Sunday, May 28, 2023
Morocco Travel Guide - Travel S Helper - Ultimate travel guide


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Morocco, formally known as the Kingdom of Morocco, is a sovereign country in North Africa’s Maghreb area. Morocco is distinguished geographically by a rough rocky interior and vast swaths of desert. It has both an Atlantic and a Mediterranean shoreline.

Morocco has a population of approximately 33.8 million people and an area of 446,550 square kilometers (172,410 sq mi). Rabat is the capital, and Casablanca is the biggest city. Marrakesh, Tangier, Tetouan, Salé, Fes, Agadir, Meknes, Oujda, Kenitra, and Nador are among the other important cities. Morocco, a historically significant regional force, has a history of independence that its neighbors do not enjoy. Its culture is a fusion of Arab, indigenous Berber, Sub-Saharan African, and European influences.

Morocco claims Western Sahara, a non-self-governing area, as its Southern Provinces. Morocco seized the area in 1975, sparking a guerrilla war with indigenous forces that lasted until a cease-fire was reached in 1991. So far, peace processes have failed to overcome the political impasse.

Morocco is a constitutional monarchy with a parliament that is elected by the people. Morocco’s King wields enormous executive and legislative responsibilities, particularly over the military, foreign policy, and religious matters. The government wields executive authority, while the two houses of parliament, the Assembly of Representatives and the Assembly of Councillors, have legislative power. The king has the authority to make decrees known as dahirs, which carry the force of law. He may also dissolve parliament after conferring with the Prime Minister and the President of the Constitutional Court.

Morocco’s primary religion is Islam, while Arabic and Tamazight are the official languages. Darija, a Moroccan dialect, and French are also commonly spoken. Morocco is a key member of the Arab League and a founding member of the Union for the Mediterranean. It has Africa’s sixth largest economy.

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Morocco - Info Card




Moroccan dirham (MAD)

Time zone



710,850 km2 (274,460 sq mi)

Calling code


Official language

Arabic - Berber

Morocco - Introduction

Tourism in Morocco

Tourism is one of the most important sectors of the Moroccan economy, it is well developed and has a strong tourist industry focused on the coast, culture and history of the country. Over 10 million people visited Morocco in 2013. Tourism is the second largest source of foreign exchange in Morocco after the phosphate industry. The Moroccan government is investing heavily in the development of tourism. In 2010, the government launched its Vision 2020, which aims to make Morocco one of the top 20 tourist destinations in the world and double the number of international arrivals to 20 million per year by 2020, in the hope that tourism will then have risen to 20% of GDP.

A major government-sponsored marketing campaign to attract tourists promoted Morocco as a cheap and exotic but safe place for tourists. Most visitors to Morocco are still European, with French citizens accounting for almost 20% of all visitors. Most Europeans visit Morocco in April and autumn, with the exception of Spaniards who will mainly come in June and August 2013. The reason behind the relatively high number of visitors to Morocco is because of the desirability of the place. The proximity of Morocco to Europe and its beaches attracts visitors to Morocco. Because of its proximity to Spain, tourists in the coastal areas of southern Spain make one to three day trips to Morocco.

Air links have been established between Morocco and Algeria, and many Algerians have travelled to Morocco to shop and visit family and friends. The price has been relatively low in Morocco because of the devaluation of the dirham and an increase of hotel prices in Spain. Morocco has an excellent road and rail infrastructure linking major cities and tourist destinations with ports and cities with international airports. Low-cost airlines offer cheap flights into the country.

Tourism is increasingly focused on Moroccan culture, such as the ancient cities. The modern tourism industry makes use of Morocco’s ancient Roman and Islamic sites as well as the country’s landscape and cultural history. 60% of Moroccan tourists visit Morocco for its culture and heritage. Agadir is an important coastal resort and accounts for one third of all Moroccan overnight stays. It is the starting point for excursions into the Atlas Mountains. Other resorts in northern Morocco are also very popular.

Morocco’s most significant port for cruises is Casablanca, which has the one of the most developed markets for visitors to Morocco. Marrakech in central Morocco is a popular destination, but is used by tourists more for one and two-day excursions that give an impression of Morocco’s history and culture. Marrakech’s Majorelle Botanical Gardens is one of the most popular attractions. It was bought in 1980 by the fashion designers Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé. Their presence in the city helped to raise its profile as a tourist destination.

Since 2006, active and adventure tourism in the Atlas and Rif mountains is the fastest growing sector of Moroccan tourism. These places offer excellent hiking and trekking opportunities from late March to mid-November. The government is investing in trekking routes. It is also developing desert tourism in competition with Tunisia.

Best time to visit Morocco

If you are adventurous, February is a good time to visit Morocco to hike in the desert. In July, you can enjoy coastal areas or beaches in Essaouira. April is the best time to visit the royal cities in Morocco. The high tourist season in Morocco is in July and August.

Demographics of Morocco

Most Moroccans are of Berber, Arab or Gnawad descent. There is a significant minority of people from sub-Saharan Africa and Europeans. Together, Arabs and Berbers represent approximately 99.1% of the Moroccan population. A significant portion of the population is referred to as Haratin and Gnawa (or Gnaoua), black or mixed-race descendants of slaves, and Moriscos, European Muslims who were expelled from Spain and Portugal in the 17th century.

They were expelled in the nineteenth century. Berbers are the indigenous people and still make up the majority of the population, although they have been largely Arabized. Morocco is home to more than 20,000 immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa. Morocco’s once prominent Jewish minority has declined significantly since its peak of 265,000 in 1948 and now stands at about 2,500.

Most foreign residents in Morocco are French or Spanish. Several of them are descendants from colonial-era settlers who work primarily by European multinationals, and some are married to Moroccans or have been retired. Before independence, half a million Europeans lived in Morocco.

There is a large Moroccan diaspora, the majority of which is in France, which has been estimated to have more than one million Moroccans through the 3rd generation. There are also sizable Moroccan populations in Spain ( approximately 700,000 Moroccans), as well as the Netherlands ( approximately 360,000) and Belgium ( approximately 300,000). Other large communities exist in Italy, Canada, the United States, and Israel, where Moroccan Jews are believed to be the second largest Jewish subgroup.


Religious affiliation in the country was estimated by the Pew Forum in 2010 to be 99% Muslim, with all other groups making up less than 1% of the population. Sunnis are the majority at 67%, and non-denominational Muslims are the second largest group of Muslims at 30%. It is estimated that there are between 3,000 and 8,000 Shiite Muslims, most of whom are foreigners originally from Lebanon or Iraq, as well as a few local converts. Followers of several Muslim Sufi orders from the Maghreb and West Africa make annual joint pilgrimages to the country.

Christians are estimated to make up 1% (~380,000) of the Moroccan population. The mainly Roman Catholic and Protestant foreign Christian population is composed of approximately 5,000 believers, though some Protestant and Catholic clerics have estimated the number could be as high as 25,000. The majority of Christians expatriates are located in the urban areas in Casablanca, Tangier, and Rabat. Various local Christian leaders estimate that between 2005 and 2010 there were 5,000 converted citizen Christians (mostly ethnic Berber) who regularly attend “house churches” and live mostly in the south. While some local Christian officials have estimated that there could be as many as 8,000 Christian citizens across the country, however, according to reports, there are many who do not meet on a regular basis because they fear of state surveillance as well as social persecution. The number of Moroccans who have converted to Christianity (most of whom are secret believers) is estimated at 8,000-40,000.

Recent estimates put the size of the Jewish community in Casablanca at about 2,500 and that of the Jewish communities in Rabat and Marrakech at about 100 members each. The remainder of the Jewish population is scattered throughout the country. They are predominantly elderly, with a diminishing number of young people. Located in urban areas, there are between 350 and 400 members of the Baha’i community.

Geography of Morocco

Morocco has a coastline on the Atlantic Ocean that extends into the Mediterranean Sea via the Strait of Gibraltar. It shares borders with Spain on the north (a water border across the strait as well as land borders that include 3 small Spanish-controlled enclaves, Ceuta, Melilla, as well as Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera), with Algeria in the east, and to the south with Western Sahara. Due to Morocco’s dominance over most of Western Sahara, its southern border is virtually the border with Mauritania.

Morocco’s geography ranges from the Atlantic Ocean to mountainous regions to the Sahara Desert. Bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, North African Morocco is situated between Algeria and annexed Western Sahara. It is one of only three countries (along with Spain and France) to have both an Atlantic and Mediterranean coastline.

Much of Morocco is mountainous. The Atlas Mountains are mainly located in the center and south of the country. The Rif mountains are situated in the northern part of the country. Both mountain ranges are mainly inhabited by the Berber people. With 446,550 km2 (172,414 sq mi), Morocco is the 57rd biggest country in the world. Algeria borders Morocco to the east and southeast, although the border between the two countries has been closed since 1994.

The Spanish territory in North Africa has a border with Morocco and consists of 5 enclaves on the Mediterranean coast: Ceuta, Melilla, Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera, Peñón de Alhucemas, the Chafarinas Islands as well as the disputed island of Perejil. On the Atlantic coast, the Canary Islands belong to Spain, while Madeira is Portuguese in the north. To the north, Morocco borders the Strait of Gibraltar, where international shipping has an unimpeded transit passage between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean.

The Rif Mountains extend from the northwest to the northeast across the region bordering the Mediterranean Sea. The Atlas Mountains run from the northeast to the southwest through the backbone of the country. The majority of the south-eastern part of the country is located in the Sahara desert region that is mostly sparsely inhabited as well as economically non-productive. The majority of the population resides north of those mountains. Morocco claims Western Sahara as part of its territory and refers to it as its southern provinces.

Morocco’s capital is Rabat, and its largest city is the main port of Casablanca. The other cities are Essaouira, Fez, Agadir, Marrakech, Mohammedia, Meknes, Oujda, Ouarzazat, Safi, Salé, Tangier and Tetouan.

