Marrakech (Arabic: مراكش, Berber: ⴰⵎⵓⵔⴰⴽⵓⵛ), also spelt Marrakesh, is one of the imperial cities of Morocco.
The city is divided into two parts: the Medina, the historical city, and the new European modern district called Gueliz or Ville Nouvelle. The Medina is full of intertwining narrow passageways and local shops full of character; it also contains the large square Djemaa El-Fna, where many hotels are located and tourists, locals and vendors congregate. In contrast, Gueliz plays host to modern restaurants, fast food chains and big brand stores.
Marrakech is the main tourist destination in Morocco and thus it is also a place where many Moroccans try to become rich fast by ripping off tourists. This mentality is so widespread that even Moroccans are now ripped off whenever possible so that they call the city "Marrakech, Arnakech" - which rhymes in Arabic and translates to "Marrakech, Mafia". See the Scam section for more information.
For further information, you may also visit the
Marrakech Tourist Information
phone: +212 4444 7910The airport has two terminals housed in one complex. Both terminals have money exchange offices, and there is an ATM in the arrivals hall of Terminal 2. On ATMs, check for the Maestro, Cirrus or Plus logos to be sure that the machine accepts foreign credit cards. Some ATMs work only in French. If your card is taken at the ATM, tell airport security and they can help you get it back. There are no potable water dispensers after the security check and the small shops only see overpriced 0.5L water bottles. However the tap water from the WC tastes slightly of chlorine and is drinkable for tourists.
For some airlines (e.g. Ryanair in 2018) can only use the smartphone or mobile app for check-in but have to arrive at the airport with a print-out of your ticket. You also need to queue at the check-in counter before entering the security check (even if you do not have drop-off luggage), to get your tickets stamped by the airline, so better arrive earlier than usual.
Marrakech has an international airport with direct scheduled flights from many major European centres, including flights operated by a number of low cost carriers. Connections via Casablanca (45-min flight) are also possible.
- Easyjet flies to Marrakech from Manchester, Stansted and Gatwick Airport (and also from Madrid, from Lyon, Amsterdam and from Basel)
- Ryanair - direct flights from Oporto (Portugal), London Luton, and London Stansted to Marrakech. They also fly from Hahn (Germany), Alicante (Spain), Girona (Spain), Eindhoven (the Netherlands), Bergamo (Italy), Madrid and Reus (Spain), Dublin (Ireland) to Marrakech.
- Thomson Airways travels from London Gatwick and Manchester.
- British Airways flies from London Gatwick.
- TUIfly flies from Cologne and several other European destinations.
- Transavia a low-cost airline from Air France-KLM group coming to Marrakech from several cities in Europe, including Paris.
- Norwegian offers direct flights from Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm.
- Iberia offers two non stop flights from Madrid.
- TAP Portugal offers direct flights from Lisbon
- Domestic flights operated by Royal Air Morocco, with flights from Agadir, Casablanca (daily), Fez (daily), Ouarzazate, Al Hoceima, and Tangier.
Getting thereThe airport is about 9 km south-west of the city center (Medina), and 6.6 km from the Djemaa El-Fna square.
The L19 Airport express bus is 30 dirham for a round trip (if the return trip is within 2 weeks of purchase). It serves all the major hotels and is a great way to go from the airport to the Median area. The is right out of the terminal according to the bus' route. (If not, exit the arrivals hall at Terminal 2, to your left you will see the parking area, walk into it and continue across all the taxis, at the end, close to the exit, there's an empty area with a black BUS sign without signs or maps, nor a place to sit or shadow.) The bus leaves the airport every twenty minutes between 07:00 and 21:30. This bus line terminates at Jeema El Fna and it only has a couple of stops along the way, most notably the Menara Mall. The whole trip takes 15-20 minutes. You can see the whole route and departure times in Google Maps. Beware, some taxi drivers will approach and try to convince you to go with them, sometimes even resorting to lies ("The bus is not running today" or "It comes only once an hour")—don't listen to them.
You can also catch No 11 city bus which runs from M'Hamid district to the long distance bus station at Bab Doukkala, stopping also at Jeema El Fna. It stops on Avenue Gnassa - main road near airport, 500 m from terminal. This is an option only for people with convenient luggage, but it is the cheapest one—the bus costs 3.50 dirham.
The airport is about a 10-15 min ride by petit taxi from the city center. Prices directly from the airport are fixed, insanely inflated and displayed prominently just outside the airport (just like at every airport in Morocco). Walking the 200 m across the parking lot to the road and hailing a taxi there will get you a much, much better price per vehicle (about 20-40 dirham compared to the official 200 dirham).
Many hotels and riads offer a shuttle service for about €15 per person. The advantage is that you avoid the hassle, and they will lead you all the way to you lodging, even if the car cannot drive there. However, you might have to wait a while for all your fellow passengers to get out of the airport.
Several international rental car companies are based at the airport as well.
If you do not have too much luggage then it is possible to walk from the airport to the Medina even though it would take you from an hour and half to two hours. There is a footpath alongside the road all the way and the minaret of the Koutoubia mosque provides an excellent landmark to head towards. If you have enough time you can break the trip with a visit to the Menara gardens, which are between the airport and the city.
Train stationphone: +212 447768address: Avenue Hassan IIFor train times and schedules, check out the Moroccan Railway website.
Trains from Casablanca (2nd class 84 dirham, 1st class 150 dirham, 3 hr), Rabat and Tangier connect with most domestic rail destinations in the country, with Marrakech as the southernmost stop. Trains run regularly between Marrakech and Casablanca (including the International Airport). They arrive around every two hours and regularly from other destinations like Rabat. Every day there are 8 direct 7 hr trains to Fez via Casablanca Voyageurs station and another two direct connections to Tangier.
From Tangier it's about a 10-hr journey. You can travel either by day train or night train. During the daytime, you will need to change trains for a connection halfway through the journey creating a welcome break for about 30 min. The night trains which leaves for Marrakech from Tangier travels straight through to Marrakech without the need for a connection. The night trains do have sleeper cars on board, though you will need to pay extra for these if you want a bed (around 350 dirham). If you're planning to go cheap and take the night train on the regular seats in second class (and planning to sleep), you'll be interrupted by movement of passengers and a few times by the ticket conductors throughout the night. It's a great way to travel but don't plan on sleeping on the train, especially if you are travelling alone.
There is no train line further south than Marrakech in Morocco; if you want to head south, to the desert, Atlas Mountains, Agadir or Essaouira on the coast, you'll have to get a bus, rental car or grand taxi.
Moroccan trains do not have restaurant cars. A snack trolley makes the rounds with sandwiches, soft drinks and coffee, but bringing some food for the journey isn't a bad idea. Stops in Casablanca and Rabat usually are long enough to grab a bite in the station en route.
Gare RoutièreMost ALSA (local destination bus company) and private bus lines depart and arrive at this bus station. Supratours (?) and Eurolines buses operate from here. It's the place to take the buses from the small companies, that go directly to small destinations. Buy your ticket inside of the terminal at the according counter. There you will also find the proper prices, outside they will just quote you arbitrary prices or tell you it is more expensive because of AC.
Gare VoyageursCTM operates a separate bus station. You can buy the tickets in advance. The CTM's offices are better than at the Gare Routière, and there are no people trying to push you to their bus company. The office and station on Zerktouni street does not exist anymore. CTM has also an office at the long distance bus station (see above) if you just want to buy your tickets in advance or check the schedule. A taxi ride from the CTM station to the main square is, if metered, about 12 dirham. The taxis waiting in front of the station are operated by a gang of dishonest drivers who will charge up to 100 dirham. One can just ignore their pushy boss and loudly offer 20 dirham - usually someone will accept or walk 50 m up or down the road and hail in taxi.
The bus companies mostly used by tourists are CTM, Pullman du sud and Supratours. Other companies do exist, though these three companies are usually the safest options, but mostly not the cheapest ones.
