Quite possibly one of the richest cultural experiences you can have, Morocco is a must-add to your bucket list. The food is comforting and flavorful, the landscapes are unique and relatively untouched, and the curious mix of Arabic and French culture is fascinating. Whether you’re looking for an outdoor adventure, city-exploration or beach vacation, Morocco’s got you covered.
Morocco Travel Guide Quick Links
- Best Travel Tips for Morocco
- Best Time of Year to Visit Morocco
- Best Places to Visit in Morocco
- Best Food and Drink in Morocco
Best Travel Tips for Morocco
Safety in Morocco. One of the most asked questions by those interested in traveling to Morocco is: is it safe? Our answer in a nutshell is, yes. But just like we advise in our travel guide for Colombia, you still have to be careful. You’re more likely to get scammed and pick-pocketed than to encounter a violent crime, given how many tourist police are present in big cities like the capital of Morocco, Marrakech. One way to keep your belongings secure is to get an anti-theft backpack, like the Solgaard Lifepack. Those secret pockets and the built-in lock will go a long way when you’re walking through the medina.
Bargain Respectfully. Speaking of the medina, you can find all sorts of treasures in the many pathways of Marrakech’s famous market. There, you’ll find hammam bathhouses, to luxurious riads (a traditional Moroccan house with a center courtyard), to carpets, light fixtures and spices. When something catches your eye, it’s alright to bargain. But keep in mind where you come from, because the difference of $1.00USD (9.50MAD) may be trivial to you, but means a lot to the vendor. And remember to say shukraan (thank you).
Getting Around. While taxis and public busses are fine for getting around the city, consider private transportation if you’re going a long way. Otherwise, you can rent a car or scooter by half or full days. Meters are required in taxis but they are rarely used. Insist that the meter is turned on or negotiate the price before you get in the taxi. Pay with the exact fare, because you won’t get any change back.
Best Time of Year to Visit Morocco
Morocco is nestled in the North of Africa, right under Spain and above the equator. Summers are warm and winters are mild, but the best time to visit is spring and fall.
The high season in Morocco coincides with European summer vacation from mid-June to the end of August. That means you’ll be fighting crowds, seeing higher prices, and battling the heat. Your best bet is to stick with the shoulder seasons from April to May with highs of 83°F (28°C) and lows of 54°F (12°C), or September to November which sees highs of 91°F (32°C) and lows of 60°F (15°C).
Best Places to Visit in Morocco
Chefchaouen. The city of blue is as enchanting as it looks in photos. It’s main attraction is the town itself and the surrounding mountainous area. Get your fix of Instagram photos, enjoy a traditional hammam steam bath and vigorous scrub down to stay warm if you’re visiting in early spring.
Marrakech. The hustle and bustle is real in the capital and there’s something incredible about the sound of the morning call to prayer that covers the city. On one end, you might see camels laying about, and on the other, luxurious palaces and riads. The energy is real in Marrakech and it’s something special that can’t be missed.
The Sahara Desert. The Sahara Desert is a 12-hour bus ride from Marrakech and well worth the trip. There are no words to describe the vastness of these sandy mountains and if you stay the night, you’ll see the stars like never before. There’s only one way to get into the desert, and that’s by camel. Make sure to choose ethical operators and politely speak up if you see camels being mistreated.
Essaouira. Right on the coast of North Africa, the white and blue city of Essaouira is a calm version of Marrakech. The town is protected by an impressive wall, and it's easy to access the beach, where you’ll be tempted to give kitesurfing a try. They’ve also got their own medina where you can pick up many of the same things you can get in Marrakech, without the hassle.
Taghazout. A surfer’s paradise, Taghazout offers a resort-like experience for beach-lovers. Traditionally a fishing village, it has a nice mix of authentic Moroccan charm and modern comforts. They even have coworking and coliving spaces to accommodate nomadic surfers and digital nomads.
The Best Food and Drink in Morocco
No travel guide is complete without the mention of food. Fortunately, when you travel to Morocco, you won’t be able to get away from trying at least a few of these tasty dishes and drinks.
- Moroccan Mint Tea: Besides the fact that the traditional way of pouring mint tea in Morocco is impressive AF, the tea itself is super refreshing. The tea is poured from a height to create bubbles, which tells the pourer whether the tea has been steeped long enough or not. It’s typically served with a generous amount of sugar, so be sure to order it with less sugar or none at all if you’re sensitive to it.
- Tagine: Notably the most famous Moroccan dish is tagine. Served in cone-shaped ceramic or clay pots, these flavorful stews are the perfect fusion of the meats, vegetables and spices. They’re cooked for two to four hours and the result says it all.
- Moroccan Breads: Khubz, harcha, krachel, msemmen, rziza -- just to name a few of the many types of bread served on the regular in Morocco. A traditional breakfast will often include at least three different types of bread, honey, olives and an assortment of jams. The types of bread range from crepes to pancakes, round and hearty, to soft and chewy, and sweet rolls.
- Amlou: Step aside peanut butter, amlou is next-level delicious. Made from argan oil (yep, the stuff that’s in your fancy shampoos), honey and almonds, amlou is one of our favorites. Think of it like sweet almond butter, but better. It’s typically enjoyed with an assortment of breads, but we won’t judge you if you just put spoonfuls in your mouth.
Morocco is truly the gem of Northern Africa. The blend of Arabic, French and Spanish culture make it one of the most culturally interesting countries in the world. It’s easy to get to from Europe, with regular direct flights from neighboring Portugal and Spain. And trust us when we say, it’s worth the trip even if you’re flying from the US.