Last year, while based in Morocco, my friend Hanna and I flew up north and rented a car from Fes airport. We had an incredible week-long road-trip through the very northern tip of Africa and we even crossed the border into Europe.
We hired a small car from the airport so that we could transport ourselves over the bigger distances between cities, but once we arrived at each destination, we would mostly park up the car and spend the next day or two on foot.
This is a busy place; it reminded me a lot of Marrakesh with its small, bustling streets and there’s lots of people trying to get your attention (and money). We walked all around the medina and had a great time bargaining for our baboosh (Berber slippers) which are sold all over the city, straight from the famous Chouara Tannery which is situated there. The viewing terraces around the tannery are a little difficult to manage but you shouldn’t have to pay an entry fee. However, it may be that a local takes the time to explain the history and functioning of the tannery so you decide if you’d like to pay for a guide or stick to yourself. We found number 10 because Hanna had done some research and read it was a good viewpoint and that it was; we got the whole large balcony to ourselves while others were cramming into one small area.
We ate at The Ruined Garden and the Moroccan tapas was so delicious. However, we returned the next day to try the tagine and were very disappointed. It’s a lovely space so check it out and stick to the tapas!
This beautiful blue city looks a little fairytale-like. We really enjoyed roaming the streets here and had some amazing food. Bab Ssour is an absolute must: tasty, colourful and outrageously good value for money (although I do think they did us an extra special dea!). We also ate an amazing vegetable cous cous dish at Sofia (plus a million breads that get served to you whenever you eat out in Morocco which Hanna and I devoured every time) on our second night which was great, particularly as we were ravenous after our trip out to the cascade. We had not let the rain get us down and driven out to the beginning of the waterfall hike but luckily for us, out there it wasn’t raining. There was a stall selling bulk figs, nuts and even carob so we got a few sacks to chew on – yum. We did the whole 4 hour hike, which I’d really recommend, then the 45 minutes drive back to Chefchouen and still there it was raining. It had rained all day long and we were so glad we’d gotten out into open nature.
While in Chefchaouen we stayed at a hostel called Read Baraka which was cheap and cheerful but it was very loud – you definitely need earplugs for this one!
Tangier (ferryport ~ Tarifa)
We drove on to Tangier but I can’t comment on the city as all we did was park the car and get the ferry across to Spain, although I can state how utterly kind and friendly the workers at the port are!
We found this grand crossing from Africa to Europe rather momentous. It was so interesting to see the cafe culture change from men drinking tea to men and women together drinking wine; to hear the language switch from French to Spanish; and to feel our position in the world rise from being a somewhat inferior woman in a developing country to being an equal woman in a developed country, all within 40 minutes.
We loved our short stay in Tarifa. We stayed at The Melting Pot, we ate and practiced yoga at Restaurante Tarifa Eco Centre and I enjoyed a totally stunning sun rise run along the promenade – I’d highly recommend them all.
This place was quite a surprise for the both of us. It is perhaps a lesser known and visited area in the north if travellers are on a time limit but I had had a couple of different Moroccan friends recommend this place to me therefore we decided to include it in our trip.
The centre of Asilah is beautiful, a real arts haven. The walls are painted, windows are decorated and there’s lots of interesting craft on sale, from tapestries and rugs to jewellery and bags.
I had booked us into an airBnB that was out of town; it was described as a unique farmhouse and it so massively exceeded our expectations. I had paid a little extra as it looked nice but wow, we loved it! Again the arty design predominated with beautiful architecture, paintings and each decorative detail. The young woman that greeted us (Noella I think her name was) was so beautiful and made us feel instantly at home. We enjoyed the stunning sunset in peace (we were the only guests!), sat by the crackling fire and each of us got our turn to enjoy the natural olive oil soap made by local women in the shower before a sound sleep. This gem is called Maison d’hotes Berbari.
We made a brief stop in Rabat and of course it was busy. What else can you expect for a capital city? Still, it’s nice that it’s by the water and there’s lots of history shrouded through the streets and of course in the main attractions of Oudaias Kasbah, Hassan Tower and Mausoleum of Mohammed V.
We arrived back in Fes with ourselves and our rental car all in one piece. We returned the car at the airport and in the same fashion as the rest of the trip, had a perfectly smooth journey back to Agadir.