Short breaks to Morocco

Many people are surprised to hear that flights from the UK to Morocco are just over three and a half hours. Morocco is a place that comes alive with busy markets, stunning coastlines and dramatic mountain ranges, hiding people and villages that have been thriving in this balmy climate for centuries.

Short flight times mean that leaving for a quick stint in Morocco is easier than ever. If your Moroccan holiday is short on time, here’s the best way to spend your days and still get the full picture.

Day one - Explore Marrakech's walled city

Yes, an entire day devoted to the walled city within Marrakech is completely necessary. In fact, navigating your way through the intricate network of streets alone could take up a whole day if you’re somebody who likes to simply go where the day takes you.

Hidden within the spider’s web of narrow, busy lanes is the Jemaa el-Fnaa, the centrepiece of Marrakech’s walled city. It’s a massive open square whose pulse you can feel instantly as it’s typically teeming with local merchants, entertainers and holidaymakers.

Jemaa el-Fnaa is where you’ll find a big concentration of restaurants too, many of which are stationed on rooftops so that you’re treated to views of the bustling square below, in addition to a mouth-watering tagine. The skyline is especially gorgeous at night.

Attached to the square is the Medina of Marrakech, another complicated network of lanes that are paved with shops. Take care to remember which direction you’ve come in, but don’t leave before you’ve had a good look at the hand-painted pottery and leather goods hanging from the walls.

Outside the walled city is where things slow down. You can sip a coffee from a cafe or relax in the park as the call for prayer wafts over from within. An especially peaceful oasis is the Jardin Majorelle, an Art Nouveau botanical garden that was a sanctuary for famed designer Yves Saint-Laurent. Inside you’ll not only find leafy greens and shaded walkways, but also the Islamic Art Museum of Marrakech.

Day two - Explore Morocco's rugged landscape

Though it might not seem like it when you’re within the confines of the walled city, there’s a lot more fanning out around Marrakech and Morocco beyond that’s well worth exploring. And such adventures are made that much easier with touring groups that will do all of the organising for you.

There’s no limit to the excursions you can embark on when staying in central Moroccan resorts such as Marrakech or Agadir. With the Atlas Mountains sprawling out behind, you’ll have access to hiking trips and waterfalls. You can join a Berber – a people group indigenous to North Africa – family for afternoon tea, or even take a camel or four-wheeler ride through the Sahara Desert under the stars. The latter will probably spill into another day, but traversing across these famous deep red sands will be well worth the time spent.

Day three and four - Drive to Agadir

Agadir is a sun-drenched resort that effortlessly combines Morocco’s Saharan landscape with a glossy beach town. It’s about a three hour drive from Marrakech, so the longer you can spend here the better.

Agadir was almost completely rebuilt in the 60s, so much of what you see here these days is modern to a T. Its waterfront is undoubtedly the resort’s focal point, with nine kilometres of sand that make up a Blue Flag Award-winning beach backed by a five kilometre-long boardwalk. There are plenty of watersports available to take advantage of here, too.

But the beach isn’t this resort’s only draw Agadir is also privy to golf courses and a bustling marina lined with boats, waterfront restaurants and spas where the local Argan oil practically flows from the taps. Agadir also has its own market known as the Souk El Had d’Agadir, where you can pick up local produce, spices and clothing.

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