Welcome to Morocco

Morocco is Europe’s gateway to the African continent and as expected, it oozes exotic charm and adventure. Bordering the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, it is distinguished by its Berber, Arabian, and European cultural influences. It is a country of many landscapes, as varied as the colors woven into each carpet. With stunning cities, immeasurable history and culture, delicious food, a beautiful coastline, and the Sahara Desert, it has been overwhelming hapless travelers for centuries.

The culture of Morocco is a blend of ethnic traditions and religion, reflecting the Berber, African, Arabs, and Jewish influence. Arabic is the official language of Morocco, spoken in the distinctive Moroccan dialect. Approximately 40% of the population (mainly in rural areas) speak Berber in one of its three different dialects (Tarafit, Tashelhiyt, and Tamazight). French is Morocco’s unofficial second language and is taught universally, serving as the country’s primary language in economics and commerce, as well as being widely used in education and government. Many Moroccans in the north of the country also speak Spanish, and English is widely spoken in tourist areas.

Throughout the centuries, several groups have left their mark on the country, the effect of which is evident in the diverse culture. The culture of Morocco is as diverse as its landscape. However, despite the diverse culture and ethnicity, the country has managed to maintain unity. The culture may differ from one region to another and is particularly evident in its cuisine, art, clothing, music, and clothing.

Table of Contents

Regions of Morocco

Top 5 Attractions in Morocco

Hassan II Mosque

The Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca is the largest mosque in Morocco, the second-largest in Africa, and the 13th largest in the world. Its minaret is the world's tallest at 689 feet (60 stories high) and has a laser at the top that points towards Mecca.

Essaouira

Essaouira is a seaside town famous for its fishing ports. The city is a wonderful day trip away from the bustle and noise of the bigger imperial cities of Morocco. The colorful boats, beautified alleyways, and streets that lead to traditional eateries & crafts businesses and shimmering waters add to its already charming nature.

Volubilis

About 30km (19 miles) north of Meknes lies the World Heritage Site of Volubilis, the former capital of the Roman province of Mauretania Tingitana and now the site of the most extensive and impressive Roman ruins in Morocco.

The Blue City of Chefchaouen

Chefchaouen is a town set on the Rif Mountain in Northwest Morocco. The different shades of blue found all over the mountain settlement were painted in the 15th century, and it was believed that the color could ward off evil spirits.

Dades Gorge

The spectacular Dades Gorges in the High Atlas Mountains is a nature-lovers haven. It is a tiny village galore comprising of fascinating red-bricked mud houses and lush green fields. Added to that, Dades Valley also boasts the Torda Gorge which is a flat rocky track alongside a mammoth canyon.

Things to See and Do in Morocco

Ride a Camel in the Sahara Desert

Take a camel ride in the Sahara Desert for an experience that is sure to be one of your favorite memories. 

Rock Climbing and Via Ferrata at the Todra Gorge

The Via Ferrata found at the Todra Gorge is an incredible climbing experience through the canyons of the High Atlas Mountains.   

Climb Mount Toubkal

At 4,167m (13,671 ft), Mount Toubkal is the highest peak in the Atlas Mountains. It is easily reached from Marrakech and lays at the heart of a network of trekking trails that offer striking high altitude mountain scenery, lush valleys, and relatively untouched Berber communities.  

Hiking in the Rif Mountains

The Rif Mountains may not have the high peaks of the Toubkal region or the dramatic gorges of the Anti-Atlas Mountains, but Morocco’s northernmost mountain range offers some laid back trekking and views of the azure Mediterranean. The best time to visit the Rif is during the spring from late March through June. The summer months can get unpleasantly hot during the day if you plan on doing any hiking or trekking, and the winter months from November to March can be quite cold.

Explore Ancient Medinas

A medina is the old part of a town or city, found in many countries of North Africa. It is typically walled and contains narrow streets, fountains, palaces, and mosques. Many medinas are car-free as there is not enough space in the alleyways for cars to pass. The word “medina” means city or town in modern-day Arabic. Some of the more notable Moroccan medinas include Marrakesh, Fez, Meknes, Essaouria, Tétouan, Rabat, Casablanca, Chefchaouen, and Tangier.

