The Ultimate Guide For Planning A Trip To Morocco (2022)

The Ultimate Guide for Planning a Trip to Morocco (2022)

Man in Morocco with back facing the camera, walking in front of beautiful Moroccan tile

Morocco is located in Northern Africa. The country’s culture is a mix of African, European, and Arab influences. A trip to Morocco may be sensory overload for visitors. On the streets, there are numerous distinct smells, including rich Moroccan spices, Moroccan oils, and homemade Moroccan cuisine. You’ll pass through lively marketplaces selling handmade goods—such as Moroccan tile, Moroccan furniture, and Moroccan rugs—on your way to see sights in popular cities like Marrakech or Fes. 

Morocco is known for its breathtaking natural beauty and daring excursions. An overnight journey on horseback through the Sahara Desert, a trip to a Moroccan waterfall, or a Moroccan surf holiday at the beach are some of the most popular activities in Morocco.

Before you go to Morocco, it is important to do a lot of research. You should learn about the culture and what to expect. This guide gives you information on what to do, see, and budget when traveling in Morocco.

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When planning a trip to Morocco, it is important to understand that some of the locals may try to make money off of you. The more you know about their culture and how they operate, the better your experience will be.

Basic Tips: What to Know When Planning a Trip to Morocco

Morocco Language

The primary languages of Morocco are Arabic & Berber. You also may hear the secondary languages: French, English & Spanish at times.

Here are some common Arabic/Moroccan phrases that would be helpful to learn while planning a trip to Morocco.

  • Hello (Peace Be With You):
    • When addressing a stranger: Salam Alikome (salaam a eleikum) (formal) or Salam (salaam) (informal)
    • When responding to someone’s hello: wa-alaikum salam (wa’iilaykum salim)
  • Goodbye: Salam (salaam)
  • Thank You: Choukran (shukraan)
  • No Thank You: La Choukran (la shukrun)
  • Where’s the toilet?: Ayn Alhamam (ayeen mal hamma)

When to Visit Morocco

The best time to visit Morocco is during Spring (mid-March to May) or Autumn (September to October). The weather is warm and dry during this time in the coastal cities. The temperature usually ranges from 64-82 °F. There are also historically fewer tourists in the country during these months.

Morocco can be very hot during the summer months. The temperature can be as high as 80-100 degrees Fahrenheit in the coastal cities. So it is best to avoid going during this time, unless you enjoy the heat. This is also a time when many people visit because it is when many schools are on break.

The weather during December to February is usually mild during the day, but it can get cold at night. The temperature might drop as low as 27 degrees Fahrenheit. There’s also more precipitation in the country during this time.

How to Dress in Morocco

In Morocco, it’s best to dress conservatively. This is especially important for female travelers. It’s not necessary to follow this rule, but it is suggested in order to fit in with the culture and feel comfortable while there.

A good rule of thumb is to make sure that your shoulders are always covered and that all of your bottoms fall below your knee. Men are also expected to dress conservatively but have a little bit more leeway than women with this.

Currency in Morocco

The Morocco currency is the Dirham.

Carry sufficient cash around with you; most local shops, tour guides, cabs, etc. only take cash. Established stores will usually take credit. 

There are ATM’s available but they sometimes run out of cash. If you need money, most places will give you a cash advance or money exchange.

Have small bills available. Some local shop owners, taxis & guides will not be able to give you change. 

Don't Forget to Haggle!

Haggling is a part of Moroccan culture. Vendors price their items about 25-50% more than what they expect to sell them for. If you want to buy something, don’t be afraid to haggle. The vendor will appreciate it and might give you a good deal.

Ask Before Taking a Picture

It’s considered to be disrespectful to take a picture of a local or their store/things without asking first. In most cases, the local will tell you it’s okay to take their picture but they will probably ask for 1-2 Dirham in return.

Always Drink Moroccan Tea

It’s rude to say no to a Moroccan when they offer you Moroccan tea. You will likely find yourself drinking a lot of Moroccan tea during your trip but don’t worry, it’s delicious!

Tipping in Morocco

Tipping at Moroccan restaurants is expected. 1DH at a local place and 3-4DH in nicer restaurants is the standard. Cab drivers and local guides will expect a small tip too.

