Will the time after the pandemic finally be the time for sustainable tourism?

June 15 2020, the day travel within most of the Schengen countries is possible again. Traveling outside your countries borders, even though the COVID-19 crisis is not gone yet and there is still no effective vaccine. The travel industry is one of the industries that got hit hard by the pandemic and will need a lot of time to recover fully and go back to the normal practices. But is that what we want? Going back to ‘normal practices’. This pandemic forced us to stop our daily lives and gave the earth a breathing pause. During this pause, we could see the nature recovering from what we’ve done to it. However, life cannot be paused forever and people want to be free again. Travel lovers like me are desperately waiting to cross international borders again, however I do hope with all my heart that for once we all learn from our mistakes and listen more to the nature. Could the time after COVID-19 be the time for sustainable tourism and travel?

International tourism brings people together, it mixes different backgrounds, cultures and beliefs. It teaches new norms and values and different ways of living. It provides direct and indirect job opportunities and an escape from your daily life. Unfortunately, tourism is not always good. Traveling adds CO2 emissions to the atmosphere, it causes clashes of culture and traditions and not all the money generated from this industry ends up where you would want it to end up. Nature gets disturbed, local inhabitants are forgotten and places get overcrowded. Mass tourism, unsustainable cruise tourism, tourism that includes animal abuse are all examples of concepts that I have high hopes for that we will leave behind in the year of 2020.

So how can you travel more sustainably?

It is easy to look at other people and judge other people’s behaviour. Instead, everyone should look at themselves first and see how they can contribute to a more sustainable life. I will share with you my tips for a more sustainable and responsible way of traveling.

1. Minimize your carbon emissions

Carbon emissions add to the Greenhouse effect, which causes the earth to warm up. The Greenhouse effect is a natural effect, however, we add to it by using planes and other motor vehicles as transportation, produce high amounts of meat (methane emissions) and use big containerships to ship our goods. Global warming causes the land ice to melt, the sea level to rise and causes more extreme weather conditions. The travel industry adds a big amount to these CO2 emissions as often there are flights needed to get to places. My advice here is to evaluate if you really need the flight, or that you can choose other modes of transportation. Try to always compensate your flight emissions and if you fly, try to stay longer at the destination.

2. Use public transportation

Besides the adventures and the beautiful views it often brings, using public transportation also reduces your personal ecological footprint. Instead of renting a car or getting a private driver, take on the adventure and figure out your way through (or to) your destination by public transportation. I assure you, a lot of your best adventures happen on the road. For example, I had some of the most enchanting train rides in Sri Lanka, had interesting encounters with local people in busses in Jordan and Morocco and got stuck in the middle of nowhere somewhere in the middle of Germany with my sister when we took the wrong train and we both couldn’t understand the German train system.

3. Support local initiatives

Some of these tips I already mentioned before in my blogs, just like this one. I repeat them, because in my opinion these are very, very important for sustainable tourism. Supporting local initiatives, like staying at small locally owned hotels, will help keeping the money within the local community, instead of leaking away to big international companies or rich countries. Staying at local hotels, instead of big hotel chains, eating at locally owned restaurants instead of at big chain companies will help the local economy.

Another point that I would like to make: try to avoid initiatives like Airbnb. For example in Amsterdam, mass tourism is a big problem and local hotels are suffering from Airbnb guests. People staying at Airbnb locations often disturb the neighbourhood and take away incomes from hotels. And where hotels have to pay all their taxes and permits, Airbnb takes all the profit.

sumba village

4. Eat locally produced food and buy locally made souvenirs

To stay with the local initiatives, it is also good to eat locally and to buy locally crafted souvenirs. Besides the fact that the money will stay with the community like is said before, the products and ingredients used are also local and probably not imported. This way, you also supported local farmers and industries. And what is better than tasting the local food and taking home something that is entirely locally made and does not say “made in China”?

