Backpacking in Morocco: The Best Way to Travel Local Culture
After crashing her car in Italy, Lizzi Thomson of Bristol, grabbed a pack and some friends and continued traveling. Determined to feel the rhythm of a different world she headed to Morocco. After backpacking around Europe and one sleepless night in the Czech Republic, kept up by a man with night terrors and endless snoring she found her self settled under the stars in Marrakech.
“Morocco was a different story. Everyone stayed in Hostels. We slept on the rooftop terraces, under the stars. My favorite thing about sleeping outside was the call to prayer during the night, it was eerily peaceful,” said Lizzi.
“We spent every night on the roof, luckily it never rained but there was a tent that you could go under if it did. It was so warm, and the hostels were really nice. We only stayed in a hotel one night, after a midnight train ride,” said Albert Testani of Connecticut.
Albert, while studying at University of York, also took advantage of the opportunity to travel. Albert backpacked around Spain, France, India and Morocco. Spending time diving into each culture. While hitch-hiking in France was the most adventurous, hopping trains through Morocco was a guaranteed way to make friends.
The trains were great once you figured out how to read the signs in Arabic. According to Albert, getting around in Morocco was fairly easy and inexpensive. “With a bargaining culture there is no such thing as a fixed price,” he continued. As an insider to the bartering system he often got away with a cheap ride, thanks to the Lonely Plane Guide.
“In Marrakech there is so much to do, going to the Medina was a massive party every night,” said Albert.” We experienced (a more intimate) Moroccan culture in smaller cities like Fes, and Chefchaouen and Tangier. In the smaller cities you could blend with life more.”
The only trouble was getting lost in the maze-like cities. “It’s quite tricky to get around, the streets are rather winding. Anyone you ask for directions will know your a tourist by your Caucasian skin… we often would end up on a long elaborate tour, waving to all their friends houses,” said Lizzi.
It was a sea of clay and terracotta buildings. “We would wonder around, one day we found a woman sitting cooking, there were a lot of locals eating there… We got a massive meal for 2 dirhams. The Medina was filled with kabob stands, and fresh orange juice, which according to Albert “was amazing!”
For readers interested in backpacking in Morocco, make sure to check out some of Morocco’s adventure sports.