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Morocco travel guide

About Morocco

Known for its incredible cultural riches, Morocco has fascinated travellers for centuries. The name usually conjures up images of sprawling souks, walled medinas and towering minarets calling Muslims to prayer.

Morocco's biggest drawing card is Marrakech (also spelt Marrakesh), a vibrant city that Winston Churchill once described as "simply the nicest place on Earth to spend an afternoon." This sentiment still rings true for many travellers today.

But Morocco is more than just Marrakech. Tangier, in the north, sits just 13km (8mi) away from Gibraltar and is characterised by its whitewashed buildings and sandy beaches. Further down the Atlantic coast, you will soon come across Morocco's capital city Rabat, cosmopolitan Casablanca, atmospheric Essaouira, and the lively beach resort of Agadir, the latter is a firm favourite among sun-seekers and surfers. Inland, Fes (also spelt Fez) is a well-preserved medieval city famed for its high-walled medina. Talking about medinas, which essentially mean old walled towns, it is worth mentioning that the medinas of Essaouira, Fes, Marrakech and Tétouan are all on UNESCO's World Heritage list.

Beyond the cities, awesome landscapes await. Like an elongated spine, the Atlas Mountains run from the southwest to the centre of Morocco, before extending eastward to Algeria and Tunisia. These rugged landscapes offer spectacular scenery from deep gorges, verdant valleys to snow-capped peaks. People come here to trek, bike, or scale Mount Toubkal, the highest peak in the Atlas Mountains. The areas are also home to the Berber people, whose unique culture, crafts and costumes make for a fascinating visit.

While Morocco is generally a safe country to visit, travellers interested in the disputed territory of Western Sahara should seek the latest travel advice from their own government before departing. This sparsely-populated territory, which sits in the south of Morocco and northwest of Mauritania, is partly controlled by Morocco, a claim that the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), whose government is in exile in Algeria, disagrees. The sovereignty issue remains a sensitive subject.

Key facts

Area:

716,550 km sq (including disputed Western Sahara).

Population:

36.47 million (2020).

Population density:

83 per km sq.

Capital:

Rabat.

Government:

Constitutional monarchy.

Head of state:

King Mohammed VI since 1999.

Head of government:

Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch since 2021.

Travel Advice

Before you travel

No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide and any specific travel advice that applies to you: 

Travel insurance

If you choose to travel, research your destinations and get appropriate travel insurance. Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and expenses in an emergency.

About FCDO travel advice

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice.

Follow and contact FCDO travel on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this advice is updated.

This information is for people travelling on a full ‘British citizen’ passport from the UK. It is based on the UK government’s understanding of the current rules for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in Morocco set and enforce entry rules. If you’re not sure how these requirements apply to you, contact the Moroccan Consulate General in the UK.

COVID-19 rules

There are no COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements for travellers entering Morocco. 

Passport validity requirements

To enter Morocco, your passport must have an ‘expiry date’ at least 3 months after the date you arrive.

Make sure your passport is not damaged. The Moroccan authorities have denied entry to some travellers with damaged passports. Check with your travel provider that your passport and other travel documents meet requirements. Renew your passport if you need to.  

You will be denied entry if you do not have a valid travel document or try to use a passport that has been reported lost or stolen.

Visa requirements  

You can visit Morocco without a visa for up to 90 days for tourism.

To stay longer than 90 days, you must request an extension at a Moroccan police station.

If you’re going to Morocco for reasons other than tourism, check visa requirements with the Moroccan Consulate General in the UK.

Make sure you get your passport stamped.

Make sure the border official stamps your passport. Some travellers have had difficulties leaving Morocco because their passport has no entry stamp.

Moroccan citizens returning to the UK

If you’re a Moroccan citizen who lives in the UK, make sure you bring evidence of your UK immigration status. This can include your biometric residence permit card or a valid UK entry clearance. You may not be allowed to return to the UK without this.

