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- Introducing Morocco
- Moroccan Food
- Safety, Scams, and Insurance
- Morocco For Digital Nomads
- And That's A Wrap
Welcome To Morocco!
Morocco is very tourist-friendly, with plenty of things to do for travellers. It has a postcard-perfect look with deserts, mountains, beaches, big cities, and charming villages. For history buffs, there are many cultural tours and museums to explore. If you're a thrill seeker like me, there are outdoor activities such as surfing, horseback riding, ATV driving, and skiing.
The colours, scents, and flavours of Morocco were intense and extraordinary! Morocco was dominated by shades of red, sand, and indigo blue. The cuisine was mouthwatering! I made an effort to eat Moroccan food most of the time, and yet I couldn't taste the full array of dishes they had to offer.
In most cities, there was a healthy presence of conservative and liberal ideologies. Old versus new was a strong theme in everyday life. In global hubs such as Marrakech, Casablanca, and Tangier, the nightlife was booming, with alcohol flowing until 5AM. However, in more traditional places like Fez and Chefchaouen, there was no sight of alcohol anywhere and most places closed by 10PM.
What I personally loved about Morocco was the blend of French, Spanish, Arab, and African cultures present throughout the country.
I dedicated a month to unraveling the enigma of Morocco, a captivating North African country. Here's a streamlined breakdown of my travel itinerary:
- Marrakech: 5 nights
- Essaouira: 3 nights
- Marrakech: 2 nights
- Fez: 5 nights
- Chefchaouen: 2 nights
- Tangier: 5 nights
- Casablanca: 3 nights
Marrakesh is the 4th largest city in Morocco, and it is the most popular city amongst tourists. Marrakesh blends old traditional culture well with a modern outlook.
Marrakesh is an extremely busy and chaotic city bustling with energy. It has plenty to see and do from the Old Medina to the picturesque Jardin Majorelle to the Yves Saint Laurent museum. Marrakesh offers day trips to locations in the desert and into the Atlas Mountain range for those looking to get away from the city. Marrakesh is also a great place to experience the country’s culture, with its numerous mosques, palaces, and gardens.
If, for whatever reason, you only have the time to see one city in Morocco, Marrakesh is the place to go. It encapsulated Morocco's culture extremely well and will leave you satisfied as a traveller.
Essaouira is a perfect little bohemian seaside paradise, straight out of a fever dream. Exploring Essaouira solo for 4 days was one of the best times I have ever had in my travels. The city has so much to offer and its relaxed vibe made it the perfect place to escape from the hustle & bustle of city life in Marrakech.
Essaouira can provide you with some unforgettable beach experiences such as surfing and horseback riding on the beach. My life legit felt like a movie when I was in Essaouira!
The food in Essaouira is something else altogether — traditional Moroccan cuisine meets fresh seafood. Each meal was a mouthwatering experience. The calamari tajine was undoubtedly my foodie highlight. For those who appreciate art, there are plenty of galleries to check out. I visited a few and was amazed at the talent of the local artists. I used a local coworking and coliving hub, NOQTA Space, as my base in Essaouira. It’s a great place to meet other like-minded people and get some work done in a relaxed setting. It was perfect for a digital nomad like me.
Overall, I had an amazing experience in Essaouira. It’s a beautiful little town and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a chill solo getaway. Though to truly experience the vibe of Essaouira, I suggest you get a taste of the contrasting hustle & bustle of Marrakech first.
Fez is an extremely traditional and chaotic city that is often referred to as Morocco's cultural capital.
Fez embodies the old Moroccan way of living in a bustling maze-like city. Fez is home to Fez El Bali, the largest car free urban area in the world. It's a warren of twisting lanes and centuries-old monuments and mosques. Exploring the maze of little streets leaves you wondering where you are. It's charming and old-school but it can also be described as "intense”. The Medina of Fez is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Another popular site in Fez is The Chouara Tannery, one of the oldest and largest tanneries in the world. This place has been in operation for over 1000 years and produces leather for the whole world. The tannery is a testament to the artistry and craftsmanship of Morocco's past, and thanks to its high-quality leather, it is also a vital part of the country's present and future.
