Are you travelling alone to Marrakech and wondering ‘is Marrakech safe for solo female travellers’? Here’s a detailed Marrakech solo female travel guide with helpful tips on staying safe in the city.
If you’re gearing up for a Marrakech solo travel adventure, you’re probably buzzing with excitement yet feeling a little cautious or apprehensive from the tales you’ve heard.
Perhaps you’ve been worried by the clickbaity headlines or scary anecdotes, or maybe you’re willing to dive right into the chaos and all that entails, but just want some reassurance that it’ll all be okay.
Let me cut right to the chase: Marrakech isn’t an easy destination for solo female travellers. It is possible to explore safely and comfortably, but it does demand a certain level of street smarts and awareness.
The city is brimming with energy, offering a sensory overload in all corners, which presents an intriguing challenge for even the most well-travelled explorers. You can get lost down the labyrinth of alleyways in the medina, navigate the nuances of haggling in the souks, try to catch a taxi without getting scammed and taste test Moroccan street food and put that iron stomach to the test.
My first trip to Marrakech was with a friend quite early on in my travel life and it was definitely daunting, we stuck to the tourist spots, only took guided tours rather than exploring independently and barely ventured into the medina. I recently returned for a G Adventures Morocco tour and had some solo time in Marrakech before the group trip, then had another two days in Marrakech riding solo once my tour was over, and I had a trouble-free trip.
In this blog post I’m not going to sugarcoat things but I’m not going to scaremonger either, I’m going to share my genuine Marrakech solo travel experience and let you know some helpful strategies to ensure your solo trip runs as smoothly as possible. Let’s get into it!
Marrakech solo travel summary
Key safety tips | Dress modestly to blend in, ask your hotel to call you a taxi if you need to go somewhere, wear a crossbody bag with a zip, and trust your gut.
Where to stay | My favourite place near the medina is Indian Palace (luxury), if you want to escape the chaos then Atlas Widan (luxury) is a dreamy resort out of the city, Riad Nirvana is a great mid-range option or Hostel Laksour is perfect for budget travellers.
Things to do | This top-rated street food tour, Jardin Majorelle and the YSL Museum, a shopping tour in the souks, Bahia Palace, Ben Youssef Madrasa, Badi Palace and the Saadian Tombs. You can tick off a bunch of these sights with this highly-reviewed walking tour.
Where to eat | L’mida Marrakech for traditional dishes with a modern twist, the small stalls in Mechoui Alley for succulent meat, Bistro Saveur for fancy European food, BEY961 for Lebanese and Cafe Restaurant Dar L’hssira for the best tagine in the city.
When to visit | The best seasons temperature-wise are spring (March to May) and autumn (Sept to Nov) but these do get busy, if you can brave the extreme heat then July/August brings lower prices and less crowds.
TOP TIP FOR MOROCCO SOLO TRAVEL: If you’re keen to explore beyond just Marrakech, consider booking a small group tour with the legends with G Adventures Morocco. I did this 11-day tour that included two days in Marrakech plus stops in the Sahara, Atlas Mountains, Taghazout, Ait Ben Haddou and more.
Is Marrakech safe for solo female travellers?
In short, yes, Marrakech can be safe for solo female travellers. But the long answer is a bit more complex.
Marrakech isn’t the kind of place where you can wear what you want with no consequences, where you can wander markets without being hassled and where you can trust taxi drivers, shopkeepers and good Samaritans helping you find your way. I’m not saying this to scare you off, I just want you to be totally aware of what to expect.
The good news is that some small travel compromises and additional planning can go a long way to ensure you enjoy your solo time here, from blending into the crowd to pre-booking transport to fine-tuning your danger radar.
Here are some of the major things to be aware of when it comes to solo female travel safety in Marrakech, and some top tips to help you stay safe and comfortable.
A quick note: While many of the safety concerns in Marrakech do come down to a difference in cultural and social norms, I definitely don’t want to to minimise the seriousness of harassment and violence towards women. If you feel like you’re in danger, please leave the situation as soon as you can and go somewhere you can get help, like a hospital, a reputable hotel or a busy shop or restaurant with lots of tourists.
