Solo Travel in Morocco
Morocco is enchanting. It epitomises the exotic, and its bustling bazaars, pristine beaches, and spectacular landscapes are a draw to the adventurous solo. For those who choose to visit, there are limitless treasures to uncover and experience, from perfectly preserved medieval towns to the great imperial cities of Fez and Marrakech. Ancient wonders abound everywhere you turn, yet nestled in amongst them are more cosmopolitan delights, from great malls to streets full of stalls selling mouth-watering cuisine.
If you are planning on travelling to Morocco, below is our Solo Travel in Morocco guide. Discover the best places to travel to in Morocco as a solo, tours to Morocco and accommodation in Morocco and what to see and do. Just click on the relevant section or read the whole article.
- Solo Travel in Morocco
- Moroccan Culture
- Places To Visit in Morocco
- Draa Valley
- Sahara Desert
- Tours in Morocco
- Accommodation in Morocco
- Getting Around Morocco
- Plan a Trip To Morocco
Solo Travel in Morocco
“Where you go, do what you see” and Morocco is no exception. Remember that it is a Muslim country, so you will have to adapt to their customs, such as covering your shoulders and knees in public areas. It also helps to not draw any attention to yourself. The souks are a bustling place to be but you do need to be careful with pickpockets. Locals on motorbikes race through the small narrow streets so keep your wits about you in the medinas.
Bargaining is part of Moroccan national culture. During your stay, you will have to negotiate the final price of any purchase or service and haggle. Not only in the souks, but also with taxi or bus drivers. Keep in mind that most places do not accept credit cards but prices are usually negotiable. It is also very common for local people to come and help you and then ask for a tip. In these cases, it is better to clarify the cost in advance and be firm if you are not looking for any assistance.
Share a tea with local people – The perfume of mint tea is a characteristic aroma of the streets of Morocco. It is very common for Moroccans to invite you for a glass of tea when you arrive at a house, in a restaurant or even when you enter a shop to bargain. For them it is a sign of respect and hospitality towards a foreigner, so it would be very impolite not to accept it. It is usually served in small cane glasses decorated with various colors and has an intense sweet taste. They use mint as a refreshing drink to help alleviate the effect of the heat that is usually present in Morocco.
Try the local cuisine – There are many traditional dishes that make up the delicious and extensive Moroccan cuisine, also suitable for vegetarians, which as a traveler you will find throughout the country, from street stalls to Michelin-starred restaurants. You should definitely try these local dishes during your stay.
The tajine, a very slow cooking stew that owes its name to the earthenware container with a conical-shaped lid in which it is cooked and then served. Couscous in all its varieties: chicken, lamb, fish or vegetables. A Pastilla, a mixture of sweet and salty, made with layers of puff pastry filled with meat slices, interspersed with an almond paste, spiced with cinnamon and sugar.
Visit a mosque – During your stay in Morocco you will have to visit some mosques, although you have to take into account that the entrance will not always be allowed, since the mosques are the places of worship of the Muslims and a symbol of faith. They are usually decorated with drawings, geometric and floral carvings and even Islamic calligraphy.
Admire its architecture – One of the main attractions of Morocco is its architecture: an exotic mix of Black African and Islamic styles, although the latter has a stronger component. Morocco is a country faithful to its ancient traditions and cultures, where even modern buildings retain their architectural roots, managing to modernize their cities without losing the richness and beauty of its past.
You will not only be able to observe this in the facades of the buildings, but also in its courtyards and gardens, where the contrasts and deep colours stand out. Geometric patterns, mostly made with mosaics, are very common to find in Moroccan architecture.
Places To Visit in Morocco
From strolling through its labyrinthine medinas to sleeping in the desert, there are many reasons why you should choose Morocco for your solo trip. Its cultural diversity, its proximity and its vibrancy. Morocco is definitely an experience and its colour, smells and sensations will leave a lasting impact. Here are our favourite places to visit in Morocco.
The medinas are the ancient cities and are usually surrounded by walls and towers. These are where the traditional dwellings of the local people are mixed with mosques, gardens, souks and madrasas, and the labyrinthine narrow streets are the perfect place to lose yourself.
The medina in Marrakesh is a labyrinth of lanes. The guide books warn of locals weaving through on noisy motorbikes, but the reality really isn't that bad. Moroccans are welcoming and like anywhere you need to keep your wits about you, but mingling with the locals and bartering with shop keepers is all part of the culture. In the maze of souks you can buy anything from stunning art, embroidered cushions and leather handbags, or just take a rest and sip a mint tea within one of tiny shops.