Arriving by private boat

If you arrive by private boat, you must enter at a recognised port of entry. It is illegal to enter through other ports.

Vaccine requirements

To enter Morocco, you must have a certificate to prove you’ve had a polio vaccine if you’re coming from a polio-affected country.

For full details about medical entry requirements and recommended vaccinations, see TravelHealthPro’s Morocco guide.

Customs rules

There are strict rules about goods you can take into or out of Morocco (in French). You must declare anything that may be prohibited or subject to tax or duty.

Taking money into or out of Morocco

You can take up to 2,000 Moroccan dirham into or out of Morocco. The dirham is ‘non-convertible’ – it cannot be easily exchanged for other currencies .

You must declare foreign currency worth 100,000 Moroccan dirham or more (about 10,000 US dollars) when you enter or leave the country. There is no limit on the amount of foreign cash you can carry.

Terrorism

There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. Stay aware of your surroundings at all times.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out how to reduce your risk from terrorism while abroad.

Terrorism in Morocco

Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Morocco.

Terrorism attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreign nationals, such as:   

  • transport hubs
  • locations popular with tourists and foreigners
  • government buildings
  • crowded places
  • businesses with western interests

There is an increased threat linked to the number of Moroccans sympathetic or belonging to Daesh (formerly ISIL) and other extremist groups. Authorities regularly disrupt terrorist cells.

In some places, including hotels and tourists sites, there may be protective security measures, including security guards.

Political situation

There is a high chance of demonstrations and protests across the country. Protests can happen with little or no notice and are often heavily policed. Authorised protests are usually peaceful, but there have been violent confrontations between protesters and police at unauthorised protests. These gatherings can disrupt travel in affected areas. Avoid political gatherings and demonstrations. Follow local media reports and instructions from security officials.

Crime

Protecting yourself and your belongings

There can be occasional violent crime in Morocco. Criminals have used knives against tourists in street attacks, thefts and burglaries in major cities and along beaches. To reduce your risk:

  • avoid quiet areas, particularly after dark
  • do not carry large amounts of money or valuables

Petty crime is common in tourist areas, especially in historical districts (medina quarters) and on beaches. Crimes include:

  • pickpocketing
  • bag-snatching
  • drive-by motorcycle theft of visible jewellery and handbags

Be cautious when asking for directions and using ATMs – aggressive begging is common.

Scams

Credit card fraud and scams are common. Beware of scammers substituting inferior goods for the ones you bought. Remain alert to potential confidence tricks.

Bogus tourist guides

It is common for people posing as official tourist guides to harass tourists.

If you use a guide in a historical district (medina quarter), make sure they have an official badge and permission from the local authority.

Marriage fraud

Be cautious if you travel to Morocco for a relationship or to find someone you met on the internet. Incidents of marriage fraud and attempted extortion have affected British nationals. Make sure you keep your return ticket, passport and personal belongings safe.

Laws and cultural differences

Morocco’s laws and customs are very different to those in the UK and reflect the fact that Morocco is an Islamic country. Always respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions. Make sure your actions do not offend, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you plan to visit religious areas.

Sexual relations outside of marriage

Sexual activity between unmarried people and adultery are illegal for Moroccan nationals – this includes sharing a hotel room, particularly with foreign nationals.

The law regarding unmarried people sharing a hotel room does not generally apply to visiting foreign nationals, particularly in popular tourist areas.

Showing affection in public

Avoid showing affection in public, particularly in tourist areas and near religious sites.

Ramadan

Ramadan is a holy month for Muslims. The dates vary by year and country, check when Ramadan is in Morocco before you go. During this time, do not:

  • eat, drink, smoke or chew gum in public in the daytime, including in your car
  • play loud music or dance
  • swear in public

Get more advice when you arrive from your tour guide, hotel or business contacts.