Street harassment is probably the biggest solo female travel safety concern in Marrakech, and unfortunately the stories you’ve heard of catcalling, taunting and persistent men trying to get your attention are probably true. Most of the time the harassment stops at the verbal level and rarely escalates to physical violence, but regardless it can still be upsetting and frustrating to deal with.
The high levels of street harassment in Marrakech come down to two main factors: cultural norms around gender roles, and stereotypes of Western women.
In Moroccan society there are deeply ingrained cultural norms in terms of gender roles, and these norms can manifest in the way men interact with women in public places. There’s somewhat of a cultural tolerance for behaviours like yelling across the street and persistent following and contact, especially within communities of young men, and there’s a lack of awareness around how intimidating and disrespectful it is to women to treat them this way. Essentially what we as women see as harassment, some men might view as a socially acceptable form of social interaction.
When you combine the cultural tolerance of these behaviours with the stereotypes some men have of Western women, the level of harassment can intensify even more. Foreign women are sometimes viewed as having different standards than local women, or as being less worthy of respect, so the inappropriate behaviour and unwanted attention might be worse for travellers who are clearly tourists.
It’s important to note that while these factors can contribute to the prevalence of street harassment in Marrakech, they absolutely do not justify the behaviour. I wish we lived in a world where we could travel freely as women without having so many extra things to consider regarding our safety, but unfortunately that’s not the reality in many places around the world. We shouldn’t let men’s behaviour stop us from adventuring, but it is endlessly frustrating to have to deal with.
The best way to deal with street harassment as a solo female traveller in Marrakech is to blend in as much as possible by wearing neutral and modest clothing, walking with confidence, avoiding eye contact and ignoring them if you can, or assertively saying ‘no’ or ‘hshouma’ (shame) if the harassment is impossible to ignore.
Safety vs. comfort
One lifechanging concept for me in terms of solo travel was the idea of safety vs. comfort, and equally danger vs. discomfort.
When we’re in a new environment like our first visit to city in a foreign country, our fight or flight response is immediately heightened. This makes us super aware of any potential risks around us, so we’re much more likely to notice people staring at us, or to assume that the guy who’s been behind us for three blocks is following us instead of just coincidentally walking to the same place.
Basically, our danger radar is set to the most sensitive setting and our brain pings the ‘fear’ response if there’s anything that doesn’t seem ‘normal’.
The problem is that ‘normal’ means different things in different places. In Morocco being stared at isn’t a sign of malicious intent, it’s just that you don’t look like a local so people will look at you and wonder where you’re from. The same goes for persistent shopkeepers, while it can be very uncomfortable to be asked five questions as you walk past a shop, that’s just the way things work in the Marrakech souks.
Misinterpreting the discomfort that comes from societal norms we aren’t used to can result in unnecessary stress, overreaction or missing out on enriching cultural experiences. While unsafe situations might require immediate action to protect ourselves, uncomfortable situations can often be carefully worked through and result in personal growth and better cultural understanding.
Learning to distinguish the difference between genuine danger vs. discomfort takes time and solo travel experience, so you can’t expect to get it right straight away. If you have a bad feeling that you can’t quite figure out, err on the side of caution and get to safety first, and you can always reassess it later from the comfort of your hotel room.
Trust your gut
In saying all that though, when travelling solo somewhere as chaotic like Marrakech it’s imperative that you trust your instincts.
If a situation feels unsafe, leave immediately regardless of cost or concern for anyone else’s feelings. Catch an expensive taxi home and deal with the impact on your budget later, reject a persistent guy at the bar without feeling sorry for him, and yell ‘leave me alone’ in a public place if you’re being followed without worrying about the other person looking like a creep.
Scams can be a concern for solo female travellers in Marrakech, so being aware of some common scams and how to avoid them can help you have a hassle-free experience in the city. Here are some you should be aware of:
- Unsolicited guides or ‘helpful locals’: The medina is almost impossible to navigate without getting lost as a first-time visitor, and you might encounter a seemingly good Samaritan who is willing to give up their time to guide you to your hotel or wherever you’re going. This is often a ploy to be able to demand a large tip at the end, and in rare, more malicious cases they might lead you somewhere else entirely and mug you for your bag and phone. If you’re genuinely lost then wander until you find a cafe with WiFi, contact your hotel and ask them for directions.
