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Morocco, officially the Kingdom of Morocco, is a North African country (specifically in the Magheb region) that has a coastline on both the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. It shares borders with Western Sahara to the south, Algeria to the east, and the Spanish North African territories of Ceuta and Melilla on the Mediterranean coast in the north. It is located across the Strait of Gibraltar from Gibraltar. Characterised by a rugged mountainous interior and portions of desert, Morocco is one of three countries (along with Spain and France) to have both Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines. It is a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament and its predominant religion is Islam. Its capital is Rabat and its largest city is Casablanca. Arabic and Berber are its official languages, but French is also widely spoken.

What to see & do

Morocco is a picturesque beauty of a country. Its vivid colour and overwhelming natural scenescapes are distinctly Islamic African. With a beehive of activity in its souqs and markets, stunning mosques, medieval city centres, and white-washed sea side towns – with plenty of panoramic views almost everywhere, a visit to the country is a no-brainer. Perhaps the most popular of all Moroccan cities is Casablanca, home to the massive Hassan II mosque – the world’s second-largest mosque, and also to plenty of remarkable colonial architecture, as well as the city centre’s Hispano-Moorish and art-deco outlook. There’s also the well-known Marrakesh, also known as the “Red City”. Immerse yourself in the bustling souqs, with its old gates and walls, Saadian Tombs, the remnants of the El Badi Palace, and Koutoubia Mosque and its 12th century minaret. At night, the best place to wander around is at Jamaa el-Fnaa, the largest square in Africa. Feast in its sea of food stalls lines in the area. Another fascinating imperial city is Fez, which once used to be the capital of Morocco. Get lost in its majestic labyrinth of medieval streets, see its huge medina and city gates, and visit a traditional leather tanning factory.

How to get around within Morocco

The fastest way to get around Morocco is by train. In addition, it is also comfortable, with frequent schedules. However, the network is limited, with links to Tangier via Casablanca and Rabat, a branch line to Oujda starts at Sidi Kachem linking Meknes and Fez to the main line. Another preferable option is to take a luxury bus, due to its almost universal coverage despite erratic schedules in some places. A slower alternative is taking the local bus, but compared to luxury buses, they have more leg room. Grand taxis/shared taxis operate between towns and can seat six passengers. These are less expensive than luxury buses. If you prefer to take a taxi by yourself, you can hail a petit taxi, but note that these taxis are not allowed to leave the city borders. Taking the train is also a cheap way (although schedules are not really reliable since trains are almost always delayed), and you’ll most likely to find yourself sitting next to friendly locals. For regional trips, you can take the bus (either tourist or local bus, the latter is cheaper and generally more fun, but less comfortable than the former which has A/C and a TV). Although getting around domestically by plane is not common, Royal Air Maroc, the national flag carrier, has an excellent but expensive network to most cities. Air Arabia Maroc and Jet4you.com also serve domestic operations.

How to get there

There are several airports in Morocco, with Rabat-Salé Airport (First Royal Air Force Base) serving the capital. Other airports include Mohammed V International Airport in Greater Casablanca, Marrakesh, Agadir, Tangiers, Fez, Nador, Oujda, Essaouira, Ouarzazate, Al Hoceima, and Tetouan. There are flights from New York, Montreal, Dubai, and various European cities to Casablanca. European carriers like Iberia, TAP Portugal, Air France, Lufthansa, Swiss, Turkish Airlines, Norwegian, BMI, British Airways, Brussels Airlines, Air Berlin, Alitalia, Portugalia, and Germanwings serve Morocco. Other ways to get in are by car via open border posts at the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla; and by boat via several ferry connections, mainly from Spain.

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