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Morocco in July – The Best Things to See and Do

Morocco has great weather all-year-round, but in July, this country experiences plenty of heat. While hot weather may not be for everyone, July in Morocco offers plenty of activities, unique desert experiences, and cultural charm. Here’s what to see and do in Morocco if you’re visiting during July.

Larache

Escape the big city crowds by lounging around this coastal town. The ocean breeze will help you cool off as you wander around the city and check out the medina. Pop into the art galleries to escape the July heat, and marvel at the beautiful works of architecture as they shade you from the sun.

Sunset over the ocean in Morocco

Spend The Night in The Sahara Desert

While the hot desert may be the last place you want to visit in July, it actually is a top choice, especially at night. When the sun goes down, the weather becomes so cool that you may need a jacket to keep warm. If you can handle the heat during the day, take a camel ride or a tour. At night, stay in a luxury camping tent and enjoy mint tea, authentic food, and local entertainment.

Camping in the Sahara

Lounge on Saidia Beach

When it’s hot in Morocco, it’s best to head to the beach. There are quite a few but Saidia is one of the prettiest. It can be found along the Mediterranean coast and comes alive during the summertime. Grab a beach umbrella, a cold drink, and give yourself plenty of time to play in the ocean waves.

Visit The Waterfalls

Morocco is home to quite a few refreshing waterfalls. Just standing close to the spray is enough to cool you off from the summer heat. The top falls to visit are Ouzoud Falls, which stands at 100 meters high. There’s also Ourika Valley, Paradise Valley, Akchour Waterfalls, and Oum Rabia Waterfalls. If you’re feeling especially brave, take a dip to beat the heat.

International Cultural Festival

Asilah, a town along Morocco’s coast, is a haven for artists and creatives, and is the location of the International Cultural Festival. The walled city is full of murals, and draws in artists from all around the world. During this two-week event, the artists turn public spaces into creative works that can be enjoyed by everyone.

Artist on the street

Timitar Music Festival

This festival takes place on the Atlantic coast city of Agadir. It’s one of the largest music festivals in the country, and stretches over the course of four days. That’s four full days of music and culture that you’ll share with over 800,000 other people.

Alegria Festival

Depending on the year, this festival can fall during the month of July. It takes place in Chefchaouen, a town famous for its bright, blue buildings. The festival celebrates cultural expression, art, and music amongst a beautiful setting. Various cultures from Africa, southern Mediterranean, and Latin America come together to share their stories, music, and artwork.

Chefchaouen

Morocco in July is hot but it’s worth a visit because the country is buzzing with activity. It’s a popular time for tourists and interesting festivals. Find a few ways to keep cool and brave the heat to experience this great country in the summer.

 

Here Are the Best Things to Do in Marrakech (37 of them!)

Colourful hanging carpets, whiffs of spice as you walk through the souk (market), and camels elegantly crossing sand dunes is what comes to mind when you think of Morocco.

But that would be just another touristy day that anyone can do. We want you to taste Morocco for what it really is, in its detail. That’s why we’re handing you on a silver plate the best things to do in one of its most culture-intense cities, Marrakech.

1. Medina

The first thing you have to do in Marrakech is put on your comfortable shoes and head to the Medina. Walk under the archways and through its alleys, and absorb the life around you. Take in the browns of the stone the city was built with, the sound of locals talking to each other, the aromas splurging out of the food stalls…

A word of warning though: keep an eye out for cars and horse carts, they’re everywhere!

2. Djemaa El-Fna

Follow the old city walls of the Medina to get to the main square, Djemaa El-Fna. If you’re there during the day, try a fresh orange or grapefruit juice from one of the carts.

At night, as the temperature cools down, people start sprouting out from everywhere and the square fires into a vivid atmosphere.

Sit at one of the shared tables and eat a Harira, a pea, lamb and pasta soup. This is the same soup Moroccans eat for breakfast to break their fast and celebrate the end of Ramadan.

oranges

3. Hat for the Heat

If the heat starts getting to you, look for women selling straw hats. You’ll bless the few dollars you pay for it as it blocks the direct sunlight from your head. Is is important to dress appropriately when visiting Morocco to ensure that you feel comfortable.

4. Saadian Tombs

These tombs were discovered in 1917 and subsequently restored, but date back to the same era of Ahmad al-Mansur.

When visiting, admire cedar wood, stuccowork and Carrara marble decorating the tombs of about sixty members of the Saadi Dynasty, who came from the valley of the Draa River.

