My husband and I laugh now at our trek into the Sahara and think of how amazing that adventure was. Thanks to Traveler's Joy and the generous gifts of a Sahara Safari from our guests, it will be a memory we will never forget.
Morocco is an ultimate honeymoon destination for couples seeking new experiences and adventure. It’s also a tremendous setting where visitors can completely immerse themselves in a vibrant culture full of history and traditions. Plus, newlyweds can expect a wide range of attractions. From amazing natural sites like the Atlas Mountains, Sahara Desert, and beautiful resort cities along the Atlantic and Mediterranean Coasts, to historic and captivating cities such as Marrakech, Casablanca and Fes, plus centuries-old customs, historic sites, unique cuisine and customs, the country is a feast for the senses. Indeed, a trip here will guarantee a honeymoon to be remembered forever.
Morocco is located in Northern Africa, bordered by Spain to the north, Algeria to the east and Western Sahara to the south. The country itself features a number of diverse regions, including the Mediterranean Coast, Middle Atlas, Northern Atlantic Coast, High Atlas, Southern Atlantic Coast, and the South/Saharan Provinces. It has a population just north of 36,000,000 and sports a number of major cities like Tangier, Casablanca, and Marrakech. The capital is Rabat, which is located on the Atlantic Ocean in the northern part of the country.
The geography of Morocco is quite varied, featuring everything from rugged mountains to fertile agricultural land to beaches and to impressive desert terrain. The country is also bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the north, making it a key nation for importing/exporting goods in the region. Additionally, Morocco is part of the Maghreb Region, and shares many similarities with Algeria, Libya and Tunisia in terms of languages, history and culture. The official language is Arabic, while many also speak the indigenous languages of Berber and Darija.
Temperatures can differ drastically depending on where you travel to within the country. The northern part of the country features a Mediterranean climate, characterized by warm/hot, dry summers, and mild, wet winters. However, Marrakech features a semi-arid climate with hot, dry summers and mild winters with little precipitation. The average high temperature in May is about 82 degrees, while the average low is around 58 degrees. Fes features a Mediterranean climate, so expect slightly cooler temperatures and the likelihood of more rain. Heading to the coast? Expect cooler temperatures overall, with highs in the upper 60s and lows in the upper 50s.
As for the top visited destinations and sites within the country, Marrakech, Fes, Casablanca, seaside resort towns of Essaouira and Agadir, plus Atlas and Rif mountain regions all make for must-see stops.
The imperial cities of Marrakech and Fes captivate visitors with their historic medinas, souks and many splendid sights. Casablanca remains the commercial and financial capital of the country and is an interesting destination where old world Morocco meets the 21st century. The enthralling seaside towns of Essaouira and Agadir offer stunning beaches, historic city centers, and bustling marinas. Meanwhile, the mountainous regions of the country attract thousands each year with their snowcapped peaks, fertile valleys, and many adventure activities.
Exploring Marrakech — Set in the shadow of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains, Marrakech is a former imperial city and comprised of a historic medina (old town), the biggest souk (market) in the country, and bustling streets and alleyways. A must-visit stop is Jemaa el-Fna, the hub of all activity within the medina with its dancers, storytellers and musicians. This energetic square is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Next, visit the souks of the medina, which are arguably the most fascinating of the entire Maghreb region. The souks are arranged based on the goods they offer and are all laid out among narrow streets. Leatherwork is quite prominent, plus jewelry, crafts, clothing, fabric and basketry.
Meanwhile, don’t miss out on a trip to the historic Koutoubia Mosque, with its brilliant landmark minaret. Next, head over to the impressive Ben Youssef Medersa (one of the largest schools in the Maghreb) and Menara imperial garden with its pools and striking buildings.
Out and About in Fes — Fes is the oldest of the imperial cities and became an early religious and cultural center. The medina of Old Fes – which is the largest living Islamic medieval city in the world – is a can’t-miss experience. Explore its narrow winding alleys, colorful bazaars packed with unique shops, restaurants, mosques, dye pits and tanneries. Overall, it’s just an amazing compilation of sights, smells and sounds.
Visit the Chouwara Tannery to see the city’s most vibrant tannery up close (best viewed in the morning from the roof-terrace leatherwear shops along Derb Chouwara). Be sure to check out Bou Inania Medersa, which is a mosque, cathedral, and school combined. Then head over to Bab Boujloud, an amazing gateway that stands as the entrance into Fes el-Bali.
