Morocco: Short journey, distant culture

Morocco, a place so full of wonder and intrigue, it is hard to encapsulate in just a few words. From the bustling souks of Marrakech, to the wild and wonderful Atlas Mountains and the dusty sandscape of the Agafay desert, Morocco is a truly captivating destination. Only a short flight from London took travel expert, Will, to a completely different world.

With the same flight duration as most European flights, Morocco is the perfect destination for those looking to explore new cultures without having to travel to the other end of the earth in order to do so. Using the Marrakech Airport Fast Track Service ensures a smooth and swift transition from the plane to the back seat of your hotel transfer, giving you even more time to explore the city and its wonders. Before I knew it, I was whisked out of the airport and en-route to the Royal Mansour, an elegant palace located on the edge of the medina. After a warm welcome from the hotel staff, I was guided through the reception area, which exemplifies traditional Moroccan artistry, to my three storey, one bedroom Riad. It was the perfect base from which to explore Marrakech’s old town and also a welcomed retreat from its hustle and bustle.

The main attraction within Marrakech is the medina. A labyrinth of narrow streets brought to life by locals selling their wares ranging from fragrant herbs to steel sculptures and handmade leather goods. Be sure to arrange a guide, who will provide a wonderful insight into the history, with stops at the town’s main attractions, such as the Secret Gardens and the University, whilst eliminating the worry of getting lost through the town’s renowned analogous alleys.

Escaping the hubbub of Marrakech, we headed southbound towards the Atlas Mountains. The range’s highest peak, Toubkal, is located around one hour’s drive from the city center, and home to the Berber people, famed for their hospitality and unique culture. Visit charity-funded schools, chockfull of the joyful laughter of students eager to meet tourists, and housing occupied by local women who hand make famed Moroccan carpets. Alternatively, learn about the history and nature of the Toubkal National Park in its museum, which is located within walking distance of Richard Branson’s hotel, Kasbah Tamadot. This boutique hotel set in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains is the ideal destination to make up the second part of your Moroccan adventure.

Last but not least, the Agafay desert is a must to add to your Moroccan itinerary. Also located only an hour’s drive from Marrakech, it is a brilliant spot to get stuck in with a catalogue of memorable activities. From riding camels through the picturesque desert, or taking quad bikes out for the day, thrill seekers and adventurers will be spoiled for choice. Top off a day in the Moroccan desert by enjoying a lunch packed full of the local food, cooked in a traditional tagine.

I have been lucky enough to travel far and wide, and experience many new cultures, however, I can easily say that nothing can compare to that of Morocco.