71 Comments

  1. This is great! I love reading posts like these. They help me to feel far less nervous about visiting somewhere that’s so different to the western world!

    • Lauren

      Hi Maddy! I’m glad my post made you feel less nervous about visiting Morocco. It is a beautiful and moving country and I hope you get to visit some day soon!

  2. Jo

    This is a great read, even after travelling to Marrakech more than once it’s interesting, however I would like to point out that Morocco is certainly not a third world nation!! It’s a developing nation.

    Still a great read, thanks :)

    • Joanne, thank you so much for my comment. You are indeed right and I will correct my story. When I wrote this story a year ago Morocco was so different than any place I had ever been that I automatically thought it was a “third world nation.” Now I am living in Central America and I have been learning a lot about the economies of developing nations and how the world is not best viewed in categories, but rather on a sliding scale. Isn’t this the true beauty of travel — to bring light to our ignorances? Thanks again for reading!

  3. Marina

    Hi Lauren, I was just browsing and trying to absorb as much information as I can but really, your blogged post did it for me! I’m planning to travel in April with my sister and we realised that we are actually quite nervous about it! I’m going to contact your tour guide, thanks for sharing! Feeling excited now to visit!

  4. gilly

    Hi

    I am going to Marrakech in a couple of weeks with friends. the girl in sinny jeans and loose top is exactly how I would dress at home, will that be acceptable there or do I need lose fitting trousers. thank you

    • Hi! You are going to have a great time in Marrakech! Yes, skinny jeans and a loose top is definitely acceptable. You may feel more comfortable if your top covers your shoulders and is high cut. I wore loose pants during my visit, but my friend who was with me wore skinny jeans and felt fine. Happy travels!

  5. jackie

    Really pleased to read your tips for travelling. Have always wanted to visit Marrakech and have just booked for four nights in May.
    Yes, I am a little apprehensive. Think the best idea is to book a guide for our first half day and then take it from there. A little concerned about finding our way ‘home’ through the maze of streets.
    Curious to see and taste the food! Don’t think we will be too adventurous!

  6. Poonam

    Hi there! A friend and I are planning on traveling to Morocco this upcoming July. Our main concern is where to stay….we are obviously on a budget, but we also want to splurge bit. How are the hotels there ? Expensive or medium-priced?

    thanks!

  7. Helen Watson

    Hi Lauren
    I kind of came across your website by accident but glad I did :)
    I’m going to Marrakesh this week for four days on my own and as the weather forecast is to be very hot I wasn’t quite sure about what to pack. I’d kind of thought that shorts in public would be a no-no, glad you confirmed this. I’m not quite sure what to expect of the city but as in previous travels I’ll go with an open mind :)
    Kind regards

    • Hi Helen! I’m so happy that you stumbled across my blog. Thanks for leaving a comment. I’m stoked for your trip to Marrakech and hope you have a great time. Enjoy the stunning sunset for me!

  8. Anita

    Hi I am going with my daughter (20) and I am feeling a bit apprehensive. Did you feel safe? did you go out much at night. Thank you.

    • Hi Anita! I am so happy to hear you and your daughter are going to Marrakech.My first 24-hours in Marrakech I felt a bit on-edge, but in hindsight this was only because Morocco is a very different place and it took me a while to sink in. This was not because I felt unsafe. I would recommend going on a guided tour during your first day to help you feel acclimated. At night I didn’t go out too much, but when I did I took taxis. I would also recommend choosing accomodation that is centrally located in the Medina to make getting around easier. Best of luck and hope you have a great trip!

  9. Caroline

    Hi Lauren,
    This is a fab blog and I look forward to reading more. I’m thinking of going with my new hubby in June for 2 weeks staying in a hotel complex for R&R with some cultural visits thrown in. Do you think 2 weeks there is ok or will it become too much? Have you any advice on footwear? In places I’ve read sandals but in others it’s said trainers are best? Lots of places have said about watching what you eat, ie no fish, peel fruit etc, eat with hands not cutlery whilst out and about…what advice do you have about food & drinks such as juices? I think we’re going to catch the first couple of days of Ramadam too.
    Thanks
    Caroline

    • Hi Caroline. Thanks for reading my blog and leaving a comment! I think two weeks is a nice amount of time to be in Marrakech if you are looking for some R&R. If you find you want to see more of Morocco while keeping Marrakech as your base, there are some great day trips, including the Ourika Valley (river, villages, waterfalls), Essaouira (beach), and Atlas Mountains. I would also highly recommend spending half a day taking the cooking workshop at La Maison Arabe.

