Morocco

In Morocco

July 4, 2017

In May Vitaliy and I spent almost three weeks traveling around Morocco. I went there the next day after I came back from Almaty in Kazakhstan and I traveled over 10 000 kilometers to reach Marrakech within two days of traveling non-stop.

By the time I arrived in Morocco I was really exhausted, but… Let’s be honest, those, addicted to traveling, would rather choose that than to stay in the same comfortable place for a long period of time. So I gave myself two days to relax in a beautiful Riad in the old Medina in Marrakech and then we started our journey through the country.

In this post, I will write about our trip in general, and share our itinerary and tips how to get around the country. In the next posts on this blog, you can read about every place that we visited in Morocco in detail.

Travel Itinerary:

Marrakech – stayed at Riad Johara
Asni Village in the Atlas Mountains – stayed at Kasbah Tamadot by Virgin Limited
Went back to Marrakech
Ait Bin Haddou – stayed at the first Auberge that we saw
Merzouga stayed at Kanz Erremal Hotel at the footsteps of the dunes
Spent a night at a Berber camp Khaïmas in the dunes
Went glamping in the dunes with Merzouga Luxury Desert Camps
Canceled Fes and Chefchouan
Returned to Marrakech
 

Why did we spend almost three weeks in 7 places only? 

First of all, Morocco is a big country and it takes a lot of time to travel to some parts. But most importantly, we wanted to slow down, feel Morocco and make a lot of photos from the places that are less popular with tourists and bloggers.

Marrakech

So our first stop was Marrakech. When I was growing up I read a lot of Arabic poetry, stories and folk tales like One Thousand and One Nights Nights. My imagination created bright visuals of Arabian palaces, houses, gardens, and streets. I was imagining mise-en-scenes from the books in tiny details and how a young man would see an uncovered woman’s wrist that she would show from the window of her palace to tease him, and how he would fall in love with her. I was thinking about how the full moon shone as bright as the sun did in the middle of the night in Sahara desert. All this, and of course, Disney’s Aladdin had a huge impact on me and on my choices of the destinations to travel to.

So I love traveling around the Middle East and North Africa. Of course, a lot of the things that I read about were just the romance of the books. Modern cities like Marrakech are very different from those times when the poets wrote about them.

When I was planning the trip I felt that we might not like it in Marrakech. But we planned to start our journey from this city. And when we came there I realized that my feelings were right. I did not belong there. I mean I am an experienced traveler and I enjoyed Cairo, but there was something commercial about Marrakech. I just felt that it started losing its authenticity because of a number of tourists arriving there every day. C’est la vie! I also thought that Marrakech would be very similar to many Arabic cities, but no. It still has its own charm that is very different from all the cities that I visited.

There are over 1200 Riads in the Medina, so it is very hard to choose the one that would be a perfect match for you. The prices vary a lot, some Riads are very dirty, whereas others are luxurious. We chose to stay at a lovely Riad Johara that is owned and managed by Astrid from Germany. It seemed like this place came straight away from one of the tales of One Thousand and One Nights Nights. Aladdin, the cat who lives in the Riad has an Instagram account, and I have to admit that he has a great sense of humor! Follow him for your daily dose of happiness 🙂

Kasbah Tamadot in the Atlas Mountains

After Marrakech, we went to a very special place in Asni Village in the Atlas Mountains – Kasbah Tamadot by Virgin Limited.

The easiest way to go to Asni is a taxi that you can take in Jemaa el-Fnaa Square in Marrakech. If you negotiate well, the price could be 230 Dhm.

Once you start ascending into the mountains the landscape and the climate will be changing from the unbearable heat and deserted flat ground of Marrakech to mountain coolness, palmeries, rivers, and ravines.

Kasbah Tamadot is a luxurious magical retreat in Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains that is a part of Virgin Limited collection. In 1998 Sir Richard Branson went to Morocco with the goal of circumnavigating the globe in a hot air balloon. His parents found a beautiful Kasbah and dreamed of turning it into a retreat and soon he made his parents’ dream come true.

We stayed in a luxurious tent and enjoyed discovering the Berber culture. You can read more about this unique experience in the next post on Morocco.

Ancient town Ait Ben Haddou

This was one the destinations that I wanted to visit the most during my trip to Morocco.

