Just nine miles of water separate Spain from Morocco and yet our neighboring country is a great unknown. And even knowing it, it is difficult to define Morocco, its 710,850. km2 give rise to a great diversity of landscapes and people , which makes it constantly surprising and difficult to get used to. Crossing Morocco by car implies facing stony tracks 2000 meters up, sand tracks at sea level, and virgin trackless sand in the desert.
Through rooted in its traditions, Morocco offers all the conveniences of modern times.
Morocco is a firmly future-focused country that has succeeded in preserving its traditions and promoting its cultural heritage by harnessing them to drive development. The city of Marrakesh is a perfect example: the Medina district and its souks have an unmatched old-fashioned charm, while Guéliz and Hivernage are decked out with the most modern infrastructure and facilities. Far from being in conflict, modernity and tradition together are what makes Morocco strong.
As a visitor, you will enjoy every modern convenience and pleasure. For your accommodations, Morocco is full of hotels in every price range from the major international chains. Plus it also has the biggest international ready-to-wear shops, which are taking advantage of the ideal opportunity for positioning in a fast developing country.
Morocco is striving to avoid the pitfalls of modern life, especially when it comes to the environment, by favoring tourism practices that are respectful of the Earth and local communities. As the author of a sustainable tourism charter and host of COP22, Morocco is on the front lines to preserve our planet.
Morocco has been around for thousands of years and has inherited centuries of tradition.
And yet this kingdom is not the least bit frozen in time. It has a vibrant culture that is expressed each day in the little details that make up daily routines and habits, as well as in celebrations and rituals. Spend some time here and soak up Morocco’s irresistible lifestyle.
The best approach is to walk through her cities and villages and experience the narrow alleys of ancient neighborhoods. This brings you close to the people: talk to them! They are certain to invite you to have a cup of Moroccan tea, a time-honored ritual of hospitality and ceremony.
You should also experience day-to-day life. Morocco and its inhabitants espouse an enviable Mediterranean lifestyle that has been recognized by UNESCO. This lifestyle comprises practices, foods and symbols that bring pleasure to every day and are sure to captivate you as well.
The kingdom loves its celebrations, which punctuate the calendar. One of the types of events that bring Moroccans together are its famous moussems, festive religious events. Do not miss the Tan-Tan moussem, which is especially well known and has been listed on the Intangible Cultural Heritage register since 2008. The Essaouira Gnaouas festival is also highly recommended. These gatherings are opportunities for you to interact with and immerse yourself in the different cultures that make Morocco such a rich, diverse country.
This is but a glimpse of the myriad cultures that still thrive in Morocco. Work your way across the country and get to know these treasures of Morocco’s intangible cultural heritage.
Its location at the intersection of Europe and Africa make Morocco a real crossroads bordered by the waters of the Mediterranean and open to the vast stretches of the Atlantic Ocean.
This “farthest land of the setting sun” is rich in contrasts, a destination that beckons you to discover two millennia of history.
Here where influences converge, you will find vestiges of the great Mediterranean civilizations, such as the Roman ruins at Volubilis in the north and architectural works attesting to the old French presence in Rabat. Your curiosity will be piqued by the treasures of Muslim civilizations scattered throughout the rest of the country, including the Kasbah of the Udayas, the green expanses of the Menara gardens and many other examples of the myriad dynasties that succeeded one another.
The landscapes themselves are magnificent. Morocco features both sea and mountain and is home to the full range of Mediterranean climates, which surrender to the sands of the Sahara. The country serves up marvelous vistas that you will enjoy soaking in and discovering for yourself. With its mix of diverse, captivating panoramas and a rich kaleidoscope of culture, Morocco is an unbeatable destination.
With two seaboards, both Atlantic and Mediterranean, Morocco has more than 3,500 km of coastline leading to all kinds of beaches, golden sand, steep cliffs, dunes, argan forests…
The mountain ranges
The country hinges on its mountain ranges resulting in different valleys and landscapes. The Rif follows the Mediterranean coast and its foothills reach the sea.
The Atlas, in the center of the country, is the highest mountain range in Northern Africa; Toubkal peak stands out at 4.165 meters. Some of the Atlas Mountains are covered in perpetual snows, and reach almost down to the gates of the desert.
This mountain range marks the difference between the Atlantic and Saharan part. The northern slopes are heavily wooded with vegetation more reminiscent of northern Europe: cedars, oaks, thujas, junipers… and is renowned for its beautiful waterfalls. The southern side is populated by steppe vegetation, and has spectacular rock formations. At the foot of the Anti Atlas, almost reaching the sea, are the famous argan forests.
Rivers and valleys
Morocco is a country rich in water; rivers have opened huge gorges such as the one at Tafilalet that water fertile plains, especially in the middle of the country. Also renowned are the wadis (seasonal rivers) as at Tensif, creating ever changing landscapes.
Also meriting a mention is the Souss-Massa National Park (Reserve of the Biosphere) , a universe of water and life immersed in a desert area that is a nature reserve for species such as the pink flamingo.
Deserts and oasis
The desert is undoubtedly the most spectacular scenery that Morocco can offer. Erg Chebbi is a prelude to the Sahara, but easily enough to take your breath away, only to recover it in one of its mythical oasis.
Morocco is an amazing country, and although the dynamics of the raid don’t leave too much time for leisure, we invite you to take advantage of every opportunity, every minute to enjoy this country where everything is so much more intense: from the way the people speak, to the aromas and flavors. Don’t miss a thing.
The scenery is not the only thing that changes throughout the country, the climate changes, the people and also the language change. In Morocco formal Arabic, Moroccan Arabic, French, and Berber coexist. But even if you know none of these languages , don’t worry, as in tourist areas you will most probably be able to get on with the locals in Spanish, English, Portuguese, Italian or even Catalan.
It is almost impossible to resist the art of haggling and shopping in Morocco. Leather, wool, carpets, brocaded fabrics, silver, copper, filigree jewelry, stone or wood carvings, slippers, pottery, spices… There are so many excuses to take a bit of Morocco back home.
In Morocco you often start and end the day with a delicious mint tea in your hands, especially as it is a symbol of hospitality and these are very hospitable people. But in between teas it is well worth enjoying all the delights of Moroccan cuisine: cous-cous (a semolina dish served with vegetables and lamb), tajine, named after the clay pot in which it is cooked comes in an almost infinite variety; with vegetables, meat, plums, quinces… Mechui (slowly roasted lamb), Pastilla (a pigeon-stuffed pastry). Soups, such as Harira. Chicken, beef or lamb skewers… but always remember to leave a space for dessert…
Morocco offers up a vast variety of landscapes, ranging from beaches to mountains to desert to urban jungle.
It is also a country where this diversity is matched by a real commitment to environmental principles.
Since the creation of the Moroccan Responsible Tourism Charter and the Moroccan Sustainable Tourism Awards, the country has been committed to ensuring its tourism industry is eco-friendly and sustainable with a series of standards. Each year, a growing number of businesses and tourist destinations in the country are recognized for their environmental responsibility.
To date, 13 Moroccan beaches have been awarded the Pavillon Bleu distinction. There are also many hotel and lodging facilities throughout the country that have earned the Green Key. All these eco-labels aim to highlight the environmental efforts of their owners.
When it comes to Energy, Morocco is also a stand-out with its high-profile Noor Power Station, the world’s seventh thermodynamic solar power plant. This is a major public works project—though it is first and foremost Moroccan, it is also a world effort in terms of expanding the use of renewable energy.
All these environmentally conscious efforts earned the city of Marrakesh the privilege of being chosen to host COP 22 in November 2016, another major challenge for the planet’s environment.