Destined to beguile you with color, cuisine and culture

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As an experienced world traveler and regional expert, I have traveled through Morocco eight times over the past 20 years, and it is one of my favorite destinations to plan unforgettable journeys for my clients. Below are some of the reasons why.

INTERVIEW WITH AMALIA LAZAROV, LUXURY TRAVEL ADVISOR, FOUNDER OF TRAVELICIOUS

From the hustle and dazzle of its souks (markets), to the majestic Atlas Mountains; from desert glamping under stars to world-class surfing beaches, nobody returns from Morocco untransformed by this wondrous country. When I close my eyes, what comes to mind—above all—are the colors. Nowhere else in the world is the palette of a place so in harmony with its physical surroundings, artistic expression, cooking and culture. Photos and videos give you a tantalizing taste, but neither comes close to experiencing Morocco yourself, with all your senses. 

Geography & vibe

Morocco is blessed with location. At the crossroads of Europe and Africa, surrounded by Mediterranean waters opening onto the Atlantic ocean, its unique topography will take you from snowy mountain peaks to green plains and valleys to desert to coast, all within one country! Experience the majestic Atlas mountains, rich in fauna and flora, lakes, oak forests and volcanic plateaus. Then soak in a warm pool in Marrakesh; what more can you ask? The natural beauty of Morocco will leave an imprint on your soul. I am always charmed and moved by the warmth, kindness, hospitality and  welcoming atmosphere of Morocco. 

People riding camels in the desert of Morocco

Credit: Lili Almog

Video courtesy of Morocco Tourism

Who should visit Morocco and when?

  • Morocco is fabulous for families, couples, a north-to-south honeymoons and is LGBT friendly. A recent hot trend is solo and group female travel—a safe and perfect bonding adventure. 
  • In terms of weather, Morocco can be stifling hot in summer and stingingly cold in winter, with lovely, warm, blue-sky days in between. I’d recommend winter, spring and fall.
  • Perhaps Morocco’s greatest festival take place in June: the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music. During Ramadan, be aware many restaurants close during the day.

Credit: Lili Almog

Cultural highlights:

  • Imperial cities that reveal the rich history of great Mediterranean civilizations
  • Nights of traditional live music and dancing in the desert along with a great feast is one of the best experiences in the world. Moroccan music combines traditional instruments, unique sounds, singing and large drums which elevate the spirit and produce great joy. Listen to my favorite Moroccan song here.
  • Arts & Crafts: When I leave Manhattan and build my dream home someday, my plan is to fill up a container and ship home pottery, dishes, carpets and mosaics to decorate in Moroccan style.
  • Carpets woven with beautiful color schemes echo the landscape and cooking of the region and are equally warm and inviting.
  • The clothing is the most comfortable ever. I personally own a beloved kaftan collection of breathable, elegant, embroidered cotton. They are all I ever wear at the beach. The fabrics are  getting more daring and look really cool when paired with open-ankle, flat pointy shoes.
  • The jewelry is authentic and features lots of silver and amber. Morocco is the place to buy beautiful large statement pieces, noticeable rings and necklaces. And every one of them has a story.
  • Pottery: exquisite handmade Berber blue pottery and clay pots adds a level of flavor you cannot ever achieve in metal cooking vessels
  • Architecture: You could fill up a whole book with just magnificent Islamic-inspired arches and doors. Even elegant modern structures like the exhibition center do not undermine the integrity of the regions. The exquisite design and colors of the mosaics are a photographer’s dream

Jewish Heritage in Morocco

Growing up in Israel, I was exposed to Moroccan Jewish culture. Always a royally protected community, there are still over 1,500 Jews living there today. My best friend’s father Gabriel Sebbag’s stories and childhood memories in Meknes, including how they celebrated Shabbat and maintained their synagogue, even with minimal resources, ignited in me a passion and desire to visit. I have now been all over the country and the Jewish Quarters of Casablanca, Fes, Marrakech and especially Beni Mellal are gorgeous and have touched me deeply. The 12th century Almoravide Koubba el Baroudiyn monument is one of the few reminders of the dynasty that presided over the “Golden Age” of Jews in Spanish Andalucía and Morocco.
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Al Azama Synagogue entrance, Marrakech Morocco

Al Azama Synogogue, Marrakesh. Photo: Wikipedia Commons

Detail of synagogue in Morocco

Synogogue interior detail, Marrakesh

Moroccan Jewish synagogue yom kippur torah

Jewish community in Marrakech-Essaouira celebrates Yum Kippur, 2013. Photo: Morocco World News

Moroccan food & drink

CUISINE

Since long before it was trendy, Moroccan food has been known for its fresh ingredients, nothing processed. The flavor profiles are sweet and unique, featuring amazing spices (that you can buy at the souks and bring home) nutmeg, cinnamon, date extract, dried prunes. Dishes like tagine-cooked meats, real couscous (not from a box!), and freshly caught fish grilled to perfection before your eyes will send you to food heaven. Top it off with famous Moroccan sweets and delectable French pastries at one of Essaouira’s many cafes.