Morocco is represented by the symbol MA in the ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 geographic coding standard.

Weather & Climate in Morocco

The country’s Mediterranean climate is similar to that of southern California, with lush forests in the mountain ranges of northern and central California giving way to drier conditions and deserts further inland in the southeast. The Moroccan coastal plains have remarkably moderate temperatures even in summer, due to the influence of the cold Canary Current off the Atlantic coast.

There are several different types of climate in the Rif, Middle and High Atlas: Mediterranean climate in the coastal plains, changing to a humid temperate climate at high altitudes, where the climate has enough moisture to support the development of various types of oaks, moss carpets, junipers and the Atlantic fir, a royal and endemic coniferous tree in Morocco. In the valleys, the fertile soils and heavy rainfall allow the growth of dense and lush forests. Cloud forests are found west of the Rif and Middle Atlas Mountains. At high altitudes, the climate takes on an alpine character and can accommodate ski resorts.

In the south-east part of the Atlas Mountains, close to the Algerian border, climate is very dry, where summers can be long and very hot. High temperatures and very low humidity are especially noticeable in the plain regions to the east of the Atlas Mountains because of shadow rainfall effect from the mountain system. The southeastern part of Morocco is extremely hot, and its vast sand dunes and rocky plains, which include parts of the Sahara Desert, are interspersed with lush oases.

Contrary to the Saharan area in the south, the coastal lowlands in the northern and central parts of the country are very fertile and constitute the backbone of Morocco’s agriculture, in which 95% of the population lives. The direct location on the North Atlantic, the proximity to the European continent and the elongated mountains of the Rif and Atlas Mountains are the factors that explain the rather European climate of the northern half of the country. This is what makes Morocco a country of contrasts. Wooded areas cover about 12% of the country, while 18% is agricultural land. About 5% of Morocco’s land is irrigated for agricultural purposes.

In general, Morocco’s climate and geography are fairly similar to those of the Iberian Peninsula, except for the south-eastern regions (pre-Saharan and desert areas). Thus, we have the following climatic zones :

– Mediterranean: Predominant along the country’s coastal Mediterranean areas, alongside the (500 km long) strip, as well as some areas of the Atlantic coast. Generally, the summers are warm to moderately warm and dry, with daily maximum temperatures averaging between 29 °C (84.2 °F) and 32 °C (89.6 °F). Winters are generally mild and humid, with daily average temperatures ranging from 9 °C to 11 °C, and average lows ranging from 5 °C to 8 °C, typical of coastal areas of the western Mediterranean. Annual rainfall in the area varies between 600-800 mm in the west and 350-500 mm in the east. Notable cities that fall within this zone are: Tangier, Tetouan, Al Hoceima, Nador and Safi.

– Sub-Mediterranean: It influences cities that have Mediterranean characteristics but are also influenced by other climatic zones due to their relative altitude or direct exposure to the North Atlantic. So we have two main climates of influence:

– Oceanic: Determined by the cooler summers where highs rarely rise above 27 °C and are almost always around 21 °C in relation to the Essaouira region. Average daytime temperatures can reach as low as 19 °C (66.2 °F). Whereas winters are cool to mild and humid. Rainfall varies on average between 400 and 700 mm annually.. Notable cities that fall within this zone: Rabat, Casablanca, Kénitra, Salé and Essaouira.

– Continental The mountainous regions in the north and centre of the country dominate, where summers are hot to very hot, with highs of between 32 °C and 36 °C. Winters, on the other hand, are cold, with lows usually above freezing. And when cold humid air from the northwest enters Morocco, temperatures can easily exceed -10 °C (14.0 °F) for a few days. Snowfall is frequent and plentiful in this part of the country. Rainfall varies between 400 and 800 mm. Noteworthy cities: Azilal, Imilchil, Khenifra and Midelt.

– Alpine: This type of climate is found in some parts of the Middle Atlas Mountains and in the eastern part of the High Atlas Mountains. Generally, summers can be very hot to relatively hot, while winters tend to be longer, cold and snowy. Rainfall varies between 400 and 1200 mm. In summer, highs rarely rise above 30 °C, and lows are cool and go well above 15 °C. In winter, highs rarely rise above 8 °C and lows are well below freezing. There are many ski resorts in this part of the country, such as Oukaimeden and Mischliefen. Notable towns: Ifrane, Azrou and Boulmane.

– Semi-arid: This type of climate is found in the south of the country and in some parts of the east of the country, where rainfall is lower and annual precipitation ranges between 200 and 350 mm. However, it is worth noting that in these regions we usually find Mediterranean characteristics, such as the rainfall pattern and thermal features. Notable cities: Agadir, Marrakech and Oujda.

To the south of Agadir and to the east under Jerada, near the Algerian border, the dry, desert climate is beginning to prevail.

As a result of Morocco’s closeness to the Sahara desert as well as to the North Sea of the Atlantic Ocean, there are two phenomena occurring that are affecting regional seasonal conditions: An increase in temperature of 7-8 degrees Celsius when the sirocco blows from the east and causes heat waves, or a decrease in temperature of 7-8 degrees Celsius when cold and humid air blows from the northwest and causes a cold wave or cold snap. However, these phenomena do not last more than 2-5 days on average.

Other countries or regions with the same climatic conditions as Morocco are California (USA), Portugal, Spain and Algeria.


Annual rainfall in Morocco varies from region to region. The northwestern regions of the country receive between 500 mm and 1200 mm. North-eastern areas usually The central north of Morocco receives between 700 mm and up to 3500 mm. The region from Casablanca to Essaouira on the Atlantic coast is receiving between 300 mm up to 500 mm of rainfall. The areas from Essaouira to Agadir are receiving between 250 mm and 400 mm of rainfall. The region of Marrakech, in the centre-south, receives only 250 mm per year. The south-eastern regions, essentially the driest areas, receive only between 100 mm and 200 mm and are essentially dry and desert land.

Botanically, Morocco has a wide variety of vegetation, ranging from large and lush coniferous and oak forests typical of the western Mediterranean countries (Morocco, Algeria, Italy, Spain, France and Portugal) to shrubs and acacias further south. This is due to the diversity of climate and rainfall in the country.

Morocco’s climate is one of the purest in terms of the 4 seasons. Most regions have distinct seasons, with summer generally not being spoiled by rain and winter being wet, snowy and wet with mild, cool to cold temperatures. Spring and autumn are characterised by warm to mild weather, with flowering in spring and leaf fall in autumn. This kind of climate has affected the culture and the behaviour of the Moroccans people and plays an important role over the social interaction of the people, as many countries belonging to this type of climate zone.


Arabic and Berber are official languages in Morocco. However, local Moroccan Arabic, a dialect of Maghreb Arabic (spoken in Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria), is very different from Standard Arabic, so even native Arabic speakers from outside the region would not understand the conversations of the locals. However, all Moroccans learn Standard Arabic at school, so speakers of Standard Arabic should have no problem communicating in the larger cities. Officially, about half of the population cannot read or write, so there are always translators and people to help fill out forms (for a small fee) in most places where such forms are needed, such as ports, etc.

Various dialects of Berber are spoken by the ethnic Berbers of Morocco.

French is widely spoken in Morocco due to its history as a French protectorate and is still taught in schools from relatively early grades, making it by far the most useful non-Arabic language to know. Most urban locals you meet are trilingual in Moroccan Arabic, Standard Arabic and French. In the north and south of the country, many people also speak Spanish instead of or alongside French.

While knowledge of English is increasing among the younger generations, most Moroccans do not speak a word, and even those who do are most likely to speak French better. Although you will find a few people who speak English among the most educated, in urban areas most of them are touts and false guides. Some shopkeepers and hotel managers in urban centres also speak English.

People are used to dealing with the communication barrier that comes with the different Berber dialects – mime, smile and even broken French will get you far.

Things To Know Before Traveling To Morocco

Some Moroccans you meet on the street have come up with dozens of ways to separate you from your money. Be on your guard, but don’t let that stop you from accepting the offers of generous Moroccan hospitality. Put on a smile and say hello to anyone who greets you, but stand firm if you are not interested. You’ll be much better off that way than if you just ignore them.

  • Fake tour guides or touts assemble at touristic spots offering to show you around the medina, to find you accommodation, to bring you to arts and handicrafts stores, or even to buy drugs. Although these men can often be harmless, you should never accept drugs or other products from them. Be polite, but make it clear that you are not interested in their services, and if they become too persistent, go to a taxi, a salon de thé or the nearest shop – the shopkeeper will send the false leader away. However, if it is a shop frequented by tourists, the shopkeeper may be equally eager to get you to buy something.

The best way to avoid fake guides and false informants is to avoid eye contact and just ignore them, which will generally discourage them because they would try to spend their attention on harassing some other more enthusiastic tourist. Another way is to act quickly. In case of eye contact, simply give the person a smile, preferably a strong, bright smile, “No thanks! (they are very good at judging people’s feelings and they will harass you if they think you are vulnerable), instead of a weak smile which means “I’m sorry”. The word La (Arabic for no) can be particularly effective as it does not betray your native tongue. Another option is to pretend that you only speak some exotic language and do not understand what they are saying. Be polite and walk away. If you get into an argument or a conversation with them, you will have a damn hard time getting rid of them because they are incredibly persistent and masters of harassment, nothing really embarrasses them as they see this as their way of making a living.

  • Some of the most common tactics to watch out for are the following.

Many fake guides pretend they are students when they come up to you and then tell you they just want to exercise their English and discover more about your culture. If you follow them, there is a good chance you will end up in a carpet or souvenir shop. A variation is that they show you an English letter and ask you to translate it for them, or they ask for your help to their English-speaking friend/cousin/relative etc. abroad.

Expect to be told that everything and every place is “closed”. Inevitably this is not the case, but a scam to get you to follow them instead. Do not do this.

Do not accept “free gifts” from sellers. You will find that a group of people will come up to you and accuse you of stealing it and extort the price from you.

