BACKPACKING IN MOROCCO
Traveling in Morocco means immersing yourself in a unique culture and significantly more than just discovering tourist destinations. The country presents itself with a unique beauty that is varied. On the one hand there is the towering Atlas Mountains, green forests and miles of dream beaches. On the other hand, barren deserts and magical oases and cities with fairytale, oriental flair await you.
Little is known that Morocco also has attractive winter sports areas that boast a unique tourist infrastructure and meet Central European standards. Morocco, the kingdom in northwest Africa, is bordered north by the Mediterranean Sea and west by the North Atlantic. In the south there is a border with Western Sahara and in the east with Algeria. From the Mediterranean coast you have a clear, direct view of the European mainland, in particular of Gibraltar, which is only 14 km away.
The infrastructure and especially the transport infrastructure of Morocco has developed very well, particularly in the northwest of the country, so that you as a backpacker can travel the country well by land and in the air to discover all interesting and unique features. Unique landscapes and numerous relics from the unique history in connection with the culture result in an expressive fascination. There are nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites to discover, all of which are World Heritage Sites.
The capital of Morocco
The capital and thus the cultural, intellectual and economic center of Morocco is Rabat, where around 580,000 people live. In contrast to Casablanca with around 3.4 million, Fez with around 1.1 million and Marrakech with 930,000 people, Rabat with 34% population density is rather tranquil. Around 35 million people live in the country. On your backpacking tour through Morocco you will mostly come across a Mediterranean-influenced climate.
South of Morocco
In the far south there is a desert climate. At high altitudes, the temperature can drop to freezing in winter. You can get money at many ATMs with the EC card if the Mastero sign is attached to it. Otherwise you can easily withdraw money with your credit card on your backpacking trip.
Languages in Morocco
The official language in Morocco is Arabic, but differs from classic Arabic in different dialects. French is spoken as the second official and common language. In the north of the country you also get along well with Spanish. In some places, such as in Agadir, German is even spoken. To satisfy your hunger, you can use the various food stalls and other catering options that you will find everywhere.
Culture in Morocco
The culture of the Moroccans is strongly influenced by the Islamic faith. For women, in particular, dress more conservatively and cohesively. Therefore, tight clothing should not be worn away from the beach. Knees and armpits should always be covered. Because of the heat, long sleeves and wide, airy pants are recommended. Friends and within the family are greeted in Morocco with two kisses on the cheek. However, this only applies to the same gender.
If you want to express respect and warmth towards locals, you lead your right hand to the heart or mouth after the handshake. In shops and cafés, only the man is considered by the staff in mixed-sex groups. In contrast, women have at most a subordinate role. Orders are therefore expected from a man and not from a woman.
Even if the Moroccans disagree about the rule and their king, a submissive attitude and loyalty to the royal family is expected in public. Majesty insult is a crime for which you are jailed. You should therefore keep any resentments towards the royal family or the monarchy for after your trip.
Acting is part of the culture of the Moroccans. Except in large department stores, you can bargain and bargain everywhere, especially in the markets, to get a better price for the product you want. Acting is a good thing. The retailer’s first mentioned prices are even designed for you to haggle with him.
More backpacking information about Morocco
If you are used to the cheap prices from Indonesia or Thailand, Morocco does not seem quite cheap to you. But with a daily budget of 30 to 50 euros you can get by very well as a backpacker.
There are many things to explore and learn a lot about culture in Morocco. In addition to fantastic stands, you will encounter unique desert landscapes and magical oases. With its indescribable vegetation, the Atlas Mountains invite you to unique hiking experiences. It gets really cold here in winter. You should take this into account when planning the backpacker trip when traveling.
There are a variety of accommodation options for you. Outside the cities, the price of a room is often calculated per person and not per room. In your search for a hostel, there are even real bargains where you pay for a bed between 6 and 10 euros. The average price in hostels is around 13 euros.
The cuisine in Morocco is very varied and offers a variety of different dishes that you should definitely try. They are influenced by the Arabic and Spanish cuisine. Therefore bread and legumes in different forms belong to every meal.
You can just visit Morocco or get involved in the culture of the country. You will be amazed at how differently life is. The large markets in Marrakech, Casablanca, Fès, Rabat and other cities are the most popular points of contact for extensive shopping, as you can find unbeatable prices here if you haggle with the retailers.
As a German citizen, you do not have to worry about a visa. Because you can enter Morocco for 90 days without a visa. What else you need to know about Morocco as a backpacker can be found under Visa & Vaccinations.
