Now is the ideal time to visit Morocco, when the weather is warm but temperatures have not started soaring. With new flights from the UK, an increasing number of new openings in and around Marrakech and more itineraries that continue to delve deeper into the country, there has never been a better time to explore. There are history-laden towns and cities, thronging souks, remote villages, snow-dusted mountains, windswept Atlantic beaches and remote desert corners to discover.
In the city
Marrakech tends to steal the city-break limelight from other Moroccan cities. However, Ryanair’s (0871 246 0000; ryanair.com) new route from Stansted to Rabat makes the coastal capital an appealing alternative. This Unesco World Heritage-listed former imperial city is an interesting fusion of ancient and modern architecture. Much of the city was laid out in the 1920s during the French Protectorate, but its old centre is also scattered with earlier landmarks, for example, the 12th century Hassan Mosque and the Almohad ramparts. Naturally Morocco (01239 710 814; naturallymorocco.co.uk) has a three-night break from £215pp, including B&B, transfers and a city tour. Flights extra.
On a plate
From the street food of the medinas to the special occasion dishes devised for royalty, Morocco’s rich culinary heritage is a big draw for travelling gourmets. Fleewinter (020 7112 0019; fleewinter.com) has a new Gourmet Morocco trip that takes visitors on a seven-night tour of Marrakech, Essaouira and the Atlas mountains. Highlights include a trip to the fish market in Essaouira followed by a cookery lesson, a visit to the souks of Marrakech and the nightly food stalls of Jemaa el Fna, and a Berber lunch high in the Atlas Mountains. The price of £825 per person includes return flights from London, B&B accommodation, some meals, all activities and transfers.
Marrakech’s hotel scene is currently desert-hot with Park Hyatt, Mandarin Oriental and Grace Marrakech just three of several new luxe openings later this year. The glitziest new spring arrival is Beachcomber’s Royal Palm Marrakech (00 212 524 487 800; beachcomber-hotels.com) a lavish hideaway set on a sprawling olive-tree-dotted estate a short drive outside the Red City’s walls.
There are pools, a Clarins spa, hammams, a golf course and a children’s club. Beachcomber Tours (01483 445 610; beachcombertours.co.uk) offers four-night breaks from £695 per person. The price includes return flights from London, B&B and transfers.
From the saddle
Mountain biking is an increasingly popular way to discover the Atlas Mountains, allowing you to soak in the spectacular scenery and quiet Berber villages as you pedal along. Lawrence of Morocco (01672 500 555; lawrenceofmorocco.com) can arrange guided tours of varying lengths, from an afternoon to a six-day mountain biking and spa trip staying in boutique properties and ending each day with a massage and hammam to soothe tired muscles. Day trips start at around €150 per person for a minimum of two, while the six-day trip costs from €2,600 per person, based on two sharing and includes full-board accommodation, transfers, guide and bike hire.
Under the desert stars
Southern Morocco offers the enticing prospect of spending a night or two amid the vast dunes of the Sahara under the twinkling desert stars. Sahara Safari Camp (01428 605 833; saharasafaricamp.co.uk) has a cluster of tents in the sand beyond the outpost of Tagounite in Zagora. Tents range from simple nomadic Berber-style tents to more luxurious caidal tents with private bathrooms. Prices start from £64 per night including a guided walk. Transfers extra. For something more remote and luxurious, the Azalai Desert Lodge (00 212 661 164 394; azalaidesertlodge.fr) in Zagora has a single tent set in its desert camp in the Chegaga dunes. Doubles start at £250 B&B.Reuse content