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Morocco

Morocco
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The Kingdom of Morocco is a North African state. This is the only country which is not part of the African Union but it is included into the League of Arab States. It borders Algeria and Mauritania. The western coast is washed by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean and on the north, it is washed by the Mediterranean Sea. The Strait of Gibraltar divides Morocco and the European Continent. The capital city is Rabat.

The Mediterranean coast has a subtropical climate. In summer, the average temperature is +24 - +28°C and in winter, the temperature is +10 - +12°C. In the north-western part of Morocco, the climate is colder and in the mountainous regions, the temperature depends on how high the place is. If the tourists prefer to spend time on a beach or go surfing, they should come to Morocco in autumn. The period from April to May is the best time for climbing and trekking across the Atlas Mountain range. Spring or autumn is good for Sahara journey. The majority of the population in Morocco are the Arabs and Berbers and they practice the Sunni Islam. In Morocco, there are two official languages. They are Tamazight and Arabic. The tourists can also hear English, Spanish, and French.

The lovers of beaches should go to Agadir and Tangier with dozens of kilometers of an amazing coastline. Essaouira resort offers everything you need for sailing and surfing.

Rabat and Casablanca are the main destinations for shopping, city entertainments, and exploring the monuments of ancient civilizations.

Visit such national parks in Morocco as the Toubkal National Park near Marrakesh and the Al Hoceima National Park close to Al Hoceima. 

In Rabat, the tourists can see an impressive old Hassan II Mosque and the Mausoleum of Mohammed V. If you stay in the city of Fes, do not miss a chance to visit the Tanners Quarter and to see how the locals make leather using traditional old technologies. 

Get in

By Plane

Easy and convenient way to travel to Morocco is a flight.

There are direct flights from EU and CIS countries to Casablanca, Marrakesh, Rabat, Tangier, Fes, Dakhla, and Ouarzazate. The travelers can choose such airline companies as TAP Portugal, Lufthansa, Iberia, Turkish Airlines, Air France, Swiss, Brussels Airlines, Air Berlin, British Airways, and Aeroflot.

By Sea

In Mediterranean ports, the tourists can take a ferry. A ferry which carries vehicles runs between the ports of Morocco and Spanish cities Tarifa and Algeciras. Tangier is the main port of the Kingdom which welcomes passenger ships from Europe.

Visa

The citizens of the Russian Federation and the European Union do not need a visa to travel to Morocco (it is issued on arrival). A visa-free stay is limited to three months.

CIS citizens (except Russia) must obtain a visa beforehand. They must submit the documents to the Embassy of Morocco or a visa center. A visa is issued for 90 days. It will take 5-6 working days to get it.

The movements of the tourists across Morocco are not restricted. It is still recommended to spend the first night in the hotel indicated on the immigration form. 

Customs

The tourists are allowed to import foreign currency without limitations. However, the circulation of any foreign currency in Morocco is strictly prohibited. If the imported sum exceeds 15.000 Moroccan dirhams or its equivalent, it must be declared. When leaving the country, the tourists must provide to the Customs officers the certificates of currency exchange.

It is prohibited to export the national currency from Morocco.

The tourists can import the following things:

  • alcohol and tobacco;
  • perfume;
  • personal belongings.

It is not allowed to import:

  • professional photography equipment (except common photo camera);
  • any pornographic materials or materials that are in conflict with the requirements of Islam.

The tourists must not export the objects having historical or cultural value for Morocco. To export such items a special authorization is required. 

Cuisine

In the national Moroccan cuisine, vegetables, meat and fish are in abundance. Everything is cooked with olive oil and many spices. Everywhere in Morocco, you will be offered a traditional dish Tajine (vegetables and poultry or fish stew). At the end of a meal, you will be served some mint tea, a favoritism drink among the Moroccans.

You should not leave Morocco without trying amazingly delicious mutton kebabs and Meshui (juicy whole lamb on the spit or lamb prepared inside a clay oven).

