Marrakech is a very popular tourist destination, but a lot of solo travellers are put off from visiting because they wonder is Marrakech safe or not.
I totally understand the question and potential hesitation.
Especially if you’re new to solo travelling!
My parents had the same concerns and were trying to convince me not to visit Morocco, but I’m glad I did!
So, to answer your question is Marrakech safe for solo female travellers, my answers is yes! But there are some very important things you need to know before you arrive in Marrakech to ensure you’re safe.
If you’re used to travelling around in Europe, and that is your only solo travel experience, visiting Marrakech will be a bit of a shock.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go though!
I thoroughly believe that exploring places that are very unlike your own is important. It can be a bit intimidating, but that’s how you grow as a person and traveller.
By the end of this article, you’ll know how to safely navigate Marrakech and have an amazing solo trip to Morocco!
Is Marrakech Safe?
Just in case you skimmed the intro (I don’t blame you), I want to reiterate that Marrakech is safe for solo female travellers.
It is no more dangerous than most other popular solo travel destinations.
However, the culture is different in Marrakech, and there are some additional things you need to know to feel safe in the city.
These are small things that will help you navigate the new city with confidence and avoid some of the common scams in Morocco.
The answer to the question is Marrakech safe may be subjective, but, in general, I think it is.
Anywhere is as safe as you make it. If you go around breaking Moroccan laws and acting recklessly, then it isn’t going to be safe.
If you travel in a safe way and do your best to adhere to local culture, pretty much anywhere you travel is safe- including Morocco!
Marrakech is a vibrant city, and I don’t want you to miss out on experiencing it just because someone in your life is telling you it isn’t safe.
They’ve probably never been there and are just fear mongering.
Listen to the people who have been there, take their tips to heart, and decide for yourself whether you’re confident enough in your solo travel skills to explore a new culture and region.
Marrakech Safety Tips
As I said, there are a few things you need to keep in mind in order to be as safe in Marrakech as possible.
Some of these may seem like common sense, but they are even more important to pay attention to in Marrakech than other parts of the world.
As long as you follow these tips, you’ll be safe and having the time of your life in Marrakech.
Never Look Lost
One of my biggest tips I can give you is never, ever, ever look lost when in Marrakech.
If you have no idea where you are, wait to pull out your map until you’re in a store, bathroom, or restaurant.
Morocco is a tipping culture. If someone sees you looking lost or unsure, they will come up and “help” you even if you don’t ask or need it.
And once they’re done helping you, they expect a tip and won’t leave until you give them one.
If you are a solo female traveller in Marrakech and even give off the slightest hint of being lost, it won’t be long until there are at least two or three people around you trying to help you out.
There isn’t anything wrong with this, and the people helping you aren’t unsafe, but it can still be a bit annoying and unwanted.
Especially if you have an idea of where you want to go and was just checking your route.
I spent some time in Essaouira and then took a bus back to Marrakech and stayed in the same hotel in Marrakech as I had previously.
I knew the way and didn’t show any doubt in where I was going, but two men walked with me to “show” me the way and then wouldn’t leave until I tipped them for their help when we got to the hotel.
Again, nothing wrong with a tipping society, but it can make a lot of solo female travellers feel uncomfortable.
So, if you want to wander around and try to be as invisible as possible (I do!), then it is in your best interest to walk with confidence and try not to look too lost or unsure of yourself.
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Avoid Sketchy Street Food
Marrakech is home to some of the most delicious food I’ve ever eaten.
I’m salivating right now just thinking of it.
However, you need to be a bit cautious when choosing what street food to indulge in.
Sometimes the food sits in carts on the street without proper cooling tools used. And Marrakech is hot all year around, so it doesn’t take long for a food to get a little bit too much of the heat.
There are also sometimes issues with bugs swarming around the food.
I’m not saying don’t indulge in the street food.
You should 100% take advantage of the yummy food and try it out. All I’m saying is make your choices wisely.
If you’re going to eat street food, make sure it is from somewhere the locals seem to eat, and, preferably, order hot food that is cooked right in front of you.
That way you know it is fresh!
You don’t want to accidentally eat something that will upset your stomach and have to miss out on some of your time exploring Marrakech because you’re sick.
Learn to Say No Forcefully
This tip goes back to the first tip on this list.
Morocco (and especially Marrakech) is built on a tipping culture. Locals are looking out for tourists they can help guide around for a tip.
