Ultimate Morocco Tour

Posted by Carlotta Cramer-Klett on

From Tangier to Marrakech 

Fez sunrise 

Tangier

Hotel:
Eat:
  • Le Saveur du Poisson - quite expensive but it’s a massive menu and its pretty delicious. Keep some space for the dessert!!
Must sees:
  • Cafe de Paris - follow the Tangier dream and have a mint tea, whilst watching the busy crowds pass. The Cafe’s mirrored interior seems to have changed very little since Truman Capote, William S Burroughs, Jack Kerouac and the rest of the beats supposedly hung out there
  • Café Haft - for a game of backgammon with a view, the cliff-clutching, multi-terraced hang out on rue Hafa in the Marshan district, has been popular since the 1920s and should you see anyone smoking something other than a cigarette, don’t ask, don’t tell
  • Salon International de Tanger des Livres et des Arts - in spring, Tangier celebrates all things literary with this big multilingual book fair and cultural festival, headquartered in the magnificent gardens of the Moulay Hafid Palace, which is alone worth a visit
 coffee at the square

Tetouan

take a driver (totally worth it compared to taking a bus, plus taxi to the station etc) or rent a car for the whole trip around Morocco
Hotel:
  • Riad Dar Rehla - owner Mohammed is the nicest person, he helped us like a star
Must sees:
  • Association de patrimoine de Developpement de l’artisanal - artisan school, beautiful crafts and culturally very interesting
  • Medina - just wonder around,  it’s beautiful - the most traditional Moroccan one we have seen anywhere, not much tourism
  • Sit in one of the Cafes around the squares and have a bus bus (small coffee with milk)
Tetouan Medina
Tetouan fruit stalls
 
 

Chefchaouen

 
(by bus or car)
Eat:
  • Aladdin - good food but don't stay in the hostel
Must sees:
  • Just walk around this blue town. Everywhere is beautiful and so much to take in, beautiful picture material everywhere!
  • Buy some ‘Kitama’ and enjoy those colours even more ;)
  • Waterfalls - just outside town
  • Food market - very traditional and local
  • Kasbah - nice and idyllic for a lil wonder around
Chefchaouen
pigments Chefchouen
Chefchouen

Fez

(by Bus or car) 
Hotel:
  • Dar Labchara - best hotel in town, run by our Moroccan family, definitely mention us for extra nice treatment ;) beautiful old rhiad, delicious breakfast, beautiful people
 
Eat:
  • Berrada Family Restaurant - Best food in town!!!!
  • White bean soup - little street kind of opposite Berrada... the soup is very traditional Moroccan but you can also find other good snacks. Just find a place that looks cleanish and has space - very busy down there
  • Food Market down by Saffahin Square/Bab Khoukha - find a clean looking sandwich stand and order an omelette one with extra veggies and salad - delicious
  • Have a bildia (spiced arab coffee) at one of the little cafes in the medina
  • Pomegranate juice - when in season this is the most delicious and healthy thing to have, there are little stands all around and its safe to drink, at least we never had a problem ;)
  • Cafe o'clock - nice for lunch, has a good terrace with sun
  • Dar Tajine - restaurant right next to the tanneries, unfortunately a bit smelly but good food
  • Fekkahs - best cookies of Morocco, you can find them at little bakeries around the Medina or go to Patisserie la Villa in the new town - they are the best!!!
 
Must sees:
  • Guided tour - a must!! Old town, Mallah, Mosques, little alleys, cemetery, ... VERY IMPORTANT that you say you dont want to go shopping, just culture. Ask at the riad.
  • Wood Work Museum
  • Traditional music festival at the beginning of May
  • Ifrane - when you need some fresh mountain air, drive into the mountain to little Switzerland (where you can even ski) or other berber villages
 
Dar Labchara Team
kids school fez
sad camel fez
Dar Tajine lunch
 

El Jadida and Oualidia

(easiest to rent a car for this)
    Hotel:
     
    Eat:
    • In Oualida - fish fish fish... little stands by the beach with oysters and more but also a couple of good restaurants around. Check out this article for all the info!
    • Must sees:
    • or dos...learn to surf
    • relax
     
    Continue on to Safi and check out the typical colourful ceramics...we haven't been yet but it is high on the list. Then on to....
     

