What is Morocco known for?
Morocco is a very large country, and most likely people conjure up images of beautiful scenery, ranging from deserts to mountains to beaches. (Maybe some camels thrown in for good measure!) Morocco`s coastline stretches from the Atlantic in the southwest to the Mediterranean in the northeast, and the country`s beaches are known for great surfing and other water sporting opportunities. Likewise, the Atlas Mountains are famed for their welcoming slopes where visitors can enjoy hiking, rock climbing, and skiing opportunities.
Morocco is very well-known for its long and colorful history, especially as one of the oldest monarchies in the world. Even before the kings and sultans of Morocco wrote their own chapters of history, the Phoenicians and Romans before them made their marks on the area and their influence today can be seen in ruins such as Volubilis, outside Meknes. One can`t forget the colonial influences and traditions the French, Spanish, and Portuguese brought to Morocco, which are evident in everything from architecture to food. Speaking of food, you must try a Moroccan feast while you are here, with such delicacies as tagine, couscous, and mint tea.
What are the best places to visit in Morocco?
Everyone must take some time to see Morocco`s largest city and the social and cultural epicenter of the Kingdom, Casablanca. Morocco`s imperial tradition -- with its first sultan (king) crowned in the year 789 CE -- cements itself as one of the world`s greatest and oldest dynasties. Visitors to Morocco routinely visit the four `imperial capitals of Morocco`: captivating Marrakech, beautiful Fez, charming Meknes, and the Kingdom`s current capital, Rabat. Elsewhere, you should definitely visit Tangier and Chefchaouen in the north of the country, and Essaouira and Agadir along the Atlantic coast.
When is the best time to visit Morocco? What will the weather be like when I visit?
Morocco is a tourist destination that varies widely in terms of geography and weather, so it can be visited most any time of year and travelers should be able to find some corner of the country in which they can enjoy themselves. However, it is recommended to focus on two specific times of year when planning your vacation: spring and autumn. In the spring, the cloudy skies of the rainy season have departed and sunny, blue skies supplant them. You will find that the mountains, fields and countrysides are at their most green and vibrant. In the autumn, temperatures cool to nice, manageable levels, even in the interior of the country. You will also notice hotel prices dropping as summer turns into fall. In the winter, snow is possible in the Atlas Mountains and other high elevations. For more information, check out: Best Time to Visit Morocco.
How many days should I spend in Morocco?
We recommend 7-10 days based on what you want to see and do. We offer flexible vacation packages so you can select your number of nights in each city, desired hotel and activities. We suggest a minimum of 3 nights in larger cities.
What is the best way to get around Morocco?
Morocco is a large country, and even though the infrastructure is growing day-by-day, transportation options like trains are not really feasible if you want to see the entire country. We recommend seeing Morocco by car, namely a private vehicle that will take you to the cities you want to go.
By Car/Transfer: It is possible to drive yourself in Morocco if you wish, but when we say it`s good to visit multiple cities by `car`, we mean private transfer. Tripmasters offers private transfer options which allow you to visit many cities across Morocco, with hotel-to-hotel pickup and dropoff in addition to airport pickups/drop-offs. You can rent a car while in Morocco, but considering the driving culture is vastly different from the U.S. or even Europe, and traffic can be alarming in major cities, we recommend that you let the private transfer drivers escort you in air-conditioned comfort from one city to another.
By Train: Train service in Morocco is operated by Office National des Chemins de Fer, or ONCF. Rail lines are most prevalent in the north of the country, between Casablanca and Tangier and across the country through Meknes and Fez to Oujda. There is also one high-speed rail line, Al-Boraq, which connects Tangier, Kenitra, Rabat, and Casablanca, and makes the journey from Tangier to Casablanca in two hours, more than halving the old travel time. With that said, we do not recommend traveling by rail in Morocco as a primary means of transportation as many parts of the country, such as Essaouira and Agadir, are not connected to the rail network. Also, if you do want to travel by train, you must buy rail tickets in Morocco; it is almost impossibly difficult to order train tickets online before leaving on your trip.
What is the currency of Morocco?
The official currency of Morocco is the dirham (abbreviated as dh), which is broken down into 100 centimes. Morocco is a very tourist-centered economy, so hospitality workers are sometimes put in the position of accepting U.S. dollars. When paying for goods and services, however, dirhams are the only currency accepted. However, the final verdict on tipping in U.S. dollars is that people will accept them, but they are not legal tender, and your life will be a lot easier if you just tip in dirhams like locals would do.
The easiest way to receive Moroccan dirhams is to visit a bureau de change or ATM upon entering the country. Bureaux de change are available in the airport, at luxury hotels, and at many banks. Banque Commercial du Maroc and Credit du Maroc are two banks that will accept cash advances on Visa and MasterCard. You will get the best exchange rate from these bureaux de change and from ATMs. ATMs typically allow the withdrawal of 2,000 dh (approximately $200) per day from one`s bank account. For more detailed information, consult our guide by clicking here Tipping in Morocco.
Do people speak English in Morocco? What languages are spoken there?
The official languages of Morocco are Arabic and Berber. The Moroccan dialect of Arabic is called darija; it has a different accent and many different words when compared to the standard Arabic dialect of Egypt and the Middle East. Moroccans start to learn English in the seventh grade. It has quickly become a popular language with the younger generation, which tends to watch television from the U.S. and the U.K. with English audio and subtitles in either Arabic or French. 14% of Moroccans can speak English on a conversational level.
French was an official language from colonial times until 2000, and as such it is still a very prominent foreign language. You will have more luck if you speak French than finding someone who speaks English. Considered a `prestige language`, French is taught from the earliest grades in Moroccan schools. Over half of Moroccans can speak French fluently, with about an eighth of the population speaking only French. You will find that signs in many public areas are labeled in Arabic and French, with English sometimes being offered and sometimes not. It will be looked upon favorably by locals if you initiate conversation with them in French just as it would in Arabic, even if French is no longer the official language. To ask someone if they speak English, say `Parlez-vous anglais?`