Marrakech (مراكش), also known as Marrakesh, is one of the imperial cities of Morocco.
The name Marrakech originates from the Amazigh (Berber) words mur (n) akush, which means "go and stop" which was said a long years ago to visitors and camels on the traffic. It is the third largest city in Morocco after Casablanca and Rabat, and lies near the foothills of the snow capped Atlas Mountains and a few hours away from the foot of the Sahara Desert. Its location and contrasting landscape has made it an enviable destination in Morocco.
The city is divided into two distinct 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 Jeema 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-Menara Airport (IATA: RAK), ☎ . 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 Frankfurt-Hahn (Germany), Alicante (Spain), Girona (Spain), Eindhoven (the Netherlands) Madrid and Reus (Spain) to Marrakech.
- Thomson Airways. travels from London Gatwick and Manchester.
- British Airways. fly from London Gatwick.
- TUIfly. fly from Cologne and several other European destinations.
- Transavia.com is a new Low cost airline from Air France-KLM group coming to Marrakech from several cities in Europe like 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
Money exchange and ATMs in the airport
Terminal 1 has at least two money changing outlets in the arrivals hall and three ATMs. There is one money changer in departures, but there are no ATMs airside. Terminal 2 had ATMs, but (as of March 2012) is currently being re-built from the ground up. On ATMs, check for the Maestro, Cirrus or Plus logos to be sure that the machine accepts foreign credit cards. Beware as some of the ATMs work only in French. If your card is taken at the ATM, tell airport security and they can help you get it back.
The airport is about 9km (6 miles) south-west of the city center (medina).
The No 19 Airport express bus is Dh 30 for a single trip or Dh 50 for round trip (if the return trip is within 2 weeks of initial purchase). It serves all the major hotels and is a great way to go from the airport to the hotels. You can easily find its departure stop, to the left of the road immediately outside of the Arrivals Hall at terminal 2, after the taxis. The bus leaves the airport every half an hour between 7AM and 9:30PM. The bus has no particular stops except Jeema El Fna and can stop anywhere on the route. The driver has a small map to hand out and you can tell the driver your hotel you are heading to. 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 meters from terminal. This is an option only for people without large, heavy luggage, but it is the cheapest one - the bus costs Dh 3.50
The airport is about a 10-15 min ride by "petit taxi" from the city center. Petit taxis are hatchbacks that go to destinations within the city and charge a lower price than the larger "grand taxis," which go between cities. If you leave from the airport by petit taxi, make sure to agree on the price beforehand, or—better yet—have the driver use his meter (a taxi ride to Ville Nouvelle or to the Medina from the airport should be Dh 40-70, more at night). The taxis directly outside the terminal are controlled by an organized gang which demands much higher prices than the the official prices which are posted there. They will try to get prices as high as Dh 200 for a ride to the city, and as they are all in on the scam, it is impossible to bargain a lower price from a different driver. Sometimes they try to get you locked inside the vehicle before they reveal the price and will always demand agreement to the exorbitant fare up front. Complaints to the airport police will get you nowhere as they are complicit and will do nothing. Arriving passengers should avoid the stand outside the terminal completely. Walk to the parking lot across from the terminal and there you can find a more honest driver and negotiate a reasonable rate. If you walk out of the airport to the main road, you can hail a taxi and pay only the metered price.
If you are heading to the airport from the city, grand taxis are a very cheap option. Instead of taking a taxi heading for the airport however, you should take one with the direction M'Hamid and ask to be dropped of at the airport exit on its route, from which it is only a 200-300 metre walk to the terminal. This option costs only Dh 5 per person, although you should make sure you agree on the price before you get in. Unfortunately, it is not possible to use this method from the airport to the city.
If you are traveling from the airport to somewhere further afield (such as Essaouira), your hotel or guest house may be able to arrange a grand taxi to pick you up at the airport and charge a fixed price for the journey. Grands taxis are generally more expensive than petit taxis, but more comfortable especially when you have luggage. It also avoids hassle, as it is not always easy to haggle with a taxi driver after staggering off a long plane ride half-asleep.
Many hotels and riads offer a shuttle service for about €15. 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.
The train station is in the recently developed Guéliz district at Avenue Hassan II, ☎ +212 447768. For train times and schedules, check out the Moroccan Railway website.
