Your Morocco packing list + What to wear in Marrakech
This post about what to pack for Morocco was created in collaboration with Admiral Travel Insurance. Travel insurance is something you should never travel without no matter where you’re going!
Are you packing for a trip to Morocco and wondering what you should wear? I’ve just returned from my third trip to Marrakech and I finally feel like I figured out exactly what to pack for Morocco! It isn’t the easiest country to pack for due to the heat, the blazing sunshine, the crowds and the fact it’s a muslim country so you need to be respectful and avoid revealing clothing (which isn’t what you always want to hear when it’s 40 degrees outside!)
Another thing you need to be aware of when you’re packing for Morocco is that many places you visit with be quite dusty and dirty. You definitely won’t want to be strolling around the streets of Marrakech in a long, white skirt that skims the ground! Even when you get out of the cities, it can be very sandy and dusty and many of the touristy activities like camel riding, camping in the desert or quad biking across sand dunes require practical and sensible clothing.
^ Visiting Le Jardin Marjorelle at 10am on a January morning – it was chilly but warm by midday
Most tourists will begin in Marrakech, a crazy, chaotic and bustling city. You’ll want to be comfortable and casual while you’re there as you’ll likely be doing a lot of walking. You may also wish to pack an outfit to dress up for a nice meal too. Morocco is a very affordable country for British visitors so make the most of it and treat yourself to a nice dinner!
Marrakech might be a little overwhelming at first, but behind the crowds there is a unique charm unlike anywhere else. You really do feel like you’re stepping into a scene from Disney’s Aladdin and I wouldn’t be surprised if you spotted a gene and a magic carpet floating through the medina. And then if you head into the countryside you’ll see the dramatic High Atlas Mountains, the coastal towns and the colourful cities then you’ll have the chance to see how beautiful and diverse Morocco really is.
With all this diversity comes a range of activities and a range of temperatures so when you’re packing for morocco, layers are key!
You can still pack light for Morocco. During my recent 4 day trip I didn’t have any luggage, just the small bag you can now place under your seat on the plane.
In this bag I took:
- 1 pair of jeans
- 1 midi skirt
- 1 playsuit for a night out
- 3 x white t-shirts
- 4 x sets of underwear
- 1 x scarf
- 1 x pair of PJs
- 2 x socks
- My washbag
- My hair straighteners
- My chargers
- And then I wore another outfit with trainers, a cardigan , sunglasses and a warm coat on the plane.
Let’s start with the basics for women…
How much do women need to cover up in Morocco?
There are a lot of tourists in Marrakech so, in the warmer months, you’re going to see it all. You will see women in short shorts and strappy tops but that doesn’t mean it’s OK. It’s disrespectful and they’ll get a lot of unwanted attention. This is both annoying but also potentially dangerous and there are a lot of pickpockets and scammers in the cities.
Personally, I like to be covered from below the knee to below my shoulders (so a top with short sleeves is fine).
What to pack for Morocco
Of course, you don’t want to leave home without travel insurance. I’m an Admiral Travel Insurance ambassador because it’s something I feel so strongly about. Travel insurance is so important but it’s something that’s quite easy to forget so I highly recommend an annual travel insurance policy to cover every trip. I like to print out my travel insurance documents and other important documents so the information is all easy to access, especially in a country where I can’t use my phone data so it’s not always easy to access the information I need.
Now on to the fun stuff, what clothes should women wear in Morocco?
Oh midi skirts, my good friends! I can’t tell you how much I love midi skirts for travelling, they’re just so easy and tick every box.
- They’re stylish
- They keep you cool
- A midi skirt will ensure you’re appropriately covered
- Gives you loads of outfit options (dressy, casual, full fashionista or subtle comfort)
- Small and easy to pack
- Not so long it skims the dirty floor
I find a midi skirt to be the perfect length. It comes to the calf so it covers your knees (very important to avoid being disrespectful but also to avoid people staring) but it also won’t skim the floor and get dirty. The majority of local women will probably wear clothing that covers their ankles too but as a tourist you don’t need to worry too much about being covered all the way to the ankle.
You’ll need to make sure you’re wearing a top that covers your chest and shoulders. You don’t need to be covered all the way to the wrist so I usually find a simple t-shirt is easiest. At home, I’d normally wear strappy vests when it’s really hot outside but if you wear a light t-shirt you’ll be just as as cool and you’ll also avoid the harmful rays from the sun.
I’m a bit of a minimalist when it comes to my clothing and I generally wear plain white t-shirts and pair these with a more exciting skirt.
A light cardigan
Even in the middle of the summer it can get a bit chilly in the evenings so I highly recommend taking a cardigan or a small jacket to keep you warm.
A large scarf
Due to the narrow streets in most of Morocco’s towns and cities, you’ll often find you’re in the shade a lot of the time so it can be chilly. But then you’ll come out of the shade into a square where the sun is blazing hot and suddenly you’re sweating. I find a large scarf is the easiest way to combat this constant hot/cold battle!
