Is It Safe for Women to Travel to Morocco?

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With a bad reputation for misogyny and reports of sexual harassment, how unsafe is it for women to travel in Morocco? What you need to know before you go.


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Morocco is a fascinatingly diverse country, with a range of landscapes, customs and attitudes. Morocco is a Muslim country and Islamic laws and customs are followed. Don't cause offense through your actions or dress, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or when visiting religious areas. Morocco is a safe country for women travelers, however, those traveling alone should exercise caution as they could be vulnerable to unwanted attention or harassment by men. Always be wary of any relationships initiated online as there have been incidents of marriage fraud and extortion attempts against foreign nationals. 

If you'd like to avoid being an object of curiosity, traveling with a man or kids will help, as will wearing a wedding ring (fake if necessary). Or you can just say you are married. Many women travelers say wearing sunglasses can also help avoid eye contact.

If you're hassled, walk into a shop or restaurant and ask for help. If you're groped, or you're receiving unwanted persistent attention, make a fuss and show your disgust, locals (especially women) will come to your aid.

Note that marriage proposals are very frequent in Morocco, but they are almost always a throwaway line, kind of the equivalent of “you look nice in that outfit” in the west. A smile and “no thanks” are almost always received with a corresponding smile.  

Avoid public displays of affection, particularly away from the main tourist areas and near religious places.

Sex outside marriage is punishable by law. Staff at hotels may ask couples to show evidence of marriage at check-in, and if such evidence is not available, insist on separate rooms.

Homosexuality is a criminal offense in Morocco. Complaints can lead to prosecution. 

Attitudes towards women are improving, but it pays to stay aware and use some common sense. Here are our top tips for women traveling through Morocco.

Conservative dress is best

Morocco is still a very conservative country, and many women walk around with their hair covered. It's a good idea to dress in loose-fitting clothes which cover your arms, legs and chest – skimpy tops, shorts and revealing clothing will not be appreciated by the locals. Always carry a scarf to cover your head at religious sites and to help you blend in and avoid unwanted attention.

When it comes to swimwear,  bikinis are OK on private beaches and be led by what others are wearing in hotel pools. Sunbathing topless on the beach or by the pool is never appropriate in Morocco.

Trouble spots to avoid in Morocco

Morocco has many historic sights and fascinating souks. Plan your day before you go out, and do your best to get a sense of direction. Keep an eye on landmarks rather than shops which change in appearance markedly when they close the doors at night. Regardless of where you are traveling, always walk with a sense of purpose. If you look lost, you're more likely to be a target for being hassled or crime.

Just as you would in any other big city or remote area, be aware of your surroundings at all times. Don't accept drinks from strangers, and never leave your drink unattended.

Visiting the Jemaa el-Fnna in Marrakesh at dusk is fascinating, and many locals are out and about enjoying the cool evening. Stick to places where the families are, and you should feel safe in the surrounding streets until about 11pm.  The biggest risk here is having someone put a monkey on your shoulder and demand money for a photo.

If traveling on public transport, sit with other women or families. Avoid remote and mountainous areas which remain dangerous, especially for women traveling alone.

Research and check reviews from other women travelers on safe places to stay, especially where you can lock the door to your room securely. Travel with a simple door stop which is handy to prevent access from an intruder and takes up very little room in your luggage.

Meeting local women in Morocco

Traveling alone brings many benefits, and one of them is meeting local women who will provide a glimpse into their daily lives. But, most local women remain in the family home, and it can be difficult to make contact.

Taking a cooking class that includes a trip to the markets to shop for ingredients, and cooking alongside a traditional Moroccan dada (women cooks who share their culinary know-how, from generation to generation) is an excellent way to experience local culture and meet local women.

Search for women guides in the main towns who can take you around the souks and medinas and explain a little more about their way of life.

Visit a hammam or traditional bath on ladies' day. You'll see a whole other side to daily life in Morocco. Note, while the women may go naked, men never do.