5. Avoid mass tourism destinations but be careful of negatively impacting deserted places

More affordable flight tickets and people in need of the sun (or snow) causes many destinations to get flooded by tourists. Many European destinations depend on tourism for income generation, however these destinations also feel the negative sides of mass tourism. Places like beaches or restaurant areas get overcrowded, causing many local people to leave to other places. Tourists can create too much noise for locals, causing, for instance in Venice, Italy, the creation of new laws regarding bringing suitcases with wheels (hard wheels are not allowed anymore as they make too much noise on the streets). 

Mass tourism also brings a big problem of pollution with it. People bring their own snacks and leave the packing behind on the beach or in the nature, which disturbs and kills (marine) life. Bali is one of the mass tourism destinations dealing with a huge waste problem, mainly caused by mass tourism. For all these reasons (and many more) I would like to advise you to choose a destination that is not flooded by tourism, a destination that can handle the amount of tourists coming to the area. 

However, I also want to stress the fact that lesser known, deserted places are also not always the best decision. A place that is not at all ready for tourism, can be damaged very easily and the local community and environment can get harmed by tourists, when not dealt with properly. So think about your next destination and how you as a tourists could positively and negatively influence the place.

6. Do not participate in animal activities

I can be very short about this one, if you want to do an activity that includes animals, think with your head. Petting an animal that in the wild could rip you in little pieces, is not something you should do. Pictures with tigers, lions or other big cats is simply just wrong. These animals are getting abused and put on drugs, just so that you can take your photo with them. Harmless cubs get taken away from their mom when they are too young, so that you can play with them. There is nothing natural about that at all. Same goes for riding elephants, swimming with dolphins, riding donkeys and of course, hunting animals. Animals belong in the wild, and that’s where you should see them. Find a good and reliable organization who care about the wellbeing of the animals, and view the animals from a distance where they will not get disturbed.

7. Avoid cruise tourism

If you want to be a sustainable traveller, just don’t go on a cruise trip. There are multiple reasons why cruise tourism is bad for the environment, but also for local communities. These boats are like moving villages on the water with thousands of people on it. You can imagine the environmental impact of having a village on the water. On average, a person on a cruise ship generates two pounds of solid waste. These massive amounts of waste get often processed on board and then dumped in the oceans.

Not only the environment gets harmed by cruise ships, also the destinations of the cruise feel negative consequences. Ports get overcrowded when the entire ships goes on land. Little streets get flooded by day tourists, who can eat at the ship within their all inclusive package and do not spend a single coin at the destinations. Before deciding on booking a cruise, do some research into the negative impacts of your trip.

8. Minimize your waste generation

I have mentioned this point before on my blog and in my opinion it is one that is easy to take care of by yourself and can prevent major harmful impacts. On a trip, bring your own reusable bottle and decrease the use of plastic bottles. If you generate waste, always make sure to take it with you and throw it away in a bin or take it home and throw it away in your room. Waste that is left at the beach can end up in oceans and kill marine life and pollute water. Those fish can again end up on your plate and you would be eating an amount of microplastics that was inside the fish. Bring a metal straw and refuse the use of plastic straws, don’t do take away where they use single use plastics and always bring your own bag so that you can say no to the use of plastic bags. Maybe it is a bit more thinking during your holiday, but the environment will thank you..

9. Participate in nature activities that do not harm the environment

Last but not least, I would like to focus on nature activities and activities that might harm the nature. Ecolodges are often good options for an environmentally friendly experience in the nature. Often food is produced locally, water is reused and a minimal use of plastics. Here you can enjoy nature in a good and responsible way. Other forms of ecotourism are, for example, hikes with a certified guide.

Unfortunately, there are also a lot of activities outdoors that are harming or disturbing the environment. One of them is driving a quad in the desert, which disturbs the desert environment and life. Also, when you go snorkelling, please keep in mind to use coral friendly sunblock and when you go for hikes on your own, stay on the paths to make sure to not destroy the plants.

Of course, there are so much more tips and things to keep in mind while traveling. I really think that if everyone would take these into account, we could make the travel industry a whole lot more sustainable and responsible. Remember that change starts with yourself, just because someone else does something, doesn’t mean you should do it too.

