The Kingdom of Morocco is located in North Africa bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. It is an ethnically diverse country with a large Muslim majority of mainly Arab and Berber descent.
Flying to Morocco is relatively easy with many major and budget airlines flying routes to Casablanca and Marrakech.
We flew to Casablanca from Amsterdam with Transavia air, we found the flight on Skyscanner.
There are regular ferry services from the south of Spain and Gibraltar, it does pay to check when services are available in the off peak season as a services may be limited.
If you are using a ferry to travel from Tangier to Spain, note that there are 2 ferry ports
- Tangierville is located in the city and has limited services to Tarifa
- Tangier Med is located about 30km outside the city and has services to multiple locations in Spain and Gibraltar.
We sailed with FRS Ferries and would recommend purchasing your tickets on line prior to the sailing date, especially in the peak season as it can be very busy.
It is a short sail < 1 hour and it is possible to do day trips from Spain at Algeciras or Tarifa.
The Moroccan Dirham is a closed currency, meaning that you can only exchange it within the country. The official code is MAD but it is referred to as Dhs on price tags.
XE.com can be trusted to give up to date information on conversion rates. As always check with a reliable source before travelling.
The currency exchange in the airport is recommended as a reliable place to exchange your currency. It is not advisable to exchange currency at street stalls in the city.
XE recommends that Euro is the best currency to exchange. Some currencies will be difficult to exchange for example the Australian Dollar could not be exchanged for MAD when we travelled.
Some restaurants accepted credit cards but very few local businesses or public transport accept foreign debit or credit cards, it is best to have cash.
ATMs are easy to find in the larger cities.
All visitors to Morocco require a valid passport, but visitors from the following countries are exempted from having a visa for 90 days unless otherwise stated:
Schengen member states, Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Chile, Cote d’Ivoire, Croatia, Republic of Congo, Guinea, Hong Kong (30 days), Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Libya, Mali, Mexico, New Zealand, Niger, Oman, Peru, Phillipines, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore (30 days), South Korea, Tunisia, Turkey, UAE, UK, US, Venezuela
All other passport holders need to complete a Visa application form
ImmigrationWorld.com outline the step by step process required to obtain a tourist visa if required.
The official languages of Morocco are Arabic and Berber however due to the French colonial era many people speak some French, English is becoming more widely spread especially in the larger tourist cities.
We would advise downloading the Google Translate App to your smart phone with Arabic and French prior to travel. The App allows you to download languages for offline use and is available on both Apple and Android phones.
Knowing a few basic phrases in French may also help e.g. how much? (Combien?) and No thank you (Non, Merci)
The train system is limited to the major towns but there are good quality buses to other destinations. Both the trains and the buses were modern, comfortable and air conditioned.
The ONCF train website has timetable and ticketing information. We were unable to buy tickets online or to use a bank or credit card to purchase tickets at the station in Marrakech. We purchased tickets the day before travel and had to do so with cash.
The CTM buses website has timetable information and appears that you can book your tickets on line however this is difficult without a Moroccan bank or credit card. We found it easier to purchase tickets at the station the day before we travelled. Buses to popular destinations such as Chefchaouen can be booked out. It is worth knowing exactly which bus trip you want to take and the price before you reach the station in Marrakech as you may be sold a tour rather than just the bus ticket, this happened to us on our trip to Ouarzazate.
Tours to the desert, mountains and other regions are best organised through your accomodation.
Petit taxis operate within the city limits of most of the tourist areas, ask your accomodation for the limit that they are able to charge e.g Marrakech 70 Dhs, Chefchaouen 20Dhs.
We did not drive whilst in Morocco but the road network is extensive and appears to be in good condition. Mowgli Adventures provide good information on road laws and what to expect if you choose to drive in Morocco.
Where to stay
There is accomodation available no matter what your budget is in Morocco.
AirBnB has numerous Riad’s and apartments available in the tourist cities like Marrakech, Fez and Chefchaouen.
We found both Riad Maizie and Dar Scotlandee on AirBnB, if you click on the link it will take you to the site.
In Fez we opted for some luxury and stayed in a very nice hotel, well located overlooking the medina and close to public transport,
Customs and Traditions
Whilst Morocco is a Muslim majority country it has a more relaxed dress code than some other countries however it is still best to dress modestly if you are visiting religious sites and in general very short skirts and crop tops will attract attention that women may not want.
For men it is acceptable to wear shorts and t-shirt style tops.
For women it is recommended that skirts or shorts are closer to knee length or longer. It is actually more comfortable in the heat and sun of Morocco to have sarongs, long flowing skirts or boho style pants.
If you are visiting religious sites a head scarf may be required and it is recommended to have one with you, they also make a good cover from the sun during the hotter hours.
Ramadan is the Islamic holy month of fasting, it changes each year in line with the cycle of the moon. It is best to check if Ramadan is going to occur during your trip as it may mean some restrictions. Whilst tourists are not expected to fast you may find that some restaurants are closed during the day especially in smaller towns. Although this will be unlikely in the larger tourist cities e.g. Marrakech, Fez, Casablanca.
