Marrakesh And Tangier: A Different Side Of Morocco

by Sheri @ Purposeful Habits
41 comments

This post may contain referral links, which means I may receive a small credit, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. All opinions remain my own.

Morocco – Vibrant, Busy, And Culturally Unique

A former imperial city in western Morocco is a major economic center and home to mosques, palaces and gardens. It is one of the most diverse countries in Africa. High mountains, souqs, and a rugged coastline. Marrakech is well known for its central square in the heart of the old town, the Jemaa el-Fnaa.

No one visits Marrakech without at least spending some time at the square.  It is also well known for its culture, spices and vibrancy.  We visited Tangier and Marrakesh and the weather was nice and warm during the day but dropped significantly at night.  Average temperature ranges from 14 – 20 degrees centigrade (56 – 68 Fahrenheit).

The Amazing and Beautiful Marrakesh

The main square truly comes to life at night. The restaurant stalls pop-up all over Jemma el-Fnaa.

Many gems can also be found if you decided to shop the souks.

We started out with a camel ride as one of our first activities. Depending on your taste, this city has a lot to offer.

 

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Top 5 Things To See And Do In Marrakesh

 

1. Koutoubia Mosque

This is the largest Mosque in Marrakech. Built in 1184, and named for the Arabic word for book, koutoub. Well known for its tall minaret (tower). The building consists of six rooms, one above the other, connected by a ramp.

A perfect starting point for your adventure in the old town. It sits right in front of the main access avenue to Jemaa el-Fnaa and will help you find your way back to the square.

 

2. Bahia Palace

The palace of Bahia also known as the palace of the beautiful, the brilliant) is a nineteenth-century palace that spreads over eight hectares. One of the masterpieces of Moroccan architecture, and part of the major monuments of the Moroccan cultural heritage. There is a 2-acre (8,000 m²) garden with rooms opening onto courtyards.

 

3. Ben Youssef Madrasa

The Ben Youssef Madrasa is an Islamic college in Marrakesh and in my humble opinion, this is the most beautiful building in Marrakesh. It was founded in the 14th century and once housed as many as 900 students up until 1960 when it was closed.

It has been open to the public since 1982  as a historical site.

 

4. Royal Palace

Although you are not allowed to go inside the palace, it is still interesting to see from the outside. Here you can get great pictures of all of the intricate mosaics and woodworking found in the various walls and ceilings.

There’s no furniture in the rooms, just beautifully detailed craftmanship.

 

5. Le Jardin Secret

The riad-museum Le Jardin Secret is one of the largest and most ancient palaces of the medina of Marrakech.

Le Jardin Secret has been the home of some of Morocco and Marrakech’s most important political figures.
Thanks to the recent renovation, the garden is finally open to the public.

 

Ouzoud Falls In The Atlas Mountains

The Ouzoud Falls, located about 150 km outside Marrakesh is the most visited site of the region near the Atlas Village of Tanaghmeilt. The waterfalls are about 110 meters high.

We enjoyed a great camel ride as one of our first activities in Morocco.

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You can book either a 4×4 or take the tour vans into the Atlas Mountains.

A local guide to lead you for the hike through the mountains and to the bottom of the falls.

 

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We opted for the tour van and completed the hike in about 2 hours.

Although I am not the sporty type, it was worth it to see the beautiful waterfalls.

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You could almost forget you’re in the middle of the desert in Morocco once you see these stunning waterfalls!
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There are so many beautiful and stunning views up here. Morocco is an entirely different world.

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You can even catch a sight of a macaque monkey in its natural habitat or a rainbow over the falls!

 



Booking.com

 

Markets And Food in Marrakesh

The medina is a densely packed, walled medieval city which dates back to the Berber Empire.

Lots of maze-like alleys where thriving souks (marketplaces) sell traditional textiles, pottery and jewelry.

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You can buy lovely ready-made carpets or have one designed to your liking in Morocco.

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Markets offer traditional clothing, bags, shoes, shisha, and so much more.

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When in Morocco, make sure to visit a market, especially Jemaa el-Fna.

It is a square and market place in Marrakesh’s Medina quarter (old city), and the main square of Marrakesh.

