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Morocco Travel Guide

The land of spice-scented souks, magic carpet rides, copper lamps, and mint tea
To visit Morocco is to step into the pages of 1001 Arabian Nights - a land of minarets and snake charmers, bazaars of spice and copper, street magicians and storytellers. Here, it takes no great flight of imagination to think a cave of wonders, a talking camel, or a magic lamp is within reach if you just look hard enough. 

So, no matter where your Morocco tour package takes you - deep into the Sahara, up in the Atlas Mountains or down by the Bay of Tangier - you’re definitely in for a crazy magic carpet ride.

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To visit Morocco is to step into the pages of 1001 Arabian Nights - a land of minarets and snake charmers, bazaars of spice and copper, street magicians and storytellers. Here, it takes no great flight of imagination to think a cave of wonders, a talking camel, or a magic lamp is within reach if you just look hard enough. 

So, no matter where your Morocco tour package takes you - deep into the Sahara, up in the Atlas Mountains or down by the Bay of Tangier - you’re definitely in for a crazy magic carpet ride.

Location

The Kingdom of Morocco is located on the North-west edge of Africa and is separated from Spain only by the narrow Strait of Gibraltar. The Atlantic Ocean nestles against its western side while the Mediterranean Sea is on its north. The Western Sahara is located to its south, and Algeria lies to its east.

Where to go

A visit to quintessential cities such as Marrakech, Rabat, and Casablanca should definitely be on the agenda. Which ones you choose depends on whether you’re exploring Morocco a la Penny Lane, Aladdin or Casablanca in mind. 

Further afield, there are plenty of things to do in Morocco. Those keen for outdoors adventure have plenty of options such as a camel trek and camping in the Sahara or hiking or mountain biking in the Atlas Mountains. Others looking to unwind can head to Agadir or Tangier for beach time.
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At a glance

Language

Arabic, French, Berber
Almost 90% of the population speaks Moroccan Arabic, while about 40% speak three dialects of the Berber language. An unofficial language is French, with a third of the population fluent in it. You will be able to manage in English, especially around destinations usually featured in Morocco travel itineraries.

Currency

Moroccan dirham
The official currency used in Morocco is the dirham, however, due to the country’s proximity to Europe, you can make certain transactions in Euros or dollars. The conversion from the Moroccan dirham to the Indian rupee at the time of posting is 1 Moroccan Dirham equalling 7.45 Indian Rupee.

Weather

As Morocco is located in the Meditarranean, the country experiences four distinct seasons. As such, the weather will vary depending on which time of year you go and which region you choose to visit. In general, good times to visit Morocco is from March to May which is springtime or from September to October, which is fall. During these periods, the weather will be warm and pleasant.

Expert travel advice

Travel tips and insider advice that have made the most difference to us, sourced from our
community of like-minded travellers and global experts.

Stay in a riad   

Recommended by Bruised Passports

“Checking into a Riad is probably the easiest way to familiarise yourself with Morocco. Expect walls embellished with traditional Moroccan rugs, shelves adorned with ethnic glassware, and breakfasts served in intimate central courtyards.”

Award-winning Indian travel bloggers Vidit Taneja and Savi Munjal have been to over 80 countries in 6 continents, and share their experiences through a mélange of impactful writing, and captivating photography.

Explore Chefchaouen   

Recommended by Salt in our Hair

“Chefchaouen is the one place you shouldn’t skip while creating your Morocco route. It’s a mountain village painted in 100 shades of blue. Every corner has its own kind of blue. Spent one extra day in this city if you are able to.”

This award-winning travel blog features beautiful photography, travel tips and guides by Hannah and Nick.

Visit the Hassan II Mosque   

Recommended by Nomadic Matt

“It took thousands of Moroccan artists a total of five years to build this detailed architectural masterpiece. Its mosaics, plaster moldings, marble and stone columns and floors, and wood ceilings are utterly impressive.”

Matt Kepnes, aka Nomadic Matt, has travelled to nearly 100 countries. He shares proven tips and advice on his website which has been featured on major media sites including the New York Times, the BBC, Lonely Planet, National Geographic, The Independent, The Huffington Post, The Guardian, and TIME magazine.