Trains from Casablanca (2nd class Dh84/ 1st class Dh150, 3 hours), 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 hour trains to Fez via Casablanca Voyageurs station and another two direct connections to Tangier.
From Tangier it's about a 10 hour 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 mins. 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 Dh 350). 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 te 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 currently 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.
There are many long distance bus companies operating within Morocco which serve Marrakech and other cities.
The recommended bus companies for tourists are CTM, Pullman du sud and Supratours. Other companies do exist, though these three companies are usually your safest options.
Most ALSA (local destination bus company) and private bus lines depart and arrive at the long distance bus station (gare routière) near Bab Doukkala, a 20 min walk (Dh 15 - 20 by petit taxi) from Djemaa El-Fna. 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.
The long distance bus station, CTM and private bus companies travel to destinations such as Agadir, Safi, Casablanca, El Jadida, Essaouira, Fez, Meknes, Ouarzazate, 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 (6h, ~120 Dh) be advised, that while seemingly shorter on the map, the mountain route via Beni Millal takes at least 2 hours more than on the highway via Rabat and Casa, going there by train (6½h, 174 Dh) is the most comfortable option, although busses might be slightly quicker.
CTM operates a brand new bus station "Gare Voyageurs" one block south from the Supratour station next to the train station. It's better to take the buses there, because you can buy the tickets in advance. Besides, the CTM's offices there are better and there's 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.
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.
For exploring more of the city, buses and petits taxis are plentiful.
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 and Place Youssef Ben Tachfine and fares range from MAD2-5 depending on the distance. Important municipal bus lines are:
- No 1 - Towards Gueliz
- Nos 3 and 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 (one way Dh30/return for Dh50)
Bus No 19 leaves Djemaa el-Fna every half an hour, starting at 6:15AM in the morning until 9:15PM. 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 Dh 145 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.
An 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 DH 80 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 avoid this is using the buses which serve most destinations of interest (see above).
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 Dh 1.70 before 8PM and Dh 2.40 after 8PM; there's no need to negotiate the price. Basically they have to use the meter even if it is midnight.
- The minimum charge is Dh 7 before 8PM and after will be Dh 10.
- Dh 20 is a good price for a 10-minute ride.
For grand taxis (regular Mercedes taxis) there are no meters. Typically the set rate from Marrakech Airport to the Medina or Jemaa el fna (Main square) is Dh 150. There also appears to be no limit to the amount 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-Fna. is the 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 dirhams to watch. By day it is largely filled with snake charmers and people with monkeys, as well as some of the more common stalls.
- Maison de la Photographie, 46, Rue souk Ahal Fès (200 m behind Ben Youssef Medersa - Koranic School). A little photography museum, it has one of the highest roof terraces in the Medina. MAD 40.
- The Souks (suuqs). Markets of Marrakech, just adjacent to Place Djemaa El-Fna, are where you can buy almost anything. From spices to shoes, jellabas to kaftans, tea pots to tagines and much, much more. 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 dirhams, 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 or Turkey, so have fun!
- Koutoubia Mosque (right besides Djemaa El-Fna). named 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. Non-Muslims are not allowed inside.
- Tanneries. Visiting 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 Tombs. The 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 does not take a lot of time to explore, but it is definitely worth the visit. While here, look for the tombs of Jews and Christians; they are noted by their different markings and direction of the tomb. MAD 10.
- Majorelle Gardens (In Gueliz). It provides an excellent respite from the hustle and bustle of the city streets. 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 across 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 Museum of Islamic Art. 50 MAD, 25 MAD additionally for the Museum of Islamic Art..
- Dar Si Saïd Museum (on Rue Riad Zitoun Jdid, is a museum 5 mins away from Djemaa El-Fna.). Set in an old palace with beautiful gardens, it 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. MAD 10.
- Ben Youssef Madrasa, Kaat Benahid (in the old Medina). 9:00-18:00, closed for religious holidays.. One 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. Dh 40, Dh 60 combined with the Museum of Marrakech.
- El Bahia Palace. Mo-Th, Sa-Su 8:30-11:45 and 14:30-17:45; Fr 8:30 -11:30 and 15:00-17:45. An ornate and beautiful palace, build at the end of the 19. 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. Dh 10.
