Morocco is an easily accessible exotic getaway when in Europe because it sits directly across the Strait of Gibraltar from Spain. A North African country bordering the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, Morocco is distinguished by its Arabian, Berber and European cultural influences. From Marrakesh’s Medina, ancient cities such as Fez, Meknes and the capital Rabat, to the Atlas mountains and the Sahara desert, Morocco is a treasure trove for travelers. Plus anyone with a penchant for sipping copious amounts of mint tea.
MOROCCO TOP 5 THINGS TO DO
Shop ’til you drop at Djemaa El Fna
There’s nowhere in Morocco like the Jemaa el Fna, the main square and market place in Marrakesh’s Medina quarter (old city). Famous for the food stalls, snake charmers, monkey acts and hawkers, get lost in this maze and re-appear with 20 shopping bags, a silver tea pot and a handmade rug.
Ride a horse on Essaouira Beach
Experience the laid-back charms and vast magnificent beach of Essaouira on horse back. There are plenty of horseback riding tours to choose from that can be adapted to suit your level of experience.
Rock Climbing in Todra Gorge
Morocco’s spectacular Todra Gorge is one of the country’s premier climbing destinations. Todra Gorge sits in the High Atlas Mountains, located in the South of Morocco about seven hours east of Marrakech. A multitude of quality single and multi pitch sports climbs for all grades is available and if you’re new to rock climbing this is also a great place to learn.
Explore Morocco’s Middle Atlas
Escape the hustle-bustle and head to the quaint villages and tranquil mountain trails in the Middle Atlas. Hire a guide and explore the ruined Roman city of Volubilis which is the best preserved archaeological site in Morocco. Then head to the nearby white-washed town of Moulay Idriss, one of the country’s most important and picturesque pilgrimage sites.
Bike the High Atlas to the Sahara
Ride a bike along a network of dirt paths that wind from Marrakech to the highest pass in the Atlas Mountains, then head south to the Sahara Desert. Pedal through traditional villages, admire the scattered Adobe kasbahs and experience the legendary hospitality of the Berbers with regular tea stops along the way. Want more? Combine your bike tour with a Sahara camel ride and embrace Moroccan culture with a visit to a Hammam.
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MOROCCO TOP 3 FESTIVALS
The Timitar Festival in Agadir is where “Amazigh artists greet world music”. This Moroccan festival’s main purpose is to promote the Amazigh culture. However different styles of music are also performed by over 40 artists and to an audience of about 500,000 who gather every year to enjoy this top Morocco festival. Timitar has become one of the most renowned music festivals in Africa and the biggest festival in Morocco.
Fes Festival of World Sacred Music
Fez Festival is a ten-day spiritual celebration founded by Moroccan scholar Faouzi Skali and dedicated to bringing people together through music. The festival is held in mid-summer (late May or early June) and takes place in the imperial city of Fes, also well worth exploring before or after the celebrations.
The Celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr
At the end of Ramadan, Muslims throughout Morocco, Africa and the world have a joyful three-day celebration called Eid al–Fitr, or the Festival of Fast-Breaking. Although you may not have been fasting yourself, this is certainly worth experiencing.
Language: The official language in Morocco is Arabic along with Berber. People working in the tourism industry usually speak great English and most of the locals know basic to conversational English making it easy enough for travelers to get by.
Currency: Moroccan Dirham.
Visa: Visas are not required for visits lasting less than 90 days if you have a US, Canadian, British or Australian passport. Single, as well as multiple entry visas are available and make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months from the date of departure. Use these free online visa checker and calculator tools so you know if a visa is required (which depends on the country you’re from) and if so, how long it will take to process your visa.
Electricity: Morocco operates on 220V electric supply with a frequency of 50 Hz. Power socket types C and E are commonly used. I recommend bringing a Universal Travel Adapter so you don’t need to keep buying new adapters for each country you visit.
Lonely Planet Morocco: Check price on Amazon
WHAT TO EAT IN MOROCCO
Some of the most delicious, traditional dishes that you must try when in Morocco are listed below. Ready to start drooling?
B’ssara: This is a rich, creamy soup made of broad beans that are dried and topped with olive oil with some cumin sprinkled over the top. A bowl of B’ssara costs just a few cents and is served with freshly baked bread.
Harira: Harira is another type of soup made of lentils, chickpea, tomatoes, lamb and a dash of lemon and fresh coriander. The soup is served piping hot with chebakkiya which is a sweet, sticky, pretzel which is commonly used to break the fast during Ramadan.
