Morocco Travel Guide
- Everything you need to know for your trip to Morocco-
Morocco, officially the Kingdom of Morocco, is a stunning country in the Maghreb region of North Africa. Traveling to this country will be an unforgettable experience, undoubtedly. Morocco offers a combination of epic mountain ranges, amazing ancient cities, and extraordinary deserts. Besides the beauties, you will meet warm, kind, and hospitable people helping you whenever you need them!
Why Visiting Morocco?
Morocco is a heaven for any traveler, especially culture lovers, backpackers, adventure travelers, couples, families, food lovers, etc. There are so many reasons for visiting morocco, which would definitely convince you to see the country at least once in your life.
The first thing that comes to your mind after facing an African country would be desert! In Morocco, you can visit the Sahara Desert, the largest hot desert in the world. Trekking by foot, riding on the back of a camel, exploring by horseback, enjoying the landscape by a four-wheel vehicle, etc., are some of the ways you can have a memorable time in the Sahara Desert.
Besides the deserts, there are four imperial cities in Morocco, including Marrakesh, Fes, Meknes, and Rabat, with many historical attractions. For instance, Rabat has many historical sites such as the Kasbah of the Oudaias, the old medina, and the Hassan Tower.
Morocco, as an African country, is not just limited to the deserts or historical sites. The country has fantastic beaches along the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Tangier, Agadir, and Asilah are some of the most famous beach spots in Morocco.
Moroccan people are friendly and lovely. They are hospitable, tolerant, and helpful. Their culture is fantastic, and their cuisine is mouthwatering. Pastilla, bissara, harira, and brochettes are some of the beaches you should try during your trip to morocco.
Morocco Top Destinations
Best Time to Visit Morocco
Spring (April – May)
Temperature: 64° F (17° C) – 70° F (21° C)
Spring is the best time for visiting Morocco as the weather is pleasant and sunny, and the landscapes are bright and green. These two months are somehow rainy, but the rain will not be too much.
Sahra desert in April faces some sandstorms, which can even be strong. Besides, around easter, the prices increase as the spring is the peak season.
Summer (June – August)
Temperature: 75° F (23 °C) – 84° F (28° C)
Summer in Morocco is the hottest month, and in some spots like the Sahara, the heat is unbearable in the noon. However, the mornings and the evenings are better times to enjoy the desert. Coastal areas should be in your itinerary when traveling to Morocco in summer.
Be aware that nights can be a lot colder than the daytime, and you need to have some warm clothes at this time.
Autumn (September – October)
Temperature: 70° F (21° C) – 81° F (27° C)
Autumn is a perfect time for visiting Morocco. The weather is pretty mild in the daytime and pretty cold at night.
Don’t worry about the rain. You will barely face the rain in Morocco’s autumn.
Winter (November – March)
Temperature: 55° F (12° C) – 63° F (17° C)
Morocco has a winter season! The weather, especially in mountainous areas, can get cold. However, in the daytime, the weather would still be warm and sunny.
November to January is the rainy time of Morocco, with an average of 2 inches of rain in a month. During Christmas time, the country will be peaked by tourists, and the prices of hotels increase. Also, you should book in advance to avoid any trouble during your trip.
Best Morocco Tours
Things to Do in Morocco
Morocco is a country with a lot of cultural diversity, rich history, and good people. It offers a lot of entertainment and fun things to do, thus bringing travelers from all over the planter to marvel at her beauty. It has the famous Sahara Desert, Atlas Mountains, and exceptional beaches along its long coastline. Some of its areas are the stuff you only see in the movies, and some of its handicrafts are what remains of ancient traditions and old times. But modernity and art are also seen a lot in their well-developed parts.
Explore the Modern City of Casablanca
One of the most popular places in all of Morocco is Casablanca. It owes some of its fame to the movie Casablanca, but popularity among travelers comes from numerous sites you can visit. The coastal city is also a top place to spend some time near the water and relax. It is a modern city with old and traditional places, keeping you satisfied for some time if you are up for a little exploring.
Among its favorite destinations is the Hassan II Mosque that was finished in the late 20th century by King Hassan II. Right after visiting the sites of Casablanca, be sure to go to its cafés and restaurants to eat, drink, and rest.
