Morocco travel guide

Where to go, what to see: your Morocco travel guide

Why visit Morocco?

Morocco is a melting pot of Arabian, Berber and African cultures. It’s a country of colourful bazaars and ancient medinas; steamy hammams and shisha smoke; arid deserts and lush mountain valleys. It’s situated on the northern edge of Africa, just a short ferry ride across the Straits of Gibraltar to Europe, and bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, and Northern Africa countries. Over the centuries, it has attracted many ancient races, including the Phoenicians, Romans and Byzantines, before the first Arabian dynasty was established in the lands of the original Berber inhabitants. After later being colonised by France and Spain, Morocco finally achieved independence in 1956.

Today, its 36 million hospitable people live in the magnificent imperial cities of Fez, Meknes, Marrakesh, and Rabat, in Casablanca or in hundreds of rural villages, (some fortified, others set in an oasis), and there are still a few nomadic tribes. It is a mainly agricultural society with farmers working the land in the traditional way.

Morocco is also a country of exceptional geographical diversity with fertile green valleys and plains separated from the Sahara Desert by the magnificent Atlas Mountains – a photographer’s paradise.

The market souks proudly display pyramids of spices and fresh produce, ingredients of the varied and healthy Moroccan cuisine. In the souks of the old medina, some of which have barely changed since medieval times, enjoy sharpening up your bargaining skills to seek out some beautiful souvenirs.


Weather and climate in Morocco

When is the best time to visit Morocco?

Morocco in the summer (Jun to August) is hot. Really hot. Unless you're in the High Atlas Mountains visiting a Berber community, with trees to provide shade and waterfalls to keep you cool, the heat keeps most people indoors until the early evening. If you're planning on seeing it all – the cities, the mountains, the hammams – then go in March, April, May, September or October. You'll still get the warm temperatures, but you won't see the sandstone swimming before your eyes every time you need to cross the road.

Weather in Morocco

Like the UK, Morocco's seasons are clearly defined. Summers (Jun – Aug) are scorching in the south, where the Sahara Desert begins its southwards journey into Algeria. Spring (Mar – May) is cooler in the evenings and crisper during the day and a great time for sightseeing, particularly if hiking is your thing – although dust storms are at their most common between Feb and April. September and October offer a more mellow option, great if you're looking for a dose of sunshine that allows some gentle sightseeing during the day. The rainy season is from November to January.

To help you plan, below are average low and high temperatures for Morocco.

 

 Marrakesh

 Casablanca

 January

 6/19°C

 9/17°C

 February

 8/20°C

 10/18°C

 March

 10/23°C

 19/11°C

 April

 12/25°C

 12/20°C

 May

 15/29°C

 15/22°C

 June

 17/33°C

 18/24°C

 July

 20/37°C

 20/26°C

 August

 21/37°C

 20/26°C

 September

 19/33°C

 19/26°C

 October

 15/28°C

 16/24°C

 November

 11/23°C

 12/21°C

 December

 7/20°C

 10/19°C

 


Browse our Morocco tours

Available tours: 3

Select when you wish to depart and we will be able to show you all tours and cruises that depart on the day you have selected.

2019
2020
2021

Morocco: food and fun facts

Food in Morocco

Garlic, mint, merguez spices (cumin, chilli, fennel, paprika, coriander seed, cinnamon) and grilled meat are what characterise Moroccan food, which is often enriched with dried fruit and oven-cooked in a tagine. Meat usually means lamb, goat, or chicken. The concept of vegetarianism hasn’t really reached Morocco yet – so if you ask for a vegetarian option, be aware that you will probably be brought a chicken dish.

Additionally, as a Muslim country, you will not find alcohol available to buy unless you’re in a hotel or some fancier restaurants that cater for tourists. However, this is one of the joys of visiting Morocco: where men sit in the shade outdoors in cafés drinking mint tea and chatting, rather than drinking beer.

During your time in Morocco, avoid iced drinks and eating raw and unwrapped street fare. We recommend drinking bottled mineral water and not tap water.

