Morocco is a country located in Africa, more specifically in North Africa and it is one of the top tourist destinations in the region. From the amazing coastline to exploring the Sahara desert, Morocco is a country that has got everything to offer. The diversity in the country is incomparable and the Moroccan culture is one of a kind. It has that European, Arabian and African feel, a mixture you cannot find in anywhere else in the world. The country gives you a charm that makes you want to go back again and again. To make the best out of what Morocco has to offer, be sure to read this guide from cover to cover. You will get to learn about top things to do/ best places to visit, the best time to visit, tips on how to save, and many other things.
The currency used in the country is known as Dirham.
You can travel to Morocco without necessarily having to apply for a visa but you should ensure that your passport is valid for at least 6 months. There are some countries that you might be needed to apply for a visa but for USA, UK, Canada, Australia, and most members of the European Union you can visit the country without having to apply for a visa. Be sure to check on the official website of the government and learn the status of your country. If you plan to stay in the country for more than 3 months, then you will need to apply for a resident permit. The residence of permit can be issued by the police department from the place you will be staying.
There are few dialects in the country but Arabic is the most spoken language in the country. Berber language is also widely spoken and you can find French, German, and English speakers in the country. English is gaining a lot of popularity among the youths and it will be easier to find English speakers in the major cities and other urban centers. However, you might want to learn a bit of the local language so that you find it easier when it comes to bargaining things while you are in the country.
Morocco travel planning
To plan for a perfect trip to Morocco, it will be wise to understand their seasons and get to choose the time you feel is the best based on your likings. Most people consider spring the best time to visit the country but you know, people are different. Maybe you like it when it is cold, or you love traveling to Morocco during the summers. So here is how the seasons in Morocco alternate.
The low season (May to September)
The temperatures during the summer are normally excessively hot and they can hit to 40s but most visitors don’t seem frightened by that because it during the summers that visitors flock to Morocco in high numbers and the price for accommodation is normally higher in this season than in other seasons. If you choose to travel to Morocco during this time, please be mindful of the temperatures and come along with your sunscreen. Also, prepare yourself to drink a lot of water coz you will need it. In the afternoons, the temperatures can be too high that you will need to find a shade or at least be swimming somewhere.
Shoulder season (April and October)
The temperatures are a bearable at this time of the year, way cooler and a perfect time to explore the main cities and avoid the crowds during the summer. However, during April, there might be rain showers from time to time so be sure to bring along your umbrella just in case. In April and October, the landscape is normally lush green and crowds are fewer so it is way budget-friendlier and a perfect time to visit the country especially if you don’t like crowds. I
High season (November to March)
The temperatures during this season are normally a bit lower especially at night where they can go as low as 40 degrees F. It is also a time when a lot of visitors get to visit Morocco especially those who love skiing. If you did not you can ski in Morocco, now you know. People enjoy themselves skiing at the famous Atlas Mountains and it is absolutely.
Well, as it is with traveling to any other country, how expensive or cheap it will be will depend on your taste and preferences. If you love high class, then you will need to spend more but if you can do average, Morocco is a very cheap country to live in. Some backpackers use as less as 5 pounds a day. If that’s not cheap, I don’t know what it is. And by the way, being cheap does not mean that you will get a dirty shelter as most people would think. You will get a comfortable place and be provided with tasty food that you will not believe it you just used less than 5 pounds.
However, when it comes to alcohol, electronics, and cars, Morocco is way more expensive than Europe. But you will not be needing to buy an electronic or a car, will you? We will assume that you will be traveling to the country with an average budget so we will suggest a daily budget of 70 pounds. But it will be wise to have some extra cash for an emergency just in case.
The cost of accommodation is between 50 and 100 Moroccan Dirham which is equivalent to 6 to 12 dollars for the lowest class. As for the mid-range rooms, 400 to 800 Moroccan Dirham which is equivalent to around 40 to 85 dollars. If you love it luxurious, be prepared to spend more than 1, 000 Moroccan Dirham which is equivalent to around 100 dollars a night.
- Food for a typical meal
Food is pretty affordable and to get soup and sandwich you can use between 10 and 30 Dirham (1 to five dollars). And for the main meal in a place where most locals eat, you will need to use about 70 and 150 Moroccan Dirham equivalent to 4 to 7 dollars. For a meal in a high-class restaurant, be prepared to use more than 250 Moroccan Dirham (over 28 dollars).