You may also find it comes in handy if you plan to visit a mosque that requires you to cover your head.
Sun glasses, sun hat and sunscreen
No matter what time of year you’re visiting you’ll need these three!
You may not need a sunhat if you’re sticking to the cities in winter but if you’re going to the desert or the mountains then you’ll definitely need a sun hat.
A small bag you can securely close and keep safe – or a coat with secure pockets
Pickpockets are rife and the streets are very crowded so I highly recommend a small bag to keep your valuables safe. Something like a small cross body bag with a zipper is perfect.
Alternatively, you can do what I do and keep your cash, credit card and mobile phone in a zipped pocket of your coat. Obviously you can only do this when it’s cold and you actually have a coat but I feel it’s the safest option. I do take a small backpack too and I’ll have my water and a jumper in there but I’m not worried about someone stealing them!
I was surprised to find Morocco is actually quite cold at night. Obviously it depends where you are and the time of year but I’ve visiting in spring, autumn and winter (never in the peak of summer) and every time I found it to be very cold in the evenings. If you’re visiting the desert or the mountains then it’s even colder! When you’re packing for Morocco, don’t forget a warm coat. I really like the feather-down jackets you can pack into a small bag.
What shoes to pack for Morocco?
Trainers + sandals + flip flops
Personally, I’d just take a pair of sandals and a comfy pair of trainers. I took a 4 hour hike through the High Atlas Mountains during my last trip and I was fine doing it in trainers.
Be aware that when you’re walking around in sandals your feet will get dirty so some people may prefer to wear shoes.
Flip flops would be an optional extra and might be handy if you plan to visit a hammam and would prefer to wear your own flip flops.
Maybe I’m a bit gross but I’ve never had a verruca or a wart or anything so I tend to just walk around barefoot. Sam however won’t walk anywhere bare foot so he always takes his flip flops!
If you’re planning to visit a hammam then you’ll want to pack a bikini.
You may be surprised that a bikini is better than a full swimsuit but this is because you’ll be asked to remove your top and if you’re wearing a swimsuit you’ll have to roll it down and it’s just a bit awkward.
Let’s be real for a minute here. You need to be careful, eat freshly cooked food and wash your hands as often as possible but there’s still a chance you’re going to get traveller’s diarrhoea. Try to avoid taking something like imm=odium (unless you’re on a bus or something!) because this is just going to keep whatever bad food/bug you have inside you. You’re best of trying to flush the bug out so drink plenty of water and rehydration sachets to keep hydrated.
What to pack if you’re visiting Morocco in the winter
I’ve just returned from a winter trip to Morocco (January) and what I was wearing was very similar to what I wear at home in the spring. During the day it was bright, sunny and fairly warm so jeans, t-shirts, a light jumper and trainers were fine. Think a spring day in the UK.
But first thing in the morning and evenings were cold! Properly cold!
So I’d recommend packing spring-style outfits and then a warm coat and a wooly hat too.
What to pack for the High Atlas Mountains?
If you’re just visiting the High Atlas Mountains on a relaxed bus tour then you’ll be fine wearing anything you’d like. I’d recommend flat, comfortable shoes for the uneven ground but you can wear whatever you’d wear in Marrakech. It’ll be colder than Marrakech so pack a light jacket.
But if you’re planning to go hiking then you’ll need to wear something practical. Now I know this doesn’t go down well with the ‘proper hikers’ but I always go hiking in comfortable trainers, sports leggings, a t-shirt and a jumper, a sun hat and a small backpack for water and snacks. Many people will recommend sturdy, heavy hiking boots but I can happily hike for 8-10 hours in my comfy Nike trainers. If you’re hiking for 2 days or more than you might want your hiking boots or hiking trainers might be a good option too.
Just remember that even in the winter months the sun is seriously strong and you’re really high up too. We did a 4 hour hike in January and it was quite chilly so we completely forgot about sunscreen and Sam got really sunburned.
What to pack for the desert in Morocco?
If you’re visiting the desert then you really need to keep in mind the temperature difference between night and day. Even in the summer it is cold at night time so you’ll want warm jumpers, a coat and a hat, thick socks and jeans.
During the day time, it’s going to be hot, hot, hot so you’ll definitely want a sun hat and possibly long sleeves.
If you’re going to be doing activities like camel rides and quad bike rides then you’ll want to avoid skirts and dresses – leaving you without your failsafe item of the midi skirt! I’d opt for loose trousers, cropped trousers, long shorts or culotte style trousers. If you’re visiting in the spring, autumn or winter then you’d be fine in jeans but they might be too hot in the summer. Do not wear short shorts – not only is it disrespectful but they’re going to creep up and be uncomfortable while you’re riding a camel.
Read more (and see more pics of things I’m wearing for ideas!)
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