Sahara desert in Morocco

Top Tips for Solo Female Travel in Morocco

I spent a whirlwind 11 days in Morocco, traveling partly solo.

By this, I mean that I arrived in Morocco with a friend, but since we have wildly different ideas about budgets, we ended up staying in different places and exploring much of Morocco alone.

So my experience was about 50% solo female travel, 50% with another female friend.

We started in Marrakech, made our way through the Atlas Mountains towards the Sahara desert, ended up in Fes, then Chefchaouen, then Tangier.

It was too much, too fast: the theme of my first month of this traveling life. That said, I suffer from serious FOMO, so I’m glad I got to experience as much of Morocco as I did – even if there were some negative parts.

Since I think nothing ruins a trip like misguided expectations, I’m going to share with you the highs and lows of my 11 days traveling through Morocco as a semi-solo female traveler.


 To be quite honest, I didn’t find the street harassment as awful as I expected in Morocco. That said, it wasn’t all roses, either.

I experienced quite a few people complimenting or asking me a string of questions as I passed, but very few people seemed peeved if I didn’t respond.

Depending on my mood and how many people I had encountered already, sometimes I would respond with a brief nod or quiet hello/bonjour and continue quickly on my way; other times, I ignored them completely.

Neither approach seemed to either better or worsen the situation, so I’m not sure what approach I’d go with in the future; check out this article for more on-the-ground Morocco travel tips.

That being said, I did experience some sexual harassment, namely from some guides on my Sahara desert tour.

Another creepy incident was when a man on a motor bike stopped about six inches from my ear to whisper “I like your skin” with some serious Buffalo Bill vibes. That was quite unpleasant, but I had steeled myself and prepared for these kinds of encounters.

Sahara desert in Morocco

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I’ve experienced far worse street harassment in some of the more dicey parts of New York I’ve lived in, but that’s mostly because I have nine years of experience to draw from as opposed to 11 days.

I wouldn’t extrapolate further than that to say New York is more unsafe or unfriendly to women than Morocco or vice versa.

Here’s the truth: unfortunately, gender-based harassment and violence is endemic throughout the world.

Some areas like Southeast Asia have less, but women must simply always be more mindful and careful than men.

While Morocco did have a high concentration of harassment, it was just not quite as high as I thought. That being said, other female travelers have experienced far worse than I did.

I recommend you read through some solo female traveler posts for a better idea of what you may face, but this is just my counterpoint experience.

Perhaps the situation is better now; perhaps I just got “lucky” – though I hate to think that being harassed but not assaulted is considered a stroke of good fortune.

In the souks, touts will pester you, but they pester nearly everyone. “Where are you from?” is not so much as a come-on as a way of getting you to linger in their shop. I didn’t experience any gender-based harassment in the souks.

However, there were a lot of false guides who could see in my eyes that I was confused about how to get back to the main square and tried to take advantage.

Some shopkeepers even cleverly put up a sign saying “The Big Square,” hoping to confuse ignorant tourists (population: me) into walking past their shops and lingering.

Walking on your way, even if you don’t know where exactly you are going, is the best response. If needed, have Google Maps downloaded offline and use the compass feature to orient yourself towards a familiar destination.

Ignore any touts or “friendly locals” who offer to show you the way through the medina; this never ends well, unfortunately.

Olives in the souks of Marrakech
Enough of a reason to brave the souks
Souks of Marrakech
Sensory overload in the souks

Where to Stay

Even if you’re not normally a hostel person, I would highly recommend staying in a hostel. I didn’t because I was traveling partly with a friend and figured I’d be meeting up with her during the day and nice guesthouses are really cheap, even for just one traveler. Still, I regret not staying in a hostel because nights in Morocco were difficult. To be quite honest, I often went to bed hungry because the thought of fending for myself solo through the web of the medina in search of food just didn’t seem worth the risk or effort. Part of this is my anxiety disorder though, so your experience and tolerance level may differ. Had I stayed in a hostel, I would have found people to walk with more easily and probably have enjoyed myself more.


If you’re a female traveler or travelers and you really want to stay in a guesthouse or hotel, you may want to consider staying outside the medina (old town).

Cab prices in Morocco are quite cheap, and it is a huge peace of mind to be able to have a taxi driver get you right to your doorstep.

That being said, be sure you clearly and firmly agree on a reasonable price before entering the taxi.

You really should not be spending over 50 dirhams ($5 US) to go anywhere within the city, and that’s a high-end estimate based on the fact that you present obviously as a foreigner.

If you stay in the medina, you have two choices: either stumbling around cursing your Google Maps, which only feature big streets and none of the small derbs (alleys) that make up the medina or paying a local to help you find your guesthouse.