Transportation is Morocco is quite affordable and for a long bus drive, you can pay as low as 60 Moroccan Dirham, equivalent to 6 dollars and for a taxi, you will need to pay up to 300 Dirham (30 dollars and above)
What to pack for Morocco
Well, Morocco doesn’t require you to pack lots of clothes. You need long shorts or trousers, and some t-shirts and you will be good to go. For ladies, be sure to pack modest clothes ones that can cover up to your knees or you will find yourself attracting unwanted attention. You might want to buy one of the many sarongs available in Morocco as a way of respecting their traditions. If you are visiting the country during the summer, you might want to consider packing your sunscreen because the temperatures can go to unbearable conditions and the last thing you want from your trip from Morocco is sunburns.
Don’t forget to pack some breathable t-shirts for any season and if you are visiting during the colder seasons, be sure to pack some thicker socks, jackets and woolly hats. Have a small medical kit especially if you are going to be hiking a lot because hiking comes along with foot blisters. An accident can also happen and a medical kit will be handy at a time like that. The medical kit should consist of anti-biotics, earplugs, Band-Aids, hand sanitizer, Tylenol, and bandages. For the miscellaneous, a universal charger or adapter will be a wise move, a water purifier, plastic bags, and zip-lock bags.
Things to do and see in Morocco
Well, here is where the juice is. Morocco has got lots of things to do see that we cannot possibly be able to name every place that is special and unique for you to visit in in this guide. However, every place listed in this guide will provide you with an unforgettable experience. They are among the most visited places in the country and places you don’t want to leave the country without visiting. Check them out:
- Wander in the streets in Marrakech
Marrakech is one of the most visited cities in the country and one place you must visit before you leave the country. If you read Morocco travel magazines then you must have a good picture of the city but if you have never heard of this elegant city, we are going to try to paint a clear picture of how good it is.
Morocco is a former imperial city and it is full of colorful markets, palaces, beautiful mosques, exceptional gardens, and everything you can expect from a former imperial city. The medieval walls are still in place and you can spend your time enjoying the view of this beautiful city and discovering the wide range of traditional ceramics, textiles, and jewelry available in the local markets. With their traditional entertainment in Djemaa el-Fna square and the lush Jardin Marjorelle, Marrakech has got everything needed to make your time in Morocco.
The restaurants in the city offer excellent cuisine, we can guarantee you that you will fall in love. The hotels are also very comfortable and most of them provide you with some exceptional spots to take those exceptional shots for Instagram. And the good thing is that most of them are quite affordable.
- Enjoy the Ouzoud waterfalls
Well, Morocco is one country that has got lots of outdoor activities so you can expect that most of the things we will be recommending are outdoor activities. And one the most fun thing you can do in Morocco feeding your eyes in with the majestic Ouzoud waterfall in the famous Atlas Mountains. The waterfalls are located near Moyen Atlas village in the province of Azilal. It is 150 kilometers from the city of Marrakech but it is definitely worth your time.
On your way to the waterfalls, be sure to explore some of the Berber villages and get to interact with the locals. It will be worth your time as the locals are very friendly and there is a lot of things to explore but if you don’t have enough time to explore the local Berber villages, you can spend all your time admiring the magnificence of the Ouzoud waterfalls.
The view is excellent watching the water as it is running down from the mountain and the greenly surrounding area is just phenomenal. A perfect place to take some photos that you will treasure for many years to come.
- Camel riding in the Sahara Desert
I bet you have seen the Sahara Desert in movies or at least you have read it from the books. Well, it is exactly as they portray it in the movies. It is vast, empty, and spectaculars. If you love hiking and camping, then the Sahara Desert will suit you well. You can spend a night in a simple tent in the dune and we can guarantee you that you are going to love it. The view of the sky from the Sahara is just amazing, some people even call it romantic.
The view is crystal clear from Sahara as there is no pollution to block the stars. Spend a couple of nights exploring the terrain of the Sahara desert and for the best experience, be sure to get yourself a guide to show you the best routes. Some people don’t find the camel rides comfortable but that will be for you to decide. And even if you don’t find it comfortable, you will still enjoy the beautiful views during the nights. You cannot visit Morocco and fail to take a desert tour, so make sure you not to miss out.