What to Pack for a Trip to Morocco

Women making oil in Morocco

Here is a list of things you will need when planning a trip to Morocco. This list includes things you might not think of on your own. However, it does not include any standard items that you would want to bring, such as clothes, money, identification, camera, shoes, etc.

Clothing
Scarf or sarong: Can be used to cover your shoulders and head when entering religious buildings, such as a mosque.

Long breathable pants & skirts: You’ll have to cover your legs to show respect in Morocco, but it’s also really hot. So, the recommendation is to path light & breathable clothing.

Shirts with sleeves: Your shirts can be short sleeved, but must cover your shoulders.

→ Good walking shoes: You’ll find yourself walking a lot in Morocco, especially if you visit Marrakech.

Power Adapter & Converter
Morocco uses the same power adapters as in Europe. So if you have one that works in Europe, it will work here too. The voltage is 220 V and the frequency is 50 Hz.

Top Things to Do in Morocco

Spices for sale in Morocco

A trip to Morocco offers a lot of authentic experiences. Here’s a short list of some of the best things to do in Morocco.

  1. Shop in the Medinas: The Medinas are markets in each city. They’re full of incredible local shops that sell things such as: handcrafted figurines, Moroccan oils, spices, jewelry & carpets. 

  2. Stay in a Traditional Riad: Experience authentic Morocco by staying in a Riad—an interior garden or courtyard associated with house and palace architecture. 

  3. Visit a Tannery: Morocco is known for its leather production; see it in action at a local tannery. The most famous tanneries are located in Fez but they can be found in most major cities. 

  4. Enjoy a traditional Moroccan Hammam: Enjoy the steam room + massage if you’d like. 

  5. Have dinner at the Djemaa el Fna: Chill out with some street food in the local center of Marrakech which is also a UNESCO site. While you eat; you can take in the cultural sites. 

  6. Experience the Blue City: Stroll through the streets of Chefchaouen. Located in the Northwest of Morocco; you’ll be astonished by the shades of blue everywhere. 

  7. Take an Overnight trek through the Sahara Desert: ride camels into the desert and camp there overnight. 

  8. Go on a camel ride: If you can’t do the overnight trek in the Saharathen have no fearthere are many opportunities to ride camels and take pictures with them throughout Morocco. You can find these outside of the city or on the coastal beaches. 

  9. Trek the Atlas Mountains: Experience the mountains & fascinating landscapes.

  10. Visit a Mosque: The mosques in Morocco are built with an incredible eye for design & tilework. Do be sure that the Mosque you plan to visit is open as not all accept visitors.

Fast Facts About Morocco

Morocco restaurant outside. Seats next to the river.

Here are a few fast facts to learn while planning a trip to Morocco:

  1. The official name of Morocco is the Kingdom of Morocco.
  2. There are approximately 36 million people living in Morocco.
  3. Morocco is about the same size as the state of California.
  4. The capital city of Morocco is Rabat.
  5. The largest city in Morocco is Casablanca.
  6. Toubkal is the tallest mountain in Morocco and the highest peak in North Africa.
  7. The most popular beverage in Morocco is tea with mint & sugar. 
  8. The most well known food in Morocco is couscous; which is typically eaten on the Islamic Holy Day. Other popular dishes include: tajine, pastilla, and harira. Chicken is the most popular meat.
  9. The most popular sport in Morocco is Football (soccer).
  10. Morocco is the largest producer and exporter of sardines in the world.

Budget Suggestions for a Trip to Morocco

Here are some budget suggestions that might help you plan your trip to Morocco. This is based on budget, mid-priced, and high-priced travel. Remember that the costs of a trip to Morocco can vary depending on the time of year and the current economy, so be sure to do additional cost research while planning your trip to Morocco. 

Item Budget Travel Mid-Range Travel High End Travel Notes

Accommodation

$5 - $14/Night (Hostel Dorm)
$35 - $90/Night
(Hotel or Riad)
$100 - $300/Night
(Hotel)
I suggest staying in a Riad for an authentic & affordable Moroccan experience.

