Morocco tips, Plan your trip
Morocco tips Plan your trip: In this article I’ll give you all the tips you need to plan your Morocco tour so that you can make the most of it. Don’t forget to check out the other articles with our complete itinerary and tips from place to place.
How many days to stay in Morocco
We spent 10 days in the main cities of Morocco, visiting Casablanca, Chefchaouen, Fez, Meknes, Volubilis, Merzouga, the Sahara Desert, the Dades and Marrakech. Each day we slept in a different city, with Fez and Marrakech being two nights each. It was a very complete itinerary for those who like to travel by car.
For those who don’t have as much time, I suggest summarizing the trip with Marrakech (minimum 2 days) and the Sahara desert (+2 nights, including 1 in the dune camp). Or if you’re in Europe, you could stretch it out to Chefchaouen, the blue city in the north of Morocco, in 2 days.
How to get to Morocco
Morocco tips Plan your trip: There are direct flights to Morocco with Royal Air Maroc. Flights arrive in Casablanca, which is the country’s economic capital. The political capital is Rabat, which is also nearby. The other possibility (which is sometimes even cheaper) is to fly to a European capital and from there make a connection to Morocco. There’s no way around it, you’ll have to do some research at the time of your trip to find out what the best option is.
Getting around Morocco
I love renting a car and driving around a different country, but in Morocco I preferred to travel with a local driver because I had read a report on the blog Footprints on the Road that left me divided (link here). We opted for an agency with a private tour and in the end it was the best option because we had no stress on the roads and no worries in the cities.
The roads are great, but Morocco is very mountainous. Several stretches are dangerous, with lots of bends and even animals on the road. There’s also a police station at the entrance to every small town that stops unsuspecting tourists. Our car wasn’t stopped once because they recognized a Moroccan at the wheel. That was a big advantage, apart from not having to worry about where to park in the big cities. Yes, because there are no cars in the medinas.
If you want to know more about this, click here to see my report on our experience with the agency we hired.
Where to stay in Morocco
One of the most authentic experiences is staying in the riads inside the medinas, as I did in Fez, Marrakech and Chefchaouen. From the outside, you can’t imagine how beautiful the riads are. With their unique architecture, the riads have an internal courtyard onto which the rooms open. The service is personalized because there are usually only a few rooms. What’s more, they are located in the medina, in the middle of the hustle and bustle. There’s no more authentic way to stay.
In the desert, opt for a night in a hotel in front of the dunes and another night in a camp in the middle of the dunes. It’s incredible! I’ll tell you all about this experience in the next article. Go on!
Weather in Morocco
The climate in Morocco varies depending on the region and the season. In general, I’d say the best time is early spring, between March and May. Avoid summer, particularly August… Merzouga and Marrakech will be a real oven.
I went in mid-March and the weather was great. We only had one day of rain and the temperatures were pleasant during the day. In the mornings and evenings, it was a bit chilly, especially in the northern cities like Chefchaouen and Fez. This temperature is more in keeping with the country’s dress code, since in respect of their religion we have to be covered up.
What language is spoken in Morocco
Morocco tips Plan your trip: The official local languages are Arabic and Berber. French has also been widely spoken since the time of colonization. And in tourist areas, good English is a must.
I understand that a country that thrives on tourism needs to speak several languages, but I was surprised by the Moroccans’ ability to speak several languages. We met many Moroccans speaking Portunhol in an attempt to please us. Even the nomads in the desert!
Morocco Tips – Religion
99% of the Moroccan population follow Islam. From what we saw during our trip, Morocco is one of the most liberal countries. Many women no longer wear the veil, and I saw a few women wearing the burqa, usually older women.
Five times a day, they interrupt their work to fulfill the call to prayer: at dawn, at noon, in the afternoon, at sunset and at night. Whether they are in the mosque, at work or at home.
How much does traveling to Morocco cost?
Here’s a summary of the main costs:
Airfare on a direct flight with Royal Air Maroc: R$4,200 (up to 6 times)
Accommodation in Riads ranges from 70 to 200 euros per night (book using the blog link!) – There are plenty of options to suit all budgets and tastes.
Meals average between 80 and 150 Dirham, which means between 8 euros and 15 euros. In general, meals in Morocco are well priced and don’t tend to deviate from this average, but, of course, the price varies if you go to a restaurant in the medina (cheaper) or at the hotel.
Entrance fees to attractions are also usually quite cheap compared to those in Europe, for example. In Morocco, tickets in Marrakech cost around 70 Dirham (7 euros). In the smaller towns, they cost around 10 and 40 Dirham (1 and 4 euros). The most expensive entrance is to the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca (around 12 euros).
The cost of transportation for 10 days Morocco tour with a driver in a private 4×4 car was 1700 euros. But this depends on your itinerary, number of days, etc. Check here and mention that you are a reader of “Viagens e Outras Historias” to get a discount on your package.