We called the same taxi driver and asked us to pick us up from Asni and take to the Supratours bus station in Marrakech. We decided to use local buses for the rest of our trip through the country. Supratours is considered to be one of the most reliable bus companies in Morocco. Unfortunately, you still can’t book your tickets online (as of May 2017). You have to come to the bus station a day or two before your travel date and buy your ticket. We came 2 hours before and were lucky enough to buy the tickets to Ouarzazate. You also can’t buy your tickets while you are in point A to go from point B to C.

Ait Ben Haddou is an ancient fortified village (ksar in Arabic) that was built along the former caravan route between Marrakech and Timbuktu. We woke up early to see the sunrise above the ancient town and have it all to ourselves before the tourists came.

You can read more about visiting Ait Ben Haddou in the next post on my blog (coming soon).

Merzouga

Merzouga is a small village in the doorway of the dunes of Sahara desert in the East of Morocco 50 km away from the border with Algeria. This is the place where the majority of the desert tours begin.

People in Merzouga are generally different from people that we met in other parts of Morocco. They are very relaxed and I think they are also taller. 

We decided to stay and relax in a traditional hotel called Kanz Erremal. I chose it because of the swimming pool overlooking the dunes. We spent some nights there because we wanted to feel its tranquility and then went to a spend a night under the stars in a traditional Berber camp.

You can read more about visiting Merzouga in the next post on my blog (coming soon).

Glamping in the dunes

Glamping is a glamorous type of camping with amenities and services of a luxury hotel. We stayed in a luxurious tent. It gets very very hot during the day in May, so usually, everyone goes to some Kasbah to spend a day at the pool and then come for the sunset and the dinner. We chose to stay at Merzouga Luxury Desert Camps as it is in the world’s top-10 glamping experiences.

The sunsets and sunrises in the desert are amazing, the dunes change their colors from beige to golden and dark orange. We were also very fortunate to see be in the middle of the dunes for the full moon. The last picture was taken in the middle of the night, the moon was shining very bright.

You can read more about our glamping experience in the next post (coming soon).

General bits of advice for traveling to Morocco:

  1. Girls, I know some of you spent months in the gym making your bodies beautiful. And I know it is trendy to walk around Morocco half naked wearing beautiful boho/”gypsea” outfits. Pictures come out great. But! Morocco is not your country, all of us are just guests there. While the King of Morocco is very modern and progressive, traditions are still strong. If respecting the culture does not convince you to dress up appropriately in a Muslim country, perhaps you would want to take care of your own safety then. Who would want to be called a b**** in the street and be threatened to be taken to the police for the way one looks? Please, don’t get influenced by influencers who only care about their own growth.
  2. When you go to the desert make sure to bring your sunscreen, a hat, and drink a lot of water. The desert is not a playground. 
  3. Not all places accept credit cards, so think about finding an ATM way in advance.
  4. It is very easy to be lost in the Medina in Marrakech. We used offline maps called maps.me and they were very accurate and helped us get around the city.
  5. I felt safe in Morocco, people (not including Marrakech) were very open and always ready to help. Would I enjoy it that much if I didn’t travel with my husband? No!
  6. Roaming was bloody expensive. Getting a local Sim card is a very good solution.

If you liked this post and these photographs, make sure to follow my adventures on Instagram to be the first one to discover more amazing locations around the world.

Best Hotels in Morocco - where to stay in Morocco, travel itinerary, Merzouga, Atlas Mountains, glamping, ait ben haddou, kasbah tamadot

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61 Comments

  • Reply Susan R July 4, 2017 at 11:03 am

    I’m impressed at the number of hotels you stayed in and the fact that you saw some lesser known parts of Morocco. I haven’t been for years but this certainly makes me want to return. Love your photos by the way, I remember seeing some of them on Instagram.

    • Siniciliya
      Reply Siniciliya July 5, 2017 at 8:31 am

      Susan, I always thought that Morocco is a place that has many amazing hotels. And I love hotels, that is why I wanted to try out many different ones.
      I don’t think that I visited less-known places in Morocco, except for Asni, but I definitely gave myself a chance to explore them.

  • Reply nycgingeronthego July 4, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    Those deserts are incredible I have never been anywhere like that. I also love all of the tiling in Morocco. I would like to go one day, but waiting for friends to come with me as I am hesitant to go solo.