You should also:

  • check opening hours of shops and restaurants
  • be aware that if hotels and restaurants are providing food or drink in fasting hours, they may separate you from Islamic guests, for example with screens
  • follow local dress codes – clothing that doesn’t meet local dress codes may cause more offence at this time
  • be aware that driving may be erratic, particularly when people are trying to get home at dusk

LGBT+ travellers

Same-sex sexual relations are illegal in Morocco. Avoid showing affection in public – complaints can lead to prosecution. See more advice for LGBT+ travellers.

Women travellers

Women may receive unwanted attention in Morocco, especially when travelling alone. Consider wearing loose-fitting clothing which cover the arms, legs and chest. See advice for woman travellers abroad.

Alcohol laws

Licensed hotels and bars in tourist areas serve alcohol. Drinking alcohol in the street and anywhere other than a licensed restaurant or bar is illegal and can lead to arrest.

Illegal drugs and prison sentences

Possessing, using or trafficking illegal drugs is a serious offence and can result in a lengthy prison sentence and a heavy fine.

Sending passports by post

It is illegal to send passports by post in Morocco. The authorities will confiscate British passports sent to or through Morocco by post or courier. 

Laws against religious conversion

It is illegal to attempt to convert any Muslim to another faith and to distribute evangelical literature (such as Arabic-language bibles). Attempting to convert a Muslim to another faith is punishable by small fines up to 3 years’ imprisonment.

Criticism of Islam on public platforms, in print or online media, or in public speeches is punishable by heavy fines and up 2 years’ imprisonment.

Using cameras

It is illegal to take photographs near sensitive political or military sites.

Pornography

It is illegal to possess pornographic material. This includes printed material, cassettes and videocassettes and any type of material contrary to morality and public order.

Flying drones

You must get permission from the Directorate General for Civil Aviation (in French) to fly a drone. If you do not, you risk fines and confiscation of your equipment.

Transport risks

Road travel

If you are planning to drive in Morocco, see information on driving abroad.

You’ll need to have both the 1968 version of the international driving permit (IDP) and your UK driving licence with you in the car. You cannot buy an IDP outside the UK, so get one before you travel. Morocco no longer accepts the 1949 version of the IDP.

If you stay longer than one year, you need a Moroccan driving licence.

You must get a green card from your insurer and carry it with you to prove you have the minimum insurance cover in Morocco.

Hire car companies often have stricter requirements for their customers, such as a year of driving experience and a higher minimum age. 

Drink-driving is a serious offence in Morocco. If you are tested and found to have any alcohol in your system, you will get a fine and possible imprisonment.

Driving conditions

Poor lighting can make it dangerous to drive at night. When weather conditions are poor, secondary routes and mountain roads can be especially hazardous. Be cautious of overloaded lorries and trucks overtaking when there is no hard shoulder

Road accidents

If you’re involved in a road accident, complete a form (‘constat amiable’), to be signed by both parties. Blank forms are available from insurance company booths in Tangier Port and tobacconists in all cities.

If you’re involved in a fatal road accident, and the Moroccan authorities think you’re responsible, they may detain you before a trial hearing.

Vehicle documentation

The authorities will record your registration number when you drive into Morocco. If you’re not in the same vehicle when you try to leave the country, they will detain you and refuse to let you exit.

You’ll need to show evidence of motor insurance when entering and exiting Morocco. Always carry your insurance, licence and registration documents with you.

Taxis

Many taxis booked through phone apps may be unregulated and unlicensed. Drivers may not be registered with the authorities and their vehicles may not be insured to carry passengers. The police may tell you to get out of an unlicensed taxi if they stop it. You should:

  • think carefully before using unregulated or unlicensed taxis
  • avoid sharing taxis with strangers – if your driver tries to pick up other passengers, insist they do not do this

Drivers of ‘petits’ or ‘grands taxis’ sometimes speed and do not follow other driving rules, particularly in big cities.    

