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Get to know Morocco

Information About Morocco

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Morocco Tourist Guide

Morocco Information

At the crossroads of Europe and Africa, bordered by the waters of the Mediterranean and open to the immensity of the Atlantic, Morocco is a crossroads of natural landscapes. It is the “land of the distant sunset”, a destination rich in contrasts, with a history dating back two millennia, stimulating curiosity and discovery.

In these lands where several dynasties followed one another, you will discover the vestiges of the greatest Mediterranean civilizations. In the north of the country, there are the Roman ruins of Volubilis.

In Rabat, the pieces of architecture bear witness to the former French presence. In all other places, various treasures traced by Muslim civilizations offer themselves to your curiosity: the Kasbah of the Oudayas, the green expanses of the Menara gardens.

The landscapes are not to be topped. Between the sea and the mountains, the desert sands and the green plains, magnificent and impressive panoramas unfold to satisfy your thirst for tranquility and natural beauty; enchanting images vivid with the richness of a fighting culture transport you to a very raw nature.

General Data

  • Capital: Rabat.
  • Form of government: Semi-constitutional monarchy (since 1956).
  • Population: 37,157,380.
  • Emergency number (police): 19.
  • Emergency number (firefighters): 15.
  • Morocco International area code: +212.
  • Electricity voltage: 220 volts.

Morocco weather and travel season

The time difference in summer is Central European Time (CET) -2 hours and in winter CET -1 hour. The two climatic zones of Morocco are separated by the Atlas Mountains. The northwestern part of the country is influenced by the Mediterranean and the southern part of the country is influenced by the Saharan climate. The fauna also depends to a large extent on the different climatic zones: in the north, the Mediterranean flora predominates on the mountains, while date palms are planted in the oases in the southern areas. On the other hand, in the mountainous areas you will find forests, while in the southern coastal area you will find plants associated with the image of Morocco: argan trees and jujubes. Strawberries and pistachios also thrive in Morocco.

As there are different climatic zones in Morocco, the climate is very varied. Determining the best time to travel to Morocco will depend on your holiday destination. In inland areas, temperatures can vary in summer between 29 and 45 degrees, the same occurs in the months of March to May or October to November. The best season to travel to the northwest is from April to November, since these are the months in which temperatures are more favorable for tourism and vacations. If you decide to travel to the Sahara, keep in mind that temperatures fluctuate between day and night, being able to enjoy sunny days and cool nights.

Moroccan History

We have collected all kinds of information about Morocco. A brief summary of its history will help you form an idea of everything that awaits you. The first human traces lead us to believe that the territory of Morocco was inhabited since the Neolithic period. Since then these lands have seen a multitude of peoples pass through, such as Phoenicians, Romans, Vandals, Visigoths, Byzantines and permanently in the mountainous areas, the Berbers.

In the 7th century, Islam was introduced to Moroccan lands and the modernization of the country took place. Morocco became the greatest regional power, but the empire rapidly deteriorated due to numerous civil wars.

Between the 15th and 16th centuries Portugal, Spain and England fought over and occupied different territories in North Africa. It is then that Ceuta and Melilla become part of the Kingdom of Spain, a situation that continues to this day. Between the 16th and 20th centuries, the Alawi dynasty maintained control of the country. Morocco was the first country to recognize the independence of the United States and the treaty signed between the two countries is considered the oldest unbroken treaty of the American country. During the s. XX the great European powers showed great interest in the territory of Morocco. It becomes a protectorate of France and Spain, which does not mean an occupation, although in practice Morocco is one more colony of the two countries, controlling their finances, finances and foreign policy. France improved the infrastructure but occupied the best land, neglecting housing and education needs, which is why the people took advantage of the Atlantic Charter during World War II to request their independence.

On March 2, 1956, Morocco achieved its independence under the reign of Mohammed V. In the sixties education and housing improved, but the monarchy began to move away from the people. It is not until the rise to power of Mohammed VI in 1999 when important democratic changes are made and women’s rights are considerably improved.

To this day, Morocco is in accordance with its Constitution is a constitutional Monarchy, with an elected Parliament. The King of Morocco has broad executive powers, with the ability to dissolve the government and Parliament and direct the military, in addition to other powers. Opposition political parties are allowed and several have stood for election in recent years.

Morocco Weather and Travel Season

The time difference in summer is Central European Time (CET) -2 hours and in winter CET -1 hour. The two climatic zones of Morocco are separated by the Atlas Mountains. The northwestern part of the country is influenced by the Mediterranean and the southern part of the country is influenced by the Saharan climate. The fauna also depends to a large extent on the different climatic zones: in the north, the Mediterranean flora predominates on the mountains, while date palms are planted in the oases in the southern areas. On the other hand, in the mountainous areas you will find forests, while in the southern coastal area you will find plants associated with the image of Morocco: argan trees and jujubes. Strawberries and pistachios also thrive in Morocco.

