Last updated on: Jun 16, 2020
Walking in Morocco is an experience for the senses, and as a lover of architecture, it’s great to actually experience places I’ve read about for years. I just couldn’t get enough of the amazing tile work and the most beautiful doors I’ve ever seen! Here are a few places to add to your itinerary to have unique holidays in Morocco.
For more insights, check out my video on A Taste of Morocco
When taking holidays in Morocco, staying in a riad is a must. Riads are traditional Moroccan houses with interior courtyards, and they can range in size, but most have fewer than 10 bedrooms.
I enjoyed my stay in several incredible riads across Morocco, from the traditional to the modern style. They are often hidden behind plain facades that don’t give a hint of what’s inside, except for perhaps a beautiful front door. How I would love to live in a riad!!
One of the architectural treasures of Morocco is the UNESCO World Heritage site Ait Ben-Haddou, just outside Ouarzazate. This traditional mud-brick city still houses a handful of families and has been the site of tons of films and TV shows from Lawrence of Arabia to Game of Thrones.
It’s a really cool labyrinth-like compound with many alleyways, archways, and of course, many stairs. When visiting one shop, I was completely fascinated while watching the merchant “paint” a traditional work of art by burning the back side of the paper.
Just west of Fes inside Meknes lies this really cool (and I mean literally cool) former granary and horse stable, Heri es-Souani. It’s an experiential place that was exceptionally designed to store grain and house up to 12,000 horses for the king.
When you walk into the massive vaults, you feel immediately refreshed, because the temperature is 2o degrees cooler than outside. This is due to a system of underfloor water channels and an asymmetrical floor plan that encourages cooler temperatures and air flow.
Next to the vaults, are the horse stables, which are also an engineering masterpiece. I stood in awe of the amazing diagonal sight lines and perspectives. It was well worth the visit!
I love the medley of flavors in Moroccan cuisine. I sampled many of the staple foods Morocco is known for, including cherries, olives, dates, figs, and oranges, which are commonly sprinkled with cinnamon (yum!).
I bought some saffron, argan oil (argan nut shown below), which is great for skin but is also used in cooking, and the quintessential ras-el-hanout, a Moroccan spice mix of cardamom, cumin, clove, and many other spices.
Mint tea is a staple in Morocco, and you can find it anywhere, but Berber tea is a specialty from the Atlas Mountains. Berber tea is filled with a variety of ingredients like Moroccan ginseng, chamomile, and anise. I bought some at a shop in Marrakech along with some eucalyptus crystals–something I had never heard of.
The merchant told me to put a tiny amount of eucalyptus crystals in the Berber tea, and after I did so, the whiff from the eucalyptus was so strong, it caused my eyes to water. The taste of the eucalyptus Berber tea was surprisingly very good with the added benefit of clearing my nasal passages. So now, this Berber tea mix has become my new go-to medicinal drink!
My favorite meal in Morocco was during my stay at L’Ma Lodge, a modern guest house with the most stunning grounds nestled among palm groves (shown below). It was such a relaxing oasis and the perfect place for a retreat or group trip.
There, I got another chance to eat my favorite Moroccan dish, chicken with preserved lemon and olives! I also had the freshest salad greens pulled straight from the organic garden where owners Vanessa and Xavier grow a variety of fruits, herbs, and vegetables. This place fully embraces the farm-to-table concept.
As for Morocco, I’ll be back soon. Just to buy argan oil from the source and stay in a riad are good enough reasons to return.
Have you taken holidays in Morocco? How was your experience?