My trip to Morocco was curated in the form of an "Educational Field Trip", so I had no liberty to check out my own spots, but that being said, many many hours were spend planning this trip, and it went GLORIOUSLY, so if you've ever got an itch to visit Morocco (if you like cool stuff, you will), you should definitely listen up!
Day 1: Fly into Marrakech
The first day we did a lot of "ooh-ing and ahh-ing". After almost eight months in the Swiss Alps, we were ready for some warm weather, and Morocco was just the place to find it. Its city-scapes seemed like something out of an Indiana Jones film, and it's colors were unbelievable. Anyway, we spent the day eating our first traditional Moroccan meal, and then we drove to Ouarzazate. Pronounced strikingly similarly to "where's this at?", you will find yourself asking that very question. It's in the middle of NOWHERE, but it's a cool little pit-stop before you get into the desert.
That night we went to a public bath house, called a "hammam", which was interesting to say the least. In the more rural ones, like in Ouarzazate for instance, this is no "spa" experience. A room full of barenaked ladies usher you into a super hot sauna, rub olive oil all over you, and scrub you down like the pedicure ladies at home, except all over your body. It was definitely "interesting" but I've never felt so immersed in a culture.
Day 2: Continue Into the Sahara Desert!
The bus rides were long, but the destination was so worth it.
We stayed at a tent city compound in the middle of the dunes after 4x4-ing as a convoy! This was the most incredible thing. I highly recommend booking lodging like this. It was complete with drummers and dancing and traditional Moroccan food (of course).
Day 3: RIDE CAMELS!
Okay guys, I'd be a total liar if I said this wasn't the coolest part of the trip. When I thought about visiting the Sahara, I immediately looked forward to the camel ride. I was not disappointed. We woke up at the crack of dawn (5:00 a.m.!!) but I recommend this because you're sure to see an incredible sunrise. The guides told us that the sunsets are unpredictable, and sometimes the sky just fades into night behind the dunes.. However, what I witnessed was the incredible sunrise, almost out of the Lion King or something. Heat waves and all.. incredible. DON'T COME TO MOROCCO AND MISS OUT ON THIS!!
Day 4: Head into Fez
I wish I could've stayed in the desert forever, but I didn't want to miss out on all the other things Morocco had to offer.
Fez is an incredible city known for it's leather tanning and handmade goods. A.k.a., the place you wanna get all the amazing souvenirs you dreamed of. Everything is so cheap, but only if you BARTER! Literally if something is priced at $30, offer $12 and work your way to $15. Don't be embarrassed, that is totally just the culture, and they will not be offended. However, if you wear your fanciest outfit to the market and are carrying an expensive handbag, you might end up paying more than the average Joe! Stand your ground, though. This is how the market is supposed to work!
Another tip, Moroccans typically don't appreciate having their photo taken. In Fez, taking pictures is free, but be careful not to get people's faces in the photo. In Marrakech however, negotiate a price to take a picture (around $1) or else you will end up with someone harassing you trying to charge you $20 for the photo you've taken. Seriously. You live and you learn.
Optional Pit Stop:
If you're headed to Fez, make your way to the Garganta De Todra. It's a beautiful gorge located next to one of the biggest oasis in the Sahara. Great for a quick photo-op.
Day 5: Go back into Marrakech
The Marrakech Bizarre is.... bizarre. This is the typical Moroccan place where you will find snake charmers, monkeys running around, and TONS AND TONS of spices and argan oil. This is an amazing place, but beware, it's a little overwhelming, and there are LOTS of pick-pockets. As long as you're paying attention and are focused on your surroundings, you'll be fine, and have an amazing time. Make sure to stay until evening where the whole thing lights up, or at least long enough to hear the call-to-prayer, which is a totally different thing than I've ever experienced!
My last tip is to stay in a traditional Riad. These hidden homes are completely ordinary on the outside, but once you enter, they open into this awesome tiled courtyard with fountains, lanterns, and the cool patterned pillows you always think of when considering Morocco. This is a must-do.