Morocco is a diverse and unique country in Northern Africa with a range of cultural influences, from Arab, Berber, and even French. You’ll find seaside towns like Essaouira, Casablanca and Tangier along the Atlantic coast, vibrant cultural hubs like Marrakesh and Fes, and arid landscapes across the Sahara desert. It’s a place that’ll leave you with lifelong memories and a greater understanding of different cultures and ways of life.
If you’ve seen the many stunning Instagram photos of Moroccan riad interiors, you’re probably wondering, how affordable can it really be to visit? Travelling to Morocco isn’t as expensive as you’d think, and you can absolutely explore Morocco on a budget. So, without further ado, here’s your budget travel guide for Morocco including Morocco travel tips.
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The Best Times to Visit Morocco
The first thing you need to know is that summer in Morocco, aka June to September is known for its extreme heat. Mainly if you want to see the Sahara, you should avoid visiting during this time. That being said, the temperatures can drop drastically at night during the winter so you might not want to be there during the New Year either. Spring (March to May) and Autumn (October to November) are considered the most beautiful and ideal times of the year when the weather is more temperate and comfortable for exploring. These in-between seasons also allow you to avoid the significant tourist rush during European summer vacation and the end-of-year holiday period. This is definitely the time you’re more likely to find cheap flights to Morocco.
Morocco is a Muslim country, so be aware that Ramadan is observed. Although exact dates vary from year to year, the religious holiday typically starts in May and ends in June, lasting 29 to 30 days. Depending on your perspective, this could be both a good and a bad time to fly to Morocco. Many restaurants and shops will be closed during Ramadan as the locals are fasting. However, when the fast breaks in the evenings for iftar, you can join in and enjoy one of the many buffets that are offered at hotels and restaurants. You might even be invited to someone’s home for an even more memorable evening!
If you want to be a part of this unique cultural experience, you might consider making it a point to visit during Ramadan. Everything will be much quieter and subdued, there’ll be fewer tourists, and you’ll get to know the country and culture a lot better. That being said, if you do visit during this holy month, you should be extra respectful and not flaunt your food and drinks in front of the locals!
Budget things to do in Morocco
When you’re figuring out what to see in Morocco, your activities will depend a lot on your budget. That being said, you’ll be able to have a fantastic holiday no matter how much money you can spare. Many of the local attractions and monuments in each city are free to visit, or the entry fee is less than the price of a cup of coffee.
Shopping is what tourists tend to spend most of their money on in Morocco. With so many gorgeous handicrafts available at the enticing souks and medinas, it’s hard to resist! If you want to buy some beautiful homewares or jewellery, learn how to haggle and stand your ground. Tourists stick out here, and the local merchants will try to charge you as much as possible. Never accept the first price, and shop around for similar items. Haggling is a way of life in Morocco, so don’t think you’re being rude by trying to halve the cost. Working your way down to a bargain (or at least an affordable price) is an adventure in itself!
Hammams are traditional Turkish spa baths but are popular in most Arab countries. Morocco’s version has its own twist, however, and involves a famously cleansing black soap. Hammams are unlike any spa experience you’ve ever had, and best of all, they’re very affordable. Most tourists are bewildered about what to expect, but simply put, you’re cleaned and exfoliated while in a large steam room. Hotels will provide a different experience than what’s considered traditional, with additional relaxing treatments but often higher prices.
To save money in Morocco, you’ll want to eat like a local. Fortunately, you can’t go wrong with Moroccan cuisine and Moroccan street food. Fill up delicious servings of tagine, couscous and zaalouk whenever you can. Mint tea is plentiful everywhere you go, and Moroccan hospitality involves many complimentary glasses of it, so accept whenever you’re offered it and enjoy!
Places to visit in Morocco on a budget
The best places to visit in Morocco are the cities and towns themselves, here are a few of our favorites:
Wandering around the artsy northwest mountain village of Chefchaouen will leave you in awe, and will cost you very little. The walls of the entire city are washed with blue and lined with flowering pot plants. Some say the blue represents the sky and heaven, a welcome reminder to enjoy a peaceful life. It’s considered a gateway to Tangier, but it’s worth spending at least a day here to relax, get lost among the maze-like streets, and take a break from the bustle of the larger cities.
Essaouira is a beachside port city with honey-coloured fortified walls from the 18th century. The old medina is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and camels roam the golden sand beaches. You can find many cheap eats by the sea, including local staples like fish, fresh seasonal fruit, and a variety of Moroccan pancakes. Visit the Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah Museum for just a few euros when it gets too windy out. The museum is a must if you’re interested in traditional music, or just learning as much as you can about the city’s history.
There are many fantastic monuments, mosques, and mausoleums to be found in Morocco’s capital city of Rabat. The medina itself was built in the 10th century and is remarkably well preserved. Go and check out the Dar al-Makhzen, also known as the Royal Palace, the Mausoleum of Mohammed V, the Hassan Tower, and the Kasbah of the Udayas. All of these are free to visit. Also worth exploring is the Rabat Archaeological Museum, though the entry fee is 10 dirham, which is just over two euros. For a peaceful stroll, you can walk around the French colonial Andalusian Gardens and see the exotic plants and flowers.
No matter which Moroccan city you end up in, you’ll never get bored. There’s so much culture to soak up, and you won’t be limited by watching your wallet.