- Overpriced taxis: Many Marrakech taxi drivers will take advantage by charging an exorbitant amount upfront to unsuspecting tourists, or by saying the meter is broken or just not turning it on in the first place. Pre-book transport where possible (like for airport transfers or day trips), get your hotel to call you a reputable taxi when you need to go somewhere, and insist that the meter is turned on or agree on a fair price before the trip starts.
- Fake goods in the souks: Some shops might overcharge for souvenirs like jewellery, textiles or lamps, so you should haggle in the Marrakech souks and don’t purchase unless you’re truly happy with the price. Keep in mind that it can be difficult to know for sure whether gold, precious stones or other expensive materials are authentic, if the price seems too good to be true then it probably is.
- Street performers or henna artists: In Jemaa el-Fna especially there are loads of performers or artists who might try to trap you into paying them money by posing for a photo or starting to draw henna on you and then charging you for it. If you try to walk away these people will make a scene and follow you around until you pay. Don’t take photos or videos of any performers, don’t stand too close to henna artists and firmly say no if anyone gets too close to you.
Like most major cities around the world who have high levels of tourism and growing inequality, Marrakech unfortunately does have opportunists who target tourists with pickpocketing and bag-snatching.
Be sure to wear a crossbody bag with a zipped compartment for your valuables, or if you have a backpack either wear it in front of you or wear it on your back with both straps and try to loop the zips together somehow, so someone can’t rip it open from behind you in a busy crowd.
Leave valuables that you don’t need with you at home, Marrakech isn’t the place to wear flashy watches or expensive jewellery. If you’re travelling with a camera you’ll want to have a decent pouch or bag to keep it in when you aren’t shooting.
Be particularly cautious in crowded areas like Jemaa el-Fna and the medina’s alleyways, these spaces can get overwhelming which makes it way easier for pickpocketers to grab your stuff without you realising.
Marrakech is a culinary paradise for foodie travellers, offering incredible value for succulent meat dishes, hearty tagines and sweet treats, but there’s nothing worse than having the best meal of your life and then feeling sick for the next 48 hours.
One important thing to note with any country we’re visiting is that stomach troubles aren’t always a sign of foodborne illness, it’s often just our bodies reacting to rich flavours or ingredients we haven’t had before.
In saying that, we still want to limit the chances of getting sick while eating our way around the city.
It’s best to check reviews online before eating to avoid any obvious red flags, and choose places that have a high turnover as that’s generally a sign of freshness. Avoid eating raw foods, salads or unpeeled fruits without washing them first, and don’t drink the tap water unless you’re at a high level hotel that has filtered water available. Wash your hands before every meal, and take sanitiser with you in your day bag in case you don’t have access to water before eating.
If you do end up feeling the ill effects of food poisoning or an intolerance to what you’ve eaten, the most important thing is to stay hydrated. Drink lots of (filtered) water, stay out of the sun, eat bland food like plain couscous or bread, and see a doctor if your symptoms get worse.
Marrakech solo travel safety tips
With all of that in mind, here are some simple safety tips to keep in mind when you’re planning your solo trip to Marrakech.
- Always have data on your phone. As a solo female traveller it’s so important that you have access to a phone network at all times, in case you need to navigate back to your hotel, find transport options or call for help. I’m a big fan of eSIMs these days *but* in Morocco the best value option is to get a local SIM card at the airport when you arrive. You can get 20GB for only €20 from either phone stall in the arrivals area, compared to the eSIM options that are usually 2-3 times that price.
- Book organised tours if you are concerned about travelling solo. A solo trip doesn’t mean you have to be solo the entire time, you can always join a walking tour or a day trip if you’d feel more comfortable in a group setting.