Discover All of Marrakesh
The city of Marrakesh is perhaps the tourist hub and most famous city in the entire country of Morocco. It has everything you may want in a touristic destination; historic sites, shopping, sampling the cuisine, beautiful architecture, and amazing surrounding environment. It is a tourist hub and favored by all because of its diversity in everything you can do. Some may not like the crowds, but that does not mean it is any less a great place to go.
Marrakesh Medina is perfect just to go around and discover things for yourself, but you might also head to the highlights such as Saadian Tombs, Majorelle Garden, and the Souks.
Go on a Hiking Adventure in the Atlas Mountains
The Atlas Mountains are, simply put, the hikers’ paradise. The scenery is exceptional and offers snowy peaks, green valleys, and a view over the desert. It can be easily accessed from Marrakesh and stretches toward Tunisia, making it about 1500 miles long. If you feel extra adventurous in Morocco, be sure to check the Jebel Toubkal as well, which is the highest peak of the Atlas Mountains.
You are encouraged to have a guide with you when hiking in the Atlas Mountains for safety. They are not impossible or challenging, but having a guide is still recommended to avoid getting lost or getting into trouble. You rarely see people or settlements on this journey; hence, the more reason to have a pro along the trail.
Walk in the Blue Streets of Chefchaouen
Pack your camera and go to Chefchaouen and stroll through the beautiful blue streets of this town. This Medina is literally just one big attraction because of the blue and white colors of the buildings. It has its share of attractions and historic sites, but not as many as the other Morocco cities. The thing you want to do is just walk around and enter some of the street-side shops and cafés and get charmed by the relaxing vibe of Chefchaouen.
The beautiful ‘Blue Pearl of Morocco’, as many people call it, also has a story to tell. It was founded in the 15th century by Muslims and Jews fleeing Spain, but that is for you to discover as you travel.
Enjoy the City of Tangier, Then Head to its Beach
Tangier is a popular part of the famous Coastline of Morocco. It is a city that has infused Eastern-Western textures and became a great place to enjoy the beach. It is easily the best city facing the sea and offers a lot of fun things to do. Tangier has a lot of art to offer as well as excellent cafés, offering good coffee.
The Mediterranean Sea has also added to its fame since it is a great place to go cruising or go to Spain after your time in Africa. Amazing beach, the great sea, lovely art, and enjoyable culture, what more can you ask from a Medina?
Go around the Fez Medina and Visit its Tanneries
Fez has two Medinas (cities) that are very old and very valued. Fez Medinas been around since the 9th century AD and gained fame for several reasons. It is the second-largest city of Morocco considered to be the cultural capital of the country. Fez Medina is also a historic city preserved its old ways, and it has the oldest continuously functioning university in the world. It also used to be the country’s previous capital, but that is the least of its importance. If you want to visit the old Islamic-Arabic world and walk down history lane, Fez is your place to be.
Tanneries of Fez are also very famed, making this trip ideal to purchase leather crafts. It is another part of the country that has existed and survived over the centuries. Get some top-quality leather, see its creation process, and enjoy all the rest of Fez.
Begin Your Journey into the Sahara Desert from Merzouga
Merzouga is a small town in Morocco’s eastern parts and the spot to start a safari into the Sahara Desert. From here, you can find Camel Safaris and other desert tours. Marvel at the Erg Chebbi, stay overnight in the Sahara Desert, the most famous desert on the planet, away from all the cities’ crowds and noises.
Merzouga offers little more than good guides and a suitable starting point for a memorable experience, but the Sahara will compensate for that with its glory. If you pick the best time for this visit, you can enjoy the sunrise to sunset and try various rides across the sands and take some photos to bring home.
Marvel at the Aït Benhaddou
Aït Benhaddou is not very populated, it is something out of the movies, and it is technically one large UNESCO Heritage Site. The small village is made of mud and stone, and it is only comparable to things you see in the movies. Speaking of which, you may have seen some of Aït Benhaddou in the HBO Series Game of Thrones. Looking at it from a distance or exploring it from the inside is impressive and among Morocco’s must-try things.
Journey Through the Dades Gorge
Dades Gorge is a place to spend the day in and fall in love with nature. In the distance, you can see the Atlas Mountains and, in the valley, you can see the beauties of the environment and the Dades River that has carved its way into the stone. Hiking and trekking are recommended, but you should have a guide to lead you around this enchanting place.
