North Africa features a vast landscape of mountains and sand dunes of overwhelming beauty. From desert cities in the Sahara to the bluest cities in the world and bustling souks (traditional marketplaces), there is so much to discover in North Africa.
Spanning thousands of kilometers across Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, the Atlas mountains form a breathtaking sight across North Africa. Here you can still find remote villages where the indigenous Berber people have lived for over 4,000 years. They call themselves Amazigh, native inhabitants of the Maghreb region. Experts in water irrigation, Berbers created ancient waterways by using gravity to navigate water. A desert oasis becomes a luxury far more exciting and unimaginable.
With it lush gardens and riads, stunning palaces, and vibrant marketplaces, Marrakesh is still an economic epicenter. Its endlessly winding souks are filled with everything to buy from textiles and spices to jewelry, pottery, and handmade art crafts. Want to discover Morocco? Get An Insider’s Look and check out Marrakech Express: 24 Hours, 4 Spas.
Morocco’s most gorgeous spa is hidden inside one of the world’s best luxury hotels, La Mamounia hotel. Here you’ll find a quiet escape with what seems like millions of traditional mosaic tiles in a stunning retreat. The Moorish architecture and interior decor is a wonder. Full of intricate details to admire, it is not wonder that his spa is one of the world’s most beautiful spas.
Pronounced “buh-jey-ya”, you’ll find a beautiful Mediterranean port city where the majority of the Kabylie Berber population reside in Algeria. Béjaïa (also known as the “Grand Kabylia”) is home to the largest group of one of the indigenous Berber tribes who still speak their native language. There is also another city located on top of a mountain called Tizi Ouzou, pronounced “tee-zee-oo-zoo”) which is also home to the Kabylie Berber people. Here you can find street signs in three languages including French, Arabic, and Tamazight.
Tamnougalt and Agdz, Morocco
You may have heard of Agdz, a famous kasbah, but perhaps you have not heard of Tamnougalt which is a small village and date palm oasis located in the heart of the desert in the Atlas Mountains. Its iconic medieval fortified city walls date back to the 16th century. Lush green date palm trees surround the orange city becomes a surreal and scenic dream for the wanderlust.
Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia
Make your way across North Africa to the other side where you’ll find Sidi Bou Said just 20 kilometers from Tunis, the capital of Tunisia, somewhere along the Mediterranean. This blue and white city just as beautiful as Santorini but perhaps even better. A less known destination, Sidi Bou Said promises a relaxed atmosphere of a calming sea and little shops.
There’s nothing more mesmerizing than sand dunes washed in a golden sunset. The Sahara desert sweeps across 11 countries including Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Sudan, and Western Sahara and covers about one third of Africa. Believe it or not, the Sahara is actually not the world’s largest desert. It is only third in size compared to the Arctic and Antarctica but if comparing to only hot deserts, then no other beats the expansiveness and heat of the Sahara.
If you’re looking for the ultimate destination and culture trip, North Africa is a hidden gem longing to be explored.
Adventure awaits among the Atlas mountain tops and across the alluring Sahara.