It is however best to be respectful and not eat, smoke or drink in the street during the day, once the evening arrives though the food will be plentiful and delicious.
You may find it difficult to purchase alcohol during Ramadan.
Food and Drink
The water in Morocco is generally clean but can upset the digestive tracts of some people due to it’s high mineral levels. It is best to drink bottled water where possible but is fine for brushing your teeth etc.
A word of caution in some rural areas (e.g. Achkour Gorge and waterfalls) the water supply may not be as clean and it is not advisable not to drink water or tea in these areas. (We got a good dose of Clostridium Difficile, diarrhoea drinking mint tea here)
Food is generally of good quality and quite cheap if you avoid tourist areas like the nightly market in Marrakech. Always check the price for the meal before you sit down or you may find yourself paying 300 Dhs for a 60 Dhs meal. You can read about how we did this in our blog.
You may have read that purchasing alcohol is easy in Morocco, we certainly had before our trip this is not quite true. If you know where to go or are staying in a Western style hotel it may be easier. If you are staying in a Riad or local home it is best to check if alcohol may be consumed on the premises.
We purchased alcohol in the following cities, the blog will give you information on where you can go to buy a nice cold wine or beer:
If you like to drink wine, it is worth noting that the Moroccan Gris is very quaffable and after a long day site seeing in the heat is very refreshing. It is a French style Rose wine, quite dry.
Tips for dealing with unofficial guides, touts
Morocco is notorious for it’s tourist scams and unofficial guides and touts in the souks. We thought we were prepared and had done a lot of reading before we arrived and yet we still got caught out, this was especially true in the Marrakech and Fez medinas.
The tips we were given by those living and working in Morocco seemed best
- Do not make eye contact with unofficial guides, touts trying to sell you something
- ALWAYS check the price before agreeing to a tour, meal or taxi ride
- In most cities the petit taxis have an upper limit they can charge e.g. 70 Dhs in Marrakech and can only operate in the city limits
- Offical tour guides are registered with the government and will have identification visible
- Do not be afraid to seek help from the police if continually pestered
- Keep walking they will not follow you far
- Do be firm but polite when declining services
Nomadic Matt has good advice for Staying Sane and Safe in Morocco.
As always it is best to check your governments travel advice website before travelling, most countries currently (2017) indicate that you should exercise a high degree of caution in Morocco.
Avoid large crowds and political demonstrations.
Do not take photos of Royal Palaces- the Guards will stop you anyway.
Do not have large amounts of cash visible.
Most Moroccans are friendly and helpful, even if this comes at a price. We did not experience any violence or feel unsafe walking during the day or at night in any of the places we visited.
The Western Sahara region is a disputed territory and you should check up to date advice BEFORE travelling.
Check your travel insurance before you travel.
Use your travel common sense and ask at about areas you plan to visit at your accomodation. Local knowledge is always best.
Hashish is illegal in Morocco and whilst many travellers have visited over the years for this reason it is best not to try and buy it on the street.
Don’t be afraid to be “lost” in the medinas, it is a wonderful part of the experience and there is always someone to ask for directions, just make sure you negotiate the price first.
Negotiating the Price (haggling)
The souk stall holders, taxi drivers and pretty much everyone else will expect that you will want to negotiate the price of goods and services. Our best tips are
- know what you want before you go into the negotiation
- know how much you are willing to pay (top dollar), it is a good idea to do a google search before you head off to buy tour tickets for example
- be willing to walk away and do so
- be aware that you are most likely very well off compared to the person you are haggling with and apply some ethics. Is that extra 10 Dhs really going to hurt you?
More Information you might find useful
Uncensored Travel have a great video about travelling in and around Marrakech. You might also like to read their blog posts about Marrakech and travelling to the Sahara dessert whilst in Morocco.
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If you would like more information please contact us or leave a comment below.
No doubt, Morocco is beautiful. Will definitely be there
Hi Izuken, thank you for your comment, we hope you can get to travel in Morocco soon. Keep the guide handy. Happy Travels
So many good things to do in Morocco. I have been researching about the place for some time now and this post cover mostly everything that I need to know especially the safety part.
Hi Geemiz, thank you for your comments. We certainly hope you are able to use our guide for your planning. Have you seen our other posts about our trip to Morocco? Happy Travels
Very detailed and informative post. Love the picture too. Good post
Hi Rahat, thank you for your comments. Have you been to Morocco? Happy Travels
That’s a great guide! Such helpful information, thanks for sharing 🙂
Hi Emma, thank you for your comments. We are glad you found it helpful. Have you been to Morocco? Happy Travels
Great post! I loved how you separated the topics into sections, very helpful!! I’d love to visit!
Hi Madison, thank you for your comments, it’s great to hear positive feedback. We hope you get to visit this amazing place. Happy Travels
I love reading articles on Morocco, I will be visiting soon so bookmarked this post. Thanks for sharing all the valuable information and I loved the pictures too.
Hi DTG, have you checked out our other posts too? Lots of tips, links and information for you. Enjoy your trip. Happy Travels
I get so many people who ask about the procedure to go to Morocco and finally there’s a post that has it all! Thank you so much for a detailed post on how to make it to Morocco!
