As soon as you arrived in the African metropolis, oriental scents float generously through your nostrils. The winding streets of the old town, known as Medina, are full of tiny shops and hustle and bustle. After dusk, the city shapes into something completely different.
In this article, we will summarize how you can ideally prepare your Marrakech trip. For us, the following hints are the 10 best tips for Marrakech.
10 Tips for Marrakech
#1 – Dress properly
Marrakech, located in the center of Morocco, experienced prospering years and became more European but still is a traditional city.
With 99% almost every inhabitant of Morocco’s population is Muslim. Thus, it is important to respect the culture and to behave accordingly. This also comes with adapting to the clothing style. Avoid short shorts and skirts, try to cover knees and shoulders and dress more conservatively as you might be used to. Belly tops and bikinis belong where they belong – on the beach.
If you stick to these simple rules, you show respect which will reflect how people communicate with you.
#2 – A few scraps of French can be helpful
The officially spoken language of Marrakech is Arabic. But especially among younger people and in big cities, French is predominantly spoken and widespread.
In some situations, we would have loved to be able to speak French. But since both of us at school went more towards Spanish and English, our French is rather poor.
If you still have time before leaving to Marrakech, go ahead and work on your french! This is one of our tips for Marrakech.
#3 – Remember where your accommodation is located
When you’re in the streets of Marrakech, you feel like in a maze. The streets are narrow, twisty and extremely confusing. Almost no chance to keep oriented.
Once you leave your accommodation, keep in mind where you came from to find the way back. Use large objectives such as buildings, mosques or squares like the Djemaa el Fna.
Unfortunately, Google Maps, as well as other maps aren’t helpful as well.
#4 – Say no to help that you don’t need
Marrakech is a beautiful city, but let’s jump to one rather negative aspect.
Typical for Marrakech are male teens hanging around the street approaching you as soon as they recognise you looking for directions on your mobile. While you are thinking about the way that brings you back to your accommodation, they offer help right away. Sometimes, they show you the directions on the phone, sometimes they want to ‘quickly’ accompany you from A to B to earn a couple of extra Dirhams.
Exactly that happened to us, before we knew the show. We were lost in the maze, some teens talked us into help but we didn’t have any cash on us, what we also told them. They seemed nice and told us that he didn’t want money. Once we arrived at our accommodation, he insisted on money, which ended up in a very uncomfortable situation. But more on that later.
If you are on the street and someone shouts over “No, don’t go there. Road is closed“, just ignore him and continue walking. We also got to know that the show is to steer tourists around these ‘closed roads’ and ask for money.
If a street is actually closed, you will be able to witness police or security guards as well as rails that prevent you from passing. So, keep in mind to ignore these locals – they only want to make a couple of extra bucks.
#5 – Eat, where locals do
Let’s jump to number five of our tips for Marrakech – it’s food related! If you’re hungry, just keep an eye on restaurants where locals sit. They know where to get delicious food. Just take a seat where you can find locals, order various different dishes and the food will blow your mind! Promised.
#6 – Bargain, like mad!
Traveling through Marrakech, also means: Bargain, Bargain, Bargain!
Not solely while shopping in the old Media but especially when you need a taxi. As a tourist you’ll just pay a higher price. For that exact reason, you need to bargain like mad. Just be satisfied with the price when you are at the half of what the driver or a merchant on the street offered first. As we’ve learned – you still paid more than enough as a tourist.
Taximeters do exist, but in reality nobody uses them in Marrakech. So agree on a price before you go into the taxi and start the trip.
Same applies to all shops on the souks, the famous markets. Here, you need to have a good stamina while bargaining. We were interested in a leather bag, that was supposed to cost 37€. In the end we paid 13€. Just to give you a feeling!
Note: After a short while you get a feeling on realistic prices and how far you can go while bargaining on the street. The craftsmanship of the locals surely needs to be honored but at the same price you don’t want to get ripped off. We also asked locals working in our hotel how much they would have most likely paid.
Second note: Just in case you are really interested in a product stop and make eye contact with the shop owner. As soon as you showed a little interest, the merchant will approach you right away. A second later, you will find yourself in his store looking at the goods he is trying to sell.
#7 – Be a bit cautious is the dark
The following is a more personal tip! We didn’t always feel comfortable in Marrakech during the night – especially in the small winding streets in the northern part of the city. The narrow streets here almost felt smaller and after dusk a bit dodgy. After the above mentioned incident with the young Moroccans, we haven’t been super eager to explore the city in the dark anymore.
If you know where you exactly need to go, don’t worry and just say no to help that you don’t need.
#8 – When thinking about trips, think about which suits you best
No. 8 of our tips for Marrakech: In any case, we advise you to book a trip from Marrakech. Whether it’s a day trip to Essaouira or an exciting desert trip, consider which is the type of trip that suits you most. After our experience in the desert, we know more than before and would have decided differently.
Our tip: If we would need to choose again, we would decide in favor of a private tour and invest a bit more for an unforgettable trip. More on the topic here:
#9 – Enjoy the silence in your Riad
Besides being incredibly pretty, Marrakech is loud, a little bustling and can be stressful. That’s why it is essential that you relax in your harmonious accommodation in the evening. As well as that, start the day slowly and enjoy some calm moments in the riad. This mixture will make your trip unforgettable!
Note: We got a room in the Riad Porte Royale for the last nights in Marrakech and can only recommend to stay there. The breakfast is great (have breakfast on the terrace!), the riad is furnished in a modern way with great attention to detail, and if you have any questions, you will always find a friendly person to help out. Head this way* if you want to check availability and prices.
✐ Address: Derb El Maada 84, 40030 Marrakech, Morocco
$ Price: USD 85 / night
The first nights of our stay we spent in the Riad Dar Beija. The Riad, which is perfectly situated in the south of Marrakech, is cosy, furnished in Moroccan style and equipped with a rooftop terrace. Definitely a great place to enjoy some calm moments.
Soley our room, which was nice but a bit too small, was a little-minus in our eyes. In fairness we also need to say that we got the smallest room. Availabilities and prices in Dar Beija can be found at this link.*
✐ Address: Derb Manchoura 37, 40000 Marrakech, Marocco
$ Price: starting at USD 100 / night
➳ More accommodation this way*.
#10 – Carrying small notes can be helpful
For taxi rides and souvenirs, for example, it makes sense to have a couple of smaller bills with you. Moroccans don’t seem to like to change bigger bills. Therefore, we advise you to always carry around a few smaller notes with you.
Soo, now you should be perfectly prepared for your Marrakech trip. If you take these tips seriously, nothing keeps you away from a relaxed journey.
Do you have any other tips or questions? Simply leave a comment, we would be glad to hear!
// For transparencies sake: We were invited by the Riad Porte Royale and the Riad Dar Beija. However, our opinion remains unaffected by this and our evaluation of the stay corresponds to our personal opinion.
// *Affiliate-Link | When booking, we receive a small commission. For you, that doesn’t come with any extra costs, of course!
Looking for more Wanderlust?
➳ A trip to Morocco without a trip to the desert? Never! Head this way for all info!
➳ Get to know Morocco from its culinary side. Here’s an article of our favorite cooking class day!
➳ Still looking for a few things to do in and around Marrakech? Have a look at our dedicated article!