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  • mich said

    i am planning to go to morocco for a weeks holiday with my 11 year old daughter in the morning, is morocco a safe country to visit at the moment, i can see things changing quite quickly on the news and am obviously very worried about our safety if it escalates or turns violent

  • Laura said

    This country is unsafe and disrespectful to women. A place where women have no voice is not a place you want to travel or give your money to so that they can perpetuate the same.
    No beauty is worth the safety. As to beauty ... The so famous square smells of urine, there are beggars everywhere following you and asking for money and the food is unsanitary. Don't eat salads or veggies -they are stale. Don't eat in the square either, you'll be bloated at best. If you do decide to visit, stay in Marakech but not in the old city, go to the new city that is cleaner and has westernized restaurants.
    The standards are really low so a "luxiourious" stay means many no ants in your room. That doesn't mean you will get room service and the included breakfast will be very Spartan. Also no alcohol.

    I just travelled there in June 2016 and my assessment is : not worth the time and money, definitely not a luxurious vacation and I have been stressed and angry the entire time.Marrakech is very polluted, smells of urine and it NOT safe especially for solo women even if conservatively dressed. I STRONGLY recommend that you do NOT travel here.

  • Mouad said

    Yes i agree im from morocco they will cheat you , because you dont have friend help you morocco is not like spain or tueky north africa is otherthing you need someone next to you for make a vocation in morocco and im sorry for you

  • Hola said

    Would you recomend travelling to morocco to a female underaged? She has a very good friend from there and if she finally does go she would spend the entire time with her. I'm a little worried but maybe having a friend who knows what they should a shouldn't do to be safe may help.

  • Concerned mom said

    My 20 year old daughter and her female friend want to travel there, I'm not too sure it's a safe place for two young beautiful girls to go to and have to endure male harassment...

  • 20 year old traveler said

    Hi! I'm reading all the comments and your post was very informative. Just wondering, is it a safe place to go? My gal pal and I are thinking about going in March for 5 days. We are 20 years old and females. We're from New York City and we are aware of our surroundings and the creepy men here in NYC but I know that the cultures are very different but I feel common sense and planning out your day it is doable for 2 young girls? Anyone agree or no? Also anyone have an itinerary for Morocco?

  • Rachel said

    Hi! I travelled there as a teenager with my mum and sister. We did get hasselled but we were prepared, so it did not ruin our trip. It was overall a really lovely experience.

    My sister returned after graduating from University to go travelling with one of her female friends. They had enough of being bothered so wore outfits like the local women and they said it completely transformed their experience. They loved their adventure and travelled around Morrocco for a whole month.

  • Jo said

    I am looking to train for 2022 Marathon des Sables in the South Sahara Dessert next year in 2018 to start acclimatising to the 50 degree heat. Please let me know it is safe for me and I have compass and camera that I will take with me. I will be staying in hotel with the same area as well.

  • C.Swan said

    It was so obvious that this was written by a man before I ever got to the by-line but the victim blaming BS was disgusting. No one is "asking for it"; the author's internalized misogyny is showing to say nothing of his arrogance at thinking he is the person best suited to write an article about being a woman traveling alone.

  • Brittany said

    I traveled to Marrakech earlier this year and find this article, as well as some of the comments, outrageous. I stayed in the Medina (old city) and could not have asked for a better experience. I stayed in two different airBnB's run by locals and felt perfectly safe the entire time. As with anywhere, use common sense; don't follow anyone down alleys for drugs or 'deals', don't join large impromptu gatherings, and don't get into vehicles that are not clearly marked taxis.
    This article perpetuates harmful stereotypes of 'non-Western' cultures at the same time takes part in victim blaming. As a site that aims to encourages an open mind I expected more.

  • barbara mccabe said

    I traveled to Morocco as a solo woman traveler at age 38 for almost 3 weeks. I took the train to Marrakech, the bus to the desert, and local transport to Fez and the Atlas mountains. I had a wonderful time and I think Morocco is a sultry and romantic location even if I was solo while there. I agree that woman get a lot of attention, and Morrocan women are essentially hidden from view, but I did not have any bad experiences in the towns or desert. I did do a three hour solo hike in the mountains which I would not do again without company or a guide, as I was approached by a male who wanted sex, and I think it was my prayers that saved me! If you dress appropriately, plan ahead, have your destinations researched and booked, it is a wonderful country to travel to and different than any I had thus far visited. I hope to go back again someday with my husband. The desert is absolutely magical and the sights, sounds, and smells are the fabric of an unforgettable experience. It was 10 years ago so I am not sure how things have changed since then.