- El Badi Palace, Ksibat Nhass. 08.30-11.45, 14.45-17.45. A palace now in ruins and inhabited by storks and stray cats. There are some underground passageways to explore. 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 MAD 10 admission to the palace, MAD 10 extra to see the minbar (preaching chair).
- The Menara gardens (west of the city in walking distance). 5:30-20:00 in the winter. A 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. fee.
- Jewish Cemetery.
- Marrakech Museum, ☎ . 09:00-18:30. MAD 40, MAD 50 including the Ben Youssef Madrasa..
- Tiskiwin Museum, Derb El Bahia 8 (Between El Bahia and Museum Dar Si Said). 9:00-12:30;14:30-18:00. about the people in the Sahara. Created by Dutchman Bert Flint. Dh 20.
- Chez Ali Fantasia, La Palmeraie de Marrakech (10 Km north of Marrakech), ☎ . Horse show, acrobats on Arabian horses firing rifles in the air;horseback acrobatics, belly dancing etc. It takes place at night in a huge imitaion of an old castle. €15.
The old, 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.
- Les Bains de Marrakech, 2 Derb Sedra, Bab Agnaou (same building as Riad Mehdi) (Just inside Bab Agnaou), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. 09:00-19:30. Tourists-oriented in good sense: couples can have hammam together in a private room. Extensive list of massages and spa treatments from 30min 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. Dh 170 to 1400.
- Hammam Dar el-Bacha, 20 Rue Fatima Zohra, men 7AM-1PM, women 1-9PM
- Hammam Bab Doukkala, Rue Bab Doukkala, southeast corner Bab Doukkala Mosque, women noon-7PM, men 8PM
- Thai marrakech Résidence Les Jasmins Apt N° 13 4ème étage Angle Av. Mohamed v et Rue Oum Errabia Guéliz +212 524 433 304 Bann 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 
- IGoMorocco, JCM BP 775 Gueliz Principal 40000, ☎ , fax: +212 524 42 35 89, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. I Go Morocco offers various tours, including desert tours by minibus or 4x4.
- Marrakech Select (Marrakech Select), Hay Yassmina Lot 84 N° 52 Marrakech, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Marrakech Select organizes excursions, trips and tours from Marrakech, Morocco Desert tour from Marrakech whith Camel trekking
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 craftmen 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 uniquie 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 Dh 70 per 100 ml at local supermarket for cooking oil or Dh 200 for genuine cosmetic oil.
Marrakech is home to a large tanning industry, and leather goods of high quality can be bought here cheaply. Check out camel leather items especially - jackets, round poufs, and handbags.
For the shoes always check they have no paper inside the plate (sole in French) because it is very common, do not be fooled by demonstration of how they bend the shoe and turns back to the position try it yourself by feeling and hearing how the paper bends. For poor quality one you should not pay more than Dh 40 and for a good one no more than Dh 90, shop around and learn the difference between the 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 pay a high price.
Be sure to wander round the potters' souk, and look for brightly colored platters and bowls, as well as tagines 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.
- Les établissements Bouchaïb, 7, Derb Baïssi Kasbah Boutouil (on Rue de La Kasbah), ☎ . Huge two-story store with fixed prices. Carpets, spices, argon oil, jewelry, ceramics, furniture, wood handcrafts, etc. check out the prices on the webpage before you go to get and idea of the cost of the items you are interested in..
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 Jeema el fna are Chinese-built fakes; they work fine but employ less storage and cheaper components than the originals. Bargain accordingly.
- Chez Monseur Michelin, 83 Riad Zitoun. Handmade bags and fashion items made from recycled tires and inner tubes.
- Bennouna Faissal Traditional Weaving (next to Maison la Photographie). tiny workshop making beautiful and very elegant 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: Dh 90. Good (thick) quality: Dh 300.
- Paintings, depends on the quality and size but no more than Dh 50 for a 70x50cm.
- Shisha, Dh 150 for the smallest ones. Prices then vary with size and quality.
- Tobacco for shisha, Dh 20. There are many flavours and decent prices at the duty-free store at the airport in Marrakech.
- Shoes, for home, no more than Dh 50 for a good one, for the street no more than Dh 90 for a good quality one.