    • Siniciliya
      Reply Siniciliya July 5, 2017 at 8:25 am

      I would not recommend you going solo. I am pretty sure you would be safe, but you definitely will not feel comfortable

  • Reply Kevin Wagar July 4, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    Epic shots! I have been dying to visit Morocco, and you’re showing off some of the best reasons why I need to get moving!

    • Siniciliya
      Reply Siniciliya July 5, 2017 at 8:20 am

      Kevin, it is definitely worth visiting, but note, it is becoming very touristy

  • Reply Candy July 4, 2017 at 9:11 pm

    Fantastic photos! That one of you in the bath with all the flowers is so amazing. I wish to visit Marrakech some day 🙂

    • Siniciliya
      Reply Siniciliya July 5, 2017 at 8:19 am

      Thank you so much, Candy!

  • Reply Natasha July 5, 2017 at 12:37 am

    Wow wow wow I love love your photos so much!!! You have such an eye! 🙂 I think I’d love to do some glamping in the dunes 🙂

    • Siniciliya
      Reply Siniciliya July 5, 2017 at 5:14 am

      Thank you so much, Natasha! Glamping in the dunes is such a cool experience!

  • Reply Claire Summers July 5, 2017 at 1:24 am

    Its so funny as to me my first thought was wow thats a lot to se in 3 weeks hahah. I’m such a slow traveler. If its possible to be a traveler that doesn’t like the actual traveling bit, thats me! It looks like you had an incredible time and your photos are stunning!

    • Siniciliya
      Reply Siniciliya July 5, 2017 at 5:20 am

      Thank you so much, Claire! I understand what you mean. I wish I could travel as slowly as I did 10 years ago. There was no need to rush!

  • Reply Sandy N Vyjay July 5, 2017 at 8:07 am

    Lovely post and stunning pictures too. Morocco comes alive in all its vibrant colours. Marrakech has always been a source of intrigue and fascination for me. The name itself evokes an aura of mystique. Would love to get there some day.

  • Reply robin rue July 5, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    I have ALWAYS wanted to visit Morocco! It seems like such a gorgeous place to visit. I loved looking at all your photos.

  • Reply Paige Wunder July 5, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    Nice post and gorgeous photos, as always. I’m grateful for the itinerary as I’m starting to plan a trip to Morocco. I’m hoping to get to stay one week longer than you. Would you recommend trying to fit anything else in?

    • Siniciliya
      Reply Siniciliya July 5, 2017 at 2:01 pm

      I would recommend spending less time in the cities. I regret that I didn’t visit the Atlantic or the Mediterranean.

  • Reply Tom @ Adventurous Travels July 5, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    Beautiful photos, as always 🙂 I visited Morocco and the country was so amazing (with the exception of some unfortunate encounters with the locals). I love the desert dunes and I am wondering how did you take the bird’s eye view photo? Did you use a drone? It looks so cool!

  • Reply Patricia Steffy (@PLSteffy) July 5, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    Absolutely stunning photos! I can’t even imagine what it must be like to glamp in the midst of the dunes like that. And I can’t believe how bright the moon was!! I would like to see Marrakech just for the experience of it, but it does sound like it has become pretty crowded and touristy, so I doubt I would stay long.

  • Reply KimberlyCruzLopez July 5, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    These photos are phenomenal!!!

  • Reply Terri Steffes July 5, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    I think these are the best photos yet! The sand ones are exquisite. I love the bird’s eye view of the city.

  • Reply Jen Morrow July 5, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    The city looks amazing, with colorful tiles and awesome architecture! Then Glamping in the dunes blows that away. That looks like an incredible experience.

  • Reply Kecia | From Mom's Desk July 5, 2017 at 7:05 pm

    Sounds like (and looks like) you had an amazing journey through Morocco. I think taking longer to visit the area was a good idea, so you could really soak it all in and get the photographs you wanted.

  • Reply Megan Indoe July 5, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    Morocco has to be the most photogenic place in the world. I haven’t seen an ugly photo from there yet, and yours are absolutely stunning. I would love to do the glamping! Also all those decorative tiles, I have to go there!

  • Reply theclutterboxblog July 5, 2017 at 9:25 pm

    Oh gosh the bathtub and flowers! I have always wanted to do that! 3 weeks to explore parts of morocco sounds amazing, I love your comment about respecting the culture, summer bod is great but honoring the traditions of others is good too.