The long distance bus station, CTM and private bus companies travel to destinations such as Agadir (regular, 3 hr, 80 / 100 dirham local/CTM), Safi, Casablanca (regular, 4 hr, 80-95 dirham), El Jadida, Essaouira (regular, 3 hr, 55 / 80 dirham local/CTM), Fez, Meknes, Ouarzazate (regular, 3-3.5 hr, 80 dirham), Rabat, and Taroudant. Taxi touts will often gather in the bus station to convince you that a bus to your destination is 'full' and to steer you into a grand taxi, and will attempt to sell you goods as your taxi is prepared. This can be difficult if there is nobody manning the ticket desks, and the best option is to walk out of the station to the coaches - a ticket can usually be purchased from a conductor on board.
For trips to Meknes (6 hr, ~120 dirham), while seemingly shorter on the map, the mountain route via Beni Mellal takes at least 2 hr more than on the highway via Rabat and Casablanca, going there by train (6½ hr, 174 dirham) is the most comfortable option, although buses might be slightly quicker.
Once in the medina, everything can be seen on foot, though you'll be doing a lot of walking. Many tourist destinations are signposted by brown, red or green signs affixed to posts or to buildings. Bear in mind that many of these signs don't take the direct route, and some seem to deliberately send tourists via various markets or other places money may be spent.
Alsa run the city buses and have maps, fares and a frequency guide on their web page.
Almost all buses stop at Djemaa El-Fna (the bus stop for Djemaa El-Fna is called Terminus Arset El Bilk, and it is marked on Google Maps) and Place Youssef Ben Tachfine and fares range from 2–5 dirham depending on the distance. Important municipal bus lines are:
- No 1 - Towards Gueliz
- No 8 - Stops at the central train station, and bus station (Gare Routiere Voyageurs Marrakech)
- No 10 - Stops at the long distance bus station
- No 11 - Will drop you off at the gardens of Menara
- No 18 - Outside of Airport to Djemaa el-Fna.
- No 19 - Airport express to Djemaa el-Fna (return for 30 dirham)
Bus No 19 leaves Djemaa el-Fna every half an hour, from 05:15 to 21:15. The trip to the airport takes about 25 minutes.
There is an open-topped City Sightseeing bus that will take you around the outskirts of the city, with commentary provided via headphones (supplied with your ticket) in any of 8 different languages. The best place to catch it is from the coach stops by Square de Foucauld. Tickets cost 145 dirham each and are valid for 24 hours from the time of issue, no matter how many times you get on or off. You can get a 48-hour ticket for very little extra and as there are two distinct tours, this can be a good deal. Check the timetable carefully, as the buses can stop running earlier than you might think.
By calecheAn alternative and romantic way to travel is by caleche, a small horse-drawn carriage. They can be hired at Square de Foucauld (the small park to the south of Djemaa El-Fna). It's wise to agree on a price before setting off. As a guide price, you should pay around 80 dirham per hour, per carriage.
You should always ask to use the meter (compteur in French); otherwise, you are just contributing to a culture of ripping off people. However, in the vast majority of cases, the drivers will refuse to take you if you insist on using the meter. Even locals often have troubles with drivers in Marrakesh, that's how it is. Even if you use the meter, the driver may try and charge extra for bags, or be lacking change in order to get a larger fare.
Your only option to completely avoid this is using the buses which serve most destinations of interest (see above). If you accept that you have to pay a small penalty fee for being a tourist, offer 50% more than the metered ride would cost upfront (see below).
For petit taxi, the maximum number of passengers is three (plus the driver), i.e. one fare applies to a single person, or a group two or three people.
- The meter starts from 1.70 dirham before 20:00 and 2.40 dirham after 20:00; there's no need to negotiate the price. Basically they have to use the meter even if it is midnight.
- The minimum charge is 7 dirham before 20:00 and after will be 10 dirham.
- 20 dirham is a good price for a 10-minute ride and if offered upfront will usually be accepted. If not, kindly refuse and simply take the next taxi.
For grand taxis (regular Mercedes taxis) there are no meters. Typically the set rate from Marrakech Airport to the Medina or Djemaa El-Fna (Main square) is 150 dirham. There also appears to be no limit to the number of people they'll attempt to squeeze in! Outside of the airport if you are a group of more than three, the maximum for a petit taxi, then do negotiate you fee before you enter the grand taxi.
There is much to see and do in Marrakech. An entire day can be dedicated to wandering around all the different souks, seeking out the best bargains. The city also offers several historical and architectural sites as well as some interesting museums.
Djemaa El-FnaThe highlight of any Marrakech night. Musicians, dancers, and story tellers pack this square at the heart of the medina, filling it with a cacophony of drum beats and excited shouts. Scores of stalls sell a wide array of Moroccan fare (see the Eat section) and you will almost certainly be accosted by women wanting to give you a henna tattoo. Enjoy the various shows, but be prepared to give some dirham to watch or take photos. By day it is largely filled with snake charmers and people with monkeys, as well as some of the more common stalls.
The SouksMarkets of Marrakech, just adjacent to Place Djemaa El-Fna, are where you can buy almost anything, from spices to shoes, jellabas to kaftans, and tea pots to tagines. Undoubtedly, being a foreigner means you will end up paying higher prices than a native would, but be sure to bargain nonetheless. If you happen to run out of dirham, you will also find plenty of people in the souks who will eagerly exchange your dollars or euros (though a fair rate here is less likely than at an official exchange). All that said, the sellers here are much less aggressive than, say, Egypt, so have fun!
Koutoubia MosqueNamed after the booksellers market that used to be located here. It is said that the minaret of the Koutoubia mosque is to Marrakech as the Eiffel Tower is to Paris. The minaret is visible from Gueliz which is connected to the Medina by Avenue Mohammed V. At night, the mosque is beautifully lit. It was completed under the reign of the Berber Almohad Caliph Yaqub al-Mansur (1184 to 1199), and has inspired other buildings such as the Giralda of Seville and the Hassan Tower of Rabat. Non-Muslims are not allowed inside.
TanneriesVisiting the tanneries can be an interesting experience. Even if some people tell you the area is only for locals, it is possible to visit the Tanneries without paying a youngster. After finding a tannery, ask one of the workers if you can visit it and take pictures
Saadian TombsThe tombs were not discovered until the beginning of the 20th century. They have been preserved just like they were during the glory days of the Saadian rulers. Unlike the El Badi Palace, they were not destroyed, probably for superstitious reasons. The entrance was blocked so they remained untouched for hundreds of years. Inside you will find an overload of Zelij (Morrocan tiles) and some beautiful decoration. It's rather small so it does not take a lot of time to explore. Also there are no explanatory signs whatsoever in the venue, so it's recommended to hire a guide to explain you what you're seeing to get the most out of your visit. While here, look for the tombs of Jews and Christians; they are noted by their different markings and direction of the tomb.
phone: +212 5 24 31 30 47address: Rue Yves Saint LaurentIt provides an excellent respite from the hustle and bustle of the city streets, if not crowded by tourists as it sometimes is. The park was designed by the artist Jacques Majorelle in the 1920s and 1930s. Since 1980 the garden has been owned by Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé. It boasts a collection of plants from around the globe, including what seems like every cactus species on the planet. Get here early to avoid the crowds. Inside the gardens is also the Berber Museum, which shows a slightly bigger and more modern presentation than the Dar Si Saïd.
phone: +212 5242-98686address: Rue Yves St Laurent
Dar Si Saïd MuseumMuseum set in an old palace with beautiful gardens. While somewhat run-down, it is worth seeing and houses many different artifacts from Morocco through the ages, such as wood carvings, musical instruments, and weapons. It is dedicated to the Moroccan craft industry of wood, gathering a very beautiful collection of popular art: carpets, clothing, pottery and ceramics. All these objects are regional, coming from Marrakech and all the south, especially from Tensift, High Atlas, Soussthe, Anti Atlas, Bani, and Tafilal.
address: Kaat BenahidOne of the largest madrassas in the North Africa. It is a school attached to the Ben Youssef Mosque and is home to beautiful art and architecture. Build ca 1570.