If you have some questions about responsible travel or other remarks, please leave a comment or contact me!


Tips to travel from home during the COVID-19 quarantine


COVID-19 is putting pressure on the world and everyone is in quarantine or self-isolation. For those who love traveling as much as I do, and cannot wait to start exploring the world again I would like to share some tips on how to travel from your own comfortable couch at home. Because remember, in times like these with Corona, make sure to stay safe, stay at home and keep distance! But all these measure does not mean that we cannot keep dreaming about traveling and maybe even bring traveling home? I hope my tips will make your time at home a bit less boring and will open your eyes to our beautiful world and bring some nice travel inspirations!

Watch movies and documentaries

One of the easiest methods to start dreaming about traveling and to give your eyes and mind something sweet are movies and documentaries about the world. Documentaries like ‘Our Planet’, ‘Life’ or ‘Earth’ are great examples that show the beauty of nature. For Dutch people I can really recommend the documentary ‘Langs de Yangtze’ by photographer Ruben Terlou, which you can still watch on the website of VPRO.

However to be able to day dream about the world, you do not only have to watch documentaries. Almost all movies show parts of the world, with beautiful shots made at the most unique places. One of my favourite movies of all time is called ‘Lion’ and shows the beauty but also the poverty of India. Also, the famous 007 James Bond movies cover some amazing travel footage in every movie. For instance, the opening scene of Spectre takes place during El Dia de Muertos in Mexico City. Other scenes were, for example, shot in London, Rome and Austria.

Movies are the perfect way to get inspiration for future trips, or to think back to times when you were at that exact same spot as the actor or actress. I remember watching ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ and seeing Julia Roberts eating pizza at one of the most famous places in Napoli at the exact same spot as where I was sitting when I was enjoying that amazing pizza.


I don’t know about you, but to me music is all about memories and feelings. I can hear a particular song and think back about the exact moment where I heard it. Music can make me happy, but definitely can also make me cry. I can’t live without music and I really like different types of music with different languages. A lot of songs remind me of previous travels and music also makes me longing for new travel adventures. So I would like to share a list of my favourite music in different languages so you can think back of past travels with me, or start dreaming about new travel experiences through music!


Arabic music is maybe my latest love. Of course, living in Morocco taught me a lot about the country and culture, but I also managed to pick up some words in Moroccan and Arabic language. Now I love to listen to these songs to take me back to the time I was there in that beautiful country.


  • Zina
  • Kahlete laayoune

Zouhair Bahaoui: 

  • Lazem Alina Nsebro
  • Décapotable

Dadju (Arabic + French):        

  • Wouli Liya
  • Melegim
  • Reine
  • Mafuzzy Style

Faydee (Arabic + English):    

  • Habibi Albi


  • Ya lili                   

Besides these Arabic songs I would also like to share another African singer called Youssou n’Dour with, amongst others, the song 7 seconds.


Besides my love for the Arab language, I also have a crush on the Italian language. Besides the classics of Andrea Bocelli and Eros Ramazzotti, I also really like the following songs that make me think back of the best period of my life: Erasmus exchange in Rimini, Italy.

Takagi & Ketra: 

  • Amore e Capoeira
  • Jambo


  • Senza Pagare
  • Italiana


  • Ti volevo dedicare
  • Per Un Milione


  • Soldi
  • Calipso


  • È sempre bello

Baby K:                                 

  • Playa
  • Roma – Bangkok

Fred de Palma:                   

  • Sincera
  • Una volta ancora
  • Il tuo profumo

And so much more!!


Spanish music, reggaeton.. Do I need to say more to feel the summer holiday vibes? I will list some of my favourites (but I listen to many many more)!

Alvaro Soler:                         

  • La Cintura (I can’t help it, this song still makes me happy)


  • Me Niego

Prince Royce:                         

  • Cúrame

J Balvin:                                 

  • Indeciso

Mau y Ricky:                         

  • Bota Fuego
  • La Boca

Lalo Ebratt :                       

  • Déjate Querer


Because of my mom, I grew up listening to French chansons on Sunday mornings. I think that is where my love for the French language and music started. No real chansons in this list though, but still very nice French songs!

