Time difference: GMT
Currency: Moroccan Dirham
Flight time: 3.5 hours
Scorched red earth. Whitewashed riads. Ochre city walls. Verdant fruit trees. The deep cerulean and buttercup yellow of Marrakech’s memorial gardens. Morocco is a country of many colours and extreme contrasts. From the jagged peaks of the fertile Atlas Mountains to the arid desert dunes of Erg Chebbi, Morocco is as diverse in topography as you could possibly imagine.
The coasts are spectacular, with pounding Atlantic rollers, sandy beaches as wide as motorways or romantic hidden coves. The cities range from contemporary and cosmopolitan in the Ville Nouvelle to the tiny switchback lanes of the ancient, history-wreathed medina. Markets yield all manner of treasures, from the snake charmers and mint teas Djemaa El-Fnaa to Fes’ traditionally dyed fabrics.
Pick up intricately tooled handmade leather sandals, produced by craftsmen who have learnt their trade handed down through generations before them; or plump leather pouffes adorned with a tile design; jewelled babouche slippers encrusted with sequins and stones; fragrant spices you’ll of which you’ll pay a fraction of what it would cost you back home. Morocco’s charm lies also in its many authentic experiences. Learn to roll cous cous, trek through the desert, Disney style, on a camel, climb Jebel Toubkal with a Bedouin tribesman, or sweat it out in a hammam.