- Check recent reviews before booking transfers, hotels or activities. Reading feedback from other travellers can help you spot any red flags around safety, location and staff behaviour. If anyone mentions that the hotel locks don’t work, that the location was dodgy or that the driver or guide acted inappropriately then it’s an immediate no.
- Book activities that have an online presence. A friend of mine had a negative experience after booking an activity from a roadside stall without checking if they had a website or social media presence, which meant that she couldn’t leave a review afterwards to warn other solo female travellers. An online presence isn’t necessarily going to stop people from being creeps, but the threat of a bad review miiiight lessen the risk and at least it’ll give you a chance to share your experience with others.
- Dress modestly to blend in to the crowd. Marrakech doesn’t have a strict dress code, you’ll see local women and tourists alike wearing shorts, skirts and singlets, but dressing conservatively will help you blend in and reduce unwanted attention. Covering up won’t stop all the staring and verbal harassment unfortunately, especially if you are visibly a tourist (i.e. pale skin and light hair), but if you wear loose-fitting clothes that cover your shoulders and knees then you’re less likely to stand out like a sore thumb.
- Avoid eye contact in the souks. Wandering the market alleyways can be really overwhelming, with shopkeepers yelling to get your attention, young men walking next to you trying to strike up a chat and locals staring at you as you walk past the teahouses. It’s easier to ignore these behaviours if you avoid eye contact, and if you ignore them they’re more likely to stop hassling you and move on to the next tourist. Wear sunglasses if you find this difficult!
- Wear headphones. On a similar note, it’s so much easier (and feels less rude) to ignore people if it looks like you’re listening to something else, and it makes it clear that you aren’t available for a conversation. I would actually recommend having nothing playing so you can be aware of any sounds around you (like a motorbike coming up from behind).
- Be assertive if you’re getting harassed. Sometimes ignoring them won’t help, but saying a clear, firm ‘no’, ‘leave me alone’ or ‘hshouma’ (which means ‘shame’) might do the trick. Say it loudly, ideally so other people around you can hear, and watch the harasser scamper away in embarrassment.
- Keep your valuables somewhere safe, try to avoid holding your phone out in Jemaa el-Fna or the souks, and wear a crossbody bag with a zipped compartment.
- Take a spare credit/debit card and keep it in your suitcase. This way you’ll still have access to some emergency money in case your bag gets stolen or your card gets swallowed in an ATM.
- Get travel insurance. Insurance won’t stop bad things from happening, but it can provide much-needed support if things do end up going wrong. I’ve used Covermore New Zealand for all my trips since 2021 and they’ve been brilliant during the few claims I’ve made, they also have a Covermore Australia business for my Aussie readers. If you’re from elsewhere then I’ve heard lots of good things about SafetyWing and World Nomads.
What should solo female travellers in Marrakech wear?
Unlike some Islamic countries, Morocco doesn’t have strict dress code, and Marrakech can actually be quite liberal compared to what you might expect.
Most locals dress modestly, but you’ll probably see young locals and many tourists wearing shorts, singlets, skirts, tight clothing and revealing tops or dresses. There are no rules to say this isn’t allowed, and showing your shoulders and knees in Marrakech isn’t considered as disrespectful or offensive, but it might result in unwanted attention.
The best way to blend in to the crowd is to wear neutral-coloured clothing that covers your shoulders and knees and is loose on your body. There’s no need to cover your head but if you have light or red hair you might find it easier to go unnoticed with a headscarf, I’ve got blonde hair and have never felt the need to do this but it’s something to consider if you’re concerned about stares.
Marrakech gets hot hot hot, especially in the middle of the year, so choose lightweight materials that are breathable.
My solo female travel Marrakech packing list looked like this:
- 2 x pairs of floaty trousers
- 1 x maxi skirt
- 1 x leggings for things like quad biking and camel riding
- 3 x t-shirts
- 1 x long-sleeved blouse
- 1 x jumper for cool nights and hot air ballooning
- 1 x scarf
Keep in mind that Marrakech is particularly relaxed around dress code because it’s a big city, if you’re visiting smaller villages like Berber communities in the desert or places in the Atlas Mountains, or if you’re going near mosques to take photos, it’s respectful to cover your shoulders and knees.
