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A College Student’s Guide to Visiting Morocco

Visiting Morocco as a College Student

Morocco is a country that has been on my bucket list for awhile now. When I discovered how feasible it is to travel to this north-African country from Europe, I knew I couldn’t pass it up. From Italy, Morocco is only a three hour flight. And its a cheap flight. RyanAir flies to Marrakech, Morocco multiple times a week, making it easy to plan a trip on your own. However, due to potential safety concerns (as there are in any country around the world), I recommend visiting Morocco with a tour group. Keep reading to hear recommendations from a college student’s guide to visiting Morocco!

Travel with Bus2alps

I recommend booking your trip through Bus2alps if you are studying abroad in Europe and want to visit Morocco. Bus2alps is a student travel company offering day trips, weekend trips, and fall/spring break trips throughout Europe. Major departure cities include Barcelona, Prague, Florence, and Rome, but there are “meet us there” options as well. Their Morocco weekend is a “meet you there” trip, so you book your own flights and meet a guide at the Marrakech airport. The trip begins on a Thursday morning and ends on a Sunday (link here).

A College Student’s Guide to Visiting Morocco: Day One

After clearing customs in the Marrakech airport, your trip begins with a scenic drive through Marrakech to a riad, or traditional Moroccan accommodation with an interior courtyard. My first afternoon in Morocco was spent trying new food, such as couscous and a tajine. A tajine is a ceramic dish that cooks meat and spices…delicious!

Next, I participated in a tour of the souks (markets) in the Old Medina of Marrakech and put my haggling skills to use! That night I had a traditional Moroccan dinner at the riad, complete with musicians and mint tea. Mint tea is the national drink of Morocco and is great for digestion, which is why it is typically served at the end of every meal.

Day Two in Morocco

On my second day in Morocco, we drove about an hour to the Ourika Valley for a day in the Atlas Mountains. On the way, we stopped at a Berber family home (the indigenous people of Morocco) for a tea making demonstration and henna tattoos.

From there, we drove to our camel excursion. Camels aren’t the friendliest animals, but getting to ride one in the Atlas Mountains was so cool.

Next on the itinerary was a hike in the mountains. This hike was one of the most difficult things I’ve done, but the mountain range was absolutely breath-taking. We also had the opportunity to swim in a waterfall at the end of our hike which made it all worth it.

Later that day, we ate a traditional BBQ dinner in the main Jamaa El Fna square of the Old Town of Marrakech, which comes alive at night with snake charmers, musicians, and boxing matches.

Day Three in Morocco

The next day, I went ATVing with Desert and Dunes ATVing! It was very dusty since we were in the desert, but the camel caravans and mountains were beautiful. We drove into the middle of the desert for tea and photos before coming back to clean up.

That afternoon we visited a herbalist in the Old Town. I bought my mom lotion for her insomnia, and it’s the only thing that has helped her sleep! We also visited Ben Youssef Madrasa, one of the oldest degree-granting universities in the world! Our last dinner was spent at a rooftop restaurant eating one last flavorful tajine and drinking (you guessed it) mint tea.

Why YOU should visit Morocco

This trip was one of the best because of Morocco’s uniqueness and the relaxing break that it provided from the hustle and bustle of Europe. Also, most of the time your passport won’t get stamped when traveling within the EU, so getting an African stamp in my passport was an added bonus.

Hopefully my student’s guide to visiting Morocco through Bus2alps, or gives you some ideas for a trip of your own. To end I just want to address some helpful tips about Morocco and answer some questions that I have been asked:

  • Morocco is a sub-tropical, Islamic country located in Northern Africa.
  • The Sahara, the largest desert in the world, is here!
  • The weather is hot and humid in most cities.
  • Despite the heat, conservative dress is recommended. Most people on my trip wore loose “elephant” pants and a plain t-shirt with sandals. Side note: Wearing a head scarf is not required, but I did at some places out of respect.
  • It is dusty! You will get dirty, so don’t bring anything valuable.
  • Moroccans speak French, Arabic, and Berber (native language).
  • Haggling is known as a national sport in Morocco- I encourage you to try it at the markets!
  • Morocco IS safe to visit- Just stay with a group and do what you can to blend in.
  • Don’t drink the tap water and be cautious of uncooked vegetables, etc.- Some people in my group caught a parasite.
  • Try mint tea and have an open mind when visiting…this country is like no other!
[Most photos taken and edited by Matt Mitera, check out his work on Instagram @matt_mitera]

MarraKECH you next time!!!

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