.. PEN! Before the passport check there are stands with personal information forms. You grab one and fill it while waiting in line!
..no1 infection in Morocco. It is caused either by food of bad quality or by tap water!
..they are dens for thieves who steal at any moment and every chance they get. Be even more careful with small children, as they are danger no1 when it comes to theft.
..morning/afternoon in order to avoid over-crowdedness! It is chaos during the evenings and there are thefts all around!
.. speed guns that are usually set up outside of big cities.
Tips Morocco will help you overcome any danger or difficulty…in a country, and trust us on this, that hides lots of traps. With our useful tips you will know –almost- everything and be prepared for everything that you will come across. Because Morocco is a country full of hidden Tips.
- Currency: Dirham (exchange rate: 10dh = 1€)
- Average temperature 20°C
- Best season to visit: October-November.
- Kissing is prohibited in religious spaces.
- Friday is a holiday for all of Morocco.
- It is prohibited to cut even one palm tree leaf! Penalties range from fees to imprisonment!
- At the airport you will find a company called inwi that sells sim cards with data, call and text packages. You can choose only one service or make a combo. Example: A 10GB package costs 10€ and is valid for one month. Extra tip: Download the My inwi app in order to check your remaining data.
- Alcohol consumption in public places is prohibited.
- Be extremely careful in Medinas; they are dens for thieves who steal at any moment and every chance they get. Be even more careful with small children, as they are danger no1 when it comes to theft.
- SOS: You must carry a PEN! Before the passport check there are stands with personal information forms. You grab one and fill it while waiting in line!
- Do not visit it during Ramadan. Many stores close early, others do not open at all, there are no events, meat is absent from the menu (not everywhere) and the scheme is different in all accounts!
- Prices at the Medina of Marrakech are 2-4 times higher compared to the ones in Fez (for the same products).
- The magic word for anything strange that might come your way, dangerous or not, is POLICIA. Moroccans are terrified of the police and want no contact with them.
- If you stay at a Riad, prefer an upper-floor room. Ground-floor rooms might be cheaper, but they receive more noise and unbearable humidity!
- Internet signal is very good in the entire country (3G – 4G). Even at the mountains and the desert!
- Life in the Medinas is pretty dangerous! Pay close attention, as thefts and disorientation are rampant! You will feel more free when you leave them!
- Inside the Medinas police and army presence is prohibited, this is why thefts/scams are rife. Nonetheless, it is said that for order’s sake policemen are present dressed in civilian attire.
- The word that you hear most in Medinas is “Balak” and it means attention! Step aside because there is something heavily loaded coming your way.
- EVERYWHERE you go there will be people willing to “help” you…ALWAYS for a price!
- The exchange rate at the airport is not advantageous. Exchange some money only for your immediate expenses (30-50€). Prefer the second Desk, which has a better exchange rate.
- Tap water is not safe to drink. Prefer only bottled water.
- Drones are prohibited (they are confiscated)!
- You must carry wet hankies or hand sanitizers. Everything in Morocco is dirty!
- Credit/debit American express cards are –almost- nowhere accepted!
- In Rabat you can park outside the walls without cost.
- The streets are madness! Pedestrians, motorbikes, cars and bicycles are rushing out from every direction!
- Be very careful in motorways. Pedestrians, animals, carriages and anything else you can imagine cross them!
- There are no road cameras, only speed guns that are usually set up outside of big cities.
- On the road to Chefchaouen, many parts of the road have collapsed.
- Tolls from Fez to Marrakech and vice versa cost 175MAD (around 18€).
- Be very careful when driving, especially at night.
- All cars have their high-beam lights on.
- Accidents occur constantly.
- All trucks are overloaded. Keep your distance.
- The tail lights of many cars are burnt.
- Moroccans change lanes without turning on their blinkers and without caring if there is another car next to theirs.
- If you want to pass another car, flash your lights or honk to let them know.
- Prefer to drive only in roads signed N, and not R.
- Before and after every big city there is patrolling by traffic police, so everyone starts slowing down.
- Check your car tires often. The roads are full of potholes and nails so there is constant threat of loss of tire air pressure.
- In Rabat you can ride the tram for only 6MAD (0.6€).
- The taxi tariff from the airport is 100MAD (10€), but you can haggle it down to 80MAD (8€).
- Outside attractions they ask 1-5€ for parking. Prefer to leave it a little farther without charge.
- At parking facilities (outdoor or indoor) always pay at the end.
- In all the streets of the New City of Fez parking is upon charge. Authorized valets with vests walk all around to help you park. You pay them for the parking service.
For transportation to other cities you have three options:
- By train (ONCF): tickets from 30 to 600MAD depending on the journey.
- By buses (SupraTours & CTM): For example, you pay around 85MAD (8€) from Casablanca to Marrakech, while from Marrakech to Zagora it is around 135MAD (13€).
- By taxi: Trips from 120€
Menara Airport-Marrakech center
- Bus No 19: Cost 30 MAD (single trip), bus every 20-30 minutes, trip duration 30 minutes to the Jamaa el-Fnaa Square.
- By taxi: The tariff is 100 MAD but with some haggling you can drop it to 80 MAD, trip duration 15 minutes.
- The Souks close at sunset.
- Google maps and markers do not respond very well inside the Medinas and they might mislead you!
- In the Souks they sell cigarettes by the piece.
- In crowded markets you should walk in line, one in front of the other.
- The one in the front should keep bags on their chest and the one in the back should look over them!
- In most mosques entrance is allowed only to Muslims.
- The Al Quaraouiyine mosque in Fez opens its gates to non-Muslims only for a few photographs, but without permitting entrance.
- People will approach you to sell you cannabis, as the area is known for its crops.
- The well-known Blue Corner is located HERE.
- In the stores you will find henna colors in very good prices.
- Try the area’s goat cheese.
- It is said that it was painted blue: a) to resemble the sky and heaven, b) to repel mosquitoes, c) to distinguish the houses of Jews from the ones of Muslims (Keep whichever version you want).
- To find the waterfalls, you will have to cross the bridge and follow the trail on the left (otherwise you will end up at the God’s Bridge).
- If you choose to shop from a store close to the Tanneries, haggle hard!
- You can find the leather products of the stores 30-50% cheaper in other areas of the Medina.
- Do not visit them during the afternoon hours in the summer…the smell is deadly!
- All shops with a view of the Tanneries offer a bundle of mint at the entrance.
- The best view is from the rooftop of Shop 64. It has enormous variety, high prices and needs good haggling. Visit it on the opening (10am), when the smell is less intense.
Souks: (clothes, spices, desserts, food)
- Pick the one you like and ask for a better price. You may fall victim of the bad habit of charging even up to three times the normal price just because they see that you are not locals!
- Do not get disappointed if you do not find a product in the size or price you want it. You will find it in another store, as –almost- everyone offers the same products.
- During the afternoon cramming gets real, with more thefts as the result.
- Do not be afraid to get lost inside its streets. They are safe and offer images from the daily lives of the locals!
- “Fake” valets stand outside the walls of the Medina and ask for money to park your car.
- Street food in Medina is much better than in other towns. Search for the Moroccan pizza..
- In order to really enjoy it and explore every little store, take your walk in the morning.
- Visit the site early in the morning in order to avoid the countless groups!
- Do not climb the columns and do not take provocative pictures. The site is considered sacred.
- You can take photographs with the men of the royal guard (mounted or not)!
- Visit it at the opening or during the afternoon, as many groups and other tourists visit it early in the morning.
- The space is quite limited.
- It is an oasis of briskness during the summer months, offering a shelter against the hot sun.
- The humidity can be unpleasant for those that have a problem in such conditions.
- The best spot to visit the Koutoubia Mosque is from the Lalla Hasna park.
- The best time is during the sunset. The beautiful colors of the sky and the birds that make their appearance, complete the frame ideally!
- Only Muslims can visit it.
- There are many scam companies. Be careful where you give your money.
- The best desert is, of course, the orange Merzouga desert.
- Before the tour, have a light breakfast and carry motion sickness medicine! The turns are many and hard to handle.
- At one of the stops you will see the famous rock of Atlas. The rock’s natural colors are purple and white.
- Prefer to ride on the first in line camel of the tour. This way you will have the best view and be able to take the best photographs.
- At night, temperature in the desert drops by 10-20 degrees. Make sure you bring warm clothes, no matter the season you go.
- You get phone reception and internet throughout the whole trip, even though you reach 2,260m in altitude!
- It is not worth to visit the film studios of Atlas, the cinema and the castle at Ouarzazate (waste of money).
- Upon sunset, the Jemaa el-Fnaa square is turned into the largest outdoor street food shop in the world.
- In the square you will see the famous cobra dance.
- Haggle in order to get up to 70% discount. If the store owner does not accept the price you suggest pretend you are leaving…They will run after you. If they don’t, do not fret! You will find it in the next store at the price you want. (You simply have to be patient, methodical and determined.)
- Show that you are determined to not budge away from that price. No matter how much you like some product, do not show that you are dying to get it…it is the biggest mistake! The seller will step on your soft spot and overcharge you for it.
- Inside the Medina EVERYONE sees you as money! They want to take advantage of you for anything, be it information, photographs, food, shopping etc. Keep your eyes open.
- Make sure you bring water with you, as it is hard to find inside the Souks.