Always insist that prices are fixed in advance. This is especially true for taxi fares. As a rule, trips in the city should not cost more than 20 MAD or be charged by taximeter. This cannot be stressed enough. In ALL situations (including henna tattoos) you should always agree on a price beforehand!

When haggling, never name a price you are not prepared to pay.

At bus/train stations they will tell you that there have been train cancellations and you will not be able to get a bus/train. Again, this is almost always a scam to get you to accept an inflated taxi fare.

In general, do not accept services from people who approach you.

Never be afraid to say no.

  • Drugs are another favourite of scammers. Kif ( dope) will certainly be offered to you in the cities around the Rif mountains, particularly in Tetouan and Chefchaouen. Some dealers will sell you the dope and then hand you over to the police for part of the baksheesh you pay to get free, while others will get you stoned before selling you lawn clippings in plasticine.
  • Ticket inspectors on trains have reportedly tried to extort a few extra dirhams from unsuspecting tourists by finding something “wrong” with their tickets. Make sure your tickets are in order before boarding and if you are harassed, insist on taking the matter up with the station manager at your destination.
  • There can be a shortage of toilet paper in Moroccan toilets, even in hotels or restaurants.

Try to have at least a phrasebook level of competence in French or Arabic (Spanish is useful in the north, but not for the most part). It may be useful just to be able to say “Ith’hab!” and “Seer f’halek” (“Go away!”). …. Many of the locals ( particularly the nice ones who don’t want to take advantage of you) only speak very limited English. If you can at least check prices with the locals in French, you could end up saving a lot of money.

What to wear in Morroco?

You don’t need high and heavy mountain boots unless you are travelling in the coldest time of the year like February: it is quite warm in the countryside, even if it rains heavily in November. Even in the medinas, the roads are paved, if not asphalted – just make sure your footwear is not toeless in the medinas, as it can be dirty or unhygienic.

For trekking in the valleys, low trekking shoes are probably sufficient.

On a desert trip to the dunes, make sure that your bags can be easily shaken out, as sand accumulates there very quickly.

Time in Morroco

Daylight saving time applies in Morocco, except during Ramadan.

In 2015, it will start again on Sunday, 26 April, at 02:00 and end on Sunday, 27 September, at 03:00.

Note that the further south you go, the more people refuse to use Daylight Saving Time (also called “political time” as opposed to “wild time”); government places there will always adhere to Daylight Saving Time, merchants not necessarily.

Internet & Communications in Morocco


Public telephones are found in city centres, but private telephone offices (also called teleboutiques or telekiosks) are also common. The international dialling code (for dialling out of the country) is 00. All numbers are ten digits long, counting the initial 0, and the whole number must be dialled within the same area code even for local calls.

You can get a prepaid card (télécarte) for public phones (MAD5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 dirhams). The prices are very reasonable. E.g. for the Maroc Telecom card it is MAD0.50/min to any phone in most Western European countries, MAD3/min to Eastern Europe and North America, and mobile phones in Finland, Ireland, Iceland, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Norway.

Useful numbers

  • Police: 19
  • Fire brigade: 15
  • Motorway emergency service: 177
  • Domestic directory: 160
  • International Directory: 120
  • Telegrams and telephone: 140
  • Intercity operator: 100


The mobile phone network in Morocco can be used via one of the major operators: Meditel, Inwi or Maroc Telecom. Network coverage is generally good, at least in populated areas, but mostly in rural areas. SIM cards are available from MAD 25 including airtime and data. The rate is national: MAD 3-4, to Europe about MAD 10, SMS MAD 3.

You can easily buy prepaid cards in the operators’ shops (ID required, both for citizens and non-citizens); they also offer internet access if you want it (you can get 10 GB for only about $10). For more information on available services, network coverage and roaming partners, see: GSMWorld. Note that roaming with international cards from most countries is very expensive, so think about buying a local card.


Post offices in Morocco tend to be generally reliable, offering post stante services in major cities for a small fee. You will need identification (preferably your passport) to collect your mail.

Items sent as freight are checked at the post office before being sent. So wait until this is done before sealing the box.

Do not drop off postcards at the small post office at Marrakech airport, as they are never delivered, even though you take your money for stamps. Street-side letterboxes seemed to be a more reliable way to send postcards.

E-mail & Internet

Moroccans have really discovered the internet. Internet cafés are open late into the night and are numerous in cities and smaller towns that get a lot of tourist traffic. Prices are around MAD4-10 per hour and they are often located next to, above or below telekiosk offices. Speeds are acceptable to excellent in the north, but can be a little slow in rural areas. You can print and burn CDs at most internet cafés for a small fee.

Moroccans have also really embraced 3G and 4G/LTE coverage. There is excellent access to email and internet via mobile phones and it is relatively cheap. There is 3G access in the mountains and desert, as well as in all cities. You can easily use the mobile internet network by buying a prepaid card.

Visa & Passport Requirements for Morocco

All visitors to Morocco require a valid passport, but visitors from the following countries are not required to obtain a visa prior to arrival: Schengen Member States, Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Ivory Coast, Croatia, Republic of Congo, Guinea, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Kuwait, Libya, Mali, Mexico, New Zealand, Niger, Oman, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, South Korea, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela.

If you are a tourist from a country that requires a visa to enter Morocco, the Moroccan Embassy is usually your first port of call. They charge the equivalent of GBP 17 for a single entry and GBP 26 for double or multiple entries. (Double or multiple entries are issued at the discretion of the embassy). Visas are usually valid for 3 months and take about 5-6 working days to process.

The visa requirements are: completed application forms; four passport-size photographs taken within the last six months; a valid passport with at least one blank page and with a photocopy of the relevant data pages; the fee payable by postal order only; a photocopy of all flight bookings and a photocopy of the hotel reservation.

Tourists can stay up to 90 days and visa extensions can be a frustrating and time-consuming process. (You may find it easier to exit to Spanish-controlled Ceuta or Melilla and then re-enter Morocco for a new stamp). A cholera vaccination certificate may be required of visitors coming from areas where the disease is widespread, and pets need a health certificate no more than ten days old and a rabies certificate no more than six months old.

How To Travel To Morocco

Get In - With plane

There are flights to Casablanca from New York, Montreal, Dubai and many different European cities, including seasonal charter flights to Agadir.

Many European airlines fly to Morocco. Some of these airlines include Iberia, TAP Portugal, Air France, Lufthansa, Swiss, Turkish Airlines, Norwegian, BMI, British Airways, Brussels Airlines, Air Berlin, Alitalia, Portugal, Air German, and numerous other European airlines.

Easyjet – You can take advantage of cheap flights from London and Manchester to Marrakech and Casablanca. The other option is to fly from Paris – Charles de Gaulle Airport to Casablanca.

Ryanair – Flights to Morocco from Bergamo, Girona, Reuss, Bremen, Madrid, Brussels, Frankfurt Hahn, Eindhoven, London and Porto. There are 3 flights a week to Fez. There are also flights to Marrakech; the Bergamo-Tangier line was inaugurated in July 2009.

Royal Air Maroc – National airlines that require drastic price cuts.

Air Arabia Maroc, which is part of Air Arabia, is another low-cost airline that flies to France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Tunisia and Turkey, among other Moroccan destinations.

Jet 4 You –  There are now low-cost airlines available for very cheap flights from France and Belgium.

AigleAzur – A small North African airline with low fares.

Thomson fly – Flying to Marrakech from Manchester is very affordable.

BinterCanarias – Flights from the Canary Islands to Marrakech.

Emirates – Flights from Dubai to Casablanca.

Many visitors also fly to Gibraltar or Malaga (which are often much cheaper to reach) and take a ferry from Algeciras, Tarifa or Gibraltar to Tangier. Millions of Moroccans who live in Europe use this corridor during their summer vacations, so it is not recommended in the summer.

Get In - With car

You can enter by ferry or via the only two open border posts by land, which are connected to the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla. The border with Algeria has been closed for ten years. For the nearest sea link, go to Algeciras or Tarifa in southern Spain. Algeciras has ferry services to Ceuta and Tangier that carry cars. Tarifa has a similar service to Tangier and this is the shortest and fastest route, only 35 minutes.

It is also possible to enter Mauritania by car from Dakhla. Citizens of most countries need a visa to enter Mauritania, which can be obtained from the Mauritanian Embassy in Rabat (visas are no longer issued at the border).

It might be difficult to enter Morocco with a commercial vehicle. Motorhomes are acceptable (but they must look like a motorhome), but other commercial vehicles could be turned around and prevented from continuing their journey. If you want to bring in a commercial vehicle and are traveling with more than one person, it may be worthwhile going up to the international border with Morocco, where someone who speaks French is preferable, to arrange a meeting with the chief customs officer prior to taking in your vehicle for commercial use.

Get In - With boat

There are a number of ferry connections to Morocco, departing mainly from Spain. The main port is Algeciras, which is served by both Ceuta and Tangier. The journey between Algeciras and Ceuta is about 40 minutes, and to Tangier it takes less than two hours. You can also get to Tangier from the small port of Tarifa, at the southernmost tip of mainland Spain. This takes 35 minutes or an hour, depending on the ship. Some companies offer free buses between Tarifa and Algeciras (25 minutes), so you won’t have any problems getting to the station. Other Spanish ports that have connections to Morocco are Malaga and Almeria, which connect to Melilla and the neighbouring Moroccan city of Nador.

A number of ferries also go to Tangier from France, from Port Sète, near Montpellier, as well as Port Vendres, near Perpignan. However, these ferries are quite expensive. The Italian cities of Genoa and Naples also have direct connections to Tangier. The British dependency of Gibraltar is connected to Tangier by a speedboat service.


From Tarifa to Tangier, the ferry costs €34 per adult without vehicle when booked online. An open round trip costs €54, (March 2013). However, you can get the ferry ticket from Tangier for MAD390 (about €36). To Algeciras from Tangier it costs MAD395 individually.