Maître Gims:                         

  • Est-ce que tu m’aimes ?
  • J’me tire
  • Corazón
  • Mi Gna
  • Le pire

Vegedream :                         

  • Ramenez la coupe à la maison
  • Ma Go Sure
  • Daishi
  • Elle est bonne sa mère
  • La fuite

Ninho :                                   

  • La vie qu’on mène

Youssoupha :                         

  • Par Amour


And to really get in the summer and holiday feeling, I would like to add some Caribbean music!


  • Cheers to life

Lil Rick:                                   

  • All is Rum


  • Oh Yay

Buena vista social club:       

  • Chan Chan
  • El Cuarto de Tula
  • De Camino a La Vereda

Dive in the kitchen of..

What is a better time to explore your inner kitchen queen than quarantine? And what is nicer than trying out new dishes from all over the world? You cannot only travel from home through your eyes and ears but also through your mouth, by creating all kinds of world dishes. Think of the Italian kitchen, Indonesian or Moroccan kitchen! During my past travels I had the opportunity to try multiple (veggie) dishes in multiple countries and some of them are still my absolute favourites. The thought of Indonesian fried rice or makdous from Jordan make me so happy and hungry. Of course Italian pizza and pasta are like no other and trying real Japanese sushi is still on my bucket list! The latest kitchen I fell in love with was the Moroccan kitchen with vegetable tajine, couscous and harira soup.

So turn up that music, go online and look for those amazing recipes and prepare a world meal for your quarantine company!

Instagram pages

I think social media like Instagram and Facebook are used more than ever and also to travel from your couch, Instagram can be very useful and nice. I will share my favourite travel accounts that I follow for inspiration and to dream about future travels.

  • @Aggie : Author of Instatravel and inspirational person
  • @Moroccoplaces : Beautiful pictures of my old home Morocco
  • @pilotmadeleine : Travels the world with her baby and fiancé
  • @lexilimitless : Youngest person to travel to every country
  • @momimfine  Built an entire school out of plastic in Tulum
  • @fabrizio_road : Beautiful pictures of la Dolce Vita
  • @sergibasoli : Traveling the world by boat with his dog
  • @girlfromplanetearth : Beautiful travel pics
  • @muradosmann : Creators of #followmeto

Photo albums!

Use this time to FINALLY start working on your photo albums that are waiting for you for years now. I am also guilty of buying photo albums and ordering pictures, but never working on them. I always have these amazing creative ideas, but somehow I never manage to find time to do it. Now time cannot be an excuse anymore, right?! So look for pictures on your camera or computer and start reliving those memories of past travels while capturing all those beautiful moments together at one place.

Learn a new language

Now is the time to finally start learning a new language. There are many books or courses online that will learn you the basics of a language through nice exercises. For Dutch people I can recommend the books by Van Dale. Or of course use the app of Duolingo, which is easy to use and a fun way to start a new language.

Dive in traditions and habits of different cultures

Language is not the only part of a country’s culture. There are many more traditions, habits and rituals you can learn about and why not also try out? Get creative with cultural handicrafts or learn a particular dance (maybe even with the music I shared 😉). During this quarantine period, I will learn more about the Moroccan culture and its Islamic influences and participate a day in the Ramadan. This way, you learn already more about a particular culture from home.

Start planning that dream trip

Last but not least I would like to stress again the importance to keep dreaming. So what is stopping your from planning that dream trip? Dream big, read blogs, travel books, everything to prepare that amazing next trip for the future. The travel industry (like many other industries) is suffering from COVID-19 and it’s important to support it by not cancelling your trip, but to postpone instead (if possible). We need to help each other, but of course, all in a responsible way!