Discover the Waterfalls of Morocco
Morocco is famous for its mountains and deserts, but there are waterfalls such as Ouzoud Waterfall, bringing life to the land and attracting visitors. There are several waterfalls near major attractions and main cities. All of them are worth a visit, and seeing at least one of them, is a must. They are great places for relaxing just after beautiful beaches along the coastline, and they offer great views.
Among the highlights like Ouzoud, you may also enjoy the green and multi-level Oum Rabia Waterfall falls. Plan your timing to avoid large crowds and plant to stay for a day. It might sound too much to spend the day, but wait until you get there and find out for yourself.
More Things Morocco
You might think that Morocco offers little more than its long coastline along the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, or the Sahara Desert and the Atlas Mountains. If you think that way, you will be surprised to see many historical and traditional pieces in this country. They include the entire city of Rabat, the country’s current capital, and Traditional Hammams, left for ages gone.
There are also several Roman ruins to witness and modern areas, as mentioned above. Historical sites and the modern regions have perfectly infused and become a memorable traveling destination. It is rare to see a country with so much to offer, culture, history, and natural environment, but if you have time, Morocco has a lot to show you.
Local Transportation in Morocco
There are both large taxis (grand taxi) and small ones (petit taxi) in Morocco. The price will be different depending on the size of the cab and the distance. Small taxis have a meter, and the price cannot be negotiated. Besides, these taxis can’t leave the city they serve. Large taxis, on the other hand, don’t have meters and cover long journeys. They act like large buses; they pick up or drop passengers in their desired spot.
Major cities have public bus service with Dh 5 tickets. They can get overcrowded, especially on some routes. Therefore, petit taxis are much better choices for getting around.
Renting motorbikes and pedal bikes are becoming more popular in the cities of Morocco. You can rent these two kinds of bikes for one or several days.
There are developed tram networks in cities like Casablanca and Rabat. Tram is a cheap and excellent way of getting around in these two cities. It will also be operated in other cities like Marrakesh.
Intercity Transportation in Morocco
There are different domestic airlines in Morocco, offering various class levels for flights. Morocco has an excellent distribution of airlines around the country.
Train is one of the best options for getting around the country, connecting almost all parts of the country. Information in stations is Arabic and French, but you can the information you need in train stations, even in English. High-speed trains are also available connecting Casablanca to Tangier in the North. Unfortunately, railroads are not developed to the south of Marrakesh.
Many companies in Morocco offer long-distance buses to almost all spots of the country with different class levels and relatively affordable costs. If you have a plan, book your ticket in advance since the buses are usually crowded.
Many ferry companies such as FRS and Trasmediterranea operate ferry services between Morocco and various parts of Europe. The most common routes are Tangier or Ceuta in Algeciras, as well as Tarifa in and Gibraltar in Spain. There are also routes from France and Italy as well, but they take one day or two.
Flight Deals to Morocco
Morocco Travel Costs
|Hostel||55-130 MAD ($5.9-13.9)|
|Budget||150-260 MAD ($16-27.8)|
|High End||560+ MAD ($60 – $100 on average)|
|Drink||4-15 MAD ($0.4-1.6)|
|Small Dishes (Salad, Soup, small breakfast)||10-25 MAD ($1-2.7)|
|Main Course||40-70 MAD ($4.3-7.5)|
|Bus||50-205 MAD ($5.4-22)|
|Petit Taxi||10-70 MAD ($1-7.5)|
|Car Rental||121+ MAD ($13+)|
|Sahara Desert (one night)||1000 MAD ($107)|
|Museums||10-50 MAD ($1-5.4)|
|Hammam (luxury)||150-1000+ MAD($16-107+)|
Best Hotels in Morcco
Find the best hotels in Morocco using our best price search engine, or go with one of our All-inclusive tours with 4 Star hotels included. You can book our guaranteed hotels for your extra accommodation; before or after your tour days.
Morocco Travel Tips
Men usually can wear what they want, but women should be more conservative. Of course, in tourist areas and beaches, you can see tourists wear what they want, but as a general tip, be more conservative to avoid unwanted attention. If visiting mosques, you need to cover your wrists and ankles.