El Bahia PalaceAn ornate and beautiful palace, build at the end of the 19th century for grand viziers of the sultan. Popular with guided tours and stray cats. The palace is well worth a visit and gives a great impression of what it must have been like to be a 19th-century nobleman in Morocco. There is a nice garden with banana flowers, tranquil courtyards, and other lovely plants. Attention must be given in finding the entrance. The entrance is located on Riad Zitoun el Jdid, follow this listings GPS. To take photos without tour groups in them visit when it opens at 09:00 or toward the end of the day.
address: Ksibat NhassA palace now in ruins and inhabited by storks and stray cats. There are some underground passageways to explore with exhibitions within them. Note that most explanatory text is only in Arabic and French. Newer exhibitions have text in English as well but those are still the minority. The view from the terrace is majestic. The palace was built by Sultan Ahmed al Mansour to celebrate the victory of the Portuguese army in 1578 in the Battle of the three kings. They also exhibit a wooden minbar that dates back to the 12th century and is on display in a single room with some explanations. A minbar is a preaching chair. Also hosts the Marrakech Museum for Photography and Visual Arts (abbreviated MMP+), a small museum which however showcases great pieces of visual art.
The Menara gardensA mixture of orchards and olive groves surrounding the water reservoir with the central pavilion which is a popular sight on tourist postcards. Not a decorative garden, and now quite run down. The pavilion was built during the 16th-century Saadi dynasty, and renovated in 1869. It has a small cafe, but it is not open all hours. There are no toilets open when the cafe is closed.
Jewish Cemeteryaddress: Avenue Taoulat El MiaraThe largest Jewish cemetery in Morocco, characterized by white-washed tombs and sandy graves. The men selling tickets are full of interesting information about the cemetery but you have to ask.
Slat Al Azama SynagogueSynagogue which is not only a place of worship with a beautiful open courtyard, but also includes interesting displays about Judaism's varied history in Morocco, including photos of Jews in the Berber Mountains.
phone: +212 24 44 18 93It's housed in the Dar Menebhi Palace, constructed at the end of the 19th century.
Musée de la Palmeraiephone: +212-661 09 53 52address: Dar Tounsi, Route de FèsIn old agricultural buildings in the Palmeraie, made out of rammed earth. The architecture itself is interesting if you haven't seen it. It offers a small collection of contemporary art, with a room dedicated to Morrocan artists (also famous ones), the international ones are rather not top-notch. The gardens are nicely made and are good place to relax in quit.
Musee Farid Belkahiaaddress: Dar Tounsi, Route de FèsA museum dedicated to the renowned contemporary artist Farid Belkahia, showcasing different periods of his work
address: Derb El Bahia 8About the people in the Sahara. Created by Dutchman Bert Flint.
address: 46, Rue souk Ahal FèsA little photography museum, it has one of the highest roof terraces in the Medina.
Ali Ben Youssef MosqueThe first mosque in Marrakesh was erected at this place by the Almoravid emir Yusuf ibn Tashfin in the 1070s. However, it was almost completely rebuilt in early 19th century by the Alaouite sultan Suleiman, with hardly any trace left of its original Amoravid or Almohad design. Non-Muslims are not allowed to enter it.
Agdal GardensIt consists of groves of orange, lemon, fig, apricot and pomegranate trees in rectangular plots, linked by olive-lined walkways. Together with the medina of Marrakech and the Menara Gardens, the Agdal Gardens were listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1985.
Jbilets Geological SiteExplore the Berber village on a desert tour.
phone: +212 5 24307730address: La Palmeraie de MarrakechHorse show, acrobats on Arabian horses firing rifles in the air, horseback acrobatics, belly dancing, etc. It takes place at night in a huge imitation of an old castle.
The historic district of the city.
The main square in the Medina is Djemaa El-Fna. It is surrounded by endless labyrinths of souks (bazaars) and alley ways covering all of the Medina. Djemma El-Fna is a must as there is always something to see there day and night whether it be snake charmers, acrobats, sooth-sayers,or the musicians and food stalls. At night the square really comes to life as people navigate toward the exotic aromas and the entertaining sights. As the evening darkens, the hustle & bustle of activity rages on. The exotic music appears louder and more hypnotic.
The Medina is also the place to stay in a Riad, a Moroccan house with an internal courtyard. Most windows are inward facing towards the central atrium. This design of property suits Islamic tradition as there is no obvious wealth statement being made externally, no windows to peer through. Entering a Riad is like discovering an Aladdin's Cave in comparison to its non-descript exterior. They are great places to stay and offer an intimate and relaxing retreat.
Directly south of the Djemaa El-Fna is Rue Bab Agnaou. A five-min walk takes you straight to the famous Bab Agnaou entrance to the Kasbah district of the Medina. The Bab Agnaou entrance, through the ramparts, is by far the most impressive entrance of all medina rampart entrances.
The Kasbah, in comparison to the Derbs (streets) surrounding the Djemaa El-Fna, portrays a calmer, less abrasive atmosphere. It is home to the Royal Palace, also the former El - Badi Palace and the Saadian Tombs. This naturally creates better security, cleaner streets and a hint of being a special place within the medina. The Kasbah has its own little bazaars (Souikas), food stalls, restaurants, hotels and riads for travellers to enjoy.
Hammams are baths, often close to mosques to facilitate the performance of ablutions. In guidebooks and signs that call them "Moroccan Turkish Baths" the name "Turkish" is a misnomer, since Morocco (unlike Egypt or Syria) was never under Ottoman rule, but the historical role of the baths is authentic in Morocco.
phone: +212 438 1428address: 2 Derb Sedra, Bab Agnaou (same building as Riad Mehdi)Tourists-oriented in good sense: couples can have hammam together in a private room. Extensive list of massages and spa treatments from 30 min to a full day. Reception and attendants are proficient in speaking English, however, the scrubbing and massage personnel speak only very basic vocabulary. You need to book two days in advance.
Hammam Dar el-Bachaaddress: 20 Rue Fatima Zohra
Hammam Bab Doukkalaaddress: Rue Bab Doukkala
phone: +212 524 433 304address: Résidence Les Jasmins Apt N° 13 4ème étage Angle Av. Mohamed v et Rue Oum Errabia GuélizBann Thai institute is a beauty center based in the heart of Marrakech. His team is a graduate of the famous school of Wat Po in Bangkok. The center offers several Thai massage relaxation with a traditional Moroccan hammam natural products
Hamam Essalama (traditional Hamam)address: Rue Moulay AbdellahFriendly staff, however, no English or French (other locals helped without any problem)
phone: +212 661939873address: 84, avenue Hassan II Guéliz Res Faroukia n2Friendly staff, however, no English or French (other customers likely to help you out).
Marrakesh is not in the desert: you will spend several hours to get to the desert and that day tours are therefore pretty stressful. If you have the time, spend at least one night in the desert or in a town close to your desert trekking destination. Beware of tours that don't include meals and water as they will drop you at 100 dirham restaurants far from any other option, because of this and the kickback from shops you will visit multi-day trips to Merzouga can cost as little as 600 dirham if you play agencies against each other.
Along with the major souk (Arabic for 'market') adjacent to the Djemaa El-Fna, there are a plethora of smaller souks throughout the city where any number of products can be had. In any of them, you generally need to bargain. Keep an eye out for a wide array of hand-crafted candle-holding lanterns, as well as spectacular displays of local spices.
Most shops sell the same handful of items. But if you wander a little off from El-Fna, you can find small workshops with real craftsmen making handmade goods. You then get to talk to craftsmen that the item you bought. If you buy shoes or clothes that can also make alterations for you, and there a few places that make unique products that you will not see anywhere else.
Argan oil, produced only in Morocco, is used in Moroccan cooking and beauty treatments. If you enjoy its unique nutty flavor, be sure to pick some up in the souks. It will cost you about 70 dirham per 100 ml at local supermarket for cooking oil or 200 dirham for genuine cosmetic oil.
For the shoes, always check they have no paper inside sole because it is very common. Do not be fooled by demonstration of bending the shoe back and forth; try it yourself by feeling and hearing how the paper bends. For poor quality shoes you should not pay more than 40 dirham, and for a good pair no more than 90 dirham. Shop around and learn the difference in shoe quality.
Also of interest would be items made of the local cactus silk, which is really rayon, a natural fiber made of plant cellulose and produced in Morocco. Rayon holds the chemical dyes well which accounts for the vibrant range of true colors (natural dyes cannot produce a "true" color). On offer are scarves, handbags, tablecloths, bedspreads and throws in stunning colors. Some merchants try to charge a premium price for this "cactus silk". Check well because there are many fakes and sellers will usually tell you any lie to get you to pay a high price.
