The ultimate guide to our Morocco Holidays

Tips & Advice for Travelling to Morocco

Our ultimate guide to our Morocco Holidays contains answers to a range of the most frequently asked questions. You will hopefully find the answers here, and if not, do give us a call.

Why visit Morocco?

Morocco is as delightfully different from the climes of northern Europe as it is possible to be without travelling for extended periods of time.

Only a few hours by plane from London and one might almost have landed on another planet. Morocco is as delightfully different from the climes of northern Europe as it is possible to be without travelling for extended periods of time.

Running through central Morocco, the Atlas Mountains form a glistening snow-capped backdrop to the magic of Marrakech. Travellers have a choice of staying within the ancient ochre walls of the city close to the hurly-burly of the medina and main square, Djemaa el Fna, or just outside in the elegant Palmeraie. Whichever option one chooses, consummate hospitality and comfort guarantee a fabulous retreat from the sights and sounds of one of the world’s most exciting cities.  

Within living memory, slaves were sold in the Djemaa el Fna, however, nowadays street vendors sell a bizarre array of plants and vegetables; dentists tout their trade to the brave, whilst acrobats, fire-eaters, snake charmers and dancers entertain the crowds. As evening falls, smoke rises from dozens of stalls selling sizzling meat and spicy delicacies and the theatre continues, accompanied by haunting calls to prayer floating down from nearby mosques.  

The soul of Marrakech, however, lies in the labyrinthine medina. Narrow windowless alleyways are thronged with veiled-woman and old men in hooded robes. Piled with sacks of dates and leather slippers, brightly coloured cotton and pomegranates, the medina hosts a chaotic array of carpet sellers and silversmiths, spice vendors and weavers.

 Within living memory, slaves were sold in the Djemaa el Fna, however, nowadays street vendors sell a bizarre array of plants and vegetables; dentists tout their trade to the brave, whilst acrobats, fire-eaters, snake charmers and dancers entertain the crowds.

In total contrast to the hubbub of the city are the cooler climes of the mountains where gracious hotels set in gorgeously scented gardens provide a tranquil refuge from all that is clamorous and hectic. If the sort of peace that enables one to listen to nightingales sing is appealing together with a level of activity that peaks with admiring the view from under a flowering quince, then these are ideal haunts.  

Delve deeper into Morocco, and you are rewarded with some outstanding off-the-beaten-track destinations. Cross the Atlas Mountains and you find verdant oasis villages, with imposing Kasbahs towering above. Further south, you find the vast expanse of the Sahara Desert. A night in a tented camp is always so special.

In the east of Morocco, you find the city of Fez, with a more authentic souk than the one in Marrakech. To the north of Fez, you find the Rif Mountains with the quirky blue town of Chefchaouen. On the Mediterranean Coast, you find the three cities of Tangiers, Rabat and Casablanca. The Atlantic Coast is particularly stunning, with the town of Essaouira being a highlight. 

Morocco is quite simply fabulous. Whether one prefers the quietness of the mountains or the bustle of the souk, the healing influence of winter sun and the courtesy of welcoming people are an irresistible combination. 

What is the best month to visit Morocco?

Therefore, due to the upcoming Ramadan dates, the best month to visit Morocco is October.

The best time to visit Morocco is generally the spring (mid-March) or Autumn (September to October). During these months, the weather is warm and usually dry. Temperatures in Marrakech range from 23°C to 29°C, so you can easily spend a few hours by the pool as well as exploring. 

It tends to get very hot in the summer, especially in inland cities such as Fez and Marrakech. Temperatures can reach 38°C. It is a little less hot in the Atlas Mountains, especially when you are higher up, and they tend to only reach 30°C. 

On the other hand, the Atlantic Coast remains very pleasant with temperatures staying under 30°C.

The winter tends to be pretty chilly. Temperatures in Marrakech drop to 18°C, and lower at night. This means that you can just about get some sunbathing in December and January, but it’s not perfect by any means! 

Another important point is to consider not travelling over Ramadan when shops and sights are closed, and serving alcohol is prohibited. Here are the dates over the next few years.

