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Morocco is a crossroads. Spend a few weeks traveling here, and you’ll find people, cultures, foods, and languages from Arab, African and European traditions. Similarly, Morocco’s landscapes and climates are just as varied. While this makes for a rich and fascinating travel experience, it can be very challenging from a standpoint of packing and preparing for a trip! My Morocco packing list will help you navigate the cultural traditions, climate, activities, and landscapes of this country so you can focus on what you came here for – a transformative travel experience.
What to Wear in Morocco
Seasons, Destinations, Activities, and Cultural Considerations
My Morocco packing list below focuses on winter, but you can easily modify it for any season. I recommend that you spend some time researching your itinerary first and thinking about the questions below as you prepare your Morocco packing list:
What time of year will you travel?
Overall Morocco doesn’t get much rain, but there are seasonal temperature differences in most regions.
What cities does your itinerary include?
You’ll want to know the exact destinations, since Morocco has several climates. Layers will be your best friend in Morocco!
Along the coasts the climates range from Mediterranean in Tangiers in the north, then west to Casablanca and Rabat which are tempered by the Atlantic waters, down to Agadir which has temperate climate year-round.
In the interior of Morocco, you’ll find a mountain climate in the middle and high Atlas mountains. And of course, you’ll encounter desert conditions in the Sahara Desert and warm weather year-round in Marrakech.
Check out HolidayWeather.com for more details on the cities in your itinerary, and make a list of the high and low temperatures you can expect for your travel season in each city.
What activities will you participate in and how will you get around?
In cities, you’ll need comfortable walking shoes for winding through the medinas. If you travel into the mountains, you’ll want supportive shoes for hiking; and in the Sahara Desert, you should bring closed-toed shoes to protect your feet from the hot sand.
Consider your activities and methods of transport, too, when deciding on luggage: backpacks are easier on trains and cobblestone streets, and you’ll need a smaller overnight bag if you trek into the Sahara. And of course, if you’ll be at the beach, you’ll need a bathing suit, which brings us to…
What do you know about the culture of Morocco?
You’re probably wondering, what can and can’t I wear in Morocco? People here do dress conservatively, but you’ll also see a lot of tourists. There’s not a set “dress code,” per say. Women in Morocco don’t need to cover their heads, and you don’t need to be covered from neck to toe. (Although you will see Moroccans in a traditional loose caftan with hood called a djellaba!) Revealing clothing that bares your midriff, tank tops, sleeveless shirts, low-cut tops and short skirts should NOT make it onto your list.
You’ll be more comfortable and avoid unwanted attention if you err on the side of caution. This means dressing in layers and bringing clothes that give you options. For example, capris, long pants, maxi skirts, maxi dresses, or knee-length dresses with a pair of leggings. As long as your shoulders are covered, you can always wear a scarf with to cover up more (for example, with a v-neck shirt). You might even opt to wear loose-fitting long-sleeve shirts for sun protection.
In general, though, rural areas are more conservative and you’ll want to cover up more there. Bathing suits are expected if your hotel has a pool or if you go to the beach, and one-piece suits are more common.
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Morocco Packing List (Winter)
My Best of Morocco itinerary with Intrepid Travel was what I’d call an adventure trip – we went from city to city, with lots of sightseeing and outings planned, and few nights out. Most of our dinners were at our hotels, especially in the remote towns, which allowed me to pack less. You can also plan to have laundry done if you’ll be at a hotel for more than one night. Consider your itinerary as well as your travel and personal style, of course, when preparing your own Morocco packing list. I’ve linked to some items below so you can get an idea of what was on my list.
Outerwear for Morocco in Winter and Mountains
In places like Casablanca, Fez, Essaouira and Marrakech I was fine with only a cardigan or denim jacket. In contrast, the nights in the Atlas Mountains, Ourzazate and the Sahara Desert were freezing! Instead of a coat, I opted for a packable trench with layers underneath to save space. The sleek, slightly stretchy fabric didn’t wrinkle and any dirt brushed right off, so it had the added bonus of looking more pulled-together. I also brought a light jacket and a fleece.
A packable sun hat came in handy in Volubilis and for other sunny days. I was glad I had a warm hat and gloves for the Sahara Desert overnight.
Clothing for Morocco
I brought three pair of pants and also two knee-length dresses to wear with opaque tights underneath. I love Athleta pants for travel – they come in a wide range of sizing, pack well, and dry quickly if you need to wash them. My tops included three short-sleeve, one long-sleeve and a sweatshirt. A Sahara Desert overnight can get chilly especially in winter, so plan layers for that portion of the trip.
Scarves are a must-have in Morocco. You can use them to cover your neckline or head if needed, or to breathe through and keep from gagging at the smell of tanneries in Fez. (Sadly, I am not joking!) You’ll even learn how to tie them into a turban from your Berber guide. I wore my Fluxus Nomad Scarf (a favorite for flights) into the desert and it made a perfect turban.
Footwear for Morocco
For shoes, pack hiking shoes or sneakers that you can wear into the desert and for hikes in the Atlas Mountains. I also brought a pair of slip-on Skechers that looked more like black flats to wear with dresses. And definitely bring flip flops in case you need them for any sketchy hotel showers! If I had traveled in summer, I would have added a pair of Keen hiking sandals. If you’ll be going out in cities, you might want a pair of nicer sandals. I recommend flats over heels because of the uneven streets and walkways.
Other Gear for Your Morocco Trip
I packed a small fleece sleeping bag that I used as an extra layer on the coldest nights including at the Sahara camp. Homes and hotels in Morocco often don’t have adequate heating, so expect to see space heaters and ridiculously heavy blankets if you travel in the colder months.
Lastly, you’ll need a backpack for a trip into the Sahara, plus my itinerary included an overnight homestay. For these nights you’ll store your bags and take only a day pack. I travel with a Manfrotto Advanced Active Backpack, which has separate sections for your camera gear and other belongings. If you have a lot of camera gear, also can buy removable inserts to add camera storage to any bag. You won’t need much for only one night in the Sahara: I recommend just face wipes and basic toiletries, since the facilities are limited and you’ll head back to the auberge (inn) for breakfast where you can clean up there.
Morocco Packing List For All Seasons
- 2-3 pair of long pants, jeans, or capri pants
- 2-3 casual dresses or skirts, knee-length or longer
- 3-5 tops including a fleece or sweatshirt
- Jacket and/or coat, depending on your season and itinerary
- Socks. For winter, be sure to bring warm socks if you will be in the Atlas Mountains or Sahara.
- Scarves (for covering up and/or warmth, depending on season)
- Warm hat and gloves if winter
- Flip flops
- A pair of flats for evenings out
- Sneakers, hiking shoes or hiking sandals depending on your season and itinerary
- Sun hat, sunglasses and sunscreen
- Small first aid kit and basic medications like pain reliever, Pepto Bismol, etc.
- Personal toiletries, including feminine products
- Travel packs of tissues in case restrooms don’t have toilet paper
- Antibacterial hand wipes
- Outlet adapters or USB outlet adapter
- Battery pack
- Tide sink packets for handwashing items
- A water bottle
- A fleece sleeping bag for extra warmth during winter
- A daypack for a Sahara Desert overnight
- A backpack rather than a suitcase and lock for your backpack if you’ll be traveling a lot by train