It would be best if you learn how to haggle in Morocco. This strategy helps you buy whatever you want at a much more reasonable price than the seller’s set price, at least 20-15%.
Have some cash for tipping. It would be 1 DH for local places and 3-5 DH for more excellent locations. However, you can ask any places you go about the usual tip.
Make sure to hire a local guide, but make sure you will hire a nice guide! Many guides have some relationships with some stores and apparently help you haggle, but they are actually not! Don’t be fooled.
In Muslim countries, like Morocco, Fridays are considered the weekend, and you may find everything closed on this day!
Don’t drink tap water and don’t use it for tooth brushing. Stay with bottled water, and don’t use any ice when you are out.
Make sure to have some Imodium in case of any trouble. It’s rare to have problems with local foods, but it may happen. Therefore, Imodium helps you to prevent or treat that.
Moroccans speak a combination of Arabic, Berber, English, and French. In large cities, English would be fine, and you won’t face any major problems. However, in rural areas, you need a translator.
Moroccans are friendly and kind, but you should always be careful, especially in large cities and crowded spots like markets.
In Morocco, Voltage is 220 V, Frequency is 50 Hz, and Power sockets are type C / E. Having Europe-friendly devices, you won’t have any significant problems.
|Police||190 or 112 from mobile phones.|
|Gendarmerie Royale||177 (police outside the cities)|
|SOS Medecins 24/24||05 22 98 98 98|
|Anti-poison center||081 00 01 80|
|Pasteur Institute for vaccinations||05 22 26 20 26 www.pasteur.ma|
|Mondial Assistance||05 22 97 47 47 (international travel insurance)|
|Train station info||08 90 20 30 40 www.oncf.ma|
|National airport office||05 22 53 90 40 / 05 22 53 91 40 www.onda.ma/onda/an|
Currency & Money Tips
The official currency in Morocco is the dirham (Dh), divided into 100 centimes. Also, you may see rials as well. One rial is 20 dirhams. Dirham notes denominations are Dh20, Dh50, Dh100, and Dh200. Besides, coin denominations are 10, 20, and 50 centimes. Dirham cannot be taken out of the country, and it’s not available anywhere else. Euros, Dollars, and British Pounds are easier to exchange in Morocco.
ATM is the best way for accessing your money in Morocco accepting Visa, MasterCard, Electron, Cirrus, Maestro and InterBank cards. BMCE (Banque Marocaine du Commerce Extérieur), Banque Populaire, BMCI (Banque Marocaine pour le Commerce et l’Industrie), Société Générale, and Attijariwafa Bank offer reliable financial services.
Always try to have some cash with you enough for one day or two transactions. Some places in the country accept the euro as well.
Credit Cards are widely used in Morocco with a surcharge of 5% for Moroccan businesses. MasterCard and Visa are the most accepted credit cards.
You can bring any amount of foreign currency, but it’s illegal to import or export dirham. Banks and exchange bureaus accept most currencies for exchange; however, Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand dollars are not often acceptable. Banks are reasonable and efficient with variable rates depending on the bank. Make sure to get receipts and keep them. They show that you have exchanged your money legally and you need them for exchanging leftover money.
Food & Drink (Moroccan Food)
Moroccan cuisine is vibrant with all kinds of tastes. They love meat, but they also have vegetarian-friendly food. People of Morocco have an exotic way of eating, mostly using their hands but forks and spoons are available in the restaurants as well. They serve their food on large plates and then fill their dishes and eat. If you are invited into the homes of relatives or hospitable locals, they will offer the best of their food, which is a mistake to pass!
Just one thing you have to consider; you rarely see a local who knows about allergies, so do not pass something saying you are allergic to it. If you have to refuse something you are offered, it is better to take something else you can tolerate to avoid misunderstandings.
Khobz is a kind of Moroccan Bread that is seen almost every time you have a meal. It is a traditional part of their cuisine and is made with flour, yeast, water, wheat, and salt, then when it is baked, it is sprinkled with semolina. You just observe how important the Khobz is as you walk in the streets and see how much people buy it. The best of the bread is made with firewood and in the old and traditional ways.
