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Winter Sun: Morocco and Jordan

By Kati Taylor

Following our feature in The Times, and with the January slump awaiting us all, where to get good value travel breaks is the question on everyone’s lips. It’s tough to find trips that won’t break the bank while not sacrificing on quality and sustainability. With that in mind, we are putting the spotlight on Morocco and Jordan; great winter sun destinations with price tags which may surprise you....

Morocco: 

From the bustle of Marrakech to the starry skies of Agafay, Morocco is living proof that vibrant travel plans don’t need to cost a fortune. Big enough to offer real diversity but small enough to explore in a week, Morocco is the ideal destination for some sunshine during the winter months. In terms of where to go and what to see, our local experts have it covered.

The classic place to start is Marrakech. Its sprawling maze of alleyways are home to museums, ornate palaces and colourful markets (souks). Ideal places to buy souvenirs, or simply to lose yourself for a few hours, the souks are hubs of local activity. Selling everything from jewellery to poultry, the souks can be a little overwhelming for a first-timer but are sure to leave you wanting more. Bargain hard, drink strong mint tea and tuck into a tagine when the bustle gets too much. 

In complete contrast to the urban jungle, and only 40 minutes to the west, Agafay is a rural retreat. It’s the perfect place to join a camel safari, where you can weave through hills and valleys deep into the desert. For an unforgettable evening, set up camp and spend the night under the stars.

A final stop, and one that doesn’t make the average tourist itinerary, is Essaouira. This charming port city, found on a crescent-shaped  coastline, is a great place to unwind. The town boasts a lively music scene, a variety of watersports and plenty of terrace bars strewn across its ramparts. It’s an idyllic end to a tour of Morocco’s cultural and coastal highlights. Have a look at the itinerary here to find out more. 

Jordan: 

Although perhaps not the first destination that springs to mind when thinking of a quick getaway, Jordan is alive with culture and history. With the right itinerary (at a price which may surprise you) it’s easy to catch its highlights in a week. 

Hidden in the sands for centuries, and gradually restored over the last 70 years, the city of Jerash is a testament to grand Roman provincial life. Known as ‘the city of a thousand pillars’, the collonaded town is an excellent stop-off point between Amman and the Dead Sea. You can discover its charm and atmosphere for yourself before heading on to the lowest lake on earth. Straddling Jordan and Israel, the Sea is famous for its buoyancy and use in spa treatments. Whether you choose to float dreamily across its surface or indulge in a Dead Sea mineral massage, it’s sure to be a relaxing experience. 

Aqaba is Jordan’s only coastal city and, although the country is not known for its beaches, it’s a real gem. Alongside its snorkelling and boat trip opportunities, Aqaba is a solid base for exploring nearby sites. A 4x4 safari through Wadi Rum, where desert and mountains collide, is a truly memorable experience. The landscape is colourful and utterly unique, more suited to Mars than planet Earth. 

There is also Petra, the famous ‘Red Rose’ city. Dating back to 300 BCE, its unique architecture blends Hellenistic and Eastern traditions. For a truly atmospheric experience, catch your first glimpse of the ancient facades from horseback, and feel as if you’ve been dropped straight into the closing scenes of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Have a look at our travel tips for this must-see destination.

Like the sound of Jordan? Have a look at our blog post dedicated to Jordan's key attractions to find out more, or check out the itinerary 'Winter Sun' for more photography and trip details.

Make it happen

Your next week off doesn’t have to carry a hefty price tag! If you’re craving a bit of winter sun, or just fancy some inspiration, head over to our website. Alternatively, you can enquire directly to Morocco or Jordan - our local experts in both destinations are always keen to help.