There are three rooms to go through with twelve columns, but what’s interesting is just outside is a garden with the graves of various soldiers and servants.

5. Marrakech Museum

This classical Andalusian-style house, Dar Menebhi Palace, was renovated and converted into a museum in 1997. Walk around the fountains in the central courtyard, admire the mosaics, carvings and tile work around you, then head towards the exhibits – pottery, coins, historical books – from every period of Moroccan history, Islamic, Berber and Moroccan.

6. Souks

Once your belly is nice and full and your head covered, head to one of the endless labyrinths that surround Djemaa El-Fna. You’ll find countless souks where you can buy leather, spices beautifully decorated in huge colourful cones, the local shoes – babouches. But probably the most hypnotising thing to do in a souk is walk into a carpet house. Be ready to have various carpets flung open in front of you, until you fall in love with one.

babouches

7. Barter

Of course, once you decide to buy any item in the souk, you’ll need to barter. Here are a couple of hints:

• Start by greeting the shop owners when you walk in: ‘Salam alek um’, to which they’ll reply ‘Alek um salam’. A little friendliness never hurt negotiations.
• Remember, it’s always a 3-step process. They’ll give you a price, you give them another, and it’ll always be somewhere in between the two. Keep that in mind when shooting your price – don’t say what you’d really pay, but a little under.

8. Walking Tours

There’s no better way to get to know a place than to walk around it. You have the time to look around, hear what’s around, and smell what’s around. It’s a fully sensual experience that you can take up on your own. However, in places as rich in culture and history as Marrakech, a walking tour with a local guide will dive you into much deeper layers than you’d imagine.

9. The Mellah

Also known as the Jewish quarter, the Mellah isn’t a souk but is probably the best place in the Medina to buy fabric.

10. Have Tailormade Clothes Made

Find a tailor, tell them what you’d like made, be advised on how much fabric you need, then go to buy it in the souk. Doing this will save you from the fabric seller overselling unneeded lengths.

A jilab with a touch of your own style is a great idea for a souvenir to take back home.

11. Visit a Riad and Have a Mint Tea

When you feel like a break, stop at one of the old aristocratic houses usually turned into a boutique hotel, a Riad. Ask for a mint tea and enjoy watching the ritual of the tea, as the waiter pours it three times until it reaches the perfect foam on top.

mint tea

12. Rue Bab Agnao

For a calmer atmosphere, head on a 5-minute walk to the entrance of the Kasbah district, the Rue Bab Agnao, which is the most impressive of the Medina’s entrances, with less hustle and bustle and better-kept streets.

Once there, visit the Royal Palace, the former El-Badi Palace, and the Saadian Tombs.

13. El Badi Palace

Built in 1578 by the Arab Sultan, Ahmad al-Mansur, from the money of a substantial ransom paid after the Battle of the Three Kings by the Portuguese, this now-ruined palace has turned into a must-see for anyone visiting Marrakech. Make sure you get there before 4pm to have time to enjoy it before closing time at 5pm.

14. Jardin Majorelle

Created in the 1920s and 30s by the French expatriate Jacque Majorelle, this 12-acre botanical garden sprinkled with brightly painted walls and plant holders also houses the Islamic Art Museum, the archaeological museum of Marrakech.

15. Bahia Palace

When Si Moussa, the grand vizier of the sultan built this palace at the end of the 19th century, he meant it to be the greatest palace of its time. Named after one of his wives in the harem, the rooms intended for the concubines surround the central basin.

16. Boucharouite Museum

This museum holds interesting Berber boucharouites, rugs made out of rugs, and a gallery with Moroccan popular art including painted doors. If you feel like eating something light, head upstairs to the terrace.

17. Koutoubia Mosque and Minaret

This mosque and minaret have welcomed visitors of Marrakech with their overpowering height for close to a thousand years. The name comes from the Arabic ‘bookseller’, which is interesting because it dates to the 1200s when books were still unknown in the Christian world.

morocco

18. Cyber Park, Arsat Moulay Abdeslam

Good place to just sit in the shade to have a break from all the sightseeing and enjoy some free wifi.

19. Dar Si Said

A beautiful museum that oozes nostalgia in every little corner. It mixes old with new in such a way you can see items that were used in the old Hispano-Moorish times, which you can still see in use on the streets of Marrakech simply by walking out of the same museum.

