With its dazzling architecture, fascinating history and bustling medinas, Morocco has long enticed travelers. The North African country has become quite a hotspot for anyone who wants to experience an adventurous trek in the Saharan dessert, explore vibrant markets or sightsee in ancient cities. Morocco is magical and magnificent, and the best way to seamlessly enjoy its unique, distinct culture is by private guided tours.
For the last decade, Plan-It Morocco has catered to globetrotters, delivering authentic, memorable times for their customers; and after taking two tours with them, we can see why they’re one of the top tourism operators in the country.
There are countless tours and itineraries you can chose from, or you can create your own with Plan-It Morocco, but the day trips I took and highly recommend are to Chefchaouen and Fez.
When planning a Moroccan holiday, many think of Marrakech for an exotic getaway, which is justifying popular, but don’t get stuck there. Venture out and see other cities like the ones mentioned above, as well as Rabat, the country’s charming capital, which is where I started off my vacation.
What’s amazing about Plan-It Morocco is that they take care of all the details, so you just tell them where you want to go and they plan it. Since I was staying in Rabat but wanted to see other cities, they sent a driver, Mohammed El Hassani, to pick me up and he was fantastic.
He arrived promptly at my hotel, the Riad Kalaa, and as I slept the four hours to Chefchaouen, he safely made his way to the blue city that’s tucked away in the Rif mountains. When we arrived, my adorable tour guide Ahmed Achto, or “Toto,” as he likes to be called, was waiting for me and wasted no time in showing me around.
Born and raised in Chefchaouen, Toto has become one of the most popular guides in the area, and has given tours to political figures like Chelsea Clinton and other big names. He was quite the local celebrity and everyone greeted him as we walked through the indigo blue medina, which made my experience that much more interesting.
Chefchaouen is a beautiful, peaceful city, and the locals are very friendly. The vendors don’t forcefully try to sell to you or bother you like they do in some other Moroccan cities. So you actually could wander around the small majestic town on your own, but having a guide is really helpful. Toto knew exactly where to take me for the best photos and views of the city, plus he was incredibly insightful about the area, which was great.
Besides its stunning blue and white aesthetic appeal, Toto showed me there’s plenty Chefchaouen has to offer. You can take a strenuous hillside hike or lovely strolls; bathe in mountain streams; or enjoy the delicious food and excellent shopping. If you’re traveling in Morocco, you have to visit this town!
I had such a wonderful time and experience in Chefchaouen, that I decided to book another tour with Plan-It Morocco and explore Fez, the oldest Moroccan imperial city.
I requested the same driver, since Mohammed was so professional, and he was right on time again. The trip from Rabat to Fez was a little over two hours, and my new guide, Fouad Zit, was also waiting for me when we pulled up to the medina. He was friendly, patient and also very informative about the area.
Unlike Chefchaouen, I would not recommended that tourists go into the medina in Fez on their own. For one, it’s easy to get lost in the labyrinth of narrow alleyways. Two, the sellers are much more aggressive; and three, locals will not hesitate you approach you for money, or say inappropriate things.
But don’t let that deter you. The rainbows of color, spice-market smells, and orchestra of sounds you’ll find in medina are absolutely incredible. Just go with a guide, and you won’t be hassled. Plus, when you want to buy something, they will help you bargain.
Here’s just a few of the beautiful things Fouad showed me in Fez:
-Al Qarawiyyin Mosque
-Bab Boujloud “Main gate of the Medina”
-The Jewish Mellah
-King’s Palace Doors
I learned there are several advantages to taking a guided tour.
- Convenience and comfort! Why figure out public transportation or ride a crowded train/bus if you don’t have to?
- Morocco does require a higher level of diligence, and it can be a bit intimidating depending on your traveling skills to wander on your own in many areas due to the amount of unwanted attention you’re likely to generate as a tourist. With a tour guide, female travelers are shielded from local’s excessive advances and people asking you for money.
- You’ll save time. While the public transportation isn’t bad in Morocco, it’s always quicker to drive.
- Your guides are more than likely experts on the city you’re in and can provide you with interesting details and information you wouldn’t know on your own.
- Many tour companies can arrange special outings and create unique experiences, like Plan-It Morocco, which offers culinary, yoga, cultural experiences, photography and other fantastic services.
Prices for services vary. Tips are not required or expected, but it’s polite and courteous to tip your tour guides and drivers.
For more information go to http://plan-it-morocco.com/