Visit Fez’s famous tanneries   

Recommended by Nina Travels

“One of the best things to do in Morocco is getting lost in the narrow labyrinth streets of Fez and explore the world’s famous tanning pools, where leather is being colored throughout centuries. The work is all done by hand and without using any chemicals. You can watch men at work from leather shops terraces.”

Nina and Simon like to go with the flow and explore the life which local people live. And everywhere they go, they write about their travels, and share tips on how to make other travellers’ journeys fun, exciting and on a budget!

Shop in Marrakech’s souks   

Recommended by Wandering Lauren

Shopping the markets (locally known as Souks) in Marrakech is an experience I guarantee you will never forget. There are endless little alleys with every shop you could possibly imagine...Morocco is the ONLY place I have ever been where I brought an entire extra bag for souvenirs haha.

Lauren’s website gives travellers a realistic view of travel in various destinations. She shares accounts of her own travels as well as tips and recommendations on how you can get the best out of your own trip.

Incredible places to visit in Morocco

Marrakesh

Marrakesh, the former capital of Morocco, serves as the perfect introduction to the country. Indeed, for many, the two are synonymous. The city itself is a thousand years old, nestled at the base of the Atlas Mountains, and continues to exude the charm, character and architecture that has attracted travellers for decades. 

Go camping in the desert

Camping in the desert is just like what you would imagine. You’ll be surrounded by miles of sand dunes, wrapped warm in rugs and blankets, with a glittering night sky overhead. This is one unique experience that should not be missed.

Jemaa el-Fnaa

As one of the most notable sites in Marrakech for both locals and travellers, and as an  essential Moroccan experience, you’re sure to find Jemaa el-Fnaa on most all-inclusive holidays to Morocco. The market square leads off into a labyrinthe of souks where you’ll find all manner of lovely and strange things: mounds of colourful spices, copper lanterns, herbal remedies, and even love potions.

The market square itself is fascinating, no matter what time you go.  During the day, this large, market square is filled with an eclectic crowd to say the least: locals, travellers, as well as snake charmers, teeth extractors and monkey trainers. And at dusk, hundreds of gas lanterns light up and dozens of food stalls are arranged. Grills are fired up and local cooks skewer juicy beef-heart kebabs, as well as fish. And everyone stands side by side, eating together.

Bahia Palace

‘Bahia’ means ‘brilliance’, and everything in this palace certainly attempts to live up to its name. Built in the mid-19th century, the palace is a blend of Islamic architecture with European palace design, and is particularly reminiscent of the Alhambra Palace in Spain. It’s 150 rooms are famous for their beauty, with artistic mosaics, elegant blue-green and orange tiled walls, stained glass windows, appearing at every turn. The palace is a must visit, so make sure it’s on any Morocco trip package you’re considering.

The Kutubiyya Mosque

The Kutubiyya Mosque or Koutoubia Mosque  is the largest mosque in Marrakesh. Located near the Jemaa el-Fnaa, the mosque’s minarets rise above the market square, with the call-to-prayer ringing out five times a day.  The architecture style of the mosque is itself reason enough to visit this monument. Its walls feature simple designs and are punctuated by elegant archways, arcades, columns, and an ablution fountain.  The mosque has a dress code, so make sure you dress accordingly during your visit.

Saadian Tombs

The Saadian Tombs, located in the Hall of Twelve Columns, was built by the Saadian Sultan, who spared no expense in creating his final resting place and of those he held dear to him.
The finest marble, imported from Italy, and decorative plasterwork with real gold was used in its construction. And besides the opulence, you’ll notice its quiet elegance.

Marrakech hammams

When you have the time, grab the opportunity to relax in a hammam - a bath house. Found in every neighbourhood, hammams are segregated by gender. Hot steam and a special soap will scrub away all the fatigue of the day, followed by a massage and a quick refreshing dip to energize you for the rest of your adventures. Some noteworthy hammams in Marrakech are the Royal Mansour, Hammam Rosa Bonheur, and Hammam Mouassine.

