Is Morocco Safe For Women? Honest Answer + Tips!

While I think Morocco is generally a safe country to visit, when I say “safe” I mean safe from physical assault – not stares, harassment, catcalls, flirty taxi drivers, and neverending aggressive salesmen stopping you on the street to sell you something 😅.

I have spent over 3 months in Morocco in the past three years and I have a love/hate relationship with traveling the country as a woman. Yes, Morocco is a fantastic culturally rich destination with stunning landscapes and an interesting history, BUT … I’m not gonna lie, it’s a difficult country for female travelers. 

13 Safety Tips For Women Traveling To Morocco

1. Really Think If You Want To Solo Travel In Morocco

I have both solo traveled Morocco and traveled the country with friends, and let me say that some of the more difficult situations I encountered while traveling turn into funny ones if you have at least one person there to laugh with you. For example – I was walking the Old Medina in Marrakech and got stopped by a tout asking me where I was going. I don’t know what possessed me, I think because I had been in Marrakech for two weeks at that point so I knew the tout couldn’t get me confused and turned around – but I told him “I’m going to go buy the cats some food”. <- BIG MISTAKE!

The guy started walking ahead of me and pointing and gesturing at the stall I was already going to. Once I was there he made a big show of pointing at the things I was purchasing, and repeating the amount the vendor told me several times loudly. After, I tried to walk away (the guy had done nothing for me but follow me around, point, and shout), but the tout demanded payment. 

I said no, firmly (“La” = no in Arabic). 

Afterward, he was enraged and followed me around SCREAMING for twenty minutes “F*ck you, fat woman!). 

(YES. This REALLY Happened!) 

No one believes how terrible the harassment for female travelers (unaccompanied by men) can be in cities like Marrakech and Fes until they experience it for themselves – Believe me, when I say, this was just another day in the Medina! 

Moroccan Souk Stall selling all kinds of spices and textiles, dried flowers, plants, and herbs.
Moroccan Souk Stall (Photo by zakariae daoui on Unsplash)

2. Consider Traveling With A Male Companion (If It’s An Option)

I know, not very “rah, girl-power!” of me to say, but if you have the option of bringing a male friend or relative with you on your trip to Morocco, trust me when I say you will simply have an easier time. Now, easier time doesn’t always equal better time – but if you’re constantly on your guard, it’s harder to enjoy the country! 

On my first trip to Marrakech with my childhood best friend we were getting hassled constantly by the vendors in the souks and in Jemaa el Fna square in Marrakech. Sometimes the vendors would even grab my arm and physically drag me to look at their wares! We did a weekend trip to the mountainous village of Imlil at the end of our vacation which was a welcome breath of calm after the incessant harassment in Marrakech. 

Sipping tea in a guest house after dinner, we struck up a conversation with a husband and wife who had also just traveled from Marrakech. I found myself telling the wife from the couple all the crazy harassment we had been experiencing, and how it made it hard to enjoy the city – and she had experienced NONE of it! Absolutely no catcalls, no vendors physically dragging her into their stalls – Basically, no one bothered her in Marrakech because she was with her husband. Needless to say, she left with a better impression of the city than we did! 

While I don’t think it’s necessary to visit Morocco with a man, if you have some guy friends who want to come with you it certainly won’t hurt! 

3. Know That It’s Not Typical For Women To Do Things Alone In Morocco 

As a foreigner, you’re automatically going to be exempted from a lot of cultural norms while traveling in any country – but know that for a woman alone to sit at a cafe, go sightseeing, and traveling in general, is extremely out of the ordinary in Morocco. Morocco is similar to many religious conservative countries I’ve traveled in where most of the taxi drivers, waiters, tour guides, salesmen, hotel workers, etc, are all men. 

Because of this, you’ll find yourself interacting with local men in Morocco way more than women. And since it’s not typical for women alone to go hanging out with men in Morocco, it might be difficult for you as a woman to interact with the locals without it being misinterpreted as flirting. 

If you see a cafe with all local guys sitting around sipping Nuss-Nuss (Moroccan Cappucino), it likely won’t be an inviting environment for female travelers. In fact, some coffee shops are (unofficially) male-only. 

👉 Tip: There are a few official gender-segregated spaces in Morocco, most notably certain areas of mosques and Hammams, but if you see a bunch of local guys hanging out somewhere, know that it might be an unofficial male-only space.

