What do you need to know before traveling to Morocco? We’ve put together some helpful travel tips for Morocco and a list of things to know before going to Morocco that any first-time traveler should read!
Whether your plans are to explore the bustling medinas of Marrakech, the maze of alleyways in Fes, or the picturesque blue houses of Chefchaouen, you should be aware of some essential tips for traveling to Morocco.
After all, you want your trip to be the best it can be, don’t you?!
Let’s get to it!
Be sure to read The Perfect 7-Day Morocco Itinerary to help you plan one epic route!
Tips For Traveling To Morocco
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1. Women Should Dress Appropriately
The first travel tip for Morocco is clothing. When planning your packing list for Morocco, understand that women should dress conservatively. Overall, guys can dress however they like (sorry, gals), but women need to pack and dress on the conservative side.
Most Moroccans are Muslim, meaning Moroccan women dress conservatively due to their Islamic beliefs. When exploring Morocco as a female, you should have your legs, cleavage, and shoulders covered to avoid any unwanted attention.
Loose, airy clothes are a great option for women. Think flowy dresses, long skirts, linen pants, etc. Oh, and a scarf is a GREAT item to pack for Morocco. You can cover your shoulders when you’re wearing tank tops.
Although you may see some tourists wearing whatever they want, remember that you are a visitor to Morocco, so do your best to be respectful of their beliefs and customs.
2. Enjoy As Many Rooftops and Terraces As You Can
Is rooftop culture a thing? If it’s not, it should be, and everyone should follow Morocco’s lead!
Multi-level cafes line the street, and make sure you go to the top when you go in. This is probably one of the most enjoyable and easy-to-follow travel tips for Morocco!
At all times, opt for a rooftop café!
The rooftop provides epic city views, allowing you to sit back, relax, order food, and mint tea. Speaking of mint tea….
3. Mint Tea Is a Moroccan Staple
If Morocco had a national beverage, it would be Mint Tea or Moroccan Whiskey, as the locals call it.
Min Tea is not only a typical welcome drink Riads, Hotels, and Dars offer their guest upon arrival; it also happens to be on every single menu in Morocco.
When ordering Mint Tea in Morocco, you have the option to have it with or without sugar. Fair warning, if you opt for Mint Tea with sugar, your drink will be really sweet!
Trying Mint Tea in Morocco is a must! Oh, and the way locals pour the tea is impressive too!
4. Brush Up on Your Arabic
While English is widely spoken (among other languages!) in Morocco, it’s always nice to learn a few phrases of the local language. In fact, this really isn’t just travel tips for Morocco. You should try to learn a few phrases of the local language wherever you go!
Arabic is the national language of Morocco. Having a few simple but essential phrases in your arsenal will make the locals smile.
- Formal Greeting: As-salamu alaykum
- Informal Greeting: Salam
- Thank You: Shukran
- No Thank You: La shukran
- You’re Welcome: Afwan
- Delicious: Bneen
- Yes: Wah
- No: La
5. You Have To Stay in a Traditional Moroccan Riad or Dar
When visiting Morocco, you should have to stay in a Riad or a Dar!
What is a Riad and a Dar, you ask?
A Riad is a traditional Moroccan home comprising of a garden. The word Riad is Arabic for a garden. Just a little FYI for ya 🙂 Conversely, a Dar is very similar to a Riad, except it doesn’t have a garden. Instead, a Dar is a Moroccan home that has a courtyard.
Rule of thumb, Riads are usually bigger than Dars. Both are several stories high and usually with a rooftop terrace.
Regardless of your choice, staying in one must be on your “must-do list” while visiting Morocco.
The architecture of each is beautiful, and if you can, try finding a Riad or Dar with a pool. A pool will come in handy during those hot Morocco days!
6. Morocco Dirham Over Credit Cards
The national currency of Morocco is the Moroccan Dirham. The bills are dirham, the coins are called santimat, and the Moroccan Dirham abbreviation is MAD.
More established restaurants and hotels will accept credit or debit cards, but smaller and more local markets, street vendors, and taxis will not.
To make sure you don’t run into any payment issues as you are out exploring, be sure you have plenty of Moroccan Dirham on you.
There are ATMs in Morocco. It’s best to ask about your accommodation or the restaurants you are eating at where you can find an ATM.