- Get lost in the medinas
The medinas are historical and are a part of most cities in the country. In the medinas, you will find twisting and turning streets where there are lots of markets, shops, restaurants, and homes in the line of the streets and they seem so close together, probably closer than you would expect. The medinas are just so fun to explore but a word of caution, you might want to avoid the Fez Medina. It is a bit sketchy and it has been considered unsafe sometimes. If you have to go there, go with a guide and don’t go far off the beaten path. Just stick to where there are lots of people.
- Visit Ait Benhaddou Kasbah
If you are a lover of UNESCO heritages which technically everybody is, you can be sure that your visit to Ait Benhaddou will be one to remember. The sight of Ait Benhaddou is spectacular and the mountain around it is the perfect place for it to be located. Things become more and clearer as you approach the walls of this heritage. It was once a stopper for traders during the Trans-Saharan trade. This location has been filmed in a couple of movies including Jesus of Nazareth, Gladiator, and Lawrence of Arabia. Be sure to arrive early because this spectacular heritage always has crowds whether it’s during the high or low season. You will also get some time to explore the red mudbrick village that normally seems frozen in the mornings.
- Enjoy yourself in Rabat the capital city
Rabat may not be the largest city in Morocco but it is the capital city and it has got a lot to offer, more than most of the cities in the country. Some visitors even describe Rabat as small heaven because of the wide range of things it has to offer. It is more than just the capital city but unfortunately, most people tend not to include it in their itineraries. For those who don’t overlook the city, they are always charmed by the elegance of this city.
Rabat is fully-packed with impressive landmarks such as the Hassan Tower, the royal place, and Kasbah des Oudaias. Rabat is a city rich in history and it is also full of beauty making it a unique city one that you don’t want to miss while in Morocco. The clean beaches, palm-boulevards, formal gardens, and walled medina are just a few things that make Rabat a must-visit. And the good thing about Rabat is it is usually less crowded compared to other cities like Marrakech and Casablanca. So if you like it less crowded, you should include rabat in your itinerary.
- Relax on the beaches of Essaouira
In as much as some parts of morocco are a desert, Morocco still offers some of the best beaches in Africa, beaches you can relax and connect with nature. Many cities offer some clean beaches but there has to be the best place right? Unlike Marrakech and other cities, Essaouira is a small yet quaint market that has lenders who won’t hassle you. There are also some places where you can be sure to eat the best seafood you will ever taste and the good thing about these seafood grills is that they offer the best food yet they are way affordable compared to the restaurants. Essaouira also has a magnificent fortress overlooking the water.
- Hike in the Atlas Mountains
Well, if you love hiking, there is no better place to enjoy your time than trekking through the Atlas Mountains. The mountains stretch over 1, 500 miles from Tunisia to the West Coast of Morocco. The tallest peak of the mountains is at Jebel Toubkal at 13, 671 miles. Your time hiking the mountain will be one to remember and you can all year round although the best time is April and May.
- Trek through Torda Gorge
Torda Gorge is becoming more and more popular as time goes by and in recent years it has become one of the most visited places in the country. If you love a challenge, then hiking through Torda Gorge will be one of the most fun things to do in Morocco. It is a bit challenging to trek through the canyon but it offers you an outdoor activity that is truly different. Don’t miss out on it, we can guarantee that it will be worth your time.
- Take some cooking lessons
There is no doubt that Morocco offers some of the best cuisines in the world. Their food is a blend of Arabic, Berber, Middle Eastern, Turkish, and, French cuisine so you can just imagine how unique it is. Most people who visit Morocco ensure that they learn how to cook the Moroccan traditional foods and you can learn too if you like.
The riads offer cooking classes in big cities like Fez and Marrakech. The fresh produces are in plenty in these cities where you will be able to buy them and be taught how to make the traditional Moroccan foods by the experts. There are many places you can learn how to make food. Just search for the best places to learn how to make Moroccan food and read reviews from the search results and get to choose the one with the best reviews. Alternatively, you can ask for recommendations from a friend who has been in Morocco before and learned how to make their cuisine.
