(nota: i was advised by a good journalist friend of mine from moscow that my posts maybe lacked personality. after thinking about it i realised that im not really writing a blog but more of a backpackers & travellers travel guide. i want to tell my story about the amazing places i visit but also to share helpful tips & tricks on how to make the most of your travels abroad).
this is the story of my trip to rabat, chefchaouen, fes | morocco in november 2016 | 8 days total
i arrived on the late flight from rainy london on a monday from stansted, london on ryanair. ryanair has become my favourite airline in the last few years since their major marketing overhaul. no frills but great app and the ability to take two carry bags at not extra cost. i got a great deal my return ticket cost $30 london-rabat 8 days.
rabat airport is technically in a city called salé on the other side of the river to rabat. once you arrive in morocco the first thing you will notice is its hot really hot. I left london in the rain with a high temperature of 5c. i arrived in the night to 25c, defiantly no coat necessary here. The main problem with morocco is crazy beaucracy. at the door of the airport there was one person checking our passports with two others watching him doing it instead of helping. (you will find this a lot in morocco). next is the passport control whom take a while to input your details into the system after that you have to show your passport to another official, they make sure the person at passport control has stamped yours correctly. so it takes a while to get out.
most people whom arrive will either take the bus or a taxi. the taxi costs around 150mad ($15) just make sure to go with main company they are white or red cars and make sure to set the price before you leave. if there is four of you this is the best way to get to your accommodation. i was alone so i took the bus its always there waiting when a flight arrives at the airport. it cost 20mad ($2) and takes you to the main train station in the centre of rabat. make sure to get moroccan dirham from one of the three cash machines in the airport. if one does not work try the other as i did. (moroccan dirhams are not available to buy outside the country as the government controls the flow)
I was staying at the medina surfing association hostel in the main medina (old town). the hostel by my standards is sub par and needs a lot of work to be on the level of other hostels i stayed while in morocco. the price is also quite high ($15) for a dorm bed but there is not much choice in rabat as there are only two on hostelworld in the centre. the good thing is if your interested in surfing its the place for you.
i would recommend that if your in morocco for more than 3 days to buy a sim card from moroc telecom in the new town its ($5) for 3 gig of data. you can also download maps.me from the app store as it has maps without data. Maps are essential in morroco it will save you time as the cities are notoriously difficult to navigate.
for me the highlight of rabat was the terrace in the kasbah just outside the medina. it has great views of the atlantic ocean on a clear day.
on too... chefchaouen 'the blue pearl'
after taking a 5 hours bus ride from rabat. i arrived at 'the blue pearl' but unfortunately i arrived in the night time so i didn't have the opportunity to see the cities amazing hues of blue. i stayed in 'riad baraka' in the centre of the medina. they have double rooms for ($25) per night. the staff and quality of this place is great and i would highly recommend this as the only place to stay in chefchaouen if your under 30 as its mostly a young environment but you can meet so many travellers if your a single traveller.
morning arrived.... i woke up early to explore the old city and i was not disappointed by 'the blue pearl'
you can truly spend days exploring the city. around each corner you can find a different hue of blue. for me the best day was taking the short hike up the mountain to the spanish mosque its no longer in use but the view overlooking the city & valley was spectacular.
fridays are a holy day in chefchaouen. the restaurants make a special couscous and they sell out very early in the day so i advise you to get eat around mid day. the best place i ate was a small and extremely local restaurant called 'cafe sofia'. this is an outdoor cafe with plastic seating but its extremely charming to see local women running the front of house and back as its uncommon in morocco.
some of my best memories were sitting around with fascinating people that i met on my trip drinking fresh mint tea people watching at the rooftop cafes that can be found in all cities around morocco. don't pay more than 10mad ($10) for a cup...
on too... fes
the best form of transport in morocco is the trains. but unfortunately they are not available in chefchaouen so i opted for the ctm bus. it takes around 4 hours and costs 75mad ($8).
after arriving in fes i already made a plan to visit the very good but touristic cafe clock. home to the famous camel burger. yes camel and yes its very tasty i would recommend that you try it. 100mad ($10) here the prices are close to european pricing. they also make a great date & almond milkshake that sounds very strange but again is fantastic. if you happen to be in fes on a sunday they have a traditional berber concert at 6pm get there a little early to find a seat.
i stayed in riad verus 90mad ($9) per night for really what i can say is quite an exceptional hostel the ornate decor and the staff really made the whole stay special.
so now to exploring fes. on the first morning i took a walking tour that was organised by the hostel. generally im not the biggest fan of tours but cities are very complicated in morocco and especially fes as there are believed to be 9,000 streets. he took us to all the main attractions and gave us an indepth knowledge of the city. below are a few of my recommended places to visit while in fes.
the leather tanneries
the wood museum (roof terrace)
merenid tombs (best view in fes)
and so thats the end of my journey to morocco. here are a few tips to help you make the most of your trip...
my recommended places to visit
- the tanneries
- old medina
- merenid tombs
- roof terrace of the wood museum
- spanish mosque (great views)
- explore the small streets
- market in the medina
- the old kasbah
- beach (surfing)
places to eat
- cafe clock (europe prices but good place to try exotic foods) fes
- street food (it can be found on every street corner) all morocco
- cafe sofia (friday couscous) chefchaouen
how to get around
i mainly walked around all the places that i visited in morocco averaging 30km per day. if this is too much for you, you can always grab a taxi that very cheap just ask for the meter. between cities i used the ctm bus and the oncf trains both are very reliable.
where i stayed
hostel verus ($9 dorm room) fes
hostel baraka ($10 dorm room) chefchaouen
if you need an apartment
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