This can be stressful and even a bit scary, as you are basically relying on a total stranger to bring you right to your door… which is often down a narrow, deserted alleyway. Again, agree on a price beforehand for smoother sailing.

I found that 10 dirhams ($1 US) was usually enough to make the person guiding me to my riad happy, but I have heard stories of extortionary measures, which is why I recommend settling the price first.

A semi-aerial view of Fes and its hellish-smelling tanneries. Female travelers beware - Fes is a bit dodgy
Fes is a special joy to get around.

How to Dress

I am loathe to include this section because I believe in an ideal world, women should be free to wear whatever they want and walk the streets free of harassment, night or day.

But unfortunately, we are not here yet – not in America, not in Europe, and certainly not in Morocco.

That being said, this is not to say we should ignore and disrespect local customs, just that the consequences should not be sexual harassment and threatening behavior.

Keep in mind that despite Morocco’s history of interaction with the more secular Western world and how it’s been romanticized in Instagram photos as a travel destination for fashionable girls wearing breezy, skimpy clothing, the culture is still quite conservative and patriarchal.

If you want to make life more comfortable for yourself, I would recommend adhering to local customs of dress when it comes to what to wear in Morocco.

I always covered my knees and nearly always kept my shoulders covered (though I let them breathe a little in Chefchaouen, when I hiked to the waterfalls in Akchour).

Girls who wore less clothing were definitely treated differently than I was.

A typical outfit I wore in Morocco - female travelers will experience less trouble if they cover up
A typical outfit I wore in Morocco (normally wouldn’t be flashing so much knee but I was delirious after 12 hours of car time on our Sahara tour)

I also highly recommend wearing sunglasses so that you can avoid eye contact. I also seemed to attract less attention when I wore my hair in a ponytail rather than down.

Blondes are also more likely to get attention, so keep that in mind as well.

I actually experienced much more catcalling when I was walking with my blonde friend than I did walking solo.

So, Should Women Travel Alone in Morocco?

I would never say no, they shouldn’t.

However, to echo many other solo female travelers who have visited this part of the world, I would not recommend it for your first solo travel experience.

If you’re a woman traveling alone,

At this point, I have been to 28 countries, many of them quite patriarchal or conservative, and I have never felt quite as on edge as I did when I was solo in Morocco. Solo female travel in Morocco is possible, it’s just exhausting.

If you want to travel to Morocco alone, I recommend traveling with a women’s only tour – it’s a perfect way to meet other solo female travelers for peace of mind, safety, and a more pleasant experience overall.

That said, Morocco was a dream destination for me for years, and in many ways it lived up to all my wildest dreams, especially camping and camel riding in the Sahara desert (creepy guides notwithstanding).

I loved Chefchaouen, Morocco’s famous Blue City, and Tangier reminded me of San Francisco’s pre-gentrification Tenderloin in a way that I found exciting and oddly comforting.

I also ate one of the best meals I’ve had in recent memory at Saveur de Poisson, which I highly recommend.

If you’re traveling alone, I would recommend sticking to Morocco’s Northern area (Tangier and Chefchaouen – although I’ve heard lovely things about Tetouan as well) and perhaps trying out the coastline.

Essaouira is supposed to be lovely and I wish I had chosen it over Fes, although that would have made traveling north from the Sahara desert difficult.

There was something about Fes that just didn’t feel safe, so I wouldn’t recommend it to an inexperienced solo female traveler.

Be prepared for the chaos of Marrakech if you go as well, and for the love of God, stay far, far away from the monkey photo guys and the henna ladies in Jemaa El-Fna!

I don’t want to end on a negative note, scaring you off from visiting Morocco.

Most people either love it or hate it. I feel both ways.

I loved the beauty of the varied landscapes, the kindness of my riad owners, the gorgeous handicrafts and shopping, the ages-old sense of history imprinted in every city block.

I hated the constant attention and always having to be “on”.

But I want to also represent my experience accurately, because I think I was able to enjoy Morocco as much as I did because I was very mentally prepared for what I was about to experience, and I set reasonable expectations.

Should you go? Ultimately, only you can decide.

Beautiful Akchour just outside Chefchaouen was a much needed change of scenery. Perfect trip for female travelers
Beautiful Akchour just outside Chefchaouen
Atlas mountains in Morocco - great place for female travelers
The stunning Atlas Mountains on the way to the desert.
chefchaouen is a great place for solo female travel in morocco
The enthralling streets of Chefchaouen
Hazy sunrise in the Sahara desert
Hazy sunrise in the Sahara desert

 Have you traveled to Morocco as a female traveler? What were your experiences? If you haven’t been – would you like to go?

More Morocco Travel Resources

I’ve written quite a bit to help you plan the perfect trip to Morocco! First, start with my Morocco travel planning checklist – it walks you through every step of the planning process.

