What to know before going to morocco

Travelling in Morocco is the certainty of experiencing an explosion of colors, sounds, scenery and smells. The country arouses all the senses because it has a very strong culture of its own personality. The historical souks of Marrakech, the peace of Asni, the Berber villages in the Atlas Mountains, the village of Ait Ben Haddou, the cinematographic vein of Ouarzazate, the oasis of Skoura, the Todra gorges, the Valley of Roses, the Valley of Dates, the Sahara Desert, the paints and labyrinths of the Medina of Fes. A world to be discovered. Below I will try to tell you everything you need to know before travelling to Morocco, to make a super quiet tour.

The main Info about Morocco:

Official name:  Kingdom of Morocco. Yes, Morocco has a king. And he has vast powers.

Population:  35 million inhabitants.

Capital:  Rabat.

Currency:  Moroccan Dirham.

Borders:  Spain (you can get to Tangier by ferry), Algeria, and Mauritania.

Most visited city:  Marrakech

Biggest city:  Casablanca is the biggest but not the most interesting.

Not to be missed: Marrakech, Fes, Ait Ben Haddou, Chefchaouen, Kasbah Amridil in Skoura, Todra Valley and glamping in Merzouga desert.

How to get to Morocco:

There are many ways to get to Morocco, and of course that depends on where you want to fly from. Morocco has four main destinations where tourists land. Firstly, and the most famous one is the city of Marrakech. Secondly, there is Casablanca and the International airport of Mohammed V, the largest in Morocco. Thirdly, you can land in Fes, one of the main cities where travelers start their Morocco tours. Finally, there is Tangier, the gate to Europe.

Many tourists from Asia that want to visit Morocco make stopovers whether in Emirates or Turkey then head to Morocco. The rest of the world do stopovers in France, Spain or Portugal then head directly to Morocco by ferry or flight.

Religion:

Most of the population are adept at Islam, but they are not radicals or that conservative. They do five calls to pray a day "salah". Only Muslims can enter the mosques, expect the Grand Hassan 2 Mosque in Casablanca that is open for everyone.

How to dress:

You will see everything, from women in burqas to westernized clothes and hair on display. Tourists should avoid only clothes that mark the body too much in respect to local customs. However, it is not an obligation for women to cover up their hair.

About security:

Morocco is a very safe country. However, it is worth keeping an eye on. Avoid walking through dark places at night, do not ask for information from anyone on the street or accept an invitation from people to guide you around the city, they will probably ask for money and will be boring asking for more and more. If you need some information go into a store, tourist information center or look for a police officer.

Traditional drink:

mint tea is omnipresent. You will drink a lot of tea. And the orange juice is famous! Oranges are very sweet in the country. Alcoholic drinks are not released regularly because they are Muslim. However, Morocco produces good wines, and as a tourist, you can find and buy it.

Food to eat:

Tajine, is the main dish of Morocco, a stew of meat, chicken, or sheep made on the ember in a clay dish with a cone-shaped lid. Eat also a lot of Moroccan Couscous that is made with wheat semolina mixed with dried fruit, meat and vegetables. The dates are famous and delicious. But do not buy anywhere, always observe the hygiene conditions of the place.

Communication:

Arabic is the official language, greet with a "Salaam aleikum" and say "Shukran" (thank you) to open smiles. Berber is also official and spoken especially in the interior of the country. French is the unofficial language spoken by everyone. English is widely spoken in addition to Spanish. You will have no problem communicating.

When to go:

From November to March the temperatures are milder and even snow in the mountains. But, the country can be visited throughout the year. July and August are very hot months and they coincide with vacations in Europe, so it is high season. It is better to avoid this season.

How to get around the country:

It is easy to drive in Morocco. The roads are good, but as they have many curves and pass inside the villages the routes are slow. Calculate two hours for every 100 kilometers when walking through the interior of the country. Driving by car is time-consuming, but on the other hand, it is a good reason to get in touch with the local culture. If you are in a hurry there are several airports in the country to shorten the distances and speed up the trip. Or simply, you can hire a travel agency to customize tours for you. According to many travelers, people who are interested to camel ride and camp in Berber tents at the Sahara, it would be better if they take the itinerary of the 3 days tour from Marrakech to Merzouga. It is short, you can see many things and experience the highlight of Morocco activities.

Riad:

It is a small palace built in the historical center of the city. It was the residence of the wealthiest families in Morocco and many of them became hotels. They are interesting places to stay.

Kasbah:

They are the old fortified Berber residences. Today, many have become hotels. They are interesting places for an unusual experience of lodging. They have all standards, from the simplest to the super luxurious.

Medina:

is the historical fortified center of a city, where the markets are. In most Moroccan cities it is used to refer to the old city and its old streets.

Shopping in Morocco:

You have to exercise the art of bargaining. The Souks are colorful and invite to consumption. It is impossible to go out without buying something: bags, Babouches, kaftans, lamps, scarves, carpets, ceramic pieces, spices... Always negotiate the price. It is a local tradition.

About photography:

Morocco is one of those countries where you should be careful when photographing people. Some of them don't like it. Even more, some people charge to let themselves be photographed. Others get offended. Ask permission before clicking.

Historical Heritage listed by Unesco:

Medina de Fes (1981)

Marrakech Medina (1985)

Ait Ben Haddou (1987)

The historic town of Meknes (1996)

Medina of Tetouan (1997)

The archaeological site of Volubilis (1997)

Medina de Essaouria (2001)

Rabat (2012)

Imperial Cities: Fes, Marrakech, Rabat, Mèknes

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