Exploring the Ideal Combination of Destinations and Cuisine

Exploring the Ideal Combination of Destinations and Cuisine

If you happen to be traveling to Morocco via a cruise, you’ll most likely disembark and venture out to explore this captivating country on the Northern African coast. Many cruise lines offer excellent shore excursions to this part of the world. At visitarmorruecos Tours & Travel, we organize thrilling Morocco shore excursions for visitors who seek to catch a glimpse of the culture, attractions, and experiences that Morocco has to offer.

Let us have a look at some of the places that you can visit along with our local guides.

Let’s begin with the capital city, Rabat, which is a popular tourist destination, as with most capital cities. It consists of two distinct areas – the Old Town and the New Town. The New Town is perfect for shopping and enjoying the pleasant weather at the city’s outdoor bars and cafes.

The Old Town, on the other hand, has many traditional Moroccan souks, making it a great place to explore, find incredible bargains, and observe the authentic Moroccan way of life.

Casablanca is the largest city in Morocco and one of the most intriguing ports of call on your cruise. This city is famous for commerce, and the central market is a clear reflection of this fact. We can arrange for you to explore Casablanca and spend time at this enormous market in the city, where you’ll find local artifacts, flavors, meats, flowers, vegetables, and fascinating people to interact with. The Arab-Islamic architecture of the Habous Quarter of Casablanca is also famous, and the tour continues to the coastal resort of Ain Diab and a visit to the Hassan II Great Mosque, the second-largest religious monument after Mecca.

Our guides are always ready to explain the significance of the places you visit, providing you with a proper understanding of the places along with their cultural background and history.

If your cruise schedule allows, we can also take you on a day-long trip to Marrakech, the second-largest city in Morocco. During this excursion, you’ll witness the living testimony of the bygone era, with its architectural treasures showcasing the beauty of the Orient. Marrakech is currently a mix of modernity and authenticity.

The Bahia Palace, a stunning sight, allows you to appreciate the best of traditional Moroccan art. The vast maze of rooms and courtyards dates back to the 19th century and reveals the name of the favorite vizier Ba Hamed, who was the real master of Morocco from 1894 to 1900. This enormous residence housed the resident General under the French Protectorate.

The Gardens of French painter Jacques Majorelle are a place of vibrant colors, especially with the famous “Majorelle blue” and lush vegetation.

If your cruise docks in Tangier, you can take a half-day trip to see the best of what this coastal city has to offer. Our tour of Tangier visits Hercules Cave, where locals say Hercules once rested, and the lighthouse at Cap Spartel just outside the city. During this visit, you can also explore the Casbah district, the old Medina, the Grand Socco, the Mendoubia Park, the Petit Socco, and more.

Where the Souss River flows into the Atlantic Ocean, the coastal city of Agadir is a popular wintertime tourist stop for cruise ships. This city at the foot of the Atlas Mountains has beautiful beaches, and the weather is often sunny and warm. With us, you can take a half-day trip around Agadir, Kabah, and the nearby souks. Visit the beaches of Agadir and then move on to The Museum of Arts and Popular Traditions, the Swiss district, the main shopping area, the carpet factory, and the artisans’ district, where you’ll have the opportunity to witness the artistry of lace-making, embroidery, leatherwork, and woodwork.

Finally, the town of Chefchaouen in the Rif Mountains is famous for its unique blue-painted houses, giving it a decidedly quirky look and feel. If you’re looking to explore the natural side of Morocco from a cultured base, Chefchaouen is the perfect place to do so. You’ll have a view of the mountains from the end of almost every street, and if that’s not enough, you can also go hiking or wild-swimming nearby

Moroccan Cuisine: Must-Try Foods During Your Visit

Do you think your exploration of Morocco ends with visiting its famous attractions? Think again. Moroccan cuisine has worldwide fame, thanks to its conventional fiery and tangy taste, as well as its trademark sugary and minty flavors. As a tourist, you have endless restaurant options to get the best out of your trip to Morocco.