As there are different climatic zones in Morocco, the climate is very varied. Determining the best time to travel to Morocco will depend on your holiday destination. In inland areas, temperatures can vary in summer between 29 and 45 degrees, the same occurs in the months of March to May or October to November. The best season to travel to the northwest is from April to November, since these are the months in which temperatures are more favorable for tourism and vacations. If you decide to travel to the Sahara, keep in mind that temperatures fluctuate between day and night, being able to enjoy sunny days and cool nights.

Public transport in Morocco

In Morocco, it is common to travel by taxi. There is a distinction between the small taxi for short trips in the city and the big taxi for longer trips. The small taxis in each city have a distinctive color, for example, in the Moroccan capital, Rabat, the taxis are blue, while those in Casablanca are red.

Large taxis are usually white. The prices are relatively cheap. If you want to do without a taxi, traveling by bus is another alternative. Morocco has a fairly dense bus network. There are direct connections between almost every major city and each usually has a bus station where tickets can be purchased.

Entry requirements to Morocco

Spanish citizens do not need a visa for Morocco for a stay of up to 90 days. For a longer stay you need a residence permit. If this is your case, you must apply to the local foreign police within 21 days of your entry. For this application you need to prove economic solvency and justification of the reasons for your stay.

For more information on the application, it can be provided by the Embassy of Morocco. We recommend that you arrive with time at the time of entry, since people with careless behavior may be denied access to the country. Keep in mind, that some regulations in Morocco are very different from the laws in Spain, so we recommend everyone to familiarize themselves with the laws of the country or consult the Moroccan Embassy in Madrid.

Health system in Morocco

It is important to take out reliable travel and health insurance at source that includes medical assistance and repatriation which, if applicable, can be very expensive. If you travel to Morocco with your own car, you must bring all the necessary documentation, in addition to preferably being insured with the maximum possible coverage.

Morocco’s health system is not up to Europe. In large cities you will find highly qualified personnel in private clinics, in many cases trained in Spain or France. In rural or desert areas, the infrastructure may be somewhat limited, so extreme precautions are recommended. Hospitalization will only be used in cases of extreme urgency, being preferable, after appropriate medical advice, to return to the place of origin.

According to the information on Morocco from the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Spain, there is no mandatory vaccination to travel to Morocco, but the vaccine against tuberculosis, tetanus, diphtheria, poliomyelitis and hepatitis A is recommended.

Hygiene measures should be maximized, paying attention to food and drinks. Always drink bottled water or closed drinks and wash fruits and vegetables with special attention. It is also recommended not to buy food at street stalls. In summer it is advisable to avoid eating salads that we have not made ourselves.

A good idea may be to travel with a small first-aid kit, with antidiarrheal pills, cold pills, plasters, or disinfectant pills, as well as sunscreen and mosquito repellent. More medical advice and, in particular, up-to-date safety instructions can be found on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Public holidays in Morocco

  • On January 11, the Proclamation of Independence is commemorated. The Manifesto of January 11, 1944 led to the formation of the “Independence Party” (Al-Hizb al-Istiqlal)
  • On May 1, Morocco celebrates Labor Day.
  • On July 30, the Feast of the Throne / Aid el 3àrch (Arabic) will be celebrated. On this day, the accession to the throne of Mohammed VI.
  • On August 20, the Moroccan people celebrate the Day of the Revolution of the King and the people. On this day, the union of the people in the fight for their Independence against the French is commemorated.
  • King Mohammed VI’s birthday is celebrated on August 21. This day is also called “the day of youth.”
  • Muslim New Year is celebrated in Morocco on September 11.
  • November 6 commemorates the “Green March” (El massira el khadrae). During this march, the Moroccans wanted to strengthen their influence in the Western Sahara region.
  • Morocco’s Independence Day is celebrated on November 18 (Arabic: Aid el istiqlal).

Ramadan in Morocco

Of course, we must not forget the holy month known as Ramadan, the month in which Muslims fast every day from dawn until sunset. It is an important and key moment in the culture of Morocco. Ramadan is determined each year according to the lunar position, therefore determining when Ramadan begins and ends depends on the appearance of the moon at the end of the eighth month in the Islamic lunar calendar. The month of fasting influences the life of the inhabitants, so the hours of shops and attractions may vary. There is often a lot to experience in the evening after sunset, everywhere there are food stalls.

Eid al-Fitr is the Islamic holiday that marks the end of Ramadan. Muslims celebrate this holiday by visiting relatives and eating special dishes and sweets for the occasion. The day of celebration varies depending on the beginning of Ramadan which changes every year. Seventy days after this festivity, one of the most important festivals for Muslims takes place, which is the Eid al Adha or Aid al-Adha festival, known as the Feast of the Lamb that lasts two days and commemorates Abraham’s sacrifice. It is common for children to wear new clothes and the population is generous by donating part of a lamb to poor people.