    Marrakech

     
    Hotel:
    • Riad Sabah - run by Hans a fellow Bavarian and his Moroccan wife, very nice with food from their organic farm from outside town - contact Hans here: riad-sabah@menara.ma
    • Riad dar Aicha - very cheap but super nice!!!
    • This air b'n'b is also apparently very nice, a recommendation of a friend
     
    Eat:
    • Terrasse des epices - for lunch, beautiful terrace with lots of sunshine spots 
    • NOMAD - for lunch and dinner
    • Le jardin - green oasis for a nice lunch
    • Fish stand number 96 on the big square
    • Digestive tea next to dancers on square after dinner
    • Kosybar - good sushi and nice for chilling during day or night
    • Le Fondouk - more upscale, nice roof garden
    • Dar Cherifa - super nice for lunch...culture centre, beautiful old building
    • Patisserie des Princes - more fekkahs and other traditional moroccan patisseries...sooo delicious
     
    Must sees:
     
    Shopping:
    • Chez Faouzi - antique jewellery redone
    • Raffia shoes - baboush section of medina
    • La port d’Or -  for antiques
    • Al Kawtar - ladies with disabilities that do very cute embroidery
                             

    Outside Marrakech

    • Beldi Hotel - for a nice wellness day/night and to enjoy their gardens
    • Fellah Hotel - for a very relaxing time out from Marrakech's buzz
    • Atlas Mountains - for some hiking and a nice hotel treat at for example Kasbah Bourika
    • Ouzoud waterfalls
    • Toubkal Mountain
    • Ourika Valley
      
    Marrakech
    Fellah Hotel
     
     
     
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    La Vida Portuguesa

    Posted by Rosalie Cramer-Klett on

    What better way is there to celebrate the sweet new smell of self-employed freedom than going straight away on a well-deserved vacation and combining it with a first scan of potential collaborators of our up and coming business... 

    Obviously the days of picking a holiday destination only for its beautiful beaches have ended with the founding of HIITU. Not for my friends though, this is why it was easy to trick them into accompanying me to Portugal by the sheer mentioning of endless sandy coastlines with practically no one around. 

    Empty dunes of Praia do Meco

    So for week one we found the perfect holiday home outside of Azeitão, in the region of Setúbal, about 50 km south of Lisbon airport. The house was surrounded by a huge garden with figs, pomegranates, strawberries, limes and all sorts of herbs to pick from.  And the absolute cherry on the cake was the terrace with a beautiful 180 degree view from the top of the hill out into the wilderness of the Arrábida National Park. The location of the house was ideal for Portugal newbies like us. It was around 20 to 30 minutes from a bunch of places worth looking at. After spending the afternoon of our arrival by the pool, we were ready for some beach exploring the following day. The closest beach nearby was the small Praia do Portinho da Arrábida. It was located in midst of the national park in a calm bay, which made it actually possible to really swim - no given on the Atlantic Coast... There were many locals and we didn’t hear a lot of foreign voices. There was a delicious restaurant with fresh fish and seafood called O Farol. Order the clams with garlic, oil and coriander. To die for. Actually everything we ordered was.

     

    The second beach we went to and actually returned twice more was Praia do Meco. It was pretty much at the bottom of the 40 km coast line going towards Lisbon. So if you headed up north you could go for long walks along the wavy sea and endless sand dunes. 

    My personal tip: about two kilometres up north you come by the  Lagoa de Albufeira, where salt and sweet water meet - great for a swim!

    Directly at Meco beach there is a good restaurant called Bar do Peixe - order the stuffed crab! 

     

    An absolute must when you are in this area is a little detour towards Sesimbra, or more precisely 15 km outside of it, to the Farol do Cabo Espichel, a lighthouse, and the Santuário de Nossa Senhora do Cabo Espichel, a convent. They are located at what we were told to be the second most western point of continental Europe. Gaze out into the endless horizon, step on the edge of the super steep coast and look down 200 Meters to watch the huge waves crush onto the rocks below - you‘ll feel so little yet so alive, it is breathtaking. My body and my mind were so energised afterwards, it is hard to put it into words. Watch out for the strong wind though, it might blow you away. 

    Santuário de Nossa Senhora do Cabo Espichel

    Next on our list was a day trip down south to Comporta. It started out with a 30 minute drive through the mountainous Arrábida national park with amazing views on the steep coast and the sea. When we arrived in the town of Setúbal, we got on a 20 minute car ferry ride over to Tróia, the peak of a 20 km long tongue of land that ends in Comporta. The landscape was rough and moonscapy. We came by a number of beaches along the main road, among them the most famous Praia da Comporta, where the hip crowd mingles. Following a recommendation of my Portuguese friend Ricardo, we decided to go to Praia do Pego, a little further down south. There is a delicious restaurant called Sal. Order basically anything off the menu, especially the fried baby squid and the black rice. And leave some space for the frozen lemon cheese cake and the almond cake to round things off... The restaurant has a bar too, which was voted one of the best ten beach bars this year. Super relaxed and understatement. Loved it! Since we were on a day trip we only had the chance to try out their fresh juices - go for pineapple and mint! Yummy! Pego was definitely my number 1 beach on our trip. The sand is super soft and fine, the atmosphere is relaxed and the restaurant was top.

