Meandering Along the Winding Streets of a Medina
Within Morocco's old walled cities, known as medinas, you can immerse yourself in both the country's past and present. Formerly safe havens from invaders and marauders, today's medinas are intoxicating combinations of traditional and modern, where ancient mosques, crowded souks, and workshops of skilled craftsmen sit side by side with trendy maisons d'hôte, candlelit restaurants, and alfresco cafes. Making the time to wander around a medina's maze of streets, alleys, and lanes -- including a few inevitable wrong turns and dead ends -- will reward you with a greater insight to these beating hearts of Morocco.
Hearing the Muezzin Call to Prayer
Five times a day, the call of "Al'lah al Akbar" (God is Great) resonates throughout Morocco, calling the faithful to the mosque to pray. The call comes from the top of the mosque's tower, called a minaret, and is traditionally the job of the muezzin, a sort of town crier. Although nowadays it's mostly a taped version played through loud speakers, the call to prayer is still an inspiring, spiritual sound.
Sunrise from the Top of a Saharan Dune
Whether you've camped in the dunes overnight or slept in a nearby auberge, make sure you witness the beginning of a new Moroccan day from the crest of a dune on the edge of the Sahara. Experiencing the desert's utter tranquillity while feeling the cold, soft grains of sand between your toes can be one of the most serene, invigorating, and reflective moments you'll ever have.
Celebrating Eid al Fitr (Feast of Fast Breaking)
Upon the rise of the new moon after the fasting month of Ramadan, Morocco's Muslims -- 99% of the population -- mark the end of the fast with 3 days of celebrations and festivities. Traveling in Morocco during this time showcases the country at its most joyous and friendly, with many travelers being invited into local homes to share in the family feast.
Shopping & Haggling in the Souks
Morocco's craftsmen are some of the most skilled in the world, with generations of families working in ceramics, jewelry, leather, metal, and wood. Many are located within the local markets, called souks, and this is where the shopping bargains are to be found. Bartering is part of the routine for locals, and is an accepted and expected practice within the souks.
Do as the Moroccans do, and take some time out during your day to sit down at a pavement cafe, order a café or thé, and watch the world go by. In a country where bars and pubs are still largely kept out of sight, the cafe -- a byproduct of 44 years of French occupation -- has become a major social element in Moroccan society. Moroccans come to chat, play endless games of checkers, conduct business meetings, watch football on TV, or simply catch up on the latest local gossip.
Seeing Snow-Topped Mountains in Africa
You don't normally associate Africa with snow-topped mountain peaks, but travel in Morocco anytime between December and March, and you stand a good chance of sighting the powdery stuff on the taller mountains in both the Middle and High Atlas ranges. For the ultimate bragging right of having skied in Africa, head for the village of Oukaïmeden, home to the continent's highest ski lift and 20km (13 miles) of trails.
Travel page content provided by Zagat © 2013, Google.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.