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Bursting with colour, Morocco’s vibrant cities and glorious landscapes are sure to inspire you

This exotic North African land lies within easy reach of Europe, just across the water from Spain and Gibraltar, and just over the road from Melilla in Spanish Morocco. Sand-coloured cities spring up amid baron plains, while the lofty peaks of the Atlas Mountains form an impressive backdrop to the beaches of the Atlantic Coast and the golden sands of the Sahara.

This is a land of wandering Berber tribes, of teeming souks, intricately mosaicked mosques and ancient medinas. Stay in an elegant riad, kick back in the surfer town of Essaouira and sip mint tea with the locals as you watch the world go by in Marrakech’s famous Djemaa El-Fna square.

 

Top holidays in Morocco

Culture and history

Morocco is an Islamic country and most of the population recognise the Muslim faith. The most common form of greeting in Morocco is with a friendly handshake.

You'll notice that Moroccans eat with their right hands only and consider it impolite to point at people or let the bottom of their foot point towards another person.

In every city or town you'll find at least one souk or market, and no matter where you are or what the goods, you'll be expected to barter. Don't worry if you walk away without a purchase; you'll often find the same produce elsewhere, and often for a better price!

The first recorded inhabitants of Morocco were nomadic tribes, named Berbers by the Romans when they arrived in the 4th century BC. They also named the area now known as Morocco (along with the western part of Algeria) Mauritania. Though they sought to seize full control, the Berbers were a force to be reckoned with and fought constantly with the Romans until their ultimate decline.

In the 7th century AD the armies of the Arabian Peninsula swept into North Africa, bringing with them the Islamic faith. In the centuries that followed Fez and thenMarrakech were founded under various dynastic rules and grand palaces and mosques were erected.

In 1912 France seized control of the country, gifting Spain a few token towns in the north and making their capital in Rabat. In 1956, following pressure from Moroccans and the international community, the country regained its independence from France and Spain, and King Mohammed V returned from exile.

Things to do

Catch some winter sun on our holidays to Morocco’s southern beach resorts. The coastal region of Agadir offers the perfect combination of sun worshipping and culture, and is well placed for day trips into the Atlas Mountains to visit the lovely historic towns of Tiznit, Tafraout and Taroudant.

Or book a tour to explore in more depth, visiting the cities of Marrakech and Fez, staying in the best hotels and enjoying the exotic flavours of Morocco’s distinctive cuisine. Alternatively, visit Morocco’s port cities of Casablanca, Melilla and Agadir during a cruise of southern Europe, the Canary Islands or Cape Verde archipelago.

Northern Morocco

To the north, facing Spain across the Mediterranean, are Ceuta and Melilla in Spanish Morocco, while just down the coast you’ll find the busy port city of Tangier. The charming, blue painted town of Chefchaouen lies inland at the gateway to the eastern Riff Mountains.

Then to the northeast you’ll find the impressive walled city of Fes, one of Morocco’s finest for medieval architecture. Enjoy a fascinating glimpse into the past amidst its labyrinthine medina and stock up on traditional crafts. Heading west to the Atlantic coast you'l find the busy capital of Rabat and Casablanca, Morocco’s largest city and its cultural capital.

Southern Morocco

Palaces, mosques and medinas abound in Marrakech. Explore its souks and museums, gaze at the intricate designs of the El Badi and Bahia palaces and unwind in the elegant gardens of Agdal, Menara and Majorelle. Marrakech lies in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, which stretch south to the Sahara, while along the south-western Atlantic coast are the seaside towns of Essaouira and Agadir.

Flight time

Flights from London to Marrakech take from 3 hours and 30 minutes.

Currency

Dirham -

The official currency is the Moroccan dirham (Dh).

Passports and visas

Your passport should be valid for the duration of your stay. You do not need a visa.

Visit GOV.UK for more advice on passports and visas.

Phrases

A few words of Arabic…

Hello - Salam

Thank you - Shukran

Good morning - Sabaḥu Al-khair (pronounced sah-bah-heu ahl-kha-ir)

Good evening - Masa’u Al-khair (pronounced mah-sah-uh ahl-kha-ir)

Yes - Na’am

No - La

Timezone

Morocco keeps the same time as GMT so is the same as the UK during the winter months, but one hour behind during the summer.

Electricity

The mains voltage is 110/220 volts AC, 50 Hz. You will need an adaptor for most British appliances.

Language

Arabic -

The official language is Arabic, but many Moroccans speak Berber or French. English tends to be understood in the main tourist areas.

Tipping

In Morocco tipping is the norm and is used to make up the salaries of poorly paid service staff. For waiters, hotel staff and taxi drivers, the average amount is about 5-10 dirhams per person; for local guides, we would suggest between 10-15 dirhams per person, per day.

Climate

Morocco’s coast has a warm, Mediterranean climate tempered on the eastern shores by the trade winds. Inland and further south it’s hotter and drier, though temperatures can drop dramatically at night.

Health

As health information can change at any time, we’d advise you to consult your GP at least 12 weeks before departure.

Country-specific information and advice on possible health risks is also published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre, and The British Foreign and Commonwealth Travel Advice Unit provides important health and safety information for British nationals travelling abroad.

Population and size

The population is about 32,987,206, around the same as Canada. More than half of Moroccans live in the cities of Marrakech, Fez and Casablanca.

Morocco covers an area of around 44,6550 square kilometres and is almost twice the size of the United Kingdom. Situated in the northwest corner of Africa, Morocco is bordered by Algeria and Western Sahara to the south and east, and the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea to the west and north.

Smoking

Smoking is banned in most public places, although you may not find it enforced in every hotel or restaurant.


Places in Morocco

Agadir

With the Atlas Mountains on one side and a magnificent crescent-shaped beach on the other, Agadir is a vibrant holiday destination

Marrakech

Look forward to a mix of labyrinthine alleyways, secluded palaces, museums, mosques and markets in the 'Pink City'


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