- Lamp, no more than Dh 60 for a medium size lamp.
- Woven beanie, Dh 15.
- T-Shirt, no more than Dh 50 for a large.
- Small wooden snake toys, Dh 5.
- Small teapot (2-3 cups), Dh 90-100.
- Medium size cooking tagine Dh 40. (Choose carefully, glazed tagines have a risk of releasing unsafe levels of lead.)
- Dress for women, poor quality, not wool, Dh 30.
- Carpets: Dh 1,000 for a white wool carpet that is 8ft x 12 ft
- Dates, almonds, nuts: Dh 80-120 per Kg, depending on the quality.
- Henna tattoo: medium sized design should cost no more than Dh 50 (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.
- Bananas, Dh 8 per kilogram, in season.
- 250g of gunpowder tea, Dh 30. Although best bought at a supermarket.
- Round piece of bread, Dh 1,5.
- Spice Mixes 80 Dh/Kg
- Cumin, Curcuma, Cinnamon, Ground Ginger etc 40-60 Dh/Kg
Do not bid for 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. Please 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.
- 16 cafe. Moroccan kitchen. 16 coffee is caterer of events and weddings.
- Cafe Alhamra, ☎ . Place 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.
- Cafe Arabe, 184 mouassine (medina near dar el bacha), ☎ . They 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.
- Cafe Mabrouk (off Djemaa El-Fna). serves the same standard fare as everywhere else in a little courtyard or terrace.
- Chez Chegrouni (near the main entrance to the market.). Their 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. Dh 30.
- Chez El Bahia, 206 Rue Riad Zitoune (50m SE from Djemaa El-Fna on Rue Riad Zitoune (that starts at Wafa Restaurant)). It 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. about Dh 100.
- Chez Yassine, 70 Avenue Fatima Zohra (5 mn north from the Koutoubia mosque, 70 Rue Fatima Zohra Rmila (next to the Bacha hamam)). Not 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. Dh 30 Tagines.
- Earth Cafe, Number 2, Derb Zawak, Riad Zitoun Kedim (in the Medina), ☎ . , Vegetarian-friendly. Also available are vegan alternatives and plenty of options for fruit and vegetable-based drinks.
- Henna Cafe, 93 Arset Aouzal Souikat, bab Doukala (Go to the taxi rank at Dar El Basha and walk 100 yards up towards Bab Doukala. Henna Cafe is on the right side), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 11:00-20:00. If 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 Cafe 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. Currently the cafe offers free English lessons to Moroccan women so that they can find employment out of the home. 40 dirham mains.
- Maison de la Photographie, 46, Rue souk Ahal Fès (200 m behind Ben Youssef Medersa - Koranic School). A little photography museum, it has one of the highest roof terraces in the Medina. Over lunch of a fixed price menu (at 75DH as of 2012) you get panoramic views over the city and the High Atlas mountains.
- Le Marrakchi (opposite the market and adjacent to the newspaper stand.). With two main courses and wine running at around Dh 300, 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.
- Diaffa (Rue Jbel El Akhdar just off Av. Mohammed V, across from Club Med), ☎ . an 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.
For more upscale eateries (and especially for non-Moroccan cuisine) you generally must go outside the Medina to Ville Nouvelle.
- Dar Najat's Kitchen, Douar Groua, derb lalla chacha, N.18 (Five min walk from Jema el Fna), ☎ . 20/23. Daily fresh food in a Boutique Riad. 23 euro/pax.
- Cafe Kabash, 47 Boutouil, Kasbah (on Rue Kashbah near Bab Agnaou), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Have a roof terrace with a good view. Daily moroccan menus with tea and juice.
- Riad des Mers, 413 Derb Sidi Massoud (Just inside Bab Yacout), ☎ . Seafood restaurant. No alcohol served. MAD 300 menu.
- Al Fassia, 55, boulevard Zerktouni, ☎ . We-Mo. Tradional Moroccan food in cozy restaurant run by women (except the doorman). Wine served by the bottle.
- Le Bistrot Loft, 18 Rue de la Liberté, ☎ . Steaks, bistro food and good wines. Bar with beer, aperitifs and cocktails. MAD 200.
