The city of Marrakesh at the foot of the Atlas mountain range which crosses the entire north of the country (Photo: Getty Images)

Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia: three North African countries that promise special, memorable travels. In these lands where the pendulum swings between fine sand beaches and cities overflowing with history, the region has an infinite number of surprises to share if you know where to look. We're here to help you experience the Maghreb!

From the medina of Sousse to the old town of Tunis, classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Tunisia lives up to its reputation for hospitality. A hop, skip, and one jasmine tea away, you will find yourself in Constantine, Algeria, a city of bridges that symbolise connection where the malouf is sung, or in Annaba, dancing between its rugged massif and the elegant stores that line the Cours de la Révolution. And while Algiers and Oran, the country's two major cities, compete in cultural and historical splendour, Tlemcen will plunge you into another vibe, with a sumptuous bath of Andalusian influences. Then it's off to Morocco. First to Fez, for its artfully dispatched cobalt blue ceramics and freely accessible sacred music. Then comes Rabat, the capital of the Cherifian Kingdom, where tradition and modernity mingle with nuance and panache. Finally, Marrakesh, at the foot of the Atlas Mountains, plays with style by energetically mixing its abundant past with tomorrow's fashions.

Tunisia: a visit framed by bougainvillea and almond lemonade

Sousse

The medina of Sousse, Tunisia

Sousse’s emblematic doors, discovered from within its labyrinthine medina  (Photo: Getty Images)

Located between the Mediterranean and its neighbouring Sahel countries, the city of Sousse combines the pleasures of kicking back on white sand beaches with the globetrotting pleasures of strolling through the meandering Medina, designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1988. From the Sousse Pearl Marriott Resort & Spa, you will be only a few steps away from the sea as well as the Ribat fortress (a masterfully crafted bastion dating back to 796 AD, that still stands tall today) or the Bou Ftata Mosque. After building up an appetite, recharge your batteries while tasting the local specialties: brik, shorba, and fish couscous.

Tunis

Al-Zaytuna Mosque, Tunis, Tunisia

The minaret of the Zitouna Mosque in Tunis (Photo: Getty Images)

This visit is a must-do for experiencing the beauty of a city where history is displayed proudly. The metropolis' incredible past flows openly along its long avenues or in the medina, classified as a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1979. To the east of Tunis, you’ll find the small, affluent town of La Marsa and the village of Sidi Bou Saïd, which overlooks Carthage and its archeological sites from its Roman past, which will absolutely delight history buffs. For foodies, the city is also ripe with gourmet delights including typical Tunisian dishes revisited by Chef Laurent Brun and his team at the Tunis Marriott Hotel. Jump into a cab for a ten-minute ride from the Sheraton Tunis Hotel to the Bardo Museum and its ancient Beylical Palace. To further your explorations, continue on to the magnificent sanctuary located in the Zitouna Mosque. Then, saving that best for last, pop over to the Ichkeul National Park: its 12,600 hectares constitute one of the most important ornithological reserves in the Maghreb.

The boundless beauty of Algeria's Mediterranean coast

North-East Algeria: Annaba and Constantine

Sidi M'Cid Bridge, Constantine, Algeria

Sidi M'Cid, the famous bridge crossing the Rhumel River (Photo: Getty Images)

Start with a mosey through the old town of Annaba and the Sidi Bou Merouane mosque before being tempted by the Sheraton Annaba Hotel's Friday lunch buffet, which overflows with delicious specialties like Jari and Shakhchoukha. As you head out, set your gaze upward and outward toward the sublime landscapes of the Seraïdi valley or those of the El Kala National Park. The most daring can even enjoy them from above while paragliding!

Renowned for its architecture, music, and its bridges and nougat (the famous jawzia), Constantine is also very popular with history aficionados. Ideally located near the Cirta National Museum, the Constantine Marriott Hotel opens its city’s doors to you, ushering visitors from the Ahmed Bey Palace to the Emir Abdelkader mosque and its remarkable twin minarets.

Algiers

Algiers Central Post Office, Algeria

The Algiers Central Post Office, built in 1910 in the neo-Moorish style  (Photo: Getty Images)

Located in the center of the Algerian Mediterranean coast, Algiers plays host to unparalleled cultural and historical depth. As many who know the city will tell you, it's the type of place where getting means you've really visited. From the Residence Inn Algiers Bab Ezzouar, you will have plenty of time to prepare your escapades to the markets of Bab el Oued, the Notre-Dame of Africa Basilica, and the Ketchaoua mosque. For meditative walks or quiet time with your current page-turner, the city's many gardens await with the shade of spruce trees and vows of fond memories. 

