Surfing and sunsets in Taghazout, hikes in the breathtaking Atlas Mountain, camping under the stars in the Agafay desert, and navigating the bustling Marrakesh Medina – this isn’t just any old honeymoon, this is a Moroccan honeymoon.
Choosing your honeymoon destination
If you’re a keen procrastinator like me, planning a honeymoon when you’re meant to be choosing canapés for your wedding reception is a welcome distraction.
Tom and I thought long and hard about our perfect honeymoon destination. Having been away on quite a few holidays together, we wanted a trip that allowed for heavy relaxation, but with room for some activities along the way.
For Tom, this meant being adventure-packed, with possibilities for exploring and surfing. For me, I wanted to visit interesting places, and stay in unique and stylish boutique hotels (and anything that kept Tom entertained). But for both of us, it was a chance to decompress after the incredible experience of our wedding. Therefore, we settled on Morocco!
In just under 4 hours from London, you can touch down in sunny Marrakesh. We flew, extremely reasonably I might add, with EasyJet, and considering our newlywed status they even upgraded our tickets to sit next to each other (how romantic). We hired a car from the airport, and drove 3 hours southwest to our first destination.
A small fishing village just outside Agadir, Taghazout is famous for its surfing beaches.
Amouage Boutique Hotel
Our dwelling for the next 5 nights was the stunning and stylish Amouage, a wonderfully quirky yet modern boutique hotel with oceanfront views of the vast Atlantic.
We opted for the ‘Best Room’ (because… honeymoon), which, like the rest of the hotel, is an interior design dream.
Vintage barber chairs, 50’s cinema posters, opulent Berber rugs, beaded African busts and a giant woven egg chair suspended from the ceiling are just a few of the features you’ll find.
Here, you can be perfectly self-contained for the duration of your stay. With breakfast, lunch, free afternoon tea and cake (!), and a delicious dinner spread on offer.
Most meals are communal, and a great way to catch up on your surf stories from the day (or in my case, what podcast I’d listened to by the pool). You’ve also got an extensive spa and daily yoga sessions on the rooftop.
The hotel offers surf retreats, inclusive of daily trips, coaching and food. Since we hired a car, we took a few day trips around the area, but found Agadir slightly too touristy for our liking so tended to stay local. You can hire all surfing, SUP and kayaking equipment locally as well.
Our next stop was the Ourika Valley, based at the foothills of the Atlas Mountains (and 1 hour drive from Marrakesh) with the Ourika River running through it.
Kasbah Bab Ourika
Perched on the top of a hill in the centre of the valley, Kasbah Bab Ourika offers breath-taking panoramic views.
The hotel itself is beautifully presented, with unique artwork and natural décor, which feels harmonious with its surroundings.
Having recovered from a bout of tummy bug (will spare you those details…) we spent the first night nursing a bowl of potato and leek soup.
The next day we were back on form and ready to enjoy the exquisite French inspired menu. Of course the area is renowned for its superb walks and remarkable vistas. The hotel is located at the start of a national park, so you’ve always got access to a light amble.
We also opted for a slightly more challenging walk to the Setti Fatma waterfalls. Be warned, this can get quite busy with bus tours from Marrakesh, plus you will get hounded by local vendors on your way in.
You’ll also get convinced that you need to hire a guide to get you up the falls, but as long as you have a good map or phone GPS it’s actually pretty self-explanatory.
Lunch by the river afterwards is a good option, with traditional grilled meat, tagine and flat breads to restore you after your hike.
We indulged on a little honeymoon treat back at the Kasbah, by booking a massage in our private garden (because…honeymoon). We really enjoyed the peace and tranquillity the Kasbah provided, not to mention the delicious food and surroundings.
Keen to tick one more terrain type off our list, our next stop was a night in the Agafay desert, completely untouched by any development and the calm before the storm of Marrakesh.
Only 45 minutes from the city, Scarabeo Camp is an awesome experience for those wanting to escape the city and sleep under the stars.
Their tagline is ‘luxurious camping’ (I loathe the word ‘glamping’ so happy to roll with this). All tents are kitted out with proper beds, Moroccan lanterns, and adjoining bathroom and shower, all befitted in stylish Colonial-esque décor to take you back in time (exquisite objet, stacked valises, silver candelabras, binoculars and old rusted boules sets).
As with most places, we were greeted by some refreshing mint tea and a delicious Moroccan lunch spread.
After witnessing a small sand storm, we decided it was probably alright to venture out and explore the dunes. Harnessing our inner Laurence of Arabia, we donned our scarfs and embarked on a dromedary ride.
Big recommendation here is to set your alarms (for what will feel unhealthily abnormal to your holiday body clock) and watch one of the most glorious sunrises from the comfort of your bed over a desert horizon. Epic.
“A visit to Marrakech was a great shock to me. This city taught me color”Yves Saint Laurent
The final leg of our journey was two nights in the high-octane city of Marrakesh. We’d intentionally left this until the end, perhaps to work our way up to it knowing it would require a lot of attention and energy but would equally blow our minds.
Staying inside the Medina is a truly remarkable experience. There is such wealth of activity that you’re constantly absorbing. This is offset by the relief found in many of the riads, coffee shops and buildings that you can seek refuge in.
Riad Dar K
We stayed in Riad Dar K, which was the perfect oasis for us in the middle of Marrakesh. It boasts a dunk pool, a shaded roof terrace and comfortable rooms. We were well looked after here by a Belgium couple who have run the Riad for 10 years. She was able to provide some valuable insight from getting around the Medina to the best places to invest in a Berber rug- which we did!
Ben Youssef Madrasa
Notable sites in Marrakesh include the Ben Youssef Madrasa, an old Islamic college and one of the only truly religious purpose buildings you can visit in the city.
Le Jardin Majorelle
One of our favourite visits in Marrakesh was Le Jardin Majorelle, an enchanting garden cultivated and curated by artist Pierre Berge and renowned fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent. Here you can take in exotic plants, vibrant colours and dreamy Art Deco architecture.
There are many fantastic places to eat in Marrakesh, but one place you must visit is La Famille. With a simple menu of colourful fresh salads, juices, pizettes and a setting that most certainly pays homage to La Famille, it was a winner for us.
Morocco presents an ideal trip for anyone looking for adventure, intrigue and a sensory exploration. It was the perfect place to spend our dreamy honeymoon and I look forward to going back to explore more this exciting country has to offer!