Morocco Budget Travel Guide

The ultimate Morocco budget travel guide, featuring tips on accommodation, transport, tours, and more!

Looking to explore Morocco on a budget? Look no further.

I have crafted this Morocco budget travel guide after spending 1 month gallivanting around the country on a very tight backpacker budget.

My month in Morocco was full of cool experiences. I ate fresh sardines by the beach, swam in waterfalls, watched the sunrise in the Sahara, hiked through the Atlas Mountains, and more.

There are lots of incredible things to do in Morocco, and most of them are affordable.

I’ll provide some of my insights about tour companies as well. Some adventures are easy and cheap to do on your own, but some are much better with a tour guide.

So let’s get into the Morocco Budget Travel Guide!

valley atlas mountains morocco budget travel guide
Exploring the Atlas Mountains is a highlight of Morocco, and it’s affordable!

Morocco Budget Travel Guide

The categories I’ll cover include: flights, accommodation, food, transport within Morocco, must-have experiences, and tours.

The Moroccan currency is the Dirham, which easily converts to USD. 10 Dirhams = 1 USD. But for ease of understanding, I’ll convert all prices in this article to USD.

If you plan on traveling to Morocco, be sure to read my article: Important Morocco Travel Tips. I cover lots of cultural aspects of Morocco that tourists should all be aware of!

Flights To Morocco

Morocco has lots of airports, many of which are international. Your flight to Morocco will most likely land in Marrakech, Casablanca, or Fes.

I always use Skyscanner for finding the best flights around the world.

If you’re traveling to Morocco from Europe, you can take the ferry from southern Spain to Tangier. Flights from Europe to Morocco are also usually quite cheap. (I flew from London to Fes for 57 USD).

If you’re traveling to Morocco from outside Europe, it may be cheaper to fly to Europe first, and then catch a cheap flight to Morocco.

For more tips, read: How To Find The Cheapest Flights Abroad

Accommodation in Morocco

Next in my Morocco budget travel guide: How to find cheap accommodation.

Here are the main types of budget accommodation in Morocco that I experienced.

Working in a hostel in Marrakech allowed us to stay in the city for free.

Work Exchange

The cheapest way to stay in Morocco is doing a work exchange. So you’ll have to do a bit of work, but you’ll get to stay for free.

Because we had 1 whole month in Morocco, we weren’t rushing and we wanted our money to last. So we did a work exchange in Marrakech for 3 weeks.

We stayed at Ya Salam Hostel. In exchange for a free stay, we did a bit of general work around the hostel like cleaning, making breakfast, and helping the owner with emails for his tour company.

(Ya Salam is now closed due to COVID complications. But check Worldpackers or Workaway for other work exchanges in Morocco!)

Hostels

Hostels are the next cheapest form of accommodation in Morocco.

A hostel dorm bed in Morocco costs around 8-10 USD per night.

Every Moroccan hostel I stayed in was great as well. Many provide free breakfast and have a stylish, cozy common area full of Moroccan rugs and artifacts.

In Chefchaouen, we even stayed in a private room at Hostal La Joya for just 18 USD per night.

Visit Hostelworld to browse the best hostels in Morocco!

Airbnb

There are lots of Airbnb’s in Morocco as well. These come in handy, because some less-touristy places don’t have hostels or work exchanges available.

When heading to Casablanca, we realized that Airbnb was actually cheaper and more central than a hostel.

In the coastal town of Safi, an Airbnb cost us around 45 USD per night, and there were no hostels there.

So definitely check multiple accommodation platforms for the most affordable option!

safi morocco budget travel guide
There were no hostels near the remote beaches of Safi so we found an Airbnb.

Riads: For those who want to treat themselves

A riad is a traditional Moroccan guesthouse. There is usually a garden or pool inside and the interior decoration is exquisite.

But they are on the expensive side, costing minimum 100 USD per night.

We never stayed in one, but if you want to treat yourself for a few nights then I recommend staying in a Riad as it’s more unique than a hotel.

Food In Morocco

I love this section of the Morocco budget travel guide; Moroccan food is incredible!!

Here are some tips for eating in Morocco on a budget.

Cheapest: Street Food and Street Markets

Like most countries, food in the street is the cheapest in Morocco.

Some of our favorite meals consisted of buying fresh fruit, bread, and nuts from street vendors.

If your accommodation has a kitchen, you can save so much money by cooking your own food.

While staying in Marrakech, we visited the Derb Demnat Street Market almost every day. Buying bags full of fruit, veggies, rice, eggs, olives, and spices cost us less than 5 USD every time. We ate the most delicious meals for so cheap.

