The Secret Introvert’s Guide to Survive Chaotic Marrakesh Easily

It is no secret that I don’t like big cities. So why on earth would I want to visit Marrakesh, the magical but chaotic city in Morroco (again?) How can I handle such an attack on the senses as an introvert and still enjoy my time in Marrakesh? Here is my introvert’s guide to Marrakesh with (secret) tips to survive when you’re quickly overstimulated and prone to sensory overload.

Because Marrakesh (or Marrakech if you prefer) is such an amazing city, filled with vibrant colors, delicious foods, and interesting history, I wanted to visit the city, again. The first time I visited, I basically did everything wrong and I was overwhelmed, overheated, and generally had a horrible time.

10 Years later, more experienced in the ways of the world and more in sync with my own (mental) needs, I decided to give Marrakesh another chance. And I had an amazing time! Read what I did differently and how this worked really well for my state of mind.

These tips can be applied to any major city or busy travel experience for introverted people, for high-sensitive persons, or anyone who is easily overwhelmed, overstimulated, and exhausted. However, I’m not a medical expert, so if you feel (mentally) unwell, seek the help of a professional physician.

I paid for everything in full myself. I was not paid or sponsored. All my opinions and experiences are my own.

Probe around the Globe does use affiliate links. If you decide to follow one of my links and make a purchase, I’ll earn a small commission. This is at no extra cost to you.

Read my introvert's guide to Marrakesh to easily survive the chaos and to avoid sensory overload when visiting Marrakesh Morocco on your own
No stress but just a relaxed day trip – sitting by the river and having some tea

My first trip to Marrakesh and why it was horrible

Over a decade ago, I first traveled to Marrakesh. It was my first time in Morocco and the first time I set foot on African soil. I had just gone through an emotionally taxing period of losing all stability in my life and assessing my life goals. I was also quite broke and basically running away from all the issues at home.

And I decided to go to Marrakesh, Morocco. In August. On a budget. I let that sink in there for a minute.

Sadly, I had very little money to spend and I decided to travel in the hottest month of the year. I started my trip in Marrakesh, not knowing what I would do in the city.

I booked a room in the cheapest riad I could find, basically sleeping in a broom closet with not even an airfan, let alone some AC. It was over 50 degrees (Celsius, 122 F) and I was suffering.

Add on top of that the constant cry for attention from street vendors, shop owners, and market entertainers, my senses were overloaded. Needless to say, I did not enjoy myself and I even cut my trip short and ran back home.

Read my introvert's guide to Marrakesh to easily survive the chaos and to avoid sensory overload when visiting Marrakesh Morocco on your own
The busy Jemaa el-Fnaa square at daytime was already busy and impressive, but nearly manageable.

Travel to Marrakesh Morocco as an introvert

But now, I’m older and wiser. Over the past 10 years, I have traveled a lot as a solo female independent traveler and visited places like Iran and Lebanon. I know myself pretty well and I’m not afraid to do what is good for my mental health to make my trip a success.

I was pretty confident I could handle Marrakesh a lot better now, although my mental stability has deteriorated after COVID-19.

Years of working from home, and living in a small, quiet village made me even more of an introvert than I already was. I consider a group of 3 people a crowded party. 2 Taxis on the curb are a traffic jam and I’m easily overwhelmed by lights, sounds, smells, and people.

So, confident about my experience and self-knowledge but wary about my increased introversion and overstimulation, I decided I needed a plan to enjoy myself in Marrakesh.

The chaos, the smells, the sounds, the images of the night food stalls at the Jemaa el-Fnaa square at night are out of this world.
The chaos, the smells, the sounds, the images of the night food stalls at the Jemaa el-Fnaa square at night are out of this world.

How to survive chaotic Marrakesh as an introvert

Here is my guide to surviving Marrakesh if you don’t like crowds and consider yourself highly sensitive and an introverted person.

1. Stay in a comfortable hotel or Riad in Marrakesh that feels like home

There is no place like home when your senses are overloaded and you just want peace and quietness. I scoured the internet for an affordable local authentic guesthouse, a riad. I wanted it to be central, but not too busy.

Also, I wanted my room to be comfortable, with enough room to relax and maybe retreat for a couple of hours. The riad I picked was an absolute gem. Riad Jalina in Marrakesh felt like home.

The Riad was comfortable, with nice beds, a charming bathroom, and a lovely courtyard. The people were very warm and welcoming. They had a great breakfast and a spectacular rooftop terrace where you could lounge, relax and just unwind.

Plus, the riad was located at the end of a dead-end alleyway, just 1 minute from the main street and 5 minutes from the main square. Keeping all the noise and a lot of the heat outside but still being close to all the main sights.