Try avoiding asking locals you meet on the street where an ATM is. Why? Well, we’ll get to some potential scams you may encounter below.
7. Be Aware of Scams in Morocco
One of our more important travel tips for Morocco is the scams you may or may not encounter.
Like any large tourist destination around the world, scams happen.
Now, if you’ve traveled a decent amount, some of these scams should be nothing new to you.
For instance, avoid giving money to kids, be wary of an overly friendly stranger offering help, keep valuables out of sight and secured to avoid pickpocketing, and always book with reputable tour guides and agencies.
- Avoid Strangers Offering Free Tours: You might find locals offering free tours while walking around the Medinas. If you decide to partake in this free tour, be warned. You’ll more than likely be taken to shop after shop, where you’ll be pressed to spend money and not taken to any of the must-see sites in the area. Plus, this free tour will demand a hefty tip at the end.
- Avoid Locals Offering Help with Directions: If you find yourself hopelessly lost in the maze of Morocco’s Medina and ask for direction or help to get out, a local will gladly oblige but more than likely expect money.
- Be Wary of Local Guides: In terms of tours, you’ll get approached by people on the street and get pitched a “great tour.” However, be wary! These tours are usually overpriced, and the guides are not guides at all. To be on the safe side, head to Viator, Get Your Guide, or book any tour directly through your accommodation.
These are just a few scams in Morocco that you may or may not encounter.
If you are smart, aware of your surroundings, and listen to your gut when something doesn’t feel right or appears too good to be true, you should be just fine!
9. Not Everyone Can Visit Mosques in Morocco
If you do not practice Islam and are looking forward to entering a Mosque in Morocco, sorry to burst your bubble, but you will not be allowed. It doesn’t matter how appropriately you’re dressed; if you’re not a Muslim, you are not allowed within a Mosque in Morocco.
No worries, though! You can still admire the intricately decorated and beautiful mosques from the outside. You’ll be able to stand at the mosque gates /entrance allowing you to get a glimpse inside.
10. You Better Learn to Haggle
No travel tips for Morocco list would be complete without a blurb on haggling! If you have a shopping addiction, well, let’s just say Morocco isn’t going to help with it.
From handmade crafts like leather bags and shoes to hand-painted ceramics and handmade rugs, Morocco is a souvenir haven. Essential oils like Aragon oils and those oh-so-fragrant spices are just a few things that you can fill your bags!
When buying souvenirs, don’t be afraid to haggle! And haggle hard because Moroccan shopkeepers are pros at the haggle game.
TIP: Check out some tips for shopping in the Medinas of Morocco
Rule #1 of haggling, never accept the first price given! NEVER! In fact, you should counter the seller’s offer by half. If the price is still too high after you’ve haggled a bit, do not be afraid to walk away!
We promise there will be another souk stall or shop selling the same thing or something similar.
11. Trains Are a Great Way To Get Around Morocco
Trains are not only a reliable mode of transportation in Morocco, but they are also affordable!
We took the train from Marrakech to Fes and loved the journey. While a long ride, it’s scenic and a much-needed change-up from traveling by bus.
TIP! You can also rent a car in Morocco! If you like to leave when you want and stop along the way when you want, renting a car in Morocco is for you!
12. Ask Moroccans Before You Take Their Photo
Locals will usually happily oblige in letting you take their photo IF you ask before taking the pictures.
If not, you may have some unhappy people. For instance, if you don’t ask their permission after you snap a photo, you may be asked to pay for the photo you just took.
A perfect example of this is the Snake Chamars or Monkey Tamers in Jemaa el-Fnaa in Marrakech. You’ll need to pay these gentlemen if you want their picture.
Separately, don’t be surprised if when you raise your camera or phone to snap a photo, a local hold their hand up, blocking their face, effectively ruining the photo you’re trying to capture.
Respect that some people do not want their photo taken. Politely oblige and move on.
13. Tipping In Morocco
Unlike some countries, tipping in Morocco is very much a thing.
First, check the bill to ensure the restaurant or establishment didn’t add a tip to the bill already. If they didn’t, leaving a few Dirhams behind for meals is typical.
For nicer restaurants or services you partake in (i.e. tours, spas, etc.), tipping between 7-10% of the total bill is a good rule of thumb.