Kite/Wind/Surfing in Essauoira

Essaouira, known as “the windy city,” because of the strong Alizee trade winds make the city’s crescent beach a popular spot for surfing, windsurfing, and kitesurfing. It features a vast sandy beach that stretches for six miles offering you enormous space and freedom.

Take a Cooking Class

If you love to cook, a cooking class in Morocco is highly recommended. Learn all about the quintessential Moroccan dish — tagine. Learn about the tagine itself (a clay pot) and different ingredients and spices. Enjoy the fruits of your labor for dinner.

Learn to Make Pottery

Moroccans have been making pottery since at least the fifth century B.C., with the earliest urban pottery made after 800 A.D. Morocco is famous for it’s plates, bowls, dishes, and vases, but mostly for it’s tagine. A tagine is a unique, funnel shaped pot used to cook traditional stews. The designs used on Moroccan pottery are influenced by Berber and Islamic art, which was previously influenced by Phoenician, Roman and Byzantine designs.  Roll up your sleeves, put on an apron and get started making your own Moroccan pottery and ceramic item.

Visit Atlas Studios

If you’re a movie buff, you’ll want to visit Atlas Film Studios in Ouarzazate. It is the biggest film studio in the world, covering more than 322,000 sq ft of the desert and it was named after the vast mountain range that surrounds it. Lots of modern American desert-based movies have been filmed here: Lawrence of Arabia (1962), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), The Mummy (1999), Gladiator (2000), Kingdom of Heaven (2005),  Hanna (2011), Guy Ritchie’s remake of Aladdin (2019), and several episodes on the TV series Game of Thrones.

City Guides

Natural Wonders of Morocco

Bay of Tangier

1. Bay of Tangier

Tangier is a city located in the northern part of Morocco which faces the Mediterranean Sea. The blue skies during the day bring about the wonders of nature and the red skies during sunset are a confirmation of the innate beauty of Morocco.

todra gorge

2. Todra Gorge

Adventure seekers will appreciate traveling to the remote parts of eastern Morocco to get to the trench of gigantic rock walls that, change color and run through the High Atlas Mountains. The Gorge can be easily hiked by foot and has many places to stop for photographs along its well-maintained dirt road. Part of the spectacular scenery also includes seeing  how the local Berbers live as nomads.

Friouato Caves

3. Friouato Caves

One of the most extensive cave systems in North Africa, the Friouato Caves reach a depth of over 270 meters. However, the caves’ true limits are still debated. Much mystery surrounds the exploratory history of the caves as well. It is unclear when the inhabitants of Taza first discovered the cave system.

Tide Pools of Essaouira

4. Tide pools of Essaouira

Outside Essaouira’s old, fortified port lies the dark and rocky tide pools that frame the ancient walled city. While not brimming with sea-life, the pools are easily accessible and provide an impressive view of the old city’s medieval fortifications and of the Iles Purpuraires and Mogador Island, as well.

erg chebbi

5. Erg Chebbi

One of only two ergs – a type large windy “sand sea” – in Morocco, the locals says the dune was created when a wealthy couple turned away a tired traveler and were thus punished by having thousands of tons of sand dropped over their house. Luckily, God made the right choice! The expanses of sand at Erg Chebbi shift daily in the wind to create spectacular dunes rising 150 meters in height over the rocky desert at their base.

Festivals and Events in Morocco

Celebrating is an important aspect of Moroccan culture. Morocco is an exciting and entertaining country that lays claim to cultural, historical and religious holidays and festivals. Below is a look at some of the most popular events:

Ramadan

Ramadan is an ancient Islamic holiday whereby Muslims fast during daylight hours for thirty days. As a time to purify the soul, refocus attention on God and practice self-sacrifice, Ramadan is a sober month in Morocco. However, the end of the fast is marked by the festival Eid al-Fitr, which lasts for several days. 

Where? Throughout Morocco
When? Changes according to the Islamic calendar, check online for confirmed dates

Festival of Roses

Rose Festival is a 3-day festival in Morocco’s Dades Valley, also known as the Valley of the Roses for its fragrant rose fields.  This harvest celebration in the oasis town of Kalaat Mgouna, which is home to a large rose water distillery plant, starts on a Friday and attracts around 20,000 people and includes rose parades, traditional Berber song and dance, as well as the celebrated  Miss Roses beauty pageant.

