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Traveller’s Guide to Morocco – Where to Visit?
Morocco is a large country, with towns and cities from north to south that are worth exploring. If you’re travelling solo, you may want to add some of these popular destinations in Morocco to your itinerary.
From the frenetic narrow streets of the old medina and the eclectic evening activities at the Jemaa el-Fna to the bars and clubs in the colonial area of Gueliz, Marrakech offers a whirlwind of excitement. There are lush gardens where you can sit and gather your thoughts, and charming cafes where you can indulge in a cup of mint tea; or you might prefer to do some haggling at the souks. If you’re travelling solo, then a licensed local guide could prove invaluable to help you navigate the medina.
Many of the main attractions in Essaouira, which sits on the Atlantic coast due west of Marrakech, are easy to reach on foot. Less chaotic than Marrakech and a favourite destination for independent travellers, the city comprises a laid-back medina, a wide sandy beach popular with wind- and kitesurfers, quirky cafes and art galleries – as well as a working harbour and old walls. Check out our pick of the best places to stay in Essaouira here.
Solo sunseekers can spend their days blissfully relaxed on Agadir’s sandy beaches, or surfing the Atlantic swells. Alternatively, you can visit Vallée des Oiseaux, admire the views from the ruined kasbah of Oufella, shop in the markets and unwind in one of the many relaxed beachside bars.
Tangier, in the far north of Morocco, offers a blend of beach life and culture. Uncover local legends at the Caves of Hercules, soak up the vistas from Cape Malabata, shop in the souks and visit local museums. Or do as the Moroccans do, and book yourself a hammam scrub at one of these top-rated hammam spas. Many solo travellers manage to discover the city’s gems without the need for a tour guide.
Teeming with life, all packed cheek by jowl into a tiny space of medieval buildings and alleyways, Fez – ancient capital of the kingdom of Morocco – is a veritable assault on the senses, and a guide is essential to help you work your way around the medina. Otherwise it’s easy to get disorientated in the narrow labyrinth-like alleys of this Unesco World Heritage siteWhile here, make time for a visit the tanneries. Other places of interest include the University of Al Quaraouiyine (founded in the ninth century and thought to be the longest functioning teaching institution in the world), Al-Attarine Madrasa, the Merenid tombs and the historic Jewish Quarter.
One of the most beguiling cities in Morocco, Chefchaouen, known as the Blue City after the painted walls in the medina, is a terrific place for solo adventurers. The friendly locals, compact medina and charming atmosphere add to Chefchaouen’s appeal. Other activities include visiting the small but interesting kasbah, seeing the Grand Mosque and watching locals wash their rugs at Ras el-Ma.
Where to Sleep, Eat and Drink in Morocco
There are numerous accommodation options across Morocco’s major towns and cities, catering to all tastes and budgets. Solo travellers would probably prefer to stay in a sociable backpacker hostel or hotel that attracts other lone travellers – all of which are bookable on Culture Trip.
Visitors will find an abundance of restaurants, cafés and bars around Morocco. Many riads and hotels have their own restaurants, which makes it ideal if you’re a solo traveller who prefers not to venture too far from your room for dinner.
What to Do in Morocco
Trek in the Mountains
Morocco’s mountain ranges offer excellent opportunities for trekking. Visit Berber villages, see native flora and fauna and admire splendid views. Guided treks are recommended for solo travellers; you can either join a group trip or engage the services of a local licensed guide.
Shop in the Souks
The lively souks are ideal for browsing or picking up traditional goods and souvenirs, and they’re not just for tourists – you can get a flavour here of how the locals shop. Walking around the souks alone can make you more of a target for the relentless vendors – though generally harmless, they can be persistent.
Marvel at the Desert
A guided trip is the most common way of visiting the desert, whether you’re travelling in a group or alone. Numerous operators organise desert trips of varying lengths – Merzouga and Zagora are two of the most popular desert destinations.
Practical Tips for Travelling Alone in Morocco
Smaller taxis charge according to the fare on the meter, but you will need to negotiate prices for a larger Grand taxi. While the small taxis generally only carry passengers to local destinations, the larger taxis can often be chartered for longer inter-city journeys.
An extensive system of buses operates between most of Morocco’s major towns and cities. Minivans may cost a bit more than a regular public bus; however, they do offer a much faster mode of travel.
Trains are a great way of getting between major cities; services are generally punctual and reliable and carriages are usually clean and tidy.
English is often spoken in major tourist areas. Knowing at least a few basic phrases in French or Spanish can help out, too. The farther away you venture from the tried-and-trodden track, the more difficult it can be to find people who speak European languages. Although most people in Morocco speak Arabic, Amazigh is the primary language spoken in predominantly Berber areas.
It’s also relatively easy to stay online and connected in Morocco, which is great for digital nomads.
Health and Safety
Tap water is safe to drink in most parts of the country. When buying a glass of juice from stalls, however, ensure that clean glasses are given to each customer.
As with almost anywhere in the world, pickpockets operate in many of the larger cities, so you should be especially cautious in busy souks and medinas. Opportunists on scooters may try and snatch your bag. If you’re riding a bicycle, don’t leave anything of value in the basket. In addition, do be sensible and avoid walking alone at night in dimly lit and quiet areas.
Solo Female Travel in Morocco
It is generally very safe for women to travel alone in Morocco, but do remember this is a patriarchal society, and you may find the lack of local women on the streets or in cafes a little offputting. You may also attract the unwanted attention of local men – though generally harmless, the stares, catcalls, questions and propositions can become tiresome.
Don’t forget, either, that this is an Islamic nation, so you should make an effort to dress modestly. While covering your head is not required, it can help to avoid attention in more remote destinations. As a general rule, make sure you cover your knees and elbows and avoid tight-fitting or see-through garments.