Backpacker budget in Morocco
Living and traveling in Morocco is easier than expected, as the North African kingdom is not only a simple, well-developed travel destination, but also, compared to European standards, quite cheap for a backpacker trip. So you can make ends meet with a daily budget of 30 to 50 euros per day. The local currency in Morocco is the dirham – in short Dh.
When changing money, you get around 11 dirhams for 1 euro. A simple meal at the many street stalls is available for 2.30 to 4 euros, where you can enjoy the delicacies of Moroccan cuisine. In a middle class restaurant you pay around 9 euros for a meal. It gets more expensive in luxury restaurants, where you have to quickly put 45 euros or more on the table. Moroccan fruit dealers offer you a variety of delicious fruits. A kilo of fruit costs between 0.50 and 0.70 euros.
For a local beer you pay 0.90 euros for 330 ml. With imported beer it becomes significantly more expensive, so you pay for 330 ml from 2.50. Coffee with milk is 0.50 euros and for 500 ml of cola you pay 0.50 to 0.60 euros. Water is particularly cheap because it is a staple food.
Taxi driving bus driving in Morocco : BACKPACKING IN MOROCCO
In Morocco it is quite common to use taxis. A distinction is made between small taxis (petit taxi) for inner-city journeys and so-called collective taxis (grand taxi). The shared taxis take you from one city to the next on your itinerary. Since the vehicles are old diesel cars, they are not the most convenient, but the fastest way to get from A to B. In Morocco, it is common for taxis to stop just like buses and pick up additional passengers until the vehicle is full.
This means that up to 6 passengers can be carried. If there are big celebrations, the number of passengers increases to 9. In addition, three other people are taken on a wooden bench in the trunk. The departure points are centrally located near train stations, bus stations or at airports. The prices for a trip are usually based on the number of passengers. You pay before you start driving.
Trading in the fare is worthwhile, especially if the driver claims that the taximeter is broken. As a guideline you pay around 0.45 euros for a short distance, 0.90 euros for a medium distance and around 1.40 euros for a long distance. If the driver demands significantly higher prices, you should look for a different taxi. As an alternative to a taxi, you can also travel by bus. Because Morocco has a dense bus network, so you can get from A to B quite comfortably.
Bus driving in Morocco : BACKPACKING IN MOROCCO
In every place there is actually a bus station where you can get tickets on your backpacker trip. There are direct connections to almost all major cities. The timetables on site are only in Arabic. Here you can see legible timetables. There are no timetables in smaller towns. Here you should speak directly to the bus driver. It is also quite common for bus drivers to walk through the buildings and announce their destination. The ride will start when the bus is full of passengers.
You can choose between buses with air conditioning and TV or the much cheaper but more uncomfortable buses. The latter are mostly used by the locals. These buses only run partially along the usual routes of the tourist buses, but off these routes. So you have the opportunity to travel cheaply and experience a very interesting adventure.
Domestic airfares in Morocco : BACKPACKING IN MOROCCO
You can book domestic flights in Morocco with a discounted weekend rate through the airline Royal Air Maroc. As a rule, however, the machines do not fly from city to city, but always take the flight route via Casablanca. From there you can continue with connecting flights to Fes, Quazazate, Al Hoceima and Tangier. Fes and Casablanca are served daily. The flight prices are quite expensive, so you better use buses or the train on your backpacker trip.
Train travel in Morocco : BACKPACKING IN MOROCCO
You can reach all important cities such as Casablanca, Fès, Marrakech, Meknes, Rabat, Tangier etc. by train via the well-developed rail network. On most routes, the trains run every 60 to 90 minutes. Traveling by train is relatively cheap in Morocco. For a trip from Tangier to Marrakech you pay around 18 euros in second class and 27 euros in first class.
The trains are never as crowded as the buses and take significantly less time for the same route. The accompanying Moroccans are often very friendly and open-minded, so you are guaranteed to receive additional tips for your backpacker trip. You can find information about train connections on the website of the Moroccan Railway.
Backpacker routes in Morocco : BACKPACKING IN MOROCCO
When traveling in Morocco, you as a backpacker can enjoy a culturally and geographically unique country that has a lot to offer for adventure seekers, history buffs, surfers and those interested in exchanging ideas with other cultures. Trekking fans, hikers and those who have always wanted to experience a sandy desert will get their money’s worth.
You can climb the highest mountain ranges such as the high atlas with 4167 m, the middle atlas with 3340 m in the center of Morocco, the mountain range Jbel Sirwa with 3304 m in the central south or Rif and Er Rif with 2456 m on the Moroccan Mediterranean coast. An indescribable nature awaits you in the mountain regions. So you come across wild olive trees, junipers, cork oaks, argan trees as well as cacti and palm trees.