Of course, if the service exceeds your expectation, feel free to tip more!
14. Be Prepared For The Cats of Morocco
Morocco may be a challenge for you if you’re a cat lover.
Undernourished street cats roam the alleyways and roads of Morocco. You’re sure to see your fair share, from big cats to small kittens. Even for us dog lovers, it was pretty heartbreaking.
15. Drink Purified Water, Just To Be Safe
In the major cities of Morocco, tap water potentially will cause no harm. However, it’s not a guarantee. Ultimately, it’s up to you if you want to chance it!
To be safe, it’s best to drink bottled water when traveling in Morocco. However, you can opt to purify the tap water yourself, which may stop you from experiencing tummy troubles.
TIP: Medications like Tums or Ciprofloxacin are great to pack to help aid in any tummy troubles when traveling in Morocco and other destinations worldwide.
16. The Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice Is Amazing
The OJ in Morocco is nothing short of delicious!
You can find freshly squeezed OJ from local street vendors. It’s fresh and sweet, making it a wonderful treat from the heat of Morocco.
Plus, it’s a budget-friendly beverage for those who are conscious of their Dirhams.
Seriously, trust us on this one. It’s dynamite.
17. Alcohol and Drugs in Morocco
As part of Islam, intoxicants such as alcohol and drugs are forbidden. The Riads and Dar’s you stay at typically do not offer alcohol.
However, if you are wanting a drink while in Morocco, you’re not entirely out of luck. There are places like larger hotels and a few bars where you’ll be able to find beer, cocktails, and maybe even some shisha (hookah)!
Drugs in Morocco. Specifically, hashish is a huge export of Morocco. In fact, Morocco is currently among the world’s top producers of hashish. HOWEVER, buying and smoking hashish remains illegal in Morocco and is not a recommended activity for travelers.
18. Make Sure You Have The Right Adapter
If you are coming from the United States, you’ll need to ensure you have a travel adapter. For reference, Morocco uses C and E plug types.
Plug type C is the plug that has two round pins, and plug type E is the plug that has two round pins and a hole for the socket’s “earthing” pin.
If you are needing a travel adapter, this one will work perfectly in Morocco!
19. Drones Are Not Allowed In Morocco
Last but certainly not least of the travel tips for Morocco is drones. Leave your drone at home.
If you are traveling to other countries outside of Morocco and would like to use your drone there, you do have an option.
If you bring your drone, you’ll be forced to leave it at the airport until you depart the country, but you’ll need to fly in and out of the same airport in order to retrieve you’re done.
The drone you leave at the airport can only stay at the airport for 45 days. However, there are so many travelers who never see their drone again. So, it’s best to leave your drone at home or look at shipping it to your next travel destination.
Lastly, Is Morocco Safe?
Just like any other place you travel to, you should travel smartly. What do we mean by that?
Be aware of your surroundings. Place your items in safe places – zipped up and out of sight. Be wary of friendly sellers; if you are a woman, make sure you don’t travel alone at night.
While we were in Morocco, we never felt in danger or had anything harmful happen to us. In fact, quite the opposite. We were warmly welcomed, met wonderful, helpful Moroccans, and shared so many smiles that we lost track.
TIP: Read our latest guide on safety tips for families, solo female travelers, and everyone else who is visiting Morocco!
We could go on and on about the Moroccan people, but it would turn into a long ramble about how much we love them. We’ll keep it short and sweet. These people are so kind, welcoming, and genuinely excited you are here.
It is impossible not to fall in love with the wonderful humans who call Morocco home.
At the end of the day, be smart, respectful, and aware, and you’ll be just fine.
With all the travel tips for Morocco discussed above, things are still out of your control. You never know what’s going to happen when you head to a new country. Not to be bearers of bad news, but accidents happen.
World Nomads has definitely come in handy for us a time or two! But that’s a story for a different day 🙂
WANT MORE INFORMATION ON MOROCCO?!
Travel Tips For Morocco – Pin It For Later!
For more travel tips, guides, and awesome travel shots, be sure to poke around our site and follow us on Instagram @wanderingstus, Pinterest, and Facebook. Oh, and if you have any questions, let us know in the comment section. We’re happy to answer. Or, just leave us a positive note!
– Lauren & Jesse Stuart (The Stus)