WINE

While Morocco is a Muslim country, and obeys Islamic law regarding alcohol consumption, they also produce great wine, and I often include winery tours in my client’s itineraries and just as often they ship home case. Some of the great wineries in Meknes include: Domaine Zouina; Roslane Boutique Hotel; and Domaine de Baccari.

TEA

Discover why mysterious Moroccan mint tea is famous around the world. A perfect accompaniment for both sweet and savory dishes, it includes tons of fresh spearmint, sugar, water and gunpowder green tea will seduce you with its perfection.

Wellness

My clients often ask me to curate profound traditional body rituals for them. A luxury Moroccan hammam is a wonderful place to be and different than you find in Turkey, with products infused with rose hips and locally produced argan oil. You will emerge rejuvenated.

Secret insider tip

I love sending clients to off-the-beaten-path Agadir, a coastal village on Morocco’s southern coast where you can hike to the Kasbah—a set of fortifications built in 1541—or enjoy a beautiful stretch of sand with clean tranquil waves and lifeguards on patrol during peak summer months.

Most instagrammable

Of all the incredible sights, the fabric dying workshops are the most visually arresting. The odor is a little strong, but the scene is absolutely beautiful.

Spaces in a market in Morocco
Spa at Royal Monsour hotel Morocco

Spa entrance. Photo courtesy Royal Monsour

Colorful blue fabrics drying in the sun after being dyed., Morocco

Sacred Islamic sites

The call to prayer of the Muezzin can be heard from minarets across the nation and visitors are universally moved by the beautiful designs and architecture of Morocco’s many mosques. These include some of my personal favorites: the magnificent Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca; the iconic Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech; the pink-hued 11th-century century Great Mosque of Taza; the Syrian Mosque of Tangier; the Spanish Mosque situated on the hillside overlooking the Blue City of Chefchaouen and the huge Kairaouine Mosque in Fez.
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Hassan II Mosque reflecting pool in Casablanca, Morocco

Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca

The Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca is the largest mosque in Morocco

Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca

Mosque interior with pool, Morocco

Mosque interior

map of Morocco
Jamaa el Fna market, Marrakesh
Jamaa el Fna, Marrakesh, Morocco.
Beautiful mosaic door Royal Palace Rabat Morocco
Atlas Mountains
Starry night sky over Sahara desert
Female surfer and camels at the beach of Essaouira, Morocco, Africa.
assorted Morrocan sweets
assorted Morrocan sweets
seashell nautilus on sea beach under sunset sun light
seashell nautilus on sea beach under sunset sun light

SAMPLE  ITINERARY

Travelicious exclusive: 15 days through Morocco

Contact me to arrange your own personalized custom itinerary, with or without a private guide and driver.

camel drawing

DAY 1-3

Tangiers

Private transfer from airport to hotel. Visit Berber tombs; vibrant markets; the Kasbah; Jewish quarter; the caves of Hercules; Atlanic coast and one of the most beautiful (intagrammable) northern cities.

camel drawing

DAY 4

Fez

The imperial city of Fès is the spiritual and cultural heart of Morocco. Its Jewish community dates back more than 2,000 years and was home to the famous medieval Jewish scholar Maimonides. Experience Islamic artistic and architectural treasures; the world’s largest car-free urban space; the medina (market) and UNESCO World Heritage sites; spectacular mosques. My clients are treated to a mouth-watering evening tasting tour of the city.

Tagine drawing

DAY 5-6

Fez | Meknès | Rabat | Sale

Explore winding streets and elaborately decorated buildings; Roman archaeological site of Volubilis and ancient hilltop ruins; Jewish community of Meknes and Meir Toledano Synagogue; Discover French remnants in Rabat; breathtaking mosaics along the Decumanus Maximus; the green expanses of the Menara gardens. Take a scenic drive through the countryside to your next destination. Spend the night in an exquisite ocean-view riad.

lute drawing

DAY 7

Essaouira

Wake up in the charming fishing town of Essaouira, with its relaxed and artistic vibe. The beach is regarded as one of the best in the world for windsurfing. You can swim, sunbathe and chillax or ride horses, camels and dune buggies. Local cuisine is replete with fresh seafood and we always enjoy a spectacular seaside lunch and cooking class. Explore the massive medina, a mixture of Portuguese, French and Berber architecture.

lute drawing

DAY 8

Essaouira > Merzouga

Travel from the seaside to the Sahara Desert through fertile valleys and towering Erg Chebbi sand dunes to the village of Merzoug, which gives you the feeling of being alone in the world amidst the shifting sands and changing colors. Ride a camel into a breathtaking sunset; camp out in luxurious traditional style tent with a candle-lit dinner on the sand dunes, fantastic local cuisine around an open fire, enjoying live music and dancing under the stars.

