Morocco Travel Information

Visas, Health and Safety, When to Go

Tourist at fabrics and rugs shop in Essaouira
••• Alberto Coto/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Find out if you need a visa for Morocco, health and safety issues in Morocco, information about traveling alone in Morocco and when to go to Morocco, by scrolling down.

More Morocco Travel Information...

Page Two: Currency and Getting To Morocco (By Ferry, Air, Land)

Page Three: Getting Around Morocco (By Train, Air, Bus, Car)

 

Visas

Most nationalities including those from the US, Canada and the UK do not need a visa to enter Morocco as a tourist.

If your nationality is not on the following list, then you should contact a Moroccan Embassy and apply for a visa.

You do not need a tourist visa if you belong to one of the following countries: Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Congo (Rep. of), Cote d'Ivoire, Denmark, European Union, Finland, Guinea, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Korea (Rep. of), Kuwait, Libya, Liechtenstein, Mali, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Niger, Norway, Oman, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, and Venezuela.

Your passport must be valid for at least six months after you enter Morocco. You will get a stamp in your passport upon entry into the country (make sure you get it) which will allow you to stay for 90 days. No entry fees are charged.

 

Health and Safety

As with most destinations in Africa you have to careful about what you drink and eat in order to avoid stomach upsets. Buying food from street vendors carries some degree of risk and tap water should not be drunk. There is plenty of bottled water available throughout the country. Luckily Morocco is basically malaria-free.

There are a few areas near the border with Mauritania that can harbor malaria but it's an unlikely destination even for the hardiest of travelers.

Immunizations

No vaccinations are required by law to enter Morocco but Typhoid and Hepatitis A are two vaccinations that are strongly recommended. It is also a good idea to be up to date with your polio and tetanus vaccines.

Terrorism

A series of terrorist attacks took place in Casablanca in May 2003, killing 45 people. The targets included hotels, cafes and other areas which tourists frequent. The Moroccan authorities claim to have caught the perpetrators, but there is still some risk of further attacks. Despite the unpopularity of the American presence in Iraq and its support for Israel, attacks against US citizens have not been reported. Most Moroccans, to their credit, do make a distinction between US Government policies and US citizens.

Crime

Violent crime is still quite rare in Morocco but getting harassed by "guides" and petty theft is fairly common. Avoid walking alone at night especially in unlit areas and on the beach. Take care of your valuables and don't flaunt your jewellery.

Drugs

Morocco has strict penalties for those caught purchasing or using drugs including "kif" as the local marijuana or hashish is called.

That said, "kif" is smoked by a sizeable percentage of the Moroccan male population and many, young travelers in particular, visit Morocco with this in mind. Just be careful. The Rif mountains, where most of the marijuana is grown, is notorious for forcing their wares on unsuspecting tourists and the police are in on the scam. Do not buy "kif" from anyone who approaches you (and you will be approached) it is usually of inferior quality and you don't want to spend a lot of time with these folks. For more information I have an article about smoking hashish in Morocco.

Women Travelers

Morocco is an Islamic country so be modest in what you wear. No short skirts, shorts or tank tops. Wear a bikini or swimsuit only at a pool or on a beach. You'll attract attention regardless what you wear, just ignore it and move on, most of it is harmless.

More information on women traveling alone in Africa.

Gay Travelers

Homosexuality is considered a criminal offence in Morocco (so are sexual relations outside of marriage for that matter). So just be careful of overt displays of public affection, although handholding between men is very common; you'll probably get fewer looks than if you were wandering around holding hands in some towns back home. 

 

When to Go to Morocco

As with many destinations the weather usually determines the best time to travel to Morocco. During the winter months, from November to March, it can get quite cold and rainy especially in the Atlas mountains. Click here for average temperatures for all major towns and tourist destinations in Morocco. If you are leaving soon, check today's temperatures in Rabat, Marrakech and Agadir.

The peak tourist season in Morocco is July and August. If you want to avoid the crowds and the heat, travel before or after this time. If you are traveling during these months then be sure to make some of your hotel bookings in advance especially along the coasts. More about "Best time to Visit Morocco"...

 

 

More Morocco Travel Information...

Page Two: Currency and Getting To Morocco (By Ferry, Air, Land)
Page Three: Getting Around Morocco (By Train, Air, Bus, Car)

Getting to Morocco and Money Matters

Find out how to get to Morocco by air, land and sea. For in depth information about ferries to and from Spain see: Getting from Spain to Morocco.

Getting to Morocco

By Air

Morocco has three main international airports: Casablanca, Tangier and Agadir. You can also fly direct to Fes, Marrakech and Oujda from Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin and other European cities. Most long distance flights will arrive in Casablanca.

It's a modern airport with plenty of transport options to take you in to the center of town or to other destinations in Morocco. You can take a train to the city center or grande taxi (about 250 Dirhams).

Most major European airlines fly to into Morocco including British Airways, Lufthansa, KLM, Air France, Alitalia, Sabena and Swissair. There are also several budget and charter airlines operating from Europe to Morocco including Atlas Blue North Africa's first low cost airline. More about: Getting from Spain to Morocco

If you want to fly direct from the US to Morocco your only option is Royal Air Moroc which has daily flights between New York and Casablanca. For further information see my article about how to get a cheap flight to Africa.

By Sea

There are several car and passenger ferry services which offer routes between Spain, Gibraltar, France and Italy to Morocco.

Ferry To and From Spain

The most popular ferry crossing from Spain to Morocco is from Algeciras (Spain) to Tangier (Morocco). There are plenty of options available and a regular ferry or highspeed ferry go almost every hour, year round. Many companies run ferries and some tickets are valid for a number of different companies.

