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.
Below is a collection of curated tours from our travel partners to suit any length of time you have to travel. Please be advised that once a booking is made through our platform, you will be booking directly with the company offering this tour. Gather up your friends or family and choose your departure date. Tours are the best way to have an adventure of a lifetime!
Looking for a completely custom itinerary for you and your group? We can customize your Morocco trip to suit your preferences. Just tell us what your dream holiday looks like and we will bring it to life! Please list all the activities you would like to engage in and the types of accommodation you prefer. Please click the button below and submit the form so we can get to work on creating your holiday in Morocco.
Please be advised that a $500 USD non-refundable deposit is due up front and will be deducted from the trip price once the itinerary is finalized based on your liking and approval.
If you can dream it, we can create it!
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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.
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:
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Take a camel ride in the Sahara Desert for an experience that is sure to be one of your favorite memories.
The Via Ferrata found at the Todra Gorge is an incredible climbing experience through the canyons of the High Atlas Mountains.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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
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 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.
When? Usually in June, check the website for confirmed dates
The Essaouira Gnaoua and World Music Festival is a famous 4-day extravaganza featuring art exhibitions and Gnaoua style, world and jazz music.
When? Usually in June, check the website for confirmed dates
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
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.
When? Usually in July, check the website for confirmed dates
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.
When? Usually in September, check the website for confirmed dates
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.
When? Usually in June, check the website for confirmed dates
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
International Film Festival in Marrakesh is the largest event devoted to film that attracts leading Hollywood film directors.
When? Usually in December, check the website for confirmed dates
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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:
Drivers & Transportation Services:
Sites, Activities, Attractions, and Performers:
In the Markets:
Hotels, Riads, and Guesthouses:
Spas and Salons:
Parking and Gas Stations:
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.
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