In Marrakech you can find one of the most famous and beautiful madrassas in the Islamic world: The Ben Youssef Madrassa. Madrasas are schools where religious teachings are given in addition to the classical subjects. It is also the place where students from other regions live. They usually have a central courtyard with a fountain and several rooms around it, dedicated to study or student dormitories.
Another beautiful place to visit is the Yves Saint Laurent garden – Jardin Majorelle. It boasts vivaciously coloured buildings and stunning plants right in the middle of the city, making it an enchanting escape from the busy streets of Marrakech.
When the sun has set on Jemaa el Fna, Marrakech's famous tourist square. Gone are the snake charmers and tourist touts and the locals are out in force.
Casablanca is Morocco’s largest city and one that is generally overlooked but if you like architecture, arts and culture, surfing or cuisine then it’s a good place to spend a few days. It's also a good place to stop if you're travelling up to Fez. Because of its French colonial legacy it is a diverse city, and it's also home to the second largest mosque in the world. You can take a guided tour around the Hassan II Mosque that spectacularly overlooks the Atlantic Ocean.
It’s easy to meet others here due to the surfing culture, and you can spend your day sunbathing or surfing at La Corniche, a beach area with a holiday feel, nearby the mosque. In the evening you can visit Sky 28, a bar that offers great views of the city whilst enjoying some live music. During the day you can get lost in the labyrinth of the Old Medina and search for the Berber Mosque, or take a stroll in the Parc de la Ligue Arabe.
Visit one of the museums such as: the Villa des Arts; a museum displaying the country’s heritage and contemporary art, or the Museum of Moroccan Judaism where you can learn more about the Jewish influence in Morocco. If you love palaces and are strolling around the city, make sure to see the King’s Palace, although you are not allowed to enter, it is worth a look from the outside.
After being in the big cities, you will want nothing more than to escape to the Atlantic coast for a slower pace of life. Essaouira is a favourite for independent travellers and one of the places worth staying for several days.Framed by an early 16th century Portuguese fortification, the photogenic city of Essaouira allows you the chance to stroll through the beautiful streets of its medina, admiring the houses painted white and blue.
When you're not exploring you can make the most of its calm waters by taking part in a water sport or just enjoying some rays. From here you can take a quad bike into the desert, get pampered in a traditional hamman, walk around the blue village or just photograph the palm groves whilst breathing in the Atlantic coast breeze.
Morocco has four imperial cities for the cultured traveller to explore, and Meknes is one of our favourites. Home of Sultan Moulay Ismail, its architecture is an ode to the craftsmanship of the Spanish Moors, and its streets lie enclosed within towering walls and exquisitely crafted gates. Filled with a wealth of historical treasures, it is conveniently located close to the famed Roman ruins of Volubilis, which are well worth a visit in their own right.
In the days of yore, Volubilis was a vibrant and busy Roman settlement. It acted as the administrative heartland of Mauretania Tingitana, an ancient and important province. Its grain and olive oil were famed throughout the empire, and the fertile lands surrounding it provide a rich agricultural yield to this day. Abandoned by the Romans at the end of the 3rd century AD, it remained a thriving town for many years, and today acts as an important and fascinating reminder of the region's storied history.
Those in search of adventure should also journey to Draa Valley, one of the most stunning landscapes in Morocco. With the wide Draa River meandering through its middle, it is a wonderland of palm groves and hidden Berber villages and the perfect place to get away from civilisation.
The Sahara Desert is one of the most magical places to visit, and the Erg Chebbi dunes are the ideal spot to see it in all of its wild glory. At 150 metres tall, they cast a long shadow across the tangerine sands surrounding them. The best way to see them is from the back of a camel, and although it's not the most comfortable mode of transport, it is definitely an authentic way to take in the stunning scenery.
Entering the Sahara from Morocco is relatively easy: just head towards Merzouga, one of the villages at the foot of the sandy region of Erg Chebbi, from where you will get the classic images of the desert. The Erg covers a region of 110 km² including the Great Dune, which is 150 metres high.
Tours in Morocco
If you feel more comfortable in a group for either part of your trip or the whole duration, G Adventures is a responsible tour company which mainly caters towards budget travellers. Most tours have an average of 12 people and there is no upper age limit. Once you book your trip you pay extra for any excursions you want to do when you’re there.
G Adventures – G Adventures trips to Morocco range from a 5 day coastal Morocco: waves and waterfall adventure seeing Marrakech, Essaouira, Taghazout, and Paradise Valley, a 7 day Moroccan desert adventure through river canyons, to a 17 days Morocco adventure seeing the best of the country’s culture and colour. There are plenty of adventures in Morocco whether you have a week or two weeks to travel. I have personally used G Adventures and recommend them as a solo female friendly company.
