Morocco is one of my favourite countries in the world, and I’m already planning my return visit.
While the country is certainly challenging to travel through, due to harassment, the scenery is spectacular, the food fantastic, and culture fascinating. If you’re not travelling as a solo woman, you’ll be eliminating many of the issues that come from exploring Morocco, but if you’re determined to strike out on your own, as I did, it’s not impossible to have a wonderful trip. Just make sure to pack a high level of patience in your luggage.
Throughout the country, you’ll find beautiful spots to explore. Marrakech is chaotic yet wonderful, Essaouira has a crumbling, atmospheric medina, Casablanca is home to one of the prettiest mosques in the world, Tangier has the gorgeous beaches, and Chefchaouen is undoubtedly one of the prettiest cities in the world. Spending a night camping beneath the stars in the Sahara Desert is in my top three experiences after eight years of full-time travel.
On top of all of that, Morocco is inexpensive. I spent just $28 per day in the country!
So let’s talk about expenses.
I’ve been recording my travel budget from the very first day I started travelling because I want to show you guys that it’s possible to travel the world without spending a fortune. Unlike almost every travel blogger on the planet, I refuse to take comps/freebies/press trips when I travel and make sure to always pay for everything with my own money. That means that my opinion is never swayed by tourism boards and marketing companies, and you’ll always be receiving my honest thoughts, good and bad, when it comes to experiences and value. I choose where I stay and what I do in a country, travel anonymously to ensure I receive the same experience as you would, and then write freely about whether something sucked or rocked my world.
Because of this, this post contains affiliate links. That means that if you decide to book any accommodation, tours, or travel insurance through the links in this post, I receive a commission from that sale at no additional cost to you. This is my primary way of funding my travels and posts like these, so I greatly appreciate your support if you decide to click through.
Let’s get started.
Prices are correct as of 1st January 2019.
How to Find Cheap Flights to Morocco
European readers: you’re in luck! With a plethora of budget airlines across the continent, getting to and from Morocco will likely cost under €150 each way. If you’re all about overland travel, you can travel down to Tarifa, in Spain, then take the ferry (€32) across to Tangier.
Secret Flying is my number one flying tool and it’s rare for me to ever travel anywhere on a flight that wasn’t found through that website. It’s a flight deals site, that shares some of the absolute best prices for flights that have recently gone on sale. It’s thanks to Secret Flying that I flew from Lisbon to Cape Town for €280 return, London to Los Angeles for $120 one-way, and Singapore to London for $120 one-way. In short, regularly checking flights from your home country to Morocco will help you save a lot of money.
First, check Secret Flying deals to Europe as a whole from the U.S., Canada, Australia, or wherever else you’re from. You’ll likely be able to pick up a flight for somewhere within the continent for as little as €350 return. From there, you can then use Skyscanner to find return flights from that destination to Morocco. It’s usually far cheaper to travel to Morocco from Europe than from within Africa.
Here are some of the most recent flight deals to Morocco from Secret Flying:
- Dusseldorf to Essaouira for €1 return
- East Coast USA to Casablanca for $450 return
- Chicago to Marrakech for $502 return
- NYC to Tangier for $469 return
- San Francisco to Marrakech for $511 return
- Geneva to Marrakech for €69 return
- Montreal to Casablanca for CAD$606
Of course, if Secret Flying doesn’t have any great deals showing, you can use Skyscanner from the get-go.
After eight years of continuous travel, it’s my favourite way to search for flights, as I love that you can search for flights from an entire country to Morocco, and that you can search for travel dates across an entire month to ensure you’re flying on the cheapest days.
As always, the more flexible your plans, the easier you’ll find it to save money on flights. If you’re happy to fly into and out of different airports, you may be able to pick up a deal (flying into Marrakech and out of Casablanca, for example), and if you’re happy to visit at any time of year, you’ll be able to pick and choose the best prices, too.
The Cost of Accommodation in Morocco
In this blog post, though, I’m going to be focusing on value. Because whether you’re travelling as a solo backpacker on a tight budget, as part of a couple on a mid-range family, or as a family looking for a little luxury, value is the one thing you’re going to be looking for.