Although you can opt for the more upscale route and splurge on a satisfying 3-course meal at a fancy restaurant, locals recommend that the real taste of Morocco lies elsewhere. There is a reason why both locals and crowds of tourists flock to the bustling Medina for traditional Moroccan flavors. Indeed, the flavor of Morocco lies in street food that many have yet to try.

Here are the top 5 must-try foods during your visit to the Kingdom:

  1. Bastilla Considered one of the country’s most lavish dishes, Bastilla may take some getting used to at first. This Moroccan delicacy is a blend of many sweet and savory ingredients, giving it its signature domed look. Bastilla has several layers of pastry on the outside, with a sweet and spicy filling made with pigeon meat (often replaced with chicken), eggs, and almonds. The decorative dusting of powdered sugar on top makes it as beautiful as it is delicious.

While Bastilla is traditionally an appetizer, if you are new to heavy and rich foods, it may be the biggest serving of hors d’oeuvres you have ever had.

Moroccan Food Must-Try: Tagine and Couscous

If you’re in Morocco, you definitely don’t want to miss out on the incredible cuisine this country has to offer. Moroccan dishes are known for their fiery and tangy flavors as well as their trademark sugary and minty taste. While there are plenty of restaurants to choose from, as a local, we recommend trying out some of the street food that Morocco is famous for.

Two dishes that you absolutely have to try are Tagine and Couscous. Tagine is a traditional stew made with tender vegetables, meat, olives, and dried fruits and lemons. To get the full flavor of Moroccan spices, it is cooked in Terracotta Cookware for a long period of time. The best way to enjoy Tagine is to soak thick pieces of bread, called Khobz, in the stew to fully absorb all the flavors.

Couscous, on the other hand, is one of the most popular dishes in the country. This flavorful entrée is typically served with meat and vegetables on the side and is often eaten with the right hand. While you may occasionally find Couscous in other countries, in Morocco it is an essential part of every evening party and gathering.

So if you’re looking to truly experience the taste of Morocco, be sure to try these two delicious dishes.

Harira

Harira soup is a flavorful appetizer made with a combination of Moroccan spices, onions, tomatoes, chickpeas, and lentils. Despite its messy appearance, this spicy soup is an unforgettable Moroccan dish that will become a favorite throughout your trip. Hard-boiled eggs and a thick bread are the perfect accompaniments to enjoy with your Harira, particularly on a chilly evening just before the Moroccan midnight celebrations.

Shaped like a flower and fried, Shebakia is a popular Moroccan dessert. Typically served during Ramadan when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, this sesame treat is a must-try for every visitor to this region.

 
Stroll Through the Palm Grove of Marrakech

Important Things to Consider Before Traveling to Morocco

Important Things to Consider Before Traveling to Morocco

Morocco is an ideal vacation destination for any type of traveler, as the country offers something for everyone. One of the unique aspects of a Morocco vacation is that you can experience both the ancient, historic side of the country and the modern, cosmopolitan one. With almost every town having an old medina and a new section, you don’t have to go far to enjoy both the past and present. Whether you want to relax on the beach, explore the vast Sahara desert, or indulge in some shopping, Morocco has plenty of treasures to discover.

However, there are a few things to keep in mind before visiting Morocco, such as:

Proper Attire:

While men have more flexibility in what they wear, women should dress conservatively in Morocco. Although some travelers may dress freely, it’s advisable for females to cover up to avoid unwanted attention. When entering mosques, it’s important to cover your wrists and ankles. Wearing a light headscarf, particularly in crowded areas, is a sign of respect for Moroccan culture. Women should keep a shawl or scarf handy during their visit to Morocco.

Money Matters:

Most established stores accept credit cards, but small markets, taxis, and street vendors may not. Make sure to have local currency on hand.

