This Easter we decided that Morocco would be our next destination. Visiting the country has been our dream for a long time. We’ve always wanted to spend the night at a traditional riad, explore maze-like medinas, and try the local mint tea. So finally we booked a few flights that would get us from Iceland all the way to North-Morocco where we would start our journey.
Our first days in Morocco
It felt weird flying from snow-foggy Iceland all the way to Morocco. We were both a bit confused landing at the airport in Tangier, partly because we hardly believed that we were actually here! Before we went on the trip, we had both been working like crazy and it takes a few breathers to realise, you are actually in another continent, disconnected from your life at home.
Our first stop was the city, Tangier, located in North Morocco. We had rented a car that was ready for us when we landed at the airport. We jumped in our car and felt the excitement for the next couple of days take over.
Day 1 – Tangier
The town itself was nothing special, but we enjoyed walking around the old town and grab a fresh fruit shake mixed with nuts.
We checked in at our lovely hotel, where we got a free upgrade to a big suite with a beautiful view. We quickly realised that the hospitality of the Moroccans is unlike anywhere else. Every time we checked into a new hotel we were offered fresh mint tea and some delicious cookies. Our hotel was located at the beach and was partly empty, so we enjoyed the seaside before hitting the road. Tangier would be our only stop located by the ocean, so we tried to enjoy walking around the deserted beach.
Our next stop would be the blue town of Chefchaouen. The town is known for the variously hued blue-washed buildings located in the Rif Mountains of northwest Morocco.
We jumped into our rental car and set our destination into Google Maps. According to the map our drive was suppose to take 2 – 3 hours. However the road between those two towns wasn’t very good and the traffic was super slow. However that didn’t bother us as the route was quite scenic. Everywhere we would see cute little towns, where the locals were riding their donkeys wearing colourful hats. The nature was also very beautiful, with green valleys and mountain drops in the back, which definitely kept us busy during the drive that ended up taking us around 5 hours.
Day 2 – Chefchaouen
We finally arrived to Chefchaouen on that sunny afternoon, the town itself is just as charming and BLUE as online photos show! We were so amazed walking around the bright blue colored narrow streets. Apparently there many nice hiking paths in the area, but since we only stayed one night we decided to enjoy the city itself.
The blue color covers not only the houses but also the streets, its mosques, government buildings, public squares and even its lampposts and trash cans! The tradition dates back to the 15th century where the blue colour was suppose to mirror the sky and remind the citizens of God. It must have been so charming back in the days, with locals dressed in their traditional clothes roaming around the streets. Today it’s a bit different, where you will mainly see tourist armed with cameras and selfie sticks and of course the cute cats!
Chefchaouen is a perfect place to wander around and shoot some photos. However since it’s a very touristy place in Morocco, we were satisfied after staying one day.
Day 3 – Fes
Our next destination was located 340km away, or the city of Fes, often referred to as the Morocco’s cultural capital. It’s primarily known for its old medina, with its vibrant souks and charming architecture.
The medina is home to world famous leather tanneries. The Chaouwara tanneries are one of the city’s most iconic sights offering a unique insight into the natural process of leather.
While visiting Fes we stayed at a lovely riad (an old traditional Moroccan hotel ) called Riad Fes. We fell absolutely in love with the place as it was the perfect place to relax between wandering the busy streets of Fes.
This hidden gem is well located within the medina and a short walk from the blue gate. Like most riads the exterior is humble and modest but when you enter you seem to be entering a royal palace. The riads have their balconies and windows facing a central garden or courtyard. This is a common scheme for islamic architecture and allows for maximum privacy.
The central atrium at Riad Fez is exceptional and a masterclass in tile mosaic. We got a warm welcome were the staff offered us some sweet mint tea and cookies. The entire hotel is a work of art to be enjoyed with every passage from the room to the front door.
The breakfast is 5-star!
One of the highlight is the rooftop terrace with panoramic views of the medina. Go up just before sunset to catch the call to prayer from hundreds of minarets below. We sat at the rooftop and enjoyed the local beer while watching the shadows fall on Fes. It was really a special moment for us and such a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the medina.
The room we stayed in was large and wonderfully adorned with berber rugs. Our suite overlooked Fes and a garden below with orange trees. We had a small private terrace that was nice for relaxing and enjoying the view. We had basically everything we needed from bathrobes, bedroom slippers, water and including Moroccan body and hair scrub along with a traditional olive-based face mask. The bed and linens were very comfortable.
Riad Fes has a mix of traditional and modern rooms but i would definitely recommend the traditional rooms for a true riad experience.
At Riad Fes you’ll find a beautiful outdoor pool and SPA area. We enjoyed relaxing by the pool before going out to explore the city.
Bikini from: Anna Swimwear