There’s some seriously great value accommodation up for grabs in Morocco, whether it’s comfortable hostels with daily activities to help you explore with new friends or glamorous riads that are just perfect for Instagram shots. To start with, I’m going to cover the cheapest way to travel in Morocco.
If you’re on the tightest of tight budgets, there are several options that’ll land you with free accommodation while you’re in the country. Courchsurfing allows you to connect with locals by sleeping on spare sofas in their homes. It doesn’t cost a penny to do so, and is a fantastic way to gain an insight into Moroccan daily life away from the tourists.
Housesitting is a way to avoid paying for accommodation, as is aimed more at the mid-range and luxury travellers. You’ll be looking after homes and pets while their owners are on holiday, and the houses can be extremely luxurious. I’ve met travellers that have petsat in an enormous castle in Europe before! This option works best if you don’t have fixed travel dates.
Finally, when it comes to free accommodation, you could take a look at WorkAway in Morocco, where you’ll be able to help out locals in exchange for food and board. There are some seriously cool options available on the site!
If you’re not looking to travel for free and just want a clean and comfortable room to sleep in, there are plenty of great options, too.
One of the most affordable ways to explore Morocco is by staying in a hostel. I stayed in several over my month in the country and was impressed by the quality of the hostels, as well as how many there are to choose from. Let’s look at the cheapest hostels in the country that still receive excellent reviews.
- The best hostel in Marrakech is easily Mosaic Hostel (the reviews are amazing!), which comes in at $10 a night for a dorm and $34 a night for a private double room.
- In Essaouira, you can’t get better than the gorgeous Chill Art Hostel, which is priced at $13 a night for a dorm bed and $27 a night for a private double.
- You’ll likely be heading to Fes while you’re in Morocco, and while you’re there, the highest-rated hostel, Fes Touria Palace, offers dorms from $14 a night and private rooms from $27 a night.
- Chefchaouen is my favourite destination in Morocco! When it comes to cheap accommodation, there’s a whole bunch of terribly-rated hostels, but Dar Elrio is the lone star that receives all the praise. With dorms starting from $20 a night, this is one of the more expensive hostels in the country, but I think it’s worth the cost when you read the glowing reviews and see how beautiful it is.
- Tangier is similar to Chefchaouen, in that there’s a whole lot of hostels with poor reputations, but Tanja Lucia manages to buck the trend, with excellent reviews, as well as dorms for $10 a night and private rooms for $25 a night.
Overall, then, you can see that you can expect to spend around $10-15 a night for dorms in Morocco, and around $25-30 a night for a private double room. If you’re travelling as part of a couple, there’s no question that you’ll receive the best value for money by opting for a private room.
Okay, but what if you’re not a budget traveller and just want to stay in a lovely, well-reviewed hotel or guesthouse that’s good value for money and has all the things you need from a place to lay your head? I’ve got you! When I visited Morocco, I opted to spend half of my trip staying in backpacker hostels and the other half in well-reviewed guesthouses. For around $40 a night, you’ll be able to stay in an excellently-reviewed hotel, in a central location with friendly staff.
Here are my recommendations for travellers on a mid-range budget:
In Marrakech, Riad Carina ($43 a night for a double room; rated 9.4 on Booking) receives a whole lot of love. So what’s so wonderful about it? Not only is it a stunning and well-designed riad, but it’s located just a five-minute walk from all of the main tourist attractions in town and is home to some seriously friendly staff. It’s quiet and peaceful, has a beautiful swimming pool, and an even more beautiful rooftop terrace.
In Essaouira, Riad Dar Awil ($49 a night for a double room; rated 9.7 on Booking) is easily the best place to stay for mid-range travellers, as essentially no other riads in town receive such great reviews while still remaining affordable. Riad Dar Awil is new, modern, and clean, and smaller than other riads across the country, which means more attentive staff and a chance to get to know your fellow guests over breakfast. It’s located right in the heart of the medina, which is exactly where you want to be staying in Essaouira.
In Fes, Dar Fes Tresor ($44 a night for a double room; rated 9.4 on Booking) is exactly what you probably picture staying in Morocco to look like. The rooms are gorgeous, with intricate mosaics and stained glass windows, giving a real traditional vibe to the place. It’s in a quiet location, which is essential for travel in chaotic Fes, and the staff are so kind and friendly. The views from the rooftop are really the icing on the cake!