      It’s hot in Marrakech so you will probably want sandals in addition to trainers if you plan on going hiking.

      As far as food is concerned, I did not run into any issues, but it is always best to ask your hotel or local guides for recommendations since they will know where the best and safest places to eat are.

      Have an amazing trip!

  10. Poonam

    HI there!

    My friend and I will be travelling to Marrakech this summer. We are having difficulty finding the best (and cheapest!) flight from Marrakech back to the US..essentially new york/DC since we both are from different parts of the US. What are your recomendations?

  11. Gina

    Hi – My friend and I (women – in late 50’s) are thinking of travelling to Marrakech in September this year. Do you think we will be ok? Looking at Club Hotel Riu Tikida Palmeraie to stay – do you think we will enjoy it. Your blog has been really interesting.
    Can’t decide on where to go for a week. My husband is unable to travel at the moment.
    Thanks – comments welcome.

    • Hi Gina! I think Marrakech is a great place to go with your friends in September! A week is a good amount of time. You can take day trips to places like the Ourika Valley and Atlas Mountains. I stayed at Riad AnaYela in the Medina (old city), but Club Hotel Riu Tikida Palmeraie looks lovely as well. Wishing you safe and fun travels!

  12. Casandra

    As a solo woman traveler, I had done a great deal of research before making the reservation with Marvelous Morocco Tours, The planning of my trip was made easy by Iddir, and I booked 4 Days 3 Nights Marrakech Desert Tour.

    Iddir showed me a country of beautiful, varied landscape. He gave me much information about the history, culture, and religion. He provided opportunities for me to visit villages, nomad caves, and interact with local people.
    Iddir was patient respectful with my many questions and answered all of my emails promptly. He is an excellent driver, knows the roads well, knows exactly where he is going, and always looked after me, concerned for my well-being and comfort.

    I highly recommend Iddir and his Marvelous Morocco Tours. See and experience for yourself : marvelous-moroccotours.com

  13. Hi Lauren, I agree with these tips. I also saw women dressed inappropriately – they were simply asking for trouble.

    I have been to Marrakech twice in the last two years. I was on my guard all the time on my first visit, but when I returned last December I felt completely at ease. Marrakech is safe as long as you exercise common sense and trust your gut instinct. The only ‘danger’ I encountered was crossing the road – although you’ll adapt to it after the first day!

    I agree with you about hiring a guide. We had one for a few hours on my last visit, and he took us through the back streets of the medina, away from the crowds. Besides getting to explore a ‘tourist-free zone,’ we also got to watch artisans in various workshops. I don’t recommend getting a guide if you only want to shop around (if you’re anything like me, the poor soul will get dead bored!). Yes you’ll probably get lost without a guide, but you’re safe as long as you avoid deserted streets. If you’re curious to know what navigating the souks is like, I’ve written a few firsthand accounts on my blog, http://www.grumpycamel.com

    • Hi Daniela! Thanks for sharing your experiences as a female solo traveler in Marrakech! I definitely agree that the destination is safe as long as you exercise common sense. Happy travels!

  14. Tina

    Hi Lauren, just found your blog, and found it really interesting. I am going to Marrakech on my own, for the first time in September, and I’m really looking forward to it, but a bit apprehensive. Where is the best place to get cash from, and what sort of tips do you give? I’ve read somewhere that you can’t get their currency outside of Morocco. This is actually the first holiday I’ve had on my own, so a bit nervous of the whole thing

    • Hi Tina! Thanks for stopping by. I am glad you have found my blog interesting. Marrakech is one of my favorite cities and I wish you a great trip. I would recommend you spend your first day exploring with a guide such as Mohamed, who I mentioned in this article, so that you can get the lay of the land and feel more comfortable in Morocco. I got my cash from the ATM at the airport. US dollars are also accepted at many places and there are ATMs in the city center as well. I hope you have a wonderful first solo holiday!

  15. Awesome piece – I’m headed there in a week and this was a great reference article! I was initially a little concerned about the dress code but you’re right – common sense really prevails here :)

  16. Hi Lauren

    Refreshing blog ! My friend and I are going to Marrakech for the first time on Saturday. We plan to be very sensible and culturally sensitive during these difficult times. Extremely excited about the sights, smells and sounds that Marrakech has to offer. Will definitely be contacting Mohammed Diaf for guided tour!

    • Hi Brenda! I’m so stoked for you to head to Marrakech. It’s still one of my favorite places I’ve ever visited. Have a blast and I hope you enjoy your tour with Mohammed!