  • Natasha said

    I just returned from there yesterday and am disappointed to report that I don't believe most women should be traveling there alone or at a young age. This was my 34th country visited, many of them pretty rough spots, and this was in the top 3 for ongoing harassment and a general roll of the dice on whether that turns to outright danger, REGARDLESS of what you wear. For instance, one night when I knew exactly where I was going to get to my riad, and was fully covered head to toe, I turned the last corner, and the porch light was off. In the 3 seconds it took to turn on the flashlight app on my phone to see the keyhole, I had a large man upon me, molesting me forcefully and had to hit him and push him. Could this happen anywhere? Of course. But it's way more apt to happen in a place where they disrespect and harass women, which sets the stage.

    In places like this, it's just pure chance whether you land in the 50% who don't have bad things happen or the 50% that do, so NO young or inexperienced lone female travelers, please. It's not worth it.

    In addition, in the large cities, basically no one will ever do anything just to be helpful or nice (your hotel proprietor or tour operator do not count). People expect to get paid for saying you're near a landmark, or even saying you should go to a landmark you're already heading to and/or standing in front of already. Normal conversation:
    "Do you know where I can buy water?"
    "Across the street there. Give me some money for helping you. Yes!!! Give me money. You're not giving me money? You're a whore. I wasted my precious time telling you the water was there."

    When things like this are in play, I measure a country by whether the sights you see or spirituality you experience are worth the trade-off. Sadly, Morocco does not make the cut.

    2 thumbs down.

  • Tachael said

    I visited and was fortunate enough to have a friend's family I could stay with.

    I am female and was 26 or so at the time. Due to my very pale redhead complexion, it was not possible for me to blend in. I had a male escort (my friend) everywhere I wanted to go. The only place I ever went alone was to the corner shop at mid day. I tried to take the same trip after dark and that was a mistake. I immediately had two young man following me and making harassing sounds.

    The family I stayed with was kind and courteous and cooked me meals every day. The father was warm and welcoming. They were very kind.

    The worst I know of: The youngest of the siblings was a 16-year-old girl, and she had been robbed twice at knife point on her way to school by some young neighborhood thug wannabes.

    The best: there is a beautiful and warm custom in this country that if a stranger is traveling and they're thirsty, they can stop anywhere and ask for a drink of water. One day, I went downstairs because the bell was buzzing and two ladies were at the door, asking for drinks of water. I think it speaks of a very warm and hospital place where this is a traditional custom.

    Bottom line – no, I would not go there as a young female by myself, especially if you're not able to blend in. But you should be able to hire a guide for not too much to travel around with you - just pick an honest one from a good family.

    Just think of Morocco like you know some good people who live in the tourist part of town with a few opportunist crooks ( there are perfectly safe, beautiful areas of Morocco with good people all over – please don't get me wrong. But this is your safety we're talking about so it pays to be careful) Don't do anything you would not do at home in a bad neighborhood.

    And the women yes are usually very kind and supportive of each other. Other women watched out for me everywhere I went even though they didn't know me. They are a wonderful people.

  • V said

    Written from the perspective of a 23 year old woman who has travelled through Morocco, solo, on several occasions...

    I adhere to cultural norms when I choose my outfits, expect respect, and am very willing to tell off or lecture a man twice my age who decides to treat me in a way he wouldn't treat a local.