In Chefchaouen, Dar Swiar ($45 a night for a double room; rated 9.4 on Booking) offers incredible value when you consider how expensive the city is for travellers. It has a wonderful rooftop view of the blue buildings, is just a minute’s walk from the main square in town, and a very welcoming owner. As a bonus, the Wi-Fi is fast, which is tough to find in Morocco!
And finally, in Tangier, Mnar Castle ($46 a night for a four-person apartment; rated 9.3 on Booking) is one of the most popular hotels for a reason. Not only do they have a large swimming pool for guests, but they also offer one of the best-value accommodation in the country. There’s a delicious breakfast, a breathtaking view of the ocean, and a free shuttle that takes you to the main attractions in the city.
How Much Does Transportation Cost in Morocco?
Morocco isn’t an enormous country, and I found it easy and affordable to travel overland.
The best way to get around Morocco then is by bus or taxi. There isn’t an extensive train network, the drivers are notoriously aggressive, and flying is always a pain in the ass.
I travelled by bus between Marrakech and Essaouira, Essaouira and Casablanca, Casablanca and Fes, Fes and Chefchaouen, and then hired a shared taxi to get between Chefchaouen and Tangier.
There are two main bus companies in Morocco: CTM and Supratours. CTM is typically the better bus company, as it has more routes and departure times for travellers to choose from. Still, both companies operate clean and modern buses with a good safety record, so there’s no real reason to choose one over the other. Prices are inexpensive, too — for example the three-hour bus from Marrakech to Essaouira costs just 80 MAD ($8.50), and you’ll rarely pay more than around $15 for any journey in the country.
If you’d rather some privacy for your trip, you can hire taxis to take you between popular destinations, and if you’re travelling as a group, they can work out to be fairly inexpensive. A taxi from Marrakech to Essaouira will typically cost around 600 MAD ($62), which is expensive as a solo traveller, but not extortionate if you’re part of a group of four friends.
In Morocco, you’ll also find shared taxis, known as grand taxis, which are excellent options for my solo travellers out there. You’ll be sharing with locals, which makes for a great cultural experience, and saving money, as you’ll split the cost of a taxi between six passengers. I took a shared grand taxi between Chefchaouen and Tangier with five locals and paid 100 MAD ($10.45) for the ride.
How to Find Budget Food Options in Morocco
Prepare for your upcoming trip to Morocco by preparing your stomach for a hell of a lot of tagine.
Moroccan food is delicious, but as it’s not the most varied of cuisines, you’ll likely be craving a little more variety by the end of your trip. By the end of my three weeks in the country, I never wanted to eat another tagine again!
Food, however, is extremely inexpensive in Morocco, and you can easily get by spending around $12-15 per day.
Most accommodation in Morocco offers a free breakfast, that usually comprises fried eggs with cumin, olives, fresh bread, honey, and delicious fruits. Add in several glasses of fresh mint tea, and you’re perfectly set up for a day of exploring. If you’re staying somewhere that doesn’t offer breakfast, there’s still plenty of cafes and restaurants around that will be offering local foods to eat, and you can expect to spend around $2 for a simple breakfast of pastries, jam, and honey.
On average, I paid $5 for lunch while I was in Morocco, which was nearly always tagine, couscous, or harira. These local eats are delicious, filling, and criminally cheap. If you venture outside of the tourist-filled medinas, you can even score a tagine for as little as $3. In the more popular part of town, you’ll be looking at around $8.
Dinners are slightly more expensive than lunches, but still offer great value for money. I spent between $4 and $8 for my evening meals when travelling in Morocco.
Keep in mind that Morocco is a predominantly islamic country and that means that alcohol is both expensive and hard to find. I decided to go tee-total while travelling around the country for this reason, but if you’re determined to have a beer with your meals, you can expect to pay around $4 for a small one — not outrageous, but definitely expensive relative to the cost of everything else in the country.
One of my favourite ways to save money on food when I travel is to make lunch my largest meal. I’ll opt for a bigger main dish for lunch, when prices are lower, then get a smaller dish, like a starter or a salad for dinner when I’m not as hungry, as these dishes will be cheaper.
