What to wear in Morocco for women

What to Pack When Visiting Morocco: Women

In Morocco, Travel by Amanda Mouttaki29 Comments

What to wear in Morocco for women

There are a series of questions that I tend to get regularly.  I’ve realized it makes great sense to write a post about them and provide inquiring minds with an answer. A frequent question is “I’m visiting Morocco soon, what can I wear or what should I pack?” It can be difficult to know what is and isn’t appropriate to wear and how to best utilize the limited luggage space you may have.  Most airlines only allow one suitcase when going to Morocco, which is fine for a short trip but if you’re the type of person who wants a totally new outfit daily or are planning to spend more time in the country it can be restricting. I’ve been in Morocco at many different times of the year so these tips are good year-round.

A few things to keep in mind;

  • Morocco is a Muslim country and modesty is respected. While you will see women (and men for that matter) wearing a range of clothing it’s best to err on the side of modesty.  Leave your short shorts and strappy tank tops at home.
  • Morocco is an arid climate, much like California.  The day times are warm and the evenings can get quite cool, especially in the winter.  Homes and buildings are built in such a way that they keep cool in summer and (kind of) stay warm in winter.  So while it may be 100F outside, if you’re inside a home or building it can be quite cool.
  • Air conditioning exists but is rarely used.
  • If you’re spending more than a week or two in Morocco it may make sense to simply have your clothes washed.  There are laundry facilities available, simply ask your concierge or riad owner and they will be able to help you get your clothes cleaned.

What Should You Pack?

  • Tunics are a great option as they can be dressed up or down, are light weight and have good coverage.

  • Jeans are a good choice as they’re easy to keep clean, multi-functional and sturdy.

  • pair of pants that are any other color.  Comfortable, light weight and easy to wash are all keys.
  • A few longer tank tops that can be worn underneath other clothing such as;
  • cardigan – either light weight or heavier depending on the time of year
  • a cotton jacket or rain coat (winter months) and depending on where you’ll be.
  • Maxi dress(es)  I love these for traveling. They are great for any location and the addition of a jacket or sweater makes it  a new outfit!
  • a few scarves, to dress up outfits, and cover shoulders/head when and if needed.
  • 1 pair of sturdy walking shoes
  • 1 pair of sandals (may not be needed in winter months)
  • 1 pair of casual shoes such as TOM’s
  • Feminine products – you can find these in Morocco but with very limited variety
  • a travel size blow dryer and curling iron
  • travel size toilet paper or bathroom wipes
  • facial moisturizer and cleaner – this is really important especially in the summer
  • sunscreen – you can find it here but you may want to have your favorite brand especially if you have allergies or sensitivities.
  • a small cross shoulder purse/bag

 Reconsider Packing

  • strapless or thin strapped tank tops
  • shirts that show your stomach
  • short shorts, or really any shorts that come above your knee
  • high heels – if you’ve got space and know you’ll be partying pack them but you won’t want to walk around in these
  • short dresses – the exception would be if you’re putting leggings underneath
  • a lot of makeup and hair products, they take up a lot of space and may just melt off in the heat
  • excessive jewelry, a few pieces should be enough
  • anything you wouldn’t want to get ruined or stolen

The first image in this post is an example of some pieces I would put together for my suitcase. I try to stick within a color scheme and mix and match items that go with several outfits.

What other questions do you have about packing for women in Morocco? Any packing tips you can offer?

Amanda MouttakiWhat to Pack When Visiting Morocco: Women

Comments

  1. Stacy

    Great post! I will be doing an internship in Rabat for a women’s non profit organization, what do you recommend I wear for work in morocco? what do traditional moroccan women wear when they go to work in an office?

    1. Author
      Amanda Mouttaki

      Whatever you would normally wear to work in the US is fine. The only thing you may want to be more aware of us not having shirts that are lower cut.

  2. Jen

    Hello, my boyfriend and I will be in Morocco next week on Holiday. We plan to run wherever we are each morning. I typically wear running shorts or Capri length running tights. Can you please tell me what you would recommend ? Thanks so much!
    Jen

    1. Author
      Amanda Mouttaki

      Hi Jen, If I were you I would wear the longer pants and a tshirt (vs a tank top). It’s somewhat uncommon for women to run outside – though not completely unknown.

  3. esther

    Hi,

    i will be going to Marrakesh with nine other ladies for my friends bachelorette in febuary. this might seem like a silly question but we are a group of Afro-Caribbean and Asian (as in indian sub-continent) women. is this going to be an issue as we have had issues together elsewhere? also what is the weather usually like at that time of year?

    Esther

    1. Author
      Amanda Mouttaki

      Hi Esther — what issues have you had elsewhere? I can’t say you won’t face any issues, maybe some comments from teenage boys as that seems to be the most common thing. But as long as you’re smart and ignore them it’s usually fine. Marrakesh has several million tourists a year so you won’t be too out of place!

  4. Alyson

    We’re on the same page with this Amanda! I was mortified when my mother wore short, tight shorts in Egypt and wondered why she got so much attention. Like you,I stay covered most of the time, my skin has enough sun damage already and I absolutely swear by jeans, in every climate, polar vortex New York to tropic Queensland, I wear them almost every day.

    1. Author
      Amanda Mouttaki

      It really is sometimes very surprising. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen women wearing things here that I wouldn’t even wear in the US or Europe given the opportunity!

  5. Nicole

    Hi! Thanks for the incredibly helpful information. I understand knee-length or longer for legs, but just to clarify, can shoulders be exposed (no strappy tank tops, but sleeveless is ok?). We will also be staying in some towns in the mountains over the course of our trip…will the same rules apply regarding shoulder-exposure outside of the cities? Thank you so much!!