    Outfits: Just as I wouldn't walk through a mall in a bikini, I won't venture through the streets with less than: 3/4th sleeves (or longer), tunic length shirts (long enough to add another level of clothing over the butt-- not needed if you are wearing loose fitting trousers or a loose skirt), and pants/trousers/jeans that reach the ankles. This isn't about victim blaming-- it's about respecting tg e culture you've come to, rather than trying to transplant your country's ideals. If I'm showing most of my arms, some of my legs, any of my back/stomach/shoulders, or if I am wearing a very tightfitting outfit, I am no longer blending in, or showing locals that I respect their culture.
    (This is perhaps a good moment to mention, I don't wear a head covering, especially in big cities-- but I have dark hair. A blonde friend of mine found that occasionally wearing a head covering helped her not stick out so much.) I'd, however, avoid a shapeless, nun-worthy look. Locals go for cute looks too-- I just look at what most of my generation is wear I (locals, not tourists) and adopt what's in style to blend in.
    Also: leather shoes. They can match your outfits, are sold in medians, and are traditional-- and they are so comfortable! Bad for foot support, great for adopting the local look. (Thete are some really cute local jalabas (dresses with hood) which are always fun-- it might be worth buying one.

    Expect respect: I find out what is normal or not normal treatment of women in the culture (keeping an open mind, as different cultures show respect in different ways), and I am prepared with a four-minute lecture and cries of disbelief if anyone steps out of line. Banter is commen once engaged in conversation, but if a man starts following me, the guy fixing my phone gets my number, or if a man so much as grabs my arm, I am ready to do what their mother would surely want done, and I lecture them on what is and is not appropriate in a loud voice, so anyone within earshot is informed of their behavior. Shaming is a powerful tool-- if someone does something truly innapropriate, such as physically restricting my movement or coMing to me with a crowd of guys, or suggesting we have sex, I have no problem shouting the word "shame!" in Arabic, with total disgust, for all to hear.
    Don't be malicious or hateful, but aggression is totally okay. If local women wouldn't put up with it, why should I?

    Common sense for female travelers: find a hotel with a reputation for professionalism, in an area with a lot of foot traffic, away from the main touristy area. Stay close to thr women-- if she looks the mother of teenagers, she may step into the motherly role with you. If there's a train car with all men and one empty seat, and a train car full of women, go with the women. Stay near the females of a family. Don't give your number out to anyone who is working. Make a local friend. Explore places with less tourists, but high foot traffic. If someone's hassling you, step into a shop. Don't take local busses when it's dark. (Long rides are .) Explore local marketplaces. Help mothers, smile at children, but if a man isn't on the job or required to speak to you, it's totally acceptable to avoid eye contact-- there are plenty of colorful things to look at instead.
    Find a secure place to leave your passport -- and always have copies o f important documents. Be open to changes in your plans. Be careful at ATMs. Expect to be pickpocketed in Jemma Elf Na. If prices aren't written down, haggle, perhaps starting at 1/3 the price you are first told. Lighthearted insults are acceptable when haggling ("Your price I ridiculous," "You are cheating me" "Yhis is a horrible price.
    Take recyclable bags when shopping-- locals use ones you can get at Carrefour -- it will be worth it, because it doesn't shout "tourist!"
    Try to get a seat at the front of the bus. Taxis are safe. Local busses can get so crowded, you're exchanging sweat with four other women. Don't go to cafes where no local women are sitting down with a drink. Segregation is out of consideration for a woman's safety and comfort-- embrace it. If you're sitting on a local bus, and a man wants to sit next to you, he may suggest you move so he can sit next to the window. This is because he doesn't want you to feel uncomfortable or corned--I'd thank him for his thoughtfulness, go along with it, then promptly ignore him once we are both seated. A man may switch spots in a taxi, so that women sit together, or so you don't have to sit next to a man. Again, embrace it-- he's showing respect.

    Cultures are a beautiful part of the world's diversity-- embrace the place you're visiting, and don't let fear of the unknown stop you. Different norms aren't bad norms-- you just have to take the time to learn. And Morocco is too amazing a country to miss-- go, enjoy, and be safe !

  • Amy said

    I travelled to Morocco about five years ago and drove around the entire country in a rental car for two weeks. It was a fantastic journey, especially the Atlas Mountians, Merzouga, Air Ben Haddou and Marrakesh.

    We met and had tea with A Tuareg family and found most people helpful and very friendly.