Curious if this Riad could be your home away from home. Check out their reviews and prices on Booking or Hotels.com

The lovely and beautiful courtyard at the Riad in Marrakesh
The lovely and beautiful courtyard at the Riad in Marrakesh

2. Avoid the busiest hours of the day for the main attractions in Marrakesh

The Jemaa el-Fnaa square is THE place to be after sunset. Snake charmers, sizzling food stalls, and performers are out to entertain you and make a few bucks. But if you’re talking about sensory overload, then this is it.

I didn’t visit the square in the evenings. Because I could barely make it across the square during the day when there were fewer people, fewer entertainers, and fewer sounds, smells, and images to take in.

I made the mistake of visiting the popular Bahia Palace with a guide during the busiest part of the day. I thought it would be interesting to visit the sights with a walking tour, but the tour group was too big and the palace too crowded.

In hindsight, I wish I had gone on my own, right as they opened or right before closing time. It was crowded and cramped and I felt overwhelmed.

The Bahia Palace in Marrakesh Morocco is a popular tourist attraction
The Bahia Palace is amazing but it was too crowded when I was there, this is nearly the only picture without people in it.

3. Join small local tours to guide you through the crowded medina in Marrakesh

I did join a few other tours that were with much smaller groups and had a great time! I joined a food tour of the medina and besides great food and a small company, it had another advantage.

If you’re with a local or in this case a food tour, you’re not being hassled by vendors to look at their stuff or visit their shop. I didn’t have to worry about ordering or finding a place to sit and eat, it was all done for me.

I can perfectly manage to eat on my own, but when my nervous system is already attacked to the max, I like to make things easier for myself so I can enjoy the food of the city.

If you’d like to find a great food tour in Marrakesh, check out these tours on GetYourGuide or Viator. Or go with this locally run food tour.

Read my introvert's guide to Marrakesh to easily survive the chaos and to avoid sensory overload when visiting Marrakesh Morocco on your own
Enjoying a nice view at one of the rooftop bars overlooking the square

4. Get out in nature to escape the bustling chaotic city

This works specifically well for me, as plants, greenery and wide open spaces calm me done and reduce my heart rate. If I’m very stressed at home, I just like to wander around the house and pet the plants or go to the garden center to pick up a new plant baby.

A greenery, greenhouse, or botanic garden might not always be a top attraction but in Marrakesh, they have quite a few places. For example, the Jardin Majorelle.

This garden, built by an artist, has exotic plants, water features, and a museum of Berber culture. It is located outside the medina walls and is very popular.

I went early in the morning, and I took my time walking the narrow paths through the plants, snapping pictures and just seeing the blue sky and green plants around me. It quickly got quite busy, so time your visit. Pick one of the earliest time slots and when possible, avoid weekends (Friday to Sunday).

If you prefer less popular places, you can always go to the Koutoubia gardens around the mosque.

The Jardin Majorelle in Marrakesh is a bit touristy and sometimes a bit crowded, but it amazing to be surrounded by so much greenery and tropical life.
The Jardin Majorelle in Marrakesh is a bit touristy and sometimes a bit crowded, but it is amazing to be surrounded by so much greenery and tropical life.

5. Tour the countryside and explore the Atlas Mountains near Marrakesh

I stayed in Marrakesh for 5 days and I was glad to leave the city for a full day and tour the countryside in a small mini-van. It was again a small tour group and we went to no less than 5 Valleys in the Atlas Mountains.

A day filled with fun, laughter, driving in the mountains, and wide open space. We had lunch on a rooftop terrace, overlooking the whole valley and had tea by a river.

There are many tours out there, but I booked this small group tour that goes to 5 Valleys and lasts all day. Book it via GetYourGuide or Viator here.

Read my introvert's guide to Marrakesh to easily survive the chaos and to avoid sensory overload when visiting Marrakesh Morocco on your own
Absolutely loved this day trip because of the views, the scenery, and the sights

6. Retreat in the desert to a desert camp

I was a bit in doubt if I wanted to go to a desert camp from Marrakesh. I knew I didn’t have the time to go all the way to the real desert Sahara in Merzouga. But close to Marrakesh, they have the Agafay desert.

Don’t expect golden sand dunes, but it is pretty dry, they have camels and the traditional Berbers like to showcase their cooking and music skills.

sunset over the Agafay desert near Marrakesh Morocco seen from the back of a camel
The camel ride was not my happiest moment, but the sunset over the Agafay desert was lovely.

I went on a group evening tour of the Agafay desert. It included transport to the desert, a camel ride, and dinner at a Berber camp with music and entertainment.

It was a great way to get out there, eat a traditional meal with others, and experience some of the entertainment. There was music and dance, and a fire show (which was quite spectacular). The group was big enough that I didn’t stand out and could easily mix into the background, but I felt I was still part of the evening. Perfect for me.

