Visiting Morocco off-season is an excellent idea. The temperatures are mild (but the hot African sun still warms you up during the day!) and the crowds are minimal (except for days around Christmas and New Year’s Day). The country is a perfect winter escape, especially for Europeans, as cheap flights to Moroccan cities from the Old Continent are quite easy to find.
There are a few essential things to remember before you go:
The Moroccan dirham is pegged most closely to euro, and euros are widely accepted everywhere in the country. The exchange rate to EUR in most places is better than the exchange rate to U.S. Dollars.
ATMs are easy to find in most cities and smaller towns, but sometimes foreign cards aren’t accepted. If you feel uneasy about searching for them on crowded streets or you plan to visit mostly rural areas, consider taking more cash with you.
The conclusion: take at least some cash in euros!
Using public transportation in Morocco isn’t the most convenient way of getting around the country, to put it mildly. Renting a car is the best option, as it allows for a lot of flexibility and it isn’t expensive, especially if you aren’t traveling solo.
Full car insurance is widely recommended, and already after 10 minutes of driving, we were glad we took it! Moroccan roads are bumpy, while streets in cities are often narrow and very crowded. Avoid driving at night and, in general, prepare for a wild ride!
3. Social interactions
All that you’ve read about the hospitality of Moroccan people is true. For them, nothing is impossible, and every request can be fulfilled. You feel like eating a bowl of soup in the middle of the night? No problem. Craving for a beer in a non-alcohol restaurant? That can be done, too. You need a private tour anywhere in Morocco, staring now? Just ask.
The bargaining is a huge thing in Morocco – and the first price is way too high virtually anywhere you go. Whether it’s a parking, a car wash or, of course, a souk, you can easily go below half of the first offered price. Nevertheless, for all of you who hate bargaining as much as I do, there’s good news: places with fixed prices are getting more and more common.
As for the language – apart from Arabic, French is widely spoken in Morocco. You can get by with English, but it isn’t common.
Back to our itinerary: it starts and ends in the city we flew into – Marrakech. Our trip took place in mid-December.