A trip to Morocco can be intense! There are so many places to explore, foods to try, sights to soak up, and people to meet, that you can end the vacation feeling completely wiped out.
What do you do when you need a refresh? If you’re Moroccan, you head to the hammam.
A cross between a spa and a bathhouse, you can find hammams in every neighborhood in Morocco, and in most of the hotels.
Known for their rejuvenating properties, a trip to the hammam is the perfect way to refresh as you explore Morocco.
Find out more about what the hammam is, and how to prepare for your visit, with this guide. We’ve also found some of the best hammams in Morocco, to get you started!
What Is A Moroccan Hammam?
A hammam is the Moroccan spa tradition, using hot steam to cleanse the skin and invigorate the body.
The hammam is similar to a sauna, but while the sauna uses a dry heat, the hammam, like the Turkish bathhouse, uses a wet heat.
Inspired by the Roman tradition of communal bath treatments, hammams can be found across Morocco.
A hammam treatment emphasizes the cleansing and relaxing powers of steam. It’s less wet than the Turkish bath, only half filling the room with steam for a gentle cleanse.
As well as the steam treatment, a hammam includes scrubs and massages with traditional Moroccan ingredients.
Soaps and scrubs help to reinvigorate blood flow, stimulating the senses and leaving tired muscles feeling transformed.
At the end of a hammam treatment, the skin will be softer, your pores will be cleansed, your body will feel awakened, but your mind will feel relaxed.
A good hammam is a purifying experience, and for many Moroccans, a weekly occurrence.
Can Anyone Visit A Moroccan Hammam?
Hammams can be found throughout Morocco, and it’s considered standard to have a hammam in every neighborhood.
For centuries, hammams have been places to meet, catch up, and celebrate, as well as get clean.
Anyone can visit a Moroccan hammam! These are secular institutions, and they’re open to men, women, and children.
Some hammams treat both men and women at the same time, while others offer a separate experience. It really depends on which hammam you choose.
There are also hammams for every budget. A public hammam is generally the cheaper choice, and more likely to be separated by gender.
At a public hammam, guests generally get on with everything themselves, although you can hire an attendant to do the massaging and exfoliating.
Private hammams are more like the traditional spa experience. These can be luxurious, opulent treatments, with attendants on hand to help you with your every need.
What To Know Before Visiting A Moroccan Hammam
If you’re visiting Morocco, then a trip to a hammam should be high on your to-do list.
Not only is it a chance to experience Moroccan culture, but it will also leave you feeling refreshed and invigorated. Perfect, if you’re planning on exploring all that Morocco has to offer.
If you’ve never visited a Moroccan hammam before, you might be wondering exactly what you can expect. Bathhouses can have strict etiquette rules, but hammams are generally relaxed affairs.
If you want to enjoy your hammam experience completely, you don’t want to be worried about the rules.
To help you out, we’ve put together this quick guide of what to expect at a Moroccan hammam:
- The full hammam experience consists of a scrub and a massage, taking place between rooms at different temperatures. At local hammams, you can do the scrubbing and massaging yourself, or pay for an attendant. At the private hammams, an attendant is an important part of the experience.
- Bring your swimwear, or be prepared to go in your underwear. The advantage of swimwear is that you don’t have to worry about things getting damp. If you don’t have appropriate bottoms, both men and women are provided with paper underwear.
- Drink a lot of water before your visit. Some of the rooms are heated, and you’re expected to sweat as part of the purifying experience. Make sure you’re hydrated beforehand, or this will get uncomfortable.
- The exfoliating process is not a gentle one! A visit to the hammam is meant to be rejuvenating, and they really do aim to scrub everything away with the kessa. You can ask the attendant to go softer, but it’s still a powerful treatment.
- Almost every part of the body is exfoliated at a hammam, apart from the most intimate areas. This can come as a bit of a surprise!
- If you go to a public hammam and you don’t pay an attendant, you’ll need to take your own scrubs and lotions. Many of these can be purchased on-site, but you can’t guarantee what you’ll get.
- A trip to the hammam is likely to take between 1 and 2 hours, but in most public hammams, you can spend as long as you like. It’s a place for catching up on gossip!
A hammam is meant to be relaxing, so don’t overthink your visit. Try and let go of your inhibitions at the door, and enjoy a spa experience that offers community, as well as refreshment.
The Best Hammams In Morocco
There are hammams on almost every corner and in every neighborhood of Morocco, so you really are spoiled for choice.
We’ve listed some of our absolute favorite options below, but you can find enticing hammams throughout Morocco.
If it’s your first time in a hammam, consider trying a private option before venturing into a public bathhouse. That way, you know what to expect when you arrive!
Les Bains de Marrakech was one of the first hammams to offer treatments to men and women at the same time, and the delicate decor and soothing atmosphere makes it a top choice for a romantic spa trip.
This is a popular hammam in the stylish Kasbah neighborhood, so if you want to give it a go, we recommend advanced booking.
Le Bain Bleu isn’t the most traditional hammam in Morocco, but it’s a hugely popular choice with tourists.
Here, the Moroccan hammam is blended with the Western spa, so first-timers can still engage with the bathhouse in a slightly more familiar setting.
Don’t worry, you’ll still receive the scrub and massage expected from a hammam, but you’ll also have access to your favorite spa amenities.
Quite possibly the most luxurious hammam in all of Morocco, the Royal Mansour hammam and spa will leave you feeling like a whole new person.
Owned by the King of Morocco, the Royal Mansour is a celebration of Moroccan tradition, and a hammam experience you will never forget.
The ritual cleansing ceremony is as luxurious as the setting.
Les Bains D’Orient offers the traditional hammam experience, with some new touches to elevate your stay.
At the heart of the treatment are the talented hands of the masseurs, who draw from centuries of Moroccan tradition to deliver you the most peaceful massage.
The charming decor adds to the relaxing scene, and all the products used are 100% natural, and Moroccan-sourced.
The oldest public hammam in Marrakech, Mouassine Hammam has been attracting bathers since 1562. Women and men enjoy the bath separately.
For a minimal fee, you can gain access and do your scrubbing yourself.
During your visit, make sure to soak up the traditional Moroccan atmosphere, and immerse yourself in the gossip and conversation of the locals.
You’ll find the most popular hammams in Marrakech, but we aren’t lying when we say these spas are all across Morocco.
If you’re in Fes, we recommend a visit to the Riad Laaroussa. Drawing inspiration from the authentic hammam, Spa Laaroussa is a private experience with space for couples.
For a taste of a truly authentic experience, head to Hammam Dar el-Bacha.
A popular destination with the locals, for a low cost you can enjoy a very good scrub and a chance to discover life in Marrakech.
Men and women have to enter at separate times, so plan your visit carefully.
Hammam de la Rose offers a touch of tranquility in the heart of bustling Marrakech.
The design blends traditional Moroccan style with more modern influences, offering visitors a feast for all the senses.
You’ll want to spend an entire day floating in the serene atmosphere, so make sure to book a few Hammam de la Rose spa treatments, as well as exfoliation and massage.
You won’t be the same person when you leave a Moroccan hammam.
And we mean that almost literally — a lot of your skin will have been scrubbed away by the invigorating exfoliation treatment!
You’ll be left feeling super soft, refreshed, and ready to go. Plus, you might have had a chance to catch up on some local gossip.
Whether you choose public, private, or luxury, a hammam trip is a must for any Moroccan traveler.