Join the Morocco Backpacker Trail. Morocco attracts over 10 million tourists per year. This means it’s more touristy than many people expect. Being close to Europe, it truly is a culture getaway into an Islamic country and culture.
Many may experience a culture shock here. Luckily for me and my splendid time in Egypt with locals I met, coming to Morocco felt like a more conservative version of Egypt.
Read about my travels in Egypt here.
I can personally tell travelers and solo female travelers that you should have nothing to worry about while visiting Morocco. I felt safe and like with any country, it’s about traveling smart.
- Don’t follow people
- Don’t be flashy with valuables
- Don’t walk in areas you are unfamiliar with at night.
What should you expect when visiting, you ask?
- Tons of Medina’s
- Tons of long journeys to get to beautiful cities
- Tons of shopping for gifts even when only traveling with a backpack
- Tons of carbs and
- Tons of familiar faces along the way.
Speaking of familiar faces, Morocco is truly a backpacker trail. Many fellow travelers do the same journey. It felt like a small world as you meet and re-see people along the way.
Ready to do this Morocco backpacker trail yourself? This is the guide for you. Tested and approved by many other tourists like you and me.
Table Of Contents
Plan Your Morocco backpacker trail Visit
10 Day Morocco backpacker trail Itinerary
- Marrakesh – 3 days
- Sahara Desert Tour (Going to Fes from Marrakech) – 3 days
- Fes – 2 days
- Chefchaouen – 2 days
- Marrakesh – Catch departure flight
|Accommodation||There’s an abundant amount of accommodation options from budget to luxury stays in Morocco. |
All the destinations I visited have a huge variety so check HERE.
Backpacking on a budget, stay here:
Marrakech – Riad Dia
Fes – Funky Fes
Chefchaouen – Aline Hostel
|VISA||For most tourist, you must have a valid passport with at least one blank page. Visas are not required for visits lasting less than 90 days. Visit the Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco’s website HERE for the most current visa information.|
|Photography||Some locals are sensitive about being photographed. Always ask for permission and don’t be surprised if asked for money for their glamour shot.|
|Shopping||Morocco is a shoppers paradise even for me who travels with a #Lifeinabag. I was unable to resist shopping here, but remember to bargain hard! |
See my all my haggling secrets below in the “Haggling 101” section.
|Cities/Tourists||Marrakesh, Casablanca, Essaouira and the South-West Coast receive many tourists.|
Fes and Chefchaouen will give you more of the cultural taste of the country.
|When To Visit||The best months to visit are March to May or September to October when temperatures are very pleasant.|
Companies like CTM offer various times and routes for many of the cities in Morocco using coach bus’.
In order to secure your seat, you can book online 48 hours in advance or at the bus station. But plan ahead as seats get booked up fast. Additionally, they charge an additional fee for each luggage piece that isn’t a carry-on item.
Also an option and similar to Egypt more costly compared to buses and take longer but offer better views and seats compared to a couch bus.
Tip: Avoid being late to the airport for an international flight. Passport controls are the slow. For example, clearing customs on my arrival was 1 hour and during my departure 40 minutes.
If short on time and wanting to explore more than one city, than flying within Morocco to major cities is an option but slightly more costly.
You can still save on flights within Morocco by booking with WayAway. The WayAway app covers flights but also hotels, rental cars, travel insurance, activities and tours!
Have your travel bookings take you further and get cash back on everything, when you join their WayAway Plus membership.
Learn more about the membership that I use to save / earn while traveling and receive 10% off HERE on me.
Since Morocco attracts many French, Spanish and English tourists, these languages are spoken in Morocco in various levels. The 2 native languages though are Arabic and Berber.
Morocco backpacker trail – Where To Go
The “Red City’s” medina/souq is the perfect place to shop for Moroccan clothes and home furnishings.
There are some beautiful mosques and stunning palaces dotted around the city such as Bahia palace, El Badi palace and Koutoubia mosque. (Which you cannot enter as a tourist but walking around is quite enjoyable.)
Tip: A place I wouldn’t recommend visiting is Saadian Tombs. Underwhelming and small.
Marrakesh In The Day
Try a fresh orange juice in the large square of Jemaa el-Fna. Chill out on the rooftop of your Riad or the many rooftop restaurants to watch the scenes happening below.
Marrekesh At Night
Markets really comes alive with small merchants, snake charmers & entertainers. This is popular with tourists & locals alike.