Curiosities of Morocco and tips

Traditional Islamic law prohibits the representation of people or animals, so in the mosques there are no such representations but figures of plants and geometric shapes. Before taking a photograph of a person, you should ask permission. It is also advisable not to photograph official buildings, especially if they are military or police, as well as soldiers, because documentation of such places is prohibited for security reasons.

If you think of typical gifts to buy in Morocco, you must take into account what you can or cannot take with you. You will be interested to know that Morocco is famous for its leather and for its natural oils such as argan and almond oil. For fossils and semi-precious stones a special permit is needed. In general, you should refrain from taking local flora and fauna as gifts as they must be preserved. It is not allowed to export more than 10 stones outside the country.

Seeds of exotic plants should not be brought in either. The plugs in Morocco are like the ones in Spain so you will not need any type of adapter to connect your electrical devices. As in any big city, you should also pay attention to your bag, especially in the markets. You must not forget that you are in a Muslim country and therefore remember not to dress too loosely. Also, you should refrain from kissing in public or holding hands, as it is rare in Morocco to exchange such intimacy publicly.

In restaurants, a 10% tip is usually given. At a coffee shop, it’s usually a dirham per drink. Taxi drivers receive between 2 and 5 dirhams more, depending on the fare. Bellboys are paid between Dh5 and Dh15 per bag, depending on the hotel. During the month of Ramadan, try not to eat a large meal on the street during the day. Please also note that in this period, service in hotels or local transport (buses / taxis) is sometimes less punctual and alcohol is only available to a limited extent.

If you have been invited to a house or event, take a small gift with you and always accept the tea. Before entering a house or a mosque, it is necessary to remove your shoes. To greet and say goodbye, it is common for same-sex friends or family to kiss each other on the cheek twice, even if they haven’t seen each other for a long time, they kiss four times. Men and women shake hands. Sometimes after the handshake, the right hand is raised to the mouth or heart as a symbol of respect and warmth.

What to visit in Morocco?

If you are thinking of a getaway to Morocco, either accompanied or alone, surely you have wondered what it is about Morocco that every tourist who visits it loves. Here we give you a series of tips on what to visit in Morocco so that you do not miss the best of this wonderful country.

Most beautiful Moroccan cities

Marrakech is undoubtedly one of the most important cities in Morocco, located in the south of the country, it welcomes thousands of tourists every year. One of the attractions of the city is the Jamaa el Fna Square where the life of Marrakech takes place. At any time there is a good atmosphere in this square where you can see monkey tamers, snake charmers and taste endless food and juices. The Marrakech Souk is one of the best markets in Morocco where you can buy crafts, spices, food and gifts. At sunset, a visit to the Menara Gardens will be a good time to capture a beautiful landscape next to the Atlas Mountains.

Rabat is the capital of Morocco, administrative city and headquarters of the embassies of foreign countries. Its Royal Palace, its Medina, and the Mausoleum of Mohammed V stand out, the latter two being declared World Heritage Sites by Unesco.

Casablanca located to the northwest is considered the economic and commercial center of the country. Of great interest is the Hassan II Mosque, inaugurated in 1993, considered the highest temple in the world and the second largest. It is one of the few Mosques in Morocco that non-Muslims can visit.

The Medina of Fez is another of the essential places to visit in Morocco, considered the second largest medina in the world, dating from the s. IX and is considered World Heritage by UNESCO. It has innumerable alleys where getting lost in the labyrinthine streets can be quite an adventure. The Medina is organized by guilds and you can watch the Fez tanners working the leather or smell the thousand and one spices.

The souks are the essence of the medina where you can buy a nice souvenir, always haggling. If you don’t want to get lost, you can always hire a guide who will show you the most important monuments.

One of the places to visit in Morocco that you will love the most is the Sahara desert where you will have the opportunity to take a camel excursion over the dunes or if you like strong emotions, do it on a quad. You can take advantage of the night to enjoy folk music accompanied by drums and taste typical Moroccan food. As if that were not enough, spend a night in the desert sleeping in a tent under the stars, listening only to the breeze and letting yourself go.

If you travel to the north of Morocco, a getaway to the charming city of Chefchaouen is a success. Located in the northwest of the country, in the Rif mountains, it is one of the stops that is worth it. Known as ‘The Blue Town’ for its peculiar blue color illuminates the houses of the medina. If you like adventure, a hiking route through the Akchour region, located 30 kilometers from Chefchaouen, will allow you to enjoy its nature and its beautiful waterfalls.

Another of Morocco’s tourist attractions is the city of Ourzazate, where the most famous African film studios are located, where films such as Gladiator, Lawrence of Arabia and Star Wars have been recorded. There are many things to do in Morocco such as visiting the Arab baths, staying in a Riad, haggling in the markets, contemplating architectural beauties such as palaces, souks and mosques. All this will make you immerse yourself in Moroccan culture and make your experience in this exciting country full of contrasts unforgettable.