Morocco This North African country is a firm favourite of ours. We've been for long weekends with friends, villa holidays with all the family, hotel breaks by the coast and we've even been on a three-month campervan road trip and explored some of the more remote corners of this amazing country.
From the Atlas mountains to the Saharan Desert, imperial cities to breathtaking beaches Morocco really does having something for everyone. The warmth of Moroccan hospitality is evident in the tiniest guest houses right through to some sumptuous top-end accommodation options and with so many different activities on offer it's the perfect place to tailor a break that can keep everyone happy.
Children and adults alike will be spoilt for choice with trekking, kitesurfing, shopping, cooking classes, quad biking to name but a few of the activities available and if it all gets too much you can hit the spa or hammam for a world renowned bit of pampering.
The most popular towns and resorts offer a range of different cuisines and Moroccan restaurants tend to serve delicious home cooked meals. Breakfasts are always a huge hit with our family and usually include freshly squeezed orange juice, pancakes, just baked bread and homemade jams often served on a roof terrace!
Travel to and in Morocco Flying direct to Morocco from the UK takes between around 3 to 4 hours. There are 5 main airports served directly from the UK and a scattering of local airports across the country which are served mostly by Royal Air Maroc.
Once you are in Morocco there is a limited train network in the north of the country and the rest of the country is easy and cheap to travel around by buses, shared taxis, private taxis or hire car. Driving is relatively easy with a good road network between all the major towns. Be aware though that Morocco doesn't have a great road safety record and driving in big towns is sometimes a bit hair raising!
Most popular airports: Casablanca, Rabat, Fes, Marrakesh (probably the most popular for tourists), Agadir, and Essaouira (not always direct flights from the UK). Go to How to Book a Flight for loads of flight booking tips and tools.
By land & sea: We've driven to Morocco from the UK in our campervan and it's a bit of a mission but to see the landscape change as you get closer to the desert is incredible and there are lots of great places to see along the way. We got a ferry from the UK to northern Spain and then drove straight across Spain to Tarifa on the southern coast. There are a number of different ferry options along the South coast to various Moroccan ports, we used FRS and would recommend them again. This blog tells you about all the different options and additional information such as parking and immigration procedures. And if you really want to take the Marrakesh Express check out your train options here.
Riad El Yacout, Fez
What is a Riad? A Riad is a traditional Moroccan house built around a central courtyard and to be precise it is supposed to have a fountain and four planters around the yard. They are usually family run and typically have between 5 to 10 bedrooms, often of differing layouts, and offer a unique and good value accommodation experience. Usually rooms are booked on an individual basis but a whole riad can make a great place to stay for a group and can often be booked exclusively for a discount.
Hospitality in Morocco is second to none and a Riad is the perfect place to experience it. Almost all offer a great breakfast which will keep everyone full long passed lunchtime and those with restaurants serve delicious traditional food. So step away from the hustle and bustle of the busy medina and relax, usually on a rooftop terrace or airy courtyard, with a chilled beer or freshly squeezed orange juice.
Riads can be found all over Morocco but are most popular in the imperial cities such as Fez, Marrakech and Essaouira. Many Riads are old historical buildings which ooze history. Most have been lovingly restored with incredible tiling and wood carvings.
Accommodation There is huge range of accommodation in Morocco from basic hostels to the most luxurious hotels. Most towns and cities have a range of guest houses and hotels and there are a surprising number of campsites across the country. We love staying in a riad (see below) as it gives you a real taste of Morocco and offers great value for money.
A few recommendations: Fez Riad Laaroussa - tranquil, airy, peaceful with impeccable service and spa treatments to die for Riad Rcif - beautiful restored palace with great food and a roof terrace that watches over the city. Riad El Yacout - absolutely stunning central courtyard, great location and beautiful rooms - no wonder U2 chose it to film their Magnificent video there.
Essaouira Ryad Watier - warm and hospitable riad in the middle of the Medina with beautiful rooms and tortoises living in the library! Riad Nakhla - friendly little riad with simple rooms and a great breakfast. Be warned that the mosque is next door and the dawn call to prayer is loud! Les Jardins D'argane- 15 minutes from the centre of Essaouira this luxurious property offers a pool and peaceful gardens to relax in. Rooms can be rented individually or the whole place exclusively for large groups. Chez Darma - the beautiful riad sleeps 14 guests over 3 floors and has wonderful roof terraces with views across the town. Every bedroom is en suite and there is plenty of space to relax.
Marrakech Dar Kandi - pricey but worth every Dirham! Stunning rooms, impeccable service and a fabulous roof terrace with a pool all just a 15 minute walk from Djerba El Fna. Riad 117 - centrally located with simple, tranquil rooms and friendly service. A delicious breakfast is included in the (very reasonable) price.
Meknes Riad Yacout - friendly, comfortable and a stone's throw from the main square.
Taghazout Sol House - right on the beach with a lovely pool, bar and restaurant this hip hotel is a great place to stay. The houses are perfect for families with plenty of space and privacy.
World of Waves - perfectly located with a chilled-out vibe this guesthouse and restaurant is a great place to hang out.
Mhamid Relais Hamada Du Draa - a lovely campsite with guest rooms set in lush gardens on the edge of the desert. There's a swimming pool and bar, and desert adventures can be arranged with the friendly staff.
Morocco Facts Capital city: Rabat Area: 446,550 Sq km Population: 36.3 million Currency: Dirhams (MAD) Official Language(s): Moroccan Arabic (Darija), Berber & French Tourist Board: Morocco FCO travel Advice:Morocco Random Fact: Traditionally the liver, not heart, is the symbol of love in Morocco.