How To Travel Around Morocco

Get Around - With train

Trains are generally the best option due to their speed, frequency and comfort. However, the network is limited and only connects Marrakech and Tangier via Casablanca and Rabat. A branch line to Oujda starts in Sidi Kachem and connects Meknes and Fez with the main line.

People are incredibly sociable and friendly on trains in Morocco and you will constantly be talking to strangers about your trip. Each new person will recommend a new place to visit or invite you to their home for couscous. Stations in smaller towns are often poorly signposted and your fellow travellers will be happy to tell you where you are and when you should get off. You are expected to greet (salam) new passengers who enter your compartment, and if you bring fruit, cakes, etc., it is customary to offer something to the other passengers as well. If you spend a little more on 1st class, you increase your chances of meeting someone who speaks many languages.

From Tangiers, there are 3 trains daily to Ujda or Marrakech, and both of these trains have a corresponding train at Sidi Kashem which uses the opposite branch of the train that comes from Tangier, so both destinations can be reached. The night trains between Tangier and Marrakech offer couchettes for an extra charge of MAD100. This is the only option if you want to lie down to sleep, as there are obstacles between the seats in the regular compartments.

The only drawback with trains in Morocco is the fact that they are very frequently late, so if you’re in a hurry, be sure not to rely on timetables.

The train network is operated by ONCF. To check the cost on the ONCF website, don’t let the French scare you. Scroll down to Billets Normaux (under Prix & Reservation) and select your journey.

All major destinations, Marrakech, Meknes, Fez, Tangier, Rabat, Casablanca, and others are connected by very reliable (if of course not fast) railroads.There are usually several trains a day to or from each major city. There is also an overnight train between Marrakech and Tangier.

Trains are very cheap (compared to Europe). For example, a single journey from Tangier to Marrakech costs around MAD200 (GBP16-EUR20) second class or MAD300 (GBP24-EUR30) first class. Casablanca to Marrakech – MAD90 for second class.

First class train carriages are supposed to have working air-conditioning, however not all train carriages with air-conditioning have it in operation, so it is advisable to take plenty of water with you (unlike SNCF or TrenItalia trains, there are no vending machines on ONCF trains and the conductor with a vending cart is often not easy to find). For instance, the journey between Tangier and Fez is approximately 5 hours, and the summer desert heat can be unbearable without air conditioning and water.

When you arrive at a station, you must validate your ticket to access the platform (checkpoint at the entrance).

A high-speed railway line connecting Tangier with Casablanca is currently (as of 2015) in the first phase of construction. The opening of the first section from Tangier to Kénitra is planned for 2018.

Get Around - With bus

Luxury buses are the next best choice, with almost blanket coverage, if somewhat odd departure times in some places. CTM, Supratours and some smaller companies offer good comfort at reasonable prices. Supratours buses offer special tickets to connect with trains and can be booked through the railway company’s website, as Supratours is operated by them. All bus companies charge for luggage separately, but CTM is the only one that does so officially and issues luggage receipts. With Supratours, the person who takes your luggage charges up to 20 MAD (do not pay more than 5 MAD).

Almost every city has a central bus station where you can buy tickets to travel from region to region (and in some cities certain companies run their own stations – mostly this applies to the operators CTM and sometimes Supratours). You can either choose the buses for tourists, which are equipped with air conditioning and a TV. Or you can take the local buses, which only cost 25%-50% and are much more fun. They are not very comfortable, but you can interact with the locals and learn a lot about the country. The buses often travel longer distances than the big buses, so you can see villages that you would never get to as a “normal” tourist. For heat-sensitive people, however, this is not advisable, as the locals may tell you that 35 degrees is “cool” and no reason to open a window. The route from Rissani, Erfoud and Er Rachidia to Meknes and Fes is long but passes through the Middle and High Atlas Mountains and is particularly scenic.

The luxury buses operated by CTM are also cheap and offer an easier travel experience than local buses. See CTM timetable and fares).

CTM’s main competitor, Supratours, has a complementary rail network from Essaouira and all the major cities on the Atlantic coast to Marrakech. (The Supratours website is no longer available, as of 29 January 2015; the Supratours timetable can also be found on ONCF).

Local buses are a perfectly valid choice for the tougher traveller and often have even more legroom than the luxury buses, although this may only be because the seat in front of you is falling apart. They can be exceptionally slow as they stop for everyone, everywhere, and only luxury buses are air-conditioned (and locals hate open windows). Only on local buses is the ticket sold directly by the driver.

Get Around - With taxi

Travelling by taxi is common in Morocco. There are two types:

  • Petit Taxi, which is only used within the city area
  • The large taxi can be used for trips between cities and for larger groups

Petit taxi fares are reasonable and it is the law that taxis in the city should have a meter – although they are not always switched on. Insist that the driver turns on the meter. If not, ask for the fare before you get in (but it will be more expensive).

Large-capacity taxi

Driving between cities; fares are semi-fixed and distributed evenly among passengers. However, there are six passenger seats per car, not four (this is true of the ubiquitous Mercedes; in the larger Peugeots in the southeast there are 8 or 9 seats). Two people have to share the front seat, four in the back. If you want to leave immediately or need extra space, you can pay for extra empty seats. Grand taxis usually cost less than a luxury bus, but more than the local bus. Late at night, expect to pay a little more than during the day and also to pay for all the seats in the car, as no other customers are likely to be late. Petit taxis are not allowed to leave the city limits and are therefore not an option for inter-city travel.

The grand taxi is a shared taxi, usually a long-distance taxi, with a fixed fare for a specific route; the driver stops and picks up passengers like a bus. Grand cabs are often located near major bus stops. Negotiate the price if you want a ride to yourself. This will depend on the distance travelled and whether you are returning – but the price per taxi should not depend on the number of passengers in your group. If you are sharing a large-capacity taxi with others, drivers may cheat tourist-looking passengers and charge a higher price – be aware of how much the locals around you are paying; feel free to ask other passengers for the normal price before you get in or even when you are already inside.

Grand Taxis are usually a Mercedes about 10 years old, normal limousines used in Europe for up to 4 passengers plus driver. In a Grand Taxi, it is normal for up to 6 passengers to share a car. The front seat is usually given to two women (as local women are not allowed to have contact with a man, they rarely take the rear seats). Travellers often pay for 2 seats to be left unoccupied in order to travel with more space inside and thus comfort.

For shorter trips, grand taxis can also be hired for about the price of two petit taxis. This is useful if your group consists of four or more people. Beware, some taxi drivers refuse to leave until the taxi is full, which can cause delays. Alternatively, for a relatively cheap amount (depending on the driver), you can hire a Grand Taxi in Marrakech for the whole day to explore the Ourika Valley.

Taxi owners compete with each other to add extras like sunshades. A clean vehicle and a smart driver are usually a good sign of a well-maintained vehicle.

Be aware that most large taxis only operate on a single route and that they must first obtain permission from the police to travel outside their licensed route. If you plan to take a large taxi for an individual tour, it is best to book a day in advance to give the driver time to obtain this permission.

Get Around - With plane

Domestic flights are not a popular mode of transport, but Royal Air Maroc, the national airline, has an excellent but expensive network to most cities. Other airlines include Air Arabia Maroc and

Get Around - With tram

The Casablanca tramway is 30 km long, has 49 stops and is Y-shaped. Tickets cost MAD6; buy your ticket before boarding. You can choose between a rechargeable ticket, which is only valid for 10 journeys, or a rechargeable card, which is valid for 4 years.

This is the second tramway system in Morocco after theRabat-Salé tramway, but it is also the largest system in terms of the number of stations and the length of the line.

Get Around - With car

The main road network is in good condition. The roads have a good surface, although they are very narrow, in most cases only one narrow lane in each direction. Many roads in the south that are marked as tarred actually have only a central reservation, one lane wide, tarred with wide shoulders that you have to use every time you meet oncoming traffic. This is a reasonable economic solution in these areas with little traffic and long straight roads – except when you can’t see oncoming traffic because of windblown dust!

The main cities are connected by toll motorways, which are still being expanded.

  • The motorway between Casablanca and Rabat (A3) was completed in 1987.
  • In 1995, the line was extended from Rabat to Kenitra and today reaches the northern port (A1) of Tangier.
  • Another motorway (A2) leads in an easterly direction from Rabat to Fes, about 200 km further on. It is part of the planned Transmaghrébine motorway, which will lead to Tripoli.
  • South of Casablanca runs the A7. It is scheduled to reach Agadir in December 2009, but currently only goes as far as Marrakech, 210 km south of Casablanca.
  • Around Casablanca and along the coast runs the A5 motorway connecting Mohammedia and El Jadida.
  • The construction of the A2 between Fez and Oujda on the Algerian border started in 2007 and is now mostly completed, but the border is still closed.

Fuel is not so common in the countryside, so plan ahead and get a good map. The roads are varied and mixed with many cyclists, pedestrians and horse-drawn vehicles.

The road signs are in Arabic and French and the traffic law is like in much of Europe, but you have right of way. This means that traffic on a roundabout has the right of way over traffic entering the roundabout. Be very careful as many drivers only respect the signs if there is a policeman around. There are many police checkpoints on the main roads where you must slow down so they can see you. Speed limits are enforced, especially the 40 km/h in cities and at dangerous intersections where fines are imposed on the spot. As a general rule, vehicles larger than you have priority: Trucks, buses and even large taxis.

Safe driving in Morocco requires practice and patience, but can take you to some truly beautiful places.

