Morocco Holidays Guide - Morocco Cheap Flights
MoroccoHolidays & Cheap Flights Guide. Browse travel information on Morocco
Morocco Holidays, Morocco Holiday Packages Overview
Morocco is just a step away from Europe, across the narrow straits of Gibraltar, but it is a world away in culture and experience, brimming over with contrasts, colour and mystery. This is due partly to its geographical position, sited at the crossroads where the East meets the West, Africa shakes hands with Europe, and the Mediterranean merges with the Atlantic.
Sitting at the top northwest corner of Africa and sharing two oceans, the country's main appeal for visitors has always been its Mediterranean climate, the quality of its crafts and its exotic nature. However in more recent years travellers are discovering other hidden delights and adventures, particularly in the northern and central parts of Morocco in the Rif and High Atlas Mountains, where it is even possible to enjoy a skiing holiday. Then, down south, some are drawn to explore the sands of the Western Sahara, on camelback, horseback or 4X4.
Whether you visit Morocco for the sunshine, or to trek through the mountains or the hot desert sands, it is a sure bet you will also be enchanted by the timeless Medieval medinas of the cities, particularly in Fez and Marrakech, where the souks and squares plunge visitors into a fascinating foreign world. Snake charmers weave their magic; the stench of the tanners' yards pervades the air; and the call of the muezzins wafts from the ancient minarets. The overall memory will be one of sweetened mint tea, brightly coloured slippered feet and big smiles.
Although most of its suburban enclaves are ultra-modern, Morocco has more than its share of ancient monuments and magnificent buildings, reflecting a turbulent history shaped by its strategic location. Since the days of the Phoenicians, Morocco has attracted foreign interest, from the Romans, Vandals, Visigoths and ancient Greeks until the coming of the Arabs in the 7th century, who brought Islam and the Alaouite Dynasty. European powers have had their day, too, trying to control this northern tip of Africa. France and Spain battled for control, until nationalism triumphed and the Kingdom of Morocco gained independence in 1956 (except for the two small enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla in the north which are still controlled by Spain). This rich past, coupled with a timeless present, makes Morocco a magical mystery tour of surprises and enchantment for thousands of visitors every year.
Morocco Regions, Provinces & Travel Destinations
Traversing the alleyways and souks of Marrakech, particularly in the Medina (Old City), it is easy to believe you have been transported back in time or stumbled onto a movie set for a medieval 'Arabian nights' production. It is this enchanting fairy tale quality that brings thousands of sightseers to the most visited of Morocco's three Imperial Cities. The heart of the Medina is Djemaa el-Fna, an irregular 'square' where everything seems to happen and the place to which tourists are drawn again and again to soak up the carnival-like environment. Tourism, though, has not spoilt the atmosphere, but seemingly rather added to it. The modern side of Marrakech with its luxury hotels, banks and streets bursting with motor scooters, blends well with the past in a metropolis made up of the peoples of the Berber Atlas tribes, Mahgrebis from the plains, and Saharan nomads.
Fez is the cultural and spiritual centre of Morocco, oldest of the three imperial cities, founded in 790 BC by Moulay Idriss II. The main attraction in this ancient city is the medieval Medina, the old part of the city, which has been continuously inhabited since the 10th century and still bustles with a bewildering throng of colourfully costumed tribal people, from olive-dealers and veiled women on their way to the baths, to industrious merchants and traditional bell-ringing water-sellers. The Medina of Fez is the most complete medieval city still in existence, it's preservation having been instigated under French occupation, and it forms a working model of the way life was lived when the world was still young. The more modern part of the city is known as Ville Nouvelle, and has a decidedly French influence.
Morocco's capital, Rabat, is a modern city with wide boulevards, gardens and light, white buildings, for the most part a far cry from the hectic warrens of the other Imperial cities of Marrakech and Fez, but no less steeped in history with its origins going back to the 7th century. The King of Morocco lives here in his palace amid trees and flowers. Being an administrative capital the city is somewhat conservative and serious, but there is some local colour to be found in the old part of the city, the Medina, and the Kasbah. Recreational opportunities abound too, with a world-renowned golf course (the Dar Es Salaam Course) and a few lovely beaches at hand. Rabat sits on the Atlantic coastal plain at the mouth of the river Bou Regreg, opposite to its twin city of Sale.
For decades, between 1920 and the late 1950's, Tangier was a playground for adventure seekers and the rich and famous, attracting all those seeking a tax haven or a mystic destination; from authors to artists, and spies to aristocrats. Regular visitors included the likes of Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams, and Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton. When Spain relinquished Tangier back to Morocco in 1960 its duty-free status went with it, and the city lost a great deal of its flair. Tourism is slowly increasing once more, though; visitors succumbing to the city's proximity to Europe are discovering that its decayed grandeur still has much to offer, from its palm-treed promenade and sandy beach to the old town section, and the outlying villages and resorts. Seasoned Moroccan visitors, however, warn that it is best not to take on Tangier until you are acclimatised to the rest of the country, and to be vigilant as regards safety after dark. Despite it's fall from glory, a stylish café society has once again begun to build up in modern day Tangier's boulevards, and the merchants in the medina (old city) are doing a good trade with tourists exploring the maze of narrow streets, all within sight of the Spanish coast across the straits of Gibraltar. An essential part of a visit to Tangier is to promenade along the beach, which extends along a curve for several kilometres.
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