Snake charmers in Jemaa el Fna square
Snake charmers in Jemaa el Fna square (Photo by Raúl Cacho Oses on Unsplash)

4. Know About The Touts 

Touts are another name for fake guides that offer “services” (sometimes its directions, sometimes taking your picture) to tourists, but they’re just trying to scam you. The crazy thing is, scamming is basically a tout’s full-time job. In other countries I’ve traveled in there are always tourist scams, but really only in Egypt & Morocco have I encountered “touts” who scam tourists all day, every day. 

Marrakech and Fez have these guys in SPADES, it’s insane. You can’t walk more than 3 minutes in the souks (as a woman, at least) without hearing some question meant to get your attention from a tout – And once you engage, it’s all over.

Example: I’m walking down the streets in the Old Medina in Marrakech and a tout asks me “Hello friend, where are you from?”. I don’t know about you, but it’s my instinct to respond when someone asks me a question!

I tell the tout I’m from America and now, his next question is “Where are you going?” No matter what you tell him, he’ll insist there’s road closures and you’re going the wrong way and you need to come with him so he’ll show you the right way. 

I had a tout do this literally RIGHT in front of my Riad in Marrakech! I could see the sign. 

In the best-case scenario, the tout is just trying to get you turned around so you’ll give him money for being your “guide” through the souks. A lot of the times the touts insist on stopping at stalls along the way where they make sure you get charged a rate 10X too high, and then they split the profit with the vendor afterward. 

Katie’s Tips ✶

Tip for dealing with the touts – Don’t trust anyone in Morocco who comes up to you and calls you “My friend” on the street!

the high atlas mountains
The High Atlas Mountain region is a great addition to any Morocco travel itinerary Village in the High Atlas Mountains (Photo by Nicolas Cool on Unsplash)


🚨 Getting out of the city is my top Morocco travel tip! Yes, the cities in Morocco like Marrakech, Tangier, Casablanca, Fez, etc are amazing cultural and historical locations to visit BUT the cities are the most difficult places for female travelers. This is because there’s a ton of harassment in the cities, and the more popular with tourists the worse it is! 

I almost left my first trip to Morocco never to return because I had such a bad time with the harassment in Marrakech. Luckily for me, I ended my first vacation in Morocco with a weekend trip to Imlil, which is a village in the High Atlas Mountains about 1.5 hours outside of Marrakech. 

The experience of being in the village vs. the city was night and day. 

Smiling children playing, cute baby goats, beautiful scenery, great food, and friendly people were exactly what I needed to recuperate after a hectic 5 days in Marrakech, and had me leaving Morocco excited for my next trip. Definitely include at least one city in your Morocco itinerary (Marrakech has my heart). I wouldn’t recommend spending more than 3 days at a time before taking a breather outside the city and doing at least a day trip to one of the amazing sights in the Moroccan countryside. 

If you would like to book with a tour company directly, I recommend ToMoroccoTravel – They have all 5-star reviews on Tripadvisor, and I can vouch for the quality of their tours.

a narrow covered street in the Old Medina in Marrakech, Morocco.
The souks in the Old Medinas in Marrakech & Fez are like a maze!

6. Bring Headphones & Sunglasses If You’re Solo Strolling The Souks 

If you’re just trying to get from point A to point B, for example: heading to a cafe, or walking home to your Riad after a day out, I recommend wearing sunglasses and headphones on your walk. This is the best way to avoid eye contact with touts and shopkeepers who will try their darndest to get your attention, and waste your time if you’re just trying to go home and not on a shopping trip!) 

Katie’s Tips ✶

If you do stop and even just glance at something for sale in the souks, the shopkeepers will sink their teeth in and try to get you to buy the item, sometimes even screaming after you “Free, free!” or “only one Euro!” (it’s never actually free!)

✅ Add the phrase “just looking!” to your French vocab if you plan on walking the souks in Morocco! 

French for “Sorry! Just looking” -> Non merci, je regarde juste

7. Get Real Comfortable Ignoring People 

Speaking personally, I find it uncomfortable, and borderline unnatural to ignore people that are talking to me. Doesn’t everyone? Nevertheless, this is exactly my advice to you if you’re strolling the souks and someone comes up and starts a conversation with you on the street. 

