Sunset in Marrakesh - Guide to Morocco

Guide to Morocco

Moroccan Flag - Guide to Morocco
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Morocco is one of those places that has this mystique about it with an ancient and complex culture but also a modern vitality. Morocco has stunning landscapes, beautiful architecture, and people with a genuine warm hospitality. Whether you’re hiking the mountains or navigating your way through the souks, Morocco is a country offering a diverse range of experiences for travelers. Explore all that Morocco has to offer in this Guide to Morocco.

Read everything you need to know to visit Morocco in our Guide to Morocco. If you prefer to skip ahead and read specific articles about Morocco you can scroll to the bottom of this page or click the Morocco Travel Guides link at the bottom of the Table of Contents.

Morocco Quick Info - Facts about Morocco including its capital, population, language, currency, and voltage

About Morocco

Morocco, officially called the Kingdom of Morocco, sits at the top western side of the continent of Africa. The Atlantic Ocean is off the west coast and the Mediterranean Sea sits to the North. Algeria sits to the east and The Sahara Desert sits to the south. Morocco has been occupied by humans for at least 90,000 years, going back to the Paleolithic times. The capital of Morocco is Rabat but the largest city is Casablanca.

Guide to Morocco: Morocco’s History

Morocco’s history dates back thousands of years with evidence of humans living in the area dating to prehistoric times. Many ancient civilizations like the Phoenicians and Romans have all left their mark on the region.

In the 7th century Arab counquerors brought Islam to Morocco. This would establish the foundations of what would become Moroccan culture and it’s identity. But the indigenous Berber people played a significant role in shaping the region’s history and they resisted Arab rule.

Over many centuries Morocco would see the rise and fall of various dynasties, all of them contributing and shaping the country’s cultural and architectural heritage. In the 15th century, European powers began to establish a presence in Morocco which led to conflict for control over the strategic coastal regions.

In 1912, Morocco became a French and Spanish protectorate with each colonial power controlling a specific region in the country. It wasn’t until 1956 that Morocco finally gained it’s indpendence and Sultan Mohammed V became the country’s first king.

Best time to visit Morocco

Morocco is a big tourist destination and so some things you’ll need to consider is the weather and crowds. Morocco is mostly hot but does cool down considerably at night in some of the towns in or near the mountains.

The most popular times of the year to visit Morocco are the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November). It will still be warm or hot in some cities but much more tolerable than the summer. Spring and fall will have warm to hot days and cooler nights. The summer months will be VERY hot and crowded. Summer is the peak tourist season and it will be really crowded, especially in the popular cities of Marrakech and Fes.

The winter months from December to February will vary depending on the location. The coastal and mountain areas can get chilly, especially at night and the Atlas Mountains actually has a ski resort. Days in the desert will still be sunny and warm but cool at night. If you want to experience winter in Morocco then travel there during this time.

Areas of interest in Morocco

There is a LOT of things to see and do in Morocco and unless you have a few weeks to a month, you probably won’t see it all on one trip. The following places in Morocco are definitely worth considering adding to your Morocco Itinerary.