20. Smoke a Shisha

You’ll know when you’re near it. The sweet aroma of the flavoured tobacco will drag you in as if under hypnosis. Just go with it, sit down and let the assistants bring the coal for your Shisha, then just watch as it bubbles and it starts vaporising for you to enjoy. You might not be a smoker, but what you’re doing with this is experiencing an ancient communal ritual, once exclusive to the higher class.

21. Take a Belly Dance Class

Why not? Go on, go get those muscles a good stretch and find out what fun belly dance can be. Don’t take yourself too seriously, simply enjoy the moment and the wisdom of the celebration of the woman’s femininity in all its shapes and forms. After all, everyone in class will probably never ever see you again. Just go for it!

22. Food Tasting

There are tours for food tasting too, but the best thing to do in Marrakech is to walk around the city and follow the best aromas for the best food. Sometimes they’ll be coming from a street vendor cart, other times they’ll come from a small, local eating joint, and sometimes out of lush restaurants. Take your pick! Just try not to end up in someone’s private kitchen.

23. Rahba Kedima Square

A quieter souk. You’ll find souvenirs, spices, and carpets, but what’s most intriguing are the dried up plants and animals!

spices

24. Photography Museum of Marrakech

You’ll find more than 8,000 photographs ranging from 1870 to 1950, including an exhibition of hundreds of old photographs and projection of the very first film recorded in High-Atlas colour, ‘Landscapes and Faces of the High-Atlas’, produced in 1957 by Daniel Chicault.

25. Musee Tiskiwin

Compared to other museums, the Tiskiwin might look small but it’s well-organised and contains insightful information about the history of Marrakech and its region, including artefacts from past centuries that will make you look at the city with fresh eyes.

26. Mouassine Museum

If you like old buildings, this is a museum you shouldn’t miss. It’s split into parts, one used by the family and the other open to guests. The most amazing feature of this house is that the plaster was taken off and its original bright colours were restored back to vivid life.

27. Get Lost

Once you plunge into this addictive shopping spree, you’re sure to look up at a certain point and realise you’re lost. Here’s what you have to do – find a narrow door that signals a rooftop café, walk up its winding steps, and from there you’ll be able to (more or less) locate yourself.

marrakech

28. Look for Local Delicacies

Here are some of our favourite dishes we highly recommend you sample:

Moroccan crepe for breakfast, tagine of sardine balls, liver in onion sauce, roasted lamb and of course you have to try some bakery items!

29. Try an Avocado & Date Smoothie

Maybe the most curious refreshment you can get in Marrakech is the avocado and date smoothie.

30. Farmhouse cooking tour

As days go by and you feast on makouda, kefta, zaalouk, cous cous and b’stilla you might end up thinking how you’d miss this food back home. Well, there’s a way to prevent that – learn how to cook some Moroccan dishes, so you can make them back home. Ask around for the best cooking course or tour.

That’s not all. If you fancy stepping out of Marrakech for a while, you can find other fun, active things to enjoy. Here are some:

31. Horse Riding

Visiting the Atlas Mountains while riding on a horse, past Berber villages, and soaking in the landscape of all shades of brown is definitely worth some time away from the city.

32. Palm Grove, Sunset & Camel Ride

The only thing to top that is riding on a camel in Palm Grove, just half an hour out of Marrakech and walking into the sunset as if you were in a postcard or movie.

desert

33. Quad Bike Safari

If riding on the back of animals isn’t your idea of fun, then maybe riding on a four-wheeler might be. Just put on your helmet and ride the sand, through wild palm groves.

34. Hot Air Balloon Ride

Then again, it might be the sky you’re aiming for. Well, nothing in Marrakech is impossible. Book yourself a hot air balloon ride and feel the excitement of elevating away from the ground and going swiftly up, up, up into the sky.

35. Oasiria Water Park

The gardens and pools of the water park are a great idea for a relaxed day away from the heat of the streets, but also a fun place to entertain kids.

36. Get a Flag Beer

Trying the flag beer of every country is a must. In Morocco, you’ll find Casablanca Beer in most of the touristy places. Snap that bottle open; it’s time to freshen up from the heat.

37. Visit a Hammam

Let’s face it, holidaying can be tiring. The good news? In Marrakech, there are various hammams, what we know as a spa. You’ll find varying prices and qualities, but whichever you choose make sure to get a nice scrub, especially to your well deserving feet, then soak into a beautiful massage.

That was our top 37 things to do in Marrakech. Is there something that you love to do in Marrakech that we’ve missed out? Let us know, we always love to hear about your experiences and holidays in Marrakech.

