Morocco cities and regions travel guide

Morocco cities and regions travel guide

Morocco cities and regions travel guide

Essaouira Morocco

Morocco cities and regions travel guide: Essaouira is located on the shores of theAtlantic Ocean. The gateway to the Moroccan south, Essaouira is renowned for the hospitality of its inhabitants, its mild climate, its exceptional architectural features dating back to civilizations of all kinds, and its steady winds, which attract more and more water sports enthusiasts every year.

Founded in the 7th century B.C., it was in turn Phoenician, Berber and Roman. In the 15th century, it became Portuguese, and its port was an important trading post. At that time, it was called Mogador, a name that has stuck to this day.

In 1764, the Sultan Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdallah decided to build a new port resolutely oriented towards Europe. He called in a Frenchman, Théodore Cornut, who drew up plans for the city, using the fortified town of Saint Malo in France as a model.

Essaouira is thus one of the few cities in the world that was designed before it was built, earning it its name, Es Saouira, meaning the Well-Drawn. Until the early 20th century, Essaouira played a major role as an international port of trade with the rest of the world.


Morocco cities and regions travel guide: Since 2001, Essaouira’s Medina has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You too can marvel at this city, the fruit of the meeting of all human civilizations and home to a highly original architectural heritage. Historic monuments from the world’s major cultures stand side by side in peace, facing the ocean that has always inspired the city.

The Medina is the heart of Essaouira, witness to its glorious past. You’ll enjoy its discreet, soothing charm, untouched by mass tourism. Here, you can discover Mogadorian jewelry, a craft that combines exceptional and magnificent decorative motifs. Thuja wood marquetry, developed by Souiris craftsmen, has been elevated to an art form in Essaouira. Other specialties include the famous argan oil and pottery.

The new town by the ocean is home to hotels and riads. A favored tourist destination, the City of the Winds or City of the Trade Winds is world-renowned for windsurfing and kitesurfing, thanks to the winds that regularly blow across the bay. Essaouira is the water sports capital of Morocco!

But perhaps you’d prefer to fish in the nearby fish reserves or attend the Gnaouas international festival, one of the most popular in Morocco.

Errachidia city Morocco

Morocco cities and regions travel guide: Errachidia, in the pre-Saharan region of Tafilalet in southeastern Morocco, lies in the Ziz valley, between the mountains of the High Atlas and the sandy hills of the desert, in a landscape of rocks and stone fields. An oasis of 45,000 inhabitants in the desert, the town has been preserved from foreign influences to create a unique setting. The many date palms behind the ramparts and the sometimes snow-capped red mountains contrast with the sand dunes.

Although located in a Saharan zone, you’ll find all the comforts a city can offer: hotels and kasbahs make for an unforgettable stay in theoasis, from which you can embark on excursions into southeastern Morocco.

Errachidia has a desert climate. Winter is cold, with big temperature differences between day and night. The bestseasons are spring and autumn, with an average temperature of 25 degrees. Summer is hot, with the thermometer often reading over 40 degrees during the day. Summer evenings and nights, on the other hand, are very pleasant.

Errachidia city

The city’s quiet days in the heat of the day contrastwith the activity and bustle you’ll find in the evenings. Men, women and children emerge from their homes to head for “the roundabout”, where the garden cooled by theshade of the town’s date palms serves as a meeting place.

The Meski blue spring is 18 km from Errachidia, and is easily accessible. This cold spring comesstraight from the mountains and flows into a pool where you can take a dip – an ideal place to cool off in summer.

Excursions from Errachidia take you back to traditional Morocco. The small town of Rich lies 60 km north of Errachidia, Erfoud 70 km to the south. The lifestyle of these two towns differs from that of Errachidia. Living conditions are more traditional and poorer. In the streets, as if time had stood still, you’ll see lots of donkeys, mules and horses.

Town of Erfoud Morocco

Morocco cities and regions travel guide: A vast oasis, Erfoud is the capital of the Tafilalet region, north of Rissani. Created by the installation of a French garrison in 1917, Erfoud owes its tourist appeal to its strategic location in the heart of the Tafilalet region, on the banks of the Oued Ziz, making it an excellent departure point for the dunes of Erg Chebbi. Its wide, right-angled streets and lined-up houses, however, rob it of the charm of traditional Moroccan towns.