- Catch some waves
If you are a surfer, you are going to fall in love with Morocco. The best time for surfing is normally during the winter season and Morocco has become so popular for surfing that even during the winter visitors still flock in for surfing purposes. During the winter, the waves are bigger and they are more consistent compared to the other seasons. Taghazoute is the most popular town when it comes to surfing activities so you might want to head over there. Catch some waves in the town and don’t forget to browse the surf shops.
- Explore Tangier
Tangiers is the biggest city in Northern Morocco and one of the most visited cities in the country and this is of course for a good reason. The city is located on the Moroccan coast at the Strait of Gibraltar. The city is rich in history and there are still some historical buildings built during the early civilizations. The culture of the Tangiers is a bit more unique and your time here is going to be unforgettable.
It is almost 100 years since Tangiers was considered as having international status by the colonial powers and it became a top destination for the European and American diplomats. It also became a top destination for spies, businessmen, and writers. Today, Tangiers is one of the most beautiful cities in Morocco and a must-see while you are in the country.
- See the Atlas studios
Atlas film studios are named after the Atlas Mountains and it is another thing you should ensure that is included in your itinerary. And if you did not know, Atlas film studios located in the city of Ouarzazate is the largest film studio in the world. It covers over 32, 000 square miles in the desert and so many films have been shot in the studio. Some of the movies shot in this studio include the kingdom of heaven in 2005, the last temptations of Jesus Christ in 1998, Lawrence of Arabia, Hanna in 2011, the mummy in 1999, and some parts of the best TV series in the world, Game of Thrones. Ait Benhaddou is located near the studios and as we stated, it is one place you don’t want to miss. It has been featured in almost movies we have listed above.
- Visit the ancient city of Volubilis
Volubilis was a major trading center during the times of the Roman Empire when they had conquered Morocco and some parts of North Africa. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Volubilis was destroyed but the ruins are now among the most protected ruins in the world. Volubilis has fewer visitors and not built up and open in such a way you can go closer and explore the ruins at proximity. Most of the city is still unexcavated giving the city a very raw feel to it. It is a perfect place to visit and the entrance fee is 70 MAD which is equivalent to just 7 dollars.
Money-saving tips while you are in Morocco
As we established in our rough budget, it does not cost much to visit and stay in Morocco. It is a very cheap country to live in but if you still want to save money so that you can last longer than you had planned, there are still some tricks you can apply and you will not have to use lots of money. Here is how you can save some extra bucks while in Morocco.
- Eat from the stalls
Food from the restaurants’ can is relatively cheap but food from the stalls is way cheaper. And don’t be lied to that the foods from the stores are not of good standards because it is of high-quality, tasty, and you can get enough food for as low as 3 dollars. Just follow what the locals do and you will be glad you did because you can get some of the best foods in the country at such a low price.
- Negotiate your cab fare
Most travelers just pay the amount they are asked to and because most cab drivers know this they can take advantage of the situation and ask for more than they should. There are no fixed prices so be sure to bargain and save some extra bucks.
- Avoid alcohol
Alcohol is not common in Morocco and the few places where you can buy the alcohol, it is overpriced and you might end up spending twice what you could have spent in your home country. Just avoid alcohol in the few months you will be there and if you have to drink, align yourself with the locals and drink from where they drink from.
How to get around in Morocco
Public transport can be a hit when it comes to using less money and traveling longer distances but it can be a miss if you love your comfort. The buses in the major cities are normally overcrowded and old something you will not enjoy.
Another option for public transport is using the Petits Taxis which are pretty common in the country. These small taxis can hold up to 3 people and they are relatively cheap. Be sure to negotiate your fare upfront before to avoid having to pay excess after you have arrived.
- Metered taxis
Metered taxis are also available in Morocco but mostly in big cities like Marrakesh and the fare starts at around 7 Dirham and then charge the same per kilometer. Uber is also available in Casablanca.
- Grand taxis
These are shared taxes that are shared by passengers and can carry up to 6 passengers. The grand taxis can go for longer distances like in the neighboring cities and towns but you have to keep it in mind that a grand taxi will not leave until it is full even if it takes an hour or more. You can locate one near the bust stops.
You can make use of the Moroccan trains mostly for long distances moving from one city to another. The rail network is connected in big cities including Rabat, Casablanca, Fez, and Marrakesh.
- Car rental
You can find a car to rent at a starting price of about 30 dollars.
Thank you for taking the time to go through this guide cover to cover, we hope we have been of help. Welcome to Morocco!