7 things to know before you travel to Marrakech, Morocco

Tourist guide for Morocco

Useful information for tourists traveling to Morocco

Visa, passport and rules of entry

Russian citizens do not need a visa to Morocco to stay in the country for tourism purposes for up to 90 days. Citizens of Belarus need to apply for a tourist visa at the Moroccan Embassy in Moscow. Citizens of Ukraine, Armenia and Georgia need to apply for a tourist visa at the Moroccan Embassy in Kiev. Nationals of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan should apply for tourist visa at the Moroccan Embassy in Astana. CIS citizens who have residence permits in Russia can apply for visa in the Embassy in Moscow.

Border control is passed by showing your passport. Just in case it is worthwhile to have a copy of a hotel reservation or a tourist voucher. It is not required to pay any fees. The passport must be valid at the time of leaving the country. There are no restrictions on the validity of the passport at the time of departure. However, the rules may change and it is worth checking directly with the consulate of the country before the trip.

Vaccinations for entry into Morocco are not required.

How to reach Morocco from Russia

There are direct Royal Air Maroc flights from Moscow to Casablanca, about 6 hours long (3 flights a week). There are comfortable connections to Marrakech, Agadir, Fez, Ouarzazate, Tangier. There are also flights available with Air France, Alitalia, Iberia, TAP Portugal and Turkish Airlines with connections in Paris, Rome, Lisbon, Madrid or Istanbul.

Customs rules in Morocco

  • Up to 2 bottles of alcohol per person;
  • Up to 200g of tobacco;
  • 1 bottle of perfume of up to 150 ml, 1 bottle of toilet water of up to 250 ml;
  • currency in cash, not exceeding the equivalent of 100,000 Moroccan dirhams (about 9,000 euros). The equivalent of Moroccan dirhams 100,000 or more may only be brought in with a customs declaration
  • drones without a special permit;
  • Any cold and firearms and ammunition, gas cans, tasers, etc;
  • narcotics;
  • written, printed, audio and video materials that are harmful to morality and public order.
  • items of historical value, antiques, collectibles (permission from the Department of Culture is required)
  • decorative stones, fossils and semi-precious stones over 10.
  • Foreign currency in excess of 100,000 Moroccan dirhams (approx. €9,000).
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Currency

The currency of Morocco is the Moroccan dirham. Approximate exchange rate: 1 EUR = 11 MAD, 1 USD = 10 MAD. You can come to the country with both dollars and euros. Cash payment in the country is only accepted in local currency. In tourist bazaars payment can be accepted in foreign currency at an unfavorable rate. It’s better to change euros or dollars for dirhams at the airport, but not in the luggage hall, but in the arrival/departure area where there are exchange offices of the main banks of the country. Not all hotels have currency exchange. Banks and exchange offices are closed on Sundays. Keep your currency exchange receipt so you can exchange your remaining dirhams back into dollars or euros. Card payments are accepted in large hotels, supermarkets, restaurants and high-end gift and craft stores. Otherwise, you’ll need cash.

ATMs In Morocco, you can only withdraw money from ATMs in the local currency – dirhams. The limit for a single withdrawal is no more than 2000 dirhams. To withdraw a larger amount, you will have to repeat the operation or use a different ATM. The fee for each cash withdrawal will be around Dh20 (approx. €2). Try to withdraw money from ATMs in bank branches so that you can ask their employees for help if you have problems. Warn your bank about your upcoming trip to Morocco, so that it will not block your card on suspicion of fraudulent transactions. Always bring enough cash with you in case you can’t withdraw your card.

Mobile and Internet

Upon arrival at the airport in Casablanca or Marrakech, you can pick up free SIM cards from INWI, ORANGE, MAROC TELECOM at the counters in the baggage claim area. To make the card work, you must put 20-50 dirhams (2-5 Euros) on your account, which is enough for 2 weeks of talk time and/or Internet. Scratch cards for recharging can be bought at the airport at a newsstand. You can also buy SIM cards in town at newsstands, record stores or in shops with the operators’ logos. The cost of a SIM card is 2-3 Euros. Free WiFi is available at airports, hotels, cafes and restaurants. However, if you need good internet access during your trip, it is best to buy a local SIM card. Cell phone numbers in Morocco begin with 06… or 07…, landline numbers with 05…. If you call from a foreign number, you need to dial the country code +212, for example: +212 5244 30331.

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Security

Morocco is generally a safe country with a stable political situation. The most common problem for tourists is pickpocketing. The usual precautions should be observed: watch out for things in the crowd, do not carry valuables and documents, beware of thieves on motorcycles, bags and cameras worn over the shoulder or around the neck, do not walk with a cell phone in hand, avoid dark deserted streets in the evening. You should leave all valuables at the hotel in a safe. In outdoor cafes, you should not leave valuables on the table, on the back of a chair, or on the floor.

Women may experience increased attention from local men. It is worth calmly ignoring their comments and attempts to start a conversation, do not look in their direction. Their actions are usually harmless, and physical contact is very rare. You should not react aggressively to annoying beggars and salespeople. It is best to simply ignore them or make a joke.

Be careful when using local cabs: cab drivers often try to cheat tourists. Pay only according to the meter or according to a predetermined price.