As a solo female traveller, you’ll likely garner a lot of attention.
If you’re like me and just want to wander around alone, you’ll have to learn how to say no forcefully to get the point across that you don’t want any help.
This doesn’t always work, but it will work in a lot of situations.
I know it feels weird (it certainly did to me as a soft-spoken introvert), but it is what it is, and you have to learn how to do it.
Another extremely important skill you need to learn is haggling.
If you’re purchasing anything in the souk or taking a taxi somewhere, haggle, haggle, haggle.
This is still a challenge for me to this day, but it it is an important skill to try to learn. People will try to rip you off and/or not listen to you, and you need to be forceful with your words and haggle to a reasonable price.
Of course, you want to pay a fair price because this is how people make a living, but most of the time the starting price is ridiculously too high. Even for me as someone who is more than willing to overpay to avoid as much haggling as possible.
I know this tip doesn’t really answer the question is Marrakech safe for solo female travellers, but standing your ground is an important part of making Marrakech the safest place for you.
Of course, you could be the exact opposite of me and enjoy the help from the locals.
But, you still need to know how to haggle and say no forcefully if the situation calls for it.
Be Cautious in the Souks
I don’t know why, but it seems like the rules of society go out the window when you enter the Marrakech souk.
Things that would never be considered appropriate are fair game.
As a solo female traveller, you need to be prepared for the tight, winding lanes of the souks and for more direct and forward advances.
The souk was the only place in Marrakech where I felt a little uncomfortable.
Men would cat call me at every turn, they would grab me by the wrist, and a few times I was even touched in my lower back.
It definitely took me by surprise since it was completely different to what I had experienced in the rest of Marrakech.
The first time I visited the souk was the only time I wondered is Marrakech safe?
As soon as I realized this was something that may or may not happen when I wandered through the souk, I was able to prepare for it.
I gave myself a little pep talk before I entered the souk, walked as confidentially as I could, and took a few calming breathes.
It is my philosophy not to comment or make a fuss when things like that happen no matter where in the world I am.
I may not enjoy it, but I’m a visitor in their country. I can’t impose my beliefs on them.
I just walk by, ignore them, and remember what stall they’re at, so I know not to purchase something from them in the future.
All in all, most people in the souks are incredibly kind, helpful, and just want to make a sale (get your haggling skills ready).
But, just like anything, there are a few exceptions.
I don’t want to taint your opinion of Marrakech in any way because it is a fabulous city.
I went back and forth whether or not I should include this point, but I finally decided that I wish it was something I was more prepared for when I visited the souk for the first time.
I personally think it is important to dress according to the standards of the country you’re visiting.
I know some people feel that they should be able to dress however they want, but I think it is important to be respectful of local customs.
In Marrakech, that means dressing more on the conservative side.
You by no means have to wear a head covering, but you should wear something that covers you shoulders, knees, and definitely not show cleavage or your stomach.
It is not only respectful to the locals, but it also makes Marrakech a bit more safe.
Again, not that Marrakech isn’t safe!
Dressing conservatively will help you blend in and avoid unwanted attention.
It is a simple thing you can do to respect the locals and make your visit to Marrakech as safe as possible.
Overcome your fear of solo travel
Be Internet Safe
No matter where you travel, you rely on public wifi networks. Marrakech is no exception.
Physical safety is always talked about, but not enough people talk about the need to be internet safe.
Using a public wifi network puts you at risk of having your personal online data stolen. This is a headache at the best of times but even worse when you’re travelling.
You do not want to have to deal with trying to cancel debit and credit cards because your information was stolen because you were being careless online.
And, yes, even if wifi you’re using has a passcode, it is still a public wifi network because basically anybody can get the passcode.
The only way you can make sure you’re being safe when using a public wifi network is by installing a VPN on your devices.
A VPN basically puts an invisible forcefield around your phone that makes it impossible for a hacker to access your private information and data.
A VPN makes using public wifi just as safe as using your home wifi where you’re the only person who knows the passcode.
My Favourite VPN
I’ve used a lot of different VPNs over my many years of travel. To be honest, most of them suck!
VPNs are known to slow down your internet, and it can be extremely painful using a VPN when you’re trying to quickly Google or stream something.
That all changed when I discovered NordVPN.
It is the fastest VPN on the market, and you barely notice a reduction in your internet speed when you use it.
That’s why I love it and recommend it to all my fellow travel lovers!
I’ve been using NordVPN for years and don’t plan on ever changing providers, which is saying a lot!
