Think of shopping in Morocco and you probably imagine weaving through a maze of souks, haggling over hand-sewn beaded slippers and leather goods, or fending off over-zealous carpet sellers, but shopping in Casablanca is nothing like what you’d expect. Morocco’s biggest city is also its most modern and cosmopolitan, with designer labels a-plenty and quiet, well-organized souks free from the rowdy hawkers of Marrakech and Fez.
From ocean to mountain to desert, few countries have as much varied terrain within such close proximity as Morocco, and Marrakech is well situated for exploring the nearby Atlas Mountains or trekking out into the wilderness of the Sahara Desert. Hiking in the hills, riding a camel through the dunes and camping out in a Bedouin tent are all quintessential experiences, but adventurous travelers can now add another activity to their bucket lists – hot air ballooning in Morocco.
With its cornucopia of scents and sounds and dizzying pace of life, visiting Marrakech is a visceral experience and with so much to take in, you won’t have to spend a cent to be entertained. Whether you want to lose yourself in the city’s legendary souks or escape the chaos for a picnic in the park, here are a few ideas for free things to do in Marrakech.
As one of the world’s oldest Islamic nations, Morocco’s historic mosques and medersas (learning centers of religion, law, philosophy and astrology) have long been among the country’s most celebrated assets, equally renowned for their architectural splendor as their long history of worship. From towering mosaic-covered minarets to one of the world’s largest mosques; here are 6 of the most beautiful mosques in Morocco.
With its melting pot of Arabic, Berber and African influences, Morocco’s vibrant cultural capital is the perfect place to experience the country’s unique dance, music and arts, and Marrakech hosts a number of traditional festivals and events throughout the year. Held each July, the Marrakech Popular Arts Festival is one of the biggest and most popular, bringing together artists and entertainers from all over Morocco, as well as Europe and Asia, for a week of live music, traditional dance and dramatic horse shows.
As a child growing up in the Atlas Mountains, Mustapha Ahitass was inspired by the pioneering tour guides who led treks through the peaks near his hometown. After graduating from university Mustapha decided to work as a guide himself. He spent 14 years accompanying travelers through the Sahara before becoming a private Viator guide.
From its charmingly chaotic souks to its grand Islamic architecture, Marrakech is the kind of city you could spend weeks exploring, but whether you’re passing through en-route to the desert or visiting as part of a multi-day tour of Morocco, it’s still possible to take in the highlights on a day visit. If you can only spend one day in Marrakech, a walking tour of the city or a Marrakech discovery tour is a great way to maximize your time and minimize the hassle, but with careful planning, you can also enjoy the top attractions without a guide.
From bejewelled contortionists shimmying in the central square of Djemaa el Fna, to the sultry entertainers that perform at the city’s top hotels, belly dancers are everywhere in Marrakech. The hypnotic beats and sinuous movements of the traditional dance have long captivated visitors to the city and there are a number of ways to discover the ancient art of belly dancing in Marrakech.
While prices aren’t quite the bargain they were during Morocco’s 1970s heyday, whether you’re on a tight budget or saving your dirhams for a special tour, there are still plenty of free things to do in Casablanca. Here are some ideas.
From the bustling medina of Marrakech to the desolate sands of the Sahara Desert, Morocco’s prepossessing landscapes were made for the big screen, but the country’s thriving film industry has often flown under the radar for visiting tourists. Everyone from Alfred Hitchcock to Martin Scorsese have shot on location in Morocco, with the Atlas Film Studios in Ouarzazate used for hundreds of films and international blockbusters and the annual Moroccan Film Festival in Marrakech drawing a prestigious crowd of industry insiders. Even James Bond landed on Moroccan soil, with scenes from the 1987 movie Living Daylights set in Tangier. Consider yourself a film buff? Here are five movies you probably didn’t know were made in Morocco.