How to dress in Morocco

Tourists can dress in the style usual for Europeans, but women should avoid excessive open attire, especially during Ramadan. It is forbidden to sunbathe topless. It is not advisable to wear expensive accessories when walking in the city. While walking in the old part of the city (medina), where the lifestyle is more traditional and conservative, women are advised to wear clothes that cover the shoulders, chest and knees. Moroccan men always swim in knee-length shorts. Bare to their swimming trunks is considered indecent, although it is allowed for tourists.

Hygiene, Health and Medicine

No vaccinations (inoculations) are required to visit Morocco, and the epidemiological situation in the country is generally safe. The most common problem among tourists is stomach upsets. It is recommended to take diarrhea remedies and avoid restaurants with low traffic, where there may be stale food. Always carry antiseptic gel and antibacterial wipes – roadside cafes and toilets may not have soap. Drink only bottled mineral water and eat fresh salads and fruit with caution. During the hot season, be sure to wear a hat and clothing that covers your body to avoid sunstroke and burns. In case of health problems, you can see a doctor at a private clinic. The level of private medicine in Morocco is quite consistent with Europe, a doctor will cost 20-30 Euros. Be sure to arrange medical insurance before traveling!

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Drinking Water

In Morocco it is not recommended to drink tap water. It is not a great danger, but you can get upset stomach at first sight. At street cafes and restaurants, a glass of tap water is often served with meals or coffee. If you have a sensitive stomach, avoid freshly squeezed juices and drinks with ice. Buy bottled mineral water. The most popular are Sidi Ali (still) and Oulmes (sparkling). If you want to order bottled water in a cafe, say “Bottle of Sidi Ali (or Oulmes),” otherwise the waiter may not understand and bring tap water.

Alcohol, smoking and hookahs in Morocco

Alcohol is sold freely in large supermarkets, specialty liquor stores, mid- and high-end restaurants, bars and clubs. The sale of alcohol may be restricted 2 weeks before and during Ramadan. It is forbidden to appear in public places in a state of intoxication. It is better to take a cab from the bar to the hotel. The cost of alcohol is quite high. In good restaurants and nightclubs an alcoholic beverage will cost from 5-9 Euros. Morocco is the largest among the Muslim countries producing wine, so you must try the local wine. Morocco also produces its own beer, one of the best brands of Moroccan beer – Casablanca.

In Morocco there is no ban on smoking in public places. Cafes, restaurants, bars and clubs can be quite smoky. Cigarettes are sold only in specialized shops (not supermarkets) and are more expensive than in Russia. Read about prices in Morocco here.

Hookah smoking (shisha in Arabic) is not part of Moroccan culture, as it is in Egypt, Turkey or Lebanon. Hookah houses in Morocco are few and often cater to a dubious contingent of visitors from the Gulf countries. It is better not to appear alone in such places. Hookahs are available for tourists in Marrakech and Agadir – ask your guide or hotel for reliable addresses.

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Photography

In Morocco, it is forbidden to take photographs of government institutions and military facilities. It is not recommended to take pictures of people without their permission, especially women. Moroccans believe it can lead to jinxes and also fear that their photos will be distributed for commercial purposes. For this reason, they may sometimes agree to pose for money. Many sellers of souvenir stores and art galleries also have a negative attitude toward photos of their property and may behave aggressively. If water peddlers, monkey trainers, etc. offer you to take pictures in tourist spots, remember that they will certainly ask for a bakshish.

Electricity and outlets

Traffic in Morocco

Traffic is right-handed. In large cities it is quite chaotic and few people pay attention to traffic lights and rules. Many drivers do not think it is necessary to show the turns, to keep to traffic lanes and to turn from the end lane. Crossing the road even on a green light, you should be very careful and look not at the traffic lights, but at the drivers. It is not customary in Morocco to let pedestrians pass. When crossing a busy road, you should put your hand up for drivers to stop. Parking rules are very conditional. Locals park wherever they want, but if you are unlucky, you may be fined. Check with the ubiquitous parking attendants to make sure you get it right.

Tipping

In Morocco it is customary to tip for all services. In restaurants it is 5-10% of the bill. In street cafes one leaves 2-5 dirhams per person. In hotels one gives tips to porters and waiters. Depending on the level of the hotel, you can give a porter luggage from 10 to 50 dirhams. It is not customary to tip maids on the bed. If you want to thank the maid for her work, it is better to give her money in her hands. You may tip from 30 to 100 dirhams (depending on the level of the place) to a bath & spa masseuse. It is not obligatory to tip a cab driver but if you happen to be a good one just leave him change in a few dirhams. You can give 50 dirhams for the luggage carrier at the airport. It is advisable to stipulate the price in advance, so that they do not extort more money from you.

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It is a good idea to tip drivers and tour guides if you like their work. We recommend tipping them each about 1000 dirhams for a week’s tour, but the final amount depends on your finances and your level of satisfaction with their work.

Souvenirs and Shopping

Argan oil, babushi slippers, Moroccan cosmetics, Berber jewelry, painted plates and vases from Fez, leather bags, belts and purses, brightly colored bedspreads, Moroccan rugs, interior items from designer boutiques, clothing and accessories in the boho style can be brought back from Morocco as a souvenir or gift. Shopping in Morocco is one of the best in the world, and the list goes on and on! Shipping large items (carpets, furniture) to your country can be ordered directly from the seller’s shop.

For more information on what to bring from your trip and how to bargain in the oriental bazaar, read our articles “What to bring from Morocco: a guide to shopping” and “Shopping and bargaining rules in Morocco”.

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