Stay in a riad

A riad is a traditional Moroccan house built around a grand inner courtyard, a pool, or central garden. Today, most riads have been converted into accommodation options for travellers. Built with beauty and comfort in mind, travellers will easily be charmed by the beautiful stone and tilework, tall archways, and beautiful rooftop patios. They are also available in a variety of budgets so we would recommend booking your stay in a riad sooner rather than later in order to get the best Morocco holiday deal possible.

Le Jardin Secret

This ornate palace complex has two beautiful Islamic gardens, and you can spend the entire day exploring its many wonders. Built-in the 19th century, the Le Jardin Secret is a riad that was built by a local chieftain. Many travellers make their way here to enjoy the gardens bordered by green tiled walkways, and fragrant with orange trees, lavender plants, and rosemary hedges.

The Ben Youssef Madrasa

Over five centuries ago, the Ben Youssef Madrasa was the largest institution of education during its heyday. As you explore the building, you will see beautiful architectural innovations to bring in light while also keeping away the heat. The intricate and beautiful courtyard is an excellent example of Islamic craftsmanship. It’s a great place to learn more about student life centuries ago.

Eat a camel burger

Moroccan cuisine is flavorful and represents the many cultures that have influenced the region. Expect delicious tagines and gourmet couscous along with a range of dishes that will keep you coming back for more. However, the more adventurous traveller must try the camel burger. That’s right; a burger made from camel meat is surprisingly famous in Marrakech.

Fez

Fez or Fes is the second-largest city in Morocco, and offers travellers a glimpse of traditional Moroccan life. (Fez is car-free, the largest urban area to have banned its usage.) Historically, the city was an epicentre for students, philosophers, craftsmen, and traders. Today, as you walk around the city, everything feels raw, real and visceral.

Chaouwara Tannery

The most famous images you’ve probably seen of Fez are those of its tanneries, which are a riot of colour and activity. Chaowara Tannery is one of the three largest in Fez. Inside, you’ll see a grid of stone wells, each filled with a colourful liquids - blue, red (made from poppy or paprika), yellow (made from saffron), a variety of pinks and indigos. Skilled tannery workers plunge cow, goat, camel and sheep skins into the liquid to absorb the colour and hang them out to dry. It’s quite a sight.  Protip: the tanneries can be quite smelly, but thankfully you’ll be given a sprig of fresh mint or rosemary to hold under your nose.

Al-Attarine Madrasa

It’s gorgeous. The madrassa is a beautiful example of medieval architecture, filled with elegant mosaics, delicate plasterwork, and beautiful wooden carvings. Established in 1325, it was the centre of education for those who wanted to study at university.

Tazekka National Park

Morocco’s gorgeous landscape unfortunately is often overshadowed by its more colourful urban cities. While you’re in Morocco, definitely visit the Tazekka National Park. It is spread out over acres and acres of land, dotted with caves, canyons and cascades. It’s a great place for travellers who like the outdoors, hikers, and birdwatchers. There’s an even an ecological museum on-site to help travellers understand the region better.

Watch a belly dancing show

Belly dancing traces its roots back to classic Moroccan culture while having influences from Africa, Arab, and Berber with major artistic significance.  So while you are in Morocco, you’ll often find yourself in restaurants or venues where a belly dancing performance is going on. You can also take belly dancing classes while you’re in Morocco - it’s always best to learn straight from the source!

Chefchaouen

Chefchaouen is Morocco’s challenge to Jaipur. It’s a beautiful city filled with blue-washed buildings, steep cobbled lanes, and even a 15th-century fort, making for perfect #instaposts around every corner.

Explore the Old City

The old city is the blue city. It is so coloured thanks to the Jews and Moors who were fleeing Spain and settled in Chefchaouen. Each year, the houses receive new coats of paint. There’s plenty to discover in its curving, cat-filled streets - blue flowerpots, shops selling antique doors and coffee powder,  laundry being hung out to dry, etc. - so be sure to wear comfortable shoes.