What is so important about Khobz is that this bread is used instead of spoons, forks, and knives. Part of their food culture is to eat with hand or use Khobz to pick and eat food. Sometimes it is even used in salads and some of the meals. Although it is not a meal, you have to try it with your food and eat as the locals eat.
Tagine – National Dish
Even if you do not like to try new things when traveling, you have to try Tagine, unless you are a vegetarian or allergic to the meats and vegetables used in the dish. It has numerous verities, all of which are tasty. Different types of meat and regional vegetables are made into flavorful and aromatic food that even looks delicious. It is also served in a clay or ceramic pot, making the experience of having it much more exotic.
Some locals in the villages and rural areas use herbs and seasonings that are not found in all Morocco’s spots. Tagine is considered a national dish and a great meal to make your day before you head out and discover the wonderful country.
Despite having various types of meat in the original dish, you can find a vegetarian version of this meal, but it is not commonly seen.
Couscous is a staple part of Moroccan Cuisine, that looks like small rice grains made of wheat or barley flour. Couscous is also eaten in the Muslims Holy Friday for lunch, giving the meal a religious significance. This dish also has several versions, but in all of them, it is topped with beef, lamb, or chicken and vegetables.
If you are into the cultural aspect of having Couscous, the old-fashioned way is to serve it on a large plate where everyone gathers around. Then you will fill your own plate and enjoy the meal with others. Be ready to eat with your hands, as is the traditional way of eating this food. You can find spoons and forks in most tourist restaurants but not all of them.
Pastilla or B’stilla
Pastilla or B’stilla is a traditional food from Fez, made with chicken or pigeon meat, or fish. It has layers of pastry, meat, almonds, and eggs that resemble a pie. It is usually sweet because of the sugar that goes on top but also has a savory version.
Pastilla is a slow-cooked meal and challenging to prepare, but the wait is worth it in the end. This meal is mostly seen in special events and celebrations, but it is a must-try if you find it in a restaurant. It may not look like much, but it is rich enough to fill you as a meal of the day.
Tangia or Tanjia is more a vessel for cooking than the name of a food. But generally, any type of meat that is cooked in this urn-shaped vessel is cooked is called Tangia. The pot is first filled with chunks of meat, vegetables, herbs, and spice and then cooked to perfection. Similar to Mechoui, Tangia is placed over coals to be slowly cooked and get its delicious taste. It is not that complicated but has a unique flavor to try for at least once.
Roasted lamb of Marrakesh has a unique and traditional way of preparing. It is not very common to see Mechoui, but when in the Medina of Marrakesh, you have to look for it and give it a try. To make it traditionally, you have to dig the ground and make a fire to roast the meat over it.
It takes time to roast the lamb whole, but the meat gets tender and juicy, making your mouth water. Find a good drink and dig in! It is not a meal to pass as you explore the streets.
A famous soup in Morocco regularly served during Ramadan and for breaking their fast at night is Harira. Lamb, Tomatoes, chickpeas, and lentil are mixed in this bowl of fantastic soup make a perfect starter before you have your main meal. The base for this loved and famous soup is tomato, and its lamb, with the occasional beef, making everything else an optional addition according to your taste.
Harira has many varieties, which can be seen wherever you go, and it is hands down among the best soups and stews of Morocco. Making Harira is somewhat tricky, but the balanced taste can easily make it your favorite appetizer or meal of the day.
Bissara is another locals’ favorite soups that can also be a nutritious and hearty breakfast. Their main ingredient is fava beans, but it gets the rich flavor from olive oil and cumin as well as garlic and anything else that is added to the mix. If you want to start your day with something healthy, be sure to put Bissara on top of the things you have to eat in Morocco.
While having your delightful meal, you might also want to try the wonderful and favorite salad of Morocco known as Zaalouk. It is famous for its roasted eggplants that come with numerous cooked vegetables. This dish includes paprika, ginger, garlic, black pepper, coriander, cumin, olive, olive oil, green peppers, and chili powder. Simply put, it is vibrant and delicious.
Zaalouk is a perfect salad to try, and whatever you are eating, it can serve as an ideal side dish. Do not forget to give it a try and order it as much as you can since it is so delicious and healthy.