Be sure to wander around the potters' souk, and look for brightly colored platters and bowls, as well as tagines (large, lidded cookpots) in all sizes
Lovely cashmere shawls can also be had for less than a fiver with a little bargaining.
If you cannot stand the bargaining, there are two government-run shops where you can buy handicrafts at fixed prices. Look for boutique d'artisans. One is near Djemaa El-Fna while the other one is in the ville nouvelle.
phone: +212 524381853address: 7, Derb Baïssi Kasbah BoutouilHuge two-story store with fixed prices. Carpets, spices, argon oil, jewelry, ceramics, furniture, wood handcrafts, etc.
An option to explore the souks in a more tranquil way is to go during the Friday prayer. Although some shops will be closed, most stay open and are significantly less crowded than at other times.
The Apple and Samsung smartphones being sold on Djemaa El-Fna are Chinese-built fakes; they work fine but employ less storage and cheaper components than the originals. Bargain accordingly.
Chez Monseur Michelinaddress: 83 Riad ZitounHandmade bags and fashion items made from recycled tires and inner tubes.
Faissalphone: +212 696972001address: 119 Rue MouassineTiny workshop making scarves in wool, cotton, and linen.
As a guide for prices, maximum and generous prices you should pay.
- Djellaba, long coat with hood for men, made of cotton/wool. Low quality: 90 dirham. Good (thick) quality: 300 dirham.
- Paintings, depends on the quality and size but no more than 50 dirham for a 70x50cm.
- Shisha, 150 dirham for the smallest ones. Prices then vary with size and quality.
- Tobacco for shisha, 20 dirham. There are many flavours and decent prices at the duty-free store at the airport in Marrakech.
- Shoes, for home, no more than 50 dirham for a good one, for the street no more than 90 dirham for a good quality one.
- Lamp, no more than 60 dirham for a medium size lamp.
- Woven beanie, 15 dirham.
- T-shirt, no more than 50 dirham for a large.
- Small wooden snake toys, 5 dirham.
- Small teapot (2-3 cups), 90-100 dirham.
- Medium size cooking tagine 40 dirham. (Choose carefully, glazed tagines have a risk of releasing unsafe levels of lead.)
- Dress for women, poor quality, not wool, 30 dirham.
- Carpets: 1,000 dirham for a white wool carpet that is 8 ft x 12 ft
- Henna tattoo: medium-sized design should cost no more than 50 dirham (Ask for brown henna if you are allergic to PPP black henna, the brown henna is natural and safe)
- You can order special gold jewellery items like a chain with your name on it or using a customised design but ensure you have agreed on the price beforehand.
- 250 g of gunpowder tea, 30 dirham. Although best bought at a supermarket.
- Round piece of bread, 1.5 dirham.
- Spice mixes, 80 dirham/kg. Cumin, curcuma, cinnamon, ground ginger, etc. 40-60 dirham/kg
Also see Morocco#Buy. Do not offer a price that you are not willing to pay. Even hostel prices can be haggled.
Remember, sellers are just the middle man, they do not produce it, except maybe for some kinds of lamps, and they pay very little to the people who actually make it. Also, never pay in advance. And never let anyone write you an invoice. It is a bad idea and in most of the cases you will never see your goods or money back.
Most major banks and a slew of cash exchange shops can be found in a cluster around Arset el bilk (next to the main square). Most banks don't accept Unionpay and many ATMs displaying the Unionpay logo actually don't support the cards regardless of what Unionpay or the bank's website will tell you. Apparently the Société Générale banks can do withdrawals from 16:00-21:00.
Be aware that if you are shopping at western stores like Zara, that the return policies are different. Contrary to many other countries, purchases by credit card can only be exchanged, not returned. Cash purchases at these stores can be returned for a refund however.
16 CaféMoroccan kitchen. 16 café is caterer of events and weddings.
Café Alhamraphone: +212 6504 7411Place Djemaa El-Fna, opposite Café de France. On the edge of the square, it serves up salads, pizza, and pasta as well as a tagine of the day. Their rooftop is a good place to have a late night coffee and pastry while watching the events in the square below.
phone: +212 2442 9728address: 184 mouassineThey have a Moroccan and an Italian cook, so there are two menus to choose from. There are three floors including the downstairs courtyard which is lovely for lunch. The top floor terrace has fantastic views, you can lounge on their sofas sipping a cocktail and watching the sun go down over the medina.
Café MabroukServes the same standard fare as everywhere else in a little courtyard or terrace.
Café Restaurant Arganaphone: +212 5244-45350A tourist hot-spot overlooking the square with excellent Moroccan dishes and ice creams.
Chez ChegrouniTheir vegetarian couscous is supposedly the only true vegetarian couscous in town; it's also bland but they give you plenty of it. Prices go up if you sit on the terrace. Usually packed full of good-time tourists.
Chez El Bahiaaddress: 206 Rue Riad ZitouneIt is a quiet place. Try the chicken and olives tajine as well as the prune, almonds, and mutton tajine. Also try the Moroccan salad while they cook the rest of the food.
Chez Yassineaddress: 70 Avenue Fatima ZohraNot much choice but served by very friendly people. Tajines and pizzas are great and you can also order skewers that are not on the menu.
phone: +212 44 38 68 98address: Rue Jbel El AkhdarAn upscale restaurant in one of the oldest buildings in the Medina, and offers Moroccan cuisine in an ambiance that recalls the Orient at the height of its magic and glory. The food, building (whether the tables around the central courtyard and fountain or the second-level balcony), and tactful and tasteful entertainment.
Earth Cafephone: +212 6054 4992, +212 6128 9402address: Number 2, Derb Zawak, Riad Zitoun KedimVegetarian-friendly. Also available are vegan alternatives and plenty of options for fruit and vegetable-based drinks.
phone: +212 656566374address: 93 Arset Aouzal Souikat, bab DoukalaIf you want to travel ethically then this is your place. A pretty little cafe on 3 floors with an orange sign on the berber hand-carved wooden facade opened in November 2011. You can have a cup of tea or coffee or simple lunch with dessert or just a sandwich. The Henna Café offers safe henna body adornment as well-ranging from a 50 dirham small motif on your hand to a full arm complex design for a wedding from 500 dirham. All profits go to local causes. Henna cafe was set up by the owners of Riad Cinnamon and Riad Papillon and Vivid Trading in order to start to 'give back' to Marrakech and offer support to those who might want it. The café offers free English lessons to Moroccan women so that they can find employment out of the home.
address: 46, Rue souk Ahal FèsA little photography museum, it has one of the highest roof terraces in the Medina. Over lunch of a fixed-price menu (at 75 dirham as of 2012) you get panoramic views over the city and the High Atlas mountains.
Le MarrakchiWith two main courses and wine running at around 300 dirham, this is one of the poshest restaurants in the square. The food is not necessarily better than elsewhere, but it is one of the few restaurants that serves alcohol. It also has a completely enclosed upstairs terrace, which is ideal for views of the square when the weather is bad.
Mid-rangeFor more upscale eateries (and especially for non-Moroccan cuisine) you generally must go outside the Medina to Ville Nouvelle.
phone: +212 524 43 40 60address: 55, boulevard ZerktouniTraditional Moroccan food in cozy restaurant run by women (except the doorman). Wine served by the bottle.
phone: +212-5-24-44-68-96Here you can experience lunch similar to what Moroccans eat at home: this women's aid association provides women with education in exchange for food which is then sold for financing the model.
Café du Livrephone: +212 5244-46921address: 44 Rue Tariq Bnou Ziad, GuélizA western style bookshop-café in the villa nouvelle
phone: +212 524 382 625address: 47 Boutouil, KasbahHave a roof terrace with a good view. Daily moroccan menus with tea and juice.
phone: +212 524375085address: Douar Groua, derb lalla chacha, N.18Daily fresh food in a boutique riad.
