Looking for a guide to Morocco as a first-time visitor? You’ve come to the right place.
If you enjoy exotic travel, then Morocco is a place you should consider getting to at least once. The lifestyle and culture here are transcendent experiences you won’t find elsewhere. The charm and mystique of this place are simply wondrous.
Why Go to Morocco?
The people here are warm and welcome all visitors to enjoy the richness of their culture. Your options in terms of accommodations will be nothing short of mesmerizing, and your dining and eating will reflect a crossroads of many cultures. Nightlife and shopping are in abundance, but there are quite a few outdoor places to soak it in as well.
Where to Go in Morocco
Wondering the best places you should visit in this magnificent country? Here are a few suggestions:
- Ait Ben Haddou: The ancient ruins here are built into a hillside and served as one of the sets for the movie “Gladiator.”
- Asilah: Long city walls and sandy beaches make this place scenic enough, but the walls also have vibrant murals that are notable art in their own right.
- Atlas Mountains: These mountains are stunning and provide the perfect backdrop for a number of outdoor activities.
- Casablanca: The largest city in Morocco, Casablanca is home to a beautiful mosque, art deco buildings, and several parks.
- Chefchaouen: Blue and white are the dominant house colors here, which stand out against the broader landscape.
- Dakhla: This stretch of 40 kilometers was originally founded by the Spanish in 1844, but it is quickly growing into a hub for kitesurfing adventures.
- Essaouira (Mogador): Season three of HBO’s Game of Thrones was shot here. Celebrities have been using this beach hangout since the 1960s.
- Fes: Home to a number of historic sites, including the University of Al-Karaouine, the oldest university in the world.
- High Atlas: The tallest mountain range runs across the country for 1000 kilometers and makes for great hiking in spring, summer, and autumn.
- Meknes: This 9th-century medina once served as the nation’s capital, so you can visit a royal palace and other historical locations.
- Rabat: The capital city, is simply stunning. It also has great weather all year long, if you can’t make it when the rest of the country is hospitable.
- Rose Valley: If you want to get off the beaten path, then head here. Snow-capped mountains rise over pristine waters with rose gardens, fig trees, and olive trees in between.
- Sahara Desert: Sunsets over dunes lead to a full sky of bright stars. This is a must-visit place on any trek to Morocco.
- Todra Gorge: The Todgha River has cut through red clay to create this 300-meter gorge that is popular with rock climbers.
- Volubilis: The largest Roman site in Morocco, Volubilis was once an important city on the frontier of the empire.
Spending Money in Morocco
Even if you can finance your trip to this country because of cryptocurrency profits you have made, you can’t actually spend it there. The country banned it all in 2017 and doesn’t seem to be changing its mind anytime soon. The Foreign Exchange Office of Morocco officially states that it won’t support hidden payment systems that don’t have the backing of actual financial institutions.
So, no Bitcoin for you while you’re here.
You’ll need to take out some cash from an ATM once you arrive in the country, which shouldn’t be too difficult since Morocco is fairly modernized. The Moroccan dirham is the official currency, and it’s pegged to the Euro at 1 EUR = 10.51 MAD. Many places accept Euros, especially near popular tourist destinations, but it’s always best to have local currency on hand as well. Prices are relatively cheap, so your money should go a long way here.
A few things to keep in mind: tipping is expected in restaurants and cafes, haggling is common in markets, and you should beware of pickpockets in crowded areas.
When to Visit
Any trip to Morocco is worth it, but the best times to visit this nation are March, April, and May if you want to see it at its most gorgeous.
This is when the flowers are blooming, the temperatures are comfortable, and there’s very little rain. If you don’t mind a little heat, though, visiting during the shoulder seasons of fall (September and October) and spring (February) can be cheaper and less crowded.
Keep in mind that Ramadan falls at different times each year, so if you want to visit during this holy month, be sure to plan ahead. Many businesses close down for the first half of the day during Ramadan, so it may not be the best time to visit if you’re looking to do a lot of sightseeing.
What to Pack
No matter when you choose to come, you’ll need to pack some essentials. A good sunscreen is a must since the sun is quite strong here, even in the cooler months. A hat or scarf can also be helpful to keep the sun off your face and neck. Comfortable walking shoes are a must since you’ll be doing a lot of exploring, and loose, breathable clothing is always best in warm weather. If you’re visiting during Ramadan, make sure to pack some snacks and water for your journey since you won’t be able to eat or drink during the daytime hours.
When it comes to packing for Morocco, less is more. The country is very conservative, so it’s important to dress modestly. This means covering your shoulders and knees, avoiding anything too tight or revealing. Loose, flowing clothes made from natural fabrics are best. If you’re unsure about what to pack, err on the side of caution.
What to Eat
The food in Morocco is absolutely amazing, and you’ll find a variety of influences from French to Spanish to Berber. There are endless opportunities to try new things, but there are also some Moroccan staples that you can’t miss.
One of the most popular dishes is couscous, which is a type of pasta made from semolina flour. It’s usually served with vegetables and meat, and it’s absolutely delicious. Another must-try dish is pastilla, a sweet and savory pastry filled with chicken or fish. If you’re looking for something vegetarian, be sure to try bisteeya, a spinach and egg pie wrapped in phyllo dough. And no matter what you order, don’t forget to top it off with a glass of mint tea.
A trip to Morocco is a truly unforgettable experience. The country has so much to offer, from its stunning natural beauty to its rich culture and history. No matter when you decide to visit or what your interests are, there’s something for everyone in this fascinating country. So start planning your trip today and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime.