What To Wear When Travelling Around Morocco

Last updated Dec 21, 2018 @ 1:30 pm [clear h=10]

I’m a big supporter of the philosophy “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”. So you wouldn’t see me visiting a Muslim country wearing a tank top. On my recent trip to Morocco, I saw way too many tourists dressed in an inappropriate way

I’d like to share a few thoughts on why not to expose too much skin and how to do it well.

The recent surge of low-cost flights to Morocco has made the country available for tourists from all over the world, even those who would have previously not even considered going there.

Morocco is a great country to get a taste of Africa, before heading further South.

A large number of visitors haven’t familiarized themselves with the local dress codes and it shows. I, as a frequent traveler, have a problem with ignoring local customs.

If you’re with me on this one and also prefer being respectful to the locals and their traditions, just read on.

Basic rules

Generally speaking, you shouldn’t have your shoulders and knees exposed. That applies to men as well. Women shouldn’t show their cleavage.

As a woman, you don’t have to cover up your hair, just show a bit less of your skin than what you’re used to if you’re coming from a western culture.

What moroccans wear

what Moroccans wear
What the people of Morocco wear

The way the locals dress varies greatly. Some women wear long gowns with hoods and scarves, other show their hair and you might even come across a local lady dressed in a European way.

Men usually wear long pants and a shirt, but you might encounter men wearing long light gowns and a little cap on their head. Of course nobody expects you to wear clothes identical to the locals :)

How to nail it

Long dresses and skirts are perfect for the Moroccan heat. So are long-sleeved tunics and shirts. It’s all about the material that you choose!

Nice bigger airy clothes will both protect you from the aggressive sunshine and from suspicious looks of the locals. Don’t show your silhouette very clearly, the baggier the better.

what wear in Morocco
All these outfits are perfect for Morocco

While it’s generally more relaxed in the cities, count with more stringent rules if you go see the villages, especially in Morocco’s South. There it’s good to even wear a scarf on your head.

The scorching heat and the strong sun actually make it relieving to wear a white or light-colored scarf and you’ll protect your scalp from getting burnt!

So just keep these simple tips in mind during your travels, no matter whether you go backpacking in Morocco or travel more in comfort..

Dressing appropriately is not only respectful to the locals, it can also stop you from becoming the object of unwanted attention.

What are your thoughts?

If you’re looking for more information about Morocco, there are a few more posts here on TravelGeekery.

First of all, 5 key terms you’d need to understand before going to Morocco, and if you’d like to stay in a riad via Airbnb like I did, check my review of Airbnb apartments I stayed at.

You’ll surely find handy a guide for haggling, too. Last, in case you’d like to know what Marrakech is like, read the post on What’s so special in Marrakech.

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If you GO…

Consider getting a Lonely Planet guidebook. They are a great way to familiarize yourself with the history and cultural background of a place. 

Get a great apartment via Airbnb e.g. a riad! You’ll feel more local than in an anonymous hotel.
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What not to wear in Morocco | TravelGeekery

46 thoughts on “What To Wear When Travelling Around Morocco”

  1. I am from Morocco and your tips are very helpful for foreigners who are not sure about what’s appropriate and what’s not, I will definitely share this with any female travelers who wants to visit morocco.

  2. 100% agreed. I’ve written a similar article about what to wear in Libya and i gave more or less the same advice: cover up to respect the country you’re in but also to protect you from the sun. The more of your blog i read the more i like it, i’ve signed up for email updates and i’m looking forward to new articles. Keep up the quality writing :)

  3. I so agree! You have written an important post. I have been in Morocco many times and the last time when we were in the very south, I bought several long dresses on the market. They were just perfect in that hot climat and I felt very comfertable.

    • Hi Bente, i m Réka daughter of Éva and Dezső from Hungary. Still have the Magnus doll you made me as a farewell present. :) Best Wishes from Budapest! :)

  4. As a co-owner of one of the many riads in Marrakech, I can only agree with you about how to dress in Morocco. I would like to add that the further out of the cities you go, the more conservative people are. If you’re dressed in shorts and a tank top in country areas, they will perhaps not address you or look at you – it is not meant as an insult, just that they are not used to that kind of undress and they feel it is shameful. So do them a favour and don’t put them in that position. The cities are a lot more liberal and are used to Western dress – but it is still a good idea to be respectful of the local culture. It makes your experience pleasanter too.

    • Thank you, Barbara! Very good to know for fellow travellers – I hope everybody can be respectful! No need to show more skin than it’s a norm in a country like Morocco.. not worth the looks and the lesser chance of interacting with locals!

  5. I think you should be able to wear what you want to. The people who live there understand you are a foreigner. Just because of the way you dress, does not give them the right to judge you.

    • Darlin’, that kind of arrogance is gonna get you on the losing end of a ISIS-like stick. If your going to be a visitor in a foreign country, be a nice one.

    • I feel that as a traveler you should respect the country and the people that live there. If you disagree with how the country is then maybe that country should be crossed off your list.

    • I hope you changed your minder in those 3 years after posting this.

      You are in their house so be respectful.

      According to you if a man wants to walk around naked in a primary school. Hè should be free to do so. And no one should judge him.

      Mind you. I use primary school as an example, because you have a western mindset. You feel that everyone should do as you want.

      We as moroccans dont see the need to show skin.

      It feels like You need attention when you do.

  6. Them finding us foreigners shameful for the way we dress is equivalent of us finding them shameful for wearing burqas and hijabs in the United States, and that shouldn’t be praised upon. Very contradicting. Ignore this article, wear what you want to wear. Let nobody judge you.

    • Actually that’s not very true, it’s not about finding you shameful. In reality foreigners do have the free card in Morocco, nobody will ever ask you what to wear or judge you, Moroccans know that this person is a foreigner and it’s just the way she or he dresses, but they do appreciate when someone try to respect their values and try to wear modest clothing Modest doesn’t mean you have to wear a scarf or wear long clothing but at least to not be provocative in the term of this specific culture for example in Morocco people are not used to people wearing very short skirts or shorts while in South Korea wearing the same thing is quite normal but showing a part of your chest is not acceptable (which is more tolerated in Morocco than wearing miniskirts) . Also even as Moroccan when traveling to the countryside with different dress code, I try to wear traditional clothing of this region as a way of respect not because anyone make me do it. In cities even some Moroccan girls wear revealing clothing but in the countryside people are still holding to their values and traditions I would advice foreigners at least to wear modest clothing when visiting small villages out of respect not as a necessity.

      • I’m from Morocco too, and i’m totally agree with what you say salma, everyone is free to do what he wants and we shouldn’t forget that visitors come to enjoy and learn about other culture and not necessary do the same as. nice article by the thanks for sharing.

  7. Thank you very much for this post, I hope that it can be of benefit to both men and women visiting Morocco. Truly appreciated.
    Gigi, as a Moroccan, I can tell you it has nothing to do with shame or disrespect . It’s the fact that most Moroccans (especially in villages as stated by others in the comments) have this sense of modesty that is due to their Islaamic upbringing. It is even common that Moroccan women do not reveal their skin in front of their own children (whether they are girls or boys) and other relatives. She will only show some skin, and often times the only person to see her legs and any part of her torso is her husband.
    So, if they do not look at you or talk to you, it’s due to their shyness and modest values. First of all, that Islaam teaches them not to gaze at anyone else’s body (whether it is out of desire or not), and secondly out of respect to you! The body is a very very special thing for us Muslims, and that’s why both men and women have a dress code in Islaam. And it’s no surprise that this part of the religion does have an influence on all Moroccans, whether they are conservative Muslims or not.
    Then of course, you have the complete opposite to expect– people who are so shocked to see that much skin they will stare you up and down until you disappear into the horizon. While this is disrespectful behavior which can often times make you uncomfortable as a woman, truth is, you should expect it from people who have never seen that much skin from a foreign woman. And unless you want and enjoy the attention aspect, I advise you not to do it. Particularly for your own safety as well, as not all men…anywhere in the world really…are raised with a modest upbringing and taught that they need to control themselves and respect a woman no matter what she wears. So, this could mean that you can bring upon yourself a dangerous type of attention.
    As for Muslims wearing burqa and hijaab in the west, this is a very different issue. That is because there’s no reason for anyone to get offended by a women choosing to cover her body and protect it from the gaze of anyone and everyone. And this is particularly true in western countries that allow the people the freedom of religion as well as the freedom to dress however they want as long as it’s not obsene. So just like a man or woman in the west have the right to show as much skin as they want (to a certain extent), a Muslim man or woman have the right to cover as much of their skin as they wish.
    A better analogy than the one you gave would be if a tribesman or woman from an Amazon or African tribe wearing absolutely nothing but beads and feathers and their private parts completely exposed tried to dress like that in the west. Of course for us in the west, we have every right to be shy to look at that person and heck, some people might even turn around and walk away (particularly someone with kids).
    On the other hand, some people might not be able to control their ability to stare them up and down. Maybe even take a picture of them or two to put on Facebook.
    We have every right to think it’s a little too much skin showing because why? Those aren’t our customs and nor are we used to seeing people dressed down to that extent. Similarly, this is how the people of Morocco react to seeing a man or woman showing what is seen in the culture and religion as too much skin.
    I hope this gives you a better understanding of the situation.

