Places in Morocco
Average costs in Morocco
Morocco is not an expensive country to go on holiday. Yet the prices from city to city are very different. The most touristy cities (Marrakech, Chefchaouen) are much more expensive than less visited places like Rabat.
Stay – Morocco has accommodation for everyone. A youth hostel can’t be found everywhere, but in most of the major cities you’ll find a couple. The price for a bed in a dormitory fluctuates between €8 ($9) and €15 ($16) per person per night.
Budget rooms where you sleep alone are not much more expensive. For a single or double room, you pay €20 ($22) to €25 ($27).
The renowned Moroccan riads (Moroccan style b&b) are there in all types and sizes, and the price also depends a bit from that. You can find them from €30 ($33) per night, but the more beautiful luxury riads cost more; €50 ($55) to €80 ($90) per night.
Four- or five-star hotels are similar. €35 ($40) for a 4-star hotel is of course still not expensive!
Eat – The prices of food differ greatly throughout the country. In less touristy cities you can already go have dinner (main course) for 60 dirham, while this minimum price will be increased to 90 dirham elsewhere. For a main course, dessert and drink you can pay anywhere between €10 ($11) to € 15 ($17).
A tea costs between 6 and 15 dirhams. A soda 10 to 20 dirham and a beer 30 to 60 dirham.
Transport – The most important form of transport in Morocco are of course the taxis. There are two types: the grand taxi for long distances, and the petit taxi for short trips. There are almost never fixed prices, so you must always meet a price with the taxi driver. For a short drive (5 to 15 minutes), this will only be a few euros or dollars.
The CTM buses are another popular means of transport among the tourists. This bus company brings you from one city to another smoothly. Prices can be consulted on their website. Personally, I think the trains are a bit more comfortable and faster, but they don’t have a connection to every city. So check that in advance. In addition, they are not much more expensive. Even if you’re taking first class tickets.
Saving money in Morocco
Morocco is a cheap country, certainly in comparison with Europe or the States. You will not spend much money there. However, there are certain things that will allow you to save some money in the long run.
Always haggle – In Morocco you’ll probably buy some souvenirs, take a taxi trip or maybe take a ride on a camel. For all these things -and more-, you must never agree immediately with the proposed price. You always get a fixed discount if you negotiate a little. Also, know that they sell the same items in almost all stores, so it can always be cheaper.
I remember that in Marrakech a girl bought a bracelet for 20 dirham (€2 – $2). The original price was 150 dirham (€15 – $17) …
Be your own guide – An annoyance to many, and if you’re in Morocco, you’re definitely confronted with it: if you’ve lost the way, a “helpful” man will meet you to show you the way. Ignore him, or tell him you know where you’re going. When they want to help you or give a tour, they expect money. Google Maps or another smartphone application works (almost) perfectly in Morocco!
Book your flight tickets in advance – Five times I had plans to go to Morocco. Five times I wanted to book the flight tickets last minute. Five times the prices became ridiculously high.
Morocco is an incredibly popular holiday destination! Certainly during the holiday periods. So book a few weeks/months in advance if you don’t want to pay too much for a plane ticket.
Don’t drink alcohol – Alcohol is allowed in Morocco, but most Muslims don’t drink it. It’s therefore something provided for tourists. Beers easily cost five euros/dollars or more. Enjoy a nice sweet mint tea instead!
Is it really impossible for you to not have a beer a day? Then head to a supermarket. You’ll find beers or other alcoholic beverages here for a lot less money.
Things to do in Morocco
Visit the imperial cities – Morocco has four royal cities: Rabat, Meknes, Fes and Marrakesh. Some are even more beautiful than the other, but they all have something to see or do. Rabat (also the capital of Morocco) is the least popular among tourists, and that is a bit unjustified. There is a lot to see and it’s one of the most authentic places in Morocco! Meknes is very small, but has some beautiful monuments and sights behind its giant walls. Fes is my personal favorite. A giant medina, delicious food and an incredibly nice atmosphere. Marrakech was a bit too touristy for me, but nevertheless there is a lot to experience. In addition, you can also enjoy great and exciting excursions from this city.