Couscous: Also called sesku, this is wheat pasta thats rolled by hand. A stew of vegetables and meat is prepared, and the pasta is then added to it. While serving, a heap of pasta covers the meat, and the veggies are on the side.
Maakouda: Maakouda batata are Moroccan potato cakes. They’re a popular street food available all over Morocco. They can be eaten plain, served as an appetizer, as a side or used as a sandwich filler in wedges of Moroccan khobz.
Mint Tea: Mint tea, also known as Moroccan Whisky is the preferred daily drink for Moroccans. It’s excessively sweet and made of gunpowder tea infused with twigs of spearmint boiled together in a teapot. This is then poured from a height into tea glasses to form froth called know as the crown.
WHERE TO STAY IN MOROCCO
Morocco can be a very affordable place to visit. Finding excellent accommodation in Morocco is super easy because there’s so many options whatever your budget.
Hostels and dormitories make travel to Morocco affordable for backpackers and any travelers on a shoe-string budget. Whether you’re a backpacker, flash-packer or a luxury vacationer, Morocco will not disappoint you. A basic hotel room in Morocco can cost less than $30 dollars. If you’re looking for accommodation that includes western amenities and comforts then there will be more options to choose from in the big cities and popular tourist hotspots like Marrakesh. If you’re traveling to Morocco during peak season or wish to stay in a luxury hotel then it’s wise to book your accommodation in advance.
Don’t wait until you arrive to see what’s available or you may be disappointed to find that all the best places to stay have already been snapped up. Morocco is a pretty popular year-round destination you know!
Jetset Bunny recommends using Booking.com for the best accommodation deals in Morocco. However, if you’re backpacking in Morocco or traveling on a tight budget then Hostel World is another great option. Staying in hostels makes travel in North Africa very affordable and is also a great way to meet new travel buddies.
PLAN YOUR TRIP
There is no bad time to visit Morocco, but during April and May or September to November is generally most popular with travelers. Morocco is at its most beautiful in spring (mid-March to May) when the landscape is a lush green, so if you want to hike in the mountains plan your trip for this time of year. Temperatures in Morocco are at their best in Autumn (September to October).
MOROCCO TRAVEL BUDGET
Morocco is generally an affordable destination for travelers on all budgets. The cost of your trip to Morocco really depends on the level of comfort you will expect while here. If you’re backpacking and planning on staying in dormitories, hostels and eating street food then budget between $25 to $45 a day. If you prefer to stay in 3-4 star hotel rooms and eat in mid-range restaurants you could spend anywhere between $45 to $100 per day. If you want to enjoy luxury 4-5 star accommodation and gourmet restaurants in places like Marrakesh then budget about $100 to $350 plus a day.
IS MOROCCO SAFE FOR FEMALE TRAVELERS?
Safety is a concern for most people traveling to Morocco. Bag-snatching, pick-pocketing and other scams to take advantage of women travelers are common in some places. Some parts of Morocco are dangerous so always do your research before you travel and make sure that you avoid any dodgy areas especially at night and if traveling solo. Female travelers to Morocco should be mindful to dress appropriately and be extra careful when walking alone or at night. Based on my own travel experiences in Morocco I would never leave home without insurance and I recommend checking out the travel insurance plan that World Nomads can offer you a few weeks before your trip.
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MOROCCO FLIGHT DEALS
MOROCCO TOURS & ACTIVITIES
MOROCCO PACKING TIPS
Packing for a trip to Morocco, like most other places in North Africa, is a breeze. You really don’t need as much travel gear as you may think for a trip to Morocco and it’s always best to travel light whenever possible.
That said, the gear you do bring on your trip should be the very best option available for you and that doesn’t always mean the most expensive. Jetset Bunnies around the globe are always discovering the latest and the greatest in travel gear for women and this is where we share our fabulous finds with you.
It’s so easy to travel light in hotter climates just remember to pack lightweight and breathable lose-fitting clothing. Be prepared for the occasional cool evening depending on the month you visit and pack a warm sweater just in case. If you forget to pack something you can use this as an excuse to go shopping in Marrakesh’s Djemaa El Fna (as if you need an excuse).
Other essential items to pack for a trip to Morocco include, most importantly, a good quality travel backpack. Choose the brand carefully and make sure you find the right size backpack for your torso. Believe me, doing this will make all the difference and prevent major backache. Read our related blog post with advice on how to choose the best backpacks for women travelers. Smaller items to pack include a padlock, sleep sheet and a money belt to keep important documents close to you.