  • 2022: 2nd April to 1st May.
  • 2023: 22nd March to 20th April
  • 2024: 10th March to 8th April
  • 2025: 28th February to 29th March

Therefore, due to the upcoming Ramadan dates, the best month to visit Morocco is October.

How many days do you need to see Morocco?

3-5 days in Morocco

Given that the flight time from the UK is only 3 hours, you can easily visit Morocco on a short break. We have a suggested ‘Long Weekend in Marrakech’ itinerary that allows you to see both the city, and also take a day trip into the Atlas Mountains. In addition, you can enjoy some superb immersive experiences. These include a hot-air balloon flight over the Agfay desert, a souk tour, a side-car experience and even delving into the more hidden souks. Due to the wonderful winter sun in Morocco, you can easily spend a few days just relaxing by the pool.

8-10 days is the perfect length of time to get a really good introduction to Morocco.

6-8 days in Morocco

With a few more days, you can easily combine Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains, staying a few days in both. It’s always magical to wake up in the mountains, and you can do some more immersive day treks than you can when just doing a day trip. You also have some superb boutique hotels here such as Bab Ourika or Domaine Malika for instance. 

8-10 days in Morocco

8-10 days is the perfect length of time to get a really good introduction to Morocco. A classic three-centre journey could combine Marrakech, the Atlas Mountains with time on the coast in Essaouira. Another idea could be to combine Fez, Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains. Another superb itinerary is to head to Morocco’s secret south, staying in private houses in totally off-the-beaten-track locations.

All our trips are tailor-made so we can work out a journey taking in all the destinations you want to include, or not. 

10-14 days in Morocco

A longer stay in Morocco allows you to visit the Sahara Desert. It takes a fair bit of driving to get down there, but the experience is certainly worth it. In addition, the scenery is spectacular, making the drives especially enjoyable.

If you want a long tour of Morocco, then consider our ‘Grand Tour of Morocco’. You start in Casablanca before visiting Fez, the Sahara Desert, Skoura, the Atlas Mountains and Marrakech. It will take about 14 days.

14 days or more in Morocco

If time isn’t a restraint, and you want to see as much as you can, you could start in Casablanca and travel to the northern cities of Rabat and Tagiers. Visit the Rif Mountains at Chefchaoun before arriving at Fez. You then drive south to the Sahara to Merzouga and then across the Dades Valley to Skoura.

Dip down to the desert regions of Zagora, before heading to Ouarzazate. Cross the Atlas and into Marrakech. You also have the option of finishing on the coast. This itinerary could take upwards of 20 days. Needless to say, all our trips are tailor-made so we can work out a journey taking in all the destinations you want to include, or not. 

Is it safe to travel to Morocco?

It’s best to use our guides to get your bearings, then politely decline help from people you don’t know.

We get asked this question a lot by our guests, and we have to first point you to the advice given by the UK Foreign Office, the US State Department or the Australian Foreign Office. Needless to say, Morocco is a safe place to visit. Admittedly, there is a small chance of petty crime through pickpocketing in the souks. Also, we advise you to watch out for scammers and overzealous salesmen.

You will no doubt be approached by people wanting to offer help to navigate the souks. Often, they are being genuinely helpful but would be wanting a donation. It’s best to use our guides to get your bearings, then politely decline help from people you don’t know. Given how important tourism is to Morocco, the tourist police have cracked down in recent years. We also suggest that you dress modestly, especially as Morocco is an Islamic country. Avoid wearing flashy jewellery, and keep your valuables safe. 

What to know before going to Morocco

Currency

The Moroccan Dirham is the currency. As a rough rule of thumb, 100 Dirhams is about £8, $11.50 and €9.50. It is a closed currency, so you will need to get it when you first arrive in Morocco.

The best way to get local currency is to use an ATM where you get the best exchange rates. However, you might need to visit a few different ones, as we found they regularly ran out of money or didn’t work with our bank. We’ve never had a problem getting cash out. 

The best way to get local currency is to use an ATM where you get the best exchange rates.

Most shops now take all major credit cards, but AMEX cards are not usually accepted in shops, just large hotels and some Riads. Therefore, take a Visa or Mastercard as a backup. Pre-paid cards, with good exchange rates and low withdrawal, fees eg FairFX are becoming a popular option as money is protected if the card gets lost or stolen.

