72 Hours in Morocco
View of FezSourcing Kahina's argan oil takes founder Katharine L'Heureux to Morocco frequently. But she doesn't just stay in the south of Morocco (where argan oil is made). Here is a favorite three day Moroccan itinerary. Day One: Arrive in Casablanca (usually at 7 AM if you are flying direct from NYC via Royal Air Maroc). If you’re planning ahead, hire a driver or rent a car and head to Fez. The drive non-stop is 3 hours, but I recommend stops in Meknes and Volubulis on the way for a great introduction to Moroccan history. Meknes was founded in the 18th century and has a wonderful fortress to visit. Make sure to take a look at the granary in which the soldiers and horses were housed. Purchase a picnic at the food market in Meknes to enjoy once you arrive in Volubulis, a wonderfully preserved Roman ruin that you can wander through freely, without crowds.
Roman ruins at VolubulisArrive in Fez and check into the beautifully restored Riad Laaroussa in the medina. Relax and enjoy mint tea as the sun sets with the call to prayer resounding over the rooftops. Have your first dinner of traditional Moroccan fare at the riad and sit by the fire after dinner.
Riad Laaroussa courtyardDay Two: Tour the medina of Fez, the spiritual heart of the city. See the madrassa, mosques, and shops where artisans work their centuries-old trades: tanneries, iron workers, embroidery, weavers, and—my personal favorite—the men who build the elaborate carriages to carry the bride, which is custom at traditional Moroccan weddings. Have lunch at a café in the medina. Don’t be surprised if your waiter goes to a neighboring food stall to pick up your order. Most cafes don’t have kitchens and are equipped to make coffee or tea only (not both strangely).
Olive stall in Fez' medinaFor dinner, head to Café Clock situated behind the famous water clocks of Fez, serving a variety of western and Moroccan dishes. This youthful and vibrant spot is a café, restaurant and art center all in one. Make sure to try the camel burger! For a more luxurious culinary experience, head to the restaurant at Dar Roumana, which is run by a cordon bleu trained chef. Day Three: Take the two-hour drive to Rabat. Here you can visit the 17th century fortress and neighboring botanical garden with Moorish and Andalusian influences. Today, artists inhabit the charming blue and white washed village surrounding the fort. Head to the fish market for fresh caught fish for lunch after walking the ramparts of the fort. Or, reenter the 21st century in downtown Rabat, the political center of Morocco. With a large concentration of diplomats, Rabat is perhaps the most sophisticated city in Morocco.
Blue streets of Oudayas in RabatIf you are departing Morocco from Casablanca, it’s an easy 1-hour drive from Rabat to the airport and you can avoid the traffic of Casablanca. If you are lucky and are continuing your trip to another one of Morocco’s wonderful destinations, Marrakesh is 5.5 hours away and Tangiers is 2.5 hours. Trains are clean and run on time. You can go here to access train schedules. However, you can only purchase tickets from within the country.
Marrakech's Place Jemaa el-FnaaThis guide originally appeared on Lifestyle Mirror.