Essaouira-Mogador, the bride of the Atlantic
With notched walls, the whisper of trade winds, homes with white and blue facades, thecolors of ocean foam and waves, Essaouira has earned the nickname “Bride of the Atlantic”.
The coastal city once known as Mogador is a place where the good life and water-oriented pastimes go hand in hand. Take a quiet walk in the shade of its ramparts, which also stand in for the walls of Astapor, the red city on the television series “Game of Thrones”. Climb to the top of them and retrace a watchman’s rounds: from here you can see the Iles Purpuraires and the hawks and seagulls that soar over the nature preserve. In the distance, surfing, windsurfing and kite-surfing fanatics can’t get enough of the quality winds!
Your walk will lead you to the fishing port and its animated sailors. Not far from there, the fish market entices with the night’s haul of fish and seafood. The interlaced alleys of the medina await you in the town center. This UNESCO-listed medina is one of the finest in Morocco. Finally, each summer the city is overtaken by music as the Gnaoua festival celebrates the marriage of North African and sub-Saharan rhythms.
The Mogador eco-resort is the perfect hotel. For several years, Morocco has been aggressively implementing sustainable tourism principles. This resort is part of the movement, as are the area’s beaches, whose “Pavillon Bleu” seals attest to their quality.
Come to relax, wear yourself out and be culturally enriched: the mesmerizing Essaouira-Mogador is a destination that offers 1,001 possibilities!
Where to learn about traveling in Morocco ?
Morocco, a land of authenticity and vibrant culture, is eager to share its riches with you. The Moroccan National Tourism Bureau (ONMT), which promotes and markets Morocco as a destination, has branches in Europe, Asia, Africa and America. ONMT on-site representatives will give you all the practical information you need for your trip.
Once you arrive in Morocco, we encourage you to visit or phone the headquarters of the Moroccan National Tourism Bureau in Rabat.
The Regional Delegations and Regional and Provincial Tourism Boards found in Morocco’s major cities will also be a precious resource for you.
Similarly, many hotel operators and travel agents will be pleased to provide documentation.
Moroccan tourism professionals will spare no effort in helping you prepare for your trip and assisting you when you arrive on site.
Climate / Seasons
Morocco is a land of contrasts. Lapped by the water of the Mediterranean in the north and by the waves of the Atlantic Ocean to the west, it is also crisscrossed by the Rif and Atlas Mountains, which means the country is affected by a host of climatic influences.
The coastal regions are lavished with sunshine. The sun’s rays are constant throughout the year and you can soak up their goodness in any season. Agadir, for example, is on the shores of the Atlantic. As the country’s premier seaside resort town, it offers fans of la dolce vita300 days of sun per year with mild temperatures and gentle breezes. Further to the north, Taghazout, Mogador and Magazan are also worth a visit.
Because these are a bit further inland, their climate is less Mediterranean and more continental. The topography is more pronounced with splendid panoramas. This is where you find wide, open spaces where adventurers embark on treks and hikes in all seasons.
To the south, the country opens up to the vastness of the Sahara. Spring and fall are the best times to venture here. The sun gleams and reflects off the dunes in a sand-filled landscape. The desert expanses exude a sense of unreality. Climb atop a camel tofind yourself in one of the most beautiful scenes nature has ever made.
Passport, visa and length of stay
To avoid any problems when you arrive in Morocco, double-check to be sure you have a valid passport.
Whether you need a visa depends on your nationality.
For all nationalities, the maximum length of a tourism trip is 90 days.
Embassies and consulates
As you prepare for your trip, make note of the contact information for your embassy and consulates outside the capital. You can go there to reissue your travel documents if they are lost and to get an array of advice (health, safety, etc.). Each diplomatic mission usually has an emergency number to be used only if absolutely necessary. Most of the time there is a social services office to help you, even in an emergency.
The currency in Morocco is the dirham. It cannot be exchanged outside the country’s borders, so plan your currency exchange transactions and consider other forms of payment.
There are currency exchange desks in the airports, some hotels and most banks. You will have to show your passport to exchange money.
Check with your bank to find out where you can withdraw cash using your credit card. Most banks in Morocco’s major cities have ATMs. Exchange currency as you go. The vast majority of purchases and services are paid for in cash – afterbargaining, of course!
Language and common vocabulary
Exploring a country means learning about the language. Morocco’s two official languages are Arabic and Amazigh, or Berber, but virtually all Moroccans speak and understand French. Spanish is widespread in northern and southern Morocco. You will be enchanted by Arabic. The language sings and its warm intonations encourage conversation. The Amazigh language, which uses the Tifinagh alphabet, is the shared heritage of all Moroccans.
To rub elbows with the locals and make the most of your trip, here are some Arabic concepts you should learn. Once you leave your hotel, a few words are all it takes to make contact. With “as-salaam alaykum” you have said hello to a new friend, who will reply with “waalaykum as-salaam”. Ask “labass” to find out how he’s doing, then say goodbye with a hearty “beslama”.
When your day takes you to the souk, the art of negotiation kicks in. For successful dealings, make note of these essential phrases: “kayen” means “do you have” something; “ma’arft” means you are not sure; “iyah” and “lla” mean “yes” and “no”. Finally, say “rally bizef” for “too expensive” and the bargaining has begun!
Later, as you order tea on the patio, tell your server “AtiniAttay” for “I’d like a mint tea” and when he brings it to you, thank him: “Shukran”.
Because Moroccans have a natural gift for languages, your stay is destined to be a pleasant one!
Transport in Morocco
With its colors, friendly people, customs and traditions, and characteristic architecture, Morocco is a place that compels you to explore every last inch.
The national airline, Royal Air Morocco (RAM) operates many domestic flights. There are 18 airports to help you discover Morocco, from north to south! Visit www.royalairmaroc.com to learn more.
The rail network run by Office National des Chemins de Fer (ONCF) covers the entire country and the Supratours bus company takes over if your destination does not have a railroad station. Starting in 2018, a high-speed train will serve the Casablanca-Tangiers route.
If you choose to travel by coach, the Compagnie de Transport Marocains (CTM) and other private companies offer comfort and convenience for a pleasant journey.
Within cities, choose from taxis, buses and trams (in Casablanca and Rabat). Rates are regulated and all taxis have meters. For a quaint ride, hop aboard a horse-drawn carriage in Marrakesh or Taroudant.
If you decide to rent a car, there are plenty of agencies at your disposal. Cars drive on the right and most vehicles have manual transmissions. Road signs are in French and Arabic. There are national highways that run north-south to serve all of Morocco.
Local Clock and Holiday Schedule
Morocco invites you to enjoy its uniquely paced lifestyle
In Morocco, every holiday is cause for a celebration in which you will be thrilled to take part. The atmosphere is quite different and very rewarding at these times.
The dates of religious holidays depend on the lunar calendar. The month of Ramadan will give you a chance to experience something out of the ordinary: it’s all about sharing and nightlife!
Morocco is on GMT and GMT+1 in the summer. It’s very easy to adjust to the different schedule and you will not waste a minute of your exceptional trip!
January 1: New Year’s Day
January 11: Anniversary of the Proclamation of Independence
May 1: Labor Day
July 30: Throne Day
August 14: Anniversary of the Recovery of Oued Ed-Dahab
August 20: Anniversary of the Revolution of the King and the People
August 21: Youth Day
November 6: Anniversary of the Green March
November 18: Independence Day
Eid Al Fitr (end of Ramadan)
Eid Al Adha
Hegira New Year
Birthday of the Prophet Mohamed
From: Visit Morocco