Next, check out my Morocco packing list with specific advice for what women should wear in Morocco.

If you are starting your trip in Marrakech, like most people do, I have a guide to the best riads in Marrakech on any budget, as well as a guide to spending 3 days in Marrakech with recommended tours and outings.


  1. I adore your olive photo!

    I hated talking about dress in Morocco, too–it just feels gross to have to think about it, but I agree that it makes life much easier. I did find myself paying less attention to it as time went on, though: I never uncovered my knees, but my shoulders definitely saw more sun at the end of the trip than the beginning.

    1. Thank you! Yeah, I feel the same. My inner feminist rages against it, as it seems so close to victim blaming… but there’s no denying it made my life easier, so good for people to have the information so they can make their own choices.

  2. Well, we came from different family background and culture and I think the best thing we could do as a traveler is to uphold and respect the culture of every country we visit, anyway, we are just passing so, it would be best if we should follow the old saying: “When in Rome, do as Romans do” 🙂 That being said, we will go a long way.

    By the way, I enjoyed reading your blog.

    1. I agree completely. I only make the point that I don’t like to suggest that what women wear is an invitation for inappropriate behavior. That being said, I do think that out of courtesy and respect, everyone – men and women, though it’s typically more applicable to women – should uphold the customs of dress in the country they’re visiting. Hope I was able to make that clear!

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment and kind words!

  3. I´ve been to Marrakech and Casablanca with my mum and a friend but sometimes I walked alone. It didnt matter if I were alone or with them, the guys acted the same.
    They were flirting, wanted to marry me for 3000 camels, a man touched my ass when he walked close to me… But I never felt unsafe, the men where just slutty not dangerous.

    1. I’m sorry you were touched by someone – how violating. I had a few moments that felt unsafe, but ultimately I was okay. It did color my perception of Morocco a bit, and I will say I’m not rushing to go back to Morocco anytime soon.

  4. Hello, me again 🙂 Your posts are so helpful, thank you! And it’s ironic that the places you went to in Morocco are the exact places I want to go. (Extra helpful). I am thinking I might just pre-book a full tour from here (Australia), it seems much safer (as it will be me and my blonde bestie travelling). And she is quite inexperienced with poorer countries. Though I think I’d like to wing it a bit more in Chefchaouen. And do you think 2 nights in the centre of Chefchaouen then 2 in the hills would be nice? I figure 2 days spent exploring the maze blue city, then 2 relaxing by a pool or hiking the waterfalls?
    How many night did you spend in the other cities? And where do you wish you had gone but didn’t?

    Thanks for all your help. And I’m so sorry you were assulted, I think it’s my greatest fear, travelling to Morocco and being looked at like a block of white chocolate… gross. I’m thinking my Bali sarongs will come in handy for covering up my head and shoulders!

    1. Hi Lucinda, I’m glad this post was helpful. I don’t think the problem is poverty but rather cultural attitudes towards women (especially independent women) that are quite regressive. I’ve traveled to many countries with lower GDPs than Morocco, so money is not the issue but rather the attitude that some men have is. Of course I met plenty of nice men and women as well, but the creeps definitely stand out. Hopefully it will change in time as the country has quite a lot to offer tourists. Dress conservatively but I did as well (even though it was 45C when I was there) and I still got bothered, a lot. So keep that in mind and manage your expectations and hire a local guide when needed, especially in Fes and Marrakech. I felt totally fine in Chefchaouen, it was a real breath of fresh air after Fes which had a weird vibe.

      As for the itinerary, I think 2 nights in Chefchaoen and 2 nights in a resort near the waterfalls would be fabulous! I spent 3 nights in Marrakech, 3 nights on the desert tour, 2 nights in Fes, 2 nights in Chefchaoen and 2 nights in Tangier (OK, but not essential unless you are taking the ferry to Spain). I wish I had made time for Essaoiura, Taghazout or other coastal cities because I’ve heard they’re a little more laid back and chill.

  5. Wonderful blog and advice – thank you! Considering driving from Portugal, across at Gibraltar and down to Marrakesh via Casablanca. First – any ideas or advice on car rentals? Second, traveling with my three kids (21, 19, 12) and my 80 year old mother. Any insights into getting around in Marrakesh for mom with one of those wheelie-walkers?

    1. Hi Anne – sounds like quite a trip! I’ve never driven in either country so I’m not sure, but I doubt you can pick up in Portugal and drop off in Marrakesh. I’d do two separate car rentals. Marrakesh may be a bit difficult with a walker, especially in the medinas as the ground is not so stable and there can be a lot of things in the way. I would recommend hiring a local guide (ask your accommodations to recommend one) and letting them know of your group’s accessibility needs and he/she can create a good itinerary for you.

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