Where? Kalaat Mgouna
When? Usually in May, check the website for confirmed dates

Fez Festival

Fez Festival is an annual world sacred music festival celebrating spiritual traditions from around the world. Considered one of the best music gatherings in the world attracting such names as Joan Baez, Patti Smith, Bjork, and Ben Harper, to name a few.

Where? Fez
When? Usually in June, check the website for confirmed dates

The Essaouira Gnaoua and World Music Festival

The Essaouira Gnaoua and World Music Festival is a famous 4-day extravaganza featuring art exhibitions and Gnaoua style, world and jazz music.

Where? Essaouira
When? Usually in June, check the website for confirmed dates

Eid-al-Adha

Eid al-Adha (“The Festival of Sacrifice”) is a global Muslim holiday that marks the end of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. During the celebration, Muslims commemorate and remember the trials and triumphs of the Prophet Abraham by slaughtering an animal such as a sheep or goat. The meat from the sacrifice is mostly given to others to symbolize the willingness to give up things in order to strengthen ties of friendship and help those who are in need.  

Where? Throughout Morocco
When? Changes according to the Islamic calendar, check online for confirmed dates

Timitar Festival

Timitar Festival is the leading celebration of Amazigh culture and world music in the Souss Massa Drâa.

Where? Agadir
When? Usually in July, check the website for confirmed dates

Marrakech Popular Art Festival

The Marrakesh Popular Arts Festival attracts entertainers and artists from all over Europe. You can expect to see musicians, dancers, fortune-tellers, acting troupes, snake charmers, and fire-swallowers.  Don’t miss the Fantasia, an after dark spectacle held outside the city walls that features hundreds of charging horsemen robed in traditional dress.

Where? Marrakesh
When? Usually in July, check the website for confirmed dates

Imilchil Marriage festival

Imilchil Marriage festival is a legendary festival that is an homage to love and celebration of Berber tradition. Every year in early fall, members of Berber communities in the Atlas Mountains gather in the rural town of Imilcil to celebrate the legend of two star-crossed lovers who drowned themselves after their parents forbade their marriage. Even though the Imilchil Festival is a wedding festival, no-one gets married during this time, but many couples get engaged at the festival.

Where? Imilchil
When? Usually in September, check the website for confirmed dates

Erfoud Date Festival

The Erfoud Date Festival is held over three days in early October to celebrate the harvest of a million date palms in the Erfoud region. After the harvest, the town comes alive for the celebration that includes traditional music, dancing, and colorful processions to sample the local food, especially dates. 

Where? Essaouira
When? Usually in June, check the website for confirmed dates

Marathon Des Sables

Marathon des Sables is often referred to as the Toughest Foot Race on Earth. This six day multi-stage race through the harsh landscapes of the Sahara Desert draws approximately 1,200 competitors from 30 countries each year, with finishers completing a total distance of 250km/ 156 miles. Competitors must be self-sufficient, carrying their own food and equipment and sleeping in communal tents set up along the way.

Where? Sahara Desert
When? Usually in April, but moved to October in 2021, check the website for confirmed dates

Marrakesh international film fest

International Film Festival in Marrakesh is the largest event devoted to film that attracts leading Hollywood film directors.

Where? Marrakesh
When? Usually in December, check the website for confirmed dates

 

Where to Stay

Looking for a place to rest your head in Morocco? Here are some of our favorite places to stay in Morocco for your next visit:

Booking.com

Airbnb is also a great choice for accommodation in Morocco. You choose from a private room in someone’s house, an entire apartment, a condominium, or a riad. If you have not used Airbnb, it’s a great alternative for connecting with homeowners who rent out their homes or apartments. If you’re new to Airbnb, get up to $65 off your first stay!

When to Go

The best time to visit Morocco typically is during the shoulder season, which is April/ May and September to November. The temperatures are mild and there’s less risk of severe weather during this time. Hotel rates are also cheaper during this time and there is less tourist traffic. The average temperature during this time is around 70°F in Casablanca and Marrakesh.  In the Sahara Desert, temperatures average around 80°F in the day and in the 50’s/60’s at night. In the Atlas Mountains, temperatures can be much cooler and rainfall is unpredictable, so come prepared. The fall season in particular is a great time for hiking. 