Responsible travel

With all the hurt and painful moments that are going on in the world because of COVID-19, I would like to share a happy thought. As everyone in staying inside to stay safe, the environment finally has a chance to recover a bit from human actions. Less CO2 emissions are released because productions stopped, the air above countries is much cleaner and canals in Venice are clear again. Nature has time to recover from what we did to it. As the tourism sector is completely blocked and at a pause at the moment, this could be our chance to learn from our mistakes and travel more responsibly in the future. I really hope that we will not go back to our polluting and destroying way of living and take this period as a warning that we are destroying our beautiful planet. There is no Planet B so lets take this chance to keep dreaming, rebuild our lives and the travel industry, but all in a responsible way. To protect the environment, the earth and the people.

If you have some questions or other remarks, please leave a comment or contact me!

Sumba Hospitality Foundation: a future in sustainable tourism for the youth of Sumba

During our research on Sumba, Indonesia we had the opportunity to interview someone from the Sumba Hospitality Foundation. In this blog for my Beautiful People section, I will share the story of the foundation, what they do for the people of Sumba and the environment and my experience visiting the foundation.

Sumba Indonesia

The Sumba Hospitality Foundation (SHF) is based on the Indonesian island called Sumba since 2016. This island is located in the South of Indonesia and is rather underdeveloped. It gets a small amount of tourists every year in comparison to mass tourism destination Bali. Then again this is also the strength and beauty of Sumba, being a rough diamond in an area full of mass tourism. If you want to read more about Sumba and my personal highlights click here.

pantai mandorak

The foundation

Founded by a Belgian woman with love for Asia, the SHF is set to provide a future to underprivileged youth of Sumba by educating them about the hospitality sector, sustainable tourism, environmental awareness and permaculture farming. The students of the hotel school get housing, meals and healthcare together with their education. After the theoretical and practical lessons at the school, the students do an internship at a 5 star hotel or restaurant to turn those skills into practice. One of these resorts is Nihi Sumba which is rewarded as world’s best resort for the last couple of years. By providing education on sustainable development, the foundation hopes Sumba to be an example of a sustainable tourism destination, where the local community is included in economic welfare and decision making and the environment is well taken care off.

The school

The whole campus, including the school, resort, restaurants etc. are built from bamboo as it is a very sustainable and durable product. Also, the students get taught about farming and growing herbs, fruits and vegetables that are used in the restaurant and bar. By using solar panels for energy and a water treatment system, the campus is able to be fully self-sufficient.

The hotel

As part of the lessons, the students have to work in the hotel or restaurant on the campus. This hotel is also built from sustainable products and provides a great learning space for the students. Here they can transform the theory learned in the classroom into practice.

Our research

During our research on Sumba we got the opportunity to attend a day at the school. We had to share our research design and they got to share their knowledge about their island. It was an amazing day meeting all these beautiful people and hearing their stories. We also got a tour of the whole ground and they showed us their farm, classrooms etc. It is amazing how in such a short period of time, they created this foundation and are able to help the students with their future.

The practices at the school are a great example of how a destination should develop. The students learn about how precious their island is and how they should treat it in order to benefit from it in a responsible way. I think the Sumba Hospitality Foundation is a beautiful example of sustainable development. Making sure the local community benefits whilst taking good care of the environment.

If you have some questions or other remarks, please leave a comment or contact me!

5 destinations for the real Moroccan experience

In this blog I am going to write about my experience in Morocco by listing five destinations that impressed me in various ways. These five destinations are not the most common top 5 of Morocco when you read other blogs, however I chose those that surprised me the most. It shows the 5 destinations and shares some ideas on how these places can develop in a more sustainable or responsible way and provides some ideas on how you as a traveller could act more responsible during your journey to and at these places.

1. Fez

Fez is what I would like to call authentic Morocco. With its little streets dazzling through the medina you feel like your in a maze. It is easy to get lost in this Imperial city but that is exactly what you should do here. The Fez medina shows you all kinds of local industry like the leather production. Here, the leather still gets produced as in the early days and as a tourist you can get to see it yourself. Of course, the locals will try to offer you tours but you can also perfectly do it yourself. However, when you want to get a nice view of the tanneries you will have to tip a person to go to a viewpoint, they will give you some mint for your nose because of the smell and you can stay as long as you want. 

