Travel to Magical Morocco
Discover the magic of Morocco
A camel caravan crossing the sand dunes of the Sahara in Morocco
Lazing on a palm-shadowed beach may be the cliched image that comes to mind when most people think of a honeymoon trip, but it’s not to everyone’s taste.
For couples seeking a little more adventure, Morocco makes a compelling case: the palpable energy of cosmopolitan Marrakesh; the maze of medinas in ancient cities such as Fes; the dramatic scenery of the Atlas Mountains; the spectacular coastline of Essaouria.
No matter what your idea of romance is, the ‘Gateway to Africa’ can deliver; there are few destinations that are more seductive.
Djemaa El Fna at sunset by Michal Osmenda. Creative Commons Attribution Licence
There’s no place in Morocco where you’ll feel more caught up in the exoticism of the country than in Marrakesh. Immerse yourself in the souks, where buyers and sellers barter over silverware, leather goods, pottery, jewellery, spices and other treasures.
When the sun goes down, Djemaa el-Fna – the city’s Unesco World Heritage-listed main square – is transformed into an intoxicating carnival of sights, sounds and smells, as dining carts wafting smoke from grilled meats roll in and storytellers, snake charmers and belly-dancers fill the square.
Designed by the French painter, Jacques Majorelle, this colourful cacti-filled garden offers respite from the frantic pace of life in the medina. Wander arm-in-arm along the terracotta-tiled walkways around water fountains and bougainvillea, before checking out the small Museum of Islamic Art.
Le Palais Rhoul hammam
Lap up the opulence of Le Palais Rhoul as you get the classic hammam treatment amid intricate zellij (traditional Moroccan-styled mosaic tiles) walls and colonnades. Indulge in massages and body treatments and let all the months of wedding-planning stress melt away.
The tree-shaded courtyard of an old house at Le Pavillion provides the perfect backdrop for romance. Tucked down an alley near La Maison Arabe, it serves delicious French haute cuisine and is the special night out in Marrakesh.
La Villa Des Orangers (villadesorangers.com)
Built in the 1930s and transformed into a luxury riad (a traditional home turned guesthouse) in 1998, this opulent property is the ideal honeymoon stay. Two-level master suites are fitted with fireplaces in the bedroom and clawfoot bathtubs, and come with private terraces overlooking the Koutoubia Mosque and out to the Atlas Mountains.
Bacs de tannage à Fes by Nozav. Creative Commons Attribution Licence
In the crumbling walls of the medieval Fes medina you’ll sip mint tea in the courtyard of your riad to a soundtrack of the haunting call to prayer. For most travellers, this is the ‘real Morocco’. Weave your way through unmapped lanes in the bazaar of crammed souks, mosques, restaurants and riads. For the ultimate Fes honeymoon experience, ditch the city’s stinky tanneries and head to the Merenid tombs in the early evening for sunset views over the largest living Islamic medieval city in the world.
La Maison Bleue
Set in an ancestral home, this riad/restaurant has a lovely air of intimacy, and diners feast on tagines, pastries and salads while being serenaded by an oud player.
Palais Amani (www.palaisamani.com)
An intensely romantic atmosphere permeates this intimate riad, from the heady perfume of the citrus trees in the gardens to the zellij hallways. It has been meticulously restored and offers honeymooners rooftop showers, private terraces, hammam treatments and panoramic city views from the rooftop bar.
Remote village in the High Atlas Mountains between Marrakech and Ouzarzate by jonl1973.Creative Commons Attribution Licence
Separating the Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines from the Sahara desert, theAtlas Mountains offer some of the most breathtaking scenery imaginable. Glimpsing the snowcapped range from Marrakesh is almost good enough, but it is worth making the trip out there to discover the Berber population’s culture and traditions, indulge in moonlit desert dinners and hike dramatic trails.
Head to the Toubkal National Park, home to the majestic Toubkal mountain range located in the High Atlas. It’s only a couple of hours drive from Marrakesh and while trekking you have the stunning backdrop of the city itself.
Photo by cylonfingers. Creative Commons Attribution Licence
Burning sunsets, fresh sea breezes, a laidback atmosphere and ‘straight out of the water’ seafood typify the quaint fishing village of Essaouira. There’s little to distract you from simply hanging out in coastal cafes and strolling along the beach, and it feels worlds away from the chaos of Fes and Marrakesh. With its whitewashed buildings and blue shutters, Essaouria is reminiscent of the Greek islands and is a suitably relaxed place to end your honeymoon.
One of the first riads to open as accommodation, hip Villa Maroc’s restaurant is worth a visit even if you’re not staying here. Using local produce it serves a changing menu of seafood and Moroccan-meets-European cuisine in cosy salons.
Heure Blue Palais (www.heure-bleue.com)
This grand hotel tries everything it can to tempt you from leaving. Start your day with breakfast in the pretty central courtyard before cooling off in the rooftop pool, then choose between an evening drink in the piano lounge or dinner on the terrace.