- Visit them as early as possible in order to avoid the groups.
- You can admire them from the rooftop of La Sultana Marrakech.
- The palace closes when the royal family is in the city.
- The most significant spot in the palace is the wing of the harem of Abu Bou Ahmed.
- Book a local guide at low cost to give you a tour around the palace. (There are many waiting outside!)
- Visit it early, at the opening, in order to avoid the groups.
- The main entrance is on Moulay Hassan Street.
- Picnics are not allowed.
- It is located on Rue Talaa Kebira street inside the Medina’s labyrinth and next to the Kairaouine Mosque, but because it is easy to miss, ask the locals to help you find its entranceς.
- It is common to find hairs inside your dish! Even in good restaurants!
- Do not eat street food from shops that are not busy or have not been recommended to you by your hotel.
- No matter how “tough” your stomach is, make sure you have Rifacol pills (or whichever brand your doctor recommends)…The food and water in the country have many germs, causing stomach disorders!
- Prefer to drink only bottled water. (Do not be afraid to drink tea with tap water, as it is boiled so all the germs are killed.)
- Do not trust the tour guides. 99.9% of them take commission to take you to restaurants with food of mediocre-bad quality!
- Small Riads will recommend you restaurants from which they take commission (and they usually are of low quality).
- Alcohol is served only in hotels and selected restaurants, in very high prices…almost as much as a serving of food!
- Tips are greatly appreciated by waiters.
- The stomach flu is the no1 infection in Morocco. It is caused either by food of bad quality or by tap water!
- Fresh mint gives tea a velvet, aromatic texture (favor it).
- Tajine (which you will see everywhere) is food inside their traditional clay pot.
- Their basic meat is chicken, while beef and goat follow.
There is no pork in any menu.
- Almost- every meal is served with baked vegetables or rice.
- The classic flavors are cumin – egg – mint tea – flatbread (like the Greek lagana).
- In many restaurants, if you don’t pay cash, you will be charged the extra 3.5% of the card commission.
- In the Medinas of Fez and Marrakech there are dozens of children in non-central streets (without Souks) that tell you that the road you want to take is closed. That their house is in that direction and that it is a dead-end, that if you continue you will encounter problems and more. Then they offer to guide you to a central spot and: a) they ask for money for the time they spent, b) lead you to “illegal” shops they know so that you shop there, c) in extreme cases they lead you to secluded spots and, with the help of their friends, extract money and valuables.
- Crooks with phosphorescent vests ask for money to let you park on the street. If there is no road sign or they are not certified by the state, do not give them one cent of your money!
- Locals, especially of young age, wait for tourists (with luggage) on the entrances of the Medina, in order to lead them to their hotel…for money. If your hotel is inside the Medina, then call them to come pick you up from the location that the taxi dropped you off.
- In crowded locations, you should keep your bag and personal items on the front and with your hands on them. Pick-pockets get their hands on bags, tear them open from the bottom and extract whatever you keep in back pockets in record time.
- There are pick-pockets (groups of at least two persons) whose expertise is tourist mugging in shops. They “hit” at moments that you are looking at products, take out your wallet to pay and generally when you are distracted.
- Some shops keep their products hanged outside and when you decide to buy something (after some haggling) they give you the same product of lower quality. Insist to buy the one you saw and touched or take it out of the bag and compare it to the original. (Different qualities of the same products are common in the markets of Morocco, as well as in Dubai.)
The Marrakech taxi mafia
- The subject of taxis in Marrakech is very big, as well as their scam! All taxis (Petite and Grand) are obliged to start the taximeter. 99% of the drivers do not open it! Others, as a matter of fact, keep it hidden and ask for 7-10 times more than the real value of the route!
- Many taxi drivers say that there are 2-3 common shops, hotels, markets, locations etc that you want to go. They say “get inside, show me the maps and I will take you there”. If you do get inside without pre-discussing a deal, you have fallen into the trap! Half-way to your destination they tell you that there is a standard tariff of 15€!! Do not take a taxi without having the driver open the taximeter, or have made a deal with them. (If you fall into the trap, do not pay and insist that they call the police.)
- The taxis at the New City of Marrakech open the taximeter for every route.
- Petite taxis are allowed to transport you only inside the city limits, while Grand taxis can take you to the airport or even to other cities!
- The average cost per route in Marrakech, Fez and Rabat is ONLY 1.5€ or 15 Dirhams!
- The tariff from the airport of Marrakech is 100 Dirhams, but with some haggling you can take it down to 80dh.
- Even if you accept to take a taxi without a taximeter (at some point it will wear you out), DO NOT start without having made a deal for the cost. Demand the lowest possible and if the driver does not agree, tell them that you will take the next one.