Food vendors line Jemaa el-Fna, where storytellers and musicians perform.

 

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The most common food available is beef, which is served in a Tajine with vegetables.

The cities are famous for their mint brew teas. I must have drunk at least 30 of them!

Don’t get caught off guard when someone decides to put a snake around your neck….!

 

 

One of the fun evenings we had in Marrakesh was the Fantasia dinner and cultural show in Marrakesh.

Moroccan dinner, with traditional dancing accompanied by Berber music in a huge tent.

 

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After dinner and dancing, you have a seat in the outdoor arena to be entertained by an amazing folklore show featuring horse riders, dancers, and magicians.

You enjoy the finale of the evening with fire-eaters, acrobats and magicians. plus two performers aboard a magic carpet ‘flying’ through the air. It is spectacular!

 

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Visiting Tangier, Morocco

Located in Northern Morocco, Tangier is separated from Spain by the 30 kilometers of the Strait of Gibraltar. 

Tangier-Ibn Batouta Airport is located  about 12 km (7.5 miles) from the city.

When we arrived in Tangier, I was quite surprised at how small the Airport was.

For some reason, I had envisioned it to be a lot bigger than it was.

Flying in from Barcelona El-Prat Airport to Tangier was a big difference.

We had booked a wonderful and beautiful apartment at the Mnar Castle Hotel Apartments.

This was a fantastic choice! Easy to find, great place, and service was excellent. More about the apartment below.

We were ready to explore the city!

We visited the Tangier American Legation Museum which is a cultural centre, museum, conference centre and library in the heart of the old Medina.

It is also the only US National Historic Landmark on foreign soil.

The five-storey mansion is home to James McBey’s painting of his servant girl, Zohra, who has been called the Moroccan Mona Lisa.

 

 

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Best Three Things About Our Hotel

Mnar Castle Hotel Apartments Tangier

The Apartment Size

The apartment was larger than I expected, with a feel of new and luxury quality.

We were seven people with more than enough space.

The apartment is also well furnished, and well equipped with everything you would need.

Excellent for families.

 

 

The View

Although the apartment had a great balcony to look out unto the water.

The rooftop offers an amazing view of the Mediterranean.

 

Staff

The staff here was great! Quick to respond to your every need and wish.

I would definitely say here again if I returned to Tangier.


Best Three Things About Our Hotel

Hotel Du Golf Marrakesh

The Room

The room was huge, great balcony, and a bed that could sleep three or four people! The Hotel Du Golf is amazing!

 

Entertainment

There was a Christmas Party going on at the hotel, lots of decorations, many people.

If you are into drinking, dancing, music, this is a fun place to be.

 

Staff Friendliness

Staff booked us into the hotel with no prior reservation though we arrived after midnight.

The hotel we had originally booked messed up our reservation, but it turned out to be for the better.

Five Interesting Facts About Morocco

*The Arabic name for Morocco, al-Magrib al-Aqsa, means “the extreme west” and attests to Morocco’s place as the westernmost country in the Arab world.

*Mohamed VI has been King of Morocco since July 23, 1999, upon the death of his father King Hassan II.

*Any Moroccan man or woman who is sherfa (believed to be descended from the Prophet Muhammad) is given the title Lalla, Sidi, or Moulay.

*Morocco is the only African country that is not a member of the African Union.

*Morocco was the first nation to sign a treaty with the United States in 1786.

 

Have you been to Morocco? Feel like heading there after reading this post?

Share with me your thoughts on visiting Morocco in the comments section below.

Also, keep this for later or share with friends by pinning this post.

 

41 comments

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41 comments

Helen Costello December 27, 2017 - 16:08

Whoa that waterfall is just incredible – I would love to visit. The markets don’t really appeal to me and definitely not the snakes!! Brilliant photos.

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Michelle Twin Mum December 27, 2017 - 15:58

I’ve never been to Morocco but I’d definitely be up for a trip. It looks as if you had some wonderful contrasts between the two destinations. I’d love to see those waterfalls and to haggle at the street markets. Mich x

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Familyearthtrek October 5, 2017 - 22:07

This is a sign that we should go to Morocco this january. We are leaving a for a long term travel next mai but my husband said that we should already leave in january and drive down to Morocco and hide the winter for a couple of month. I was not sure about Morocco but your post kind of conviced me! Especially with that gorgeous waterfalls! We wouldnt have afford to stay on that fancy hotel to be honest because we will be traveling for very long….perhaps a night!

