What you should know before going to Morocco

Some weeks ago, I already explained to you, how we organized our trip to Morocco.  Well, today I’m going to tell you some important things that I think you should know before travelling to this country.  If you have any question, don’t hesitate to write me using the CONTACT form.

How to get there?

The easiest and cheapest way is going by plane (it’s also possible to go by boat). The cheapest company is Ryanair and there are lots of destinations if you fly with them: Rabat, Nador, Fes, Tanger, etc.

It always depends on the company which you’re flying with, but with Ryanair it’s possible to travel with a backpack (50L) as a hand luggage. The measures for the hand luggage are: 55cm x 40cm x 20cm, maximum 10kg, and another small bag: 35cm x20cm x 20cm.

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How to move around Morocco?

  • By bus

We went by bus from Fes to Marrakesh. We knew that the train was faster than the bus but we wanted to travel during the night, so we could save some money. It took ten hours to go from one city to the other (the whole night), and we arrived to Marrakesh in the morning. We booked the tickets in advance because we didn’t want to spend time once there, but you can also buy the tickets in the Fes Bus Station. The ticket price was 15€ per person and the bus company was CTM. You can book you’re tickets in this website.

These are the addresses for the Bus Stations in Fes and Marrakesh. It’s not difficult to find them if you’re going by taxi.

Fes Bus Station: CTM Bus Station, Quartier Al-Atlas, Fès, Morocco.

Marrakesh Bus Station: CTM, Rue Abou Bakr Seddik, Marrakesh, Morocco.

  • By train

This is the fastest way to travel around Morocco and all the prices are quite similar to the bus ones. I can’t say anything about the train service because I didn’t use it, but you can check the timetable and the prices here.

  • Grand Taxi

You can also travel with these big taxis with capacity for 10 people. I didn’t use these taxis but I read that it’s a good option if you want to visit places that are close by. The price is divided between the people in the taxi. That means that the most you are the less you pay.

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Do you need visa and travel insurance?

If you’re Spanish, I’ve already explained everything about visas and passports in the “Spanish part above”.

If you’re from another country, you can check this list with all the nationalities that don’t need visa to go to Morocco and can stay there for three months.

The other thing is the travel insurance. You’ll need it no matter from which country you are. If you’re thinking about travelling for a week or more, I recommend you to have travel insurance. They are not expensive and you won’t have to be worried if something happens.

You can buy the insurance with lots of different companies, even the flight companies have this kind of insurances. For example, Ryanair has an insurance for 15€ per person and it covers different things. We decided to buy the insurance with Iati Seguros because I had read about this company in other travel blogs. We booked the basic insurance and the price was 32.8€ for both of us (16.4€ per person), but there are many different kinds of insurances, depending on where you’re travelling and for how long.

ADVICE: If you google “Iati seguros discount” you can find 5% discounts or more, because there are so many travel blogs that have it.

You don’t need any vaccine to go to Morocco, but it’s recommended to have the one for the Hepatitis A, B and the vaccine for the Tetanus. Or you can also ask your doctor.

Of course, the best way to sightsee the city is on foot. It’s forbidden for the vehicles to go inside the Medina, so you can only go there on foot. If you want to go somewhere farther, a good option is to go by taxi, but always remember to bargain.

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Accommodation and food

You can book the accommodation both, on Internet or once you’re there, but I recommend you to book in advance, at least the first nights. We booked the last nights in Marrakesh once we were there and we spend a whole afternoon to find a place. But if you have time I encourage you to go around and see some Riads, there are some amazing (and expensive) ones.

The most common accommodation you can find in Morocco are the Riads. Most of them are in the Medinas, so you have to be careful when you’re going to book them, because it could be difficult to find them if you arrive during the night. We stayed in three different Riads and I really recommend them because they have Moroccan decor and the most of the hosts give you Moroccan tee, so you feel as one of them. The price could be very different, from 10 or 15€ to 150€ per night and person. In some of the Riads you can bargain (you just have to try it).

The place we stayed in Fes was the Riad Maison Adam. It was a bit cold during the night but all the rest was great, both the place and the people there. We payed 51€ for two nights and breakfast (two people).

The place we slept in Marrakesh was the Riad el Bellar, and we really recommend this riad. We fell in love with the place and the breakfast. There was a very nice and sweet woman who cleaned and served the breakfast whose name was Fatima and she gave us tee every time we arrived to the riad. We paid 60€ for to nights and breakfast (two people).

 

Riad Maison Adam

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If you want to spend less than 10€, then a hostel will be the best option for you. You can find shared rooms for 5€ and it’s a very good place to meet lot of people.

There are also Hotels but I don’t recommend them because they are more expensive and the most of them are outside the Medina.

All the food in Morocco is very cheap, but you’ll get the best prices if you buy in the local shops in the streets. It’s also possible to bargain but you have to be careful because some restaurants have a fix price. In lots of these restaurants there’s a fixed menu that costs between 60dh and 120dh (from 5€ to 10€) per person. With the menu you’ll have a starter, a main dish and s dessert, more than enough for one person.

TIPS:

  • Drink always bottled water, don’t drink it from the tap. You can buy bottles in the supermarket or in small shops in the Medinas (it’s very cheap). Be careful also with the ice.
  • You’ll get the cheapest price if you buy the food to the people in the street (fruit, bread, sweets, etc.)

Tajin, typical Moroccan dish

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Best season to travel there

If you go in winter it will be almost impossible to do the dessert tour because it will be freezing, but if you go in Summer, then you’ll die because of the high temperatures. So the best seasons to travel to Morocco are Spring and Autumn. We went at the end of January and we nearly got froze at the dessert, but in the temperature in the cities was between 15ºC and 25ºC. I don’t recommend you to travel in Summer because it’s the high season and there will be a lot of tourist.

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Plugs

If you’re from Spain, don’t worry, the plugs are exactly the same. For the people from other countries, the plugs are type C/E, 220V and 50 Hz. Here you can see how they are:

I recommend you to bring a socket strip with you, it will be useful if you need to charge many electronic devices.

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Money

The Morocco’s currency is the dírham and the change (June 2016) is 1 euro = 10,97dh. If you don’t have Euro in your country, don’t worry, you can check it here.

In my opinion it’s better to go to Morocco with your own money and change it once there. There are places to change money and also to take money from the bank. The most of the cashiers are in the new part of the city (Ville Nouvelle), not in the Medinas.

TO KNOW: You can pay in euros in some shops, hostels and riads, so don’t worry if you don’t have time to change your money. The thing is that the change will be 1 euro =10 dirhams in these places (usually).

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Language

The official languages are the Arabian and Berber, and everybody speaks French. In the north of Morocco they also speak Spanish and the people who live in touristic places speak English.

I was so surprised about the facility of the people to speak all the languages I already said. They didn’t have any problem in talking Spanish, French or English, so don’t worry about the language, it won’t be a problem.

Schedule

Morocco’s time zone in the Western Europe one: UTC±00:00. It’s one of the countries that don’t change the time in Spring and Autumn, as all the European countries do. That means that the time difference won’t be the same if you travel in Summer or in Winter. You can check what time it is at the moment you’re travelling in this website.

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Wi-Fi

There is Wi-fi in the most of the touristic restaurants, bars, hotels, hostels and riads. In some of them it’s working better than in others, but we didn’t have any problem to communicate with the rest of the world. We didn’t have any kind of internet connection when we were at the desert, but sometimes it’s nice to disconnect for some days.

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Other important information

BARGAIN

Morocco is one of the countries where you have to bargain if you want to buy something. They are used to bargain and they know really well how to do it, so don’t be shy and try to do your best. They won’t sell you anything if they don’t earn some money, so you can start asking more than the half of the price. If you want to know how to bargain as an expert, check this post.

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TIPS

This is a very sharp issue, because in Morocco everybody will ask you for a tip. They will try to help you, being a guide or bringing you somewhere (even if you don’t want) and then they’ll ask you for some money. If you’re traveling in a low cost way I recommend you to do everything for yourself and don’t give tips. You can save lot of money if you don’t give tips.

If you want to prevent a misunderstanding with the people who try to give you a service and you don’t want, the best thing you can do is to explain to them, VERY CLEAR, that you don’t want that service and you’re not going to pay. Sometimes they agree and they help you even if you don’t give them anything.

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FALSE GUIDES

It’s very easy to get lost in the Medinas and there are always people who want to help you to arrive somewhere. Be aware because they are not professional guides and they’ll want some money. Most of them will try to bring you to some friend of family’s shop for you to buy something, so it’s better to say NO when they’ll try to guide you (or tell them that you’re not going to pay).

It’s very usual that if you ask for some particular places they tell you that it’s closed but they know a “better” place.  This is not true, and if it is, you can go and check yourself, just in case.

ADVISE: If you’re completely lost and you need to ask but you don’t want to spend money, then ask to women and old people. They’ll never ask you money.  

 

LABYRINTHINE’S MEDINAS

I’d already read that it’s very easy to get lost in the Medinas but, as lot of people, I thought it won’t be that difficult. Actually, we got lost just once but we had to be very careful of where we were all the time. But if you get lost and you don’t know how to come back to the main street or to your riad or hostel, don’t worry, you can just walk around and get lost in the Medina, sometimes this is the best way to know new and beautiful places.

ADVISE: If you’re in some of the small streets in the Medina and you don’t know if it’s a dead-end street, you have to check the wind. If there’s no wind or air over there it means that this is a dead-end street. If there’s breeze then you can keep going, the street has another way out.

USEFUL INFORMATION: Googlemaps!! Even if you’re travelling to another country and you don’t have Wi-fi or data, you can use Googlemaps. You just have to turn on the GPS option (not the internet one) and Googlemaps will tell you where exactly you are, but you have to charge all the maps with internet connection. I’m not sure if in Googlemaps there are all the streets from the Medina, but it’s very useful if you get lost.

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If you’ve ever been to Morocco, feel free to share other interesting or important information about this amazing country, with us.

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