  • Reply Marcie July 5, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    Ooh! Morocco has been on my list for awhile. Good to know that Marrakech might not live up to my dreams 🙂

  • Reply Vibeke Johannessen July 5, 2017 at 11:04 pm

    I am so jealous. Morocco is on my bucket list and it has been on it for a while. Your photos looks amazing. The architecture and the culture there is so unique and colorful.I would love to stay at Riad Johara. This place is an instagrammers dream. xD

  • Reply Andrea July 5, 2017 at 11:10 pm

    i love all of this, Morocco has been on my places to go for sometime. i had a family friend who lived there and every time she came back to home to visit would bring the best spices and desserts and the art.

  • Reply Crystal Green July 6, 2017 at 12:15 am

    This looks like a wonderful place to go visit. You took some stunning pictures too. I would love to go glamping there.

  • Reply Cassie July 6, 2017 at 1:02 am

    Your pictures are amazing!!! I’ve been dying to go to Morocco and I really hope we get there soon! It just looks like a truly beautiful country!

  • Reply Kim July 6, 2017 at 1:05 am

    Such beautiful photos. I love the architecture and colors in the tile work. You have such an amazing life and I love reading about your travels.

  • Reply Angela Zielinska July 6, 2017 at 3:42 am

    I don’t get why all those “influencer” girls need to walk half naked in such countries!

  • Reply thekusilife July 6, 2017 at 3:57 am

    Looks like such an amazing time! I love the beautiful architecture of the buildings – amazing! I must say you are brave! I honestly don’t know if I would dare travel there – when you mentioned the clothing women wear and being respectful of the culture I think I would be so worried of offending or doing something wrong and it would be hard for me to enjoy it.

    • Siniciliya
      Reply Siniciliya July 6, 2017 at 4:05 am

      I saw a European/US girl in a village whose did not cover her belly and her shorts hardly covered her butt. Beautiful body, I must admit, but who was she showing it off in a small conservative village except for maybe gaining another thousand likes on Instagram?

  • Reply Lyf&Spice July 6, 2017 at 4:02 am

    I love the detailing! The pictures are just so beautiful too. Hope to visit some day soon. Cheers!!

  • Reply Meg Jerrard July 6, 2017 at 4:05 am

    Your photos are stunning; I’ve always wanted to visit Morocco, thoughit’s sad to hear that Marrakech has started losing its authenticity – means I’ll have to travel sooner rather than later! Thanks for sharing your itinerary though it sounds like an incredible experience overall – glamping in the dunes in particular is something I really want to do 🙂

  • Reply Sally E July 6, 2017 at 6:26 am

    I feel like whenever I visit your page I tell you your photos are stunning but I’m still going to reiterate it :). Looks like you had the PERFECT Morocco itinerary – a good mix of desert and cities! The riads look incredible as well. I’ve only been to a few of the cities but I’d love to experience the desert for myself one day!

  • Reply Rhian Westbury July 6, 2017 at 8:55 am

    I did a week travelling Morocco a year or so ago so have been to most of the places you visited but I’d have loved to spend more time there like you did. Sounds like a great trip x

  • Reply Blythe Alpern July 6, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    Glamping in the dunes sounds like a dream. I’m all about the comfort of a hotel but sometimes you have to try a new adventure especially when you have the chance.

  • Reply Prime Beauty Blog (@PrimeBeauty50) July 6, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    I’ve always wanted to travel to Morocco. It is such a beautiful and mysterious place. From the pictures, it definitely lives up to what I always imagined.

  • Reply bitsandbiteswithava July 6, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    Wow! What stunning photos. I have always wanted to go to Morocco. I know my husband would love to travel there too, maybe sometime in our future. So beautiful. – jeanine

  • Reply Kristina July 6, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    Amazing photos and I bet you had a great time! This looks like a memorable trip and experience. I’d love to go here!!

  • Reply Nicole Shillings July 6, 2017 at 7:29 pm

    Wow! Your photos are crazy amazing! I’ve always wanted to go to Morocco and now you’ve helped me bump it up on my travel priority list.

  • Reply Blair Villanueva July 7, 2017 at 5:52 am

    Veronica you are my travel icon. True because you always makes us feeling jealous with your adventure, and you can make a desert looks like a magical destination thru your photos. Also i couldn’t help liking your pose when you are in the tub and beside the pool with lots of flora!