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Namrata October 5, 2017 - 17:09

I have always loved the Moroccon decor, colorful handicrafts and interiors. Really enjoyed reading your blog. Thanks.

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Rituals Body Scrubs Review July 21, 2017 - 13:46

[…] The scrub contains warming ginger and fresh eucalyptus which left me with the Hammam Bath feeling I had experienced on our holiday to Morocco. […]

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Sam May 19, 2017 - 15:47

Absolutely gorgeous! My Aunt was born in Morocco but I have never seen up close and personal pictures like yours. What a wonderful adventure. So glad that I can share in the pictures. It builds my courage to travel to new places 🙂

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Shane November 4, 2016 - 13:24

Morocco is tippy top on my list of destinations! The food, the culture, the colors, and the people. I think it would be an amazing experience all around.

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EG III October 31, 2016 - 17:29

Morocco is EXTREMELY high on my list of places to visit next and I’m hoping to make that trip a reality in 2017. I would love to do that hike to the waterfall that you guys took…and I wouldn’t mind waking up with that ocean view of Mnar Castle either!

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CourtneyLynne October 23, 2016 - 21:27

Omg what fabulous photos!!!! I would love to visit Morocco one day!!! Hopefully my travels take me there

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Valerie CottageMakingMommy October 21, 2016 - 10:20

I think Morocco would be so fun to visit. I briefly dated a guy from Morocco years ago and we had fun. I love the food.

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RunningInHeels October 21, 2016 - 09:51

WOW, your trip looks incredible! That camel is cute I onder how he was hiking! Those markets are so colorful too!

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seasaltsecrets October 21, 2016 - 09:10

Morocco is so high on my list of destinations! The vibrant color and culture would be magical to experience.

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pellerini October 19, 2016 - 19:18

Your photos are beautiful. I felt like I was right there with you!

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Homemade Experience October 18, 2016 - 22:57

My goodness, this looks truly amazing. I’ve never thought of traveling to Morocco, but now, it’s on the list.

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tiarasandsequins October 18, 2016 - 22:19

omgosh what a beautiful place! Your photos are awesome and your room was gorgeous!

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Amer Phils October 18, 2016 - 13:59

I just saved this post. I am sooooo jealous! I love Morocco! It’s so exotic and the food is amazing. Good job! Beautiful pictures.

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Sheri @ A Busy Bees Life October 18, 2016 - 16:45

Thank you so much Amer! We had so much fun there 🙂

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MyYellowApron October 18, 2016 - 13:35

You are so lucky!! You get to see all the places, I crave to see. I have a friend from Morocco who makes outstanding lamb tagines and got me the tagine pot from there and since then, I always wanted to see this beautiful place. Did you buy any crafts from there?

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caseyp1110 October 18, 2016 - 12:29

Your images are beautiful and make me want to book a flight! Looks like you guys had a blast!

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Blair Villanueva October 18, 2016 - 09:57

Oh my just few days ago, my favorite actress Dianna Agron just got married at Marrakesh, it was beautiful and also the place that was so colorful and solemn.

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Nicole Osburn October 18, 2016 - 04:02

Your hotel looks so fabulous! I looked up the rates wow what an amazing hotel for a really great deal! I love that you got to go on a camel ride that seems like so much fun! Another place I will have to add to my list of places I want to travel 🙂

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Sheri @ A Busy Bees Life October 18, 2016 - 04:26

It was fantastic Nicole, and you are right, the price was great for the rooms and services that were provided. If you ever go to Morocco, let me know and I can give you more tips that were not listed in the post.

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carefreespiritfairy October 17, 2016 - 21:46

Oh wow! I love Morocco. You are so lucky! I badly want to go

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Jojo June 4, 2016 - 22:41

I like those facts. I am always interested in the meaning behind words and names.

