10-minute guide to Morocco: Atlas Mountain trekking, street food and the blue city

A country with so much culture and so many amazing experiences on offer, this guide condenses our favourite where to go, what to do, and must do things in Morocco into a ten minute read. We hope it leaves you feeling inspired…

Where to eat

Tour the city’s main square and most vibrant food market, Jemaa el Fna for the best street food in Marrakech or get a taste for its myriad delicacies with an expert guide deep in the Medina. Famous for its tender slow-cooked lamb, the string of family-run food stalls down Mechoui Alley will leave you wanting to return every day of your trip. As well as the amazing street food culture, Moroccan mint tea is a must try. Visit the best restaurants in Marrakech to appreciate the traditional way to serve this thirst-quenching drink, poured from a great height out of long, curved-spout teapots so the perfect foam topping is achieved. 

For the most inspiring culture  

Escape the hustle and bustle of Marrakech’s busy centre and discover the life of famous French fashion designer, Yves Saint Laurent. Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Berge purchased Villa Oasis and the adjoining garden, Jardin Majorelle, in the 1960s after falling in love with the country. Wander across mosaic-tiled pathways surrounded by exotic cacti, glistening water fountains and towering palm trees. You can even visit the newly opened museum to learn about Saint Laurent’s past and their exquisite designs. By special arrangement, take a tour of Saint Laurent’s adjoining former home, Villa Oasis, and admire the art, decor, grand chandeliers, Persian rugs and classic balcony, seeing where this world-famous designer came up with his creative ideas. This spot is among our cultural must do things in Marrakech.

The best trek

Hiking in the Atlas Mountains is not to be missed on your trip to Morocco. Whether you’re after a Marrakech to the Atlas Mountains day trip or an Atlas Mountains trekking holiday there are plenty of trails that vary in difficulty, length and elevation. Many paths will take you through Berber villages where you’ll be invited to share a mint tea with the locals and learn about their culture. For the more experienced hikers looking for a challenge, the Toukbal trek up the highest peak in the Atlas Mountains will definitely suffice. This two-day hike, situated just outside Marrakech, is in the perfect location to combine time in the city with time in the desert. Why not treat yourself to a post-hike traditional hammam and massage back in Marrakech?

Most unusual find

Tucked away in the ruins of an Old Fes courtyard house, The Ruined Garden offers an unforgettable Moroccan restaurant experience. You’ll find yourself surrounded by exotic plants, orange trees and jasmine in full bloom while the proud owner Robert takes you through how The Ruined Garden and the adjoining boutique Idrissy Hotel were born. Featured on the menu are an array of daily specials, Moroccan style tapas including fresh breads, spices and oils, and delicious order-in-advance specialities such as seven-hour lamb ‘Mechwi’ bathed in spices or Sephardic saffron chicken stuffed with spiced minced beef. No alcohol is served here, but with all the amazing tastes, fresh juices, and great service, it really doesn’t matter. Dive deeper into Moroccan culture and learn bread making in the grounds too.

What to buy

From embroidered leather poufs and decorated lanterns to extravagant rugs and Berber carpets, you will be spoilt for choice on what to buy in Morocco. However, one of our favourite buys is the classic Moroccan tagine, an earthenware cooking pot that has been used in Moroccan cuisine for centuries.

In the pottery village at Ain Nokbi in Fes, witness first hand the work that goes into creating these beautiful dishes learning all about the ceramic production process, tour the factory and have the opportunity to purchase some custom made pottery. An amazing selection of hand painted tagines and other ceramics can always be seen in the markets and medinas scattered throughout Morocco, varying in shape, size, style and colour.

Tip: pack bubble wrap in your suitcase to avoid breakages on your way home!

The most Instagrammable spot

Nicknamed ‘the blue pearl of Morocco’, Chefchaouen city sits at the foot of the Rif Mountains in the country’s north west region. There are many contrasting theories as to why the buildings are blue but still no definite answer, some say Jews wanted to symbolise heaven after escaping the war and settling there, others say it keeps mosquitoes at bay. Either way, the blue-washed walls, pastel painted stone steps, beautifully carved doors, red tiled roofs and abundance of hanging flowerpots make it one of the most beautiful, and photogenic, cities in the world. Together with its narrow alleys and stunning mountain backdrop, a day trip to Chefchaouen from Marrakech offers an Instagram opportunity around every corner (#nofilter needed). If you’re more of a foodie, then check out the many restaurants in Chefchaouen to get the perfect Instagram. Cafe Clock’s rooftop area offers some great views of the blue city and is famous for its delicious camel burger.

Feeling inspired?

Explore the breathtaking views of the Atlas Mountains, the hustle and bustle of the vibrant markets, and the blue hues of Chefchaouen city with a bespoke trip to Morocco.

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