The city center of Marrakech could be a terrifying area for driving. You will be honked at constantly, regardless of how well you drive. Marrakechis like to honk at anyone they think is holding them up. This may even mean that you are just in front of them at a red light. Also pay very close attention to your wing mirrors and your blind spot. Two-lane roads are often clear to the point where you can see four cars side by side at a red light. One of the biggest dangers on the roads in Marrakech are the mobilettes. These push bikes with motors zigzag around you and generally make a nuisance of themselves, but tend to keep to the right on longer stretches. Often a few honks are enough to get the driver to pay a little more attention to his surroundings. Be warned, however, that some drivers may not pay attention to your horn at all because they have become accustomed to the sound. Drive defensively and keep your speed low so that an accident causes as little damage as possible. Do not be intimidated by other drivers. Make sure you drive predictably and do not do anything rash.

Rent a car

There are many rental companies in the big cities. Almost all of the rental networks from around the world have an office in Morocco. There are also several local rental companies (5-7 have representations at Casablanca airport). They offer cheaper rates, but pay attention to the condition of the vehicle, spare tyres, jacks, etc. Local companies may speak less English, but if you are willing to take a higher risk, try to negotiate with them first when renting at the airport; if this fails, you still have the global competition.

Multinational companies seem to share cars easily (although prices and service levels may vary). So if the company of your choice doesn’t have what you need, they may ask for it from another company.

Check where you are allowed to drive – some rental companies do not allow driving on unpaved roads.


All Alamo and National Car Rental offices are located in Morocco.

In low season (November), expect at least 20% off the list price if you come without a reservation – at least for economy class (Peugeot 206, Renault Logan Dacia).

The deposit is in the form of a paper receipt from a credit card; Alamo will not be able to transfer your receipt to the city of your destination if it is different from your starting point.

Some economy class vehicles (e.g. Peugeot 206) are already 4 years old and have a mileage of up to 120,000 km.

Hiring a vehicle with driver/ guide

Some tour companies arrange off-road vehicle and SUV rentals with drivers and guides, and offer tailor-made itineraries that include advance reservations at hotels and inns.

Destinations in Morocco

Cities in Morocco

  • Rabat – The capital of Morocco; very relaxed and stress-free, highlights are a 12th century tower and minaret.
  • Agadir – It is best to visit Agadir because of its beaches. The town is a fine example of modern Morocco, with less emphasis on history and culture. A few cents on the local bus will take you to a couple of villages to the north, where you can enjoy some of the beaches.
  • Casablanca – This coastal city is the starting point for many of the tourists flying into the country. If you have the time, both the historic medina and the modern mosque (the third largest in the world) are worth an afternoon
  • Fes – Fes is the former capital of Morocco and home to the oldest university in the world, Qarawiyyin University.
  • Marrakech (Marrakech) – Marrakech is a perfect combination of old and new Morocco. Plan at least a few days to wander the vast maze of souks and ruins in the medina. The grand square of Djeema El Fna at dusk is not to be missed.
  • Meknes – A modern, relaxed town that offers a welcome change from the tourist hustle and bustle of neighbouring Fes.
  • Ouarzazate – Considered the capital of the south, Ouarzazate is a great example of conservation and tourism that has not destroyed the feeling of a fantastic and ancient city.
  • Tangier – The city of Tangier is a starting point of most tourists who arrive by ferry from Spain. An enigmatic fascination that has historically attracted many artists (Matisse), musicians (Hendrix), politicians (Churchill), writers (Burroughs, Twain), and others (Malcolm Forbes).
  • Tetouan – Beautiful beaches and is the gateway to the Rif Mountains.

Other destinations in Morocco

  • Chefchaouen – A mountain town inland from Tangier with whitewashed, winding streets, blue doors and olive trees. Chefchaouen is picture-postcard clean, a welcome escape from Tangier, and almost like a Greek island.
  • Essaouira – An old seaside town that has just been rediscovered by tourists. From mid-June to August the beaches are packed, but at any other time you will be the only person there. Good music and great people. Nearest coast to Marrakech
  • High Atlas – This is a frequent destination for all hikers, ski enthusiasts, as well as travelers interested in Berber culture.
  • Merzouga and M’Hamid – Ride from one of these two settlements on the edge of the Sahara into the desert by camel or off-road vehicle to spend a night (or a week) between the sand dunes and under the stars.
  • Desert oasis Tinerhir and access point to the breathtaking High Atlas Mountains

Accommodation & Hotels in Morocco

Hotels in Morocco are a matter of choice and suit every budget. Classified hotels range from 1 star (basic) to 5 stars (luxury) and are classified as aubergeriad, rural gîtes d’étape or hotel. Stays usually include breakfast, and many include dinner.

Auberges are located in the countryside or in small rural towns and are built in the traditional mud style (kasbah), many with wood-burning fireplaces and lounges or roof terraces for taking meals. Auberges are very pleasant, often small, typically family owned as well as family run.

In Marrakech, Essaouira and Fez, or anywhere there is a medina (old town), small hotels renovated from old houses are called riads. Riads are usually small (about 6 rooms or less), clean and charming, often with a beautiful walled garden where breakfast is served in a courtyard or on a roof terrace. Riads are usually too small to have a swimming pool, but may have what is called a small plunge pool to cool off in the summer months. Some of the riads are located in former trader’s houses or palaces and sometimes have large luxurious rooms and gardens.

Gîtes d’étape are simple country inns and hostel-like accommodation where mountain hikers can get a hot shower, a good meal and a roof over their heads for the night.

Desert bivouacs are traditional nomadic carpet wool tents with a mattress, sheets and blankets. Showering is available at the auberge, as well as breakfast.

Otherwise, there are the usual more modern hotels or equivalents found throughout Morocco’s major cities and larger towns. At the lower end of the budget scale, HI youth hostels (dorm beds from around MAD50) can be found in the larger cities, while the cheapest budget hotels (single rooms from around MAD65) are usually in the medina. These hotels can be very basic and often have no hot water or showers, while others charge between MAD5 and MAD10 for a hot shower. Consider public hammams instead, of which there are plenty in the medina and rural areas.

Newer, cleaner and slightly more expensive budget (single rooms from around MAD75) and mid-range hotels scattered throughout the ville nouvelles.

Many hotels, especially those in the medina, have charming roof terraces where you can sleep if it’s too hot. If you don’t need a room, you can often rent mattresses on the roof from MAD25.

For those who want to camp, almost every town has a campsite, although these can often be a little outside the centre. Many of these sites have water, electricity and cafés. In most rural villages and towns, it is common for the locals to let you camp on their grounds.

With the exception of the large high-end hotels, you should expect that the hot water supply in hotels is not as stable as in more established countries. In Marrakech, MHamid, near Ourzazate and possibly other places, the hot water temperature fluctuates dramatically while you are taking a shower.

In most places, both urban and rural, you have the option of sleeping on the roof or terrace. This will usually cost you MAD20-25 and you will be provided with mattresses and a warm blanket. Just ask the receptionist at the hotel/auberge/gite. If you want to ask in French, which works quite well, you can say ca sera possible de dormir sur la terrace, s’il vous plait? Often you can negotiate the price and if it is more than 30 dirhams, you should haggle.

Things To See in Morocco

Morocco is only a few hours away from many major European cities, and visitors will be amazed by the wonderful colors, smells, and sounds of Islamic Africa. Imagine bustling souks and spice markets, stunning mosques, whitewashed seaside towns and medieval city centres. From the snowy mountains of the High Atlas to the seemingly endless sand dunes of the Sahara Desert, no one will ever feel bored in this beautiful country.

Film-famous Casablanca is perhaps the most famous of all Moroccan cities and is home to the huge Hassan II Mosque, the second largest mosque in the world, surpassed only by the Great Mosque in Mecca. While many travelers quickly leave this bustling and modernist metropolis in pursuit of a more conventional Moroccan experience, you can still spend some truly worthwhile time admiring the impressive colonial, Hispano-Moorish, and Art Deco architecture of the city center. Marrakech, known as the “Red City” and probably the most prominent former imperial capital, will leave you with memories to cherish for a lifetime. While there, take a stroll through the lively souks, spend some time admiring the ancient city gates and walls, visit the Saadian tombs and the ruins of El Badi Palace, or spend some of your time visiting the Koutoubia Mosque featuring a 12th century minaret.

When evening falls, however, be sure to return to the Jamaa el-Fnaa, Africa’s largest square, as it fills with steaming food stalls. Take in the hustle and bustle there, listen to Arab storytellers, watch magicians and chleuh dancers. Fes, once the capital of Morocco, is another magnificent imperial city. Get lost in the beautiful maze of narrow medieval streets, enjoy the huge medina, see the beautiful city gates, the old university of Al-Karaouine and the Bou Inania Madrasa. Also be sure to visit a traditional leather tannery. The city of Meknes is often called the “Versailles of Morocco” because of its beauty. Its beautiful Spanish-Moorish style centre is surrounded by high city walls with impressive gates, and you will still be able to see the mixture of European and Islamic culture from the 17th century.

For a more relaxed experience of life in the medina, catch the sea breeze in the coastal towns of Asilah or beautiful Essaouira. The blue-washed town of Chefchaouen is an old traveller favourite and a great base to explore the Rif Mountains. More stunning mountain scenery can be found in the Atlas Mountains. Climb Jebel Toubkal in the High Atlas, the highest peak in North Africa, past pretty mud-brick villages and explore the beautiful Ourika and Amizmiz valleys along the way. The stunning panoramic views from the summit are worth every effort to get there. Other praised hiking routes take you through the beautiful Ameln Valley in the Anti-Atlas and the forests of the Middle Atlas.

Hop on a camel and take a trip through the golden sand dunes of the Sahara at Erg Chebbi near Merzouga. Spend the night in a desert tent, under the incredible starry sky. A little less easy to reach, but also less crowded, are the dunes of Erg Chigaga near M’hamid. On your way into the desert, don’t miss the breathtaking Todra Gorge near Tinghir. The old fortified town of Aït-Benhaddou is another must-see attraction. Although rainstorms keep damaging the mud-brick kasbahs, this mostly abandoned village remains an impressive sight and has served as a backdrop for a number of films, including Lawrence of Arabia and Gladiator.