  17. Maggie

    Hi just read your blog, great info myself my daughter and grandson are visiting Marrakech in April and I have contacted the tour guide you recommended, we are staying for 4days, nervous but excited, thank you for your interesting information it always helps tourists when visiting a country for the first time x

  18. Aprilsloft@hotmail.com

    Hi just found your blog, I have always wanted to visit marakech. My husband and I have booked a 4 day break through secret escapes in May for my birthday. My grown up daughter who will not be travelling with us is quite concerned for our safety which is rather unsettling, my husband is quite safety conscious, I have read the gov/travel information today. I am normally unfazed by new adventures, a feel the fear and do it anyway traveller. I am wondering whether this is not such a good idea ?

    • I personally didn’t have any problems with safety in Marrakech. I think it is a great city with many things to do and a place that opens up your world view. I wish you the best of luck on your trip!

  19. Shaunna

    Lauren,
    First- thank you! This is an amazing conversation to find as I plan my first trip to Marrakesh.

    Second, I will be traveling with my parents for approx 4 nights to the city. I would like to experience as much of the religion as possible, though I am not Muslim. (I will use your guide for the 1st day!) Any tips for ‘things not to miss’? Perhaps your favorite 1 or 2 experiences in the city? Very excited for a ‘Hammam’ day as well!

    Shaunna

  20. Pauline McFarlane

    Hi Lauren, I really enjoyed reading your comments. I have become a regular visitor to Marrakech since I took part in a tour 4 years ago and I agree that it’s a lovely place and the majority of people are friendly and welcoming. I am a solo lady traveller and like you, feel safe and at home when I am there. I particularly liked your comments at the beginning regarding dress code and it is so true. Strappy tops are a no no, and shorts above the knee are not a good idea either. I just love the place and having found a lovely riad in the medina it’s like going home or visiting friends for me now. I get serious withdrawal symptoms if I don’t have another break booked and am looking forward to returning once again in September. It’s not to everyone’s taste, a bit like marmite, you either love or hate it!

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences in Marrakech. I’m glad to hear it is a place that has touched your heart and can definitely relate to the withdrawal symptoms!

  21. Siofradh

    I am going to Marrakech at the end of November and found your blog really helpful. Particularly advice about how to dress and the balanced view you have given. Thanks
    Have to object however to the picture with the monkey – they are being exploited. We should avoid any attractions involving use of animals including horse and carriages anywhere in the world. Dont support them and they will eventually go away.

    • Pauline

      I agree completely with your point about the monkeys, the conditions they live in are undoubtedly not good, they have teeth removed to stop them biting tourists and are stolen from the wild with their mother being killed. Horrible. We do need to remember though that many Moroccans are very poor and they have to provide for their families. Also the horses and carriages are ok to use as the horses are regularly checked by vets, this is the reason for the yellow band around the legs – the owners are regulated by the authorities and as far as I’m aware there is no problem with using them. The majority of Moroccans are lovely people but their life is so different to ours. I absolutely love Marrakech and am looking forward to returning in four weeks for a short break.

  22. Hi! I’m flying out with my sister tomorrow morning We had booked 4 tickets with a male cousin but they both have had to cancel at the last minute! Leaving my sister and I to travel alone, we’ve been hearing really bad stories and being warned but thank you your blog post has slightly calmed me down! Although I guess I’ll only relax once we reach there and I can see it for myself. But your tips are very practical and helpful!
    Thanks ☺️

      • Pauline

        Have a wonderful time, be sensible but pleasant and you won’t have any problems. Don’t let anyone approach you to show the way anywhere be firm smile and say NO. I’m going again in 2 weeks and counting the days. I would be interested to know how you get on. Another tip is that before I eat anywhere I use the toilets to see where they are situated, if behind a door off the kitchen I ask for a mint tea and leave – you don’t want to chance upset stomachs! Have a great time keep an open mind and enjoy.

  23. Shirley

    Thank you for writing this, and I’m so glad I found your post! I’m traveling to Agadir for work this winter, but would so love to take a short detour (1-2 days) to Marrakech. I’d do that part alone, and family members are worried and even discouraging me a little. Thank you doubly for sharing Mohamed’s contact info and where you stayed… a huge help! I didn’t know where to begin to look or plan, and your post was reassuring as far as safety.

      • David Caston

        My wife and I are coming to Marrakech on the 31st Dec -5 Jan. My wife usually wears sports tights or leggings, is this suitable or should she cover up a bit more?

        • Hi David! I’d recommend baggier pants than tights or leggings. However, I am sure if she wore tights or leggings she would not encounter problems, this is just what I personally felt most comfortable in. Have a great trip!

