Different in their own way, Morocco’s big cities are home to Morocco’s finest architecture, the most interesting museums - and the best shopping.
Morocco’s largest city and capital respectively – do not have the wow-factor of Marrakech. Nor do they have the hordes of tourists. Casablanca features interesting art deco architecture, an attractive corniche and a humming nightlife. Rabat is more sedate but has a star attraction – the old Kasbah des Oudaïas, perched high above the Atlantic rollers.
A peaceful town with a palmeraie, Erfoud is famous for its fossils and dates. You can buy fossils in every shape and form, from a trilobite keyring to a polished basin of fossil-filled black marble (this might be tricky to take back on the airplane). 50 kilometres further on, at the foot of the majestic Erg Chebbi dunes, Merzouga is a great place to camp under the stars and experience the absolute silence of the desert night.
Nothing quite prepares you for Fes. The world’s only intact medieval city, Fes is a teeming warren of narrow lanes, blind alleys and fondouks where you’re too busy trying to keep up with what’s happening around you to reach for your camera and where getting lost is all part of the adventure. Nearby Meknes is another old imperial city, with grandiose architecture dating from the time of Sultan Moulay Ismaïl..
Most travellers come to Marrakech hoping to find exotic-looking people, ornate palaces and treasure-filled souks. They want to take a magic carpet ride into the world of the Arabian Nights - and to be able to buy the carpet afterwards. Amazingly, Marrakech manages to live up to this fantasy.
Despite a wave of development, Tangier still retains the raffish charm it enjoyed as an International Zone from 1912 to 1956. Its radiant light, picturesque medina and fine views over the straights of Gibraltar have attracted artists and writers from Matisse to Paul Bowles and the Beat poets.
Carline Donald, travelled to Marrakech with Lawrence of Morocco in March 2014.
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