It can be pretty confusing and overwhelming to travel to this city, so that’s why I am writing this complete Marrakesh Travel Guide that will hopefully help you planning your trip to the city of colors and smells, in Morocco.
Marrakesh exceeded my expectations in several ways. It’s rare for a city to exceed my expectations, but this one really did it! The cultural shock was there, but that’s what amazed me the most: how can a city so close to my hometown be so different? Find out what not to miss in this guide!
1# Know your facts
- Currency: Moroccan dirham
- Exchange your money at: Jemma El-Fna for better rates, avoid the airport
- Religion: Muslim
- Best time to visit: October – December or February – May
- Is Marrakech safe? Yes, but be aware of pick pockets
- Medina = old town, where you can find the riads
- Souks = local markets
- Price of a taxi from the airport to the Medina: 70-100 dirham (7-10€)
2# How to get there
Marrakech has only one airport: Menara Airport, which is very close to the center. If you are staying in another Moroccan city you can drive there pretty easily, but avoid driving near the Medina as traffic gets chaotic.You can find pretty cheap flights from all over Europe, especially from Madrid.
3# Where to stay and how to get around
I strongly recommend you stay in the Medina, the old town surrounded by fortifications. You should have the experience of staying in a Riad, their local houses. The Riads usually don’t have windows to the exterior in order to keep privacy, but have an interior garden, usually with a small pool, which brings light to the rooms. You can find Riads from 15€ a night, but there are also some luxury Riads.
If you stay in the Medina you can walk everywhere, so you don’t need to worry about transportation. However, if you want to go to the modern part of Marrakech you can easily take cheap cabs. You can also rent a car at the airport if you wish to travel to other Moroccan cities!
4# What to eat and cost of food
Moroccan cuisine is the 2nd most famous in the world, only behind French cuisine. It is condimented, healthy and delicious. You must definitely try tajine dishes: tajine is a typical pot where they cook all types of food. I recommend you to try chicken with prunes, lamb with vegetables and chicken with pear. They’re awesome! You must also try harira soup and cous-cous, of course.You can eat at Jemma El-Fna food market for the experience, but the food doesn’t look so good and it’s expensive. Along the souks you can find many medium-priced restaurants, where you can expect to pay between 5-15€ per meal. Also, indulge in the amazing natural orange juice and mint tea they have everywhere.
5# What to do and visit
This Marrakesh Travel Guide wouldn’t be complete without the fun stuff: what to actually do and visit in Marrakesh! These are my absolutely favorite places and things to do:
Shop at the souks
The souks are basically a maze of stores with all sorts of stuff for sale, from leather belts, jackets and bags, to beautiful handmade lamps and tea pots. It’s the paradise for home decor! You can also find beautiful rugs and pillow covers. But don’t forget to bargain! Never accept the first price, offer 20% of the first price they tell you and then negotiate until you both reach an agreement.
Watch the Sunset at Jemma El-Fna square
In this square you can eat at the food market and have a view to the beautiful Kotoubia Mosque. However, you will also find some snakes, cobras and monkeys there. Make sure not to look at them and especially to not take photos, as you will be supporting animal abuse. They take the fangs out of the snakes and drug the monkeys. It’s just sad.
Visit Jardin Majorelle
This is a beautiful garden, later bought by Yves Saint Laurent. Here you can find plants that were brought from all over the world (especially cactus) and it’s impressing. Also, it is a very photogenic garden, so bring your camera!
Shop at the Spice Souks
The spice souks are like the normal souks, except you have all kinds of spices, teas, argan oil and natural treatments that you can find. If you like cooking, then this is your paradise!
Visit Madrasa Ben Youssef
This is an old muslim school with beautiful architecture and also very photogenic. I didn’t have the opportunity to visit it because it was under maintenance. But you should definitely go there!
Have an unforgettable time at La Mamounia Spa
If you still have time, make sure you visit La Mamounia – one of the oldest hotels in Marrakech – and book a Spa day pass. Their spa is mesmerizing and I assure you that you won’t regret going there. I felt like a princess while bathing in that impressively-beautiful pool.
I hope this Marrakech Travel Guide helps you when planning your trip to this beautiful and colorful city. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions!