Everything You Should Know before Travel to Morocco

A trip to Morocco promises to be an unforgettable experience packed with interesting towns, breathtaking scenery, and a rich cultural history. Morocco provides a broad selection of experiences for every tourist, from the busy marketplaces of Marrakech to the tranquil Sahara desert. It is important to be well-prepared to have an enjoyable and trouble-free journey. Here’s a comprehensive guide on everything you need to know before visiting Morocco.

1-Visa Requirements and Travel Documents:

Before your trip, it’s important to understand the visa requirements for entering Morocco. Most nationalities can obtain a visa on arrival or enter visa-free for a limited duration. However, it’s recommended to check with the Moroccan embassy or consulate in your country to verify the specific requirements. Ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your intended departure date.

2-Best Time to Visit:

Morocco’s climate varies across its regions, so choosing the best time to visit depends on the experiences you seek. Spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) offer mild temperatures and fewer crowds. Summers can be hot, particularly in the desert regions, while winters can be chilly in the mountains. Consider your itinerary carefully and plan accordingly.

3-Language and Communication:

Morocco’s official languages are Arabic and Amazigh (Berber). French, on the other hand, is frequently spoken, particularly in tourist regions. Although English is widely spoken in hotels and tourism facilities, it is beneficial to acquire a few basic Arabic or French words to improve your contacts with locals. It is always welcomed when people make an attempt to converse in the local tongue.

3-Currency and Money Matters:

  1. Currency: The official currency of Morocco is the Moroccan Dirham (MAD). It is denoted by the symbol “د.م” or “DH” and is available in banknotes of various denominations, including 20, 50, 100, and 200 Dirhams, as well as coins in denominations of 1, 2, 5, and 10 Dirhams.
  2. Currency Exchange: It is recommended to exchange your currency into Moroccan Dirhams upon arrival in Morocco. Currency exchange services are available at international airports, banks, authorized exchange offices, and some hotels. Avoid exchanging money with unauthorized street vendors to ensure you receive the official exchange rate.
  3. ATMs and Credit Cards: ATMs (Automated Teller Machines) are widely available in major cities and tourist areas in Morocco. They accept major international cards such as Visa and Mastercard. It’s advisable to inform your bank or credit card company about your travel plans to Morocco to avoid any issues with using your cards abroad. Credit cards are generally accepted in larger establishments, hotels, and restaurants, but it’s always wise to carry some cash for smaller establishments or when visiting more remote areas.
  4. Cash Payments: While credit cards are accepted in many places, it’s advisable to carry some cash, especially in smaller towns or when visiting local markets and street vendors. Cash is also handy for paying small expenses, such as taxis or purchasing items from local vendors. It’s recommended to keep smaller denomination bills for convenience.
  5. Tipping: Tipping is customary in Morocco, particularly in the tourism and hospitality industry. It’s a way to show appreciation for good service. In restaurants, a tip of around 10% of the bill is generally appreciated. In hotels, it’s customary to tip hotel staff who provide exceptional service, such as bellhops or housekeeping. It’s also common to tip local guides, drivers, and other service providers during your travels.

4-Transportation:

Morocco offers various transportation options to explore the country. Domestic flights are available between major cities, providing convenience and time-saving. Trains are a popular choice for long-distance travel, offering comfort and reliability. Buses are a cost-effective option, connecting cities and towns, while shared taxis are a common mode of transport for shorter distances. In cities like Marrakech and Fes, walking is the best way to navigate the bustling medinas, or you can hire a local guide for a more immersive experience.

5-Delightful Moroccan Cuisine:

Moroccan cuisine is a culinary delight that is sure to captivate your taste buds during your visit to the country. Drawing influences from Arab, Berber, and Mediterranean culinary traditions, the flavors and aromas of Moroccan dishes are simply irresistible.

One of the iconic dishes you must try is tagine, a slow-cooked stew that is named after the earthenware pot in which it is cooked. Tagine is typically made with a combination of tender meat, such as lamb or chicken, and an assortment of vegetables and aromatic spices. The slow cooking process allows the flavors to meld together, resulting in a rich and flavorful dish that is best enjoyed with freshly baked bread.

Couscous is another staple of Moroccan cuisine and is often considered the national dish. It consists of steamed semolina grains served with a variety of vegetables, meat, and aromatic broth. The fluffy texture and delicate flavors of couscous make it a satisfying and comforting meal.

For a unique gastronomic experience, don’t miss out on trying pastilla, a savory pastry that is filled with a mixture of spiced meat, usually pigeon or chicken, and topped with a dusting of powdered sugar and cinnamon. The combination of sweet and savory flavors in this dish is truly remarkable.

No visit to Morocco would be complete without indulging in the country’s famous mint tea. Served in small glasses, this aromatic tea is a blend of green tea leaves, fresh mint leaves, and sugar. The tea is poured from a height to create a frothy layer and is traditionally served with a side of sweet pastries. The refreshing taste of mint tea is a perfect accompaniment to any meal or a delightful beverage to enjoy throughout the day.

To truly immerse yourself in the culinary delights of Morocco, be sure to explore the local street food scene. Wander through bustling markets and sample mouthwatering delicacies such as merguez, a spicy sausage bursting with flavor, or harira, a traditional soup made with lentils, tomatoes, and aromatic herbs. Msemen, a flaky and layered pancake, is another street food favorite that is often enjoyed with a drizzle of honey or a sprinkle of powdered sugar.

5-Cultural Etiquette:

  1. Morocco is a country deeply rooted in its cultural traditions. Respecting local customs and etiquette is essential. Dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites or conservative areas. It’s customary to greet people with a handshake and say “Salam” (hello) when meeting someone. When entering someone’s home, it’s polite to remove your shoes. Always ask for permission before taking photographs of individuals, particularly women.

6-What places to visit in Morocco?

When considering the places to visit in Morocco, it ultimately depends on your personal interests and preferences. However, exploring the imperial cities of Marrakech, Fes, Meknes, or Rabat is highly recommended to immerse yourself in the rich architectural heritage of ancient Morocco. These cities boast fascinating old medinas with labyrinthine streets, bustling souks, and vibrant shops, offering an authentic glimpse into Moroccan culture.

When considering the places to visit in Morocco, it ultimately depends on your personal interests and preferences. However, exploring the imperial cities of Marrakech, Fes, Meknes, or Rabat is highly recommended to immerse yourself in the rich architectural heritage of ancient Morocco. These cities boast fascinating old medinas with labyrinthine streets, bustling souks, and vibrant shops, offering an authentic glimpse into Moroccan culture.

In addition to the imperial cities, there are several unique smaller towns that are well worth a visit. Chefchaouen, famously known as the Blue City, captivates with its enchanting blue-washed streets, creating a picturesque backdrop that appeals to photographers and art enthusiasts alike. Essaouira, situated along the Atlantic Ocean, exudes a bohemian atmosphere with its windy streets, artistic vibes, and a delectable selection of fresh seafood to indulge in. Moulay Idriss, nestled in the scenic mountains near Moroccan wine country, holds great historical and religious significance, making it a captivating destination for history enthusiasts.

To help you plan your trip, we offer a range of itineraries that cater to different interests and preferences. Whether you’re drawn to ancient architecture, cultural immersion, picturesque landscapes, or culinary delights, Morocco has a wealth of captivating destinations to explore and discover.

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