El Bahriyaphone: +212 766778172A great fish restaurant, where you choose you fish (prawn, salmon, calamari, lobster, etc.) and pay per kg. The fish is then grilled and served with various side dishes, but you only pay for the fish (and the tea). Do not drink the water, which is also put onto the table and invoiced.
phone: +212 524 434 216address: 18 Rue de la LibertéSteaks, bistro food and good wines. Bar with beer, aperitifs and cocktails.
phone: +212 524 389067address: 17, Derb Cherkaoui, Douar GraouaFine Italian and Moroccan dining in gorgeous Riad. Often full so make a reservation.
phone: +212 662265030address: 413 Derb Sidi MassoudSeafood restaurant. No alcohol served.
phone: +212 524 384638address: Rue Sidi Mimoune 6French gastronomic cuisine in a very calm and pleasant atmosphere. Enjoy your dinner in soft chairs, among dark woodpanels, bookcases and artwork. In the winter start with a drink at the fireplace.
phone: +212 24 43 30 38address: Boulevard El mansour Eddahbi and Avenue Imam MalikFrench brasserie with Moroccan influence in the former post office.
phone: +212 524 32 92 44address: Djnan Abiad, La Palmeraie B.P. 12478Upscale restaurant with French cuisine. Serve organic vegetables and olive oil from its own gardens.
phone: +212 5 24 38 29 29address: 79, derb Sidi Ahmed Soussi, Bab DoukkalaTraditional Moroccan gastronomic cuisine. Has a terrace overlooking the Medina.
phone: +212 5 24 37 81 76address: Rue Souk Hal FassiMoroccan and European cuisine. Roof terrace and bar.
phone: +212 5 24 381 851address: 21 Derb ChtoukaTraditional and modern Moroccan cuisine. Moroccan wine served by bottle and glass. Stylish restaurant with tall white columns.
How to eat (well) in the Djemaa El-Fna
Each night in the Djemaa El-Fna rows of street stalls are set up under giant white tents. The huts targeting tourists serve similar fare and have menus printed in French, Arabic and usually English. Everyone has tajine, couscous, brochette and some variety of soups. Some have specialities like offal, egg sandwiches or special tajines. Be aware that most restaurants employ rather insistent "greeters," who are very aggressive in trying to customers for their stall. The line 'we already ate' seems to work well to get them to stop. As of 2018, the "greeters" mentioned above have changed strategies to one of harassment and insults. They try to separate couples and corner women while hurling insults.
If you want to eat well in Marrakech, do what the locals do and eat at the food stalls in the square. It is a common misconception that these stalls are only here for the tourists. Actually, they have been in existence long before Marrakech became a tourist destination. All of the stalls can be regarded as perfectly safe to eat at. They are strictly licensed and controlled by the government, especially now as it is a popular destination for tourists. The locals eat at the cheaper stalls that don't employ greeters and serve the more interesting food: snails, sheep head, lentils and beans.
- Prices tend to vary a little. Depending upon how hungry you are, you can pay anything from 10 dirham for a bread filled with freshly grilled sausages, or perhaps a bowl of harira soup to 100 dirham for a full three-course meal with salad, bread, starter, main course, and tea.
- Try harira (great soup, of lamb/beef, red lentils and vegetables) and the fried aubergines. Don't be afraid-try the lamb head: it's really tasty. The "bull stew" (beef stew) should also be given a chance in the same stalls.
- Don't miss the tea! There is a row of tea sellers along the front of the food stalls who each sell tea for 3 dirham each (as of 2011). Most of the tea at these stalls is actually ginseng tea with cinnamon and ginger... most delicious and welcoming. They also have cake, made of basically the same spices, which can be a bit overpowering.
- All food stalls at Djemaa El-Fna display the price on the menus, making it less likely you'll be overcharged, but many will bring starters to you without asking, then charge for them at the end.
- Drinks are rarely on the menu so it is better to ask the price of them before ordering, as they can often be comparatively high. On the other hand, some stalls offer free mint tea to encourage you to choose them.
- Early mornings, look for people frying riifa in the covered part opposite the Koutoubia. Riifa is dough stretched and flattened and folded over, then cooked in a frying pan, and is best described as a Moroccan version of a pancake or crepe.
Street vendors offer fresh orange juice (jus d'Orange) by the glass for 4 dirham. Try it with a dash of salt like the locals, but be wary of vendors who try and water the juice down with tap water. Also, pay attention when you buy as they offer 2 types of orange... the blood orange juice costs 10 dirham per glass and a misunderstanding on what you want to drink could occur.
Confirm the price of your orange juice and pay for it before you drink. Unscrupulous vendors will sometimes try to charge you 10 dirham for a 4-dirham glass of jus d'Orange, so don't accept your drink until you've paid the correct amount.
Be wary also, that they do not always clean the glasses very well so it is possible to get an upset stomach from the juice.
There is a very limited selection of places selling alcohol in the Medina.
Chesterfield Pubaddress: 115 Avenue Mohammed VA slightly unusual experience, apparently an 'English pub' it serves Moroccan lager and has an outside pool in a courtyard with palm trees, not an entirely English experience. Much less touristy than it sounds with a mainly local clientele. It serves a decent pint.
address: 40 Rue des BanquesHappy hour from 17:00 until they close, mostly western pop classics on the top floor. Very touristy with shishas, belly dancing and waiters who wear a fez - none of it is typically Moroccan but the overall atmosphere is between relaxed and party vibe. Also offers traditional Moroccan snacks. Good for smaller (up to 10 people) groups.
Hotel Grand Taziaddress: Rue Bab AgnaouThe hotel has a public bar, serving beer and wine and is not overly expensive.
phone: +212 6 7250 8700address: Hay Zefriti 30, Rue Koutoubia.Restaurant and bar that has a fire fountain in the centre and an open roof around the patio. The atmosphere is very chilled and their food is very good, but slightly expensive. Good for pre-dinner drinks.
Outside the Medina.
phone: +212 5 24439031address: Rue Ibn Aicha 20Nightclub with rooftop terrace
phone: +212 5 24 43 69 84address: 10 Rue Haroun ErrachidLounge bar and formal restaurant.
phone: +212 524 42 42 42address: 3 Rue du TempleFashionable rooftop lounge on top of the Pearl Hotel
phone: +212 524 437 702address: Avenue EchouhadaCocktail bar and night club Dress code: elegant
Piano Barphone: +212 024 38 88 00address: 26 Rue de la Koutoubia
phone: +212 5 24431424address: 6 Rue Oum ErrabiaMoroccan Latin Brazilian. Also has a restaurant with a view to the dance floor.
Le Loungephone: +212 70028561address: 24 Rue Yougoslavie
There are three main zones to sleep: Medina, Guéliz (also known as Ville Nouvelle), and the surroundings of the city. The Medina has the highest concentration of very cheap hotels and riads (small palaces), while Guéliz is much more quiet and most of the hotels are mid price (including showers in the room, breakfast service), but going to the Medina from the Guéliz by taxi costs about 10-15 dirham and can take a long time at busy periods (evenings and weekends).
The surroundings have all the huge tourist hotels, the ones that usually come with what the travel agencies offer. They can be further away from the medina and the rest of the city, but have big swimming pools, restaurants, and many services.
The Medina is packed with Riads and Dars (old grand houses converted into hotels and inns). Traditionally, riads should have gardens; with smaller dars having open courtyards. However the term riad is now used loosely to describe any house with an internal open-air center. These are wonderful places to stay to get a feel for life in Marrakech.
phone: +212 524 426966address: Marrakech-Medina, 23 Rue Laksour, Bab LaksourCentrally located and easy to reach, Dar Attajmil has a sand colored courtyard shaded by a tall banana tree; 4 double rooms with bathroom, 1 family suite with private courtyard, several cozy sitting areas, fireplace and library, a large terrace garden where breakfast and meals are served and a devoted team of 5 lovely persons; hammam, massages, cooking class available. Owner organic farm near Essaouira provides daily fresh products, olive and argan oil and the opportunity to spend one or more days in this old restored property, among the argan trees.
phone: +212 524 445 606address: 7-8 Derb El Mesfioui, Rahba Kedima, MedinaDar Jaguar is an ancient riad that has been restored as a beautiful private guesthouse. It is situated in the heart of the old medina, neighbouring the exotic Place des Epices (spice market).
The Medina is packed with Riads and Dars (old grand houses converted into hotels and inns). Riads should have gardens; with smaller Dars having open courtyards. However the term Riad is used very loosely today to describe a house with an internal open-air centre. These are wonderful places to stay to get a feel for life in Marrakech.