Summer lasts from June to August and temperatures can be very hot, especially the further south you go, including Marrakesh and Fez. People tend to head to the coast during this time to enjoy places like Tangier, Rabat, and Essaouira.

Winter is from December to February and although the weather is typically mild, temperatures do drop in the evening, often as low as 27°F in Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains get a ton of snowfall.  Winters in the north and along the coast are very wet and therefore it’s not a great time to visit. 

MARRAKESH CURRENT WEATHER
TANGIER CURRENT WEATHER
FEZ CURRENT WEATHER
ESSAOUIRA CURRENT WEATHER

How to Get Around

Travelers have many options for traveling around Morocco’s varied mountain and desert landscapes, whether it be by air, train, bus, taxi, or rental car.

AIR

Most international visitors fly into Casablanca’s Mohammed V International Airport or Menara Airport in Marrakesh. The main domestic airline carrier in Morocco is Royal Air Maroc. It is part of the Oneworld Alliance (same as American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay, Quantas, and 15 others), so when you travel on one of the smaller suppliers, you can still earn points on your Oneworld account as long as you’re using the same number consistently.  Royal Air Maroc services secondary cities such as Zagora, Errachidia, and Essaouira. Keep in mind that some of these planes are quite small, so be sure to check the baggage restrictions; they’ll likely be different than those on your international flight.

TRAIN

Morocco’s national network of trains, operated by ONCF (Office of National De Chemins de Fer), serves major cities including Fez, Marrakesh, Casablanca, Tangier, Rabat, and Meknes. Recently added high-speed service has reduced the travel time between Casablanca and Fez to three hours and 20 minutes, down from four and a half hours. The ONCF runs Supratours buses that provide onward links to cities that aren’t served by trains.

Rail travel in Morocco is quite cheap when compared to that in Europe and North America. The trains are comfortable and usually on time, but service disruptions and delays do happen, so allow a little wiggle room in your schedule. Most intercity routes are served by air-conditioned Train Rapide Climatise (TRC) trains, though you might occasionally find yourself on a less comfortable Train Navette Rapide (TNR) route if you’re traveling locally or late at night. TRC trains have two classes of service; first-class has fewer seats per compartment than second class, and your ticket includes a reserved seat. In second class, you choose any seat that’s available.

BUS

The cheapest and most popular way to travel around the country is by bus. A complex network of private bus companies crisscrosses the country, with many competing lines covering the most popular routes. The “big four” major national operators are:

Some companies, CTM included, operate overnight services on long-distance routes, such as between Fes and Marrakech; Casablanca and Tangier; and Casablanca and Er Rachidia. In the Summer, these services are a popular, and cooler, alternative to traveling during the day.

TAXI

Grand taxis are shared taxis that carry up to six passengers — two in the front beside the driver and four in the back. You’ll find aging Mercedes sedans at taxi stands and near bus and train stations. Grand taxis serve longer routes between towns, and they don’t leave until they’re full.  There are no meters, so be prepared to negotiate if necessary. If you have a lot of luggage, you may be surcharged.

Petit taxis are a smaller option for in-town trips, as they are not licensed to leave the city limits. They can carry up to three passengers and are usually metered. These taxis are quite inexpensive, but rates go up by 50% after 8 pm. You can flag them down from the street or find them near bus or train stations.

RENTAL CAR

Driving around in a rental car isn’t typically recommended in Morocco. Drivers are aggressive and accident rates are high and a lack of road safety awareness by pedestrians, cyclists, and moped riders can make for a stressful experience. However, if you’re looking to get off the beaten path, renting a car can be a useful option.

Numerous major international car rental agencies operate in Morocco, including Avis, Budget, Hertz, and Sixt. These are the best options if you prefer to book in advance, though you may find lower rates from local agencies once you arrive. An International Driving Permit is recommended; you can get one through AAA in the U.S. Most agencies have a minimum rental age of 21.