North-West Algeria: Oran and Tlemcen

Mansourah Mosque, Tlemcen, Algeria

At the city gates, the remains of the ancient town and the Mansourah mosque (Photo: Getty Images)

Oran can practically only be spoken of in superlatives. Here, history, architecture, and culture join forces seamlessly. With its view of the bay, Le Méridien Oran Hotel & Convention Centre is an ideal place to stop and contemplate the face of the city before falling in love with it. Start by visiting the Sacred Heart Cathedral and the Hassan Pacha Mosque before strolling through the narrow streets of Sidi El Houari. Give in to the succulent temptation of a tajine with prunes, a Karantika, or a créponné. After a few nibbles, head a few dozen minutes by car toward the Santa Cruz Chapel for a breathtaking view of the Mediterranean bay.

City of Andalusian Art, Tlemcen boasts a unique identity relative to the rest of country. From the Renaissance Tlemcen Hotel you can easily visit the remains of the ancient city of Mansourah, the Great Mosque or the equally sumptuous El Mechouar Palace. In the evening, saunter over to a café or restaurant to dabble in local flavours while catching the serenades of Arab-Andalusian music on the wind.

Morocco's imperial cities: dazzling modernity and timeless beauty

Fez

The blue gate of Fez, Morocco

True symbol of the city, cobalt blue ceramic decorates one of Fez’s gateways (Photo: Getty Images)

Historically, Fes qualifies as an imperial city, and yet presents with a measured discretion, preferring to hide its treasures along narrow streets and arched passages. A short cab ride from the Fes Marriott Hotel Jnan Palace will take you to the gates of its maze, from the Karaouyine district to Fes el Bali, all the way to the dyers' souk. Continue your visit to admire the tomb of the Merinids, which is reached by  an aesthetically pleasing walk along the ramparts of the Queen of the Maghreb's fortified city.

Marrakesh

Jamaa el Fna, Marrakesh, Morocco

At nightfall, Jemaa el Fnaa square opens to restaurants and barbecues for a giant feast  (Photo: Getty Images)

From the Meridien N'Fis, with its spectacular view of the Koutoubia, you will find yourself crisscrossing the sophisticated hub of trendy boutiques harboured by Marrakesh's Hivernage district. A little further along, you'll find the cobblestone streets of Guéliz, its concept stores - Some Slow Concept, Owl Concept store - and its cafés and restaurants, which are the most sought after in the city. Located north of the Red City, the AnaYela, Marrakesh, a Member of Design Hotels™, opens the medina's doors to the great Jemaa El-Fna Square for a traditionally served méchoui (barbecued lamb). Keep in mind that Marrakesh's Yves Saint-Laurent Museum and the Majorelle Gardens, as well as Dar El Bacha, and the new Musée des Confluences, are just minutes away.

A city with plenty of perches for night owls, Marrakesh overflows with shows, bars, and discotheques, as well as several casinos. However, we recommend saving some strength for the sporting options in the Palmeraie to be enjoyed on camelback or atop a quad, or further away, at the treetop adventure course in the Terres d'Amanar, or for trekking and climbing on the rugged mountainsides of Jebel Toukbal.

Rabat

Medina of Rabat

Medina of Rabat, a port famous for its quaint fishing boats (Photo: Getty Images)

Once an imperial city, Rabat was named capital of Morocco following the country's independence in 1955. In commemoration of this deep seat in the region's narrative, the beautiful Museum of History and Civilizations and its discreet medina are ideally located just minutes from the Rabat Marriott Hotel. Have lunch at Café Robuchon before sightseeing on your way to the Hassan Tower and the mausoleums of Mohammed V and his son Hassan II in the heart of a palace that was completed only in 1971. A comprehensive visit of the city will allow you to recognise the influences of the civilizations that vibrate in the city’s soul and echo throughout the whole Kingdom.

Published: September 27, 2022

Last Updated: October 04, 2022

Article Tags:  Sousse , Tunis , Annaba , Constantine , Algiers , Oran , Tlemcen , Fez , Marrakesh , Rabat

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