Its palm groves and dunes offer some stunning scenery. Discover these fairytale-like landscapes from the borj, a fortified tower next to the town center offering a beautiful view of the palm grove and surrounding desert.

In Erfoud, you can catch a glimpse of human life on the edge of a desert. If you’re in Erfoud during the third week of October, you’ll be able to attend the date festival with its exhibitions and shows. Don’t miss the palm grove, 10 km from Erfoud, with its cool temperatures during the day.

A few minutes from the town, you can visit the workshop where black marble is worked, sometimes with small fossils.

From Erfoud, you can reach Erg Chebb, remarkable for its golden sand dunes. The sun plays with the dunes in a play of light and shade, especially at sunset. From the village of Mergouza, you canhike into the Sahara, which appears enigmatic and almost limitless.

You can then reach the holy city of Rissani, cradle of the Alaouite dynasty. On your way there from Erfoud, stop off at the site of Sijilmassa, the ancient capital of Tafilalet, of which only a few vestiges remain today.

El Jadida Morocco

The coastal city of El Jadida is the capital of the province that bears its name, an hour’s drive from Casablanca, on the shores of theAtlantic Ocean. A few kilometers away, Africa’s largest mineral port, Jorf Lasfar, opens up to international trade. El Jadida is a historic city that has been talked about since the time of the Romans and Carthaginians, and was marked by Portuguese colonization. Orson Welles filmed his famous Othello in the majestic Portuguese cistern.

You too can discover this majestic edifice that inspired the great filmmaker. For a long time, the Portuguese resisted Moroccan assaults on the city. They had to transform the Medina’s weapons room into a cistern to store drinking water for the siege. The volume of the room, illuminated by the opening in the vault and supported by 25 columns reflecting in the transparent water, gives visitors a feeling of freshness.

Visit the town’s many historic monuments and stroll around its fishing and yachting harbour. If you come in July, you can enjoy the spectacle of theMoullay Abdellah Amghar Moussem, celebrated for hundreds of years.

A major event, it’s the largest gathering of fantasia horses and riders in Morocco, attracting huge crowds from all over the country. A not-to-be-missed opportunity to take part in the tradition and authenticity of Moroccan festivities.

A city of culture, El Jadida is also a city of booming tourism, with numerous projects underway. On the shores of themagnificent saplage, numerous hotels await you to offer you moments of relaxation under the Moroccan sun, in the temperate climate brought by the ocean: summers are cool, winters mild.

Al Hoceima city Morocco

Morocco cities and regions travel guide: Al Hoceima is located in the Rif region of northern Morocco, on the shores of the Mediterranean. Its hot, dry summer climate and scenic beauty make it one of the country’s leadingseaside resorts. Numerous islands, such as the tiny Sabaadiya Islands and rocky islets, emergein the Bay of Al Hoceima, which is part of the Nature Park bearingthe town’s name.

This 47,000-hectare park encompasses the Bokkoyas massif and the bay by the sea. The water here is crystal-clear, and the park’s protected status encourages the presence of a rich and diverse underwater fauna. Three species of dolphin make their home here, and the park offers shelter toother species that are no longer found elsewhere, and which you may be lucky enough to see here. Inland, the park is home to a forest rich in both flora and fauna. Pines, clays and cedars stand harmoniously side by side.

The town ofAl Hoceima is therefore a top tourist destination, boasting numerous fine sandy beaches and spectacular mountains tumbling into the sea. Its clean, lined streets converge on the city center, where parks and gardens are very popular. Below is the fishermen’s port, one of the largest in Morocco in terms of number of boats and tonnage of fish brought in from the sea. Excellent fish dishes are available throughout the town at very reasonable prices.

The kindness andhospitality of its inhabitants, the beauty of its now protected landscapes and its proximity to Europe make Al Hoceima an ideal vacation destination. Moroccan handicrafts can also be found in the town’s souks , which are another point of attraction.

