One of the most memorable trips I took while studying in France was a weekend in Northern Morocco with some friends. Visiting Morocco, even for a short amount of time, was so incredible. The influences of the French and Spanish cultures are evident in some of the architecture and languages spoken, but the country is so different than anywhere I’ve gone. I’ve traveled extensively throughout Europe, and while there are little cultural differences that make European countries unique, I’d never really been somewhere where I felt like a fish out of water. Going to a country where I didn’t look, speak, or act like any of the natives was a really eye opening experience.
We used a tour company to go on this trip as recommended by some friends. At first I was hesitant because I don’t normally travel with tour groups. I like to make my own plans and do things on my own time, but after planning trips all over the European continent all semester, it was really nice to have someone else in charge of transportation, meals, and tours. That being said, I think you could easily mimic this itinerary if your prefer to go without a group.We flew into Sevilla and took a bus to a ferry and a ferry to Tangier. From Tangier, we took a bus to Tetouan, which became our home base for the next couple of days.After a long day of travel, we had a Moroccan meal and went to bed early to prepare for the next day.
The next day, we took a bus to Chefchaouen. This city is famous because all the buildings are painted a beautiful blue color and the historic medina is well-preserved. We had a tour in the morning that took us through the medina, market, and the old city, had a rooftop lunch, and then spent the afternoon wandering through the market and spending all my dirhams. Sitting on the roof and drinking a sweet mint tea while taking in the views of the city, listening to the call to prayer from the mosques and watching people move through the town was such a lovely break during the day.
There are so many unique souvenirs available in this market. I ended up with a leather backpack, small rug, ceramics, and a tiny lantern. Don’t be afraid to haggle if you go to the medina! I think it’s really part of the fun. Just be respectful!
This city was spectacular. Tiny passageways leading to shops full of interesting little trinkets, and lots of interesting foods that I hadn’t had before.
After exploring the Blue City all day, we returned to our hotel and had a dinner with traditional Moroccan folk music and dancing. This was SO FUN! We had a great time.
The next morning we woke up and headed to the Taniger medina, where we walked around the market and the sea wall. Going here first thing in the morning was awesome because we felt like we had the little quarter all to ourselves. That afternoon we had lunch and rode camels on the beach before heading back to Spain.
I felt safe throughout my trip to Morocco, but there are a few things to be aware of if you go. Petty theft is an issue (as it is in many cities), so just keep your belongings safe and where they couldn’t easily be snatched. If you’re a girl, be prepared for catcalls if you go outside the super touristy area. No one tried to actually approach my friends or me, but they will say things to you or even yell if you ignore them – just keep walking. The boys in our group had a problem with men coming up to them offering the hashish. Whether you do that or not is up to you- but be warned, it is illegal in Morocco and many of the people offering you drugs are either police or will report you to the police. Best thing to do in either of these situations is just to keep walking.