Morocco's vast and varied landscape makes it a great gateway, from the wonderful beaches of the Atlantic Ocean to the dramatic Atlas Mountains and the golden Sahara Desert. Not just for that, the country is also home to some featured cities, each adding to Morocco's unique charms. Something particularly striking about Morocco is its rich and vivid colors. You can expect to cover all different sides of colorful Morocco in one trip!
Chefchaouen, the Blue City of Morocco
Without a doubt, Chefchaouen, nicknamed the "blue pearl of Morocco", can be included in the list of the world's most Instagrammable destination for its gorgeous blue alleyways and blue-washed buildings. Nestled in the dramatic Rif Mountains of northern Morocco, the city boasts one of the country's most charming medinas. Every alley has been painted with all shades of blue, which offers a nice backdrop for tourists to pose in influencer-perfect shots.
The Blue City of Chefchaouen
There is a lot of different versions on when or why the city's walls were painted blue. Some say it was painted blue by the Jews in the 15th century or after the 1930s, because the color blue represents the sky In Jewish beliefs, while others just say it's to ward off the mosquitoes, who apparently read the color as clear water and don't like being in the water itself. Anyway, it seems to have worked out well for this Chefchaouen, and the whole city looks so good in blue.
There is no need to worry too much about seeing any particular sights in this blue city. It is a perfect place to wander and take photos. You can go for a walk within the ancient city walls to see how the locals really live or sit down to relax with a steaming glass of mint tea at a street cafe. Actually, Chefchaouen is so much more than what we see on Instagram though.
Marrakech, the Red City of Morocco
Marrakech, the first of Morocco's four imperial cities (the other three are Fes, Rabat, and Meknes), locates in southwestern Morocco within the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. Quite simply, Marrakech is nicknamed the "red city" in reference to the red color of its city walls and sandstone buildings. Actually, people from other Moroccan cities call the city Al Hamra, which means red in Arabic. As the sun sets, the color deepens and the whole cityscape takes on a romantic rose-tinted hue all of its own. I wonder how gorgeous it might have been hundreds of years ago.
Medina of the the Red City, Marrakech
The red walls stretch for some 19 kilometers around the ancient section of the city, known as the medina, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985. And within, various buildings are also mostly tinted with natural red clays, from palaces to mosques, folk houses, and public spaces. They were built by the Almoravids in the 12th century, and the red beaten clays from the earth around Marrakesh were used in the construction. This kind of soil contains a high percentage of iron content, which is responsible for its color.
The Sahara Desert with golden-orange sand dunes
When we think of Sahara Desert, a quite similar image - an endless sea of golden-orange sand dunes - may come into our minds. The largest hot desert in the world stretches from Egypt to Morocco with 9.4 million square kilometers of desert terrain, comparable in size to the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii). There are many ergs, or seas of sand dunes formed by wind-blown sand, in Morocco's Sahara desert; and Erg Chebbi is the most impressive one for its grand dunes. Rising to heights of up to 150 meters, the wind-blown sand dunes at Erg Chebbi are definitely the Sahara of your dreams. As the sun rises and falls over the dunes, their various hues of orange and golden set against the endless horizon.
The camels were awaiting their journey deep into the Sahara Desert.
To many people, a big reason for heading to Morocco is to make a desert trip there. While there are many ways to visit Sahara, what better way than to ride a camel through the never-ending golden sand dunes. This is an adventure at its finest, a highlight of any North African journey. Sitting on a camel's back along the steep edge of sand dunes, you're led into the depths of the vast desert and it's easy to feel like a nomad for a few moments. Besides, there are good chance to spend one night in a desert camp under the starry African sky.
White Snow-capped Atlas Mountains
Africa is the continent we hardly associate with snow, and something like white snow-capped mountains usually isn't part of the picture. But the High Atlas, which is a mountain range in central Morocco, is one of the few exceptions to this. There are a number of peaks over 4000 meters high in the Atlas Mountains range, and with an altitude of 4167m, Mount Toubkal is the highest one in the Atlas Range (and even all of Morocco and North Africa). Snow falls between November and April but can last well from September to June in the peaks. It is a sight to behold.
Located just around 40 kilometers outside of Marrakech, Mount Toubkal is a relatively accessible mountain. It can be a fantastic place to be in the winter (December to March). A winter climb up to the snow-covered mountain can be an unforgettable experience, and what's more, there offers surprisingly good skiing with varying degrees of difficulty at the ski resorts. During the trip, you will come in contact with the local population of the Atlas Mountains, the Berber people, and become acquainted with their culture.
Casablanca, the White City of Morocco
No one can deny the call of Casablanca, thanks to the famous film of the same name (although Casablanca the film was really shot not in the city but in a Hollywood studio). Casablanca - also known as Dar el Baida or simply Casa - is by far Morocco's largest and most modern city located on the same stretch of Atlantic coastline as the country's capital Rabat.
The magnificent Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca towers over the Atlantic Ocean.
Just looking at the city, you can easily know why Casablanca, meaning “white house”, got its name. The city center is fairly impressive with a sweep of white colored high buildings along broad boulevards, including the largest mosque in Morocco - Hassan II Mosque. The city name derives from the Portuguese word Casa Branca (branca "white", casa "house"), which was named after a small white building built by the Portuguese who came to the region in the early 16th century. The Spanish later renamed it Casablanca, which is still being used today. This cosmopolitan, white-walled city has become a go-to destination for business and leisure tourism.
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