Cascades d’Akchour

The Cascades d’Akchour are a beautiful set of waterfalls located in Talassemtane National Park, a 45 minute drive from Chefchaouen. You can also opt to hike to the waterfalls - the trail will lead you through a canyon, through endless stretches of green, and by smaller cascades. There are many swimming spots along the way, so during summer, you’ll have lots of chances to take a dip.

Hike in the Rif Mountains

The Rif mountains are located in Morocco's Talassemtane National Park, towards the north of Morocco’s mountain range. You can spend a day making your way to the topmost of the mountains, where you’ll have a birds-eye view of the valley and the city. 

Eat tagine

Tagine is one of Morocco’s most iconic dishes. It’s a stew full of flavour, usually cooked in a terracotta pot for hours, and can be made either vegetarian, or with non-vegetarian ingredients as well. To eat it the proper Moroccan way, dip pieces of bread in the tagine to soak up the juices before drinking the rest of the stew.

Buy a handmade rug

Head to the medina to pick up a handcrafted, one of a kind, rug. You will also find plenty of other items that are a product of the city’s rich history with high-quality craftsmanship. Do not forget to haggle with shopkeepers as prices can be quite steep for first-time travellers.

Casablanca

It’s impossible to think of Casablanca the city without remembering ‘Casablanca’ the movie, but the reality of this city is a little different. The city today is modern and cosmopolitan, boasting sophisticated boulevards, restaurants and arcades, as well as a stretch of pretty beaches. Travellers looking for the old-world glamour of the movie will find what they’re looking for in the city’s pockets of traditional Arabo-Andalucian style buildings - but be warned: you aren’t as going to find as many gin joints as much as tea joints today.

The old city

This is a neighborhood you’ll love to linger in. Here you’ll find a crisscross of streets filled with a hotchpoch of everyday life: donkeys pull carts laden with watermelons and strawberries; street vendors invite you in for a cup of tea as they show off leather slippers, argan oil, and mounds of olives; locals grab a quick tagine at small outdoor tables.

Rick’s Cafe

Any holiday in Casablanca will be incomplete without a visit to Rick’s Cafe. It is a faithful recreation of the bar in the movie. You’ll see the arabesque arches and balustrades that appear in the original film set. Rich businessmen perch on leather stools by the marble-topped bar, while other travellers sit around small tables ordering  couscous and lamb with sweet wine. And yes, it has a resident piano player. Protip: dress up or you may be denied entry.

The Corniche

La Corniche is Casablanca’s seaside promenade. Lying parallel to the beach, it is filled with bars, restaurants, resorts and cafes. It’s a great place to spend the day swimming and surfing  alongside Moroccans on holiday, and going drinking and dancing at night.

Hassan II Mosque

Considered the largest mosque in the entire continent of Africa and the third-largest in the entire world, the Hassan II Mosque is a must-visit on any group tour to Morocco. It overwhelms with sheer size; its green-tiled minaret rises around 200 metres, its prayer hall can hold around 25000 worshippers, and it took 6000 traditional Moroccan artisans 6 years to build this iconic landmark.  Protip: dress respectfully if you wish to enter the mosque.

Sacre-Coeur Cathedral (Casablanca Cathedral)

The cathedral is a gleaming construction of white marble, designed by French architect Paul Tournon in a Neo-Gothic style. Its interior holds an imposing main entrance, and its large, medieval stained glass windows are it’s pride. Outside the cathedral there’s a grotto dedicated to Mary, decorated with flowers and candles. Take the time to find it; as one TripAdvisor reviewer pointed out “just as importantly, this where the bathrooms are.”

Todra Gorge

A day trip from Casablanca will take you to the Todra Gorge. The gorge is filled with a series of limestone river canyons that have been carved out by the Dades and Togdha rivers. It’s a gorgeous place for a hike thanks to the changing colours of the gigantic limestone walls - upto 160 metres - towering over you,  and for rock climbing as well. And you’ll be able to visit Berber villages in the area, and share a cup of tea with them.

Top things to do & experience in Morocco

Nobody wants to be a tourist. Here are curated experiences in art, music, food, culture and communities
to help you have an authentic and memorable trip.

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