    1. Author
      Amanda Mouttaki

      Hi Nicole – I should probably update this post. You can wear tanktops/shorts – no one is going to stop you – it just might draw more attention than you might like. Sleeveless is fine. In the mountains maybe a bit more cover might be warranted (depends on where you’ll be). Also keep in mind the temperature differences. It can be 35+C in the city and only 15-20C in the mountains so bring a few layers just in case!

      1. Cali

        Hi Amanda! I was staying in Morocco 3 years ago. I didnt wear sleveless at all until i got to Casablanca where it seemed like everyone from tourists to locals were dressed in tanktops, shorts, etc. Everywhere else from Agadir, to Marrakech and Meknes, where i was staying, i would definitely suggest modesty if you dont want attention. I wore a v-neck short sleeved shirt and was harassed by a young man (mind you i dont have enough for cleavage haha ).

        1. Author
          Amanda Mouttaki

          I agree with you – though people usually ask is it ok. Yes it’s ok, meaning you won’t get in trouble, but you may get more attention than you’d like. I have to say living in Marrakesh I see much more revealing dress than in any other city. Usually just tourists though. I think it’s changed quite a bit even in the last 3 years. 10 years ago when I first came I hardly saw any women or locals dressed less than modest…today not so much!

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  7. Bonnie

    I was thrilled to find your site – Nice job!

    My husband and I are taking our 18 year to Morocco this June as a graduation gift. We are planning on spending 2 weeks visiting Casablanca, Marrakesh, Essaouira, Rabat, Fez and spending a few days in a desert tent complex. Your packing list is vary helpful as I tend to wear heels and short skirts – all of which I will be leaving at home ;-). Do you think I could manage two weeks with one suitcase and a backpack? We will be jumping around write a bit and I do not want to lug around a great deal of “stuff”.

    Any help is appreciated! This will be our first time in African and we are thrilled!

    1. Author
      Amanda Mouttaki

      Yes I’m sure you could. I’d have to agree there are few places you’d care to be walking with heels (uneven sidewalks, loose bricks etc – it’s a broken ankle waiting to happen!) and short skirts are going to garner plenty of unwanted attention, not to mention you’d probably feel a little out of place. I wouldn’t spend too much time in Casablanca as there isn’t much to do. A desert trip will take up at least 3 days. It’s doable but I’m not sure how relaxed you’ll be going around to all those locations. Fez to Marrakech is an 8 hour train ride and from Marrakech to the Sahara is 8-12 hours driving over the mountains each way. Just something to keep in mind! Have fun!

      1. Bonnie

        Thanks so much – you are so helpful. I think the travel guide we hired is planning stops along the way at various sites to break up the travel time. We are only spending our first day in from the airport in Casablanca. You may be right it may not be very relaxing. May need to convince the husband we need to stay an additional week!

        After all I have read I am afraid I may want to stay and never come back! Thanks again.

  8. Cecilia Zaou

    Thus is a great list. I would add the following:
    Tinted moisturizer, a stick of color that you can use on lips and cheeks, and mascara – any more makeup will be overkill as you will want to spend more time doing things than in the powder room
    Layers – I live in Iowa and understand cold weather, but I found the winter (NOV/DEC) to be colder/chillier than the temperature stated
    Hair bands/clips – even with a hair dryer and flat iron, sometimes the heat just makes putting your back/up a lot easier!

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  10. Melissa

    Thank you so much for this helpful guide! The pictures were espcially helpful. I will be travelling to Morocco (Marrakesh, Fez, and Casablanca) in late November – what type of jacket do you suggest I bring? Thank you!

  11. Jane

    Hello! Such an informative post! I’ve been looking all over for something like this. I’m moving to Casablanca for a contract and I couldn’t find current guidelines on what is acceptable for women to go out and about in. This is a good start, thank you.

  12. Liz

    I have the worst time packing for vacations…I always take way too much! This is a great resource for going to so many places. Thanks!

    1. Author
      marocmama

      Thanks for stopping – I once was a super packer but have gotten it down to almost a science now!

  13. ilham

    Nice and informative post!! one suitcase is never enough :) regarding sunscreens, i am not sure what part of morocco u usually visit, but any pharmacy (smaller version of CVS or Walgreens) would have an array of european/french brands of sunscreen for face or for body, usually with higher SPF (Uriage, Avene, SVR, etc..), in fact i always stock up on these when i visit. and these pharmacies are found even in villages (major ones), i was visiting Agadir and forgot to pack a tanning sunscreen n i was able to find it and much more at a tiny village pharmacy couple kms outside of Agadir.
    Same goes for toilet paper,even the smallest “hanouts” would carry it, but of course the quality wouldnt be the same :)

    1. Author
      marocmama

      What I’ve found has all been bronzing sunscreens and that’s not what I’m after :). We also have very sensitive skin so I’m reluctant to try things when I can’t read the labels very well! I do hope someone else reads the comments and can try that out in a pinch.

      1. illy

        Sensitive skin! that i am very familiar with :) if i dont use a proper sunscreen i just burn lol
        the brands i mentioned (Uriage, Avene, SVR, etc..) are international/French brands you can trust and dermatologists usually prescribe them in Morocco or Europe in general. The brand SVR for example is even carried now in select Walgreens across the states! Hope that helps!

        1. Author
          marocmama

          Thanks for all the info! I’m going to save it for our next trip for sure!

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