Things To Do in Morocco

Marrakech is a good starting point for exploring the High Atlas Mountains or organising one to four-day Sahara treks.


There are two types of hammam (steam baths) throughout Morocco.

The first one is a sightseeing hammam, where visitors can be pampered and rubbed out by experienced staff. As these are only advertised to tourists, they are the more expensive option with prices around 150 MAD for a hammam. Technically, they can’t be called proper hammams, but they are still enjoyable, especially for the shy. Your hotel can recommend a good one.

As for the second option, you can go to a “popular” hammam. A Popular Hammam is where locals usually go. You should check with the hotel staff to see where it is located.

In the popular hammams, you do everything yourself. To get the most out of the popular hammam, you will need to bring scrub mittens ( which you can get cheaply in the souk), a towel, and some extra underwear ( or you will end up soaking wet and you will have to bring it back with you). Popular hammams are often only recognisable by tiles on the door and entrance. If you don’t speak French or Arabic, it could be a daunting but at least a very memorable experience. Men and women either have separate session times or separate hammams.

Nudity in a popular hammam is strictly forbidden for men, so be prepared to wear your underwear or a swimming costume. For women, you will see some wearing underwear and some going naked.

While you are in a popular hammam, you may be offered help and a massage by another person. It is important to remember that this massage is nothing more than a massage, with no other intentions. Sexual contact or the suggestion of sexual contact does not take place in these places. If you accept a massage, be prepared to reciprocate.

Normal entrance fees for a popular hammam are MAD7-15, a scrub costs around MAD30 and a massage another MAD30.

Food & Drinks in Morocco

Food in Morocco

Moroccan cuisine is often described as one of the best in the world, with countless dishes and variations that proudly bear the country’s colonial and Arab influences. Unfortunately, being a tourist in Morocco, particularly if you are on a budget, you are often restricted to a small selection of dishes which seem to be dominant on the menus of every café and restaurant in the country. Most restaurants serve dishes that are foreign to Morocco, considering that Moroccans can eat their local dishes at home. With the exception of large cities, Moroccans do not generally eat in restaurants, so international cuisine choices such as French, Italian, and Chinese are common.

Traditional cuisine

  • Couscousmade from semolina grains and steamed in a sieve-like dish called a couscoussière, is the staple food of most Moroccans and probably the best-known Moroccan dish. It can be served as a side dish with a stew or tajine, or mixed with meat and vegetables and presented as a main course. Almost all Moroccan restaurants keep up the tradition of serving couscous on Fridays.
  • Tagine (or tajine), a spicy stew of meat and vegetables simmered for many hours in a conical clay pot (from which the dish derives its name). Restaurants offer dozens of variations (starting at MAD25 in a budget restaurant), including chicken tajine with lemon and olives, honey-sweetened lamb or beef, fish or prawn tajine in a spicy tomato sauce. There are many variations of this dish.
  • A popular Moroccan dish among Berbers is Kaliya, a mixture of lamb, tomatoes, peppers, and onions, which is served together with couscous and bread.
  • A popular delicacy in Morocco is the pastilla, where thin pieces of flaky pastry are layered between sweet, spiced meat filling (often lamb or chicken, but preferably pigeon) and layers of almond paste. The pastry is wrapped in a plate-sized pastry, which is baked and dusted with icing sugar and cinnamon. The preparation is very time-consuming, so pastilla should be ordered a day in advance. Restaurants that serve pastilla to order can only serve the industrial version, which comes from a freezer (but they will still charge you the price of a handmade one).
  • Many convenient eating places offer stews such as loubia (white beans), adassa (lentils) and ker ain (sheep’s foot with chickpeas).
  • Fish from the southern beaches are typically quite fresh ( they were caught during the very same day) and also cheap!. A mixed fish platter can be had for about MAD25 at stalls in fishing village markets, while a huge platter of grilled sardines costs about MAD15 to MAD20. If you buy fresh fish at the fish market, a kilogram of fish costs between MAD5 and MAD20 (the latter for a small type of tuna). Most restaurants in the fishing villages have a grill in front of them and will grill any fish you bring them for MAD30 (including fries, salad and of course bread). Fish can be gutted on request at the market. A small tip of MAD1 to MAD2 is appropriate for gutting.
  • Sfenj: These deep-fried donuts made from unsweetened yeast dough, dusted with sugar, are a popular and very filling snack that can be had all over the country for MAD1 each. They want to be eaten very fresh. Look out for stalls with a huge bowl of hot oil.

Many cafés and restaurants also offer cheap petit déjeun breakfasts, which essentially include a tea or coffee, orange juice (jus d’orange) and a croissant or bread with jam from MAD10.

  • A Moroccan meal often starts with a hot dish of harira ( in French, soup marocene), a tasty soup made up of lentils, chickpeas, mutton, tomatoes, and vegetables. Surprisingly, among Moroccans, harira has more of a role as a nutritious meal for “bluebloods” than as a high-flying cuisine.
  • Soups are also a traditional breakfast in Morocco. Bissara, a thick porridge of split peas and a generous drizzle of olive oil, can be seen bubbling in the morning near markets and in medinas.

Snacks and fast food

Snackers and budget-conscious people get their money’s worth in Morocco. Rotisserie chicken shops abound, where you can get a quarter of chicken with fries and salad for about MAD20. Sandwiches (from MAD10) served in chicken fryers or small shops are also popular. These fresh, crispy baguettes are topped with a variety of fillings such as tuna, chicken, skewers and different salads. The whole thing is rounded off with the obligatory chips stuffed into the sandwich and a blob of mayonnaise squirted on top.

You may also see traders and vendors selling a variety of nuts as well as steamed broad beans and grilled corn on the cob.

Drinks in Morocco

While the country is predominantly Muslim, Morocco is not dry.

Alcohol is available in restaurants, liquor shops, bars, supermarkets, clubs, hotels and discos. Some Moroccans enjoy a drink, although it is frowned upon in public places. The local brew of choice bears the highly original name Casablanca Beer. It is a full-bodied lager that can be enjoyed with local cuisine or as a refreshment. Other typical Moroccan beers include Flag Special and Stork. There is also the local Judeo Berber vodka, which tastes mildly of aniseed and is brewed from figs. Morocco is also producing a wide variety of wines – several with remarkable quality. A bottle in supermarkets starts at MAD35 and goes up to MAD1000; a good quality wine can be had for as little as MAD50.

Driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal, even if you have only had one beer.

As a rule, you should not drink tap water at all in Morocco, not even in hotels, as it contains much more minerals than the water in Europe. For locals this is not a problem as their bodies are used to it and can cope with it, but for travellers from countries like Europe, drinking the tap water usually leads to an illness. Generally this is not serious, an upset stomach is the only symptom, but it is enough to spoil a day or two of your holiday.

Bottled water is widely available. The most popular brands of water are Oulmes ( which is carbonated) and Sidi Ali, Sidi Harazem and Ain Sais Danon. Nothing with a high mineralisation is produced (so far?).

Every traveller is offered mint tea at least once a day. The Moroccan people, even the economically the most humble, are supplied with a teapot and a number of glasses. Although the offer is sometimes more of a lure into a deal than a hospitable gesture, it is polite to accept. Before you drink, look the host in the eye and say “ba saha ou raha”. This means “enjoy and relax” and any local will be impressed by your language skills.

Note that a woman travelling alone may feel more comfortable having a drink or snack in a patisserie or restaurant, as cafés are traditionally for men. However, this does not apply to couples.

Money & Shopping in Morocco

Money in Morocco

The Moroccan dirham is used as the local currency, and its ISO 4217 symbol is MAD ( also sometimes abbreviated as Dh, Dhs, DH, or درهم, or دراهم, the plural of Dhm). It is split up into 100 cents (c).

There are coins in denominations of 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, 1, 2, 5, as well as 10 dirhams, but those smaller than 20c are rarely seen these days. Banknotes are in denominations of 20, 50, 100, and 200 MAD.

While the dirham is the only currency officially accepted in Morocco, some hotels also unofficially accept your euros and US dollars.

Important note: Dirhams are generally not allowed to be exported or imported. At the time of writing, a tolerance of MAD 1000 applies to tourists; see the Moroccan Customs website for more information.

Money exchange: It is illegal to take more than 1,000 MAD of local currency out of the country, so you cannot buy dirhams outside Morocco. By law, exchange rates should be the same at all banks and official exchange offices. Make a note of the exact rates before you leave to make sure you get a fair deal.

In larger cities, there are often ATMs near the main gates, but you won’t find many banks in the souks and medinas. You may also meet “helpful” people who will exchange US dollars or euros for dirhams. Unofficial money exchange on the streets outside the souqs or medinas does not seem to exist.

Besides banks and special exchange offices, the large post offices also offer exchange and work until late in the evening. There are several exchange offices at Casablanca airport. Make sure you keep all receipts, as this will make it much easier to exchange leftover dirhams into your own currency before you leave – official exchange offices will not exchange money without a receipt, even if you originally withdrew the money from an ATM.

ATMs can be found near tourist hotels and in the modern shopping districts of the Ville Nouvelle. Make sure the ATM accepts foreign cards (look for Maestro, Cirrus or Plus logos) before inserting your card. Also note that they are not replenished at weekends in smaller towns, so get enough cash for the weekend on Friday or Saturday morning.

Try to have as much small change as possible and hide larger notes separately.

What to buy in Morocco?

In addition to the classic tourist souvenirs such as postcards and trinkets, there are some things from this region that are hard to find or even unique elsewhere:

  • Leather goods: Morocco has a really big production of leather goods. The markets are full of mediocre models and designer shops are hard to find.
  • Argan oil and products made from it, such as soap and cosmetics.
  • Tagines: Classic Moroccan clay cooked dishes enhance the oil/water based dishes you prepare when you want to bring Morocco into your home kitchen.
  • Birad: Classic Moroccan teapots.
  • Djellabah: Classic Moroccan designer bathrobe with hood. Often in intricate designs and some are suitable for warm weather, while other heavier models are for the cold.
  • Rugs: Genuine handmade Berber rugs can be bought directly from the artisans who weave them. If you travel to smaller settlements like Anzal in the Province of Ouarzazate, you will be able to visit the weavers, and see them at work, they will offer you tea and show you their products.

