean Sea, on the other by the Atlantic Ocean, and through the Strait of Gibraltar you can see the shores of Spain. As a gateway to Morocco, Tangier has been seized many times, including by the Portuguese, and today it is one of the most Europeanized cities in the country and a staging post for Berbers, tourists, hippies and artists.
Tangier is a test for tourists’ acceptance of Africa. It is worth lingering here for a test drive through the medina (will it go in – won’t it? is it worth going inland, to the most winding and old medinas?), climbing the mighty walls of the Portuguese fortress, checking out the museum of antiquities, admiring Gibraltar and getting into the oriental atmosphere at the market in the Gran Socco square.
You’ll also need time to see the ornaments and mosaics on the walls of the mosques and have a photo set at the gates of the old city overlooking the ocean. You can borrow ideas and coloring from Matisse, who literally drenched his Moroccan Triptych in blue. Then head to the new part of town and enjoy colonial architecture and the free-spirited spirit of France at Cafe de Paris. Wide boulevards with restaurants and stores, adjacent to a park and cannons, will lead you to the marina and the beach.
If your first flight is okay and you don’t feel like escaping back to Europe, here are some accommodation options in Tangier:
Moevenpick Hotel & Casino Tangier – from 6,900 rubles/night for two with breakfast;
Fredj Hotel and Spa – from 4650 rub./night for two, breakfast included;
Marina Bay – from 9000 rubles per night for two with breakfast included;
El Minzah Hotel – from 10 000 rub./night for two with breakfast included.
The unforgettable Ostap Bender dreamt of Brazilian Rio de Janeiro. We bet that the great combinator simply did not know about the existence of Casablanca in Morocco, the “white house” on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.
The bustling metropolis has acquired the features of a modern European city, without losing its African charm. Casablanca is an ideal place for a closer acquaintance with Morocco: it harmoniously combines history, culture and relaxation, and European architecture coexists with the narrow streets of the medina.
The old town of Casablanca near the port attracts with its Oriental flavor, the atmosphere of the unhurried life of an Arab city and, oddly enough, the abundance of quite professional graffiti. Of course, it is not the most ancient and attractive in Morocco medina: the houses here rarely have more than 200 years – the fault of the earthquake of the XVIII century and the French renovation of the colonies – in the same Marrakech is much more interesting, but to get acquainted quite a good option.
When you get tired of the hustle and bustle of the endless market, head to the European part of town – admire the neo-Gothic Sacre-Coeur Cathedral, walk the manicured alleys of the Arab League Park, explore the amusement park and zoo, wander the coastal boulevards and enjoy the beach and the ocean.
Don’t forget to check out the Hassan II Mosque with the world’s tallest minaret for a tour. If you love lighthouses and views from above, bargain with the security guard and climb the 256 steps of El Hank lighthouse, but be careful on the approaches – there’s a risk of encountering the unlikeliest side of Morocco.
Catch a list of suitable hotels in Casablanca:
ONOMO Hotel Casablanca City Center – from 6600 rubles/night for two persons with breakfast;
Casablanca Le Lido Thalasso & Spa – from 9670 rubles per night for two persons with breakfast;
Gray Boutique Hotel Casablanca – from 6200 rubles/night without food;
Moroccan House Hotel Casablanca – from 2900 rubles/night with breakfast.
Recall that earlier we told in detail about the subtleties of choosing hotels in Casablanca. After taking a look around the white city, go for a drive in Morocco – towards the beaches, mountains, thousands of stars in the desert, the intricate medinas and colorful bazaars.
Nearly a thousand years old, Marrakech at the foot of the Atlas Mountains is a city of magnificent gardens, palaces, museums and mosques. Its enormous terracotta-red medina is protected by UNESCO, a mark of quality that promises tourists an unforgettable experience for the walk and for their stay in Morocco in general.
The former imperial city has over the centuries been the capital of the country several times, has gained popularity among movie stars and politicians, but still keeps the spirit of the Moroccan East. Such an Africa must be seen!
A leisurely stroll around the medina will not take more than a day, so don’t try to cover too much ground and decide which is more interesting, or stay longer.
