Last Updated: 2020-04-02
In all my experience there is a doubt that always, always arises for all travellers to Morocco: how to exchange for dirhams and, above all, how much to exchange …
So, if you’re newbies to these issues and want to start your trip well-informed, I advise you to read all the information about the currency of Morocco that I provide below: I promise to make the explanation as pleasant as possible. Let’s get started!
The Currency of Morocco and the Exchange Rate
The official currency of Morocco is the Dirham, which abbreviated (as it’s usually shown on receipts, in online stores, etc.) is “MAD”, although in some places you will see it as “DH”.
How can we calculate the exchange rate of our currency to dirhams and vice versa? Probably the quickest way is to go to an updated online converter below. You’ll see your currency based on your connection country.FreeCurrencyRates.com
However, I don’t feel like it’s practical to use a converter like this in the day-to-day activities of a trip, because the currency barely fluctuates and it is not convenient to use the converter every time you think about buying something. It’s better to figure out a mental shorthand for calculating the exchange rate.
For example: a dollar is a little less than 10 times a dirham, a euro is a little more than 10 times a dirham, and a pound is approximately 10 times a dirham plus 25%.
In other words, you’ll get slightly less than 300 dirhams for 30 dollars, slightly more than 300 dirhams for 30 euros or 300 dirhams plus a quarter of that amount (approximately 375 dirhams in total) for 30 pounds. On the flipside, if you pay 80 dirhams for that souvenir that’s getting you so excited, you will have to pay slightly more than 8 dollars, slightly less than 8 euros or around a quarter less than 8 pounds (approximately 6 pounds).
Obviously depending on your local currency, mental conversion may be more or less complicated, but once you get used to it you’ll have a feel for what you’re spending during the trip.
Changing Money in Morocco
To obtain dirhams the most immediate solution is to do it in advance in a bank in your country, although I see two main drawbacks: (1) It will be difficult to know precisely how much cash you will need during the trip but, mainly, that it is more than likely that (2) The bank will propose a worse exchange rate than what you’ll get in Morocco.
The best option without a doubt is to exchange your money once you arrive in Morocco: there are many exchange houses spread across Morocco and you can exchange money at will throughout your trip. Fortunately, they usually offer a similar exchange rate, so no need to obsessively check several money changers.
To make it easier for you in the beginning (because I’m aware that on arrival there is a certain nervousness about not having local currency), I’ll provide you with the addresses of different exchange houses at the main points of arrival in Morocco (Casablanca, Fez, Marrakech and Tangier) both at the arrival areas and in the medina or nearby.
Mohammed V International Airport (just before leaving the airport).
Near the Hassan II Mosque and the medina: Change Goulmima Exchange (550 Rue de Goulmima)
Säis International Airport (just before leaving the airport)
Bab Bou Jeloud: just before entering the medina, you’ll see the blue door in front of you, about 50 meters (160 feet) on your right there is an exchange house.
Marrakech-Menara Airport (just before leaving the airport)
Hotel Ali (Rue Moulay Ismail, near Djema el Fna square). Although it is a hotel, they have a 24-hour operational exchange house.
Hotel Omar (Rue Bab Agnaou). Similar to the previous case, but also just 2 minutes walk from the square.
Ibn Batouta International Airport (just before leaving the airport )
Port of Tangier-Ville (on the way out) or port of Tangier Med (inside)
April 9th 1947 Square (also known as Grand Socco). In the central square itself at the entrance of the medina there’s an exchange house opposite the Cinema Rif.
Are there Other Ways to Pay?
Worst case scenario: you are lost in the medina, you have been looking for an exchange house for more than an hour and all you want is to exchange the money in your pocket to have a quiet lunch on a terrace, what other possibilities do you have?
Can you pay in your own currency? Only if your currency is the euro, in which case they will probably only allow you to pay with banknotes, that is, a minimum purchase of 5 euros, since if they want to change the euros back to dirhams they will not be allowed to change coins at their bank. On the other hand they will offer you an exchange rate of 10 dirhams per euro, which is hardly a loss compared to an exchange house.
Occasionally, they might accept another currency, such as the dollar or the pound, but this is not the norm, since the foreign currency they are most used to is the euro because Europeans (mainly Spaniards) are the most frequent visitors to this country.
Can you pay buy card? I do not recommend it: not everyone accepts credit and debit cards, and depending on the bank they may even charge somewhat abusive commissions. Another option is to use a debit card to withdraw from an ATM directly in local currency, in which case the commission will depend on the bank of the ATM and your own bank.
Morocco Travel Cost: How Much to Exchange
To make a good decision about when and how much to exchange we must analyze our expenses: travel, meals, tickets… Although obviously everything will depend on the trip (we will not spend the same on our accommodation if meals are included, for example). I can tell you that the average per person and day is usually around 150 to 200 dirhams.
And what happens with those various expenses that almost certainly occur throughout the trip? An unplanned visit, some medicine we need, a present for our relatives or, what the hell, for ourselves… How do we plan for it?
The answer is that we can’t completely plan for the unexpected. Therefore, my advice is to exchange money first for basic expenses (150-200 dirhams per day or maybe a little more maybe if you are a compulsive buyer) and then, during your trip, make use of the exchange sites within the city. And if you have euros, use them if you have to if the purchase is 5 euros or more.
In addition, in the unlikely event that you spend less than you expect, you can always exchange what’s left over back to your home currency at the airport or seaport on the way back (remember that exchanging from dirhams to other currencies is much less favorable and that it will probably require you to show the receipt you were given when you changed your currency to dirhams). On the other hand, doing so at your bank once you get home can be complicated. And remember that there is always one last option: use the money you have left over for your next trip to Morocco!
And here is one more blog post. Thank you for reading this article and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to comment. Much love to all!
This article is part of our beginner’s guide. If you want to know more, check out our page on Morocco tourism.