Morocco is not a country you want to show up unprepared to. Most likely you will get harassed, yelled at, sometimes even followed and told to fuck off for stupid things like declining an offer to buy from someones’ shop. Unfortunately, most of the locals can be extremely rude and aggressive. So, you need to prepare yourself mentally that Morocco is not a relaxing destination. But, with preparation, you can reduce a lot of stress and even end up enjoying your trip. So, without further ado, here are a few essential tips for your first trip to Morocco.
WHEN TO GO
We visited in October/November – even though that temperatures drop in the evening and that mornings are chilly, days are usually very pleasant and sunny. We felt like it’s the best time to visit! Same is with March-May – it’s not winter anymore (which brings a lot of rain), but it’s still not too hot. The landscape is transformed into a sea of blooming flowers and lush vegetation. Moreover, it’s an easy time finding deals on hotels and flights as well as fewer crowds in top destinations. Otherwise, Morocco is a great year-round destination. With its coastline, mountains, and desert landscapes, it’s an incredibly diverse country that offers something unique to see any time of the year.
HOW MANY DAYS
Here are also some other suggestions to deviate from our itinerary however it makes sense: Chefchaoufena – where every house is painted cornflower blue, Souss Massa Draa region – where goats climb trees, Paradise Valley – an oasis in the rolling foothills of Atlas Mountains, then Tangier, Fes, Casablanca, Agadir for coastal route, Essaouira or capital Rabat. So, now you have some tough choices to make! Whatever you decide, just make sure to have loads of time on your hands!
As with most countries, how expensive your trip is going to be is entirely dependent on your preferences. Morocco can be a haven for backpackers with hostels costing as little as five euros for food and shelter. On the other hand, it is important to bear in mind that Morocco is generally not as dirt cheap as some travelers expect. In fact, many things in Morocco are more expensive than in Europe, like cars, electronics, and alcohol. And you could say your Moroccan expenses heavily depend on your bargaining skills, too! 🙂 But generally speaking, Morocco is still relatively cheap for many things and can be considered a budget destination.
- Confirm your visa requirements with your country’s embassy.
- Plan your arrival airport depending on your itinerary – meaning have an itinerary FIRST, book flights then! Generally, the distances are extreme in Morocco and this can make your time worth!
- Download an offline version of google maps in case you get lost.
- Buy a SIM card on arrival – it’s cheap and you’ll have a connection everywhere.
- It helps if you have a transfer to your hotel pre-booked so you don’t have to deal with taxi drivers – they are notoriously hard to bargain upon arrival to the airport and this can take all the stress out of it. Or if you’re renting a car, make sure to check our helpful guide here.
- Withdraw cash from an ATM once you get into the country – the majority of businesses in Morocco are cash only (there’s even a saying “cash is king”).
- One of the biggest mistakes you can make when shopping in the souks is accepting the initial price offered to you. Start by dropping the price by 2/3rds and work from there. If you can get it down to 1/2 the price then congrats, you’ve got yourself a good deal.
- Keep in mind that pickpocketing is pretty common in crowded areas of Morocco, especially the souks. Best to carry your backpack on your chest or bring one with locking zippers.
- Be wary that a lot of people in Morocco don’t like being photographed. So be sure to ask permission first. And, don’t be surprised if they say no.
- You practically don’t need a car in Medina of Marrakech, but if you’re planning to make day-trips it is worth renting one. Check our rental guide here. LINK
- Best to spread the activities in Marrakech over 3-4 days as you can find yourself tad exhausted during your days in Medina.
- A great tip while bargaining in Marrakech is to say you’re “Marrakchia” – this means a foreigner woman that moved into Marrakech and is now living here. If you mention you’re Marrakchia you’ll get yourself a better price. We’re not sure what was the word for male version – Marakchi? 🙂
- A word of warning for booking your Sahara trip and other activities in Morroco – don’t wait until you get to Morocco to book them! There are honestly a ton of options to choose from and you’ll encounter many random touts in a Medina and while you will likely get a better price because you can haggle, you also may get an extremely unpleasant tour – we’ve heard some really bad experiences from other people and would say this really took a toll on their trip and mental health. Better be on the safe side and check the agency’s safety and reputation prior to arriving. You’ll pay a little more, but you’ll much less likely to be disappointed or tricked, and honestly, that’s worth paying for to us.
- Most of the camps are pretty basic and it is suggested you bring plenty of water, snacks, medication and even toilet paper with you.
- Prepare for cold nights! Whatever the weather is like when you go, you’ll feel a major drop at night – so bring some warm clothes.
WHAT TO BRING
If you’re not sure what to pack for this North African gem, we’ve got you covered – click here to read our Morocco packing guide.