Moroccans drive on the right side of the road, and there are highways (sometimes with tolls) between many major cities. Police speed traps and checkpoints are common, so try to stick to the speed limit. We recommend traveling only during daylight hours, as it’s legal here to drive after dark without headlights if you’re going less than 20 kph (about 12 mph).

Budgeting

ACCOMMODATION

Morocco offers travelers a range of year-round accommodations, including trendy medina houses, world-class luxury hotels, and beach resorts, desert and mountain kasbahs, and grand sultan palaces. The traditional dwellings within the medina are called riads or dars. The Arabic word riad translates to “garden,” while dar simply means “house,” and this is the main distinction between the two dwellings. The courtyard in a riad has both a fountain and a garden. Morocco’s other major style of accommodations is the guesthouse, or maison d’hôte. Generally, these are in the expensive and very expensive price range, offering services similar to what you would expect from a four-star hotel.

Budget: You can find a variety of hostels with dorm rooms, private rooms, free breakfast, hot showers, and central locations starting at around $8-12/ night.

Mid-Range: Mid-Range hotels typically come with a hotel restaurant and bar, rooms with flat-screen TV’s and free WiFi, a swimming pool, and room service starting around $40/ night.

Luxury: For 5-star hotels with spa services, fine dining, swimming pools, private suites, a fitness center, and an airport shuttle, you’ll pay about $100/ night.

FOOD

While meal prices in Morocco can vary, it’s extremely easy to eat well and cheaply in Morocco. When dining out, an average meal in Morocco should cost around 46 MAD ($5 USD) per person. Street food is even less expensive. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. We recommend a budget of approximately 120 MAD ($15 USD) per day for food.

Packing Tips

The coastal regions of Morocco generally have a Mediterranean climate, however, as you move further inland, the conditions can become more extreme and elevation can play a role in the changeable weather conditions. When packing for Morocco, you should keep in mind that it is also a Muslim country, and modesty is respected. Travelers are expected to follow the country’s etiquette. In villages and small towns as well as the medinas in large cities, many women still wear the veil and the street is seen as strictly the man’s domain. Below are some packing tips when preparing for your trip to Morocco:
  • Women should avoid wearing revealing clothes, like shorts, low cut shirts, or thin-strapped blouses. Please be respectful and refrain from bearing shoulders and legs.
  • Pack a sarong for use as a beach coverup, for a head covering when visiting mosques, or for use as a towel.
  • Pack loose clothing with breathable fabric, especially if you plan on heading into the Sahara desert or to one of the coastal regions.
  • Pack a pair of lightweight, durable and comfortable shoes. Moroccan streets can be dusty and unclean, so closed-toe shoes are recommended.
  • When visiting religious sites and areas outside of capital cities, long pants or skirts and long-sleeved shirts are required.
  • Laundry facilities are offered by some hotels for a charge. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry, so we suggest you bring biodegradable soap.

Morocco: Suggested Reading

Despite more than 10 million tourists coming to Morocco each year, there is remarkably little that has been written about its people, their customs and the extraordinary range of places to visit, from bustling markets to vast, empty deserts. Alice makes sure she samples it all, and as she does she provides a stunning portrait of a beautiful country. As a lone woman, she often attracts plenty of curiosity, but her willingness to participate – whether thigh deep in pigeon droppings in a tannery or helping out herding goats – ensures that she is welcomed everywhere by a people who are among the most hospitable on the planet.

Morocco is a country in transition – a unique blend of Arab, African, and European ways of life. The teeming cities have an air of sophistication and joie de vivre, but life in rural areas has stayed much the same. And while the cities are highly westernized, tradition and religion still play a vital role in the everyday life of most people.

Culture Smart! Morocco describes the way the country’s past has shaped its present, advising tourists and business travelers on what to expect and how to behave in different situations.

Edith Wharton was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist, short story writer and designer. She was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1927, 1928 and 1930. Wharton combined her insider’s view of America’s privileged classes with a brilliant, natural wit to write humorous, incisive novels and short stories of social and psychological insight. 

During her travels in Morocco in 1917, Wharton kept a rather complete, descriptive account of her experiences. As expected of such a superbly talented author, her observations are well written and interesting. Wharton provides some historical perspective and unusual insight into the travel of that period and into the lives of women. Her account of visits to harems provide the most educational and fascinating reading. 

Nelly Chinn survived German/Vichy French occupation during World War II to become, in later years, knighted by the French government. In this collection of her memories, which spans from the 1930s through 2001, Nelly shares her experiences during historic events as well as, often amusing, everyday moments from her idyllic childhood in Casablanca, her later life in England, and her travel adventures.

Morocco Travel: Related Articles

Responsible Travel in Morocco

Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards the local people we encounter, their culture, local economies and the environment. It’s important to remember that what may be acceptable behavior, dress, and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while traveling.

Top Responsible Travel Tips

  • Be considerate of the customs, traditions, religion, and culture.
  • Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.
  • Learn some local language and don’t be afraid to use it – simple greetings will help break the ice.
  • Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.
  • Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.
  • Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.
  • Refrain from touching or interfering with ancient monuments, relics or historic sites.

Morocco Travel FAQ's

All countries require a valid passport (valid for a minimum of 6 months after the date of departure), but some also require a visa. Click here for the most up-to-date visa requirements. It’s your responsibility to have the correct travel documentation. Please visit our travel resources page https://adventurepeople.net/travel-resources/ for links to helpful websites.

Traveling in Morocco is an intense experience and it also comes with its share of petty crime.  You need to exercise some common sense while traveling through Morocco, but you should be prepared, not paranoid. The crime in Morocco is almost exclusively petty and opportunistic, however, there have been instances of travelers being robbed at knifepoint in the major urban centers; mostly in quiet areas and along beaches at night.

You should also enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program so you are kept up to date with important safety and security announcements.

While most Moroccans are honest and helpful, there will always be someone who takes advantage of the crowds. Souks are like magnets for the petty thieves. Pickpocketing and purse-snatching are very common, and visitors should avoid wearing jewelry or carrying large sums of cash. Instead, wear a money belt or use the hotel safe for your valuables and carry just a minimal amount of cash.

Pickpockets often work in a group, so if you’re distracted by someone, make sure you know where your belongings are. Keep a distance and be vigilant. Never leave your bag on a table or hanging on a chair in a restaurant.

Always look like you know where you’re going. Looking like a lost sheep on the streets will draw attention to you immediately.

Snatch and grab robberies by scooter have been reported, so always walk away from the roadside and keep your bag close on the opposing side.

Credit card fraud does happen, so never let your credit card out of sight when paying a bill.  In larger cities, aggressive begging is common at ATM’s, so try to use ATM’s inside buildings and banks.

Riads are eighteenth or nineteenth century family houses, usually found in the medinas of the major towns and cities in Morocco such as Marrakech, Essaouira and Fez.

Now often converted into boutique hotels or maison d’hôtes, they offer visitors to Morocco the chance to stay in authentic and often luxurious Moroccan accommodation hidden away behind unassuming front doors.

Riads are typically 4-10 bedrooms in size, and conform to a traditional Moroccan architectural style that sets most of the major rooms of the house around a courtyard. The courtyards often contain a garden or small swimming or plunge pool, and gives guests a cool and private inner area within the property. Most also have rooftop terraces providing views across the surrounding town or countryside.

Riads typically include breakfast in the quoted room rates, and many offer an optional lunch and dinner in informal courtyard dining areas or salons.

Morocco is Western European Time (GMT) and eight hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time (PST) in the USA. Please visit https://www.timeanddate.com/sun/morocco to find out sunrise and sunset hours for your dates of travel.

In Morocco, the local currency is the Moroccan Dirham (MAD). Banknotes come in denominations of MAD 200, 100, 50, and 20. Smaller values are issued as coins in values of 10, 5, 1 as well as 50c, 20c, 10c, and 5c. Changing money is easy and you will find banks and exchange bureaux in Casablanca, Fes, and Marrakech. As currency exchange rates do fluctuate, we ask that you refer to the following website for the most up-to-date daily exchange rates, www.oanda.com or www.xe.com. Please note that sometimes Australian dollars are not accepted in exchange bureaux or banks, so the safest option is to bring US dollars. Slightly torn notes or notes that have been heavily marked or are faded may be difficult to exchange. It is best to bring notes in fairly good condition, in the denomination lower than 100USD (or equivalent). Please ensure you only use banks, licensed money exchangers, or hotels. Do not change money with street touts. This is illegal.