If you are looking for T-shirts, consider designer pieces from Kawibi – they look much more inspiring than boring traditional motif sets. They are available in duty-free shops, at the Atlas Airport Hotel near Casablanca and other places.

What you should not buy in Morocco

  • Geodes: Pink and purple coloured quartz are common, along with fake galena geodes, often called “cobalt geodes”.
  • Trilobite fossils: If you are not an expert, you will most likely buy a fake.

Haggling in Morocco

Remember that haggling is expected in the souks. It’s not really possible to give an exact indication of what price to start haggling at, but a general idea would be to aim for around 50% off. Prices are set daily or even hourly, depending on how much has been sold on a given day (or in a given period of time), and at the same time reflect the seller’s personal assessment of the potential customer. Souks often reflect the basic economic principles of supply and demand, especially on the demand side. If a particular trader has sold a lot of goods, he may raise the price and refuse to sell any more goods for the rest of the day (or days), if the price is not substantially a lot higher than normal. When there are many tourists around, prices go up and it becomes very difficult to bargain even small amounts off the asking price. In addition, the seller will usually inspect the client, whose clothes and possessions (especially if the potential client owns an expensive Swiss watch, camera, etc.) are usually the main indicator of how high the price can be set above the usual. But the attitude of the potential client is also taken into account.

Taking all these and other factors into account (such as time of day, day of the week, season, etc.), The initial price can be up to 50 times higher than the regular price, particularly for high value items like carpets. Nevertheless, carpet is a quite special item which requires you to have at least a general knowledge of their production process and their quality. If possible, the ability to distinguish between handmade and machine-made carpets, hand dyeing and the like is helpful to avoid being completely ripped off.

Haggling is a pleasant experience for most salespeople and they prefer customers who do not seem rushed and are willing to take the time to negotiate. Most of the time it is actually necessary to give reasons why you think the price should be lower. The reasons you can give are only limited by your imagination and often lead to very entertaining discussions. Common reasons can be: the price of the item elsewhere, the item is not exactly what you are looking for, the fact that you have already bought other items from the stall/shop, that you have built up a relationship with the seller after discussing football and so on. On the other hand, if after some time there is little movement in the price, the best advice is to leave. This often has the result of getting the bidding going again, and if not, it is likely that the dealer is actually unwilling to go further below a given price, however absurd.

It is also important to show a genuine interest in the workmanship of the product for sale, no matter how disinterested you actually are in what you are buying. However, this does not mean that you should appear overly enthusiastic, as this will encourage the seller to maintain their price. Rather, it is important to show a critical appreciation for each item/object. Any defects are either unacceptable or another opportunity to bargain down the price.

You should make sure that you never start bidding for unwanted items or give the seller a price that you are not willing or able to pay (with cash on hand). Try to avoid paying by credit card at all costs. If you do pay by credit card, never let it out of your sight and ask for as many receipts as possible. There is usually a credit card swipe and an official shop receipt.

Never tell a salesperson where you are and never tell him or her how much you have paid for other purchases. Just say that you got a good price and that you want a good price from him or her too. And above all: never be afraid to say “no”.

It must also be said that, as with buyers, not all sellers are actually very good at what they do. A seller who is completely uninterested or even aggressive is unlikely to offer a good price. Continue.

Not least if you spend your entire holiday in one place, especially in smaller, touristy towns: Vendors deal with tourists all the time. Most tourists buy souvenirs just before flying home, most tourists try the “walk out” trick as part of their bargaining strategy. It is not uncommon for tourists to haggle over a carpet on a Friday, walk out and when they come back the next day expecting a lower offer, the price actually goes up. The seller knows that you are likely to catch a flight the same day and that your second visit is actually your last chance to buy the carpet….

Festivals & Events in Morocco

The biggest event in the Moroccan calendar is the month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast during the day and break their fast at sunset. Most restaurants are closed at lunchtime (with the exception of those catering specifically to tourists), and things generally slow down. Travelling during this time is perfectly possible, and the restrictions do not apply to non-Muslims, but it is respectful not to eat, drink or smoke in public during the fast.

At the end of the month is the Eid al-Fitr holiday, when virtually everything is closed for up to a week and transport is crowded as everyone heads home. Alcohol consumption is not forbidden for tourists during Ramadan; there are some restaurants and bars that serve alcohol. Alcohol can also be bought in a supermarket, but only if a tourist shows his passport to the staff, as Moroccans are not allowed to buy or consume alcohol during the holy month.

Public holidays

Date English name Local name Description
Muharram 1 Muslim New Year Fatih Muharram
Rabi’ al-awwal 12 Birth of the Prophet Muhammad Eid Al Mawled
Shavwal 1 Eid ul-Fitr Eid Sghir
Dhu al-Hijjah 10 Eid ul-Adha Eid Kbir
1 January New Year’s Day Ras l’ âm
January 11 Proclamation of independence Takdim watikat al-istiqlal
1 May Labour Day Eid Ash-Shughl
30 July Enthronement Eid Al-Ârch
August 14 Oued Ed-Dahab Day Zikra Oued Ed-Dahab
August 20 Revolution of the King and the People Thawrat al malik wa shâab
August 21 Youth Day Eid Al Chabab Birthday of King Mohammed VI.
November 6 Green March Eid Al Massira Al Khadra
November 18 Independence Day Eid Al Istiqulal Morocco’s National Day
December 25 Christmas Day Eid Almalid

Traditions & Customs in Morocco

  • Greetings among close friends and family (but rarely between men and women!) usually take the form of three kisses on the cheek. In other circumstances, shaking hands is the norm. Touching your heart with your right hand after shaking hands signifies respect and sincerity. When approaching someone or entering a shop, café or restaurant, a “Salaam Alaykum” (~”Peace be upon you”) is expected; when greeted in this way, the traditional response is “Wa Alaykum Salaam” (~”and also peace be upon you”). In both greetings, the right hand is also brought to the heart.
  • The left hand is considered “unclean” since it was traditionally reserved for toilet hygiene in the Islamic religion and in the culture of the Amazigh nomads. As in many cultures, it could be considered impolite to shake someone’s hand or offer or accept something with your left hand, even more so to give money with your left hand, so try to avoid this. While left-handed people occasionally get an exclamation and native children in traditional societies are urged by parents to use their right hand, most people will understand if you go about your business with your left hand.
  • Older people Moroccans still have the tradition of respecting their elders and sick people highly. If someone who is disabled or older than you is passing, stop and give them room. Or if a taxi comes and you are waiting with an elder, then you should give way to the older person. Tourists do not have to abide by these expectations, but it improves the reputation of tourists in Morocco if they follow the same traditions.
  • Drugs: Smoking kif or hashish is part of Moroccan culture and is widely tolerated (although officially illegal). Even the police do not care about small amounts that are clearly for personal use only. But getting stoned early in the day is frowned upon, and you don’t smoke on crowded beaches or in cafés or restaurants without the owner’s permission – it’s OK, even expected, to ask permission. Opium is also a well-established drug, but solely intended for medicinal purposes. Alcohol consumption in public is absolutely not allowed.

Ramadan: The holy month is observed by almost all Moroccans. As a tourist, you are not obliged to observe it, but refraining from eating, drinking, smoking, chewing gum or sucking sweets in public will bring you many friends. In tourist places, restaurants and cafés are open all day and serve drinks or food, but you should sit inside, out of sight of the public, if possible.

Culture in Morocco

An ethnically diverse country, Morocco is rich in culture and civilisation. Many people throughout Morocco’s history have come from the East (Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Jews, Arabs), the South (Sub-Saharan Africans) and the North (Romans, Andalusians). All these civilisations have influenced the social structure of Morocco. It hosts various forms of faith, from paganism, Judaism and Christianity to Islam.

Since independence, there has been a real flowering in painting and sculpture, folk music, amateur theatre and film-making. The Moroccan National Theatre (founded in 1956) regularly stages productions of Moroccan and French plays. Art and music festivals are held throughout the country in the summer months, including the World Sacred Music Festival in Fez.

Each region has its own particularities, contributing to the national culture and heritage of civilisation. Morocco has made the protection of its diverse heritage and the preservation of its cultural heritage one of its top priorities.

In terms of culture, Morocco has always been a combination of Berber, Jewish and Arab cultural heritage and influences from outside, such as French, Spanish and, most recently, Anglo-American lifestyles.

Women are often sexually harassed when walking through the streets. One woman walking through the streets of Casablanca, filmed by the Moroccan Times, was harassed about 300 times.

Architecture in Morocco

Influences from the indigenous Berbers, many foreign invaders, as well as religious and cultural influences, have shaped Moroccan architectural styles. The architecture ranges from the ornate, with bold colours, to the simple, clean lines of earth tones.

Influences from the Arab world, Spain, Portugal and France can be seen in Moroccan architecture, both on their own and mixed with Berber and Islamic styles. Among the buildings and old kasbah walls are French-style buildings left behind by colonisation, intersecting with elaborate mosques and riad-style houses. In cities like Rabat and Casablanca, sleek modern designs are built that pay no particular homage to any of Morocco’s past architectural styles.

Literature in Morocco

The literature of Morocco has been written in Arabic, Berber and French. Under the Almohad dynasty, Morocco experienced a period of prosperity and brilliance of scholarship. The Almohads built the Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech, which housed no less than 25,000 people, but was also famous for its books, manuscripts, libraries and bookshops, which gave it its name; the first book bazaar in history. Almohad Caliph Abu Yaqub had an enormous passion in collecting books. He founded a large library which was eventually carried into the Kasbah and turned into a public library.