You can also try the oysters which the Moroccans farm in the city of Ouladia. Among the popular dishes are Tajine with eel, roasted in wine tiger prawns with spices or a cake with seafood filling.

There is a great choice of sweets, fresh fruits, and dried fruits in Morocco. Do not refuse from traditional crepes Baghgrirs served with melted butter and honey, a fruit cake Im Ali and, of course, Makhroud (rolls with date filling).

A hallmark of the local cuisine is a layer cake Bastilla. Its filling includes the meat of pigeons, eggs, and almond. We also recommend trying the Moroccan pies Brihouats with veal or salmon filling.

Wines are legally prohibited here. The tourists can find some alcoholic drinks only in the hotels. 

Money

The national Morrocan currency is the Dirham (MAD). In circulation are the bank notes from 20 to 200 MAD and 1 to 10 dirham coins. There are also 20 to 200 MAD bank notes.

The tourists can exchange the currency at banks, in large hotels and restaurants. We recommend you against exchanging money on the street as there is a great risk of a fraud. 

In Morocco, there are ATMs near large malls and in banks. Hotels, restaurants, and malls accept credit cards. Small shops accept cash.

Traveler’s checks by American Express are accepted but it is difficult to cash other checks.

In Morocco, a tax-free system is available. To refund the VAT, the sum of the purchase must be, at least, 2.000 MAD. 20% of the cost of the purchase is refunded. However, there are very few tax-free shops in Morocco.

Details of interest

A series of religious events and festivals in Morocco is called Moussem. Originally, Moussem was an exclusively religious holiday but today this is a holiday for everyone when people dance, sing, participate in fairs and national entertainments. Trick riding is one of the national entertainments. It is very impressive. The riders wear festive clothing and with their spears they ride the horses and sing. No trick riding goes without shooting in the air with long shotguns with carved decorations and gems.

Sightseeing in Morocco

In Morocco, there are 9 UNESCO sites and the tourists can see them all.

  • In Fes-Boulemane, the tourists will see a wonderful Medina of Fez. Although, Median was seriously damaged, it managed to preserve unique monuments of Islamic civilization such as the Jama el Andalous or the Mosque of the Andalusians and the mosque El Karaouiyne.
  • During a trip to Marrakesh in Marrakesh-Tensift-El Haouz the tourists will see the Medina of Marrakesh. The city of Essaouira will open amazing views on the Medina of Essaouira.
  • In  Souss-Massa-Draa district, one can take excursions to the Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou. Ksars are the clay buildings surrounded y high walls to protect the people.
  • In Meknes-Tafilatet, the travelers can visit the Historic City of Meknes and the Archaeological Site of Volubilis. Under the ruling of Sultan Moulay Ismail, the city was a capital.
  • In Medina Tetouan, there is a Tangier- Tetouan district.
  • Any tourist should visit the Portuguese City of Mazagan in El Jadida in the region Doukkala-Abda.
  • A trip to  Rabat-Sale-Zemmour-Zaer will be an unforgettable experience. The tourists will see the  Historic City and Modern Capital of the Kingdom.

Souvenirs in Morocco

If you want to buy good souvenirs in Morocco, go the markets in Rabat. In the capital city, there are also many souvenir shops and antiquities shops where one can buy good gifts for family and friends. 

The tourists usually choose Moroccan shoes, ceramic pendants, natural cosmetics and aroma oils. In the craft complex Tarik El Marsa, one can buy crafts, traditional Moroccan clothes and tableware with ethnic decorations. 

In Fes, there are a lot of markets which specialize on one group of products. Thus, you can go to the Spice Bazaar, the Salt Market, and the Bazaar of medicinal plants. In a famous Tanners Quarter, you can see how the  locals make leather using traditional old technologies. People come here to buy leather goods of a high quality (jackets, bags, shoes, belts, wallets, and souvenir crafts).