Is Marrakech safe?: Tips on how to stay safe in the Red City



Joanna Horanin

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Last updated at 20/05/2024, 18:15

Hi, I'm Joanna, the author of The Blond Travels. In the worlds of Thailand and Portugal, I feel like a fish in water - and it's no coincidence! I've been exploring Thailand for over a decade, and I've settled in Portugal for 6 years now. My mission is to support Dreamers - just like you - in discovering these fascinating countries and helping those in love with them find their own place on Earth, preferably for good! Let's uncover these unique corners of the world together.

Marrakech is one of the most visited cities in the world but the tragic deaths of two young female travellers led to some negative media coverage. Many of those who once wanted to go to Marrakech, now question if it’s really safe and choose different destinations. So, is it really dangerous for foreigners to travel to the Red City? What should you remember about to stay safe?

My first impression of Marrakech was a one of awe, admiration and a little fear. It was a late evening when we arrived and the area where we stayed looked a little shabby. There were kids playing in the streets and groups of young men standing here and there. They all stared when we got out of the car.

Marrakech: Know before you go – Check out the most important information before travelling to the Red City.

Our first walk made my head spin from all the smells coming out of the stalls (some were good, some bad). I was fascinated by the colors, by people’s outfits, by the sounds. But, it was a little bit too crowded for me, there were too many hawkers everywhere and after a few days, I was tired with it all. I could totally understand why so many people are concerned about their safety when visiting the Red City.

If you’re going to Marrakech for the first time you probably want to know as much as possible about safety in Marrakech. I hope this article will help you to get a better idea what to expect and what to do to stay safe.

The city is a great place to explore, just be careful and vigilant.

My trip to Marrakech – Background

Before we start on how to stay safe in Marrakech, I would like to give you a little bit of background on my trip and my opinion about the city.

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I visited Marrakech with Christopher, my partner. I often travel alone, but this time we wanted to go together and have a nice adventure. Therefore, I don’t have any experience in travelling solo in Morocco. My sister had done it and claims that it’s a safe country for women travelling alone.

I don’t consider myself a very experience traveller, but I have done my share of visiting underdeveloped countries. I also lived in Thailand for 3 years and did a couple of months of backpacking in Asia. That’s why I might be more resistant to hawkers, scammers and general chaos that’s constantly present on the streets of Marrakech.

Your itinerary to Marrakech – 4 days in the Red City. Read now!

I absolutely loved Marrakech. During my stay I never felt that I was in any danger. From time to time I had to take a break from the noise of the streets and by the end of my stay, I dreamed of being able to walk around and not being nagged by street sellers. However, overall I had a great time and I highly recommend visiting Marrakech.

The visit to the city will be much better if you follow simple safety rules.

How to stay safe in Marrakech

In general, Marrakech is a very safe city. There are only some petty crimes present and you are very unlikely to be attacked by someone. Tourists are respected in Marrakech. The government tries to keep up the image of Morocco being the safest Muslim country and the most tourist-friendly.

The streets in the centre can be a little too much at times and constant nagging by street sellers might overwhelm you, but at the end of the day, there’s nothing to be afraid of. Just stick to some simple safety rules and you will leave Marrakech unharmed.

Here are some tips on how to stay safe in Marrakech:

  • Don’t walk alone at night: We walked all over the city centre at night and no one bothered us. It was absolutely safe. But, there were two of us and I also was with a man. In the late evening, there are a lot of young guys standing on the streets. It’s their way of spending time together and they don’t look for trouble. Nevertheless, it does look a little intimidating. If I had been there by myself I would have walked around alone at night.
  • Avoid empty alleys: It’s very easy to be tempted to wander off into the Medina and get lost. We did it and I loved it so much. But, again, as a woman, if I had been there alone, I would have sticked to the main routes. Men can also easily become victims of petty crimes when they are away from the more crowded places. Venture out only if you’re in a group, or with a partner.
  • Dress appropriately: This includes men and women. Cover your shoulders and your legs. Don’t show too much flesh. Morocco is a conservative country and walking around half-naked will attract unwanted attention.
  • Keep an eye on your belongings: Quite self-explanatory and something you should be mindful of when you’re in any crowded place, in any city in the world. Streets in Marrakech are sometimes overloaded with people. You might not even notice when someone opens your bag and takes your wallet. Always keep an eye on your belongings.
  • Watch out for scams: There are a lot of scams in the city. You will see young men on the streets telling you that some attractions are closed only to take you to their shop and try to sell you something. Others will want to become your guide for a day and demand too much money. Some will invite you to their shop for tea and, again, will try to sell you their merchandise. A few of these people might call you names if you refuse. Don’t fight with them. Be calm and polite and just walk away.
  • Use only trusted guides: Hiring a guide is a great way of seeing any place. There are plenty of people in the centre offering their services to tourists. You can take a tour around the city with them, or go to the Atlas Mountains, or Essaouira for a day. Be careful, though! You don’t want to become another victim of a scam! Use only trusted tour operators. You can find an office in Marrakech, or book your tour online. Before you do it, carefully read reviews online. I really recommend GetYourGuide, which I use during my trips. They have amazing tours and great guides that will organise your time in the most special way.
  • Follow common sense, listen to your gut: This is not only applicable in Marrakech but also anywhere else you go. If something seems dangerous to you, if it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. Don’t trust people straight away, be vigilant, but do it with common sense. Don’t sit in your hotel all the time feeling scared of everything, but don’t do anything that would put you in danger.
  • If you feel that you’re in danger, contact police: I haven’t had any experience with Moroccan police, but I heard that they are very helpful to tourists. If you find yourself in an unpleasant situation, contact the nearest police station. There are also some police patrols around the main square.
  • Don’t forget about your insurance! Insurance is one thing I never travel without. In my opinion, it’s best to spend some money than worry about expenses later. I recommend SafetyWing, which I normally use when travelling outside of the EU.
Try to avoid walking alone, especially at night.

Marrakech is amazing! It’s a stunning city with rich culture and traditions. Locals are nice and the food is great. But the city can also be overwhelming and can scare you a little. You need to be prepared for the chaos and for people asking you to buy things all the time.

At first try to take it easy. Adjust to your new environment and try to enjoy your surroundings. If you follow my rules on how to stay safe in Marrakech, you will love your break in the Red City.

Do you have any questions? Would you like to share your experiences or your point of view? Don’t be shy! Leave a comment!