They’re the first VPN I’ve ever used past one year and have renewed my subscription to.
You can install your NordVPN on up to 6 devices, so you can protect your online data everywhere for one low price.
A two-year subscription to NordVPN costs less than the price of a latte per month. You don’t have an excuse to not protect your online data when you travel!
My philosophy is that if you can afford to travel, you can afford to install a VPN on your devices and protect your online information.
It is a small price to pay to sleep easy knowing nobody can steal your private information and data.
Learn Common Scams
No matter where you go, it is important to be aware of the local scams in the area.
Knowing about local scams before you arrive in a city is essential. It prevents you from falling victim to a scam, losing money, and putting yourself at risk.
I’ve fallen victim to many scams around the world (although none in Morocco), and I don’t want you to go through the same horrible feeling I have.
The most common scams in Marrakech to look out for include:
- People “leading” you to the medina but take you the wrong way
- Offering something for free and then insisting you pay for it
- The rug scam (they offer you free tea to enter their store and then get mad if you don’t purchase a rug that costs thousands of dollars)
- Fake goods
Be aware of these scams (and more) and be prepared to say no with force if you’re approached by someone you think is trying to scam you.
Avoid Drinking Alcohol in Public
Drinking in Morocco is legal, but tourists are the only people allowed to drink in public.
While you totally can drink in public legally, I recommend solo female travellers either refrain totally from drinking or only drink in private at their hotel.
A woman drinking alone in public will likely draw more attention than a woman just eating alone in public.
My philosophy when travelling alone is to blend in as much as possible and act as much like a local as I can.
And in Marrakech that includes not drinking in public even though it can be freaking hot and a cold beer would taste incredible.
This is totally your call because drinking is legal.
It all comes down to what makes you feel safest in Marrakech and gives you the most confidence.
For me, I’ll stick to water.
Be Prepared for Some Culture Shock
Marrakech is the first place I experienced culture shock. I had mostly travelled around Europe before my trip to Morocco and was used to North America and Europe.
Marrakech was the first city I visited where things were really different from my own experiences, and it took a little while to get used to it.
I know this technically isn’t a Marrakech safety tip, but I still think it is important to know before you arrive in Morocco.
Marrakech is a loud and busy city. There are always things going around, and you can get a bit overwhelmed at first.
I suggest you plan an extra day or two in Marrakech to help you get used to Morocco if you’ve never visited a country like it before.
This gives you the chance to move slowly and go back to your hotel if you start feeling overwhelmed.
One of my mom’s friend’s daughters went to Marrakech alone and was so overwhelmed that she booked a flight out the next day.
So, if you want to be able to experience Marrakech and have time to get over the culture shock, take the first day or two slow.
It may even be in your best interest to go on a guided walking tour the first day, so you can get your bearings and feel more confident walking around alone the rest of your trip.
Be Careful Crossing the Street
The only thing that really makes you question whether Marrakech is safe or not is trying to navigate crossing the busy roads.
It isn’t an issue once you get a feel for what is going on.
And is certainly nothing compared to trying to cross a busy street in China!
My best tip for you is to stand back and watch how the locals cross the street for a few minutes before trying to cross the street yourself.
You’ll get an understanding of what the unwritten rules are and how to safely cross the street when there are scooters and cars buzzing around.
Better yet, you can wait until a local crosses the street and follow closely behind them.
You can mimic how they cross the street and ensure you get to the other side safely.
The odds of you getting hit while crossing the street (even if you do it poorly) are very low, but you don’t want the stress of causing a traffic jam and having people honking and yelling at you!
Tips for travelling alone for the first time
There you have it! The answer to the question is Marrakech safe for solo female travellers.
There is a lot of mystery and misconceptions about Morocco and Marrakech. Some people assume that since it is a majority Muslim country, it isn’t safe for solo female travellers.
That simply isn’t true.
Marrakech is very safe, and you shouldn’t run into any issues when you visit the city.
The important thing is that you behave in a way that makes your visit to Marrakech safe.
Don’t do anything illegal or draw too much attention to yourself. If you dress conservatively, don’t wander around alone at night, and stand your ground, you’ll be fine.
I don’t want the thought of Marrakech not being safe to prevent you from exploring the beautiful city.
It may not be the best place for your first solo trip if you’re from North America, but once you have a little solo travel under your belt, you shouldn’t have any trouble exploring Marrakech alone.