In the medina itself you can also find leather shops where you can buy handmade products or look for the building that once was the first university ever in the world. Also, I would like to recommend you to go to an old Coran school and enjoy the details of these beautiful buildings. If you feel hot and feel like a cold drink and some non-Moroccan food have a look at my restaurant tips in Morocco!

My experience with Fez was not only amazing because of the beauty and authenticity of this city, but also because of the people who I met there. Via a Mexican girl working at a small restaurant I got in contact with a woman called Najat. This Moroccan woman grew up in Morocco and also lived in Mexico for a while. With her passion for food she created the restaurant called ‘Nur’ which serves real Moroccan dishes but creates a whole experience around it. With her success she tries to make a difference for the women of Morocco. By showing them how to stand up for themselves she tries to improve the rights of women in this culture. Her success even brought Gordon Ramsey to Morocco for an episode of ‘Unchartered’ where he cooks authentic dishes with Najat. I think Najat is an amazing and strong woman and her story must be heard. If you want to know more about her story, follow her on her social media: Instagram: Najatkaanache_

2. Essaouira

This little fishing village definitely earns its spot in my top-5 list. From the moment we arrived here I loved the medina with its wider streets. Most of the medinas in Morocco have very narrow streets where you can get easily lost. Essaouira is much easier to walk around and the medina itself is also not very big. 

Still this village is worth a stop because of its location at the sea. At the port you can experience fish trade as you might have never seen before: fresh fish laying on the ground with people and cats walking almost through them. The fish gets sold and bought by the local people and are prepared at the little restaurants in the city. I am not sure if you can really call it ‘fresh’ as the fish are laying in the open air without any protection or ice to cool them, but hey.. we did not get sick so do not worry too much. If your nose is not too sensitive to unpleasant smells it is worth it to walk around and experience the fish trade of the locals, with cats and birds waiting for their turn to grab some fresh fish.

Not only Essaouira is worth a visit for its authentic trade, it is also famous by surfers for its great waves. So it is also not weird that Essaouira is called ‘the Windy City’. Wave surfers and kite surfers get together at the best spot to catch a wave while being watched by the multiple dromedaries that are laying at the beach waiting for another tourist to ride them. Here I would like to say: catch a wave, but not a ride.. For only a small amount of money you can get a board and a suit for a few hours and you can enjoy the nice waters of Essaouira.

The last aspect I would like to cover of Essaouira are the popular ‘climbing goats’. These goats tend to climb argan trees to eat the nuts of the tree and this is the only place in the world where you can see this phenomenon. However, such an unique phenomenon is also a way of making easy money by, for example, providing goat tours. Busses from Marrakech or Essaouira take tourists just outside Essaouira to see these goats climbing the trees. What these tourists often do not know is that the goats used for tourism are often tied to the trees and forced to be in the tree. There is nothing authentic about this anymore and it is pure animal torture. So if you do not want to be part of this animal abuse, I would recommend you to take a public bus to Essaouira and keep your eyes open to catch a glimpse of them. But as this is often only in the early mornings the best way to see them is going by car yourself and see if you can find shepherd with his goats and offer him a small tip to take a photo.

essaouira fort

3. Casablanca

Maybe it is weird that this city is in my top 5 as the city itself is not very spectacular. However, if you love architecture as much as I do, you would understand my decision. Casablanca is home to the biggest mosque of Africa called the Hassan II mosque. This mosque is the only reason why I would recommend someone to go to Casablanca. However, the magnificence of this huge building should not be underestimated. The details in the architecture are like a 1001 nights story. This is also the only mosque in Morocco where non-Muslims are allowed in and this is why I would totally recommend taking a tour to go inside. A guide will tell you some nice facts about the mosque and show you the interior.