One thing to note here is that the tannery has an extremely foul scent. Personally, I wasn’t too put off by it, but I met plenty of other travelers who found the scent unbearable. Not to worry, the local shopkeepers at the tannery entrance will hand you mint leaves to mask the intense scent (for a $ tip of course).
That being said, people either love Fez for the culture or dislike it for its intensity. Personally, I found it to be very intense and chaotic, but I also felt it was important to see Morocco through the eyes of Fezys.
Chefchaouen is a picturesque mountain town with perfect blue-washed buildings. Also know as the 'Blue Pearl' of Morocco, Chefchaouen is a small & stunning mountain city in the north known for being the bluest damn thing in the country -- and maybe even the world.
The blue alleyways of Chefchaouen make you feel like you’re stepping into an oil painting. It feels kinda euphoric to aimlessly wander the streets and take in the dreamy vibe of this small town. Chefchaouen is overflowing with bright blue emotion. Warm waves of colour inside every alley, around every corner, and atop every staircase.
The blue roots of Chefchaouen are still a mystery. According to legend, the blue colour symbolizes the sky and heaven, and was introduced to the city in the 15th century by Jewish refugees. The blue is also said to symbolize the Mediterranean Sea, or to provide protection from mosquitoes.
It's a must-visit dreamland nestled inside Morocco.
Tangier is a super relaxed port city across Europe, known for its exotic mix of African, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Middle Eastern influences. It is an important port city located on the Straight of Gibraltar. It has been a strategic gateway between Africa and Europe since forever.
What baffled me was that you could literally see Europe from Africa when you're in Tangier. Gibraltar and Tarifa (Spain) are visible from Tangier on a clear day!
Tangier is a unique blend of cultures, with a vibe that isn't quite fully Mediterranean, North African, or Middle Eastern vibe. Because of its long history of colonization, it's a mix of North Africa, Spain, Portugal, and France.
Tangier overall has a very chill seaside vibe and the accessibility and facilities of a big city. The food was amazing with all the European influences, the people were welcoming, the nightlife was energetic. I absolutely loved it!
Though there's not much to do there as a tourist, and Tangier is not a "must see" in any way, the vibe of it was exactly what I needed after a crazy busy time in Fez and Chefchaouen.
Casablanca is the largest city in the country which doesn't get the praise it deserves for its cosmopolitan atmosphere and city life.
Casablanca is a bustling, vibrant city, known for its modern infrastructure, its lively culture, and its beautiful architecture. It is a major economic hub for the region and home to a variety of industries, from finance and technology to tourism and hospitality.
Casablanca is known for its famous landmark, the Hassan II Mosque, which is the largest mosque in Africa and the fifth largest in the world. Like Marrakesh, Casablanca is a city of contrasts, where modern and traditional elements come together to create a unique atmosphere.
Out of all the cities I visited, Casablanca and Tangier were the most modern. Despite the fact that many Moroccans expressed unfavourable opinions of Casablanca, describing it as a dull and concrete industrial jungle, I was pleasantly surprised by what I experienced. The city was well-equipped with all the modern amenities you'd find in a large metropolis. Even though it may not possess the same cultural richness as other cities, it certainly doesn't deserve the negative reputation it has gained.
Moroccan cuisine has tons of dishes rich in flavour! Here's a run down of some iconic Moroccan plates that left a mark on my palette.
A tajine is a type of slow-cooked stew or casserole that originated in North Africa. It is made by combining meat and vegetables with spices, then simmering slowly in a shallow, terracotta pot with a conical lid. Traditionally, tajines are cooked over an open flame, but they can also be made in a slow cooker or oven.
Tajines are available in a diverse range of styles, including beef and prunes, chicken and lime, fish, lamb, calamari, kefta, and vegetable varieties, among others. Each option is undoubtedly worth trying!
Moroccan Mint Tea
This one is a classic Moroccan beverage! Mint is an integral part of Moroccan culture and you can see people sipping Moroccan mint tea at restaurants and cafes everywhere. It's extremely delicious!
During my time in Fez, I stumbled upon a game-changer: a refreshing shaken mint lemonade, tailor-made for those sunny afternoons. The experience was nothing short of perfection.
Pastilla is a traditional Moroccan dish that consists of a savory pie made with thin layers of dough. I tried the chicken variation and the seafood variation when I was there. I was not a fan of the chicken flavour as it had a sweet taste to it, however, the seafood pastilla was one of the best things I ate during my trip.