Food

$2 - $10 /pp/meal
(Street Food)
$15 - 30 /pp/meal
(Average Restaurant)
$45 - $100/pp/meal
(High-End Restaurant)
Street food is delicious & affordable in morocco.

Alcohol

$3 - $5
(Domestic Drinks)
$4 - $8
(Imported Drinks)
----
Alcohol is technically forbidden in Morocco, but you can find it in New Cities / Areas.

Transportation

$0.50/each way (Local Transport)

$5/hr
(Public Taxi)
$10 - $20/hr
(Taxi Organized by Accommodation)
Local transportation is not easy to navigate in Morocco, so it's highly recommended to pre-book transportation in advance to avoid a hassle.

Explore Morocco Virtually from Home

It’s always fun to research and learn about a new destination before arriving. Check out these virtual clips that will help you explore Morocco before you take your trip.

Note: the links on this curated list will navigate you off of this page & take you to an external website. 

  1. Take a Virtual Tour of the Sahara, a Moroccan Riad, a Medina & much more at: Youvisit.com
  2. Experience the landscapes of Morocco in 8K with this virtual video on Jacob & Katie Schwarz YouTube Channel
  3. Follow this Youtube Tutorial and learn how to make your own Moroccan Cuisine at home!
  4. Bring Moroccan Locals into your home, virtually with this AirBNB Experiences Course. 
Marrakech, Morocco
Marrakech morocco at night. Picture is off the Marrakech Medina while the sun is setting. Many markets shown with hundreds of people walking. Sky is dark blue and red.

Marrakech is a unique city located on the edge of the Sahara. The city is recognized for its Medina, which is a huge market surrounded by walls that stretch approximately 12 kilometers. The market is unlike any other—with hundreds of stunning sights and scents emanating from a dizzying array of vendors. Visitors should stay at a Riad (local accommodation) within the Medina while in Marrakech. In the Medina, you can get excellent local cuisine in eateries, street venders, or at Jemaa el-Fnaa, among other places

Things to do in Marrakech

→ Go shopping in the souks
→ Have a local meal at Jemaa el-Fnaa
→ Visita Hammam for a Moroccan steam 
→ Learn to navigate with your sense of smell (maps won’t help here!)
Visit a carpet shop and practice haggling like a pro
→ Pass by the Menara Gardens for beautiful sights & great photo pops
→ Check out the palaces, mosques & awesome architecture in the city 
→ Head to the New City for dinner & a belly dancing show
→ Go to Maison de la Photographie for tea, photography & good views

Food & Restaurants

Avocado Smoothie: Try this. Trust me. 
Mint Tea: A Moroccan staple. 
Moroccan Tagine: Local dish. So good.
Dar Cherifa Restaurant: Delicious local restaurant in Marrakech. Try their orange cake. 
Souk Kafé Restaurant: Delicious local food!

Accommodation

Riad Meriem: We stayed here in 2019, and felt like royalty. It’s a lovely riad; a super serene oasis in the middle of the hustle & bustle of Marrakech. The staff was incredible and treated us like we had been their lifelong friends.
Click here to view Riad Meriem’s website.

Essaouira, Morocco

Essaouira is a cool beach town off the coast of Morocco. It’s about 3 hours away from Old City Marrakech by car. This city has adorable villages, nice people, and awesome beaches. You can take in the sea view while watching camels and horses casually roam around. I recommend a visit to this city as a great way to escape from the hustle and bustle of the other major cities on your trip.

Camel in Essaouira beach in Morocco. Sun is setting behind the Moroccan camel. Sky is yellow, blue and orange.

Activities

→ Sit on the beach and take in the views
→ Participate in water sports such as windsurfing, kayaking & kitesurfing
→ Go on a horse or camel ride down the coast
→ Check out historical ruins such as The Ramparts
→ Spend an evening at II Mare Bar Restaurant for music, food & drinks
→ Visit a Moroccan Argan Oil Cooperative and see first hand how Moroccan Argan oil is made
→ Pay a trip to the Sidi Mohamad Ben Abdellah Museum
→ Stroll through the fishing market & port to watch the locals in action
→ Check out the Essaouira souks! They are more tranquil here than in Marrakech 

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