Saturday, January 18, 2014

Travel To Morocco And Have The Experience Of A Lifetime

By Marissa Velazquez

If you're looking for a holiday destination that has a bit of everything and is affordable to boot, you may want to travel to Morocco. Here you'll find beaches, mountains, desert, beautiful cities and fascinating little villages. You can experience unique cultures or go on outdoor adventures to your heart's content.

Morocco is one of the countries of North Africa. It's located right across from Gibraltar and the south of Spain, with only the Strait of Gibraltar to separate the country from Europe. This close proximity means that there are many Spanish influences but because Morocco was a colony of France, French culture has made its mark too. Most Moroccans can speak French, for instance. However, the prevailing cultural influences are from Arab culture and Islam.

Morocco's most famous destination is the city of Casablanca. Casablanca was made famous as the location of the Hollywood classic of the same name, starring Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart. Let the strains of 'As Time Goes By' be your theme song as you stroll along the Corniche and visit attractions such as the Hassan II Mosque or the lovely Makhama du Pacha.

Head to the foot of the Atlas Mountains for another popular Moroccan city. Marrakech has managed to keep up with the times without losing its old-world charm. Marvel at the Koutoubia Mosque, the El Bahia Palace, the Saadian Tombs and the Berber Museum. Browse through the souks, explore the alleys and enjoy the evening entertainment at Djemaa al-Fna.

The Atlas Mountains themselves are a popular destination as well. You can go climbing or hiking along the valleys and past Berber settlements. If you'd rather hit the beach, you'll be spoiled for choice with beaches on both the Mediterranean and the North Atlantic.

The natural attraction that most visitors want to see is the Sahara Desert. Here you'll find mysterious places like Ait-Benhaddou, an ancient and abandoned city. The dunes are a sandboarding paradise and the vast open spaces are the perfect place to clear your head and rejuvenate your soul. Explore the desert on the back of a camel for a more traditional experience or travel by off-road vehicle. Be sure though to spend a night or two sleeping in the desert underneath millions of impossibly bright stars.

Back in the city, arm yourself with enough Moroccan dirham and go shopping at the souks. Some of the items you might like to buy are spices, dates, leather goods, colorful carpets and Berber jewelry. You may also see many strange-looking clay pots for sale. These are 'tahines' and are used to make a delicious stew, also known as 'tahine'. It's just one of the many Moroccan dishes you should try while in the country.

Many of the low-cost airlines that operate in Europe also have flights to Casablanca or, in some instances, to the city of Agadir. If you'd like the journey to the country to be part of the adventure, another option is to take the ferry to Tangier from Gibraltar of Spain. No matter how you travel to Morocco, though, you'll fall in love with this magical destination.

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