  1. Rabat: Rabat is the captial of Morocco and there are some places worth visiting in Rabat. Rabat’s Kashbah is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with narrow alleys, whitewashed houses, and blue accents. The mausoleum of Mohammed V is also located in Rabat along with the the Hassan Tower. There’s also a Medina in the old town, Andalusian Gardens, and the Royal Palace.
  2. Fes: The Old Medina in Fes is the world’s largest car-free urban area with over 10,000 alleys to explore. This UNESCO site has artisan workshops and historic architecture and is the most popular thing to do in Fes. One of the oldest universities in the world is located in Fes as well as the Chouara Tannery, museums with a diverse collection of Moroccan art, and the impressive architecture at Bou Inania Madrasa.
  3. Chefchaouen: Referred to as the “Blue Pearl” of Morocco, this picturesque town with its blue-washed buildings makes Chefchaouen a top destination in Morocco. Wander the maze of alleyways of the medina, visit the Kasbah Museum, or hike to the Spanish Mosque for views of the city and surrounding mountains.
  4. Marrakech: Marrakech is known as the “Red City” due to the color of its historic buildings and city walls. The red city is known for being busy and chaotic but full of beautiful architecture, a rich history, and a vibrant culture. Spend time in the evening at Jemaa el-Fnaa, the main square with street performers and food stalls. During the day you can visit the Medina, historic palaces and gardens, or take a day trip to the Atlas Mountains
  5. Essaouira: this coastal city is located on Morocco’s Atlantic coast has a relaxed atmosphere, white and blue architecture, and lively markets. Head to the harbor to check out the boats or head to the beaches.
  6. Casablanca: Morocco’s largest city is the economic capital of the country and much more modern than other cities in Morocco. Made famous by the movie of the same name, Casablanca is home to the Hassan II Mosque, one of the world’s largest. You can also explore the medina, walk along the coast, or explore the Quartier Habous, a charming district known for it’s archtecture and handicrafts market.

Guide to Morocco: Visa requirements

Most people traveling to Morocco do not need a visa for stays up to 90 days including the United States, the European Union, Canada, and Australia. However, you do have to have at least 6 months left on your passport and a return ticket for leaving the country within those 90 days.

Getting to Morocco

Most people traveling to Morocco will fly to one of two International Airports: the Mohammed V International Airport in Casablanca or the Menara International Airport in Marrakech. If you’re coming from Europe you also have the option of catching a ferry from Spain, France, or Italy.

Guide to Morocco: Budget

Morocco is very affordable from hotels to food to souvenirs. Your flight and hotel will be the most expensive part of the trip but still very reasonable.

Accomodations in Morocco

Morocco’s lodging ranges from very affordable to luxury. There are some really nice hotels if you want to splurge! You can find hostals in Marrakech for about $20 a night or luxury hotels for almost $2000 a night. You can even find nice 4 star spa hotels for around $100. There’s definitely something for everyone’s budget.

Consider staying in a Riad which is similar to a bed and breakfast. These are traditional Moroccan homes that usually have less than 10 rooms and have unique Moroccan architecture and design.

Food & Drink in Morocco

Moroccan cuisine is full of rich flavors with diverse influences from Arab, Berber, Mediterranean, and African traditions. Some of the most popular dishes in Morocco include Tagine, a Moroccan type stew with meat such as chicken or lamb, vegetables, couscous, and a sweet meat filled pastry called Pastilla. You can have a Moroccan meal for around $5-10.

You won’t find a lot of places that serve beer or alcohol because Islamic law prohibits the consumption of alcohol for Muslims. However you will find alcohol in some restaurants and hotels that cater to travelers and in larger cities like Marrakech and you can purchase it at liquor stores. It’s not cheaper to drink in Morocco but it’s not really any more than any other place in the world.

Activities in Morocco

There is a LOT to do in Morocco and luckily most of it is very affordable. However, there are some expensive things to do like camping in the Sahara. But can you really put a price on a once in a lifetime experience? You can expect to pay around $300 a night to do that but there are plenty of things to do that won’t cost much at all.

Walking around Jemma el-Fnaa Square in Marrakech and watching the performers is free. Although they will expect a tip if you’re taking pictures. A visit to El Badi Palace in Marrakech is only about $7, the Saadian Tombs are $6, and the Dar Si Said Museum is just $3.

Shopping in Morocco

Morocco is very affordable and that also includes shopping for souvenirs. If you plan on buying a Moroccan rug the prices will range all over the place. Older rugs will cost more since they are hand made while newer rugs that have been made by a machine will cost less. No matter what, it is expected that you will haggle. Everything in Morocco is negotiable.