The long coastline invites you to swim, surf and kite surf. Just as exciting is a trip to the adjacent desert, where you can visit unique oases and get a wonderful starry sky at night. What else should you have seen on your backpacking trip?
Route 1: the classic (15-23 days)
- 3-4 days exploring Marrakech and visiting main sights. Pure shopping is the order of the day
- 3 days desert tour in the Sahara and experience the uniqueness of the landscape.
- 4 days Essaouria, discover the most charming place in Morocco and along the beach to Diabat.
- Explore Tangier for 2 days.
- Discover Asilah for 3 days and take trips to Larache and Lixus.
- Roam through Chefchaouen for 3 days and visit the God’s Brigde and the Cascades d’Akchour waterfall.
- 2 days Azrou and excursion to Cedre Gouraud and Ifrane.
- 3 days in Fez with trips to Meknes, Moulay Idriss and the ruins of Volubilis
Route 2: Backpacker Intensive Trip (up to 35 days and more)
- 4 days exploring Marrakech and visiting the main sights. Pure shopping is the order of the day
- 3 days desert tour in the Sahara and experience the uniqueness of the landscape.
- 4 days Essaouria, discover the most charming place in Morocco and along the beach to Diabat.
- Explore Tangier for 3 days.
- 4 days discovering Asilah and taking trips to Larache and Lixus.
- Roam Chefchaouen for 4 days and visit the God’s Brigde and the Cascades d’Akchour waterfall.
- 3 days Azrou and excursion to Cedre Gouraud and Ifrane.
- 4 days in Fez with excursions to Meknes, Moulay Idriss and the ruins of Volubilis.
- 2 days to explore Rabat, the country’s capital.
- 4 days to visit and visit Casablanca, the economic capital.
- Enjoy 3 days Safi, beach, water sports and relaxation.
Travel times in Morocco : BACKPACKING IN MOROCCO
In principle, it is significantly warmer in Morocco than in Germany and even warmer than in neighboring Spain. In contrast, it can get really cold and snow a lot in winter, especially in the mountain regions. It rains little and there is a lot of sunshine.
When is the best time to go for your backpacker trip?
Because the climate between northern and southern Morocco is very different. The temperatures are most pleasant in spring and autumn. It’s not that hot yet. Basically, Morocco is a great travel destination all year round with the right clothing and equipment.
Backpacker accommodations in Morocco
Apart from the Cîtes d’Etappes in the mountains and some tents in the Sahara, there are many different types of accommodation, but only relatively few hotels with shared dorms, as you know them as backpackers from other countries. Instead, there are a number of hotels in every larger town, including simple accommodations, where you can stay for 4-5 euros. You can find many renovated riads, for example, in Marrakech, where oriental city buildings have been converted into welcoming guest houses in recent years.
But there are also hotels where you can get cheap accommodation on your trip if you accept the offer on the roof terrace for sleeping. You will find simple accommodation, as well as luxury hotels. In a mid-range hotel, you don’t pay more than 54 euros per night, while luxury hotels require 160 euros for an overnight stay. You can find out what an overnight stay for backpacking in Morocco in a hostel can be found on the website Hostelword. Accordingly, you pay the following prices for a bed:
- Marrakech 6-12 euros
- Fez 7 – 12 euros
- Chefchaouen 6-8 euros
- Essaouira 5-6 euros
- Tangier 10-20 euros
- Taghazout 38 euros
- Merzouga 10 euros
- Agadir 11 euros
- Assilah 12 euros
- Rabat 15 euros
In some of the hostels, prices vary considerably, even within the hostel. So you quickly pay double or even triple the price for a double room. Therefore motels and hotels are certainly an attractive alternative.
Motels on exit roads and highways
An interesting accommodation option are motels and hotels that offer you quite interesting prices. If you don’t want to spend the night on the roof terrace under the open sky, which is often possible for little money, you can get a room with a private bathroom and internet connection in a middle-class hotel for 53 euros. Hotels are spread across the entire city. Most motels can be found on the entrance and exit roads to cities or on motorways.
Riads in the cities
In many cities in Morocco, oriental city buildings have been converted into accommodation where you can find affordable accommodation. Just as interesting are private accommodations where there is a separate, lockable room. Such offers can be found on the Internet at relevant providers. You can find numerous riads on the Booking.com platform, where the data of the providers are merged. A look is definitely worth it, because many accommodations offer their rooms online with huge discounts. So you will regularly find savings offers with discounts of 50 percent and more.
Backpacker trips & tips in Morocco : BACKPACKING IN MOROCCO
When you travel to Morocco, you come across a geographical and cultural diversity that will impress you. Unique architecture, seeming uniforms of police officers and military personnel prompt you to pull out the camera and quickly take a souvenir photo. However, there are photo objects that you shouldn’t take pictures of, because they can have bitter consequences.
