Morocco reopens to tourists: Everything you need to know to plan a last-minute trip

From February 7, Morocco lifts the ban on international flights and reopens to tourists.

In November, the country international flights banned and ferry services as the omicron variant spread around the world. Only people with special exemptions could enter.

With “the evolution of the epidemiological situation”, the government now announces that Morocco will be fully open to tourists on February 7.

“A technical committee is currently examining the measures to be adopted at border crossings,” said a government statement. Specific tourist entry requirements will be announced at a later date, so pay attention to these if you are planning a vacation in the coming weeks.

Visitors should also take into account that once in Morocco, masks and temperature checks are mandatory in cafes, restaurants, cultural sites, on public transport and in taxis.

Here are some reasons why you should visit this North African country.

Stroll through the winding medieval streets of Essaouira

On Morocco’s Atlantic coast, the city of Essaouira is perhaps best known for its connection to game of thrones. It was used as a filming location for the fictional town of Astapor in the third season of the television series. You might recognize him from the scene where Daenerys first encounters her army of the Unsullied.

Besides appearing on the small screen, the UNESCO-listed city is also a hub of culture. Winding through its narrow streets, you will find shops selling local crafts, restaurants and cafes. There’s more than the standard pottery stalls and rugs to be found here.

Beware, however, as it is also known for its strong wind. You may want to cover your hair and be careful when walking on the seafront, especially if you are with young children.

Taste delicious traditional dishes

One of the main reasons to visit Morocco has to be the food. Smells of authentic spicy tagines, falafels and pastries waft through the streets of most cities. Mint tea is a welcome gesture in Moroccan culture, so you’re almost certain to be offered this sweet green tea during your stay, too.

If you want a truly traditional taste of Moroccan cuisine, head to Berber villages and camps for home-cooked food. Called Amazigh, the traditional cuisine has a range of different influences from across North Africa, including the Atlas Mountains and the Sahara Desert.

Majorelle Garden, Marrakesh

This two and a half acre botanical garden was restored by Yves Saint Laurent and his partner in 1980. It was originally designed by painter Jacques Majorelle in the 1920s using an artist’s color palette.

Water is at the center of the garden with lily ponds, fountains and streams providing a welcome oasis in the center of the hot city. In addition to an extensive collection of plants, there’s a courtyard cafe, a book and photography shop, and a boutique selling Saint Laurent-inspired items. Visit The Majorelle Garden website to book your tickets.

Browse the stalls of a souk

The souks are probably one of Morocco’s best-known attractions. These markets are found in most cities and towns selling everything from pottery, fabrics and furniture to slippers and musical instruments.

Most travelers pass through Marrakech during their stay in the country and you will find some of the biggest and best souks here. Each sells its own selection of produce, but if you’re looking for amazing food, head to Jemaa el-Fna after dark. Here there are hundreds of stalls selling a range of foods.

In the center of the square, storytellers practice a traditional Moroccan art which is a fusion of music, comedy and current affairs. It’s worth taking the time to sit down and savor the experience as you eat.

If you decide to walk around a souk, pay attention to the people around you. Pickpockets are very common, so avoid wearing flashy jewelry or carrying lots of cash.

Surf the beaches of Morocco

Warm weather and cheap accommodation mean Morocco is fast becoming one of the most popular surfing destinations in the world. The best time to visit is between December and March but with 1,835km of coastline there are good waves to be found all year round.

There are plenty of great beaches near popular towns like Rabat or Agadir, but if you’re looking for a serious challenge, head to Morocco’s surfing capital, Taghazout. Within 15 minutes of this fishing village, there are more than 20 world-class spots to discover.

Sunrise in the Sahara

Camping in the Sahara Desert may seem like a daunting prospect, but it’s the best way to experience its stunning beauty. Full of tour operators organize trips where everything is organized for you.

The amazing breathtaking view of the stars is one of the main reasons to venture into the sands of the world’s largest desert. Isolated from major cities or towns, there is little to no light pollution, so you can see hundreds of constellations and even the Milky Way in all its glory.

At dawn, you can watch the landscape transform as the sun rises over the desert. If camping is not for you, you can also take a camel ride to discover the Sahara.

About Wesley V. Finley

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