There is an excellent variation in places to stay, ranging from Berber khaimas in the desert to small and highly personal riads; from maisons d’hôte, to boutique and luxury hotels.
Morocco’s history is laced with the ebb and flow of centuries of complex and subtle cultural change. Today the country’s predominantly Islamic and Arab influence, which steadily increased from the 7th century onwards, is only linked to the original – yet still very evident – Berber culture by Islam.
The great cities of Marrakech and Fes are unmissable, although Rabat is the capital and Casablanca the modern trading centre. Marrakech, close to the glorious High Atlas and yet only a couple of hours from the sea, is a magical mix of ancient and modern where the eye is always drawn to the central minaret of Koutoubia. The vibrant, seething, circus of the main square, Djemaa el Fna, is as much a focus as Marrakech’s vast medina, where one can stay in a beautiful riad (a converted urban house).
Fes el-Bali is a complete time reversal and a total overload of the senses! Entering Fes’s medina, squeezing back to make way for donkeys and scurrying boys, the 21st century immediately succumbs to the middle ages. It is an assault: the smell of mint and the overpowering stench of the tanneries compete with the sights of the multitude of goods on sale and the press of humanity.
In the middle of mayhem there will be a corner of sudden peace in this unforgettable rabbit warren of commerce and daily life. The Royal Palace and the Mellah are also well worth a visit, and there is also a very interesting festival of music in Fes each June.