Visit the sites in the old city with a tip based walking tour which happens daily at 9am. Or as I did, download a self-guided city walking tour on your mobile device and explore this city on your own.
No Morocco trip is complete without visiting The Sahara Desert, an area of 9.4 million square kilometers, which is the same size as the United States! Sahara tours include driving pass the Atlas mountains too. Fingers crossed while on your tour, you will be welcomed to the home of a Berber family for tea. (FYI, the Berber people are the indigenous people of Morocco who live in the desert and mountains.)
A group tour to the Sahara is about 3 days/2 nights. Tours typically include, transportation, accommodation and all meals covered with exception to lunches.
Some companies charge very low and you end up in a “tourist trap tour” visiting a number of shops instead of a genuine Sahara excursion.
Many may think they are booking with other agencies only to discover they all get looped together in the end with Rouge Travel. Those using Rouge Travel will quickly see that the camp is in bad conditions, staff is rude, unprepared and uninformative. Event worse, camp options people paid for are not guaranteed.
To steer on the safe side, book your tour using a trusted company like GETYOURGUIDE HERE.
Sahara Desert Tour Tips
- Tours depart daily.
- Purchase water and snacks in advance. Cost increased significantly along the places the tour stops.
- Lunch option are a prefix menu that comes with an entree, individual small tomato salad, bread and oranges/bananas to share with the table.
- Be prepared for a lot of driving but the sights you will visit will make up for it.
- Bring a scarf for the dessert camel ride to your Berber camp. It saves you from purchasing an overpriced scarf along the tour.
Merzouga 3-day Tour.
Fes (As it’s written by the locals) is Morocco’s oldest Imperial city with its “old town” now being a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Fez’s Old town feels as if you are in an elaborate maze that is filled with shops. Getting lost in Fes is expected and the enjoyable part of visiting this city.
An old city tour is a must! Book this one.
Tip: Got lost in the Medina? Ask people to direct you to either Bab Boujloud (the top blue gate of the medina) or Place R’cif (the bottom gate of the medina). It’s easier to find your way after that.
While here, don’t miss seeing a tannery to get a glimpse on how leather products get mad. While the smells aren’t pleasant, the mint provided helps balance the smells nicely.
Fes is also a great place to do a “hammam”. The traditional Moroccan bath includes a scrub, massage in a steam room and is done by a local Moroccan woman. This bath will leave your skin truly understanding what the phrase, “so fresh and so clean, clean” really mean. I highly recommend this!
If you visit a public hammam, expect to be naked or topless around other women. Not ready to go public but want to experience? Treat yourself to this hammam in a palace HERE.
Morocco’s Blue town is a MUST! This is a tiny car free mountain village, whose medina is painted in a variety of blue shades. Each street filled with rainbow fabrics, artist workshops that lead to open court yards serving fresh juice and steaming mint tea.
The town is quite, vendors let you be as they aren’t aggressive compared to those in Fes and Marrakech and the prices here are far more reasonable as well.
For the perfect sunset view, walk up to the little mosque on the hill. From here, you can glimpse back at the whole town.
On certain days, Berber markets take place in the streets of the old city, don’t miss it if you can. You will catch locals in traditional dress and a wonderful atmosphere down some of the tiniest lanes.
Chefchaouen is simply the perfect place to slow down and enjoy a very traditional but unique Moroccan town.
FYI: From Fes, Chefchaouen is only a 4 hour bus journey. If you are short on time or don’t have extra days, consider a day trip from Fes HERE.
What To Eat
- Tagine – Meat and vegetable dish served in a ceramic casserole dish served with bread.
- Couscous – Served with either vegetables or meats.
- Moroccan soup – Consisting of chick peas and small pieces of noodles in a chick pea broth.
- Moroccan Salads – Usually come with 3-5 various types of salads and breads. Personally, my favorite are the eggplant and mixed pepper salad.
- Meat skewers – Comes on a bed of rice or fries.
- Crepes – Traditional ones come with honey, nuttela, cheese or marmalade.
- Mint tea – Iconic drink here. Request without sugar and sweeten to your liking as Moroccan people have a sweeter palette. Their food and drinks really reflect this.
- Avacado juice – A mixture of avocado, milk and orange juice. Request no sugar to ensure it’s not too sweet.
- Zaazaa – Parfait using the base of an avocado juice topped with dates, fruit and chocolate drizzle.
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