How to independently and on a budget holiday in Morocco, how to organize a budget road trip and not to spend too much money, how to see the sights of Morocco to the maximum without organized tours.

How to avoid problems and enjoy your trip. How much does it cost to travel to Morocco, and what to consider when preparing.

Assuming that you have already decided to go to Morocco - for a vacation or to travel around the country. You also do not want to overpay the organizers and travel in the company of strangers. Subjective, of course, but I do not see any advantage in traveling in a group of more than 4-6 people.

Self-organization of a trip to Morocco does not require any extra effort from you. The main stages of preparation are roughly similar to other countries with some peculiarities.

I will elaborate on all of them, including food, lodging and internet on the trip.

Where is Morocco :

Morocco is located in northwest Africa and borders Spain through the Strait of Gibraltar. There are ferry services between the countries, but it is of course cheaper and faster to get by plane. Morocco has the Mediterranean Sea, which is not very popular with tourists, and the Atlantic Ocean, which is very popular. The main enclave of package tourists and fans of beach "seal" vacation is Agadir, which resembles European resorts and which has nothing of interest.

Morocco Visa and Currency :

To go to Morocco, citizens of Ukraine need to get a visa, it is not difficult, although a bit time-consuming. My experience of obtaining a visa for Morocco I described in this article.

Citizens of the Russian Federation do not need a visa to Morocco.  

The official currency of Morocco is the Moroccan dirham, 10 dirhams are approximately equal to 1 euro. In car rental offices and markets, you can also pay in Euros.

Cards work mainly only in major supermarkets, Pay Pass system does not work here yet. To withdraw money from ATM machines take a one-time fee of 30 dirhams (3 Euros), it may vary from ATM, but not significantly. That is why if you withdraw the required amount at once.

It is forbidden to take currency out of the country formally; you may exchange it at the airport upon departure after getting a boarding pass. If a couple of dirhams are left, no one checks it.

Planning a trip itinerary :

Any trip begins NOT with buying tickets, but with planning the itinerary, although sometimes it is the other way around. The more thoroughly it is written out, the easier it is for a beginner. We left ourselves considerable room for improvisation, as we had time and some travel experience.

There are a few cool itinerary options in Morocco, but the main locations to see will be about the same for all.      

The major so-called imperial cities of Morocco are Casablanca, Rabat, Meknes, Fez, and Marrakech. The port and not so clean Tangier can also be included in this category.

The largest Moroccan international resort is Agadir. It is interesting only if you want a comfortable vacation on the ocean, there is nothing else to do.

Natural Locations Morocco. The Sahara Desert, which is available near the village of Merzouga, the gorge of Dades, waterfalls in the high Atlas Mountains, several natural parks, the beach Legzira in the south.

Popular tourist destinations are Chevchaouen and Essaouira.

Interesting places for a short vacation on the Atlantic coast are Asila, Moulay Bessalam, Oualidia.

I have already published a detailed article with our itinerary for Morocco, which you can take as a basis and edit to suit you.

If you don't spread yourself too thin, and in the case of limited travel time, you can compose, for example, these itineraries. One of them has more sea, the other - more nature and historical sites. Both itineraries are about 8-10 days and I like both itineraries very much in their own way.

Agadir (arrival - 1 night) - Legzira beach (1 night) - Essaouira (2 nights minimum) - Oualidia (1 night) - Asila (2 nights) - Chevchaouen (1-2 nights) - Fez (1-2 nights) - flying home from Fez. Fez can be replaced by Tajer and fly home from there.

Marrakech (1-2 nights) - Ouarzazate (1 night) - Dades Gorge (1 night in a good hotel with views) - Sahara Desert, Merzouga village (1-2 nights) - Fez (2 nights) - Departure from Fez. After Fez you can go to Rabat and fly home from there.

In the first case, more nature and the ocean, in the second - history, desert and mountains, which believe me is also very cool.

Either way, lots of improvisation options. 

Another best option is the 10 days Morocco tours from Casablanca, you can visit many places including the imperial cities as well as the Sahara desert.

Buying a cheap ticket to Morocco :

The phrase "cheap airline tickets" is quite fair. Tickets to Morocco from European cities - Warsaw, Krakow, Budapest, Vilnius and dozens of other places will not cost more than 100-120 euros round trip. And with a good luck you can buy round-trip tickets for 40-60 euros.

We took WizzAir from Kiev via Budapest to Marrakesh, and Ryanair from Marrakesh to Kiev via Warsaw. I bought tickets on the website of the airlines. The flight price for one person was 120 euros round trip.

I advise to buy tickets "there" for a good price, then wait and buy tickets back at the first opportunity. You won't be left without a ticket - that's for sure - tried it out. I have a difference between buying tickets there and back was about 1 month.

The optimal ticket price is 1.5 to 2.5 months before departure. This is a time-tested rule.