How to get around Marrakech for solo female travellers
How to get from the airport to your hotel
If it’s your first time visiting Marrakech then I’d recommend pre-booking an airport transfer to your hotel. You can book this top-rated one online or organise it through your hotel’s reception.
Turning up to an airport after a long flight and dealing with a hoard of taxi drivers vying for your business isn’t anyone’s idea of fun!
Don’t forget to get your local SIM card before you find your transfer, there are two phone companies that have stalls in the arrivals area after customs, and both of these offer the €20 20GB SIM cards.
Getting around Marrakech
If you need to get from your hotel to somewhere that’s not walkable, it’s best to ask your hotel or riad to call you a petit taxi (small taxi). Ask the hotel what they’d expect the taxi fare to be for the trip.
When you get into the taxi, request that the meter be switched on. This is actually a legal requirement in Marrakech but many drivers “forget” unless you ask. If they refuse or say the meter is broken and try to negotiate, tell them you’ll pay what the hotel advised.
Technically in a Marrakech taxi you’re just paying for your seat, so if you’re travelling solo, the driver might stop to pick up others on the way. This happened to me (without realising it was a thing!) and the driver tried to pick up a local couple, I didn’t feel comfortable being crammed into a car with two men and a woman who I couldn’t communicate with, so I paid the amount we agreed on, got out and started walking. The driver was clearly unhappy but it wasn’t worth risking my safety to avoid being annoying. I’m sure it wouldn’t have been an issue but better safe than sorry!
If you’d prefer to have a private taxi to wherever you’re going, make this clear to your hotel so they can advise the driver before they arrive, and be aware that you might need to pay a little extra for the peace of mind.
Getting around the medina
The medina is best explored by foot, it’s car-free and you’d have to be crazy to rent a scooter as a tourist 🙃
The early morning is packed with locals doing their shopping for the day, from 10am onwards it’s more of a tourist-heavy crowd.
Go for a wander to see what you discover, or book a walking tour to experience the medina with the security of a local guide.
Consider a group or private tour
There are so many incredible tours to show you around Marrakech and beyond, whether you’re looking for a whirlwind walking tour of the main sights, an overnight adventure to the desert or Atlas Mountains, or a longer trip to see more of the country.
Travelling solo doesn’t have to mean you’re by yourself the entire time, you can still call yourself a solo traveller even if you end up booking tours and meeting strangers!
Where to stay in Marrakech for solo female travellers
Budget | There are some brilliant hostels that are perfect for Marrakech solo female travel adventures, like:
Mid-range | Riad Nirvana is my go-to for a great value place to stay, they have simple but comfortable rooms, a gorgeous rooftop area and fantastic service. Other top-rated mid-range options:
Luxury | I’ve got two favourite luxury spots in Marrakech:
- Indian Palace is a magnificent riad and is one of the most beautifully-designed places I’ve ever stayed. Elegant rooms, a rooftop to chill out, a dreamy pool and courtyard, and air-conditioned lounge rooms perfect for working, reading or relaxing. The food is excellent, very friendly service and it’s a short walk or only five minutes by taxi to the main square.
- Atlas Widan is a boutique resort 15km from Marrakech, ideal if you want to experience classic Moroccan hospitality away from the chaos. The rooms are huge, the pool is even more huge, and the staff are super friendly and go the extra mile to ensure guests enjoy their time. It felt like a home away from home and I can’t wait to go back in the future.
- If those are all booked up then some other luxurious stays are Riad Les Nuits de Marrakech, Riad Azahar and Riad AL RIAD
Ultra-luxury | For a once-in-a-lifetime accommodation experience you can’t go past the Royal Mansour, offering three-storey riads with their own private plunge pools and rooftops. Other ultra-luxe places to stay are:
Phew, another gigantic solo female travel guide to help you travel safely, comfortably and responsibly! I hope this ultimate Marrakech solo travel guide has helped you prepare and plan for your upcoming Moroccan adventure.
If you have any more Marrakech solo female travel questions then please leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.
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