Must-try street produce in Morocco: dates, olives, peaches, plums, and figs. They are SO GOOD here!!

Still Cheap: Small Local Restaurants

Eating out at small, local restaurants is still very cheap in Morocco.

In non-touristy areas, a meal can still cost less than 5 USD. There was a small pizza shop next to our hostel in Marrakech that sold personal-sized pizzas for 1 USD!

A must-try local meal in Morocco: tagines! This dish of meat, potatoes, veggies, and spices is slow-cooked in a clay, cone-shaped pot. It’s easy to find mediocre tagines in touristy restaurants, but a good, authentic one will blow your mind. (Another perk of doing a work exchange and living with locals: you get real, homemade local food like tagines)

More Expensive: Touristy Restaurants

This is the most expensive food option in Morocco. HOWEVER, a meal in a tourist restaurant will still be cheaper than an average meal in a country like the USA.

A large meal with starters and desserts can cost around 10-20 USD. So it’s expensive for Morocco, but still cheap! But you’ll burn through your money pretty quickly if you eat out for every meal.

Other must-try food and drink in Morocco: cous-cous dishes, local pastries, and lots of fresh fruit. Also be sure to order a pot of traditional mint tea!

mint tea morocco budget travel guide
Mint tea is a Moroccan specialty.

Transport Within Morocco

Next in this Morocco budget travel guide: the cheapest and easiest ways to get around the country.

You can take domestic flights if you’re traveling a long distance. But here I’ll be focusing on ground transportation.

Local Bus

We used the local bus system for almost all of our travels in Morocco.

The cost of a ticket generally ranges from 8-20 USD. Our most expensive bus journey was 16.50 USD from Chefchaouen to Casablanca, which is about 5 hours.

We bought our tickets at the bus station the day before a journey, sometimes right before a journey.

You many have to pay a small fee for luggage, but it will only be about 5 Dirhams (0.50 USD).

Taxi or Collective Taxi

You’ll probably have to catch a few taxis here and there in Moroccan cities. But be aware, taxi drivers often try to rip off tourists.

Before a journey, I would ask around to a few different drivers to see what the average price is.

Practice your bargaining, and definitely agree on a price before you get in the taxi so the driver can’t raise it last-minute.

If you find other travelers to ride with you, grab a collective taxi. These mini vans are much cheaper as you’re all splitting the cost.

Morocco budget travel guide Atlas Mountains
No matter how you travel, the views in Morocco are insane!

Guided Tour

When traveling to more remote areas like the Sahara Desert, booking a tour can be the best option.

Sometimes there is no direct public transport to a certain area, and tours in Morocco are often pretty cheap.

So if you’re on a strict backpacker budget, don’t immediately rule out a guided tour because they may be affordable. I’ll touch on this more in the next section!

Morocco Budget Travel Guide: Tours and Activities in Morocco

No Morocco budget travel guide would be complete without discussing the tours and activities. After all, it’s these attractions that bring people to Morocco in the first place!

I’ll list some of the top Morocco attractions and discuss the cost. Some activities are best done with a tour, and others not.

Sahara Desert

This is probably the best thing to do in Morocco. The vast, mysterious, dream-like Sahara Desert is very accessible from Morocco, so might as well check it out!

I recommend booking a guided tour to the Sahara Desert.

The desert is very remote and there is no direct public transport. If you want to get there without a tour, you’ll have to hitchhike part of the way. I spoke to a traveler who did this and loved it, but it’s not something I would do.

The Sahara Desert is so mind-blowingly beautiful that it’s worth paying for a tour so you can really enjoy it. Your transport, accommodation, and food is taken care of. It’s nice to just relax and soak in the views without worrying about logistics.

You can find lots of affordable tours on Get Your Guide. Most tours leave from Marrakech, some from Fes. The cheapest ones cost around 100-150 USD for 3 days, 2 nights. Most tours include camel rides and camping under the stars.

Atlas Mountains

This was my favorite place in Morocco. The serenity and natural beauty here was so palpable, especially compared to the busy cities.

You don’t need a tour to visit the Atlas Mountains.

We took a collective taxi from Marrakech to Imlil, and spent 2 days hiking and exploring on our own. The hostel we stayed in was gorgeous, and it was a super cheap and fun few days.

However, if you plan on hiking Mount Toubkal, book a tour.

As the highest mountain in Morocco and all of Northern Africa, Mount Toubkal is not an easy climb. This challenging hike requires camping overnight, and I’ve heard the trail is not always straightforward.

Everyone I spoke to recommended hiring a guide for this hike, so I would prefer to be safe and book a guided tour.

