Written by: Stephanie Ding
Follow along with her: @steph.ding
After having had the opportunity to travel to Morocco and visit nine different cities within the country, I have fallen in love with the rich culture and stunning architecture. The highlights of my trip included visiting Le Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech, the blue city of Chefchaouen, and the medina of Fez. If you are thinking about planning your next trip to the land of mountains, cities, and deserts, here are some Morocco travel tips to read before your trip.
The best time to visit Morocco is in the spring or fall, with temperatures ranging from the 50s to 80s. These seasons are also the best to visit the Atlas Mountains and Sahara desert. Keep in mind if you are visiting the desert or the mountains, the temperatures do change pretty drastically from morning to night or from peak to valley so be prepared to pack layers. If visiting the beaches, the best time to go is during the summer months, but do keep in mind this is also peak tourist season!
Culturally, Morocco may be a very different place than where you are from. When visiting the medinas, if you want to buy something, make sure to barter. Though it might be uncomfortable to some at first, bartering is a way of life in Morocco and considered an aspect of social culture, so get involved! Plus, you’ll be able to get some great souvenirs for a cheaper price. Additionally, Morocco is a predominantly Muslim country, so it’s best to respect their practices, such as wearing modest clothing, which covers your shoulders and knees. Although there are people who wear shorts when visiting Morocco and rules regarding female dress code are more lax than in some other Muslim countries, it is best to err on the side of caution and respect the customs of the country. Additionally, if traveling during Muslim holidays, such as Ramadan, some attractions such as mosques might be closed during prayer times or the locals will be fasting so some restaurants may be closed during certain times, so be sure to check their schedules and hours before you go.
Now that you are thinking more and more about booking your trip to Morocco, you may have heard things about the country and wonder if it’s safe to travel there. During my ten day trip, I never had a single incident, though there are some things to be aware of before you visit. Like in any tourist city, be mindful of pickpockets, especially in crowded places such as the medinas or popular locations for tourists. If you are in tourist areas, there will sure to be people offering their tour services to you as a local guide. Refrain from using people calling towards you on the side of the street. They will most likely charge a higher price or take you to places where they are able to make a commission, so make sure you do your research about which tour companies you choose to use. If using taxis in Morocco, always make sure to settle on a price before you start your journey to avoid paying an overpriced fare. If you have questions about how much a ride to your destination should cost, your hotel reception should be a great resource to use.
If you are wondering where you should go in Morocco, here are some of my recommended sites:
Be sure to visit the medina of Fez, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The medina is one of the largest mazes in the world, so if you are going in, make sure to have a guide that will be able to lead you through the winding streets. Inside the medina, there is the Madrasas, one of the oldest education institutions in the world, with beautiful architecture and intricate designs. Additionally, make sure you visit a tannery. These tanneries still operate the same way as they did when they started in the early centuries with a wide variety of circular wells containing dye. Be warned, the tanneries have a very strong smell, but one you should definitely experience first hand to get a glimpse into the artform.
Chefchaouen is a relaxing city that moves at a slower pace than some of the other big, bustling cities in Morocco. Take a relaxing stroll in the city and admire the beautiful blue painted walls. The medina of Chefchaouen is small enough to wander around by yourself and not get lost. If you’re looking to see more of the surrounding area, take a hike around the nearby mountains to get a better view of the city.
In Marrakech, visit Jemaa el-Fnaa, one of Morocco’s most famous squares. The bustling activity in this square will be a great location for people watching and seeing different street entertainers. One of the most famous gardens in Marrakech is Le Jardin Majorelle, a beautifully designed, tranquil garden that was bought and restored by Yves Saint Laurent. Make sure to get there early as there are sometimes long lines for tickets! Marrakech also has some beautifully decorated palaces and riads that are also worth a visit.
While you are there, make sure to eat couscous and tagine and drink some Morocco mint tea! Morocco was one of my favorite countries that I have ever visited, and hope you all get the chance to go!
If you’re thinking about traveling to Morocco, check out the Morocco tour that Acanela offers!