    Of course, just like anywhere else, there are shopkeepers an peddled who will try to rip you off, police men who take bribes (we got out of a traffic violation with one) and for women, yes some of the men are a little too friendly. These things are just as common in Sicily, Athens, or India... if you can't or feel uncomfortable handling a bit of these things then you may have a tough time here.

    Definitely dress conservatively as a woman, wear sunglasses, and perhaps a headscarf (not necessary or required, but you blend in more and attract less attention as a westerner), don't be overly friendly and walk / move with purpose. If you stop and look confused or lost (especially in a market place, you become a target for all kinds of propositions.

    It's fine to visit morocco as a woman, even alone although unfortunatel, I do think you would have an easier time of it and be able to worry less if you had a male traveling companion.

  • Kenza said

    This article is very misleading. Morocco is not a very conservative country! It has its traditions but doesn't fall in that category by any means. Yes you should be wary of what you are wearing but you don't have to wear a scarf if you don't want to. You would get unwanted attention dressing skimpy in most places in the world anyway. Not that I am against it everyone has their own style.

    Obviously one would be more conservative if they visit a mosque. Morocco might be a predominately Muslim country but it's still very liberal and openminded.

    I have many female friends who visited morocco by themselves and didn't have any problems. They said they would even return. Morocco is a beautiful country with lots of traditions and very hospitable friendly people. There's lots to do from the energetic souls and markets in Marrakech to snowy ski resorts and forests in the North. Please don't be mislead by this .

  • Anas said

    Morocco, we can not judge it from a situation did happen to someone, guys i have been working with touristes 10 years ago, those crazy expériences are getting less everyday!

    Girls or womens they should not be worry to plan for a holiday in Morocco, what i have advice with is to have a plan where you want to go, avoid those bis cities like Casabanca, Rabat... Marrakesh is really enough for a half day because most of the locals are more to sell and money but if you ignore them, they will give you your peace and they may follow you to try to sell you something but is not at all dangerous.

    Essaouira is a small and windy place, most of the people are chilled and open-minded, some of those locals they may try to sel you in them shops/souvenirs...but if the price is not showed in a cart, try to ask for a good friendly price!! ;)

    i'm from Morocco and i have bee living in many places worldwide and i feel sorry about what some people think about Morocco!

    Travel and enjoy it, Morocco has a big braight side <3


  • Hanane said

    Hi all,

    I'm Moroccan from Holland and I go to Morocco every year. I never been harassed or anything. But! I go during daylight and never at night! I go to restaurants where families go.

    There are rules to follow. You CANNOT stay late at night, that's asking for trouble and at night you cannot even trust the police. During the day nobody will dare to touch you, except some men brush up to you. The mentality is different towards European woman or western woman. They have this idea that all of you life without god, without respect for your body. since you can have sex before marriage then it's okay to have it with you. However, it should be consensual (sorry for my English, it's not my native language). Good woman in there opinion don't wander around at night and if you do, you are asking for it.

    About asking help, during the day ask help from women or men. They will all help you. Calling names and swearing about how Moroccans are animals or anything like that. They will not help you because they might feel offended. Respect is a big thing there.

    As a Moroccan girl, my family is from the city and I went for my foundation to help children in the mountains to get better education. I have never been more scared in my life. There was a flood and I got stuck with my taxidriver. All of a sudden he was suggesting to stay at his friends house until this was over. If I would have went, I would have been raped for sure. My safest place was to got to the mosque and stay there. Not approach police or anybody during times of chaos. You don't know if he will use this moment to do whatever he likes. I stayed there until it cleared up the next day.

    Honestly, not knowing this county and how to act etc. I would not advise to go alone. Go as a group. I went with 2 - 3 girl friends on a holiday and nothing happend but only fun but I know Morocco better than you since I'm Moroccan. And even I don't know it well enough because I life in Holland and was born there. I only visit Morocco once a year and I can tell you. Poverty can make people do crazy and scary things. Also if you have never travelled to a country which is completely different from your own culture please don't go. Try India first or something, actually they are worse maybe another one.

