Destinations | Africa

15+ Useful Travel Tips for Marrakech for the first time visitor

7 Feb 2022 | Africa, Destinations, Morocco

 Planning your first trip to Morocco? Then you will find my travel tips for Marrakech extremely beneficial for an effortless vacation! 

These travel tips are essential to staying safe and relaxed during your stay. 

15+ Useful Travel Tips for Marrakech for first time visitor 

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Marrakech is one of the most beautiful and exotic cities in the world. It’s a place where you can truly escape and relax. With its stunning architecture, vibrant culture, and delicious food, Marrakech is a must-see destination for any traveler.

It is one of the imperial cities of Morocco, along with Fez, Meknes, and Rabat. And Rabat is the capital city of the Kingdom of Morocco! 

The name Marrakech means “Land of God”, and it originates from the Amazigh (Berber) words amur (n) kush. 

Visiting Marrakech is like experiencing a living history museum. Imagine yourself walking through the narrow streets of Medina, taking in the sights and sounds of this incredible city. 

Truly, with its warm weather and friendly people, Marrakech is a perfect place to relax and recharge.

Where is Marrakech’s location? 

Marrakech is located in the mid-southwestern region of Morocco – Marrakesh-Safi. It is served by the Marrakech Menara Airport

Tourist visa for Morocco and passports

This is probably common sense before you travel, but it’s always worth mentioning. To travel from Europe to Marrakech, you need a passport that is valid for at least six months as of the date of your departure.

Don’t get caught out – make sure you check your passport well in advance.

Passport holders of the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, the USA,  and Canada, do not need a visa to travel to Morocco. Do carry supporting documents for your travel plans (like tours, accommodation bookings, return tickets, etc.)

For those needing a travel visa to Morocco, you can apply by making an appointment at the Morocco consulate or embassy. Gather all the documents, along with your passport for your tourist visa, pay the fees and then have your visa stamped. More information here 

Currency in Morocco – Moroccan Dirham 

The Moroccan dirham is the currency of Morocco. Ten Dirham almost equates to 1 Euro (€ 0.94).

Be aware that most shops only accept cash – make sure you bring along enough money wherever you go. You can find ATMs in the newer part of the city, but there are almost none in the medina.

You will find many currency exchange shops in the medina if you need to change money. 

Weather in Marrakech

Marrakech is quite high up at altitude, so the weather can be cool, even in summer. While it’s warm during the day, temperatures at night are actually quite low so pack accordingly. 

It also gets very cold and windy in winter (December to February) when many places close for the season.

Do pack your best sunglasses (or you need to buy them in Marrakech, directly off the streets), sunscreen, and a sunhat. It’s hot in Marrakech but it can get very cold at night. 

Also bring clothes to keep warm, like scarves. Moroccan women wear the traditional long black coat with dark clothing, called a djellaba.

What to wear in Marrakech?

Dress respectfully in Marrakech and Morocco in general. This way you can avoid unwanted attention from passersby. 

Marrakech is located in Morocco, an African country where most people are Muslim. Respect their culture and religion during your stay. This means you need to ensure you’re dressing respectfully, always covering your shoulders and knees. 

Also, remember to pack a scarf or wrap to cover up when needed.

You will see lots of locals in traditional clothing too. But don’t feel pressured into wearing your djellaba (traditional Moroccan women’s dress).  If you want to, go ahead! If not, also no worries.

Morocco is still very much an open society and many women do not wear the hijab or headscarf. But having a scarf on you is useful when needed! 

Plus carry comfortable walking shoes for sightseeing. 

Travel tips for Marrakech

How to get around Marrakech?

Inside the medina, you will be walking a ton to get around.

Outside the medina, you can opt for a taxi. There are lots of taxis in the medina. There are two types of taxis in Marrakech – petite (small) taxis and grand taxis. 

If taking a taxi, you have to agree on the price before getting in. Some taxis are unofficial taxis that are not regulated by any authority. If you don’t speak Moroccan Arabic, just simply say how much do you think it should cost and prepare for bargaining.  

Keep in mind, there is no Uber in Marrakech. 

In Marrakech, Mopeds and Travel Scooters are everywhere. It is apparently the most popular form of transport for locals who wish to get around quickly.

If you want to explore the city on your own in a royal way, there are horse-drawn carriages. They don’t seem to be regulated so you have to negotiate a price before hopping in.

Again, don’t trust taxi drivers

No list of Marrakech tips would be complete without this warning. Negotiate and agree on a fare in advance with your taxi driver, and always ask them if they can set up the meter. 

And if the driver says no? Get out immediately and take another taxi. It’s best to ask your hotel or riad if they can arrange a reliable taxi driver for you, with whom you should agree on a price in advance as well.

Travel tips for Marrakech

Experience by staying in a riad 

Although there are many hotels and luxury resorts in Marrakech, I would recommend you stay in a typical Moroccan riad (which means garden in Arabic).

Riads used to house the rich – but nowadays they’ve been transformed into beautiful residences for the countless tourists that visit Marrakech year after year. They usually have a limited number of rooms, and really breathe the typical Moroccan atmosphere.

You will be able to walk through their elaborate courtyards, enjoy traditional Moroccan food and meet the other guests staying at the riad, which is actually quite fun!

We stayed in Riad Villa Amira & Spa and were very pleased with the accommodation.

Book your stay here

Avoid the medina at night in Marrakech: Maintain your personal safety when in Morocco

The most important advice I can give you is to not walk around Marrakech by yourself at night. 