In February 2004, a violent earthquake destroyed part of the town, which is now being rebuilt thanks to a vast housing andinfrastructure construction program launched by Morocco.

City of Agadir Morocco

Morocco cities and regions travel guide: The Pearl of the South, or the white city by the sea, is called Agadir. Set in a magnificent bay, the sunniest in the world, Agadir is the capital and port of Morocco’s most fertile region. Market gardens and fruit orchards cover the landscape, making it Morocco’s orchard, the Souss.

Agadir boasts the country’s largest hotel park, with 20 kilometers of well-maintained beaches that delight holidaymakers all year round. A palm-fringed avenue several kilometers long lets you stroll along the seafront in a resolutely European seaside resort atmosphere, where hotels, restaurants and cafés rub shoulders.

An ideal vacation destination, Agadir is also a great place to explore the surrounding area, particularly the Souss Massa National Park. Several worlds mingle between the modern seaside resort and the hinterland: rural souks, solitary mountain hamlets, timeless traditional dwellings, orchards and market gardens.

In February 1960, a major earthquake destroyed much of the town. Agadir was rebuilt within two years according to a modern urbanization plan…and in compliance with anti-earthquake standards. Open to the world, Agadir is an active city, with its own international cultural festival. The population lives from tourism, fishing andindustrial activities such as canning. Agadir is Morocco’s leading fishing port.

The city center is full of sights: the Valley of the Birds, the Kasbah with its magnificent hilltop panorama, the Bert Flint museum of Berber art and the Polizzi Medina, where you’ll find craftsmen selling their specialties.

Merzouga Village Morocco

The village of Merzouga, in south-east Morocco, is famous for its high ochre sand dunes in theErg Chebbi, offering an exceptional view at sunrise and sunset. The red color of the sand plays with the light and shadows to create a grandiose spectacle.

Merzouga is the starting point for camel treks in the desert, which we recommend early in the morning or late in the day. Here you can experience a night under the stars in the desert, where you’ll suddenly discover how brilliant and multicolored the sky can be, far from any pollution in the clean air.

Merzouga is now famous for its unusual sand-bathing cures, which take place in the middle of summer. Sand loaded with crystals and 20% water is said to have therapeutic virtues, according to the many enthusiasts of these cures, which are attracting interest from the media and the scientific community. Doctors supervise their patients, who take a bath during the hottest part of the day. After a few minutes’ immersion, in which they lie under the sand and drink plenty of water under the parasol protecting their heads, they rest in the shade before the next bath, which is repeated the following hour or the next day.

Merzouga is organized to welcome dune tourism, where you’ll meet nomads and their Saharan customs, music and succulent local cuisine.

The Merzouga dunes are an oasis. The dense vegetation in the heart of the dunes will never cease to amaze you, and you may come across species of birds that live only here. There are moments when astonishment meetswonder, and Merzouga is the place to be.

M’hamid village Morocco

M’Hamid is one of the two places in Morocco where the Sahara begins, the other being Merzouga. It is the last of the oases, where theOued Drâa finally sinks beneath the sand to re-emerge on the Atlantic coast 800 km further on. M’Hamid was once a major caravanning center. Its Ksar, whose ruins you can visit, is a reminder of its former splendor. Foum-Rjani, one of the oldest proto-historic necropolises inNorth Africa, is located close to M’Hamid and bears witness to this fact: the town’s origins probably date back to the time when the Sahara was not yet a desert.

From M’Hamid, you can drive 60 km toErg Chigaga, home to Morocco’s largest dunes. You can also embark on a desert trip by camel, 4X4 or quad bike. For a unique desert experience, spend the night in a nomad tent in the dunes7 km away, and marvel at the visible night skywith no air pollution.

Discover the 7 small villages that make up M’Hamid: R’Gabi, Ouled Driss, Bounou, M’Hamid nouveau, M’Hamid ancien and Ouled Mhya. Here, you’ll see Arab, Berber, Jewish and Saharan influences in turn, and feel thehistory of caravans acrossAfrica.