9 times out of 10, someone who comes up to you on the streets and opens with “My friend where are you going?” (or some other question designed to grab your attention) is a tout, and they’re leading you into the infamous Marrakech Travel Scam that I have dubbed the ‘Wrong Way Con”. This is where a tout asks where you’re going, and then intentionally gets you turned around in the windy maze-like Moroccan streets, and then the tout demands payment for leading you in circles.

a traditional moroccan riad courtyard with a pool in marrakech. Staying in a riad instead of a hostel or couchsurfing is one of many ways for women to stay safe while traveling Morocco.
Traditional Riad courtyard (Photo by Alex Azabache on Unsplash)

8. Also, Get Familiar With The Word “La!” (No)

“La” is the Arabic word for “No”, and in my experience, it gets taken a little more seriously in Morocco than the French/English “non” or “no”.

If you’re traveling to Morocco, “La” (no) is going to become your new favorite word! 

I’ll never forget on my first trip to Morocco me and my best friend were walking around in Jemaa el-Fna night market (the best place to get street food in Marrakech, btw!) and we were experiencing some seriously crazy harassment from the vendors. 

After so many times saying “La” (no) to the swarming aggressive street food hawkers, my friend actually made a little song out of it. 

🎶 “La, La, La, La, La, La ” 🎶

Making it playful helped us get out of Jemaa el-Fna without getting overly stressed out and having a bad time! But seriously, if you’re not comfortable saying “La” (no!), reconsider traveling to Morocco! 

Photo by Yaopey Yong on Unsplash

9. Consider Covering Your Hair (But Know You Don’t Have To) 

Morocco is not a country that has mandated hair covering for women, and you won’t be asked to cover your hair while traveling in Morocco unless you’re entering a Mosque. Most mosques in Morocco actually aren’t even open for tourism, so it probably won’t come up at all. 

That being said, if you have blonde/red/blue etc colored hair you might want to consider covering up because it will drastically cut down on the amount of attention you receive walking around. Covering your hair doesn’t have to mean a full hijab, it could just be putting on a hat, but the more you can do to blend in while walking the souks the less stress you’ll have!

handmade shoes for sale in moroccan souks
Some of the amazing handmade goods you can buy in the souks (Photo by Martin Adams on Unsplash)

10. Dress Respectfully

Now, I’m not saying you need to travel Morocco covered head-to-toe, but do be aware that the way you dress in a conservative country like Morocco will impact how much attention you attract! Morocco gets a ton of tourists every year, and locals understand that foreigners behave… well, foreign from their local customs, and foreign women are held to a different standard of modesty than Moroccans. 

No one is going to stop you if you want to dress skimpy in Morocco. I’ve seen foreign tourists strolling the souks in Marrakech in mini dresses and stiletto heels. It’s not illegal to dress skimpy in Morocco, and if you’re going out to nightclubs it’s actually pretty common! Just know, that as a foreign tourist, you’re already going to get a TON of attention from men and touts no matter what you wear. 

a moroccan souk street in marrakech with a man on a bicycle driving past.
Photo by Alex Azabache on Unsplash

11. Maybe Don’t Smile At Everyone You Walk Past 

As an American, the “no smiling” thing is really hard for me! I like being friendly, and if I make eye contact with someone on the street I naturally smile at them. In Morocco, smiling at men on the street, or even if they’re your waiter, taxi driver, etc, can seriously be taken the wrong way! Engaging and smiling at guys in Morocco can be misinterpreted as being interested in them or being flirty. 

12. Tell Everyone You’re Married (& Wear A Fake Ring!)

I also used this travel tip in Egypt and India, but basically, if a guy is being forward with you, you can easily just point to your ring finger and say you’re married and your husband is coming to meet you shortly. Not the most honest, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do! 

a man leading camels through the desert in morocco. taking a guided tour, like one that visits the sahara desert, is one of the safest ways for women to travel morocco.

13. Listen To Your Gut 

You’re traveling in a foreign country, which as a woman carries its risks no matter where you are in the world. If you think someone is being creepy, remove yourself from them! Even if you might make you look rude – To put it bluntly, eff politeness! Safety always comes first. 

One Comment

  1. Morocco Trips says:


    Its an excellent post, thank you so much for sharing with us. I hope you keep sharing this types of informative posts.

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