Check when you buy your ferry tickets, if you can use the return trip for another company as well. This can reduce your wait time. Another popular (and short) route is from Algeciras (Spain) to Ceuta, (Spanish Morocco). High-speed ferries will whiz you across the Straits of Gibraltar in just over half an hour. It's often a bumpy ride.

The general consensus is that Ceuta is a great place to arrive if you're taking your own car. It is quieter than Tangier, gas is cheap (it's a duty-free zone) and a mellower entrance into the hustle and bustle of Morocco. If you're relying on public transport, then Tangier is the best option since it has better connections to the rest of Morocco.

Ferries from Almeria (Spain) and Malaga (Spain) to Melilla (Spanish Morocco) go almost every day and take about 6-9 hours. Ferries are more frequent between Almeria (Spain) and Nador (Morocco) where you can catch a bus to most major cities within Morocco. The trip takes about 6 hours. You can also get to Tangier (Morocco) from Tarifa (Spain) on a high-speed ferry.

More About: Getting from Spain to Morocco

Ferry To and From France

Not a cheap option to get to Morocco, but you can take your car and it saves a long drive down to Spain.

Ferries go from Sete (France) to Tangier (Morocco) all year round. The trip takes about 36 hours and the ferries have restaurants, nightclubs, beds and shops on board. During the summer months (June to September) services are also available from Sete (France) to Nador (Morocco) and from Port Vendres (France) to Tangier (Morocco). For rates and schedules check out Comanav ferries.

Ferry To and From Gibraltar

Ferries go from Gibraltar to Tangier (Morocco) twice a week and the trip takes 80 minutes. 

Ferry To and From Italy

Ferries go from Genoa (Italy) to Tangier (Morocco). The trip lasts 48 hours and the ferries go about every six days. For rates, times and reservations click here (this link will only work using Microsoft Internet Explorer).

By Land

The border between Algeria and Morocco is closed and you cannot cross it.

The border with Mauritania is open but it is complicated to get across, especially if you are using public transport. Here are some tips if you are determined to get to Mauritania.

Note: You can buy both bus and train tickets from many cities in Europe to travel to Morocco. Obviously you will still use a ferry service to cross the Straits of Gibraltar but your ticket will include this crossing as well as transport to your destination in Morocco. Eurolines is a reputable bus company that offers fares to various destinations in Morocco. For train tickets, here's a sample fare and schedule from London to Morocco

 

Currency

The Moroccan unit of currency is the dirham which is divided into 100 centimes. There are ATM's throughout Morocco in all of the major cities and most towns. Credit cards are accepted at most of the higher end hotels, restaurants and shops. You can change money and traveler checks at all major banks, bureau de change and some hotels. Click here for current exchange rates.

 

More Morocco Travel Information...

Page One: Visas, Health and Safety, When to Go
Page Three: Getting Around Morocco (By Train, Air, Bus, Car)

More Morocco Travel Information...

Page One: Visas, Health and Safety, When to Go

Page Two: Currency and Getting To Morocco (By Ferry, Air, Land)

Transport in Morocco

By Train

Trains in Morocco are among the best in Africa; fares are cheap and trains are efficient and comfortable. You rarely have to book in advance, which is good since you can't book trains outside of Morocco. Trains travel between Tangier, Meknes, Fes, Oujda, Rabat, Casablanca and Marrakech.

The Moroccan national train service ONCF lists all the schedules and fares. For more information see my article about Train Travel in Morocco.

There are overnight train services available between Tangier and Marrakech. They depart Tangier at 9 pm every night. For more information see my article about Night Trains in Morocco.

By Air

If your time is short and you want to get around quickly, air travel is a good option but it is expensive. Royal Air Moroc flies most domestic routes and you can look at their web site to check fares and schedules.

By Bus

There are three national bus companies that operate between most major towns and cities in Morocco. They are Supratours, CTM and SATAS. According to recent traveler accounts on VirtualTourist.com SATAS doesn't have a very good reputation. Since Morocco's rail network doesn't extend to some popular destinations like Agadir and Essaouira, you'll probably use a bus service while traveling around the country.

Long-distance buses are comfortable and usually air-conditioned. You can buy your tickets at the bus depot. CTM has recently moved to a computerized booking system so you can book all your bus tickets for anywhere in the country at any CTM office. Supratours buses are handy if you are traveling onward by train since it is run by the same company.

They stop at every train station. City buses are another breed of vehicle all together and it's probably easier to take a "petit taxi" to get around town.

Taxis

You'll usually see two types of taxis in most major Moroccan cities, "big taxis" (grand taxis) and "small taxis" (petit taxis). The grand taxis are shared taxis and will cover longer distances. The petit taxis work like regular taxis everywhere. If the meter doesn't work, negotiate your fare in advance. If you don't have a lot of luggage, then always opt for a petit taxi for trips around town. It is much cheaper.

Renting a Car

Renting a car in Morocco is not cheap, so if you're from Europe, it may be worth driving your own car to Morocco. See the ferry section of this article for information about crossing from Europe to Morocco. European rental companies will not allow you to take their cars in to Morocco so this is not an option. Most of the major car rental agencies have offices in Morocco and there are plenty of online car rental portals to book from, Car Hire Express is just one of them. The roads in Morocco are quite good but be aware that the distances between major towns can be significant. This distance finder should help you plan your trip.

More Morocco Travel Information...

Page One: Visas, Health and Safety, When to Go
Page Two: Currency and Getting To Morocco (By Ferry, Air, Land)