Morocco uses type C and E outlets and the voltage is 220 volts/ 50Hz. In the US, we use types A and B, 120 volts/ 60Hz. For using your electronics in Morocco, you will need a voltage converter in addition to a plug adapter. We recommend getting a universal adapter and converter kit. Note: Many electronics already have a built-in voltage converter, so please check the manufacturer’s label for specifications. We recommend getting a universal adapter and converter kit. For more information, visit our blog post for Essential Travel Gear.

Morocco has a strong tipping culture. Tips are regarded as an essential means of supplementing income for those working in the tourism industry. The following tipping amounts are based on local considerations. Please don’t tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded as an insult.

Restaurants & Street Food:

  • Food Vendor, Juice Stall, etc. – 1 or 2 dh per person; optional
  • Waiter – Café or Small Local Eatery – 5% to 10% of bill OR 5 to 10 dh per person
  • Waiter – Mid-range or Upscale Restaurant – 10% to 15% of the bill (Check to be sure that a tip is not already included.)

Tour Guides:

  • Tour Guide – Multi-Day Large Group Tour – 200 dh per booking party for every 5 to 7 days (more if your booking party is large; pay at conclusion of tour.)
  • Tour Guide – Full Day – 150 dh per person; or 300 to 400 dh per booking party
  • Tour Guide – Half Day – 100 dh per person; or 200 to 300 dh per booking party
  • Unofficial Guide – 5 to 10 dh per person (Use with caution. May try to take you to shops where they earn a commission or will abandon you if police are around.)

Drivers & Transportation Services:

  • Petit Taxi Driver – Round up to 5 or 10 dh (Be sure the meter is running; some taxi drivers take advantage of tourists by quoting high fixed prices.)
  • Airport Transfer (one way) – 20 to 50 dh per person; 100 dh per booking party
  • Local Transfer (one way) – 10 to 20 dh per person; 50 dh per booking party
  • Tour Driver – Multi-Day – Car, Van, or Minibus – 100 dh per day per booking party (More if private driver; pay at conclusion of tour.)
  • Tour Driver – Full Day – Car, Van or Minibus – 200 dh per booking party
  • Tour Driver – Half Day – Car, Van or Minibus – 100 dh per booking party
  • Coach Bus Driver (large group tours) – 10 to 20 dh per person per day

Sites, Activities, Attractions, and Performers:

  • Museum or Site Guide – 10 to 20 dh per person or 50 to 100 dh per party; more for large group
  • Museum or Site Guardian – 5 to 10 dh; optional but nice gesture
  • Camel Ride or Horseback Riding Guide – 10 to 20 dh per person; more for treks
  • Cooking Class Instructor – tipping not expected
  • Meals with Locals Host – tipping not expected
  • Artisan Workshop Instructor – 20 to 50 dh per person; 200 dh per booking party
  • Live Entertainment (in a restaurant, hotel, etc.) – 20 to 50 dh per party; optional but nice gesture

In the Markets:

  • For Taking Photos of a Vendor, Artisan or Products – 5 to 10 dh (Always ask first. In high-tourist areas, some shopkeepers display signs letting you know that they expect this tip.)
  • Monkey Grinder, Snake Charmer, etc. – 10 dh to hold or pose with the animal. (Please avoid this; many feel it encourages poaching and puts endangered animals at risk.)
  • Beggars – 1 to 2 dh (Usually best to ignore; give only small change if you want to.)

Hotels, Riads, and Guesthouses:

  • Bellboy – 10 to 20 dh (more if handling many bags)
  • Concierge – 10 to 20 dh per service OR 50 to 100 dh upon checking out (only if provided service)
  • Housekeeper or Chambermaid – 10 to 20 dh per day OR 100 dh per week (One site suggests slipping the tip into a pillowcase to ensure a supervisor doesn’t claim the tip for herself.)
  • Doorman – 5 to 10 dh for hailing cab (OR lump sum of 20 dh upon checking out; more for extended stay)
  • Room Service – 10% of bill (Check to see if this has already been included in check.)
  • Breakfast Buffet Manager – 20 to 50 dh; optional but nice gesture (Tip after final breakfast if you feel service was attentive.)