A half-litre bottle of water is $0.50, although I recommend travelling with a foldable Vapur water bottle and refilling it with Morocco’s tap water. You’ll save on money, stay hydrated, reduce your risks of getting sick, and reduce your plastic consumption by doing so. And finally, if you’re a coffee drinker, you’ll be looking at paying $1.50 for a cappuccino.
If you’re a fan of eating in when you travel, groceries from the supermarkets and local markets. aren’t too expensive either. Some typical prices of essentials include:
- A loaf of bread: $0.40
- A dozen eggs: $1.20
- A kilogram of tomatoes: $0.50
- A litre of milk: $0.70
- A kilogram of potatoes: $0.45
- A kilogram of chicken thighs: $4.20
How to Spend Less on Activities in Morocco
If you’re travelling on a tight budget, there are plenty of free activities to keep you busy in Morocco.
One of my favourite things to do in the country is wander around the medinas on foot. These bustling markets are full of character and so fascinating to wander around, even if you do have to put up with frequent hustlers and touts.
One activity I absolutely recommend is a tour of the Sahara Desert — you can read about my experience here — which has been one of my greatest travel highlights from eight years of exploring this world. If you do find yourself in Marrakech, I highly recommend spending the $120 to spend three days wandering through the Atlas Mountains, riding camels at sunrise, and sleeping beneath the Milky Way. It’s a life-changing experience.
When it comes to tours in Morocco, I always head straight to Viator to see what they have to offer. These are their top-rated experiences as of January 2019:
- Atlas Mountains and Four Valleys Day Tour from Marrakech: $68
- 4-Hour City Tour of Marrakech: $14
- 4-Hour Cooking Class in Marrakech with Food Shopping in the Souks: $57
- 4-Hour Marrakech Food Tour by Bike: $69
- Full-Day Tour of Tangier: $50
- Day Trip to Essaouira from Marrakech: $86
- 2-Hour Horse Ride on the Beach in Essaouira: $31
- 12-Hour Guided Tour of Fes: $40
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance When You Travel to Morocco
If you’ve read any other of my articles on Never Ending Footsteps, you’ll know I’m always talking about how you need to buy travel insurance.
I’ve seen far too many Go Fund Me campaigns from destitute backpackers that are unexpectedly stranded in a foreign country after a scooter accident/being attacked/breaking a leg with no way of getting home or paying for their healthcare. In short, if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel.
Travel insurance will cover you if your flight get cancelled and you need to book a new one, if your luggage gets lost and you need to replace your belongings, if you suddenly get struck down by appendicitis and have to be hospitalised, if you have your camera stolen and need to buy a replacement, or discover a family member has died while you’re overseas and need to get home immediately. If you fall seriously ill, your insurance will cover the costs to fly you back home to receive medical treatment. It’s a travel essential.
I’ve used World Nomads as my travel insurance provider since 2012 and have nothing but wonderful things to say about them. I highly recommend using them while travelling in Morocco.
My Travel Expenses in Morocco
At the end of my budget breakdowns, I always like to take a look over my own expense reports and tally up exactly what I spent in the countries I visit, in order to give you an idea of how much you should be expecting to spend. Keep in mind that when I travelled in Morocco, I primarily stayed in dorm rooms in hostels, travelled by bus, ate the local street food, and took just one tour (to the Sahara Desert), so keeping my expenses low was a real priority.
How much I spent over 21 days in Morocco:
- Accommodation: $205.60/$9.70 per day
- Transportation: $44.95/$2.14 per day
- Food: $282.15/$13.44 per day
- Activities: $70.00/$3.33 per day
Total amount spent: $602.70 over three weeks, which is $28.70 per day.
That’s it for my travel expense report for Morcco! I really hope you found it useful for your upcoming trip, and am happy to answer any further questions you may have in the comments below.
Photo of girl riding camel in the desert via: Aurelia Teslaru/Shutterstock; photo of tagines at a market via: Peter Wollinga/Shutterstock; photo of colourful market in Fes via: Mitzo/Shutterstock; photo of Hassan II Mosque via: Ruslan Kalnitsky/Shutterstock. Everything else was taken by me :-)