If you arrive by car, ask the hosts to help you find your way from the parking lot, especially if you never experienced orientation in a real medina before. Here are a sample of some of the riads (in alphabetical order) where you can experience Marrakech's unique style of living:
Riad Abakaphone: +212 6 6697 8703address: 21 Derb Roukni LaksourA spacious riad with seven beautifully furnished bedrooms and ensuite bathrooms. Located in the heart of the Medina, less than two minutes walk from Jemaa El Fna.
phone: +212 524-440-793address: 80, Derb El Hammam MouassineA former luxury riad now a beautiful hostel. Doubles, singles, and dorms which house up to 8 people. Roof top terrace with nice views, unheated pool, restaurant and bar. WiFi in communal areas, breakfast included. Open 24 hrs, can book activities and excursions.
Riad Basmaphone: +212 6 5051 7223address: Marrakech-Medina, 22 Derb Jamaa, Riad Basma5 double rooms with bathroom.
Riad Chennaouiphone: +212 5 2437 6140address: Riad Zitoune Jdid, Derb Sidi Fares N°01Simple and basic riad in the Medina. The staff are friendly and happy to discuss Moroccan life and culture over a shisha in the evening. This place can be difficult to find - you may have to pay a local to take you there (10-20 dirham should do it, although they will ask for more).
phone: +44 7584 327625address: 9 Derb El HadjraDesigned and rebuilt to a very high standard with amazing attention to detail and lots of unexpected extras such as the loan of a local mobile phone and ipad loan. Dinners served on roof terrace with incredible views, pools on patio and roof garden terrace. 5 rooms that can accommodate 3 to 4 people each, with an overall maximum of 16.
phone: +212 5 2437 5710address: 39 Derb Maada,Azbezt,MedinaFour spacious double bedrooms and bathrooms with A/C. Accommodation is on two floors of a restored 300 year old riad in an older and authentic quarter of Marrakesh. Ten minute walk to Jamaa el Fna.
Riad Iaazanephone: +212 5 2438 3205address: 57 Derb el Gnayz , El MouassineA restored riad with extensive use of traditional styling and ceramics, includes a roof terrace with views. Shower, internet with wifi access, washing, shisha (hooka), free mint tea, city map. An authentic local style breakfast included (08:30-11:30). The owners also operate a tour company that offers guided and structured tours of 1 to 3 days duration.
address: Marrakech MedinaA riad built in the 17th century, which sleeps 12 in 2 suites and 3 bedrooms, that can be rented as a whole. It is between the "Palais Bahia" and the "Palais Badii", close to Jemaa El Fna Square.
phone: +212 524 386 252, +212 678 734 373 (Mobile)address: 99 Derb Sidi Moussa, Quartier de la Bahia, 40007 Marrakech MédinaLocated in central Marrakech, a 3-minute walk from the El Badi and El Bahia Palaces, it features an interior courtyard with a swimming pool and a furnished rooftop terrace with views of the medina. Each room has traditional Moroccan decoration and en-suite shower. Guests also have access to a traditional living room with a fireplace and a lounge area with books. Free Wi-Fi is available in common areas, hammam, massages and traditional meals are provided on request.
phone: +212 6 6143 9221address: Douar Graoua, Derb Lalla Chacha, No.18Jacuzzi on the roof terrace, wifi throughout the riad, 7 ensuite shower and A/C accommodation with great gastronomy. French owner, friendly team and atmosphere.
phone: +44 7850 39 01 07 (UK), +212 524 38 37 04 (Morocco)address: 16 (bis5)Derb Kadi, Kasbah, Medina£25-30 per person depending on season. A very popular Riad with UK visitors. Five bedrooms all with bespoke hand carved beds designed to be split to make twin bedrooms. From Bab Ksiba, an entrance into the Royal Kasbah quarter of the Medina, 1st right is Derb Kadi and Riad Laksiba is the last house in this little cul-de-sac. Ten minute walk to the Djemaa el-Fna main square.
phone: +212 524431537address: 54, Derb Zemrane,Bab Doukkala.Riad Lotus Perle is in the Medina, in the heart of an old neighborhood near the lively souks and Djemaa El-Fna square, this is a wonderful riad composed of rooms and suites combining authenticity and modernity.
phone: +212 6 6108 2042address: Derb El Hamman No.62, MouassineAn elegant six-bedroom riad which offers a restful and relaxing atmosphere, in the heart of the Mouassine district. Traditional Moroccan meals are available as well as complementary Wi-Fi internet. Airport transfer service available on request.
address: Marrakech Medina, Mosquée Sidi Ben SlimaneRiad Naila Marrakech is a gorgeous private rental home in the Medina of Marrakech built around a patio with a large roof terrace. It is in the Medina of Marrakech in a calm area a fifteen-minute walk away from the Djemaa El-Fna square. It has four bedrooms which sleep seven persons. Each bedroom has its own bath room. Additionally are available a fully equipped kitchen, a Moroccan lounge and a library.
phone: +212 6678451893address: 15, Derb Tizougarine, Dar El BashaA riad with five beautiful rooms: Rose, Jasmin, Bougainvillea, Hibiscus and Geranium. It is located in the heart of the Dar el Basha antique district which is very safe. Cuisine is exceptional, service is warm and attentive but discrete. Papillon offers loan of local phone/ipad, Iphone charger, bathrobes. Breakfast and Wi-Fi internet are included. Very romantic and wonderful atmosphere with welcoming dipping pool and tent on rooof terrace. Airport pickups available.
Hotel Riad Primaveraphone: +212 2433 2570, +212 2433 2572, +212 2433 2573The only kosher hotel in all of Morocco. The kosher certification is in the lobby and is issued by the Beth Din of Marrakech. 22 rooms with personal A/C units, TVs, bathrooms with showers, decorated in typical Moroccan style. Prices tend to rise during major Jewish holidays and festivals.
phone: +212 611266998address: 29, Derb Bouelilou, Sidi Ben SlimaneA gorgeous old riad with four en suite rooms, in the heart of the historic Sidi Ben Slimane district. Very safe and close to popular cafés and restaurants. Cuisine is exquisite, service is warm and attentive, price includes breakfast, designer toiletries, mint tea and pastries and Wi-Fi internet. Fantastic views of Atlas Mountains from roof terrace, deliciously refreshing dipping pool, wonderful dreamy atmosphere.
phone: +212 2444 2940, +212 6281 7000 (mobile)address: 294 Derb Ben SalekRun by the friendly and helpful owner Monique and her assistant Hassan. Features a rooftop terrace with nice views of Medina and cozy cane chairs, and a small pool in the center of the Riad. Traditional meals such as Tajines can be served any time of the day. Breakfast includes an array of jams, amlou, pancakes, and mint tea and can be served at flexible times. In the evening, candles are lit and guests gather around the pool, enjoying wine and if you're lucky Hassan might give a live music performance.
phone: +212 2438 7535address: 116 Derb El Hammam, MouassineChic while cozy and informal riad run by Ismail and his team. The house cook, Fadila, makes fabulous fresh baked breads at breakfast. Gorgeous roof terrace and two candle-lit/petal-strewn courtyard patios (one with plunge pool).
phone: +212 524 375 980address: 1, Driba Jdida, Sidi Ben SlimaneRiad hotel with 7 luxury suites.
phone: +212 5243 80225address: 77 Derb el Kadi, AzbeztCharming Riad with pool and hammam. The Riad is located in Azbezt's area, Marrakech Medina's heart.
The budget conscious will have more luck in the streets and alleyways south of Djemaa El-Fna, which are packed with discount hotels offering singles from 50 dirham. Derb Sidi Bouloukat is a good place to look, a quiet but safe alleyway packed with traditional-style hotels just a min from Djemaa El-Fna. Its entrance is easy to find, just a few steps away from Djemaa El-Fna. Take Riad Zatoune (unmarked) which starts right of the Moroccan Red Crescent (with your back towards the Koutoubia) and it's the first alley on the right (marked in Arabic only). On your way in Riad Zitoune you will also come across the public hammam (10 dirham, left entrance for women, right entrance for men, the soap, glove and small bucket can be bought at many shops across the street) and a small restaurant serving bissara and mint tea for less than 5 dirham.