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mommykach May 4, 2016 - 22:11

Haven’t been there but if I have the luxury of money and time to travel, I’d love to visit! I’m always in awe of such wonders of nature, imagine seeing a fall in the middle of the desert? You are fortunate to be able to see this side of Morocco and thank you for sharing them with us 🙂

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Nina Sogue May 4, 2016 - 01:51

The apartment view was amazing! And the rest of your photos are amazing too, especially the falls! I’ve always wanted to travel to experience culture of other places. I hope someday I’ll be able to 🙂

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Georgia May 3, 2016 - 16:33

Brilliant post! And it’s great to see a little more to Morroco then you usually see in holiday brochures!! I love the Ouzoud Falls, what an incredible place and like you said it would be easy to forgot you’re in the desert! Incredible photos!! Morroco is on my list of places to visit. I’ve never been to Northern Africa but it has always interested me!

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Sheri - A Busy Bees Life May 3, 2016 - 20:10

Oh Georgia, thank you for the feedback. I try my best to bring the experience to my readers through my eyes the way I saw Morocco, and as you said, a completely different perspective to what the holiday brochures show. I hope you will come have a look at some of my other destinations. I wonder why my next trip will be. I hope you make it over to Northern Africa soon. If it turns out to be Morocco, you will absolutely LOVE the Ouzoud Falls. I guarantee it!

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Johna May 3, 2016 - 14:33

Been wanting to go here for so long! Looks so amazinggg. And I also love your photos. Please blog more about Morocco!!!

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Sheri - A Busy Bees Life May 3, 2016 - 20:08

Hi Johna, I am glad you enjoyed the post. I might take your suggestion and write some more. There is so much there to see and do that it is hard to capture it all into a post, but I might add some more information and pictures as I go along, and expand then update the post.

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Himanshi Singh May 3, 2016 - 14:29

I have beautiful memories of Morocco from a Bollywood movie. i would love to visit in real too. especially Atlas mountains.

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SofarsoSabine May 3, 2016 - 13:34

Yesterday night I was watching an episode called “Air” about food and the elements on Netflix. They showed how they make bread in Morocco and which traditions they still have to do so. Morocco is on my wish list!

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Dorothy Mae C. Torretijo May 3, 2016 - 05:30

Wow!! All your photos are beautiful! Hope you enjoyed your trip in Morocco, xoxo

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perri May 2, 2016 - 22:02

Wow your pictures of your hotel make me want to buy a ticket tonight! Seriously beautiful!

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Sheri - A Busy Bees Life May 3, 2016 - 10:07

Hi Perri, It is gorgeous there, if you go over, let me know – I can help you with information not included in this post.

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Alison May 2, 2016 - 16:48

I have never been to Morocco but I really want to go now! The pictures are so amazing! I had no idea they had waterfalls like that. They are beautiful! The hotel apartment you stayed at was incredible. I love the fact that you can stay with your whole family in one room – probably even on that huge bed! The only problem would be that snake around my neck! AAGH! Not cool. 🙂

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ROBERT LEE May 2, 2016 - 13:10

I took my sweet time reading and really looking at the photos, simply absorbing the scenery and culture that I find exotic. One thing that really surprised me, WHY WOULD ANYONE PUT A SNAKE ON YOUR NECK???

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Sheri - A Busy Bees Life May 3, 2016 - 10:14

Thank you Robert! You know what? These guys just come up to you at the main square, put a snake around your neck, not asking if you are afraid of snakes or not, then ask you to take a picture with them in exchange for money! I was so glad it was my husband who got the snake around his neck and not me. I do not know what I would have done at that point. Either screamed and run, or stand there completely frozen!

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Aika May 2, 2016 - 12:10

A camel ride would be the most memorable for me if i am on your shoes. I only see those edifice and sites on movies. The hotel looks luxurious. You are so lucky to have visited Morocco.

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emy imane March 15, 2016 - 19:29

i’m glad to visit my country , yes i’m moroccan blogger . and by the way there are more things you didn’t see so i hope you come to morocco again and see the other things

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Sheri - A Busy Bees Life March 15, 2016 - 20:55

I love Morocco and will definitely be visiting again! 🙂

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