After a winter that felt like forever, I was so happy to finally leave the country and get a well-deserved break. This time my travel led me to Morocco! Together with one of my best friends, we traveled the country, took pictures of nearly every cactus under the sun (I love cacti! <3) and met some interesting people. To give you a bit of an insight what to expect when traveling Morocco, I put together this little guide for you, enjoy! 🙂
Things to keep in mind:
I always try to read a lot about the country I’m about to visit but at the same time keep on open mind when it comes to places I’ve never been. I want to be informed but not opinionated. So the things I am about to tell you are based on my own experiences and may not apply to you. ( :
Traveling as a woman:
We were traveling as a group of two women for the duration of ten days. We started in Vienna, exchanged in Barcelona and then went on to Marrakesh. We booked a Riad in the old medina (the old part) of Marrakesh, in order to get the whole Morrocan experience. And oh boy, we sure did.
Through the whole trip, I’ve never really felt unsafe, but I felt watched and examined all the time. People kept shouting things at me such as ‘hey beautiful’, ‘pretty girl’, ‘lovely smile’ etc. which is fine but this can get very annoying at times, where you just want to be treated like a normal person and not an object. I guess this is something that won’t happen if you travel with a man, which is the level of unfairness I will never get used to.
Morrocan people, in general, are very friendly and open-minded. They are very excited to meet other people and will tell you their whole life story in a matter of minutes. Sadly, as there are parts of the country which are poor, people are out to get money from travelers just by showing you the way. This is a bit complicated, as I always felt a bit used even though when I wasn’t. For example, I met people who were so lovely, that I basically couldn’t believe they were helping us and doing all these things for free, while others were just purely trying to rip us off because we were tourists. Keep that in mind but don’t let that shy you away from meeting new people ❤
We mostly used taxis and trains to get around. Train rides are really cheap in Morocco and can get you through the whole country. The standards are actually ok, but to warn you: the toilets are definitely not 😛 You pay around €20 from Marrakech to Fez, which is a duration of nine hours.
Morrocan currency is Dirham (MAD) >11 Dirham are around €1. When visiting tourist attractions there is always a way to pay with credit card. If you’re traveling through remote areas or buying in small shops, always have some cash with you. When you’re lost and ask for directions, some people ask for some coins afterward as a reward, so keep some coins in your pocket as well.
Sometimes you can even pay in Euros, but I wouldn’t rely on that. No worries though, there are tons of cash machines around!
We stayed in Marrakech for four days and then came back for another two days. There are a lot of things to see, so six days was exactly the right amount of time to explore. We stayed at this lovely Riad called ‘Riad Andalouse’, which is located in the old medina and they guarantee a very traditional Morrocan stay. You can relax and get away from the hectic city by booking a hammam and full body massage (I highly recommend!) for around €50.
We booked a tour to the Ouzoud waterfalls and spent a whole day walking around staring at this pretty waterfall from every possible angle. To be honest, it was really nice but I sure would have survived without seeing it >.< So if you have enough time definitely go see it, if not, prioritize!
Something you definitely have to go and see is the wonderful Jardin Majorelle and the Yves Saint Laurent museum. The botanic garden is stunning and an excellent spot for pictures while the museum is just an exquisite portray of Yves’s work, which was massively inspired by the Morrocan culture and Marrakesh in specific. A must see! ❤
After the whole authentic Morrocan experience in Marrakech living in the old medina, Casablanca seemed just like a European city with pretty palm trees. Meaning, I didn’t really like it. We spent two days here at a ‘4*’ hotel and the whole vibe we brought from Marrakech was basically gone.
Nevertheless, we went out to explore the city and had some really yummy vegan/vegetarian food at this place called ‘Veggie’. After that, we went to see the ‘Rialto cinema’, which has this beautiful art deco flair (Note: If you like Wes Anderson, you will like this cinema 😛 ). There was no film on but we got to experience a cinema talk with different artists from all over the country and different genres, which was really cool. Sadly, I only understood half of it, as my French is far from perfect and my Arabic is non-existent.
After a very long train ride from Casablanca to Fez, which included a three-hour delay, we finally arrived in Fez. We met some really cool people on the train (shout out to Bilal!), who then explained to us, that we somehow managed to book a Riad in the most dangerous part of town. Exactly the kinda thing you want to hear at midnight arriving in an unknown city. Well, no risk, no fun, right?
Fez is really cold compared to Marrakech and as we were there at the end of March, we had to sleep with all of our clothes on. Just keep that in mind when you pack!
The next day we booked a guide to take us through the old part of town and show us around. The medina is a maze, so if you think you can handle thousands of little alleys on your own, good luck 😛 Here you can buy anything you want: from a real-life chicken to a new bed or wedding clothes. You can see all the Morrocan craftsmanship in the tannery and buy things straight from the makers.
If you have some time left in Fez, take a bus trip to Chefchaouen! It takes you about three hours to get there, but its worth to see this beautiful city completely covered in blue paint.