        • Pauline

          Leggings will be fine I always wear them. Don’t worry too much but it is best to avoid very low cut tops. I went in September it was very hot and I wore cropped cotton trousers or leggings with tshirts. Have a great time, I’m envious!

  24. Bekki Carre

    Hi Lauren

    I’m going to Morocco for the first time next week and this post has made me feel much more prepared! My boyfriend is very worried about us being dressed inappropriately and standing out in our normal (conservative) clothes but I’ll show him this to put his mind at ease!

    Thanks for a great blog post.

    Bekki :)

  25. Shirley

    I left a comment 2 months ago expressing my appreciation for this post, and I wanted to follow up after my trip to Marrakech. I’m so glad I didn’t let worried friends and family discourage me from going! First, a million thanks for the introduction to Mohammed! He was fantastic, I loved everything that he showed me, I felt safe with him, and he helped me talk down the price on some gorgeous scarves. Great advice in this post, and Marrakech is like another world. I did feel like sellers in the souk harass you enough to drive you crazy, but a curt “no” or no response puts an end to that. And there are sellers and others in the city who are perfectly lovely people I was happy to meet and chat with. I wasn’t prepared for all the mopeds zipping about, and often threw myself against the wall of an alley just in time. I felt guarded but relatively safe the whole time, though I almost got taken in by 2 teenage boys who told me the road back to my riad was closed and to follow them because they knew the way. Nice try, boys.

  26. Lisa

    Hello,
    I noticed this was published a couple years ago…given our current political climate do you feel Marrakech is still a safe city to visit? I’d be with my husband & perhaps 15 year old nephew.
    Thanks,
    Lisa

    • Hi Lisa! I haven’t been back recently, so I can’t speak to this matter fully, however on my visit I didn’t experience any negative reactions to U.S. politics. My friend Mohammed lives in the city and would have a better perspective on the current day climate. You can reach him at daif996@gmail.com to get his insight.

    • David Caston

      Lisa have no fear at all it is all quite safe, if very busy, some times smelly, exciting, colourful fascinating and stimulating. The Isalamic decorative architecture is quite stunning. Do not miss a trip here, but relaxing it is not! Stay in the Medina in a Riad if you are a confident or easygoing traveller, the Riads are a haven of calm and very clean, comfortable, friendly with good breakfasts, evening food, good advice and support etc etc. Best pick a Riad reasonably close to the centre, but prices get lower as you go outwards from the centre so it is a compromise.
      After a day with your guide you will most likely feel confident to walk pretty well anywhere in the main part of the city where the attractions are, with the help of you phone.
      Otherwise if you are particularly nervous travellers or if you feel you must have a modern western style hotel, stay outside the Medina and taxi in, but my opinion is you will miss out on the real atmosphere.

      For the first day or morning best to take a guide for the city to get your bearings and get used to the atmosphere. We found a smartphone mapping app like MAPS.ME really useful for getting aroun, but download the map first to your phone or it will cost the earth in data if you are using a live map all day If you have time please do take a trip to the Atlas Mountains, Imlil is an easy trip with a guide and a combined driver/guide.
      We found five nights in Marrakech was enough to see most of it, including a full day trip into the mountains. Have fun!

    • David Caston

      Lisa just to add that my wife and I went to Marrakech on the 31st Dec 2016 so info I just posted is current.
      There are tourist police in Marrakech who work in the background to prevent undue harrassment of tourists and to take any complaints. You will get endless offers from youths to guide you to the attractions for a tip, but just get used to ignoring them, find your own way around and they will give up and leave you alone!

  27. mel

    Lauren thanks for all the info. and also the recommendation about Mohammed. One question , how did you contacted Mohammed
    does he work for a tour company? does he has a website?
    thanks for all your good tips, hope to hear from you soon.

  28. Crystal

    Hey Lauren,

    We booked Mohamed by searching the internet and came across your blog. He truly is fantastic. By far one of the best guides we have used in all of our travel. Thanks so much for all the info and pointing us in Mohamed’s direction. He has kept in touch with us throughout our trip and we would refer him to anyone that comes to Marrakech and wants to enter the souks!! its a maze in there for sure!

    If any one wants the best guide in Marrakech give this guy an email. daif996@gmail.com you wont be disapointed.

    Thank you!

  29. Nas

    Hi thanks for the great post. Please advise how much am I expected to pay for a guide for the few hours you advise? I will email Mohamed but wanted an idea on price to make sure I’m not over priced! Also, did you hagggle with Mohamed or is this not norm to guides? Thanks x

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