Interestingly, the locals didn't tip me off about this culinary gem. It was by pure chance that I discovered it at a café, and let me tell you, I became an instant fan.
Batbout is essentially Morocco's charming twist on the classic pita. Batbouts are traditionally served stuffed with ingredients such as chicken, aubergines, or kefta.
Safety, Scams, And Insurance In Morocco
Safety in Morocco
As a guy travelling solo, I felt pretty safe travelling solo in Morocco. For a safe experience, I'd ask you to keep it simple and remember the basics:
- Don't trust strangers
- Don't wander into shady alleys
- Avoid walking home alone at night
- Beware of your belongings to avoid being pickpocketed
- Use common sense and avoid risky behaviour
These safety tips aren't vastly different from what you'd consider in other developing countries. I was advised to be particularly mindful of my surroundings in major cities like Casablanca and Marrakesh. However, in places like Chefchaouen and Essaouira, I felt completely at ease – even walking home after a late night out.
For solo female travelers, the experiences vary. Some women I spoke to felt entirely secure and encountered no issues, while others had reservations about the forward and pushy behaviour of some men.
Local Scams In Morocco
The locals are super friendly as well -- unless they're trying to sell something.
You will come across locals on the street who will try to give you something for free, show you a sale in the local market, or take you to their father's shop that is only 2 minutes away (spoiler: it's never 2 mins away). It becomes pretty obvious when a local is trying to sell you something or coax you in to a travel scam. If someone asks you to follow them, just don't. If someone says something is for free, it isn't -- there are always strings attached.
Always remember to research the prices of things before you plan to buy them. The shopkeepers will overcharge you for literally everything. Do remember to haggle for everything if you're at a local shop.
If you ask a local for directions in a touristy area, it is common for them to ask for a tip in return. If you're ever lost in a medina, don't ask a local on the street, ask a shopkeeper as they won't expect a tip in return. I always had Google Maps on my phone so I never really got lost -- but I could see myself getting lost without GPS.
During my trip, I went galloping on a horse, riding an ATV, and surfing in the ocean. I'm always taking part in adventurous activities throughout my travels -- and these activities come with a certain degree of risk. And since I’m travelling solo, I usually don’t have someone looking out for me.
To stay protected, I always make sure I’m covered by insurance. For my last couple of travels, I’ve been using Genki for my insurance. Genki is an insurance company that is literally dedicated to Backpackers and Digital Nomads. They’ll have you covered for every country with a flexible month-to-month plan and no long-term commitment.
Tips For Digital Nomads In Morocco
Internet in Morocco
The internet connectivity in the country is good for the most part! Most of my video calls went smoothly without any hitches. When the internet seemed sluggish, I seamlessly switched to 4G using my local Moroccan SIM card, encountering no problems.
Longers Stays vs Shorter Stays
For extended nomadic stays, Marrakesh, Casablanca, and Tangier are prime choices. These urban centers align well with a global digital nomad lifestyle.
On the flip side, Fez, Chefchaouen, and Essaouira are more suitable for briefer nomadic visits, ideally up to a week each.
Coworking Spaces in Morocco
During my time in Marrakesh, I primarily worked from my cozy Airbnb. However, some days, I'd venture over to Coworking L'BLASSA – a chic coffee shop-connected coworking space – to both work and connect with fellow remote professionals. It's got that modern vibe and quiet atmosphere. So, if you're on the hunt for a work spot, I totally give it a thumbs up!
In Essaouira, I stayed in a coworking / coliving space called NOQTA Space that was perfect for my needs. The coworking coliving space was a traditional Moroccan riad with extremely fast internet and a hip cafe on the ground floor to work from. Even if you weren't staying here, the coworking space was open to the public to use. 10/10 recommended.
And That's A Wrap!
I had a blast on my Morocco trip! Covering six cities in just four weeks while handling remote work was a bit of a whirlwind though.
Should you think about Morocco for a solo adventure with remote work? If you're no stranger to solo travel or working remotely, absolutely go ahead and book those flights – you're in for an amazing time in this magical country!
But if solo trips or remote work are new territory for you, maybe start with another part of the world before you take on Morocco.
Here's a blog post which you might find helpful as a good starting point 👇