Bustling Marrakech is one of Morocco’s biggest cities, and it’s one full of life and character. Despite what you may think, it’s incredible destination for solo travelers. With its inviting atmosphere, surplus of visitors, and many things to do, don’t think twice about about traveling solo in Marrakech.
Here’s what you need to do to make the most of a solo travel trip to Morocco’s beautiful Marrakech.
For solo trips, I almost always stay in hostels. It acts like a headquarters for meeting other travelers — especially other solo travelers looking to explore the area together. They’re safe, fun, cheap, and in Marrakech most of them are beautiful riads. Check out my hostel in the image above.
Another option for accommodation is Couchsurfing. I’ve never couchsurfed in Morocco, but I’ve met other solo travelers who were staying with someone and had nothing but great things to say. The hosts were friendly, invited you for tea and dinner, and were all around polite.
Most solo travelers want to meet other travelers and locals. Sometimes people misunderstand solo travel as being completely alone, and as you know, this is not true. You’re only as alone as you want to be.
So, if you’re looking to meet people while traveling in Marrakech, you’ll have no problems at all. Start by introducing yourself to the people in your hostel. During breakfast or in the community rooms are great places to start conversation.
Another amazing way to meet other travelers (my personal favorite) is to use Couchsurfing. Couchsurfing now has a section on their app dedicated to meet ups. You don’t have to actually be a host or guest to use it. Just log into the app, go to the “hangouts” section and make yourself available to explore the area. You can join current hangouts, start your own, and message other travelers.
Tip: Keep in mind that you might encounter locals on the app, too. If it’s men seeking out foreign girls, I’m not sure I recommend meeting up with them alone. Plus, I would look through profiles and reviews before meeting anyone.
My last tip for meeting people while traveling solo in Marrakech, especially if you want to organically meet locals, is to talk to the salesmen in the souks and on the streets. If they strike up conversation, interact, engage, learn. I spent 2 hours in a spice and beauty shop talking to locals, learning words in Arabic, making proper tea, and sharing stories about our lives. We became friends and met up several times throughout my time in Marrakech.
What to wear in Marrakech
When visiting Morocco, it’s polite to dress culturally and religiously appropriate. Morocco is a predominately Islamic country, and as a result women don’t show a lot of skin. They wear long-sleeved robes called kaftans that go down to their ankles or feet. This is commonly accompanied with a headscarf or niqab, but not always. Other women might wear long sleeved Moroccan tops and long flowy pants.
As a female traveler, you certainly don’t have to wear a scarf or kaftan, but you should wear longer skirts that go to your knees or below. You shouldn’t wear shirts that are too low cut either. With Morocco’s hot sun, thin scarves and modest linen tops and flowy pants will go a long way in keeping your body cool and protected.
Things to do
There’s plenty of things to do in Marrakech for solo travelers. From wandering the souks to having a spa day, it’s easy to explore the city solo.
Go for a hammam
Locals and visitors alike go mad for a hammam. It’s part of many Moroccan’s daily life. If you don’t know, a Moroccan hammam has two types: public and luxury. Public hammams are steam rooms where locals go to wash themselves. They enter and receive a bucket, mat, and exfoliating gloves. Men, women, and children all participate. They are divided for men and women to bathe separately. In Islamic culture women are typically fully covered in public, but at hammams they’re fully naked while spending hours chatting away with their friends.
Private hammams at a spa or hotel is a bit of a different experience. You change into a robe and paper underwear, have some tea, and then enter a steam room where you’ll get fully naked. A woman will rinse your body, rub you down with your soap of choice, and leave you to steam for a little bit. The woman returns with exfoliating gloves where she exfoliates your skin from the neck down. You’ll see your dead skin rolling up into little lines as the woman reveals your fresh layer of healthy skin.
Then, you’ll have your hair washed and then she’ll apply a black clay soap to your body and leave you again to steam. Finally, she’ll come back, rinse you off, and send you off to have more tea while you wait to either change clothes or proceed to a massage.
For some it may seem strange to get naked in front of stranger and have her scrub your body, but it’s a normal thing in Moroccan culture and absolutely worth it. Your skin will feel so soft and beautiful for weeks. Plus, it’s not very expensive. I paid 290 MAD for my hammam at Heritage Spa and I can’t speak highly enough about the professionalism and kindness of their staff.
Have tea and people watch
Sit at one of the restaurants or cafes in the big square Jemaa el-Fna and have a pot of fresh Moroccan mint tea and just enjoy the chaos before you. I do this regularly every time I come to Marrakech. It’s a great way to unwind and be a step away from the all the people who would be trying to get your attention.
Take a day trip
If you’re based in Marrakech for several days, take a day trip with one of many tour operators in Marrakech. You’ll easily find promoters on the streets selling tours to the Ouzoud Falls, Ourika Valley, Atlas Mountains, and Ouarzazate to name a few. You’ll join a group of other travelers for these so it’s a great way to meet other travelers, too.
Bonus: these trips are so cheap. Usually you’ll pay less than 250 MAD. Don’t forget to haggle the price!
Eat local food
The big square Jemaa el-Fna, comes alive at night with a vibrant atmosphere filled with the smells of mint tea, roasted veggies, and couscous. Walking through the stalls, you’ll be stopped by promoters convincing you to come eat at their stall. Each is essentially the same. #1 and #26 were great experiences for me, though.
The food is extremely cheap, delicious and filling. The stalls have tea, juice, couscous, tajine, and assortments of roasted veggies among other things.
Visit the Bahia Palace
The Bahia Palace is a gorgeous palace in Marrakech boasting Moroccan tiles, beautiful architecture, and a stunning courtyard. The whole place is very minimalistic and a beautiful place to experience traditional Moroccan architecture.
Visit Le Jardin Majorelle
Located a little over 30 minutes walking from Jemaa el-Fna, Le Jardin Majorelle is a miraculous shady garden full of hundreds of plant species and hints of blue and yellow decor and traditional Moroccan architecture. You can spend hours wandering the different sections and scoping out all the types of cacti and other plants.
Wander around and shop
Part of the charm of a solo travel trip to Marrakech is wandering around the city. Explore the souks, scout out all the dreamy doors, and feed the cats on the streets. Spend hours shopping for natural cosmetics, tea pots, and whatever your Moroccan heart may desire. The beautiful thing about traveling in Morocco is that your money is almost always going into the hands of the locals instead of big business, so be a conscious traveler and support the locals by purchasing something during your trip.
Originally published at http://thespiritedexplorer.com on June 26, 2019.