Spas and Salons:

  • Hammam – Turkish Bath – 20 to 50 dh per attendant; depending on whether modest or upscale (Luxury package deals might include exfoliation, massage, henna, etc. so there will be more people to tip.)
  • Spa Services – hair, facials, waxing, massages, etc. – 10% for each service (Tip the appropriate attendant or stylist directly for each service.)
  • Salon – haircuts, highlights, coloring, etc. – 10% to primary stylist; additional 10 dh per assistant (ie. hair washing, color application, etc.)
  • Salon – Manicures, pedicures, waxing, etc. – 10% of service(s); additional 10 dh per assistant, if any

Parking and Gas Stations:

  • Street Parking Guardian – 3 dh average; 5 dh in nice areas; 10 dh may be expected for premium spots (Guardians may or may not be found at metered street parking areas which are indicated by blue lines; be sure to display your meter ticket in the windshield.)
  • Valet Parking – 10 to 20 dh
  • Parking Lot Attendant – 10 to 20 dh (Depends on location; ask if price is not displayed.)
  • Car Washing (external only) – 20 dh (sometimes offered by a parking attendant or guardian)
  • Gas Station Attendant – 2 dh (optional for pumping gas, cleaning windshield, or checking air tire pressure, etc.)

Mobile coverage is generally excellent in Morocco’s cities and metropolitan areas, although expect limited coverage in remote, desert, or mountainous areas. You may also want to invest in a Morocco SIM Card (OneSimCard), which is a low-cost cell phone service that allows you to pay for the calls, texts and data you use and keep the same international cell phone number no matter which country you are in. Otherwise, global roaming can be activated with your current service provider, but be sure to check the charges associated with this as it can often be very expensive, especially in Morocco.

Buying a SIM Card in Morocco

To avoid roaming charges, it is possible to buy a local SIM card in Morocco. Make sure that your phone is unlocked before you leave home so a local SIM will be compatible. Morocco has three main mobile phone networks – Meditel, Maroc Telecom, and Inwi – all of which have great coverage. 4G is widely available in the main cities and towns of Morocco.

You’ll be able to buy a SIM from a teleboutique, or at a newsstand, kiosk, or convenience store, and this will usually set you back around 100 dirham (around USD 10) for a fair amount of calls and mobile data. Depending on the time you travel, there will be a range of prepaid deals offered by these providers.

Please note that some Moroccan telecommunications companies have blocked the call feature on internet calling apps like Skype and WhatsApp so customers use their local call network. Messaging services on these apps are not blocked. If you’d like to call with apps like this during your time in Morocco, you may need to install a Virtual Private Network (VPN) on your mobile phone.

Drinking water directly from a tap in Morocco isn’t a good idea. However, the Moroccan authorities are concerned about the pollution caused by plastic from bottled water, and many hotels have filtered water for guests which is considered safe to drink.

In the desert and Atlas Mountains opportunities to exchange money are limited. There are ATMs in all major cities, which accept Visa cards, MasterCards, and cards connected with Cirrus. Some ATMs, belonging to smaller banks, will not work so occasionally you may need to try two or three before you are successful. 

We would strongly recommend bringing a combination of cash and credit cards. Credit cards are useful for large purchases such as carpets or gold from a large store, but generally speaking, they are not accepted in many places. You should be aware that an international service fee of 5%-10% usually applies, so check with your bank before departure. Local restaurants, markets, and many hotels will only accept cash as payment for goods or services. We also suggest you keep your receipts. 

If taking a Petit taxi (up to 3 passengers within the city limits), make sure the taxi’s meter is turned on. If the driver won’t turn it on, choose another taxi. If there is no meter, make sure you negotiate the rate before hopping in.

If taking a Grand taxi (up to 6 passengers for longer distances), there are no meters so negotiate the price. Ask your hotel to tell you the price you should pay. Some of the Grand taxis have defined routes and won’t take you to exactly where you want. You may have to do one or two hops to get to your destination.