Morocco: 6 things you didn't expect to be enchanted by

Morocco tends to evoke images of sultry souks filled with hand-woven rugs, honey-drenched sweets and gold trinkets, with the pungent aroma of spices and shisha smoke heavy on the air, and the discordant but enchanting call to prayer echoing off ochre sandstone.

These romantic perceptions aren’t far from the truth, and it can be difficult to drag yourself away from Morocco’s beloved Marrakech. But as with every fantasy, the reality is somewhat louder and less languid, and there is certainly more to Morocco than the bustling souks and the bustling city streets. The true beauty of Morocco lies in the less-expected delights.

1. Fes
Fes is a highlight in and of itself, but it is the maze-like Medina and the quality of food that really enchants people.  If you want to taste some of the best food in Morocco, Fez is the place to be.

2. The Desert
The haunting perfection of Morocco’s endless desert is mesmerising. The silence and undulating beauty is surprisingly breathtaking, and the rhythmic amble of your trusty camel-steed is almost meditative.

3. The rooftops of Riads
Riads are the traditional houses of Morocco, they are built around a central courtyard and are beautifully adorned with zellij, stucco and painted cedar. Riads are by far the most atmospheric places stay in Morocco and while the rooftops are traditionally used for drying washing, the views at sunset from the rooftops are unsurpassed.

4. The history
Spanning from the Berbers to the Romans, there are six overlapping dynasties of Morocco. This diverse heritage can be experienced almost everywhere and in almost everything – from the architecture to the cuisine, cultures and antiquity of the Kasbahs.

5. The harmony
One thing that hits home during any visit is just how harmonious the different facets of life work together in modern Morocco. Traditional customs and ways of life compliment more modern practices – the leather tanneries of Fes being a testament to this - and people of different origins and religions live and work side by side without a hitch.

6. The hammams
There is something incredibly invigorating about getting scrubbed down at a public bathhouse. There are more intimate high-end hammam options available if you don’t fancy stripping down in a public space, but the public baths offer a more authentic experience. You will be steamed, scrubbed and massaged until you are shining with youth again. The public baths can be difficult to find, keep your eye out for shops selling toiletries or a mosque. A public bath will usually be nearby.

We’re currently celebrating 20 years of local leaders by offering you a chance to win 20 trips in 20 days. Enter the draw to win a spot on our Classic Morocco trip.

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