You will need local currency for taxis and tips. Most taxis in Marrakech will cost about 30 Dirhams.

What to Wear 

It’s unfortunate, but women need to dress more conservatively than men. It helps to avoid unwanted attention. When visiting mosques, ensure you are fully covered, and women need to have their heads covered too using a shawl or scarf. 

Haggling

Haggling is a normal and expected art that you will need to learn. As a rule of thumb, start your negotiations anywhere between 2/3 to half of the price and see where you end up. When haggling in the souks, always start your negotiations around 30% of the asking price and aim to settle at about 50%. They will likely call you a ‘Berber’, known as a person from the hills who haggles well. This is seen as a term of respect. 

Be prepared to walk away from the shop if things are not progressing, they will always then try and get you back if you are close to a the right sort of price. Keep at it, and remember the same goods will be in other shops if you aren’t happy.

If you are looking to buy anything expensive, do your research before you travel to Morocco. 

Marrakech Medina and Souq Tour in Morocco
Marrakech Medina and Souq Tour in Morocco
Do you need a visa to enter Morocco?

You will be issued with a visa on arrival free of charge. Please make sure your passport is valid for 3 months after your return, and that it isn’t damaged in any way. 

You will be issued with a visa on arrival free of charge. Please make sure your passport is valid for 3 months after your return, and that it isn’t damaged in any way. 

Morocco holidays and Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Morocco has currently suspended all flights into the country from 30 March 2021. Once tourism reopens, it is likely to follow its current guidance:

  • Negative PCR test 72 hours before arrival (not including children under 11)
  • Complete a passenger health form online
  • A clinical examination on arrival (such as taking your temperature)
  • Downloading the tracking app Wiqaytna.

The expected resumption of tourism is October 2021.

General Travel Advice for Morocco
  • You can always haggle a taxi fare down
  • Tipping is fairly common, from bell boys, drivers, taxis and 10-15% in restaurants – it is only a couple of Dirhams but it is expected.
  • It is worth learning hello (as-salām ‘alaykum), thank you (Sukran) and no thank you (La-Sukran – useful in the souks. If they persist – “kha-LAAS!” works well, meaning ‘enough’.
  • You might hear ‘Balak, Balak’ being said – this means watch out! 
  • Please bring a European style two-pin adapter
  • Always ask when taking photos, and quite often you will be asked to pay for the subject
  • Dress modestly, especially when outside of Marrakech. Women should bring a shawl to cover exposed shoulders, and should not wear short shirks or shorts (this helps to avoid attention)
  • Shops and Museums are generally closed on Fridays, as too many restaurants and souks
  • It might be worth buying a local SIM card with Internet Data at the airport, this means you can load up Google Maps to find out where you are!
  • The souks are quite dirty, and we suggest taking anti-bacterial hand-wash to apply when before you eat.
  • If you offered mint tea, it is generally seen as an offence not to accept!
  • It’s best to drink only bottled water, and be careful about eating salads and unpeeled fruit on less glamorous restaurants and cafes.
Chefchaouen - Private Tailor-made Morocco Tours and Bespoke Adventures with Millis Potter Travel
Chefchaouen

There are child-smiling experiences galore in Morocco. 

Morocco Family Holidays

Morocco is ideal for a family adventure. With just a three hour flight from Europe and no time difference, this is the shortest flight time to a completely different culture. There are child-smiling experiences galore in Morocco. 

Delve into the narrow, bustling alleyways of the souks of Marrakech before seeing snake charmers at the Djemaa el-Fna. Your family can be whisked up on hot-air balloons over the Agafay Desert before spending a night under canvas. Move to the Atlas Mountains, and your children will adore visiting local Berber homes for a mint tea. On the coast, you find some time for some beach time. You can stay close to the old pirate port of Essaouira, in the lovely Sofitel, complete with well-deserved pool time. 

If you have teenagers, we can offer more off-the-beaten-track family holidays in Morocco. The vast dunes of the Sahara Desert are a nine-hour drive from Marrakech, so not ideal for smaller children. However, we can fly you directly from Casablanca before slowly working your way back to Marrakech via the stunning Draa Valley. 