M’hamid, Morocco

Morocco cities and regions travel guide: M’Hamid is remarkable for its location on the border of the Sahara. The tarmac road disappears into the central square, which is considered by the Moroccan kingdom to be a border zone. Entrances and exits on the Sahara side of the town are therefore monitored by the police. The inhabitants of M’Hamid are descendants of nomads. They have retained their knowledge of the desert and dunes, and a great pride in their roots.

A starting point foradventures and dreams, M’Hamid ‘s success is due, to this day, to recommendations and word of mouth. M’Hamid extends a warm welcome to travelers who come here in search of nature andenvironment-friendly tourism off the beaten track.

The city of Marrakech

The city of Marrakech and its tourist attractions

Here we present the city of a thousand and one nights, Marrakech, its tourist attractions and historic monuments. This imperial city, rich in history, is a magical place combining refinement, authenticity and modernity, all fueled by year-round summer weather. Many of the more than 2 million tourists who visit the city every year are drawn by the curiosity of its historic monuments, palaces, gardens, souks and religious sites.

A brief history of Marrakech

Founded in 1071 by Youssef Ibn Tachfin, Marrakech, the imperial city with ten centuries of history, is proud to have given its name to its own country, Morocco. We still hesitate to choose between its two nicknames, the Red City or the Pearl of the South, so let’s keep them both.

Warm and welcoming, Marrakech is home to numerous arts and film festivals. Atmosphere, colors and climate remind us that the desert is just a stone’s throw away, yet vegetation is omnipresent, watered by the waters of the Atlas Mountains, which are covered in snow in winter.

What are the must-see sights in Marrakech?

The city boasts a number of monuments that are not to be missed:

Jemaa-el-Fna Square:

At the end of the day, around 5 p.m., this square becomes a veritable ball of snake charmers, strolling restaurants, tattoo artists, oriental music and more. All your senses will be awakened by the omnipresent hustle and bustle.

The medina and souk:

Visiting Marrakech’s medina is like stepping back in time between 1070 and 1269, when economics and politics were the major center of the Muslim West. Not to mention the Marrakesh souks that criss-cross this old city, home to over 2,600 Moroccan artisans.

The Bahia Palace:

If you’d like to visit a masterpiece of Moroccan architecture classified as one of the major moments of cultural heritage that will transport you to a place of luxury and refinement, take your time to wander around its 8-hectare expanse built for Si Moussa between 1866 and 1867, chamberlain to Sultant Hassan1st of Morocco.

The Majorelle Garden:                                       

A mix of blue and yellow will lead you straight to the villa of painter Jaques Majorelle, surrounded by his botanical garden full of art and movement.

Koutoubia Mosque:                             

This mosque is an opportunity to visit a religious site blending different architectural styles, with its 69m-high minerait visible from Jemaa-el-Fna square.

Dar Si-Saïd Museum:

Morocco cities and regions travel guide: Discover a museum built at the end of the 19th century retracing Moroccan art in many forms, including pottery, fabrics, weapons, carpets, jewelry and woodwork. It’s an enchantment for the eyes.

However, our list of tourist attractions is by no means exhaustive.

A little earlier, you’ll no doubt have taken a stroll or lost yourself, depending on your mood, in the city’s souk. Its mazes and stalls lend themselves to improvisation. Slippers and tinsmiths rub shoulders in the mazes, alleyways and covered streets, creating a surprisingly lively atmosphere.

Why visit Marrakech before other Moroccan cities?

The city of Marrakech is full of surprises, offering you a change of scenery and a wealth of treasures. Whether for a weekend or several days, in a hotel or riad, a visit to this city is an opportunity to discover the very best of Marrakech: a new culture, oriental cuisine with its many sweet and savoury dishes, folkloric dances steeped in the history of different regions, and desert landscapes just as full of flowers.

Between visiting monuments and gardens, strolling through the medina, shopping in the souks, don’t forget to relax in the hammam. And make Marrakech your strategic departure point for excursions to the desert, the High Atlas or the southern beaches of Agadir and Essaouira. Depending on your mood, you won’t regret your choice.

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