If you don't like low-costs or don't want to plan connections with possible overnight stays in transit cities in Europe, you can buy a flight with a traditional airline like Lufthansa, Turkish, or Air France. I look for tickets on aviasales - I look at the low price calendar, there are often very decent options with luggage, meals, and convenient connections.

Choosing accommodation in Morocco :

The route is made and double-checked a thousand times on Google maps and the number of overnight stays is planned. We can start looking for accommodation.

There are several types of accommodation in Morocco.

Riad is a unique Moroccan type of tourist accommodation. Usually converted into riads old Moroccan houses in the historic center - the medina. Outwardly ordinary, time-worn house, but inside as a fairy tale from a thousand and one nights.

As a rule, riad is a courtyard-well, beautifully decorated, the dome is covered with a film or glass, so it seems that you are inside the premises. Rooms are arranged on the floors in a circle. In the center there could be a fountain or a tree, and everything looks expensive and rich, with good taste.

Traditional hotel - here everything is about as in Europe, the higher the price, the more likely quality accommodation (but not necessarily).

Guest houses (Dar) - pretty much the same as riads, the differences are blurred.

Lodging through Airbnb - this system has both riads, hotels, and traditional homes/apartments from locals. We have used it twice. We were very pleased with the accommodation in Essaouira with a view of the sea and the main gate of the medina.

If you don't have a profile on Airbnb - you can register at this link and get a cash bonus on your first booking.

The main online sites for choosing accommodation in Morocco are Booking and Hotellook.

Hotellook is an opportunity to save up to 40% of the cost of housing as the site itself is looking for deals and discounts and offers them in the output. A kind of Skyscanner only in the world of apartment hunting. Experienced travelers save a substantial part of the travel budget this way.

The cost of budget hotels/riad in Morocco is 25-35 euros per night for two in a private room with private bathroom. If you want more comfort in a good location in the historic center will have to lay out 40-60 euros per night for two.

We have an average accommodation cost of 35 euros, we have always lived in the city center, in a private room with a toilet and shower. It was not always what we were used to in Europe, but overall it was very cool. In the main locations - Marrakech, Essaouira, Chevchaoune, Fez - it was great riads in the center with a view and a terrace for understandable money - 25-35 euros for two people.

Transport in Morocco :

Morocco has an excellent public transport network and there are at least two bus companies. Tickets are inexpensive and you can save money on overnight travel.

But buses have never been our favorite form of travel, although we had a lot of them in Asia and Europe, too. But it was rather an exception to the rule.

Therefore, only a rental car. Details on the rental car I will post a separate article, and soon. Here I will briefly say that there are no significant differences from renting a car in Europe.

You can rent a car at the airport and at the hotel/riad.

You can do it in two ways. Both are good in their own way.

The first way is through the international car rental website Rentalcars. You are guaranteed a high level of service and a great new car. The disadvantage is probably a high deposit for a car or higher amount of insurance than in the second option. 

The second way is renting a car through the site of local car rental companies. We were initially inclined to the first proven method, but then listened to recommendations from friends and turned to a local office - Mlbrentalcar. The manager Farid leaves no doubts about his honesty and competence. A brand new Dacia Sandero was driven up to our apartment, walked us to the nearest gas station and showed us the direction in which to go. No deposit, insurance - 6 euros a day, the price of the car - 23 euros a day. Otherwise, you can simply look for a customized Morocco tours for your best transportation.

Take your pick whichever way - both have been tested in practice and I can safely recommend them.

The price of fuel in Morocco - about 1 euro per liter, excellent roads, moderate traffic, drivers are not ambitious - often beep to warn overtaking, but give way and are very careful. Donkeys and carriages with a couple of horses are full-fledged participants of the traffic in towns and local roads. They do not get in the way. A lot of police - fines for speeding and overtaking violations (over the solid axis), the fine is 20-30 euros. Just do not violate, without the need to stop rarely.

Internet in Morocco :

We have figured out the itinerary, airfare, lodging, and transportation. There are a few things left, the most important of which I think are food and Internet.

I work in travel, so it is important to me to have the Internet 24 hours a day. But even to solve current issues on the lodging or see the necessary information about attractions or good cafes / restaurants, it is better to have mobile internet and not to depend on anything.

Of course, almost all cafes and restaurants, hotels and hostels have Internet. Morocco is not much different from Europe in this respect.

But I still recommend you to buy a mobile Internet service as soon as you arrive in Morocco, because it is much more convenient and costs a penny.

Morocco has two good mobile operators - Moroc Telecom and Inwi. Both have 4G coverage all over the country.

Inwi is faster in promoting its services. At Marrakech airport, the girls from this company have been handing out SIM cards for years.

The card is free, 10 gigabytes of mobile internet costs 10 euros (100 dirhams). I bought 10 GB, then added 5 more GB for 5 euros at the company office, it was enough for the entire 18 days of the trip.

The card immediately set up in your phone, the whole procedure takes no more than 1 minute, they work really fast. I recommend to buy Inwi card right after arrival.