Hi Ambuj, thanks for the comment, would love it if you can share the information around. Happy Travels
This is going to come in so useful for me. I am planning a trip next year so I have bookmarked it as a reference. Thanks for a great post!
Hi Janine, thank you for getting in touch. Be sure to check out our other blogs on Morocco too, they have lots of tips and links that might be helpful. Give us a shout if you need any help with your planning and let us know how the trip goes. Happy Planning and Travels
Excellent guide and great tips on dealing with touts. I loved Morocco and we’re heading back to Marrrakech in September. Can’t avoid getting lost in the souks! I’ll check out your other posts on Morocco. 🙂
Hi Whodoldo, thank you for your comments, it was great to get local peoples input for our blog, it really helped with the touts. Be sure to click on the links in the our other articles as they have reliable information recommended to us by locals. Have a great trip in September, which cities will you visit? Happy Travels
I hope so much to visit here one day….
Hi Shell, thank you for your comment, we hope you are able to visit Morocco too. Be sure to check out our other blogs for tips on how you can visit 4 cities in this amazing country. Happy Travels
Great article! Morocco is on top of my places to go. It’s also nice as part of a meditarranean trip from there to spain then south of europe.
Hi Jen, thank you for your comments and I hope you get to go to Morocco soon. We loved the ferry trip to Spain from Tangier, have you checked out our other blogs on Morocco, they have lots of tips, tricks and information for you too. Happy Travels
Morocco is one place we desire to go for long now! Lovely info and captures!
Hi Saumyata, I hope you can get there soon, it is a great place to travel. Make sure you check out our other blogs on our time in Morocco, they have lots of tips, links and information for you too. Happy Travels
Very informative article, loved reading it. Thanks for the tips!
I’m floored at how thorough your review is! This is wonderful and well written! I hope to visit Morrocco myself one day!
Hi Kristy, thank you for your comments, it is really nice to know we are on the right track. We hope you get there soon. Please share with your friends and family. Happy Travels
You just succeeded in making things very easy for people who are planning to visit Morrocco, I like how to gave a very detailed information on how to go about it all. Thanks.
Hi Mary, thank you for you comments, I hope you are able to get there soon. Happy Travels
Love this article, one for my bucket list travels. I will be planning a trip there next year so this is super handy! 🙂
Hi Vanessa, thank you for your comments. Check out our other blogs on Morocco for more links, tips and tricks you might need for your trip, oh and great places to stay too. Happy Travels
Just love your post…. Every single detail is given from starting to end… I love reading anything that gives every single information about the written topic…. Great post… Keep up the good work…
Hi Farhaj, thank you for your comments, we think it is important that people are able to have as much information as possible when travelling, it lessens the stress of a new country for us. Happy Travels
This would be an invaluable guide for someone traveling to Morocco. I have never been, and would have never known most of these things. Great how you added in so much advice from the local people. A very helpful, thorough and FANTASTIC post on traveling there!
Hi Sandy, thank you so much for your comments on our Morocco guide. It is made of things we learnt mostly from people who live there whilst we were travelling there so it is great to hear that is useful to travellers. We hope you get to travel to Morocco one day. Happy Travels
Hi Sumayya, thank you for your comments on our Travel Guide. Happy Travels
Your article is complete and precise. Would love to visit this great place. Cheers👍
Hi Xander, thank you for your comments. Are you planning a trip? It is a great place to visit. Happy Travels
Lovely guide! I’ve wanted to visit Morocco and now it sounds easier. Thank you for all the practical tips like safety and how to haggle! I
Hi Alicia, thank you for your comments, we hope you get to Morocco soon. There are more tips and links in our Traveller’s Tales which you may find useful, just click on the links. Happy Travels
Great information about Morocco. I love the pictures and the overall look of your blog. Great job- keep up the great work you do!!
Hi Ilene, thank you so much for your kind comments. Have you been to Morocco? It is a wonderful country for travellers. Happy Travels
This post includes a detailed information about Morocco. Downloading the Google Translate App is a very good idea. Very helpful and nice post.
Hi Trupti Bhatt, thank you for your comments. Google Translate has been a big help to us when travelling. Are you planning to travel soon? Happy Travels
Very detailed and informative post. Love the picture too. Good read indeed.
Hi Acupofassamtea, thank you for your comments. It is great to hear that you enjoyed the post. Are you planning to travel to Morocco? Happy Travels
Nice travelogue. would love to visit this place someday!
Hi Jayashree, I hope you are able to get to Morocco, it’s an incredible country. Happy Travels
You help me so much. Thanks for this information
Hi Narayan, thank you for your comments. Are you planning a trip to Morocco? Did you know we have other articles with tips, tricks and links to help you plan? Happy Travels
I am planning a vacation to Morocco. This article helped me alot to know about various things there. Thanks!
Hi Soni, thank you for your comments, did you know there are other articles about Morocco on our website, with links, tips and tricks for travelling there? I hope you have a great trip. Happy Travels