A Long Weekend in Morocco

June 13, 2016
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Last month, our triplet and Twins That Travel contributor Sophie, from Sophie’s Suitcase, went on a weekend of exploration in Morocco on our behalf (partly because we were so busy preparing for Claire’s Italian wedding!)

Sophie spent five days exploring this incredible country, spending three days in Marrakech and two days high in the Atlas Mountains. Here is what she got up to on her visit.

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Marrakech has been on my must-visit list for years and finally last month I visited beautiful Morocco. I spent two days exploring Marrakech and two days in the Atlas Mountains at the mountain retreat of Kasbah Toubkal. As I arrived in Morocco, I was blown away by the bustling city of Marrakech. It was a sensory overload from the moment we stepped out of the taxi into the colourful and chaotic streets.

Following my trip, I have put together a little guide for a long weekend in Morocco: what you should do, where you should go and what you should eat!

1. Acclimatise

Spend the first day getting used to your surroundings, the culture and the people. Marrakech and Morocco can be overwhelming for a lot of people, but if you explore a little on your first day, eat traditional food and read up on your hot spots, you can then fully immerse yourself. Definitely check into a riad – I stayed at Riad Les Yeux Bleus in the medina, located within the winding streets but a world away from the outside world. It was serene, calm and you were made to feel right at home! Take a visit to the Jardin Marjorelle, an exotic garden and beautiful oasis within the city. It covers 12 acres and was gifted to the city by Yves Saint Laurent many years ago. This is the perfect spot to acclimatise and get you ready for day two! In the evening make sure you go traditional and eat a tagine, whether that is lamb, chicken or vegetable. Enjoy some wine as you dine on Moroccan food and take in the flavours, smells and sounds of this bustling city.

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2. Explore Marrakech

Day two is all about exploring the medina and the old town. That means heading out in the medina and visiting the souks. Why not try your hand at haggling, grab a traditional Moroccan lunch or simply go for a wander around the 11th century UNESCO World Heritage Site. Don’t worry about getting lost; you will make it out alive!

In the afternoon head to the city square Jamaa el Fna, as it comes to life in the late afternoon and evening. There are an array of market stalls selling things from juice, to coffee; handbags to shoes. There are also magicians and snake charmers if you fancy pushing the limits of your comfort zone. Also worth a visit is the Palace Bahia, located just south of the medina. It is a beautiful palace full of nature and incredible architecture. For a small fee you can wander around this stunning palace and take in royal Marrakech.

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3. Visit the Atlas Mountains

For a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, take a day trip 40kms from Marrakech to the Atlas Mountains. It is easiest to book ahead and go on a tour. Most day tours include lunch and an activity of some kind, as well as visiting the local villages in the region. An overnight stay will include half board most likely, accommodation and the opportunity to go trekking. I stayed at the Kasbah Toubkal 1,900 metres up in the mountains with views stretching across the region.

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4. Go trekking

There is an enormous range of pre-packaged treks and adventures you can take advantage of from both hotels and tour groups. The hotel I stayed at in Imlil offered an array of tours including day treks and also a two-day trek to the summit Toubkal. The highest peak in the Atlas Mountains, which is 4,167m-tall, is a trekking destination within Morocco & Toubkal National Park. The Atlas Mountains are dotted with Berber villages and riven with canyons and ravines.

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Morocco is a wonderful country, full of incredibly diverse smells, colours, tastes and experiences. Make sure you pay a visit!

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