ONE EPIC ROAD TRIP
BUCKETLIST DREAM. Get lost throughout Morocco was already in our bucketlist for a looong time, but it was the decision to turn that adventure into a road trip that made our hearts beat faster! S2
Imagine a country with culture, history and an ancient scenographic architecture. Now add up the iconic Sahara Desert, also the mountain ranges with some of Africa's highest peaks, palm trees and cedar forests, oasis, canyons, gorges, souks, blue cities, riads, medinas and their medieval vibes. I think we could find another 50 more reasons that have made Morocco one of our favorite destinations so far.
Our first stop: Marrakech! In a connecting flight coming from Lisbon and flying gentle during the day, we felt that the trip already began inside the plane! The 'Ocher Town' won us over as soon as we arrived in the medina. If we had to choose words to sum up our experiences here would be: Souks, Lanterns, Mint Teas and Mosaics.
> ROAD TRIP DAY 1: THE HIGH ATLAS
And the road trip started the moment we left Marrakech! We rented a car and headed south towards Ouarzazate. A day on the road is always full of surprises, but maybe we were not prepared for all the beauties we discovered :)
Let me just stop and say one thing: the roads in Morocco are incredible! Paved, signposted and with breathtaking views. A trip of over 1,500 km in a loop from Marrakech to Tangier, and we felt the super safe all the way.
Our 'numero uno' wonder was crossing the High Atlas Mountains. Guys, literally every km we drove, gave us a completely brand new horizon.
> AÏT BEN HADDOU
On the other side on the slopes of the High Atlas, we arrived at Ksar Aït Ben Haddou. One literally S-C-E-N-O-G-R-A-P-H-I-C city! A super well preserved heritage site that is a reference (and setting) for several movies. Look at that and tell me if it's not a dreamy location, fairy tale style?!
> GORGE DU DADES AND TOGHDA
On that same day we continue all the way to sleep in Boumalne Dadès. The goal was to enjoy the next full day getting lost on the beautiful curves along the Gorges. A region of canyons that one day was under the sea (#mustlovemorocco)
Note to self: every 50 km the scenery changes COMPLETELY (!), and that's the best part of the adventure on the road. We had a perfect day filled with gorges, palm groves, ghost cities and a stone desert, until we stepped on the golden dunes of the Sahara.
> OHHHH, THE SAHARA!
Almost on the border with Algeria, the small town of Merzouga is a hot spot to enjoy 'THE' desert vibe, in the Erg Chebbi region. Even though it is a very touristy area, we loved the night in the desert with a full moon rising as bright as the sun. Berber music feat. Luau created the perfect atmosphere.
> DESTINATION: FÈS
Hitting the road again, we said goodbye to the Sahara. This was the longest day behind the wheel, but the way to Fès hold a mesmerising trail that we just wanted to keep driving and driving and driving... We passed through markets, oasis and stopped to eat what ended up being the BEST tagine in all Morocco, right there by the roadside.
And the best was yet to come, just before arriving in Fès we crossed an incredible cedar forest in the mountains of the Middle Atlas, known as the 'Moroccan's Switzerland'.
And then we finally reached Fès, felling like we were back to reality. The imperial city of Morocco has one of the largest and oldest medinas in the world, built in the 9th century. We left the car in a public parking at the entrance of the old city, and explore the labyrinths of the medina on foot.
A bit more chaotic than the other Moroccan cities, Fès el Bali is a vibrant medina! Be prepared that here the art of trade and negotiation are intense (and when I say intense, I mean inteeeennnssseeeeeeee haha). The visit to the open-air tannery is a classic and we fell in love with the madrassas.
> RIF MOUNTAINS
With the wind in the hair and a perfect arab/french playlist, we started the ascent through the Rif Mountains. Soft curves and this time on a more local road, we found ourselves driving among crops and herds, in a veeeery different scenario then the desert we were just few days ago.
> THE BLUE PEARL OF MOROCCO
And right in the heart of the Rif Mountains there was a blue dream called Chefchaouen 💙 With its medina in all shades of pastel blue, it is impossible not to instantly fall in love with the good vibes of the place and simply relax.
Our endless pursuit for hypnotizing alleys and blue staircases seems that could go on forever. But let me tell you that it was the sunset lighting up the mountains that surrounds the blue pearl of Morocco that won our hearts over.
> AND 1.500 KM LATER...
... Our last stop has come. Even before returning the car at the airport in Tangier we were already longing for Morocco (can you believe that??). I think everything was so intense on this epic road trip that we already made plans for the next one. Morocco that awaits: WE - WILL - BE - BACK!