  8. Thank all of you for your thoughtful replies. Respecting the customs of a country you are visiting does not require you to give up what makes you an American. I wore a midi-length skirt in Uganda out of respect and it did not hurt me a bit. One can still play soccer with the children in a long, loose skirt!

  9. I totally respect other cultures when travelling, it’s just a shame that other cultures do not respect us when living in a particular country…

  10. My thoughts on Morocco are that no matter what you wear– shorts and a t shirt, pants and a t shirt, a burka, a hijab, whatever– Moroccans will treat you like total shit. If you are a woman traveling alone, men will whistle and scream at you every step you take. Even the people in tourism will lie to your face (even when you call them out) for it just to get 3 extra dirham out of you. Moroccans were the worst human beings I’ve ever met. Honestly, I am not sure if they are even humans.

  11. I don’t even understand how I stopped up right here, however I thought this post was great.

    I don’t recognise who you might be but definitely you’re going to
    a well-known blogger for those who aren’t already.
    Cheers!

  12. I really appreciate this post! It was so upsetting for me to see men and women walking around Bali shirtless or in sports bras — it’s so appallingly disrespectful that it embarrassed me to even be around them. It’s so critical to respect the culture you are learning about. In West Africa I got around this by having some clothing made for me. It was cheap, beautiful, and in the process of working out the design with a local seamstress, I learned what was appropriate. I cherished my Ghanaian clothing when I came back to the US!

    Thanks for you Morocco-specific tips. I think in general, traveling with more full-coverage clothing should be a safe bet!

  13. Thank you so much for this post. I find it really sad that tourists would disrespect another culture. It might personally frustrate women that they’re expected to dress a certain way, when we can wear whatever we want at home, but you’re in someone else’s country and should respect their customs.

    Can you help me out on what men should wear? Some websites say normal shorts are fine and others say knees should be covered, and we’ve no idea what’s right.

    • Hello Rosie, I absolutely agree with you! We’re the strangers in the countries we visit and we should behave accordingly :)

      Regarding what men should wear – shorts are fine in most cities. Travelling further to the South or visiting villages, men should wear rather long pants. I think entering a mosque in shorts could also be a problem. If you choose good fabric, long pants can actually be more pleasant in the heat than shorts and protect from sunburn.

      Enjoy your trip! :)

  14. Thanks for the tips about what to wear for Morocco as I aim to go there in the near future and I totally agree with all u say.Thanks for the good advice

    • As a man, you can dress pretty much any way you like. Long pants are preferable to shorts, but if your shorts are not the ultra short type, they are still fine as well. A T-shirt is absolutely fine.

  15. Thank you. Will be traveling to Botswana after Morocco so any suggestions for that ?
    Partner Angela likes your advice on clothing for women.

  16. Thanks all the informaton.
    What about children (girls) under 10 of age? I know,later the dress code for them would be change as well…

    • Children are fine! At the age of 10, some girls might already be a bit more covered, but you can relax. It’s not required.

  17. We travel to experience something different, to go places our friends haven’t
    but traveling to unknown country can be stressful without reading a travel guide
    I will definitely share this with any female travelers who wants to visit morocco.

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