“I heard a story once — as a matter of fact, I’ve heard a lot of stories in my time. They began with the sound of a tiny piano playing in a parlor downstairs…”
Much like the classic movie Casablanca, mention of Morocco brings to mind images of beauty, romance, intrigue and classical cultures. Today, the country is all of that and so much more. Morocco is an incredibly diverse African country encompassing mountains, deserts and ancient cities.
Modern Morocco and its historical charm will capture your heart and imagination. It’s true — take a look at a sample Morocco Trip we’ve designed.
When To Travel To Morocco:
Morocco is an incredible year round destination because the climate varies according to the region. The summer months of June and July can be very hot; however, between November and May the temperatures are lower and more comfortable.
The Moroccan coastal summer is sunny and mild with temperatures in the low 80’s while the mountain ranges are fairly hot and dry. Inland, the temperatures are hotter the farther south you go.
Winters in Morocco (November to February) are generally mild, but they can reach 40 Fahrenheit. It’s not unusual to see a light dusting of snow in northern Morocco and the Atlas Mountain capped with snow. The northern parts of Morocco and the coast line can be a bit wet; whereas winters in the south tend to be drier but a bit colder.
Bargaining In Morocco:
Shopping is a Moroccan tradition. All towns have souks (markets) and there are hundreds going on all over Morocco on any given day. As with any market, there are imitations (be wary of trafika or phony merchandise); however, there are also plenty of gems to be found.
Embrace opportunities to haggle and bargain for souvenirs. Decide how much you think an item is worth and go for it! The sticker price is merely a starting point. Moroccan sellers will have a minimum they are willing to accept so be prepared with a maximum you will pay. Bargaining is an experience in itself and should not create hard feelings to either party. With that said, be polite, light-hearted and remember to smile.
Sometimes you will encounter a translator who tries to help bargain or acts as an intermediary. It is likely that they are making a commission from your purchases. It doesn’t mean that they won’t be able to help but if you are confident you can handle haggling on your own, you can politely decline their help.
Shopping in Morocco is about the experience. This is an opportunity to interact socially with the locals. Chances are you will taste some delicious mint tea, hear a fascinating story, and bring back beautiful souvenirs from your travels.
- For a true immersion into the Moroccan culture, include at least one Ryad in your itinerary. Ryads are normally located in, or in the outskirts of the medina, historical buildings which tell a story. Luxury hotels don’t offer as much character.
- Allow at least two nights in the desert, because of travel time.
- Stay at a hotel on the edge of the dunes as opposed to the busy town of Erfoud.
- Before choosing the option to stay in a Bedouin tent, understand the level of comfort versus staying in a hotel on the perimeter.
- If you have limited time to travel (1 week), visit Marrakech and the South instead of only the imperial cities of Rabat and Fez, which could be considered repetitive.
Our Favorite Ryads:
- La Maison Arabe – the oldest Ryad in Marrakech
- La Villa des Orangers – a luxury Ryad – Relais and Chateau property
- La Mamounia – a beautiful palace hotel
- Ryad Fez – a luxury Ryad in Fez – Relais and Chateau property
- Ryad Myra – a stunning, 4 star Ryad in Fez, in an historical building
- Dar Ahlam – an exclusive retreat in Skoura en route to/from the desert
- Lina Ryad & Spa – a quaint Ryad in the heart of Chefchaouen
Location: Morocco is in Northern Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, between Algeria and Western Sahara
Area: A bit bigger than California, Morocco covers 446,550 sq km of land.
Capital City: Rabat
Population: Just more than 32 million people live in Morocco.
Language: Arabic (official), Berber dialects, and French which is often the language of business, government, and diplomacy.
Religion: Muslim 98.7%, Christian 1.1%, Jewish 0.2%
Currency: Moroccan Dirham
Morocco’s International Airport: Mohammed V International Airport (Airport code: CMN) is Morocco’s main airport for long-haul flights. Marrakech also has a busy international airport, Al Menara Airport (Airport code: RAK), with service to many European destinations.
Getting to Morocco: Most people either fly into Morocco or arrive by ferry from Spain and France.
Morocco’s Embassies/Visas: Most nationalities including those from the US, Canada and the UK do not need a visa to enter Morocco as a tourist.