An interior designers weekend in Morocco

Morocco is a feast of inspiration for any creative traveller, from the food to the architecture to the people…it’s a country that whenever I visit I learn so much from. Our most recent visit was for a weekend in late May, we caught the fast ferry across the Gibraltar strait from Tarifa to Tangier. The ferry takes 35 minutes, which still blows my mind, 35 minutes and we’re in Africa!

Tangier is a city unlike many others, its mixture of Arab, African & European influences make for a different experience to other Moroccan areas. The city has become a place where arty European have chosen to live or own a vacation home, either in the centre of the bustling medina or up on the hills above with views of the Alboran sea. When visiting for a couple of days we always choose to stay in the centre of the old medina city, within the sandstone city walls where you step straight out onto the streets filled with locals heading to the markets in the mornings. The historic hotel El Minzah is our place of choice to stay, it’s a little oasis in the centre of the city which gives perfect balance for us.

The medina area is around a central plaza with a mosque and old french cinema, here is a great spot to grab a freshly squeezed orange juice (costing the equivalent of 1 euro) in the morning & take a seat on a bench with the locals watching the world go by. From the plaza you can choose a narrow passage to head down, each one with it’s own identity, there is the food market area with fresh breads being made on the street, fresh goats cheese from the mountains, fruit and veg stalls and butchers. We always leave with preserved lemons, breads and olives. Down an alternate passage is a street of leather goods, pottery and jewellery aimed at the tourists visiting alongside clothing and home essentials for the locals to pick up. When venturing further into the maze of the medina it’s easy to get lost or find yourself at a dead end and having to turn back, the locals are always offering to point you in the right direction & will happily show you the way personally for a small tip. We found the area where the traditional berber carpets are woven, fascinating to watch, I could easily have brought a new rug home for each room. The final stop for us when shopping the medina was the herbalist to purchase essential oils and soaps, stock up on argan oil and natural remedies. We also take the time to have a fresh batch of Moroccan spice mix made to take home with us, which is such a treat for the senses.

After the shopping and people watching it’s time to eat & Moroccan food never fails. We have a favourite place we love to visit when in Tangier which is super traditional & serves amazing meat tagine with couscous, dips and breads. We also love to enjoy some street food when in town, this time we sat overlooking the port eating shawarma & drinking fresh mango juice.

Everywhere you turn in this interesting city you are met with texture, colour and history. So inspiring for myself as an interior designer or any creative person, then there is the backdrop of the blue Mediterranean from all viewpoints and the areas strong history with Europe. All of these elements combine to make a great place for a weekend break at the tip of Africa!

If you’d like to read more travel inspo from an interior designers eye check out our Switzerland in winter post.

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Natalie Lockwood Interiors has been showcased at Grand Designs Live and Ideal Home Show as well as being featured in national newspapers and magazines.