  • Reply The Tiny Book July 7, 2017 at 6:58 am

    Morocco is one of those places where you do not need much to feel like a Princess… and you pictures (amazing, by the way), do show! I’d love to go back there and explore the north of the country which I missed in my last trip, but I wouldn’t say no to going back to sleep in the desert. Glamping in the Sahara… how cool is that?

  • Reply Ami Bhat July 7, 2017 at 7:56 am

    Marrakech has been on my list for a long time. And your post just makes me realize that its a high time I do something about it. Loved your pictures there. Very well taken. Those ones of the sand dunes are stunning. Well done!

  • Reply Paul Harvey July 7, 2017 at 10:38 am

    Ohh. I did not that Morocco is actually a big country. I’ll definitely include this is my list of places to go to. Thank you for sharing your wonderful trip! 🙂

  • Reply Cassie @ Southeast by Midwest July 7, 2017 at 11:27 am

    Morocco is beautiful beyond words. It just has an air of mystery about it. I would love to be able to visit there just once.

  • Reply Akashdeep July 7, 2017 at 10:33 pm

    The detailed review is just so awesome. You have mentioned every bit of your travel which makes us plan easily. The photos too have been clicked to the perfection and some are just mind blowing. Good work!

  • Reply Amanda Love July 8, 2017 at 1:23 am

    I’ve always wanted to go to Morocco and experience what’s in the travel guides of fellow bloggers. It’s an amazing place and there’s plenty of things to do and see there!

  • Reply The Everyday Mom Life July 8, 2017 at 2:02 am

    This place looks simply stunning. I don’t think of Morocco having deserts like that. I’m going to have to add this to my must visit list.

  • Reply Lynnette July 8, 2017 at 2:47 am

    Wow wow wow! I think I love every single photo from your trip. Absolutely beautiful

  • Reply Reshma July 8, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    Morocco is one of the countries that appeals to me the most, and you are right about spending your time to maximize the experiences, rather than rushing around. Loved your pics totally! I have done glamping and loved it!

    • Siniciliya
      Reply Siniciliya July 9, 2017 at 7:59 pm

      Thank you, Reshma! Where did you go glamping?

  • Reply toughcookiemommy July 8, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    My aunt actually spent her honeymoon in Morocco years ago. A local man offered my uncle twenty five camels in exchange for my aunt.

    • Siniciliya
      Reply Siniciliya July 9, 2017 at 7:58 pm

      If they offered 25 camels, then she is very very beautiful! 🙂

  • Reply Brianna July 9, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    I’ve wanted to travel to Morocco for so long! Were the dresses you were wearing in your photos considered appropriate dress for Morocco? Did you deal with a lot of heckling?

    • Siniciliya
      Reply Siniciliya July 9, 2017 at 7:56 pm

      Brianna, I never walked alone in the Medina of Marrakech, without my husband. I guess this really explains how a woman feels there …
      When we traveled and made stops in non-touristic places people were the sweetest. I walked alone and felt safe, men were very polite.
      The dress that I wore in Marrakech was perfectly fine – it was long enough to cover the knees, it was not too tight. It would have been perfect if it also covered my shoulders, but I walked with my husband and the dress was way more modest than you’d see other girls wearing there.
      When I went to the villages, I wore a longer skirt and a cotton shirt. You’ll see it in the upcoming posts.

  • Reply Cruise Writer July 10, 2017 at 4:32 am

    Definitely remember getting lost in the medina in Marrakech, so glad to hear that there is a good map of it. That was many years ago, so it would be interesting to see how things have changed. I highly recommend Morocco as a great destination to explore.

  • Reply Dom July 10, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    Having only ever been to Marrakech, I now want to go back and see more of the country. Great photos and um, where do I sign u for clamping with the camel. Super cool road trip option – 3 weeks in a location is a great way to do and see more than the standard must-see list.

  • Reply SindhuMurthy July 10, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    I fell in love with Morocco the very moment I saw your feature image. But as I discovered more pictures on your post, I m wondering if it is the location that is so breathtaking or your photographic skills. I really love the way you have framed and composed every picture. Especially the ones shot in sand dunes- magical is how I would describe them.

  • Reply thewaywardwalrus July 12, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    Can I just say how incredibly obsessed I am with every single one of these photos! Like all the colors and framing are spot on. Most people just stop in Morocco for a few days in seems, I absolutely love that you guys to truly explore the area. Definitely going to revisit your post and itinerary when I (hopefully) make it to Morocco.

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