Essaouira: An Escape by the Sea — Essaouira -- which almost seems to rise out of the sea -- is considered the jewel of the Atlantic Coast and offers a little bit of everything for visitors. First, it’s an artists’ town and quite popular with independent travelers. All the while, the city enjoys a pleasant climate year-round thanks to favorable trade winds. Explore Essaouira’s stunning ramparts, sea bastions, ancient medina, bustling port, beaches, before examining the works of the town’s renowned artists (from woodcarvers to painters to builders). Finally, check out the frequent fish auctions down at the port or sample some freshly grilled sardines before soaking in the phenomenal views.
Desert Excursion — Discover the Moroccan Sahara through a guided overnight excursion. You’ll get the chance to visit Berber villages, ride on camels on remote sand dunes, see barren hillsides and dramatic valleys, plus explore the fortified city of Ait Benhaddou, historic Ouarzazate, and the Draa Valley before staying the night at a desert camp. Once at your camp, you’ll be able to enjoy mint tea and spend the evening under the stars next to a warm fire, but not before enjoying a delicious meal featuring storytelling and a drum party. We highly recommend using Toubkal Guide or Trek Morocco for your trip, or check with your accommodation provider for their suggestions as well.
Moroccan Cooking Class — Fes is renowned as the capital of Moroccan cooking. Learn about traditional recipes and enjoy Moroccan delights such as pastille, couscous, tagines and harira by signing up for a cooking class. Participants will take part in a guided trip to the local souk to buy fresh ingredients for the day. Culinary classes are suitable for all levels and range from single day classes to seven-day culinary adventures. We're big fans of Fes Cooking and Hakima's Cooking School. The latter also offers cooking tours and trips.
Riad Hayati — This immaculate property in Marrakech was formerly an 18th century merchant’s home and has now been restored into a most charming riad. The property features a lovely courtyard with lemon and palm trees, plus four luxurious bedrooms (including three with fireplaces) and spacious tubs. Meanwhile, massages, chauffeurs and guides are all available on request, while meals are prepared by one of the city’s finest chefs. Ideal for a honeymoon, the riad turns quite romantic once the sun sets as candles and lanterns illuminate the courtyard and hallways.
Riad Assakina — Experience local traditions and individually designed suites at this stunning riad residence. The Marrakech-based property features a swimming pool in the main courtyard and another on a sunny terrace, plus a beautiful central courtyard, carved ceilings and lounge terraces with great views of the city. The property offers daily breakfast, lunch and dinner options, among many other amenities. The rooms are spacious and equipped with high ceilings, exotic art, luxury linens, and warm colors.
Palais Amani — This gorgeous 14-room property in Fes features a lovely interior garden and traditional Moroccan design, including glazed tiles, amazing lighting throughout, plus luxury amenities. It finished up a three-year renovation in 2010 and now has a rooftop terrace and bar, lounge, and library. All the while, massages are offered daily and the dining room features excellent contemporary Moroccan/Mediterranean cooking. To top it all off, the property has rooms with private sound systems, Wi-Fi connection, and TVs. Palais Amani is simply one of the city’s finest accommodations.
Dar Roumana — This charming five-unit riad – called the “House of Pomegranate” – has been recently refurbished and makes for a most serene and romantic honeymoon. The property retains its traditional character but also has many modern conveniences, equipped with comfortable beds, luxury linens, private baths, local toiletries, and more. All suites feature work by local artists, original mosaic tile floors, cedar ceilings and doors, plus handcrafted furnishings. Meanwhile, enjoy the stunning view from the rooftop terrace with some mint tea or a good book. Breakfast and dinner are also served and feature local specialties, seasonal produce, and other intoxicating flavors.
Les Trois Saveurs - Located at the boutique riad hotel La Maison Arabe in Marrakech, couples can indulge in excellent tagine — from lamb tagine (with saffron, ginger and caramelized oranges) to chicken tagine with sun-dried peaches.
Le Tobsil - This noteworthy palace restaurant in Marrakech is located down a maze of streets in the medina. With rose petals and candelabras, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more romantic spot in the city. The menu ranges from salads to tangines to traditional pastries. Overall a fabulous spot that will remind you of Marrakech from another era.
Dar Anebar - Located inside the medina of Fes, this acclaimed dining spot features fantastic food in a lantern-lit courtyard.
Marrakech-Menara International Airport (RAK) is the main airport for Marrakech and is located about four miles SW of the city center. The facility features many rental car companies, plus taxi services and public buses. Also, check to see if your accommodation provider offers airport pickup/drop off services.