Popular options with backpackers include:
Hotel AliRue Moulay Ismail. Beds in en suite, dorms, and rooftop terrace mattresses for 60 dirham per person per night, including cooked breakfasts served with orange juice and fresh coffee. Dorm guests can use the internet cafe for 5 dirham per hour. They have a laundry service and free internet access for private room guests, money exchange, a terrace restaurant with views of Djemaa El-Fna, and a downstairs hammam. Private rooms are available with a maximum per person price of 250 dirham per night including breakfast, free internet, and a daily traditional Hammam.
Hotel Salam (laksor)phone: +212 5 24443861address: bab ftouh rue haram chikh n.14, laksor, marrakechCheap and clean hotels, doesn't seem to have showers.
phone: +212 5 2439 105150 Derb Sidi Bouloukat. A 2-min walk to the famous square of Djemaa El-Fna. Clean and friendly with nice rooms with shared bathrooms. Singles from 90 dirham, doubles from 170 dirham, for 3 people 250 dirham, for 4 people 280 dirham, for 5 people 320 dirham. There are some rooms with AC for an additional 50 dirham. The hotel is charming and all arranged in the traditional way.
Hotel Central Palaceaddress: 59, Sidi BouloukateRooms are around a noisy and echoey central courtyard. Rooms are clean, but the shared toilets can be another story. Indifferent staff and housekeepers. Nice terrace with a great view, and rooms starting at 150 dirham for a double room with shared showers and toilet. You get what you pay for, but all in all it's a good value considering that Marrakech is more expensive that most other places in Morocco. Car rentals can be arranged (around 350 dirham per day for a small but fairly new car).
Hotel el-Wardphone: +212 5 2444 3354address: 65 derb Sidi BouloukatClean, quite comfortable, and the owners are very friendly whenever they feel like it. The rooftop terrace isn't lavish, but being one of the highest it does have a great view. 60/120/170/220 dirham for single/double/triple/quadruple.
phone: +212 5 2444 3805address: 3 Derb Sidi BouloukatThe hotel has singles with a shared bath from 50 dirham and doubles from 90 dirham. It is more or less like the others, but it's all painted in the traditional way, which gives it charm. Toilets and showers are bare-bones, a norm at this price range. Hot water does not stay hot for long. Overall a very good value and comfortable place from which to explore the old town.
phone: +212 5 2444 5336address: 74 Derb Sidi BouloukateOne of the cheapest and best-value hotels with rooms starting at 65 dirham for singles and 120 dirham for doubles (slightly higher in high season), all with shared bathrooms. Rooms are arranged around a traditional courtyard, and both rooms and shared bathrooms are clean with hot water. The hotel also has a comfortable terrace where you can eat breakfast for 20 dirham.
Hotel Sindiphone: +212 4444 3337Sud 109, Derb Sidi Bouloukat, Riad Zitoun El Kidim,
Hotel Smaraphone: +212 5 2444 5568address: 77 sidi Bouloukat. Near Djemaa El-FnaVery clean, friendly people, nice rooms. 50 dirham and doubles 80 dirham.
Hotel CecilAt the Djemaa El-Fna, Bouloukate. Offers doorms, rooms with shared bathroom (from US$13 per person), and ensuite rooms with AC (from US$18 per person). Rooftop breakfast and Wi-Fi included.
phone: +212 524 388 700address: Avenue du 7ieme Art Zone Touristique Agdal. Luxurious and comfortable providing 230 rooms, including 151 twin, 52 double, 2 rooms for disabled persons, 6 junior suites, 20 senior suites and a royal suite. The hotel has a piano bar, night club and a restaurant. Snacks are available at the pool bar. The spa features a heated indoor swimming pool, a sauna, a hammam and a gym.
address: 4-5 Rue ouartani I MouassaniIn Laksour district, 2 min from Djemaa El-Fna, Lyla Riad Marrakech opens its doors. Gérard is the riad's passionate owner.
Riad RahbaOffers private, en suite rooms and is a minute from Djemaa El-Fna, at the entrance to the Souks. The Riad combines the traditional Moroccan atmosphere with the comforts of a modern hostel and hotel. The rates include breakfast and wifi. From €18 per single en suite room per night.
phone: +212 5 25 07 80 13address: Km 5 - Route De Tahanaout
phone: +212 05243-54141address: Route de Casablanca, Ouled ben RahmounSuites decorated in 3 different styles of architecture
Marrakech Rosephone: +212 618444328address: 13 Derb Laadam, Kenaria, Place Jemaa el FnaCharming little hostel right in the center of town, with small dorms and super-friendly staff. Great place to meet other travellers and socialize - mostly a younger crowd. Not the best choice if you want an early night's sleep.
phone: +212 6 6815 6412address: 107 Derb Snan, Mouassine2nd backpackers in Marrakech in the old Medina. Originally a 16th century house. Central garden, and rooftop. Shower, internet, washing facilities. Breakfast is available, book early, this is a popular establishment. Some travellers complain the sheets are not changed regularly. Also, travellers aren't always registered properly.
address: 47 Derb Ben Aissa, Dabachi1st backpackers hostel to be located in the Medina. 1 minute walk from Place Djemaa El-Fna. Rooftop terrace, hot showers, comfortable surroundings. No more than 6 beds to a room. Breakfast included as are bed linens, towels, and free Wi-Fi. You can expect to pay €8/person all year round per night if booked in advance via email or website. No lockouts, no curfews, and is open 24/7, 365 days/ year.
Rue Mohammed el-Hansaliphone: +212 524 447713A clean hostel with an 23:30 curfew and obligatory wake up call at 08:00. Daily daytime lockout. It is a fair distance from the action in the heart of the Medina. A taxi can cost 15-20 dirham.
phone: +212 525 118880address: Km 8 Route D'AmezmizSpread across nearly 5 acres of gardens, this boutique hotel faces the Atlas Mountains.
Guéliz (also known as Ville Nouvelle)
phone: +212 524-430-033address: 44 Rue Tariq Bnou Ziad, GuélizA budget-friendly hotel with rooms going off two nice courtyards, located in a rear building and therefore quiet, no luxury equipment but clean, tidy and friendly and helpful staff
Hotel al Kabirphone: +212 2443 9540, +212 2443 4150This modern, airy hotel is one of a group of similar standard hotels in this area of Guéliz. Mainly used by tour groups and reservation agencies, the Hotel al Kabir's rooms, accessible from three elevators, are all clean, modern, and well appointed, if a tad sterile, and the bathrooms are a reasonable size with shower/tub combos.
phone: +212 5 2443 5929A more impersonal European chain hotel, but very clean and peaceful. It is within a short taxi ride of all the action. If you want to be able to escape the hustle and bustle during the heat of the day and chill out by a pool, this place is perfect. Decent value for the money as well, with lovely rooms and showers. Free internet with wifi is provided in the lobby.
phone: +212 4442 0305, +212 4442 0306address: 3 rue LoubnaneA colorful and personable hotel. As the name suggests, this is more like a house than a standard block hotel. The extravagantly painted and decorated interior is entered through bright blue heavy wood studded doors. Choice of various brightly colored interiors furnished with faux-antiques and lace-draped four-poster beds. Each bathroom has its own water heater and bath/shower combo, and comes supplied with a range of toiletries. Close to many of Guéliz's better restaurants and shops.
phone: +212 4444 8512address: 147 Rue Mohamed El BaqalSituated close to the railway station, the Oudaya is a good alternative for travellers looking for a medium prized hotel in the Ville Nouvelle. The rooms are clean and well-kept with good size bathrooms, air-condition and TV. Breakfast is served from early in the morning and consists of a well stocked buffet, the restaurant is however mediocre and much better meals can be had just around the corner. The courtyard has a large pool (open 09:00-18:00) lined with a massive bougainvilla. The hotel does have a policy of no outside food, which includes bottled water, so make sure to keep any purchases hidden when entering.
phone: +212 2449 2010Route de Targa. Luxury B&B villa with swimming pool and garden. It offers five comfortable double rooms in a quiet residential area nearby Marrakech downtown. Breakfast is included. Rates begin at 1,000 dirham for a double room.
phone: +212 5 2438 4121address: 156 Derb Snane, Mouassine, MedinaLaundromat with used books, wifi, coffee and smoothies. Finish in same day or in next day. 20 dirham for 2 kg.
