From the bustling medinas of Marrakech and the history-soaked streets of Fes to the cool coastal breezes of Essaouira and the mountainous slopes of Imlil, Morocco is a destination that offers something for everyone. Follow these six simple tips to make your Moroccan experience even more memorable.
1. Go beyond Marrakech
For many travelers, Marrakech, the vibrant “Red City” in the country’s west, will be their first port-of-call. You could easily spend your entire trip wandering the city streets, discovering the Saadian Tombs, the Bahia Palace, and the vibrant Jemaa el Fnaa Square. But there’s much more to Morocco than Marrakech! From the Atlas Mountains to the breathtaking blue town of Chefchaouen, we recommend exploring a few more corners of this captivating country. Just remember, Morocco is quite large, so make sure your itinerary allows for ample travel time.
2. Discover mosques, minarets, and more
Morocco is a country that’s proud of its culture. When you see its stunning mosques and minarets for yourself, you’ll understand why. However, there are very few mosques in the country that allow non-Muslims to visit: one of these is the must-see Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, which just happens to boast the world’s largest minaret. All guests should behave respectfully and dress modestly, with shoulders and knees covered. In fact, it’s a good idea to do as the locals do and dress modestly wherever you go in Morocco. Choose light, loose-fitting clothing that will keep you cool in the hot sun.
3. Leave knives and forks behind
Cous-cous, bastilla, tagine, rfissa — Moroccan cuisine is as delicious as it is diverse. For a truly authentic culinary experience, use bread instead of utensils to eat your food, and round your meal off with a glass of zingy fresh mint tea. To reach foodie-heaven, enroll in a private cooking class. Here, you’ll learn tips and tricks for recreating your favorite Moroccan flavors at home.
4. Talk like a local
Don’t expect every Moroccan you meet to speak fluent English. In big cities, many people will speak some English or French. In remote areas, expect to hear a lot more of Morocco’s two official languages: Arabic and Berber. Arabic is the more widely-spoken and learning a few Arabic phrases could help you avoid a communication breakdown. Here’s one to get you started: shukran (pronounced shook-ran) is Arabic for “thank you.”
5. Learn the laws
Travelers to Morocco should use their common sense to stay out of legal hassles, just like every other country in the world. But there’s one specific Moroccan law that you do need to be aware of: it’s illegal to insult the royal family. So mind your p’s and q’s — a misstep could land you with a fine or an unwelcome stay in less-than-ideal lodgings (hint: not your hotel suite).
6. Bargain like you mean it
Morocco is shopping heaven, where the souks are heaving with colorful spices, vibrant rugs, and gorgeous traditional garments like djellaba robes and babouche slippers. We’ve yet to meet a traveler who hasn’t returned home from Morocco with a suitcase full of one-of-a-kind souvenirs. But before you hit the souk, brush up on your bargaining skills. In Morocco it’s acceptable — and even expected — to haggle over the price of an item before buying. The price the vendor quotes is just a starting off point: negotiate to get a better deal. Just remember to keep things friendly.
Keep these six tips in mind for a truly memorable trip. Have an amazing experience you’d like to share? Tell us in the comments (hint: you’ll have to be logged into Facebook to share your tips with us)!