Morocco is blessed with stunning mountain ranges and natural beauty.

Trekking Holidays in Morocco

Morocco is blessed with stunning mountain ranges and natural beauty. The Atlas Mountains stretches right through Morocco from east to west, and the Rif Mountains south of Tangiers also give another dimension if you want to get into the hills.

The famous High Atlas Mountains are located to the south of Marrakech and it takes just an hour to drive there. Here you find countless boutique hotels, amazing day walks and for the more intrepid, the ascent of Mt Toubkal. Our four day trekking holiday to Morocco is ideal if you want to stretch your legs. 

Agafay Desert - Luxury Morocco Holidays and Tours with Millis Potter
Agafay Desert

Honeymoons in Morocco

Morocco is perfect for a honeymoon. You can blend culture, scenery and a relaxing beach stay in equal measure. What’s better than a night in a private desert camp, with a candlelit dinner on the dunes? Head to the Atlas Mountains where we can set up romantic picnics in impossibly scenic locations.

Visit Marrakech, and delve into the souks finding things to buy for the new house and taking a hot-air balloon flight above the Agafay Desert. Whilst here, your friends will no doubt be jealous of your Instagram post about the two of you whizzing through Marrakech on vintage sidecars. Finally, kick back on the beach in Oualidia for many days of quiet R&R. 

Morocco has some of the most exquisite, luxury hotels you can find, with experiences to match..

Luxury Morocco Holidays

Morocco has some of the most exquisite, luxury hotels you can find, from La Mamounia to Dar Ahlam and Kasbah Tamadot. Furthermore, the exclusive experiences you can do by day mean you can have a truly immersive experience that can only make you smile.

There is an excellent private helicopter company in Morocco that can cut down long journey times and take you truly off the beaten track. We also love the Memory Road journey through Morocco’s secret south. You take over private houses where you get the best amazing experience.  In short, you are in for a treat on a luxury Morocco holiday.

Kasbah Tamadot

Hotels in Morocco

There are so many superb hotels in Morocco that we simply can’t list all the ones we know about! Let’s start with Riads. These are usually located in the heart of the Medina in various cities. The Medina is an old town that is a maze of alleyways and souks. Often, the Riads are not accessible by road, and porters will meet you are one of the main Medina Gates and take you on foot to the Riad.

The big plus point of a Riad is the rooftop, where you can sit back and listen to the call to prayer and views over the city.

Riads tend to be inward-facing around a central courtyard, sometimes featuring a pretty garden or even a pool. This means your bedroom windows don’t tend to get as much light as you would like. You need to choose your style carefully! Some are very Moroccan in style (Riad Kniza or Riad Kaiss), some contemporary and stylish (Riad Joya), and some a blend of the two (Le Farnatchi). 

The big plus point of a Riad is the rooftop, where you can sit back and listen to the call to prayer and views over the city. Some Riads are small, and others have taken over two or three courtyards, making it more like a boutique hotel. We tend to call them Riad Hotels (such as La Sultana, El Fenn, and Villa Des Orangers). 

Outside of Marrakech, you find the Palmeraie. This palm-fringed oasis-like area has larger hotels and resorts (such as Amanjena and Mandarin Oriental) with larger pools and vast gardens. Perfect if you like space, peace and quiet! There are also gorgeous boutique hotels here like Dar Zemora

In other parts of Morocco, you will see the term ‘Kasbah’ – this is a former fortified house or castle that is now a hotel (Kasbah De Toubkal, Dar Ahlam) – sometimes a modern recreation. 

There are small boutique hotels throughout Morocco, and this means it is the perfect destination for a second-time trip to the country. We know many unique boltholes that are very much off the beaten track!

Finally, there are many amazing desert camps either located in Zagora (such as Azalai), south of Skoura, or Merzouga (south of Fes). 

I have always been somewhat of a traveller. When I was 17, I set off for a month to Bolivia, climbing mountains, exploring the Amazon and working in an orphanage. This continued before university where I worked as a teacher in Nepal, living with a local family and learning the language. This allowed me to …

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