Outdoor activities and adventure travel

Hiking in the Atlas Mountains

If you’re planning to hike in the Atlas Mountains:

  • research trails and how much experience you’ll need
  • pack essentials such as water, sunscreen and appropriate clothing
  • hire a professional guide
  • get comprehensive travel insurance and make sure it covers your planned activities

Extreme weather and natural disasters

Find out what you can do to prepare for and respond to extreme weather and natural hazards

Earthquakes

Earthquakes are a risk in Morocco. The last major earthquake, in 2023, killed almost 3,000 people. There are occasional minor earthquakes. Familiarise yourself with earthquake safety procedures and any instructions in hotel rooms.

The US Federal Emergency Management Agency website has advice about what to do before, during and after an earthquake.

Flooding

Heavy rain can cause flash flooding in some areas, particularly in the mountains or near rivers during winter months. Walking and driving can be dangerous in flooded areas. If you’re near a flood, monitor local media and follow instructions from local authorities.

This section has safety advice for regions of Morocco. It only covers regions where the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) has specific advice.

You should also read FCDO’s overall travel advice and safety and security advice.

Western Sahara

Western Sahara is a disputed territory. If you’re in Western Sahara and need emergency help from the UK government, contact the British Embassy in Rabat, Morocco, who provide consular assistance for Western Sahara. See Western Sahara travel advice.

Morocco-Algeria border

The authorities have closed land and sea borders between Morocco and Algeria. They patrol and closely monitor them. Do not attempt to cross the border – it is illegal to cross without authorisation.

If you are in a boat or jet ski, make sure you:

  • know where the border is
  • stay within Moroccan waters
  • have enough fuel to return to shore

People entering Algerian waters illegally are likely to be intercepted and investigated.

Before you travel check that:

  • your destination can provide the healthcare you may need
  • you have appropriate travel insurance for local treatment or unexpected medical evacuation

This is particularly important if you have a health condition or are pregnant.

Emergency medical number

Dial 150 and ask for an ambulance.

Contact your insurance or medical assistance company quickly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Vaccine recommendations and health risks

At least 8 weeks before your trip:

See what health risks you’ll face in Morocco.

Altitude sickness is a risk in parts of Morocco. Read more about altitude sickness on TravelHealthPro.

Henna tattoos

Henna tattoos can cause a painful allergic reaction including swelling and an itchy rash in some people.

Medication

If you have a UK prescription and need medication in Morocco, contact the nearest pharmacy. If they do not have your medication, they will ask you to get another prescription from a Moroccan doctor for an alternative medication. Pharmacies are open 24 hours in every city and district.

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries.

Read best practice when travelling with medicines on TravelHealthPro.

Healthcare in Morocco    

Public health facilities in Morocco struggle to provide adequate medical care. Private clinics are available. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

FCDO has a list of medical providers in Morocco where some staff will speak English. 

Travel and mental health

Read FCDO guidance on travel and mental health. There is also guidance on TravelHealthPro.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. Read this travel advice and carry out your own research before deciding whether to travel.

Emergency services in Morocco

Ambulance: 150

Fire: 150

Police: 190

Gendarmerie (military police): 177

Contact your travel provider and insurer

Contact your travel provider and your insurer if you are involved in a serious incident or emergency abroad. They will tell you if they can help and what you need to do.

Refunds and changes to travel

For refunds or changes to travel, contact your travel provider. You may also be able to make a claim through insurance. However, insurers usually require you to talk to your travel provider first.

Find out more about changing or cancelling travel plans, including:

  • where to get advice if you are in a dispute with a provider
  • how to access previous versions of travel advice to support a claim

Support from FCDO

FCDO provides guidance on how to help yourself stay safe and what to do if you need help or support abroad, including:

Contacting FCDO

Follow and contact FCDO travel on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this travel advice is updated.

You can also contact FCDO online.

Help abroad in an emergency

If you are in Morocco and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the British Embassy in Rabat.

FCDO in London

You can call FCDO in London if you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad.

Telephone: 020 7008 5000 (24 hours)

Find out about call charges

Risk information for British companies

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating in Morocco on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.

A digital image at https://illuminoto.com

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