    Moroccans are nice and very welcoming. There is always a group that is dangerous, that respects nobody. Moroccan or not, veil or not. They just don't care. Those are the ones you should be afraid of. A big part of the Moroccans will treat you with respect no matter where are you from and they will be happy that you are visiting they country.

    Be respectful and kind and expect the same. Never treat them as if they are less and poor, you will be treated much worse. I have experienced people that act as if Moroccans are idiots and coming from the West you know more and are more intelligent. That's idiotic and is the ingredient to a horrible holiday.

    Never give beggars money, the Koran even says that if you have the strength to work, you should. This only strengthens this way of living. except if you know a family is poor and you have met them, that's different. If beggars keep hassling you, say no and ignore. If that doesn't help then say walk with me to the police. They are afraid of the police. The king of Morocco said that nobody may harass tourists. The police will really arrest them.

    Like I said before the police during the day are trustworthy but at night you don't know who you will meet. You could meet a policemen that is corrupt, bad person.

    Never following people that want to show you anything, get rid of them.

    Finally, I would suggest to visit Rabat. It's actually less touristy than Marrakech but cleaner and people are more polite and its more safe in my opinion during the day and at night until around 20:00 o'clock.

    Have fun, it's a beautiful country but please don't go alone.


  • Valerie said

    I would travel with friends or family in the cities - it's just easier and you get hassled less, particular at night. In the more remote areas, I think it's good to travel with a man/guide. I went with my children 12 and 14 - single mom with son and daughter. We enjoyed Fes and Marrakech on our own. In the Sahara, Atlas Mountains - we traveled with a driver and tour guide, booked through an agency.

  • Kiki said

    Very confusing and I imagine that's just because people have such varied experiences and not everyone is writing about the same places. Solo women travelers, tips on cities you visited in Morocco that you would say were the safest/ most hassle free for your journey? Thanks. :-)

  • imane said

    I am from Morocco and i travel me and my sister alone all the time, Morocco is a safe country if you know where to go and when to go and what to wear.If you go to a country you should read about it culture and notice when you are there people's attitude to follow .as i said i travel me and my sister and we never had a problem because we are from the country and we now the's okey for a woman to travel alone to morocco but you should respect the culture and go to touristic cities where people are familiar with foreigners.

  • Alex Jons said

    My experience based on one month backpacking in 2015, incl. about 3 weeks of cycling (Agadir/Tiznit/Marrakech/Ouarzazate and everything in between). If you just visit the tourist spots your only problems will be fending off unwanted sellers. As a woman you may also have to deal with unwanted flirtation. In fact even as a guy this can be a problem, as it's not uncommon for young Moroccan men to prostitute themselves to foreigners. In these cities though there is little to worry about. In Essaouira, which is very popular with tourists, an old man pulled a revolver on me as I left the walled centre but I think it was a joke. I literally just ignored him and dove into the crowd of people that were all around.

    I bought an old bicycle in Agadir and cycled to Marrakech by way of Tiznit and then after to Ouarzazate. This took me to many out of the way villages and small towns. I was threatened in some of them. In one I almost had a huge rock thrown against my head, but a man was able to stop the youth. In general I would not suggest travelling Morocco alone if you plan to stray from the main cities and sites. Even with a partner I would be very wary of venturing into small rural communities, which otherwise do not see visitors. Some roads you may see one or two cars in a day. Very often locals made their feelings clear to me. I felt very vulnerable when wild camping. This was a very different experience than I have mostly been used to when travelling. In one village I was invited to spend the night at a house, which was very nice. The host and his son were very welcoming, but this was the only such interaction in the time i was there.

    I would say Morocco is a country where there is tremendous inequality and the majority of people have not benefited from tourism and there is much dissatisfaction. This leads to not a small amount of resentment and, yes, in some cases, it is dangerous.

    Essaouira is a very pretty city and I met some locals and went clubbing with them lol, it was ok, no scam. Most relaxed city was Rabat actually. Nice people, but a little boring there. There are plenty of smaller cities with amazing architecture. You really need your own car to explore this country.

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