Standing outside, looking at the mosque I could stand there for ages. The whole building amazed me with its colours, heights and grandeur. But the mosque itself was not the only experience for me, around sunset the square surrounding the mosque gets filled with Moroccan families enjoying the evening. Mothers with children, friends and whole families get together at the square for a picnic, a game or even a swim in the sea. I loved all the people enjoying their free evening surrounding this holy building, but I would also like to share a more negative side of it. As I was walking alongside the coast and looked at the families enjoying the sea, I smelled a very unpleasant odor coming from all the garbage that was laying at the ‘beach’ and in the sea. All the picnic items that were brought by the people were left there and no one seemed to care. This is why the Hassan II mosque to me was like “The great mosque surrounded by garbage.” In my opinion it is such a waste to let a beautiful place like this get polluted by the laziness and ignorance of people. It can be so easy to just take home your trash..

4. Chefchaouen

The fourth destination is one to many more familiar by the name of the ‘Blue Pearl’ or ‘Blue City’. These nicknames are perfect for this little town as the whole medina is covered in blue. Chefchaouen is located in the middle of the Rif mountains in the North of Morocco, which creates a magical scenery with the blue contrasting the green and brown of the mountains.

However, because of the huge aesthetical value of this city, a lot of tourists are attracted to go here. So do not think you will be alone wandering the little streets as people from all over the world come to experience the magic of the blue medina. Even though this place is a popular tourist spot, it is not as easy to reach as other destinations. There is no airport or train station nearby so the quickest option to get to Chefchaouen is by bus or car from either Fez, Tangier or Rabat. Of course as a supporter of sustainability I would always recommend to take the bus. This ride from, for instance, Fez takes around 4 hours and shows some nice scenery of the mountains. Make sure to book your ticket at the local office a day before to be sure of a seat.

Chefchaouen is very little and for sightseeing you will only need a day. You can choose to stay longer and experience everything at a lower pace. There are also some nice hiking trails nearby with waterfalls as a nice reward, these are also more unknown than the famous Ouzoud falls nearby Marrakech.

chefchaouen cat

5. Agadir

Some might be surprised to see Agadir in this list, but I personally think Agadir has a lot to offer. In the end, it is one of the most popular destinations for the local people themselves to travel to in their holidays. Agadir is located in the south-east of Morocco at the coast. This coastal destination is home to multiple luxury hotels and resorts and is perfect for a beach stroll or a walk on the boulevard with a lot of food and beverage options to choose from. At the end of the boulevard you will find the Agadir Marina which to me felt like an European port. 

What makes Agadir more special than other beach destinations is its location. It is surrounded by mountains and parts of ‘desert’. I chose to put desert into quotation marks as some tour companies might promise you to see the desert when booking a trip around Agadir, however this desert is not the Sahara with its sand dunes, as the Sahara is around 13 hours away from Agadir. Still, I would definitely recommend to also go outside Agadir for a day, for instance to ‘Paradise Valley’. Paradise Valley is located in the mountains approximately an hour drive from Agadir and according to its name you will find a small paradise in a valley where you can swim in natural waters. 

Here, you will find again mostly Moroccan tourists enjoying the pools. To enjoy your day at Paradise Valley I have some points of advice for you to keep in mind: try not to book at your hotel but at a local agency and preferably a private local guide. When you book a ‘half day tour’ at your hotel it might happen that you will be driving around for 2.5 hours before arriving at the destination instead of one hour. Also, arriving at the destination you will first have to go to a local restaurant for a drink and after that you will only have one hour left to enjoy the Paradise Valley. This hour will give you enough time to enjoy the set up place for tourists, with plastic tables and chairs in the water and multiple little shops and restaurants near the water. To be honest, this place felt like a tourist trap and not worth the effort. However, if you can go by yourself with a guide who can give you all the time you want at the destination, you will have enough time to explore the place and find real paradise a bit further away from the crowds. 

By choosing for a local agency you make sure your money stays with them instead of ending up in the pockets of the wealthier people. Another thing to keep in mind when visiting Paradise Valley is to make sure to bring all the waste you produce back to the city instead of leaving it in the nature. We all want to be able to keep enjoying the beauty nature provides us right?