Safety in Morocco
Morocco tips Plan your trip: Despite having heard that Morocco is one of the most peaceful countries, I didn’t pay to see. During my trip planning research, I decided to take care of my safety and hire an agency with a local driver on a private tour. It was the best choice. We didn’t fall for any scams, and we were always warned by Said (our driver) about what to do and where to go so as not to expose ourselves to risks. We had the privilege of visiting Rissani, for example, which is the largest market in the south of Morocco where nomads go to buy and exchange goods, we walked through the medina in areas where only locals circulate, among other adventures.
I had my cell phone in my hand the whole time, without feeling insecure. As we were always accompanied by a local, we didn’t feel the harassment reported by those traveling alone. Of course, you can’t avoid all kinds of risks just because you’re accompanied by a local, but it certainly avoids a lot of minor inconveniences. I’ll tell you more about the experience and advantages of hiring an agency in the next article. Be sure to check it out.
A woman alone in Morocco
I traveled with a friend, so I didn’t experience the harassment of women alone in Morocco. Now that I’ve seen what it’s like, I think they painted a different picture of how things really are. It’s possible for a woman alone to be harassed in the medina, but she’s not going to be kidnapped and traded for camels! But if I had been alone, I would have walked around the medinas of Chefchaouen and Marrakech with peace of mind. In Fez, I recommend hiring a guide. Not only is the medina much older and more difficult to walk around, but there are also far fewer tourists.
Beware of the “snake charmers” and artists who hang around Jemaa al Fna square in Marrakech. When you approach them to take photos, they’re super friendly, but to leave, the money you give them is never enough. And they put pressure on you. If I hadn’t been with a friend, I would have been in trouble. Try to negotiate the price first.
What to wear in Morocco
It is recommended to wear clothes that cover the shoulders and knees. Avoid necklines, skirts or short shorts so as not to “cause a stir” in the medina. It’s good to respect the local culture, especially as we are conscious and polite travelers. The rule applies to both men and women.
Alcohol in Morocco
The vast majority of locals don’t sell alcohol due to a restriction of the Muslim religion. Moroccans can hardly get permission to sell alcohol in their establishments. To get one, you have to have a partnership with a foreigner. Luckily our riads in Fez and Marrakech had good wines 😊 but I can assure you that having a beer will not be an easy task in Morocco.
In Marrakech we found a single (very good) bar that sold booze. It’s in Jemaa al Fna square, a very strategic spot for sunset. However, arrive early because it gets very busy.
We learned that there was no alcohol in the desert camp. So while we were still in Fez, we went to a Carrefour to buy two bottles. Don’t leave it too late to buy them in Merzouga, as it can be very difficult there (it’s a small town). The wine would have been sorely missed with the chill and the singing around the campfire… At the Carrefour in Fez, alcoholic drinks are sold in a specific store next to the supermarket.
Morocco tips Plan your trip: Moroccan cuisine is very diverse and is based on the seasonings and spices that give flavor and perfume to the food. We tried a bit of everything, from the traditional to the exotic. I wrote an article about everything we saw there.
Use of guides in the medinas
Walking through the medinas is one of the most authentic experiences you can have during your trip to Morocco. But the alleys are indeed labyrinthine. We walked easily in the medinas of Marrakech and Chefchaouen, but in Fez I recommend using a guide. You can do this through an agency or ask for help at your riad.
The guide, as well as helping with orientation, explains historical facts, gives tips on Morocco, takes you to the right places and helps you get rid of any suitcases that might try to approach you.
People don’t like being photographed. Some hide, turn their faces away or say something rude. I, for example, was beaten up by a shepherdess because I went to photograph one of her sheep. Ask before you photograph.
What to buy in Morocco
The little shops are tempting. There is so much to see. I particularly liked the lamps, carpets and ceramics. In the medina of Chefchaouen I found the most beautiful and cheapest things, but as I was at the beginning of my trip I didn’t buy anything there. I regretted it later.
Close to my Riad in Marrakech (Riad Houma) I bought a beautiful embroidered blouse and dress and also saw a store with antique pieces that I loved. It was only difficult to bring them back to Brazil…
Bargaining while shopping
Morocco tips Plan your trip: If you go shopping in the souks (traditional markets in the medinas), don’t forget to bargain. Bargaining is part of the local culture and, to a certain extent, can be fun. The annoying thing is that, in some places, the sales assistant can be very insistent. Don’t ask the price or touch the item if you don’t intend to buy it. Trinkets and souvenirs usually don’t have bargains because the price is already very low. And there are stores that already warn you that the price is fixed (even with a sign at the checkout). I used to start my negotiations with half the price, but in the end I’d get a maximum of 25% off.
I hope you enjoyed these tips on Morocco. If you have any questions, leave them below in the comments section and I’ll get back to you!