Let’s go: the 12th century Al-Qutubiya Mosque is only accessible to non-Muslims from the outside, but its patterned minaret can be viewed as much as you want, and the parks and fountains nearby beckon to sit in the shade of palm trees. Closer to the center of the old city are several ethnographic and art museums, where you can get acquainted with the Moorish heritage of Marrakech, see samples of carpet weaving and listen to the ethnic Arab-Andalusian music. Bahia Palace amazes with its elaborate wood carvings and incredible mosaics, and the colorful and bustling souk literally stuns the traveler who is not yet accustomed to the brightness of the orient. Be sure to check out the Museum of Berber Culture and the Majorelle Garden, which inspired Yves Saint Laurent – the couturier bought it after the owner’s death and restored it. Next to the park is a modern museum of the fashion designer.
By evening, try to get to Jamaa el-Fna Square to see performances by snake tamers, jugglers, magicians, traders and other contemporaries of Hodja Nasreddin and Little Flour, drink mint tea on the terrace and capture colorful scenes.
And yes, haven’t you forgotten to admire the Hotel Palace La Mamounia, the one where Winston Churchill and other famous people liked to stay? It is one of the symbols of European Morocco, a monument of history and culture, like the Hotel Negresco in Nice. The hotel’s bars and restaurants are accessible to everyone, subject to a dress code.
After such a busy day, or even two or three, you need a rest. If you’re not ready to follow Churchill’s example just yet, here are some more budget hotels and riads – traditional Moroccan houses with patios:
Riad Sable Chaud – from 4150 rubles/night for two, breakfast included;
Riad 58 Blu – from 4900 rubles/night for two with breakfast included;
Dar El Mudal – Adults Only – from 6500 rubles per night for two with breakfast included;
Riad Anais – from 8 400 rubles per night for two persons with breakfast
Riad Chergui – from 9 870 rubles per night for two persons with breakfast.
In the west of the country, washed by the waves of the Atlantic, nestled in the city of Agadir, Morocco‘s best beach resort. Tourists are attracted by the ten-kilometer long promenade, picturesque sandy beach in the shape of a crescent and the blue ocean – a real African fairy tale. As a side note, 300 days a year the sun shines here – how about it, northerners and Petersburgers? No wonder that a stay in the city relaxes and configures for a carefree vacation.
Agadir – the place of attraction for surfers, beach lovers, fans of equestrian sports, golf and those who just want to dip their heels and other parts of the body in the warm ocean waters.
The shopping and wild life lovers will also find adventures to their liking, just think of the real Oriental market El Had and the many bars on the boulevards adjacent to the bay.
If you come with children, on the way from the beach check out the Bird Park or go to the dolphinarium. Adults and adventurous tourists are advised to visit the Crocodile Park.
Unfortunately, an earthquake in 1960 almost completely destroyed the old city: only one wall was left of the fortress, and that in order repaired. The sunset views are worth a visit, and for a taste of the Berber way of life, head to the medina, an authentic newly built museum town.
Here are some popular hotels:
Kenzi Europa – from 3900 rubles/night for two with breakfast;
Royal Decameron Tafoukt – All Inclusive – from 8400 rubles per night for two persons;
Atlantic Hotel Agadir – from 4300 rubles per night for two persons, half board
Iberostar Founty Beach – from 10 000 rubles per night for two, all inclusive.
The oldest of the four imperial cities of Morocco, Fez is located almost 200 km from the beaches and the ocean. Tourists come here for an immersion in medieval history – for 12 centuries of existence the center of Islamic education and culture, and at the same time crafts capital, has not changed much, so that an emotional journey through time is guaranteed. For a moment, the medina, built in the 13th century, is called new here, and the old one dates back to the IX century.
Getting lost in the intricate streets, where around every turn it seems a portal to the depths of centuries is a must on the local tourist program. Legends and images of oriental fairytales come alive here, and it is not for nothing that the oldest district of the city, Fes el Bali, is protected by UNESCO. You can enter the medina through one of the 14 gates, which, like the Moorish Borj Nord, make you stand in awe. Architecture, ethnography, history and religion mingle as they did seven or nine centuries ago – a kind of open-air museum, but not frozen behind fences and plaques, but alive, bubbling and noisy, full of smells, sounds and voices.