Modern Moroccan literature began in the 1930s. Two main factors gave Morocco the impetus to witness the birth of a modern literature. As a protectorate of France and Spain, Morocco gave Moroccan intellectuals the opportunity to interact, to produce literary works freely and to enjoy contact with other Arab literatures and with Europe. Three generations of writers had a particular impact on Moroccan literature in the 20th century. The first generation, of which Mohammed Ben Brahim (1897-1955) was the most important representative, lived and wrote during the Protectorate (1912-56).

It was the second generation of writers who played an important role in the transition to independence, including Abdelkrim Ghajarab (1919-2006), Alal al-Fassi (1910-1974) and Mohammed al-Mokhtar Susi (1900-1963). The third generation is that of the writers of the sixties. The literature of Morocco has thrived with a number of writers, including Mohammed Shoukry, Doris Chaibi, Mohammed Zafzaf, and Doris El Khouri.

Music in Morocco

Moroccan music has Amazigh, Arab and sub-Saharan origins. Rock-influenced chaabi bands are common, as is trance music with historical origins in Muslim music.

Morocco is the home of Andalusian classical music, which can be found throughout North Africa. It probably developed under the Moors in Cordoba, and the Persian-born musician Ziryab is usually credited with its invention. A genre known as contemporary Andalusian music and art is the brainchild of Moroccan visual artist/composer/speaker Tarik Banzi, founder of the Al-Andalus Ensemble.

Chaabi (“folk”) is a music that consists of numerous variants derived from the diverse forms of Moroccan folk music. Chaabi was originally played at markets, but can now be found at any celebration or gathering.

Aita is a Bedouin style of music sung in the countryside.

Popular western music forms are becoming increasingly popular in Morocco, such as fusion, rock, country, metal and especially hip-hop.

Morocco took part in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1980, where it finished second to last.

Cinema in Morocco

Cinema in Morocco has a long history dating back over a century to the filming of Le chevrier Marocain (“The Moroccan Goatherd”) by Louis Lumière in 1897. Between that time and 1944, many foreign films were shot in the country, especially in the Ouarzazate area.

In 1944, the Moroccan Cinematographic Centre (CCM), the national film regulator, was founded. Studios were also opened in Rabat.

In 1952, Othello by Orson Welles won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival under the Moroccan flag. However, the musicians at the festival did not play the Moroccan national anthem because no one present knew what it was.

Six years later, Mohammed Ousfour was to direct the first Moroccan film, Le fils maudit (“The Damned Son”).

In 1968, the first Mediterranean Film Festival was held in Tangier. In its current form, the event takes place in Tetouan.

This was followed by the first national cinema festival in 1982, which took place in Rabat.

In 2001, the first Marrakech International Film Festival (FIFM) was also held in Marrakech.

Cuisine in Morocco

Moroccan cuisine has long been considered one of the most varied cuisines in the world. This is a result of Morocco’s centuries of interaction with the outside world. The cuisine of Morocco is essentially Berber-Moorish, European and Mediterranean. The cuisine of Morocco is essentially a Berber cuisine (sometimes called Moorish cuisine). It is also influenced by Sephardic cuisine and by the Moriscos when they found refuge in Morocco after the Spanish Reconquista.

Spices are used extensively in Moroccan cuisine. While spices have been imported into Morocco for thousands of years, many ingredients such as saffron from Tiliouine, mint and olives from Meknes and oranges and lemons from Fez are local products. Chicken is the most commonly eaten meat in Morocco. The most commonly eaten red meat in Morocco is beef; lamb is preferred but is relatively expensive. The main Moroccan dish with which most people are familiar is couscous, the ancient national delicacy.

Beef is the most commonly eaten red meat in Morocco, usually eaten in a tagine with vegetables or pulses. Chicken is also very common in tagines, as one of the most famous tagines is the tagine with chicken, potatoes and olives. Lamb is also eaten, but because North African breeds of sheep store most of the fat in their tails, Moroccan lamb does not have the pungent taste that Western lamb and mutton have. Poultry is also very common, and the use of seafood is increasing in Moroccan cuisine. In addition, there are dried cured meats and salted preserved meats such as kliia/khlia and “g’did”, which are used to flavour tagines or in “el ghraif”, a folded savoury Moroccan pancake.

The best-known Moroccan dishes include couscous, pastilla (also spelled bsteeya or bestilla), tajine, tanjia and harira. Although the latter is a soup, it is considered a dish in its own right and is served as such or with dates, especially during the month of Ramadan. Eating pork is forbidden according to Sharia, the religious laws of Islam.

A large part of the daily meal is bread. Bread in Morocco is mainly made from durum wheat semolina known as khobz. Bakeries are very common throughout Morocco and fresh bread is a staple in every town and village. The most common is wholemeal bread made from coarse or white flour. There is also a range of flat breads and pulled, unleavened pan breads.

The most popular drink is “atai”, green tea with mint leaves and other ingredients. Tea occupies a very important place in Moroccan culture and is considered an art form. It is not only served with meals, but throughout the day, and it is above all a drink of hospitality, served whenever guests are present. It is served to guests and it is rude to refuse it.

Stay Safe & Healthy in Morocco

Stay safe in Morocco

Overall, Morocco remains a relatively safe country; however, homosexuality is criminalised and punishable by up to 3 years in prison in both Morocco and Western Sahara. Gay and lesbian tourists should be confident and cautious. In 2014, 70-year-old British traveller Ray Cole was prosecuted and imprisoned for 4 months after police searched his mobile phone and found incriminating photos. He ended up sleeping on the floor of an overcrowded Moroccan prison filled with hardened criminals, despite interventions on his behalf by the British Foreign Office and a British MP.

Just like any other country, Morocco has its own problems. Many of them can easily be avoided with common sense. Avoid dark alleys. Travel in groups whenever possible. Keep money and passports in a secure wallet or hotel safe. Carry your backpacks and wallets with you at all times. Make sure that nothing important is in the outside or back pockets. There is some intolerance towards the public practice of non-Arab and non-Sunni religions.

Women, in particular, are harassed almost constantly when they are alone, but this is usually only (disturbing) whistling. Don’t feel obliged to be polite – no Moroccan woman would put up with such behaviour. A pair of sunglasses should be enough to avoid eye contact. If someone won’t leave you alone, look for families, a busy shop or a woman in the neighbourhood and don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you wish, you can wear a hijab (scarf), but it is not necessary.

Morocco can be a liberal country and many Moroccan women do not wear a headscarf. However, women should always dress conservatively (no high necklines, no shorts) out of respect for the local culture. In the cities, women can wear more revealing clothes, but as a general rule, they should follow the local women. Residents will also assume that Moroccan women who venture out on their own into the nightclubs or bars of the new city are prostitutes looking for customers. Foreign women who enter such establishments are not considered as such, but are considered accessible.

Be careful if you are drugged, especially if you are travelling alone. GHB, a widely available and easy to produce drug, lasts only 3 hours and is undetectable in the body after 7 hours. So if you are assaulted, act immediately.

Traffickers can be a big problem for travellers in Morocco and especially in Tangiers. It is often difficult to walk down the street without being approached by someone who offers to show you the way or sell you something. It is best to refuse politely and keep walking, as they are only looking for money. There are reputable tourist guides, but your guide will receive a commission for anything you buy while he or she is with you, so don’t be forced to buy something you don’t want.

It is strictly forbidden to drive under the influence of alcohol, even if you have only had one beer.

In some places, scammers will do their best to intimidate you. They may be very sticky and insist that you give them money or offer their “services”. Don’t be intimidated; a firm “no” is usually enough. Some of them may become cheeky and abusive, but before you get there, go to a shop or a crowd. Most Moroccans will turn the person away immediately if they see you being harassed.

Armed fighting in disputed areas of Western Sahara is less frequent now, but clashes between government troops and the Polisario Front still occur. Don’t stray too far off the beaten track either, as this region is also heavily mined.

Stay healthy in Morocco

General Concerns

  • Vaccinations : Under normal circumstances, no special vaccinations are required for Morocco, but check the travel websites of the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for current disease outbreaks. As with most trips, it is advisable to be vaccinated against tetanus. Consider vaccinations against hepatitis A and B.
  • Food and drink: Stay away from any uncooked fruits and vegetables that cannot be peeled. Avoid any food that is not prepared at the time of ordering (e.g. buffets, etc.). In general, fried and cooked foods are safe. Some travellers have also had problems with unrefrigerated condiments (for example, mayonnaise) used in fast food restaurants.
  • Water: It is advisable to drink bottled water (make sure the cap is tightly sealed – some people may try to sell you tap water in recycled bottles). Watch out for ice cubes or drinks made with tap water. Some hotels provide bottled water free of charge to their guests and it is advisable to keep a supply in your room so you are not tempted to drink tap water.
  • Shoes: Keep your sandals/fabrics etc. for the beach. Moroccan streets also serve as rubbish dumps and you may not want to wade through fish heads and chicken pieces with your shoes open.
  • Malaria: it is prevalent in the northern coastal regions of the country, but is not a major problem. Take the usual precautions to avoid bites (light-coloured clothing, insect repellent, etc.) and if you are really worried, ask your doctor for anti-malarial medication before you leave.

Medical assistance

Pharmacies are marked with a green cross, usually in neon colour. They sell medicines, contraceptives and often beauty products and the like.

Medical treatment can be obtained from independent doctors, clinics and hospitals. Most general practitioners, specialists and dentists are self-employed; look for signs indicating “Doctor”. An average medical examination in a city costs between 150 and 300 dirhams. In general, the quality of their work is decent, but you can try to ask for advice and recommendations from some people in the city.

There are few English-speaking doctors, although French is widely spoken.

Medical care can be difficult or even impossible to find in rural areas.

Public hospitals are cheap and work well for minor injuries and problems, but they tend to be very busy, and for serious problems a private clinic is usually preferable. Treatment in private clinics will be quite expensive, and travellers will have to pay for any treatment in advance.



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