lute drawing

DAY 9

Merzouga > Todra Gorge | M’Goun Valley

This is where you can live your Lawrence of Arabia moment riding a camel across the sand at sunrise. Limestone cliffs spectacular natural sights in Morocco Travel inland You will get closer to the customs and lifestyle of the Berber this evening with the night spent in a traditional Berber house called a gite.

lute drawing

DAY 10-12

Marrakesh

Founded over 1000 years ago, the “red city” is perhaps the most famous city in Morocco, a melting pot of Berber, African, Mediterranean, and Arab influences. Discover hidden neighborhoods as you venture into artisanal quarters and souks off-the-beaten-path for spices, gift-shopping, street food, and immersion in a way of life unchanged for centuries. Just before dusk, head to the Jemaa el-Fna, the main square for alfresco dining and entertainment.

In startling contrast is the “new town” of Guéliz, built by the French in the 1930s, with wide boulevards, modern shops and cafés, and the oasis of the Jardins Marjorelle created by Yves St Laurent. Other notable places to visit: the Saadian Tombs; the Koutoubia mosque and minaret; Jewish heritage sites; El-Bahia Palace; Museum of Culinary Arts.

I can also arrange a private class where you will learn the art of authentic and healthy Moroccan cooking among the olive groves and vegetable gardens in the Berber countryside in the verdant Amezmize Valley. Consider a day trip to the Agafay Desert, a roughly one-hour drive from Marrakesh.

lute drawing

DAY 13-15

Casablanca

A quick internal flight lands you in Casablanca, the most cosmopolitan of all the Moroccan cities. Highlights include Mosque Hassan II, one of the largest in the world, including a 60-story minaret and one of the few open to non-Muslims; the Museum of Moroccan Judaism, the only Jewish museum in a Muslim country. Spend an afternoon rejuvenating with a spa massage and traditional hammam before heading home.

Hotels I Love in Morocco

{And can get you exclusive VIP perks}
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Mandarin Oriental Hotel Marrakech logo
Wedding at Mandarin Oriental Marrakech

Route du Golf Royal, Marrakech, Morocco

Even if the General Manager wasn’t one of my closest friends, I would love the Mandarin Oriental Marrakech. Each villa benefits from its own individual floral design. The olive trees in the garden herald from the Atlas Mountains, including the one which stands in the middle of the golden pool at the main entrance. Their vegetable garden provides more than 90 varieties of tomatoes, including an astonishing blue tomato with exceptional antioxidant properties. The resort also features beautiful guestrooms and 65 heated pools.

My clients will receive:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Buffet Breakfast for two guests per bedroom
  • US$100 equivalent Food & Beverage credit to be utilized during stay 
  • Welcome amenity
  • Early Check-In / Late Check-Out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
royal mansour hotel morocco logo
marrakesh morocco royal mansour riad suite

  Rue Abou Abbas El Sebti, 40000, Marrakech, Morocco

Legendary around the world for its luxurious beauty, the Royal Mansour is where the King of Morocco hosts his visitors. This property represents great value by relative standards. The accommodations are massive, multi-room suites with pools and large entry courtyards. It is located just inside the medina and the palace commissioned all the best old-world artisans to craft every detail, replicating old world hospitality with all the modern conveniences. The hotel is a destination in itself, and I don’t often say that.

My clients will receive:

  • Upgrade from Superior 1 br to Premier 1 br on arrival, subject to availability
  • Daily full breakfast for two guests per bedroom
  • US$100 equivalent Resort or Hotel credit to be utilized during stay on Spa services or Food & Beverage 
  • Early Check-In / Late Check-Out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
four seasons casablanca logo
four seasons casablanca morocco

Boulevard de la Corniche, Casablanca, Morocco

A modern Moroccan resort “bathed in natural light, [a] seaside hotel that cascades down a hillside toward the Atlantic.” Enjoy sweeping views from your private balcony; fresh local seafood at Bleu; and the perfect location, minutes from the city center. Their Royal Suite is equipped with an indoor-outdoor fireplace and captivating 180-degree ocean view. Property includes a year-round heated outdoor pool. Le Spa at Four Seasons offers a full menu of rejuvenating beauty treatments and therapeutic massages.

My clients will receive:

  • Daily full breakfast for two people per bedroom, served in a hotel restaurant or through In-Room Dining
  • Resort Credit (based on room category booked) enriching your stay with a choice of experience – spa, dining or recreation: Guest Rooms: US$100 credit per stay; Suites and Specialty Suites: US$200 credit per stay; Private Retreats: US$200 credit per bedroom/stay
  • Room upgrade, based on availability at time of check-in
  • Basic Internet in rooms & premium Internet in suites