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Tuesday, 12 August 2014 12:00 AM

Moroccan Holiday Choices – Chefchaouen or Tetouan

Morocco’s North

Between Tangier on the northern tip of Morocco down to Fez (both cities with international airports, but not always with direct flights from the UK) lying just north of the of the Middle Atlas mountains, lies a large expanse of beautiful mountainous countryside.

Within that countryside are 2 interesting destinations, which you may decide are worth a visit as part of your northern adventure - Chefchaouen and Tetouan.

Chechaouen, the picture postcard perfect town

Chefchaouen is a town surrounded by the foothills of the Rif mountains. At its heart is a walled medina of a very manageable size – a couple of hours wandering and you’ll easily understand its layout – which almost looks too good to be true. Houses have blue or white washes, streets are cobbled and normally phenomenally clean and the central square has a number of good cafes and bars.

All this attracts tourists. Although it is remote, the medina attracts a significant number of tourists so the town seems like a tourist destination (because it is). The plus side of tourism is the greater quality and range of accommodation, so Chefchaouen is a good place to stay – rest a couple of days here, enjoy the comfortable medina and have a relaxing stroll in the foothills outside of the medina.

Tetouan, the huge thriving medina city

In stark contrast to Cefchaouen is Tetouan. The walled medina of Tetouan is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is a vast labyrinthine network of alleys and arches – similar to Fez a couple of hours here will get you lost, but unlike Fez there are few notable alleys or slopes from which to recover your whereabouts.

The medina is a hubbub of everyday Moroccan life. The sprawling souks focus on Moroccan passing trade so, in addition to interesting spices and beautiful rugs and ceramics etc are the vendors of second hand phones, toys and clothes – not so photogenic but real Moroccan life. This is not so attractive for overseas visitors so decent accommodation is very hard to find and we now recommend spending time here but sleeping in Tangier or Chefchouen.

Naturally Morocco will create the holiday right for you

What is best for you depends on what you enjoy and we are here to explore the options further with you. The far north of Morocco is an interesting area, however distances to be travelled can be significant and we believe a holiday should be enjoyable rather than an ordeal to be survived so lets plan this carefully to make the most of your time.