Visit Morocco's cities to experience a colourful, cultural holiday

Added 27/09/2010

Scarfs at a market

Morocco’s main cities, Rabat, Marrakesh and Fes, all offer the chance to experience a cultural holiday that’s unforgettable.

In Rabat, head down to the Kasbah, where a unique cafe overlooks the sea. Here you can relax while sipping on mint tea and sampling the local sweets. Visit the Mausoleum of Mohammed V and take a look at the giant Hassan Tower, an incomplete mosque constructed of red sandstone. The tower is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Marrakesh is perhaps the most popular Moroccan destination for tourists seeking a cultural holiday. The markets, or souks as they’re known locally, are a maze of colourful shops and stalls selling leather, lanterns and scarves.

Take a look at the tannery, where men risk their live amidst the fumes of the tanning dyes. Take the proffered sprig of mint on entry — you’ll need it to combat the smells.

After the sun goes down, the night markets in Marrakesh spring to life. Stalls cook seafood, snails and even sheep’s heads, filling the air with scented smoke. You’ll need to have your wits about you while you scour the stalls — the waiters will try to persuade you to dine with them even if you display the most fleeting of interests!

Fes is a fascinating city in which to enjoy a cultural holiday in Morocco. The town is even more of a maze than the souks of Marrakesh. Fewer tourists visit Fes, so you should get a more authentic experience. The streets of Fes are tightly packed, and part of the fun is getting lost while you wander around the shadowed alleyways. But even in these narrow streets you might come across a donkey or two carrying a heavy load.

The food markets in Fes are fascinating places, where live chickens await their fate and men whip up fresh donuts in a flash. You could also find yourself in a strange apothecary shop where hundreds of glass bottles line the shelves, filled with curious remedies.

Wherever you visit in Morocco, you are sure to find a cultural holiday that suits you. Remember to dress conservatively when exploring the souks and try not to touch the goods on display unless you intend to buy them, otherwise you might end up with some unwanted attention.