The hotels usually declare the Internet, but not everywhere it is, and not everywhere works fast. It depends on your luck. There were no problems with the mobile Internet - I gave mine to two phones, two of us used it.

Organization of meals when traveling in Morocco :

Food is another important aspect of travel. We usually do not go to countries with mediocre food.

Food in Morocco is an essential and very important part of the trip. We are delighted with local food, fruits, fish and seafood. And good as the street inexpensive food and Moroccan cuisine in cafes and restaurants. The average bill for two at local cafes was 15-20 Euros for a good dinner on a terrace overlooking the city. In simpler street cafes we were lucky to get on for 10 Euros for a light lunch. Moroccan tea for one person costs 1 - 1,5 Euros per pot of tea, coffee is sold only in proven places, we found one such place in Marrakesh.

It is important to remember that during Ramadan all or almost all catering outlets will be closed before sunset. You immediately deprive yourself of the pleasure to sit in a cafe on the terrace and just to eat during the day.

The month of Ramadan in 2019 in Morocco falls between the evening of May 5 (Sunday) and June 4 (Tuesday). I would not plan a trip during this period, but if you are not interested in cuisine or want to lose weight, you are welcome.

Meal arrangements in Morocco are simple. In the morning - breakfast at the hotels/riads, which are usually included in the price.

At lunch is a snack or meal at roadside cafes. Rustic Moroccan food is incredibly delicious, and we still remember the street meat sandwiches in Fez for 1 euro.

In the evening, a trip to a cafe or restaurant with a view of the evening city.

In some places there was an opportunity to cook at home and we took advantage of that. We bought groceries at Carrefour supermarkets, they are available in all major cities - Marrakech, Esueira, Fez, Rabat, Casablanca.

There is fruit in Morocco all year round. There are an unbelievable amount of oranges and mandarins, which cost a penny - from 10 to 50 cents per kg. A lot of olives, dates, avocados of several kinds, local strawberries. All this is very inexpensive.

Alcohol in Morocco :

There is alcohol in Morocco. The country is the largest producer of wine in the Arab world, and it seems that the love of wine was instilled by the French. They also taught me how to make wine. Although the Moroccans themselves claim to have been making wine for thousands of years.

Yes, there is no culture of drinking wine in public places among the locals in Morocco. Alcohol is offered at considerable prices in some tourist spots.

Carrefour supermarkets and special liquor stores in large cities offer all kinds of alcohol.

Hard drinks such as whiskey are recommended to buy in duty free before boarding the plane, as in Morocco they are much more expensive. But wines and beers can be bought local, Moroccan and of very good quality.

A local specialty is the so-called gray wine (Vin Gris), it is slightly pinkish and pleasant to the taste. It is recommended in hot or warm weather.

Myths and Frequently Asked Questions about Morocco :

Isn't it dangerous there? No. I feel it's much safer than some cities in neighboring Spain. People are friendly and smiling, sincere, which is important. The more tourists in the city, the more sincerity and generosity is replaced by greed. In tourist cities such as Fez, there are a lot of "helpers" and beggars. This is not scary and you get used to it, they are not aggressive and not dangerous. The answer "NO" is usually enough to get them off. 

Do girls need to dress strictly and be completely closed off? No, they don't. Although I would not advise to go naked and wear an extreme mini. Nothing bad will happen, but it is unlikely you will enjoy the excessive attention.

In the big cities, even the locals dress quite European, girls can wear a scarf, but the face is open. In the villages closer to the Sahara there is more closure, but this does not apply to tourists.

Almost all local girls wore tight jeans or pants, we did not notice any problems with this.

Can a girl travel alone in Morocco? Of course, yes. We have many acquaintances who have been to Morocco on a solo trip and all are happy. There are also many reviews online about such travels.

It might not be a good idea to go into the remote mountainous areas or remote parts of the country, I don't know. I haven't noticed any problems with tourists or visitors to the country in popular places.

Weather in Morocco :

Winter weather is famous for its contrasting temperatures. In January, it can be around zero degrees in the morning and around 20 degrees in the afternoon. In February, when we traveled in Morocco, the temperature was +5-9 in the morning, 20-25 in the afternoon, and about 18 degrees warm in the evening.

In my opinion, it is very comfortable to travel from February to May and September to November. It's pretty hot in the summer and Ramadan, again.

Is it possible to swim in winter in Morocco? It's hard to call it swimming, but a dip in the ocean is possible if you're really impatient. The water temperature is 15-17 degrees.

Where to look for accommodation in Morocco :

I use two sites and always find accommodation that suits my budget and comfort.

Hotellook is a search engine similar to Skyscanner but in the world of hotels and apartments. You enter the place where you want to stay, the site is looking for accommodation on the dozens of booking systems and offers the best options. It is very convenient and allows to save up to 40% of the cost.

Booking is a time tested site that offers trusted accommodations with multiple filters to customize your search.

Author's Bio: 

I am author selfgrowth