All photos courtesy of @avelovin
Morocco Travel Tips
Last July, I got to visit Marrakech, Morocco for the first time ever to celebrate Martin’s birthday! This destination has always been on my bucket list, so you can imagine how excited I was to visit – and it exceeded all my expectations!
Though the city was filled with rich culture and beautiful traditions, there were a couple things I wish I had known before I visited for the first time. So in case you’re planning a visit to Marrakech, Morocco anytime soon, here are some of my first-timer tips to help you out.
1. Always have cash on hand
Nearly anywhere else I travel, I find using a credit card more convenient, but in Morocco, cash is the main mode of payment – especially if you intend to shop at a souk or dine at restaurants.
I also recommend having cash exchanged at the airport before you head towards your accommodation. Many of the ATMs in the city are faulty or do not work, so it’s best to always have Moroccan dirham on hand.
2. Don’t be afraid to haggle!
Shopping in Morocco is an experience. There are so many shopping centres to explore and so many products to choose from, but as a tourist, you become the easiest to scam into purchasing goods at a higher price.
Good thing I know how to haggle may way to a good deal. I would say you can haggle up to 50% off asking price. Martin, on the other hand, did not know how to haggle and found it difficult to ask for lower deals. Good thing he had me with him!
3. Wear comfortable shoes for walking
The main mode of transportation in the city is walking. Most places in the city were accessible by foot. In our case, we actually felt encouraged to discover Marrakech by foot just because there were so many charming alleyways and souks to discover.
That said, be sure to have your walking shoes on!
4. Google Maps will be your best friend
You’ll notice as you walk along the streets of Marrakech that there are barely any street signs – so Google Maps will be handy in this case. Some of the locals may tell you that Google Maps doesn’t work here and help you find your riad, but all they really want is to make some money off of you.
In our experience, we found Google Maps to be 100% reliable, so don’t be fooled by the locals and download the app!
5. Get yourself a local SIM card
All that said, I advise you to purchase a local SIM card to stay connected all throughout your travels. I picked mine up at a kiosk in the airport of Marrakech, so I’m sure you’ll be able to find one there as well!
6. Prepare to be harassed into buying goods
You’ll notice during your trip that many locals, especially those at the souks and popular tourist areas, are very aggressive. Once, a woman approached me and nearly inked me with henna without my permission – talk about sketchy! Not only is it not at all safe, they might also harass you into paying for this unwanted service.
We also noticed that many of the vendors are very touchy and coerce you into their shops. If you are not interested, my tip is not to mind them and keep walking!
7. Always ask before you take a photo – or suffer a fine!
Everywhere we went in Marrakech was picturesque, but the bad news is that you’ll be asked to pay a price to take photos by many photo spots – especially at the souk. Fortunately for us, we had a local photographer with us to help us choose areas worth the €5-10 fine, or help us talk to the local vendors.
8. Expect male intimidation
Since I was travelling with Martin, this wasn’t actually that apparent for me. However, before I flew to Morocco, this was one tip most, if not all, bloggers provided in their Morocco travel guides. So if you aren’t travelling with guys, always be vigilant and do what you can not to attract so much attention.
9. Take note: Mosques are off limits to non-muslims
Unfortunately, mosques are off limits to non-Muslims, meaning you cannot enter the premises of the holy grounds at any time of the day. The most you can do is probably snap a photo against the exterior of a mosque. But personally, we decided to skip it and enjoy the other locations Morocco has to offer.
10. Spend on food!
Moroccan food was the highlight of my trip! I absolutely loved the culinary experience I had while I was in Marrakech, and I highly advise anyone visiting to really eat your way through the city! Food is also pretty affordable, so you really won’t feel guilty about it at all!
We also highly recommend dining at one of the many rooftop restaurants in the city. It’s a pretty popular trend, so you’ll definitely pass by a couple during your walk.
Check out my Marrakech Food Vlog below!
11. Book a a riad for your accommodation
I think you get the complete Moroccan experience if you opt to stay in a riad instead of a typical hotel. It’s located within the walled city, so you really get a touch of culture and tradition by staying in this one of a kind accommodation!
I also recommend checking in a riad that offers daily breakfast and has aircon (especially for the hot, sticky summer days!)
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