  • The approximate cost of a soft drink/mineral water/coffee is 5 MAD.
  • An average lunch consisting of a salad or sandwich and a soda or water starts at approximately 30-60 MAD.
  • Dinner at a mid-range restaurant with dessert and a non-alcoholic beverage starts at approximately 80-180 MAD.

Fun facts

  • The capital of Morocco is Rabat.
  • The Language of Morocco is Arabic, although most inhabitants speak French. It is better to speak Arabic if you can, as this was the native language before the French colonised.
  • The population of Morocco is 36 million.
  • The time zone of Morocco is EST +6 hours
  • Morocco gained independence from France in 1956.
  • The shrine of Sidi Yahya, situated in the Oujda city of Morocco, is said to be the tomb of “John the Baptist.”

Things to consider before visiting Morocco

Visas, passports etc

Please check with your local consulate about requirements for travel to Morocco. All passengers travelling internationally are required to have a passport. Please carry proper identification (your passport) on you and do not leave it in your suitcase or hotel room.

It is advisable to carry your passport with you at all times.

How to call Morocco: Country code

The country code for Morocco is 212. When calling to Morocco from overseas, dial your international access code (00 from the UK), followed by the country code, area code, and phone number. Phone numbers in Morocco are nine digits in length. Dialling from the UK: 00 212 ## ### ####.

Morocco's currency

The official currency of Morocco is the Moroccan Dirham. US Dollars may be accepted in small denominations only (any change will be given in the local currency).

Bank opening hours: 8.30am to 11am and 2.30pm to 5pm in winter, and 8am to 3.30pm in summer, Monday through Friday.

 

1 MOROCCAN DIRHAM = 7 PENCE

1 BRITISH POUND = 12 (MAD)

  • Banknote denominations: Dirham - 20, 25, 50, 100, 200
  • Coin denominations: Centimes - 5, 10, 20, 50; Dirham – 0.50, 1, 2, 5, 10

It is illegal to bring more than 1,000 Dirham out of the country upon departure. Therefore, only exchange a small amount of money while in Morocco, so you do not have excess upon departure. Keep your receipt when buying Dirhams as you’ll need it to cash back any remaining Dirhams before you leave. ATMs can be found near hotels but check that they accept foreign credit cards (Plus or Cirrus) before inserting your card. Credit cards should be used with caution. If you want to use your credit card, we recommend you keep it in sight at all times and request receipts.

Shopping in Morocco

You have not experienced Morocco until you have tried to haggle in a souk. You'll find all kinds of beautiful carpets, shiny brass lamps, piles of spices, colourful textiles, and colourful merchants, here. The formula is simple: if you want an item (and only if you actually do!), ask the price. Offer one third of the price. If this is refused, walk away. You will find that you cannot walk away without more attempts to persuade you. Eventually you'll settle on a price - but don't pay more than half what was originally put to you.

When and how much to tip in Morocco

Tip around 10% to waiting staff in restaurants. At informal cafés, 1-2 MAD is usually an acceptable tip. For taxis, round up the fare to the nearest whole Dirham.

Restroom attendants expect a small gratuity so we recommend you carry small denomination coins with you. Tip hotel staff 8-17 MAD for room service.


Good morning: Sabah el khair

Good evening: Masaa el khair

Thank you: Shokrun

Please: Men Fadluck

Do you speak English?: Be'tetkalem englizi?

I don't understand: Ana mosh fahem

Please write it down: Ekteb hali men fadlak

How much is this?: Bikam dah?

Where is...?: Fain...?

Telephone: Telephone

Bathroom: Hammam

Bottled water: Maya maadaneya

Tea: Shaay

Coffee: Ahwa.

1: Wahed

2: Ethnein

3: Thalàtha

4: Arba’a

5: Hamsà

6: Seta

7: Seba’a

8: Thamània

9: Tesa'a

10: Ash'ra

20: Eshreen

30: Thalatheen

40: Arbae'en

50: Hamseen

60: Seteen

70: Sabèen

80; Thamanen

90: Tesa'een

100: May'a

150: May'a u hamseen

200: Metein