Moroccan Street Food
As much as Street Food is considered unhealthy and unsafe, Moroccan Street Food is something you have to taste. With a bit of asking around and research, you can find clean and healthy places that offer unique snacks. The top two of the list are Makouda and Brochettes, which must be had.
Makouda is a deep-fried potato ball, which tastes good on its own, but it is served with a special sauce. The spicy harissa sauce will make this street snack something that may become your favorite street snack. Find a place you trust and try Makouda of Morocco but go easy on them as they tend to be a little greasy.
Moroccan Brochettes are, in other words, Kebabs that are barbequed on skewers. Again, it would help if you find a place you can trust and have a taste of Brochettes as you travel the streets. A more pleasant way of trying these Kebabs is in the restaurants and with some traditional Kobez Bread.
Desserts and Snacks
There are a lot of things you can choose to have before and after each meal. Or they can be taken as snacks at any time of the day. Or perhaps something to have as, or with your breakfast. The list of Desserts and Snacks in Morocco can get very long as there are a lot of options, all worth a first try, but here are some recommendations on things you cannot pass.
Something to eat before or after a meal, or perhaps even suitable as an evening snack, is a deep-fried pastry called Briwat or Briwate. Sweet or savory, they are seen in triangular shapes and depending on the filling, they can be used as an appetizer or dessert.
Sfenj looks like a doughnut, tastes almost like a doughnut, popular during the morning and evening. Sfenj is a deep-fried dough found plain, sugared, covered in honey, or filled with jam. Have a Sfenj in the morning, along with some tea, and start a great day of exploring the city.
In an Islamic country where alcohol is ‘Haram’ go for their great Mint Tea at any time of the day. It is famous as “Moroccan Whiskey,” but green tea with lots of sugar and mint. Any snacks or items you can use for breakfast or on the streets will significantly improve taste and feeling with some Mint Tea. Moroccans love their Mint Tea, and any chance they get, they make some tea and add the mint to enjoy their time.
Mobile & Internet
There are three major companies in Morocco offering mobile networks, including “Maroc Telecom,” “Orange,” and “Inwi.” Maroc Telecom is the leading company in Morocco, but the other two companies are also cover almost all parts of the country. It’s better to choose a company with an office near your accommodation.
Where to buy?
You can buy a SIM card from the airport or official offices and vendors in the cities. In the airport, you can find the booth selling the services. You need to show your passport when buying the SIM card.
The prices of the companies are somehow equal. For a SIM card, you need to pay:
- 10 DH (around 1 euro) = 1 GB
- 50 DH (around 5 euro) = 5 GB
- 99 DH/month (10 euros) = 18 GB of the Internet and 2 hours of local call
Generally, internet quality in Morocco is excellent. However, despite free Wi-Fi available in many cities and places, the connection won’t be reliable. Therefore, using the SIM card data is more recommended.
Holidays & Festivals
Morocco is an Islamic country; therefore, some of the holidays are based on the Islamic lunar calender.
|Holiday||Date 2021||Date 2022|
|Independence Manifesto Day||11-Jan||11-Jan|
|Islamic New Year||10-Aug||30-Jul|
|Oued Ed-Dahab Day||14-Aug||14-Aug|
|Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday||19-Oct||9-Oct|
|Green March Day||6-Nov||6-Nov|
Shopping in Morocco
Moroccan leather is famous around the world because of its beauty and quality. Slippers, bags, jackets, wallets, belts, and many other leather products are available in Morocco, especially in Chouara Tannery of Fez.
One of the main hubs of Argan trees is in Morocco, especially in southern regions. As a result, you can buy the most quality argan oils in Morocco because it will be as natural as possible. People use this oil for many reasons, mostly cosmetic reasons.
Lanterns are very famous souvenirs from Morocco because of their fantastic detailed features. You can buy them from markets around the country in different sizes and materials.
These baskets are handmade originated from Sahara. They are colorful, beautiful, and easy to transport. Therefore, you can buy and quickly bring them home.
You can’t leave Morocco without buying Djellabas. It’s the traditional dress of Moroccan people, both men, and women. Women’s Djellabases are more colorful and beautiful.
Moroccan potteries and magnificent because of their design and colors. Try to buy hand-painted ones as they have great value and beauty. It can be an excellent souvenir for your loved ones.