Even though it might be tempting, don’t explore the Medina by yourself at night… even as a couple you won’t feel at ease.

We heard many stories, and we actually saw a girl getting attacked by men wandering through the medina. She luckily got away (but left quite shaken). Don’t walk through dark alleys or stand alone in shady places like you might do back home – it just isn’t safe!

Plus don’t flash any gold or jewels and ensure you have money concealed in various pockets so they don’t see it all at once.

And when in doubt, or need directions ensure you are prepared prior to leave the hotel or riad premises. Hotel and riad staff are helpful and friendly. Just ask them if you’re unsure about where to go, and they will point you in the right direction.

It is okay to get lost (with a guide or alone during the day)

It’s a guarantee – you will definitely get lost in the maze of small streets in Medina, whether you want to or not. Don’t panic though, because sooner or later you will find a point of recognition, and most times you’ll find your way back easily.

Another option is to book a walking tour with a local guide to get accustomed to the area. Medina itself is huge, but you can surely make note of a few places that you will be using every day (like a restaurant, exit to the main city, taxi stand, etc.)

Avoid Jamaa el Fna

You might be thinking, isn’t Jamaa El Fna one of the most popular tourist spots? Although this main square is one of the main attractions in the city (and it’s difficult to avoid), you’d rather not spend too much time here.

Little monkeys hang on leashes and snakes are drugged and locked up in baskets to lure tourists to take a photo. This is of course no way to treat animals – so don’t support these malpractices.

Things to see in Marrakech

When visiting Marrakech for the first time, you must wander the medina, and also check off these must-see places

Koutoubia mosque, which is one of the largest and oldest mosques in Marrakech

Yves Saint Laurent Majorelle botanical garden created by the French painter Jacques Majorelle

Palmeraie (gardens) de Marrakech, a popular lush palm oasis located just 15 minutes from Medina. The gardens have been planted over the years by the wealthy and powerful from all around Morocco, so their styles vary.

 

Due to the location of Marrakech, you can surely embark on day trips from the imperial city – this way you can stay overnight here, and still explore Morocco.

A day trip to the Atlas Mountains is a popular option. 

Travel tips for Marrakech

Overrated tours in Marrakech

Quad biking: Even though this is a popular activity, it isn’t really worth doing because you won’t see anything interesting out there – everything looks the same everywhere you go!

Camel trip: Don’t go for this, as we are unsure how animals are cared for in Morocco. 

And it might look beautiful in photos, but it’s actually a horrible experience. You will most likely get ill from the bumpy ride and if you go during the winter months you might catch a cold because of the cold breeze. 

 

Do not trust anyone who gives you unsolicited advice

Do not be too trustworthy in Marrakech. Many people might offer you unsolicited advice, but they’re only doing this to get something out of it for themselves. Make sure you don’t respond to them or follow them. 

For example, sometimes young people might try to talk to you and say that the street you’re walking on is closed, but in reality, this isn’t the case. They try to mislead you, take you along, and then ask for a ‘guidance fee’.

Travel tips for Marrakech

Eat at a restaurant, not a cafe or street stall

Street food might look enticing and cheap, but it’s definitely not worth the risk! Make sure to only eat where there are lots of locals – those places will never let you down.

Except of course if you order the most popular Marrakech dish, Kalia. It is exceptionally delicious but can have serious effects on your digestion. I recommend you only try it once while in Marrakech!  

Plus Moroccan mint tea is very refreshing, especially after a meal.

Definitely try out a Marrakesh dinner and show, The ones at Nobu restaurant are great!

Restaurant prices are of course more expensive than the ones next to your hostel, but you can always choose not to eat there every day and just cook on your own. Also, avoid drinking tap water in the city. 

Pro tip: I also highly recommend getting a water bottle with you!

Learn how to negotiate 

In Marrakech stores and souks, prices will not be displayed anywhere. Expect a ridiculously high price at first, and then negotiate down to the price you had in mind. Marrakech is a super nice city for shopping, but keep in mind that you’ll find the same items in other places throughout Morocco for much less.

So there you have it! These are some of the useful tips for Marrakech travel!

Now if you’ve been dreaming of a Moroccan adventure, Marrakech is a great start. It is an incredible destination with so many things for tourists to see and explore! 

Do follow my tips listed above when you are ready to go. Whether they are on vacation or taking a business trip, it is important that travelers learn about the culture before arriving in Marrakech by dressing modestly and reading up on some customs beforehand. 

Quick reminder: Make sure that your passport has at least six months left before expiring as well as visas from other countries if they’re needed. 

In addition, you should know how much money will be converted into Dirhams upon arrival – which can make negotiating prices easier once exploring the souks a little easier!

Do you have any further questions about this article? Feel free to leave a comment below.

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Useful tips for Marrakech

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6 Comments

  1. Margarida

    I have never been to Marroco but would love to visit Marrakech!

    Reply
    • Stéphanie Beyens

      I hope you can one day! It is such a vibrant city to visit!

      Reply
  2. Chrissy K

    Thank you so much for these tips. Nice to know for when I make it there!

    Reply
    • Stéphanie Beyens

      I hope you will make it someday, it is such a pleasant city to visit!

      Reply
  3. sarah de gheselle

    I have traveled to Marrakech before and these tips are indeed the ones you need to be able to better understand the culture and enjoy the city fully!

    Reply
    • Stéphanie Beyens

      Thank you so much for reading Sarah!

      Reply

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