Where to stay in Morocco on a budget
When visiting Morocco, you’re going to want to stay in a riad. They’re traditional Moroccan homes and palaces with interior courtyards, and sometimes there’s even a pool inside! While they look incredibly luxurious with their vibrant tiles and an abundance of greenery, you can, in fact find many budget riads to stay in, as well as other affordable accommodation such as backpacking Morocco.
Riad Dar Nimbus, Marrakesh: This three-star riad and spa offers single, double, triple and quadruple rooms. The interiors are warm and welcoming with a rustic vibe. Prices start at only 33 euros per night, which is an absolute bargain considering its convenient location. You’ll find Riad Dar Nimbus in the middle of the medina, and it’s walking distance from many major tourist attractions in Marrakesh. You can also experience a traditional hammam for 10 euros per person.
Hôtel Central, Casablanca: Full of character and charm, Hôtel Central offers an unbeatable price for the area. The rooms incorporate pure deep blues into the decor to contrast the classic whites, and the rooftop terrace provides unobstructed panoramic views across Casablanca and the medina. Enjoy your free breakfast in the morning and visit the tea room. You get incredible value for money here, with prices beginning at 40 euros per night.
Touria Palace, Fes: If you’re concerned about the cost of backpacking in Morocco, accommodations like these will assure you that it’s easy to travel here on a budget. Standard double rooms can be booked for only 20 to 25 euros per night. Joining one of the Morocco guided tours run by the owners or just hanging out in the general and cozy common area are both great opportunities to meet new people from around the world. You can also enjoy the beautiful view of the mountains from the sun terrace.
Dar Syra, Tangier: This residence is in the heart of the old medina, within walking distance of the markets and museums of Tangier. The bright and airy feel of the place, as well as the scenic ocean views from the rooftop, will put you in a wonderful mood for a day of exploration. Their rooms range from 40 to 60 euros per night, with both double beds and bunks on offer for those travelling in groups of friends.
Riad Marlinea, Rabat: A traditional and cozy riad is the perfect place to relax after a day of exploring Morocco’s capital. Enjoy your free breakfast and mint tea surrounded by tall, vibrant plants in the indoor courtyard, underneath the stunning chandelier. The current prices online for double and twin bedrooms range from 40 to 55 euros per night.
Riad Lunetoile, Essaouira: You have a wide range of budget accommodations here in the southwest of Morocco, and it’s a surprisingly backpacker-friendly place to be, backpacking in morocco on a budget is easy! Riad Lunetoile is one place you’ll immediately feel at home in, and with sea views from the rooftop terrace, you’ll never want to leave. You can book spacious apartments if you’re travelling with a group of friends or family, or double and twin beds for 35 euros per night.
How to get around Morocco on a budget
The railway system in Morocco links most of the cities, including Casablanca, Fes, Tangier, Marrakesh, Oujda, Nador, Taourirt and Oued Zem. There’s also the even-cheaper buses, which service the areas that trains don’t reach. CTM and Supratours are comfortable, reliable and often have air conditioning.
While public transport is great for getting across Morocco, you’ll probably find yourself getting around the cities themselves by walking. Many of the streets and alleys are narrow, winding and crowded, making cars a no-go. If you wish to head out of the cities a little further and aren’t with a group tour, you can catch a taxi. Grand taxis can hold up to six people, and the price can be negotiated, so bring your best haggling skills.
Currently in development is a high-speed rail line between the major cities of Morocco. It’s due to open any time now, and may, in fact, be up and running by the time you’re there. It’s expected to cut hours off the current travel times, so it’s worth looking into when it’s open.
Cheap Morocco Tours
Morocco adventure tours are a must for anyone seeking a bit of an extra thrill, and there’s a lot on offer here. If you’re daring enough, you can ride quad bikes and buggies across the sand dunes of the Sahara Desert. If you’re not afraid of heights, you could even go paragliding in Agadir. For those seeking a more low-key adventure, why not enjoy a trek to the picturesque village of Imlil in the Atlas Mountains? Whichever of these Morocco excursions you choose, you’ll undoubtedly have a fun.
Some tours will give you the opportunity to ride camels, visit the sand dunes, stay overnight at a camp in the Sahara Desert, and listen to traditional Berber music under the stars. You can also opt to take a tour where you are driven through the Atlas Mountains and shown all of the beautiful natural landscapes the country has to offer. If you want to get to know the real Morocco and have a memorable experience at an affordable price, check out some of the below tours:
Recommended Tours and Day Trip in Morocco:
- Private Day tour from Rabat to Chefchaouen in Rif mountains
- Rabat Restaurant cooking class
- Chefchaouen City Tour including One Night in a Traditional Riad in the Medina
- 3 day tour from Rabat to the Sahara desert of Merzouga
- Essaouira: Private Guided Day Tour from Marrakech
- Day trip from Marrakech to Essaouira
- 3 Days Desert Trip To Merzouga Dunes From Essaouira
- Essaouira Morocco’s Heaven
- 2h off-road ATV quad bike on the beach and in the dunes
- Private Day Trip to Chefchaouen
- Private Day Trip to Chefchaouen (cheaper option from Fes)
- Chefchaouen Food Tour
- 3 Days Desert Group Tour to Marrakech from Fes with Night in Erg Chebbi
- Fez Food Tour
- Full-Day Volubilis and Meknes Private Tour from Fez
- Full-Day Private Tour of Fez
- Dinner in a Traditional Riad in Fes
Hopefully, this Morocco travel guide has given you a few tips on ways to explore on a budget. Any travel lover should tick this remarkable and vibrant country off their bucket list as soon as possible!