Therefore, you should NEVER remotely photograph police, military buildings, government buildings or any other security-related, seeming objects. This is prohibited and can even result in prison terms.
In addition, there are the legendary rip-offs in Morocco who pretend to be guides and pull the money out of your pocket. They are suddenly there when you stand haphazardly on a corner and offer you their help. When you have reached your destination, you start haggling because these guides want money for their help. In order to avoid this scenario, you should always negotiate a fixed price and not accept any help in good faith.
Backpacker highlights in Morocco : BACKPACKING IN MOROCCO
In addition to shopping, there are many exciting adventures that you shouldn’t miss on your backpacking trip through Morocco. A unique highlight is canyoning at the Ouzoud Falls. Depending on the occasion, you have to jump into the depths again and again. This ensures a very special adrenaline kick. The unique waterfalls, surrounded by exciting gorges, are located in the northeast of Marrakech and are more than 100 meters high. In the idyllic landscape you come across olive groves and windmills.
Another highlight is camel riding in the desert. You experience the vastness and silence at a leisurely pace as the camel moves across the red sand mountains. On the way you will pass small oases again and again. Depending on where the route takes you, the massive Atlas Mountains with their unique panorama rise in the distance. You will spend the night in a tent camp or a Berber village, where you will immerse yourself in the culture.
Backpacker insider tips in Morocco
When backpacking in Morocco you will find wonderful landscapes for hiking in almost every direction. The east offers you wonderful forests, scree and plateaus. In the south, on the other hand, the Anti-Atlas leads to the impressive sandy deserts and in the north you will find cedar forests and the mountain ranges of the Middle Atlas, where you can hike and climb.
The small town of Ifrane is a real insider tip. With its villas, it exudes a unique, European flair that does not really fit into the surroundings and seems unreal. Don’t forget to visit Ifrane National Park, where you can marvel at the indescribable flora and fauna in the shade of oak and cedar forests.
Even if the south of the country is not yet so well known for hiking, you can experience how the mountains merge into the desert landscape and create an ingenious picture. In the gorges of the Todra valley you come across nomadic families. From the plateau you have a really great view when you climb up there.
Food & drink in Morocco
Morocco’s cuisine is very different from that you know from Europe. Meat is very much eaten. Vegetables are part of every meal. The dishes are typically prepared in a tajine, a clay vessel that is heated over an open fire. With this type of preparation, the food is cooked evenly and gently.
Popular ingredients in Moroccan cuisine are potatoes, carrots, chickpeas, meat, zucchini and peas. You will be served bread at all meals. If you are not eating in a restaurant, but are eating in street restaurants or are invited to a local family, you will eat with your fingers. The right hand is used for this because the left hand is considered impure.
Eating in Morocco
Morocco is world famous for its excellent cuisine. It is characterized by the Mediterranean and Arabic influence. So couscous and tagine, a dish in different variations, belong to the national dishes. You can get inexpensive and good food in the old town cooking shops as well as in restaurants. A lot of meat comes on the table. The Islamic faith gives you a lot of chicken, lamb and beef.
The wide range of vegetables also means that vegetarians will get their money’s worth. Classic street food is Moroccan sandwiches, meat skewers, grilled eggplants or pita bread filled with köfte, which you should definitely try on your backpacker trip. If you need variety, you can also use burger stalls and pizzerias in larger cities.
Drinking in Morocco
Coffee and tea are drunk a lot in Morocco. The country is famous for its unique mint tea, where black tea is brewed with mint leaves. In addition, you get delicious fruit juices. Alcohol is not drunk in public, although there are wine-growing regions in Morocco. In some cities you will also find small alcohol shops, where the locals also shop.
For water, you should only use bottled mineral water and prefer tap water. It is quite cheap and you can get it in different sized containers.
Backpacker visas and vaccinations in Morocco
You do not need a visa for your trip through Morocco. German nationals can travel as tourists for up to 90 days without a visa. Nevertheless, you need valid entry documents. The entry requirements according to the Federal Foreign Office are as follows:
- Passport: yes
- Temporary passport: yes
- Identity card: No.
- Temporary ID card: No.
- Children’s passport: Yes, with photo
Your travel documents must still be valid for at least half a year!
Medical Advice & Vaccinations for Morocco
There are no compulsory vaccinations for entry to Morocco. However, you should have the standard vaccinations of the Robert Koch Institute up to date. Malaria is hardly known. Rather, diarrheal diseases occur due to food and drinking water hygiene. There is definitely good medical care in the big cities.