    Praia do Pego, Sal Beach Club

    We rounded off our trip with some shopping before we headed back towards Setúbal. There are a number of nice little hippie boutiques around Comporta town worth checking out: Loja do Museu do Arroz Comporta, Manumaya, Loja Lavanda and TM Collection.

     

    The next day Lisbon was on the agenda. We went on a long stroll around the city, from viewpoint to viewpoint. Miradouro do Castelo de São Jorge, Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcantara and  Miradouro da Nossa Senhora do Monte are definitely three hotspots for awesome views from all angles. Grab a coffee from many of the kiosks on the way and dive into the slow nostalgic mood of the city. I also have one little shop recommendation: check out Republica das Flores in Rua da Misericordia n. 31 – the beautiful store sells very nice interior, accessories and decoration.

    If you want some proper touristy action you shouldn‘t miss out on looking at the Mosteiro do Jerónimos, a beautiful monastery in Belem. And while you are there have a pastel de nata at the famous Casa Pasteis de Belem. 

     

    My restaurant tip for Lisbon is the super traditional Cervejaria Ramiro that also Ricardo recommended to me (he had already told me about Sal – obviously a connoisseur!). You cannot book a table in advance which means that there is an impressively long queue outside the door already from about 7 pm onwards. But stay strong, your patience will be rewarded with outstanding seafood, fish and to finish off the so-called „dessert“ which is actually a steak sandwich. You must leave some room for it - keep this in mind, it will be difficult! From all the restaurants I tried during my trip this was the greatest culinary explosion, it is not even describable!! So simple, yet so freakingly delicious. Don‘t miss out on this gourmond experience.

    After our final weekend in Lisbon my friends left for home and I continued on my own. I spent a night in Estóril with my Portuguese/German friends Marlies and Antonio. The next morning Marlies took me on a drive in her convertible towards Sintra. It is a super picturesque drive through traditional old villages, forests and along the coastline. You come by really nice bays with beautiful beaches like Praia do Guincho and Praia da Adraga. You can see impressive Quintas, the typical country estates of the Portuguese aristocracy, which were built in consequence of the king‘s construction of the Castelo dos Mouros in the end of the 19th century. The houses are often still in great shape, all scattered around the large Parque Natural de Sintra-Cascais that surrounds the castle. Unfortunately it was a Monday and the castle itself was closed but already the look of it from the distance was impressive, so if you have the chance don’t miss out on a visit inside.

    The following day I continued my trip towards Porto. I stopped at the famous Mosteiro de Alcabaça which you should definitely go visit when you have the chance. It is rightfully listed as a world heritage site by the UNESCO and beautiful to look at. Put on your headphones, wander the halls with a good track list and find out more about Don Pedro and Doña Ines, the Portuguese version of Romeo and Juliet, who are buried here.

    After a short walk on the beach of Nazaré I continued north. I got to Porto in the early evening just in time for...dinner. I met up with Daniela, a very nice friend of a friend of a friend that had started her own shoe line Weekend Barber a couple of years ago. Check out her shoes they are very cool and unique! She took me to Brick (Rua Campo Martires Da Patria n. 103) where we ate a delicious soup and salad and talked about shoes, fashion, fashion business, starting your own brand...and so on and so on. A very inspirational evening!

    Impressions from Porto

    Impressions from Porto

    The next morning I went on an investigative trip around the shops of Porto hunting down traditional Portuguese crafts. I found some beautiful shops that are definitely worth mentioning. Check out Rua das Flores for silverware and jewellery. There are many great shops up and down that road, I particularly liked Ferreiras and Ourivesaria das Flores. The whole area around that street is known as „downtown“ Porto and has beautiful little shops, bakeries and cafes. For a delicious organic snack go to Mercearia das Flores in Rua das Flores n. 110, they have good salads and cold cuts as well as delicious cakes. For shoes, fashion, accessories and jewellery of young designers, mostly from Portugal, you should definitely check out The Feeting Room in Largo dos Lóios n. 86. I bought a beautiful golden ear cuff from the Portuguese designer Carolina Curado, which I haven’t taken off since. Also check out the shop HATS & C.A.T.S. (cosmopolitan articles of tradition and simplicity) in Rua do Infante Dom Henrique n. 117 – it sells cool straw hats and accessories from around the world. Also their second shop Lobo Taste in Rua de S. Domingos n. 20 is worth a visit – you can find typical Portuguese accessories. Another good shop for traditional products is Santo da Casa Shop in Rua de São João n. 56.

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