10 Reasons to visit Northern Morocco
Why you should visit Northern Morocco
When preparing to leave for my study abroad year in Ireland, I never thought I would have the chance to venture beyond Europe during my travels. However, when my sister—who is teaching English in Spain for the year—suggested that we take a trip to Morocco, Africa for Thanksgiving weekend, I jumped at the chance. Since the Northern tip of Morocco, and subsequently Africa, is located so close to Southern Spain, the journey there was relatively quick with just a 3-hour bus ride and a 1-hour ferry until we arrived in Africa! We did our particular trip through a company called We Love Spain, and were able to visit 3 Northern Moroccan cities in just 3 days. When most people plan a trip to Morocco 3 major cities come to mind—Marrakesh, Rabat, and Casablanca; however, with only a weekend to explore the country, we chose 3 lesser known, but equally as beautiful and incredible cities– Chefchaouen, Tangier, and Tetouan. Below I have compiled a list of the top 10 reasons you should visit Northern Morocco.
The Gorgeous Colors
The first reason applies primarily to the first city I went to, Chefchaouen. Chefchaouen is located in the northwest of Morocco and is famous for its beautiful buildings and streets that are all painted in stunning blue and white shades. When I first arrived in Chefchaouen, I was astonished by the magnificent colors of the city. The city is truly draped in blue. Every building and every street is painted a lovely powder blue color that varies in brightness from house to house and street to street. Walking in the city feels as if you’re in a giant blueberry and gives you a rather magical feeling! I would certainly go back to Chefchaouen just to experience the gorgeous colors again.
The Incredible Views
Each of the Northern Moroccan cities had their fair share of breathtaking views that I could have stared at for hours! Chefchaouen, which is situated between two mountains, has amazing mountainous views, while the coast of Tangier allows you to see the very point where the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean meet. Tetouan, in addition to Tangier, is a port city; therefore, showcases stunning views of the Mediterranean. Morocco, having a rather mountainous and hilly terrain, provides each of these three cities with its fair share of mountainous and hillside views.
The Beautiful, Handmade Tapestries
This one again applies to primarily Chefchaouen, but also Tetouan as well. Morocco is known for its beautiful handmade goods, specifically tapestries. The streets of Chefchaouen are comprised of one giant market where individual vendors sell their goods, hand-woven tapestries being the most prevalent of these goods. The gorgeous tapestries are sold all over Chefchaouen, and you can not pass a street corner without seeing the stunning blues, yellows, oranges, greens, and purples of these hand-crafted tapestries. I surely wanted to buy them all (though I only bought 3)! Other then being hand-made, these tapestries are amazing because they come at great prices, and these prices can always be further negotiated as Moroccan markets are known for haggling!
The Handcrafted Leather Products
Like the handmade tapestries, handmade leather products are also a staple of Northern Morocco, primarily Tetouan. The leather markets in Tetouan are filled with hand crafted wallets, bracelets, belts, purses, backpacks, all made from real leather and sold for (more like haggled for) amazing prices. If you love leather and handmade goods, the leather markets in Tetuoan are surely the place for you!
A Camel Ride on the Beach
This one is pretty self-explanatory, and definitely my favorite reason for visiting Northern Morocco. I mean who wouldn’t want to ride a camel on the beach?! This was the most memorable and fun part of my weekend trip! Even though it was only a short five-minute ride, I loved every second of it and would recommend it to anyone traveling to Morocco.
One of the most important reasons to visit any place is always the food, and in Morocco this aspect certainly did not disappoint. Cooked with incredible, unique spices and delicious and fresh ingredients (I actually walked through the local food markets where all of the ingredients were purchased), each meal I ate in Morocco was incredibly tasty and very different from the European-esque food I had been eating. Perfectly spiced chicken and a wide variety of yummy rice were staples of the cuisine.
Another component seen in each of the three cities was the magnificent and distinctive architecture and décor. All of the buildings were beautifully designed and decorated. Some of the most fascinating architecture and décor I saw were the gorgeous Moroccan Palaces— I even had the opportunity to eat lunch in one! The architecture and décor of the buildings and streets was nothing short of captivating.
Another token reason to visit any city is to learn about the history. This was definitely the case in Northern Morocco as one of my favorite parts of my trip was getting to learn about the fascinating, long history of Morocco—its kingdom and royal family, its main cities, its language, its religion, its people, and so much more. I would love to go back simply to learn more about the 3 cities rich histories!
One of the reasons I loved my November trip to Northern Morocco was the lovely warm weather! Used to the cold of Ireland, I was very happy to enjoy the warmth of Morocco! The weather ranged from about 14 to 20 degrees Celsius (57 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit), so it wasn’t blazing hot, rather perfect spring-feeling sunny days.
My final reason is the wonderfully friendly people of Northern Morocco. In each of the 3 cities, the people were very welcoming and eager to share their culture with you. The market vendors were easy to communicate with and enthusiastic about haggling with you to buy their hand-crafted products. During lunches and dinners the servers were always kind and friendly, and I even got to experience some amazing entertainment during my trip—a Moroccan band quartet, traditional drummers, and even a local henna artist.
Northern Morocco may not be the most sought after destination area of the country; however, the 3 cities I visited, Chefchaouen, Tangier, and Tetouan are reasons enough to visit the North! The cities are bustling with culture, history, friendly locals, unique architecture, and so much more, and they are just waiting to be explored! So pack your bags and plan an unforgettable trip to Northern Morocco!