The Moroccan Dirham exchanges for approximately 9.6 Dirhams per 1 USD or ten for one euro.

Haggling:

If you plan to shop in the medinas or on the street, bargaining is a crucial part of Moroccan culture. Everything is negotiable, even bottled water in some stores. You’ll need to negotiate the internet price at mobile stores. With some bargaining skills, you can usually buy items for at least 25-50% less than the initial price. Before you start the negotiation process, know what you’re willing to pay and walk away if you can’t get the deal you want. The seller may call you back and offer a better price.

Language:

Moroccans speak a mix of Berber, Arabic, English, and French. English is widely spoken in most larger cities, but a translator may be necessary in rural areas.

Stroll Along the Seaside in Essaouira

Morocco’s Capital of Culture, Rabat, also known as the City of Light.

Morocco's Capital of Culture, Rabat, also known as the City of Light.

Rabat, the capital city of Morocco, is now home to several art galleries and art spaces supported by private foundations. Art is also available in large formats, thanks to graffiti artists who are invited every year to express themselves on the walls of the city.

One of the most notable art museums in Rabat is the Mohammed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. It opened its doors in 2014 with an inaugural exhibition titled “1914-2014, One Hundred Creation”, which was a landmark event. The museum has established Rabat as the epicenter of the Moroccan plastic scene. This is a fitting return for the city that, before Casablanca, saw the birth of the country’s first modern art galleries. In 1957, L’œil Noir and La Découverte opened, two ephemeral spaces founded by artists, followed soon after by L’atelier, which from 1972 to 1992, exhibited all the pioneers of modern Moroccan art.

The Mohammed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art alternates between individual exhibitions of the greatest figures of world art, such as Picasso or Modigliani, and the big names of the Moroccan scene. The museum also showcases young and foreign artists working in Morocco. This program, as well as the actions carried out in favor of students and college students, attests to the institution’s commitment to disseminating the Moroccan artistic heritage while encouraging creativity and cultural development.

Rabat also has several very active private galleries such as Marsam (also a publisher), Galerie Nadira La Découverte, Abla Ababou Galerie, or Fan Dok, to name just a few. Private foundations are also very active, thanks to places such as the CDG Foundation’s Art Space; the Villa des Arts in Rabat, supported by the ONA Foundation; or the Bank Al-Maghrib Museum, which exhibits a rich collection of modern and contemporary art. The capital can also be proud of its rooms managed by the Ministry of Culture, including Bab Rouah and Bab El Kebir.

The Villa des Arts in Rabat is an old and beautiful villa from the 20th century that has been converted into a large contemporary art exhibition space that regularly hosts temporary exhibitions. It also integrates the first Moroccan virtual museum, which is associated with the Museums Without Borders organization, to offer art lovers the first virtual museum on Islamic art.

L’Apartment 22 is an independent exhibition and debate space that questions both the history of art and the social, political, and cultural context of its emergence. Founded in 2002 by Abdellah Karroum, who is also the director of Mathaf (the Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha, Qatar), its role as a “micro-academy” was further strengthened following the launch of R22, the first web radio for art.

Rabat is now one of the most popular cities for contemporary graffiti artists, according to specialist magazine Artsy. Since the first edition of the Jidar festival, Toiles de Rue, in 2015, many artists, some of the most renowned internationally, have exercised their talents on the white facades of the city. Several of their creations have had the honors of the international press, including the work of Argentinian street artist Jaz, classified among the most beautiful in the world. Each year, graffiti artists from all over the world join Moroccan artists to form a fascinating mix of styles and cultures.

The Museum of History and Civilizations and the Bank Al Maghreb Museum are other noteworthy museums in Rabat. The former presents chronological exhibitions of prehistoric tools, Neolithic furniture, bronze or ceramic statuettes of the first cities of the Islamic era, and a collection of exceptional bronze pieces. The latter has three sections dedicated to the history of currency, an art gallery, and a business area that details the history of Banque du Maroc.