Need any more reasons to visit Marrakech? Get that suitcase ready and, whatever happens in Morocco, remember the 2 magic words: Mashi Muskhi (No problem!)

For more inspiration contact Epic Morocco today and discover more about the enigmatic city of Marrakech and book your trip. 

11 Must Try Moroccan Foods

11 Must Try Moroccan Foods

By Alice Morrison

 

11 Must Try Moroccan Foods is quite an ask …. There are so many to choose from! Morocco is rightly famous for its cuisine, which is unique to this country lying between Africa , the Middle East and Europe. Many of the Mediterranean countries like Greece, Turkey and Lebanon have a common basis to their cooking but Morocco has developed something entirely different. Fantastically fresh, naturally organic ingredients, a fusion of African, Arab and Amazigh (Berber) flavours and a liberal usage of spices are combined in the best of Moroccan cooking. Cooking classes and gastronomic tours are extremely popular here, and it is easy to see why. Here are our top 11 must try Moroccan Foods in descending order.

  1. Corne De Gazelle. This is Morocco’s favourite pastry. It means Horn of the Gazelle and is a delicate pastry filled with a fresh almond paste. It gets its name from its shape.
  1. Snails. Fresh, cooked snails are sold at little stalls in all the main squares and on the market corners. Popular all year round, but especially on cold winter nights, the snails are served in a hot, peppery soup. You drink it up as you winkle the snails out of their shells.
  1. Dates. If you thought there was only one type of date, the kind you get in the supermarket at Christmas, think again. If you visit any of the stalls in the markets, you will be offered a plethora of dates which are all subtly different. The price matches the quality, but they are always a bargain.

BASTILLA

  1. Bastilla. This sweet and savoury combination can be filled with a variety of different meats or vegetables. Our particular favourite is chicken. Bastilla is a pocket of very delicate pastry, filled with a spicy meat/vegetable and then lightly dusted in sugar.
  1. Tripe and beans. This is one that you will either love or hate. The white beans are prepared with masses of garlic and a bit of cumin and are delicious in their own right, but if you have an adventurous spirit then go for a little bit of frilly tripe on top.
  1. Kefta with eggs. A hot, sizzling dish of spicy meatballs in a tomato sauce with eggs poached perfectly on top.

ANYONE FOR A SAUSAGE?

11 Must try moroccan food by Epic morocco

  1. Merguez are Morocco’s famous sausage. Lean and hot, you can buy these from the street sellers stuffed into a piece of freshly baked bread. It’ll only cost you a few dirhams and we guarantee you a feast.
  1. Bessara soup can be eaten at any time including breakfast and is one of the traditional ways of breaking the fast at Ramadan. It is made from broad beans with garlic, cumin and paprika. During Ramadan it is traditionally eaten with some dates and a very sweet pastry called Shebakiyya. It may sound strange but it is a delicious combination.

SLOW COOKED FOR FLAVOUR

  1. Tangia is a very traditional dish in Marrrakech. It is named after the urn shaped clay pot that it is cooked in and it is a rich, slow-cooked stew. You may have to order this one in advance, and if you look closely in the medina you can see the pots being taken to the communal bread oven where they cook all day.
  1. Tangia is a very traditional dish in Marrrakech. It is named after the urn shaped clay pot that it is cooked in and it is a rich, slow-cooked stew. You may have to order this one in advance, and if you look closely in the medina you can see the pots being taken to the communal bread oven where they cook all day.

MOROCCO’S NUMBER ONE DISH

Epic Morocco Moroccan Food

Epic Morocco Moroccan Food

  1. MOROCCO’S NUMBER ONE DISH
    1. Tagine has to be our number one. A tagine is simply something that is cooked in the tagine pot – the clay pot with the pointed lid that could stand as a symbol of Morocco. Whatever your preference is, sweet, spicy, sour, robust… you will find it in a tagine. Beef and prunes, chicken and olives, goat and vegetables are just three of our office favourites. And one of the great things about the tagine is that traditionally it is a dish you share, with everyone sitting around the dish, using their bread as cutlery.

Choosing just 11 dishes has been difficult but we hope you enjoy the selection.  If you would like to come over and taste for yourself, or learn to cook some of these dishes, email us at escape@epicmorocco.co.uk

For more from Alice check out www.alicemorrison.co.uk

 

 

Chefchaouen – The Blue City

Epic Morocco Travel

Chefchaouen has to be the most photographed city in Morocco. It lies nestled in the Rif Mountains in the north west of the country, a brilliant blue and white splash against the starkness of the hills. The walls, streets, stairs, alleyways are all painted in various shades of blue from duck egg, through turquoise to a rich shade between royal and marjorelle that is unique to the town. It is an absolutely beautiful place.