Intrepid Travel – Intrepid Travel is similar to G Adventures with an average of 12 people on each tour. They tend to use hotels instead of hostels and have a more comfortable style of accommodation hence the trips can appear a bit more costly than G Adventures. Their trips are carbon offset and their Intrepid Morocco trips range from a 7 day Mount Toubkal trek, a 7 day Morocco: hike, bike and horse ride adventure, to a 15 day Best of Morocco especially for solo travellers. With both tour companies you share a room with someone of the same gender or you can pay extra for your own room.
Day Tours – Get Your Guide helps you to find top-rated activities and day tours in worldwide destinations including Morocco. Choose from a Marrakech quad bike experience in the desert, a guided tour of Fez medina, a day tour to Chefchaouen; the Blue Town, or a trip to Berber villages in the Atlas Mountains. There are many to choose from and it’s really simple to use. Just check the reviews, price and availability then book online.
Accommodation in Morocco
While you can find western hotels, staying in a riad is always a different and usually cheaper option. Riads are old palace-houses of traditional architecture, restored and converted into hotels with 5 or 6 rooms, distributed over a few floors and around an open-air garden or inner courtyard. They usually have an adapted terrace on their roof, where you can enjoy a good meal or breakfast with a view of the city and witness a sunrise or sunset too.
Bear in mind that there are riads for all budgets, so their price will vary according to the services they offer. Many of them have a swimming pool, sauna, lounges and other services in case you are looking for more comfort. Staying in a Riad with traditional surroundings and courtyard is a unique Moroccan experience and a welcome oasis within the busy streets.
Getting Around Morocco
There is a good bus network in Morocco but depending on the destination that you’re travelling to, you may be travelling through mountain passes so expect a few windy (curves) turns.
The bus stations can be quite hectic as there are usually several bus operators travelling to the same destination. As you enter the bus station just look for the name of where you are travelling to on the desks, then go to that desk and check the times of departure. If the first desk doesn’t have a convenient time, there may be another desk that does so look around. You usually buy your ticket at the desk then hand it to the bus driver. You can buy a ticket to come back from the other destination if you’re not sure when you’re heading back. You may have to pay extra for your luggage too.
If you prefer more comfort than one of the cheap local buses with broken seats and no air con, look for the companies: CTM, or Supratours. Supratours have fewer seats and more legroom and even soundproofing! Check their timetables here. CTM are just as good and they even have their own app. Make sure you pack a cardigan in case the air con is too cold. This is their direct website
The buses can take you all over the country, to Casablanca, Fes, Rabat and Tangier. The bus from Marrakech to Ouarzazate takes approximately 4.30 hours. But if you’re travelling on a budget and want to interact with the locals on an authentic bumpy bus journey, opt for the cheaper buses.
One trick that locals do to get a tip is to approach you as you enter the bus station then ask where you’re going so that they can get a tip for taking you to the correct desk. If you need this, then go for it, but you can probably find the desk by yourself.
If you don’t want to sit on a bus, there is a train network that will take you to the bigger cities. You can travel from Tangier down to Marrakech or from Oujda to Marrakech. You can also travel on a sleeper train in comfort class from Casablanca to Oujda or Nador, Marrakesh to Tangier, or Tangier to Oujda. You’ll receive a welcome kit of water and toiletries when you book your single compartment. Check timetable for trains here
If you are short on time, Royal Air Maroc offer domestic flights but as there hub is Casablanca, you generally have to change planes here for each flight so it can be easier and more scenic to take a train or bus.
If you take a taxi in Morocco expect the driver to pull over and pick someone else up. There are different taxis depending on where you are going to. A ‘petite taxi’ for example can’t take you outside of the city, but a ‘grand’ taxi can, as well as taking you between cities. The difference is the size. Make sure you ask the fare before you get in or ask if they can turn the meter on.
Renting a car is only for the confident drivers or if you are spending time in the south of the country where buses aren’t that regular. Lack of indicating and other drivers overtaking and taking risks means that there are accidents so just be extra vigilant on the roads. If you don’t feel that confident driving, you can always hire a driver to take you around through a local car company. * Check prices for car rental in Morocco
Plan a Trip To Morocco
If you are planning a trip to Morocco, below are useful links to visa requirements, vaccinations and airlines which fly there.
Budget – £35 / US $45 a day (staying in hostels)
Capital – Rabat
Population – 36.03 million
Language spoken – Arabic
Local Currency – Moroccan dirham
Do I need a visa? You can stay in Morocco on a British passport for up to 3 months.
Lingo – Useful Moroccan Arabic phrases
The Best Time to Go – April and May for Marrakech
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