Go to the Sahara – From Fes or Marrakech you can take guided excursions to the Sahara. Ride on a camel, try sandboarding and sleep in a real berber camp in the middle of the orange sand dunes. This is an experience of a lifetime! Read more about an excursion to the Sahara in this article.
Chefchaouen – Chefchaouen or the blue pearl of Morocco is probably the most beloved place in Morocco. The village is located a few hundred meters up a mountain and is almost completely shrouded in blue tones. Once you walk through the streets you will be surprised with how many shades of blue there are! From Fes you can go to Chefchaouen in about 4 to 5 hours, from Tangier it will take three hours. I recommend staying there for at least one night.
Essaouira – From Marrakesh, you can easily travel to Essaouira. Essaouira is a small port town where you can eat the best fish and seafood. In addition, it’s wonderful to visit! The white and blue colored walled city is a small paradise on the coast. With hundreds of boats on the sea, a beautiful medina and lots of markets, this is such an authentic Moroccan village. I liked it so much that I would’ve liked to stay here for a few days longer!
Overnight in a riad – A riad is a typical Moroccan accommodation. Usually they are hidden behind the defensive walls in the medina and they look a bit bland, but once you enter… Wow! The buildings are often decorated with a lot of Arabic architecture and mosaics, and you are treated like a king or queen! During a stay in Morocco you must try to book one night in a beautiful riad. It’s a really nice experience.
Explore the souks and medinas – Every city has a medina and often several souks. The medina is the old part of town, and usually it’s completely car-free. This is also where daily life takes place. Hundreds of sellers sell their merchandise every day, making the narrow streets even narrower.
A souk is a traditional Moroccan market. You mostly find food here; Spices, herbs, vegetables, fish and a lot of meat.
Visit a traditional hammam – A hammam is a kind of traditional Moroccan sauna. You will be tackled hard, almost beaten black and blue and scrubbed hard, but after this exceptional experience you feel like reborn!
Avoid in Morocco
Not bringing some conservative clothing – They aren’t too strict in most places, but for some sights you really need to wear conservative clothes to get in. It would be a shame to travel so far and not be able to enter because your shoulders are visible, right?
Self-Driving – Unless you can handle the wheel properly, I don’t recommend anyone driving a car. The streets in the big cities are of decent quality, but the way Moroccans drive is quite unorganized.
Believe everything what they say – “That restaurant is closed.”, “That costs a lot more.”, “That road is a dead-end.” … You’ll hear these phrases very often. The Moroccans are lying to you so that they can sell you something from themselves. Don’t believe them every time, because the restaurants are open most of the time and you certainly get a certain souvenir for a much lower price!
The same goes for when you’re taking public transport. When locals come to you, saying that the bus has broken down and the next one only arrives in a few hours, this is often a lie. Just so that they can charge you for using their taxi instead.
Not booking the CTM bus in advance – The CTM buses from Morocco are often sold out. When I went to Chefchaouen from Fes, I had to book another bus, and the same thing happened in the opposite direction. Book two days in advance, otherwise you may have to arrange a much more expensive taxi.
Not reporting theft – A friend gave me this tip: his Ipad was stolen from his hotel room. He went to the police a few days afterwards, and a few hours later he got his Ipad back safe and sound. A cleaning lady had “found” it, but she didn’t understand English and thus couldn’t find the rightful owner. Yeah right…
Morocco wants to keep its tourists happy. The police do everything in their power to help you. In countries such as Morocco you would probably think that going to the police is a waste of time, but… it clearly is not!
Traveling to Morocco during Ramadan – The country stays just as beautiful, but traveling when it’s Ramadan is not a good idea. A lot of restaurants are closed (also for tourists!) And some travel agencies have changed working hours. If you want to enjoy Morocco to the fullest, you’re better off visiting it outside this period.
Don’t pick accommodation near a mosque – A mosque is a beautiful building to see but to sleep next to is a bit less enjoyable. You are awakened very early by the muezzin when he calls for the first prayer of the day.