Morocco for beginners

Morocco

Morocco is one of the most exciting countries around the Mediterranean. Morocco has many popular seaside resorts, and therefore there are a large number of airports in the country. Almost every city has its own airport. The country has a hot climate with winters. It rarely gets below 20 degrees Celcius (68 Fahrenheit) during the day, but often down to 6-7 degrees Celcius (43-45 Fahrenheit) at night.

Morocco desert
Morocco desert

Most live in the north

The North African country of Morocco is vast. It is on the surface slightly more extensive than a large European country or a US State. You will only see parts of the country if you are here for a week or two. Most of the population lives in the northern part of the country, including the largest city of Casablanca, with its 2.9 million inhabitants and the capital Rabat.

Cheap ride by train and bus

Most major cities are located west of the Atlas Mountains in northern Morocco. This part of the country has good train connections, and you can travel both quickly and cheaply. Tickets rarely cost more than around a hundred. The many buses are otherwise the cheapest way to travel longer distances in Morocco. The largest bus companies are CTM, Satas, Trans Ghazala, and Supratours.

The buses are air-conditioned, keep the timetables, and you also book a seat ticket for a special seat. It costs about $4 to go a hundred kilometers (62 miles). Morocco also has an extensive network of minibusses, Grand Taxi, which runs from the major train and bus stations. Grand Taxi drives to predetermined destinations for a fixed price and leaves as soon as six passengers arrive.

Many types of accommodation

There is a large number of types of accommodation to choose from in Morocco. The budget traveler can rent a mattress on a hotel roof for as little as $2, while the one who likes a little more luxury can rent a floor (called riad or maison d’hôte) for hundreds of dollars. Most cheap hotels (about $10 a night) are located in the old town of the city, the Medina. In contrast, the slightly more expensive hotels with western standards are located in the newly built districts a bit from the city center. In the countryside, you can rent rooms in “auberges” which are traditional clay houses or in “gîtes d’étape” which is a type of simpler inn.

Several worthwhile Medinas

Many cities in Morocco have a fortified city center, the Medina, with beautiful historic buildings. Several of the Medinas are protected as world heritage sites, including in Fez, Marrakech, Tetouan, and Essaouira. Several cities have very worthy mosques. For example, in Casablanca, there is the record-breaking Hassan II Mosque. The city of Ait-Benhaddou is built entirely of clay. It is so beautiful that it has been filmed in both “Gladiator” and “Lawrence of Arabia.” To the west of Marrakech lies the 12th-century Menara Garden, a top-rated attraction.

Agadir and Essaouira popular seaside resorts

If you go to Morocco on a charter trip, almost all activities have to do with the sun, sand, or water. Along the Atlantic coast, there are seaside resorts such as Agadir and Essaouira, with perfect beaches for sun, swimming, and surfing. For a little warmer bath than the Atlantic, there are the famous Hammam baths. The locals’ Hammam is not marketed and is often hidden behind a secret door. Special Hammam for tourists costs about $15.

See a real desert

At several locations in Morocco, you can experience the Sahara Desert with a few hours’ excursion – or several days. The most popular places are Erg Chebbi and a little more challenging to access Erg Chigaga.

Hard to change currencies

The currency in Morocco is called dirham and is worth a little less than a penny (1 dirham costs 80 cents). A dirham is divided into 100 centimes. It is forbidden to bring more than 1,000 dirhams out of the country, so cash cannot be exchanged before the trip. It is possible to change both at ATMs, banks, and post offices. Don’t forget to switch back to the euro (or dollar) before leaving the country. There are exchange offices at most airports.

All cities have a souk market

Morocco market
Morocco market

The most exciting shopping in Morocco is in the narrow and bustling souk markets found in every city. The markets differ slightly between different cities, the largest is in Marrakech. At the same time, the souk in Rabat is much calmer with sellers who are not as intrusive.
The most affordable products in Morocco are various types of crafts, such as leather products, rugs, ceramics, and spices.

Try pea soup for breakfast

The national dish in Morocco is couscous, which is usually served with the spicy stew tagine. The traditional weekday of eating couscous is Fridays, it is also a dish that is okay to eat by hand. If you want to eat a traditional breakfast, try the soup “bissara” made from peas and olive oil. In Morocco, at least a few times a day, you will be offered a glass of mint, the country’s national drink. The tea is made with mint and is served in tall glasses and lots of sugar.

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