For around ten days recently I traveled through the country of Morocco. I started my trip in the fabled "blue city" Chefchaouen (population around 43,000), just inland from Tangier. It’s cool to get lost in the old medina (old town) - founded along with the city itself in the 15th century - so stunning I didn't mind wandering aimlessly through its cobalt labyrinth. This town is also a prodigious place to get your shopping done, with handicrafts not always available in the rest of the country - and with shop owners not as aggressive as you’ll find in the bigger cities.

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Street cats are iconic of the blue city, and they're absolutely not afraid of the camera. But no matter wherever you turn in Chefchaoen you'll discover amazing photo opportunities. I propose spending several days stay here exploring the city; attractions such as the Kasbah Museum; the Grand Mosque with its octagonal minaret; and the lovely surrounding landscapes (including stunning waterfalls and hiking in the Rif Mountains) before taking the four-hour bus ride to Fez.


Gonzalo Riestra

By contrast, the push and flurry of Fez - Morocco's second largest city with a population of around 1.2 million - is invigorating. Its medina is a highly atmospheric warren packed with artisanal shops; restaurants from palatial to humble; hammams (bathhouses where you can get an energetic rubdown); mosques and madrassas (Islamic schools); tombs and mausoleums; gardens; and photogenic tanneries (leather slippers and other products are a typical Fez specialty). Actually, it's not a bad idea to hire an experienced local guide to help you navigate this sometimes confusing maze.

Down south, another big draw is a safari in the Sahara Desert, many out of the city of Ouarzazate, including camel excursions, meeting the local Berbers, and glamping under brilliant starry skies, and exotic "Arabian nights" banquets. But if you don't have time for a full-blown Sahara experience, there's a great option only 45 minutes from downtown Marrakesh, where the Scarabeo Camp offers all-inclusive glamping with gorgeous views of Morocco's iconic Atlas Mountains.

For more information, excellent deals, and guidance in this fascinating country, check out Morocco Arukikata Tours.

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