Guide to Morocco: Getting Around

While in Morocco you’ll need to find a way to get from one city to the next. Morocco’s most popular destinations are pretty far apart and with some of the mountainous areas you might need to take the long way to get to your next town. There are a lot of ways to get around Morocco and may need to take a combination of ways.

Air Travel

Morocco’s largest and most popular destinations have airports and if you are on limited time then this will be the fastest way to get around. However, only the largest cities such as Casablanca, Fes, and Marrakech have daily flights. If you only plan to visit Marrakech and Fes and you have a short time on your vacation then you might need to consider flying to and from Fes.

Train Travel

Morocco has a national railway company that operates trains between major cities like Casablanca, Marrakech, Rabat, Fes, and Tangier. The trains can be booked online and should be booked ahead of time. They can fill up quickly as the travel day approaches so you should book your train travel at least a month ahead of time or earlier if you travel there during the busy season. They are affordable too, around $25-40 depending on how far you’re going.

Bus Travel

Morocco has an extensive bus system, CTM, that is a reliable and popular way of traveling in Morocco. The bus sytem connects some of the smaller cities like Chefchaouen that do not have trains to the larger cities like Fes. The buses are large touring buses that are very comfortable and affordable. Most cities have buses that leave throughout the day but you should still plan ahead and book at least 1-2 weeks ahead of time to ensure you get a spot.


Morocco does not have Uber but they do have taxis. Morocco has what’s called Grand Taxis and Petite Taxis. The Grand Taxis can travel longer distances and it’s common for them to be shared among passengers to be more cost effective. The Grand Taxis will travel between different cities. Petite taxis are taxis that are metered and only travel short distances within the city. No matter which one you take you want to agree on the price ahead of time.

Private Transfer

We mostly used private transfers while we were in Morocco. This is where you arrange for a transfer between one hotel to another, a door-to-door transfer. You can use these for traveling between cities or for day trips. It’s very affordable, especially when there are multiple people.

Car Rental

Cars are available to rent in Morocco and are fairly reasonable. If you plan on traveling to lesser known places or to travel through the mountains then you may want to rent a car. It’s a much more convenient option for those who don’t have a set itinerary or if you think there’s a chance your plans might change.


Many cities, even the larger ones like Marrakech, are best explored by foot. In the older towns like Fes and Marrakech, you cannot even drive in the older parts of the city like the medinas. There are a lot of side streets and alleys you’ll be walking through and cars are not allowed in many of those areas.

Guide to Morocco: Staying connected

Morocco has good internet service and a lot of hotels and restaurants have Wi-Fi. You can get a SIM card at the airport or at mobile provider stores or at convenience stores and kiosks. Service will be limited in remote areas such as the desert and mountains. If you buy a local SIM card it will be registered to your passport. You can just remove your SIM (but save it), put the Morocco SIM card in your phone, purchase data and that’s it. You can buy around 10GB of data for about $10.

Safety in Morocco

Morocco is fairly safe but does have some issues. You need to watch for scammers and pick pockets. Morocco is a Muslim country and women there dress very conservatively so if you are a female traveling to Morocco I would suggest doing the same. You can still wear shorts and tank tops but should stay away from really revealing clothing. Women may get harassed if you are traveling alone so be careful especially at night when crowds start to die down. There’s a lot of dark alleys where accommodations are so make sure you are watching your surroundings.

How long do you need in Morocco?

How much time do you have? There is a LOT to see in Morocco but most people only visit Marrakech and Fes. You could just visit those two places and you will get a good picture of Moroccan life and culture. However, I would recommend a few smaller towns as well. I’ve been to Morocco twice for a total of 19 days and still have more I want to see. I think 10 days is good amount of time to visit Morocco and you could visit 4-5 cities during that time.

Guide to Morocco: Bucket List Ideas

Map of Morocco and the location of all the major cities.
Morocco Bucket List - All the best places to visit while in Morocco


Morocco Travel Guides