This guided 2 day/1 night tour costs 173 USD. A bit pricey, but probably worth it.

waterfall imlil hike morocco
We did a day hike to this waterfall in the Atlas Mountains without a guide.

Chefchaouen

This famous Blue City in the Rif Mountains is one of the most stunning spots in Morocco. The iconic photos you’ve seen on Instagram and in travel guides don’t even do the city justice! It is 100% worth the trip.

You definitely don’t need a tour to visit Chefchaouen.

Lots of people book day trips to Chefchaouen from Fes or Tangier, but a tour is not necessary.

Just catch a local bus to the city for less than 20 USD and explore Chefchaouen on your own. You’ll save money and have more freedom. Chefchaouen is also quite small, so you won’t get lost.

chefchaouen blue city
Chefchaouen may be the most photographed place in Morocco.

Essaouira

This seaside town is a popular day trip from Marrakech. Its beautiful Medina is world-famous, and the ocean views are lovely.

You’ll also get to see goats in trees on the road into the city (the goats alone make this trip worth it!).

I recommend visiting without a tour, but the price difference is small.

Catching the local bus to and from Marrakech, or booking a guided tour, is close in price.

A tour costs around 25 USD, and you’ll be picked up directly from your hostel in Marrakech and driven to the Essaouira town center.

The local bus round trip from Marrakech to Essaouira costs 16 USD, but you’ll have to get a taxi to and from the Marrakech bus station.

So a tour is a little bit pricier, but not by much. Essaouira is also small, so you don’t need a guide to get around. Going without a tour gives you more freedom, so the choice is yours.

goats in trees morocco
Goats in this area of Morocco climb the Argan trees to eat the nuts!
essaouira medina morocco
Essaouira’s Medina is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Ouzoud Waterfalls

Another fun day trip from Marrakech is visiting the Ouzoud Waterfalls. It’s a huge, impressive waterfall that tapers off into lots of smaller waterfalls and pools.

I recommend booking a tour to the Ouzoud Waterfalls.

There is no direct public transport, and it’s a 3-hour drive from Marrakech. A tour costs 25 USD and you’ll get to ride to the falls in a comfy van.

Upon arriving at the falls, we chose to opt out of the guided tour that cost 3 USD. It’s quite easy to explore and swim in the falls on your own!

All the restaurants and shops surrounding the falls are very touristy and overpriced, so keep that in mind.

ouzoud waterfalls morocco budget travel guide
Ouzoud Waterfalls are an amazing day trip from Marrakech.

Fes and the Medina

Fes is the so-called cultural capital of Morocco. The city is very authentic and traditional, with few signs of tourism or Westernization.

It’s pretty fascinating to visit Fes, but it’s also a culture shock. The Fes Medina is one of the oldest in the world, founded in the 9th Century.

Either skip the tour, or book a guided tour with a professional company only.

What I mean by this is don’t accept an unofficial tour from a local. They will try to rip you off, and our unofficial “tour guide” got aggressive with us when we couldn’t pay his steep fee.

Click here to read more about my experiences in Fes!

The Medina is very hectic, but it is possible to explore it on your own without a tour. Have a map or navigation APP to help you when you get lost (you will most likely get lost, it’s a MAZE).

A guided tour with a reputable company can be great. Your guide will take you to the best spots in the Medina, including the famous traditional tanneries. This tour from Get Your Guide costs 18 USD.

fez-morocco-architecture
You’ll find hidden gems in the Fes Medina, but be prepared to get lost!

Casablanca and the Hassan II Mosque

The Hassan II Mosque is easily the best attraction in Casablanca.

I personally didn’t love the city itself; it was just too crowded and intense. But the mosque is one of the most impressive sights in all of Morocco so it’s worth coming just to see it.

You need to book a guided tour to enter the Hassan II Mosque.

Most mosques in Morocco are closed to non-Muslims. But this is one of the few that allows tourists to enter. You can only enter with a pre-booked, guided tour outside of local prayer times.

You can book a tour on-site when you arrive at the mosque for 30 USD. Get Your Guide offers a private guided tour with hotel pickup for 47 USD.

The Hassan II Mosque is the second largest mosque in Africa and the 7th largest in the whole world. To save money, you can just admire the massive structure from the outside for free.

casablanca mosque morocco
The Hassan II Mosque is absolutely massive and super impressive.

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That concludes my Morocco budget travel guide!

I hope this makes it a bit easier to travel through Morocco on a budget. This country came as a bit of a culture shock to me, but once I got used to it I made some amazing memories.

If you haven’t already, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND reading my article: Important Morocco Travel Tips. It might help lessen your culture shock!

Thanks for reading!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read more about this in my About Me page!

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