You can enter the medina through one of the 14 gates, and they themselves, like the Moorish Borj Nord, make you stand in awe.
In the artisans’ quarters, as before, the workshop distribution is preserved: leather dyeing, weaving, and tajin molding are in full swing, while industrious donkeys carry loads – cars are forbidden to enter the medina. Speaking of smell, let us remind you that leather dressing, like dyeing, is not only an interesting process, but also extremely fragrant. You can see the unchanged process of leather dressing over the centuries and take those very pictures with huge colored vats at the dyehouses of Shuar or Sidi Moussa. Be prepared to pay your guide.
Merchants and artisans, mosaics and numerous mosques and madrassas, Al Karouin University, founded in the 12th century, carved doors, ornaments, Arabic ligature, luxurious riads and the usual souvenir shops – in the largest not only in Morocco, but also on the planet, the old medina is easy to wander all day. The streets are mesmerizing and intriguing to travelers overwhelmed by the experience, reminiscent of the proverbial “scary interesting,” which has two parts, so don’t stay out too late at night.
In the craftsmen’s quarters – here, as before, the workshop distribution is preserved – work is in full swing.
If you’re too worried, start at Fez El Jid, which is a little newer. And another almost useless tip – don’t buy up everything you come across as a memento of Morocco. Oh, and you definitely don’t need a fifth pair of grannies – Little Flour’s slippers!
When you do emerge from the alluring Middle Ages, go admire the Royal Palace or to the walls of the ancient fortress Borj Nord – it offers a view of the entire city, and there’s also an interesting weapons museum.
Stay in a hotel or choose a riad – it’s up to you. Here is where to sleep in Fes:
Royal Mirage Fes – from 6700 rubles/night for two with breakfast;
Palais Medina & Spa – from 9700 RUB/night for two, breakfast included;
Riad Lalla Zoubida – from 5 000 rubles per night for two persons with breakfast included;
Hotel Riad Raouia – from 4300 rubles per night for two without food;
Riad au 20 Jasmins – from 4700 rubles/night for two with breakfast.
The port city by the ocean attracts beach lovers, extreme surfers, paragliders and windsurfers, as well as lovers of art and relaxed atmosphere. The waves are especially good in winter, in January and February, and the white houses and blue fishing boats of Morocco are beautiful in almost any weather.
In the ancient city, which locals poetically call the “Bride of the Atlantic”, the threads of a thousand years of history converge: the former Mogador has evolved from a refuge of sea pirates and an important trading post on the road of caravans, to a favorite haven of hippies, and then – a comfortable and open world resort with lots of art galleries. It was even featured in Game of Thrones as Astapor in the Bay of Slavers.
The Sahara Desert
To be in Morocco and not see the legendary Sahara Desert, dunes and night sky? No way! However, to get to the desert is not so easy: from Marrakech or Fez you need to travel about 460-560 km and drive almost to the border with Algeria. Here, in the village of Merzouga ends even minimal civilization and begins immense sands of the largest hot desert on earth. This fabulous realm of dunes and dunes over a hundred meters high, endless sand, wind, camels, bright stars and incredible sunsets and sunrises.
The most convenient and safe way to look into the desert is to buy a tour that includes transfers from nearby cities, a camel ride through the dunes, dinner, overnight accommodation and breakfast. Some options are supplemented with sandboarding – desert snowboarding – or jeep rides, as well as an evening program with Berbers.
Tented camps ranging from budget nomadic-style to luxe and campgrounds of various firms are scattered around Merzouga. A two-day desert tour from Fez can be found for 200 euros, a three-day tour from Marrakech with overnight stays in luxury camps – from 350 euros for a trip of two or three people. The Sahara Desert is a fabulous realm of dunes and barchans over a hundred meters high, endless sand, wind, camels, bright stars and incredible sunsets and sunrises.