Be sure to report any crime to both the local police and your embassy.
British Honorary Consulate in Marrakechphone: +212 5 2442 0846address: Résidence Taib 55, Boulevard Zerktouni, Gueliz
Most other foreign embassies and consulates in Morocco are in Rabat, with a few more in Casablanca.
Marrakech is a generally safe city, with a solid police presence. However, staying alert about your surroundings and taking general safety precautions is always a good idea like everywhere. Here are some tips:
- Violent crime is normally not a major problem, but thefts are known to happen. Keep your money close and hidden, and avoid poorly lit streets or alleys at night.
- Guides offering their services should display an official badge from the local tourist authorities.
- Morocco is under an increased threat from international terrorism. Be vigilant when you're out and contact authorities if you notice anything suspicious.
- Be especially careful about being drugged, especially as a solo traveller. The common and easy-to-make drug GHB only lasts three hours and is undetectable in the body after 7 hours, so if you are attacked, take action immediately.
- Be careful ordering room service if you are a solo traveller, as even older women can be targets for robbery. Don't ask the waiter to enter your room.
- Get one of the shopkeepers to dress you up with a berber style scarf, for men and women, it will cover your face (leaving only space for your eyes) and you can remain undetected and will definitely not be harassed by the shopkeepers, one or two beggars may catch on that you are still a tourist from the way you are dressed though, so bear that in mind.
Emergency phone numbers
Ambulance/ Firephone: 15
Inb Tofail Hospitalphone: +212 4444 8011address: Rue Abdelouahab Derraq
Polyclinique du Sudphone: +212 4444 7999, +212 4444 8372address: 2 Rue Yougoslavie, GuelizIn case of a medical emergency, it's always a good idea to know where to find the local physicians who speak your language. According to the U.S. Consulate website, Dr. Taarji Bel Abbass at the Polyclinique du Sud speaks "fair to good English".
The tap water in Marrakech is suitable for bathing. While locals drink it with no problems, visitors often find it hard to digest. To be safe, opt for bottled mineral water, available at the numerous marketplace kiosks and food stalls. Make sure that the cap seal has not been broken, since vendors have been known to save money by refilling plastic bottles from the tap. At restaurants, ask for your drinks without ice, which are usually made with tap water.
Touts and scams
A Moroccan idiom is "Marrakech, Arnakech" ("Marrakech is Mafia"): Marrakech is the city with the most inflated prices, the most persistent touts and the most cunning scammers. Even Moroccans who visit Marrakech complain. So all the warnings listed on main page about Morocco should be taken extra seriously. On the plus side, at least since September 2016 (and still valid in April 2017), police has been cleaning up a lot; so take these items with a grain of salt and keep an open mind:
- "It's closed": This is a common technique by scammers pretending to be tourist guides. Some will even have printed badges with photos and documents pretending to be from the Ministry of Tourism. They will ask you or guess where you are going and say that it's closed. Immediately after or later in the conversation, they will lure you to the location they want you to go, usually some sort of commerce with inflated prices. If a random stranger approaches you and claims a location of interest is closed, it is very likely a scam.
- "Only every 15 days": Another technique is to say a group of Berber only comes every 15 days to do commerce. Buy now, or miss the opportunity!
- Directions then pay: If strangers are showing you the way and following you, they may ask you for money at the end of showing directions.
- Snake charmers: Stay at a distance unless willing to pay 20 dirham. They will put a snake around your neck for picture and expect payment.
- Taxi drivers in the "tourist hot spots" (train station, gare routiere, agence CTM, Djeema El-Fna), by default, do not use the meter, though they have to by law, and they overcharge a lot: Either insist on the meter (good luck with that) or agree on a flat price up front. By meter, the trip from the train station to Djeema El-Fna is 13 dirham during daytime, a flat price of 20 dirham is a good deal for a tourist, regular asking price is 50 to 70 dirham! If your luggage permits, just walking 100 m down the street, away from the "tourist hot spot", and hailing a taxi will get you a much saner deal (or even a metered fare).
- Djeema El-Fna is now heavily patrolled by tourist police and one can actually walk there pretty much hassle free, except for: At night time, the food stalls can be pretty "aggressive" when trying to convince you to eat there. "Aggressive" as in shoving the menu into your face, while blocking your path or grabbing your hand because they are sure you are an "old friend", starting a lengthy, friendly conversation. And they still try the "complimentary XY" trick where they'll serve you spoonfuls of fries, salads or other items while you are already eating - each tiny plate shows up as 5 dirham on the bill. The latter can be easily avoided by insisting on paying immediately when your food arrives and then just walking away after you finished your meal. On the plus side: With all the tourist police present (April 2017) simply raising your voice when telling the same guy "la, shokran!" (no, thank you!) for the 3rd time or when debating a bill that lists items you did not order will probably make them stop for fear of police intervention.
- When ignoring touts, you might get dismissive remarks shouted after you, usually tailored to your (guessed) nationality: Unless you know at least French really well, just keep on ignoring them.
- When you get lost in the Medina, you should never have to pay more than 20 dirham to a random person to get you at least out of the medina to a taxi that can drop you of someplace from which you can navigate. Again, agree on a price upfront and have the exact amount ready (or change en route in some shop).
- Henna tattoos are popular with locals and tourists alike. But among the many genuine traders are some scam artists who offer a free henna tattoo only to charge ridiculous prices afterwards (up to 10 times as much as locals would have to pay). Simply refuse any "free" henna tattoos. And, in Marrakech more than in other places, be wary of overly good henna: It is probably regular, cheap henna, mixed with chemicals like PPD to make it appear darker (i.e. of higher quality). This is not only questionable from an overall health perspective but it can lead to serious allergic reactions.
Always remember: Most Moroccans are incredibly friendly, honest people, so sometimes making a fuss in public can generate unwanted attention for a scam artist and shame them into backing off.
AmizmizWith one of the largest Berber souks in the High Atlas Mountains every Tuesday, Amizmiz is well-worth a trip. This is especially true for those travellers wishing to experience the less urban, less touristy mountain towns of the High Atlas. The souk itself deals mostly in the ordinary household goods that any Walmart does; plan your souvenir shopping elsewhere.
AsniA lovely rural village in the Atlas mountains.
EssaouiraCharming coastal city. You will pass the goats in the Argan trees on the way there.
OukaimedenSki lift at 3268 m. The snow falls in the mountains just south of Marrakech every winter. And it stays. Wealthy people from all over southern Morocco have since long learned to enjoy skiing in their own country. This has given the ski resort, Oukaïmeden, a distinct Moroccan touch, too. You do not need to bring your ski equipment all the way from home, all you need can be rented. You should only pay around 250 dirham for a full day here (including a lift pass). Oukaïmeden and the areas around are some of the greatest in Morocco, with four seasons, and ever changing nature. In summer, few people enter this area — it is probably too well known for winter sports. But staying here a day or two is a real treat.
Ourika ValleyTours involve stopping several times en route to the valley to look in tourist shops, a Berber house, and a collective run for women who make products out of Argan oil. Tours will also include a walk to visit the various different waterfalls. The journey can become difficult, so wear good walking and/or climbing shoes - suitable footwear is imperative. Think of clambering up rocks at the side of the river, and eventually criss-crossing over wet rocks to travel up the mountain.
Setti FatmaThe residential part is situated above the road and is not visited too much. The attractions are the lovely valley scenery and a walk to seven waterfalls - or for most day visitors one waterfall from which others can be seen.
Cascade d'OuzoudImpressive three stage waterfalls between green and pink rock slopes has almost 100 m height and highest in Morocco. Ride by taxi or minivan of local tourist company may be ordered near Djemaa El-Fna or in the streets in Medina. At least half of day need for journey but full day it is better. The way goes through picturesque valleys and takes some more than two hours on one direction. Waterfalls accessible on top and by closest downstairs till bottom where pontone boats offers to hiking just to place of water falling. Small cafes and food/souvenir shops available before the entrance and just on downstairs. Makakus monkeys meet mostly before sunset and walk just amongst the visitors or seat on trees and rocks. The waterfalls have full power on spring and beginning of summer and may almost dry later. Sun rays sparkly highlights the water stream before sunset.