by Andreas S.

Positioned at the north western point of Africa across from Spain, with the Mediterranean Sea to the north, and Atlantic Ocean to the west, Morocco beckons travelers with its captivating blend of culture, food, and diverse landscapes. From the bustling medinas of Marrakesh to the golden sands of the Sahara, from the popular surfing destination city of Essaouira to the impressive Atlas Mountains in Maghreb.

OVERRATED (Be warned!):

  • Marrakesh. Navigating the vibrant medinas can involve encounters with aggressively persistent vendors, requiring a balance between exploration and negotiation. The risk of getting scammed specifically in Marrakesh is very high. Be alert and be stern when approached by locals who attempt to place a monkey on your shoulder without your consent, only to then demand that you pay them for their efforts. Or the odd lady who will spontaneously grab your hand and paint henna before you can comprehend what is going on say “no thank you”.
  • Tannery. While it might be interesting to visit, be prepared for an odour that is offensively harsh. Thankfully they offer mint leaves that you can stick in your nose to mask the stench. If you can’t stand extremely strong and harsh scents, this would be an attraction to avoid. If smell won’t get you, then watch out for the common scams that can come across downright intimidating.
  • Hammam. While a traditional Moroccan hammam experience might sound relaxing, some visitors might find the experience of being scrubbed and washed by an attendant more intense or invasive than anticipated.
  • Language variances. While Moroccan Arabic is widely spoken, regional dialects can pose communication challenges, emphasizing the value of basic phrases. French is an asset in Morocco, as many Moroccans speak French.
  • Diverse climate. Morocco is one of those countries blessed with a very diverse climate: some locations are extremely hot while others will feel cold and require a jacket all in the same day. If planning to travel extensively throughout Morocco to different areas of the country, be prepared to pack clothes suitable for any temperature. Also, while the desert is scorching during the day, some might be surprised to find that temperatures can drop significantly at night, requiring warm clothing even in the midst of summer.

UNDERRATED (Cool unknown facts):

  • Medinas. The markets in Fez and Chefchaouen are a symphony of colors and aromas, offering a glimpse into Morocco’s rich cultural tapestry. Simply walking through them is definitely an experience in itself. Just don’t get lost. They can be confusing to navigate.
  • Casablanca. Even though it cannot compete with Marrakesh, Fez, and Chefchaouen, this beautiful and relatively quiet city does have something to offer if you are passing through. The impressive Hassan II Mosque is the 7th largest mosque in the world and it’s worth a visit. There is also the graceful Cathedral du Sacre Coeur that blends European Art Deco architecture and Moroccan style.
  • Africa’s Hollywood. Near the Atlas Mountains is “Atlas Film Studios”. They offer tours and you get to explore their movie sets. Bring water, sunscreen, and sunglasses.
  • Ait-Ben-Haddou. 30 minute drive from Atlas Film Studios. Gladiator was filmed here. Enough said.
  • Ski. Yes, there are ski resorts in Morocco! They are also nice to visit during off-season.

What did you find overrated and underrated about Morocco? How big of a hit has your skepticism taken? Leave a comment below!

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