When you arrive in Chefchaouen, you immediately fall for its magic. You can feel yourself shifting down a gear and relaxing. Apart from its colour, it is famous for being the centre of the Kif (hashish) growing region. No wonder it is so chilled out. But as well as taking time out to wander and wonder, there are some great things to do and here are our top three.

1. Take a short hike out of the city up to the Spanish Mosque. It sits halfway up the hillside and gives you the best view of the town. You leave the median through the old gate, cross through the orange juice sellers and up to the steps cut into the wall. It takes about twenty minutes and the path is shaded by cedars and cherry trees. You’ll share it with women carrying big baskets of supplies down to town and the occasional worshipper. It is called the Spanish Mosque because it is actually a converted church, something that is clear to see when you get there. After the final flight of steps, you are rewarded with a panoramic view of the city and the surrounding mountains and plains.

2. Stop at Volubilis on your way. If you are lucky enough to get to this ancient Roman site before the crowds, take a moment to enjoy the early sun glowing on the magnificent archways and watch the storks who have taken up squatters rights on the tops of the columns, converting them into handy bases for their enormous nests. The setting for Volubilis is a jewel green range of hills and valleys where apparently elephants, bears and lions used to live in abundance. They were trapped and shipped off to die in Rome’s circuses and are now extinct, remembered only in the magnificent mosaic floors of the site.

Epic Morocco tailor Made Adventure to Volubilis

3. Stay at Casa Perleta, a gorgeous Riad in the heart of the old town. Concha and her husband came to Chefchaouen on holiday and never really left. They bought and renovated the Riad, filling it with hand carved furniture, pretty fabrics and old and new artwork, including works by Javier Reta, who combines photography and paint, and sometimes straw!, in his pictures of Moroccan women. The roof terrace lets you spy on your neighbours and also gives you a sweeping view to the mountains and is the ideal place for a long, lazy breakfast. Concha and her team can also advise you on where to go and what to do in the town. It’s like having your own personal tour guide.

We stayed for just two days in the town, but you can easily make it your base for longer and combine it with a more intense hike into the mountains or day trips to Tangier and the coast. However long you decide to spend in Chefchaouen, it will reward you with its beauty and tranquillity.

Epic Morocco travel chefchaouen

This blog was written for Epic Morocco by Alice Morrison. You can find out more about her on www.alicemorrison.co.uk

Ten things to try in Taghazoute

Epic Morocco adventure

Taghazoute is a tiny fishing village just north of Agadir which has some of the best waves in North Africa pounding onto its shores. It’s a surfers’ Mecca, but if you don’t fancy taking to the waves there is still plenty to keep you busy. Alice Morrison took a weekend to get together her top ten tips for what to do in Taghazoute.

1. Surf. Even if you have never stood on a board before, it is worth giving it a go. Surf guides and surfing lessons for all abilities are available from Surf Maroc, just along the main street.

2. Do a yoga session on the terrace at L’Auberge The picture above was taken from the roof top. It is a cool place to stay too. White washed walls and bright blue shutters.

3. Eat some fish. It is fresh off the boats and it would be rude not to. I’d recommend Paradis Plage

4. Gallop through the waves on a magnificent white horse as the sun goes down. If you walk or drive a bit further on from Taghazoute town centre, there are lots of options on the long beaches.

5. Grow some dreads. Admittedly, you will have to make it quite a long stay to do that, but if you want to fit in…..

6. Buy some art. The little suq has some nice, bright paintings by local artists, that are reasonably priced and will bring sunlight and sea into your living room, when it is time to go back to the rain and cold.

7. Sing along with the guy who roams the seafront with a guitar. Catch him early in the evening as by about nine, generous whistle-wetting has impaired his tunefulness a little.

8. Adopt a kitten. They hang out around the fish stalls and are plump and pretty and very ready to play.

9. Go for a run along the beach. The beaches really are endless and the sand is just the right side of firm to give you a proper workout. Best of all, at the end you can plunge into the water for a cool down.

10. Round off your day by eating at Josephine’s. It is a truly charming French restaurant owned by two equally charming French ladies, who decided to leave the rat race behind and settle in paradise.

For more from Alice check out her blog

Epic morocco travel