Morocco is as rewarding as it is intense. This north African country with its dramatic landscapes, imperial cities and welcoming people is bursting with life and colour. Yes it can be a little chaotic, and sometimes things don’t always go to plan when you’re travelling around, but that’s part of what makes the place so special.
Best time to Visit: Our favourite times of year to visit Morocco are the shoulder seasons of April – May and September – November. Temperatures are pleasant, plus it’s a great time for hiking and sightseeing anywhere in the country. If you’re heading to the desert, this is best between October – March when it’s slightly cooler. Everywhere in Morocco will be hot during summer (June – August), and we don’t recommend visiting the cities during this time (many of the locals head to the coast to cool off!). We highly recommend visiting Marrakech in winter too, for some warmth and to explore without the crowds.
Language: Darija (Moroccan Arabic) and French are the main languages in Morocco. Many tour guides speak good English, but in rural areas and at attractions you’ll find knowing a few words goes a long way to breaking down barriers. Spanish is spoken in the enclaves of Ceuta and Mlilla, as well as inland as far as Chefchaouen. Try learning these Darija phrases: Shukran (Thank you), Asalam Alekum (Hello), W’alekum as-salam (in response to someone saying hello), Fadlak (Please), Beslama (Bye).
Power Sockets: Types C (two round pins) & E (two round pins and a hole) are used, with supply voltage being 220V/50Hz.
Tipping: Tipping in Morocco is expected, so try and keep some small change.
Currency: The Moroccan Dirham (MAD) is a closed currency, which means you can’t buy it outside Morocco. There’s an exchange counter in the airport, or for better rates you’ll find lots of tiny bureau de change offices dotted around most cities, including in the Marrakech souks. Very roughly, DH10 = 80 pence.
Clothing: Dress modestly, especially in rural areas, by covering the shoulders and knees, and don’t wear anything tight or too revealing. Morocco is generally a hot and arid country, although the mountains are cooler so pack according to the areas you’re visiting. Remember, even the desert gets cold at night. Read our post on what to wear in Morocco for more info.
Costs: One of the joys of travelling to Morocco is that you can do it as cheaply or as lavishly as you like. Accommodation can range from as little as £20 a night for a decent hostel, to £2,000+ for a palace suite.
Food: Moroccan food has been influenced by Arabic, Andalusian, Jewish and Mediterranean cuisine, resulting in flavours not found elsewhere in the world. Tagine is something you’ll be eating a lot of in Morocco, which is eaten with bread dipped into the dish to mop up the juices. Couscous is popular too, especially on a Friday when families come together to share a dish. Don’t forget to try Harira (spicy soup), briouates (filo pastry parcels stuffed with cheese or meat) and of course the sweet Moroccan pastries. Cooking classes in Marrakech are a fun experience, as is visiting some of the top restaurants in Marrakech.
Transport: For travel between the main cities like Marrakech, Fes, Meknes, Rabat and Casablanca, there are buses and trains, and for shorter local trips there are petite taxis. To explore further afield places like the Atlas Mountains and the deserts, we recommend either hiring a car and driver, doing a self-drive, or joining a tour.
Morocco Travel Advice
Here’s where you’ll find info on scams, tipping, and how to haggle in the souks, amongst other insider secrets we’ve picked up during our travels.
Amazing Places to Stay
One of the main reasons we love Morocco so much is the incredible variety of luxury accommodation. From riads and palaces to kasbahs and even churches, here are our recommendations.
Marrakech is the first point of call for many travellers to Morocco. The Red City can feel a bit overwhelming, but stick with her and she’ll show you a good time. Here’s our advice on sightseeing and navigating the intricacies of Marrakech.
The High Atlas Mountains and the Anti Atlas Mountains are scenic, welcoming, and packed with opportunities for adventure.
Ouarzazate & Ait Ben Haddou
Between the High Atlas Mountains and the desert, Ouarzazate makes a great stopover, as well as a destination in it’s own right.
One of the quintessential experiences in Morocco is to ride camels and sleep in nomad camps in the desert, at either Erg Chigaga or Erg Chebbi.
The wild Atlantic coast of Morocco contrasts nicely with the mountains and desert, and it’s a great place to cool down if you’re feeling the heat!
Fes, Meknes & Chefchaouen
Fes and Meknes are two very authentic Imperial Cities that feel a world away from Marrakech, while the blue city of Chefchaouen is a photographer’s dream.