How to Get to Morocco
Morocco is a popular and exotic place to visit on the north coast of Africa, so there are many flights from Europe, other places in Africa, the Middle East, and several cities in the United States.
There are many choices of flights to this interesting city sitting both on the Atlantic Ocean and on the Mediterranean Sea.
Exciting cities for visitors to explore include Casablanca, the largest city in Morocco, and other mesmerizing cities such as Agadir, Essaouira, Fez, Rabat, and Tangier.
There are also ferries from Algerciras on the southern coast of Spain across the Mediterranean Sea to Tangier on the northern coast of Morocco. For most visitors, only a passport is needed to enter Morocco.
How to Get Around Morocco
There are several ways to get around Morocco. There are domestic flights, trains, and road trips. Royal Air Morac is the national air carrier but fares are quite steep.
The best way to get around this fascinating country is by train. They are comfortable; they are fast; and they run frequently. The train network links Casablanca, Fez, Marrakech, Mekne, Oujda, Rabat, Tangier, and Sidi Kachem. This is best for travelers who want to visit the “highlights” of Morocco. It’s also the best way to mix with the locals: they are very friendly and full of valuable advice. Not all stations are very well marked: you’ll find that locals are more than happy to let you know when you arrive at your station. Another perk is that many passengers end up sharing their food with fellow passengers, including you!
Almost every city has a central bus station. Here you can choose between “tourist” buses with air-conditioning and TV; and local buses which cost less and can be fun (again mixing, learning from the locals, and seeing villages that you would not normally see on the tourist buses). There are several companies both big and small that provide a comfortable ride at a reasonable price. Be prepared: most bus companies charge extra for baggage and the heat inside the bus can be uncomfortable for some travelers.
If you are the adventurous type of traveler, don’t hesitate to use the local buses. They often have more leg room than the luxury buses, but the downside is that, since they stop frequently, the trip can seem quite long.
“Grand Taxi” is the name of the shared taxi service. These operate between towns and the fares are semi-fixed and shared between passengers. Sharing a “Grand Taxi” sounds “grand,” but be prepared for more-than-full cars.
If driving, keep in mind that there are open border posts at the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla. Roads are in good condition but in some places the road narrows to just one lane. There are several expressways between the bigger cities. Make sure to have a good map and an extra supply of fuel: service stations are few and far between in the countryside. Driving in the large cities can be a nightmare which is why most visitors use the trains and the buses.
When Is the Best Time to Visit Morocco
Morocco is a fantastic place to visit at all times of the year! Because of the way the geography of the country is laid out, there is always a place where the climate is mild: in these places you can go to escape the heat and enjoy the cooler climate and to explore a new region.
Fez and Marrakech can be unbearably hot in the summer, so head for the hills! The summer is the best time to trek or explore the Atlas mountains: here the high altitude guarantees fresh and cool air and the occasional snowfall. The Atlantic coast is warm in the winter. Days can be warm but take a jacket along because the nights can get chilly. Exploring the desert can be fun, but choose a guide or a tour.
If this is your first visit to Morocco, you might want to consider taking a tour. There are many tour companies, and many kinds of tours. Most of the tours are catered towards first time visitors, so the tours concentrate on the highlights of the country and are very informative. There are tours that concentrate on the major cities including Casablanca, Fez, Meknes, Merzouga, and Rabat.
Other tours take visitors into the desert for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, with camels, tents, food, and villages along the way. Tours to the Atlas are best experienced between May and September; while the desert is the place to go at any time during the year. Some other tours are geared towards specific aspects of Morocco such as its history, culture, food, and many other facets of life in Morocco.
What to Wear
Anyone who has done much traveling in the past knows the importance of respecting the traditions of the country you are visiting. When visiting Morocco the most important thing to remember is to always dress modestly. Never walk around barefoot. Beach attire is okay for the beaches and nearby hotels, but not for shopping in the market or strolling down the main street of a village. Layers of clothes work very well when hiking the Atlas mountains. Too hot? Take off a layer. Too cold? Add a layer or two.
There’s nothing more disappointing than going to great effort to get to a sight in Morocco just to discover the attraction is closed for the day. Make sure to do your homework on the internet as you plan your trip.
The biggest event of the year is the month of Ramadan. The dates of this important Muslim event change from year to year, so it is imperative to find out the dates of Ramadan during the year that you plan to visit Morocco.
Muslims are required to fast from sunrise to sunset: this means that many restaurants are closed for lunch. As mentioned before, respect the Moroccan culture: it is not a problem to travel during Ramadan, but drinking, eating, and smoking should be avoided in public places. Eid al-Fitr is the holiday that marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. Most everything closes down as people head back to their homes all over the country to enjoy several days of celebration with their families.
What is the capital of Morocco?
The Capital of Morocco is Rabat, which is located where the Bou Regreg River meets the Atlantic Ocean.
Do I need a Visa to Morocco?
Most nationalities including those from the US, Canada and the UK (other nationalities can get more info here) don’t need a visa to visit Morocco for the purpose of tourism. Your Passport should be valid for at least 6 months beyond your return date. When entering Morocco, make sure your passport is stamped, which will allow you to stay for up to 3 months.
Moroccans speak many different languages
- Arabic and Berber are considered Morocco’s two official languages.
- Moroccan Arabic (Darija) is what majority of people use in their everyday interactions.
- French is considered the third unofficial language of morocco; it is often used in business and government and remains the language used in Higher Education.
- Because of the close proximity, Spanish is also spoken in the north of Morocco.
- English, while still far behind French and Spanish in terms of the number of speakers, is rapidly becoming the second foreign language of choice among educated youth and spoken in popular tourist area.
- The national currency is the Dirham (MAD).
- The Dirham is officially designated as a closed currency meaning it cannot be exchanged or purchased outside of Morocco
- While it is considered against the law to take dirhams outside of Morocco, the import and export of the currency is tolerated up to a limit of 1000dh.
- The best place to exchange money it is at a bank or approved exchange office.
- Credit cards are accepted in hotels and in many modern shopping centers, although you may get a better price for a cash transaction.
- Credit card companies and/or your bank should be notified to the dates of your travels to Morocco so your card will not be declined abroad. Notify the issuer and give them a ‘phone number where you can be contacted abroad
- Traveler’s checks are not recommended for use in Morocco and are becoming less useful; banks often charge high fees to exchange them.
What is the electrical system in Morocco?
The voltage in Morocco is mostly 220V, 50 Hz (two pin round plugs). Always check electronic items to make sure they “dual voltage” and they can handle 110-220 volts.
What is the largest city in Morocco?
According to latest Moroccan census, the population of the Greater Casablanca reached, on 1 September 2014, the number of 4,270,750 people.