If you want to book the exact same tour, click here to book with GetYourGuide, but there are many out there via Viator too. They are all more or less the same, the difference is what is included or not and the group size.

The Agafay desert camp is not far from Marrakesh but you couldn't be further away from the city
The Agafay desert camp is not far from Marrakesh but you couldn’t be further away from the city

7. Excercise or release stress

I’m not a big fan of sweating or exercising at all. A brisk walk is the most exercise I’ll participate in, but maybe it works for you. Like going for a run, putting in some laps in the pool, or going cycling.

I decided I wanted to see a bit more of Marrakesh than what I could cover on foot and I joined an e-bike tour of Marrakesh. We were a very small group with a guide and we cycled first to the newer part of Marrakesh. All on paved, dedicated bike lines, which was a bit boring but a good exercise (even on an e-bike).

Being outside, moving along the vast openness, away from the noise was great. We did go back into the medina, but being on a bike, you’re sort of above the noise and hassling of street vendors. I have to admit, this tour is only for confident cyclists as we went through the souq, which I thought was great fun, but others might find it impossible.

After the craziness of passing through the souq on our bikes and crossing the square, we cycled through Koutoubia Park at sunset. Cycling through this lovely park with the sun painting the buildings even more pink was glorious.

Curious? You can book this e-bike tour of Marrakesh here.

Read my introvert's guide to Marrakesh to easily survive the chaos and to avoid sensory overload when visiting Marrakesh Morocco on your own
I loved the bike tour of Marrakesh on these e-bikes

8. Relax with a hammam treatment or massage

A great way to wash the dirt off from your travels to Marrakesh. The hammam culture in Marrakesh is very much alive and a relaxing bath or massage can make you a whole different person.

I’ve booked a hammam treatment on the day of my arrival at the oldest hammam in town. I thought it would be nice to experience the authentic scrubbing, as I had previously done the luxury pampering one.

And wow, authentic it was. Or ramshackle. Or vigourous, I should say. It was so basic I felt more bone-rattled than anything else, but an experience it was. I highly recommend this as a way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and to relax, but I’d rather have a more luxurious, catered-to-tourist treatment.

Check with your hotel or riad if they can recommend anything.

Read my introvert's guide to Marrakesh to easily survive the chaos and to avoid sensory overload when visiting Marrakesh Morocco on your own
The Koutoubia park was a great place during sunset

9. Be kind and gentle with yourself

As you can see from the above, I booked a lot of tours. I did only the things I liked to do and I knew I would enjoy. Because of this, it helped me stay calm.

I did go out into the souks for shopping on my own. It was a good experience and I wanted to repeat it on another day, but I was just too tired. I knew I would get annoyed, overwhelmed, and exhausted if I’d go out into the souq in this state. It was just a bit too much.

I decided to not push myself but to be kind and listen to my body and mind. I retreated to the riad, had a little nap, and felt much better after a shower.

It might be harder to do if you’re traveling with others or in a group, but take your me-time, you’ll be a better person for it.

Read my introvert's guide to Marrakesh to easily survive the chaos and to avoid sensory overload when visiting Marrakesh Morocco on your own
Marrakesh is an amazing place to go shopping but it can easily overload your senses when you enter the souq

My introvert’s guide to Marrakesh to avoid sensory overload

And there you have it. This is my guide on how I not only survived chaotic Marrakesh but actually had a great time!

I feel the recipe for success lies in listening to my body and mind, having a safe home base, and doing all these great, small-group tours, to get out in nature, move my body and experience new things.

It was a great trip and I can’t wait to go back to Morocco to see more of the country! I now know how to avoid sensory overload and stay true to myself.

Helpful tips and tools for your Morocco trip

  • Read all my content on the Middle East and Northern Africa here
  • Get a guidebook for more travel tips on Peru. Buy your copy here
  • Book your hotels in Morocco via Booking.com or Hotels.com
  • Find your direct flights to Lima here
  • Book your tours and activities direct with GetYourGuide or Viator
  • Travel in style with these cool travel-themed designs (I made them myself!)
  • Unfortunately, things can and do go wrong when you travel to Morocco. World Nomads offers coverage for more than 150 activities as well as emergency medical, lost luggage, trip cancellation and more.

Would you like to visit Marrakesh but you’re worried it might be too much for you? I hope this introvert’s guide to Marrakesh will help you plan your trip and avoid that you’ll be overwhelmed!

Let me know if you have any questions or comments. You can drop them in the comment section below. I’d love to hear from you! If you’ve liked my tips and stories, please share them with friends and family and come back for more travel stories next time.

Read my introvert's guide to Marrakesh to easily survive the chaos and to avoid sensory overload when visiting Marrakesh Morocco on your own
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