- Pepe Nero, 17, Derb Cherkaoui, Douar Graoua (Follow the signs from Rue Zitoun El Jedid. Note the metal arrows.), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Su: 12:00-14:30, 19:30-23:00. Fine Italian and Moroccan dining in gorgeous Riad. Often full so make a reservation. Dh 400 for 3-4 course dinner, wine for Dh 200.
- La Villa des Orangers, Rue Sidi Mimoune 6, ☎ . 19:30-late. French 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. MAD 700 for three course menu. MAD 500 for a bootle of wine..
- Le Grand Café de la Poste, Boulevard El mansour Eddahbi and Avenue Imam Malik, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. French brasserie with Moroccan influence in the former post office. MAD 300 for three courses..
- Le Grand Salon, Djnan Abiad, La Palmeraie B.P. 12478 (in the Ksar Char-Bagh outside of the city), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Upscale restaurant with french cuisine. Serve organic vegetables and olive oil from its own gardens. MAD 600 for three courses.
- Dar Yacout, 79, derb Sidi Ahmed Soussi, Bab Doukkala, ☎ . Traditional Moroccan gastronomic cuisine. Has a terrace overlooking the Medina. MAD 700 menu.
- Le Foundouk, Rue Souk Hal Fassi, ☎ . Tu-Su. Maroccan end European cuisine. Roof terrace and bar. MAD 300 for a three course dinner.
- Les Jardins de la Medina, 21 Derb Chtouka (in the hotel of the same name), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. 19:30-late. Traditional and modern Moroccan cuisine. Moroccan wine served by bottle and glass. Stylish restaurant with tall white columns. MAD 450 menu.
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.
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 Dh 10 for a bread filled with freshly grilled sausages or perhaps a bowl of harira soup to Dh 100 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 Dh 1.5 each (Dh 3 seemed the going rate as of 7/2011). 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 Dh 4. 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 Dh 10 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 Dh 10 for a Dh 4 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 Pub (Bar Anglais), 115 Avenue Mohammed V (In the Hotel Nassim). 09:00-01:00. A 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.
- Hotel Grand Tazi, Rue Bab Agnaou. The hotel has a public bar, serving beer and wine and is not overly expensive.
- Narwama, 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. 150 Dh mains.
Outside the Medina.
- Acima (in the basement of the building on the corner of Boulevard Prince Moulay Abdullah and Avenue Yacoub Al Mansour.). If you are walking from the Medina to the Majorelle Garden (Jardin Majorelle). This is a very good supermarket to buy all kinds of food, including a large variety of alcohol (wine, beer, and liquor). No haggling needed as all prices are marked and listed. You can even buy a nice variety of spices here.
- Montecristo, Rue Ibn Aicha 20, ☎ . 20:00-02:00. Nightclub with rooftop terrace
- Jad Mahal, 10 Rue Haroun Errachid, ☎ . 17:00-late. Lounge bar and formal restaurant.
- Sky Lounge, 3 Rue du Temple (at The Pearl Hotel), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 11:00-late. Fashionable rooftop lounge on top of The Pearl Hotel
- Djellabar, 2 Rue Iman lbn Hanifa. 17:00-late. The bar is a former wedding hall from the 1940s. Has a courtyard lounge with olive trees.
- Comptoir Darna, Avenue Echouhada, ☎ +212 524 437 702/10, e-mail: email@example.com. 20:00-03:00. Cocktail bar and night club Dress code: elegant
- Piano Bar, 26 Rue de la Koutoubia (in les Jardins de la Koutoubia), ☎ . 17:00-midnight.
- African Chic, 6 Rue Oum Errabia (Behind Hotel Marrakech), ☎ . Moroccan Latin Brazilian. Also has a restaurant with a view to the dance fllor
- Le Lounge, 24 Rue Yougoslavie, ☎ . 10:00-01:00.
Marrakech has an amazing choice of places to stay ranging from tented camps outside Marrakech to cheap hostels and hotels that can be charming or seedy to luxurious kasbahs in luxurious gardens or the traditional riad (garden courtyard) hotels. Wherever you choose ( or can afford) to stay it really is a must to visit one of the riad hotels to see this amazing style of architecture. Most riad managers will be happy to show you around provided that they are not too busy and in some riads you can even book a lunch or dinner without being a resident provided that the riad is not privately rented. For example see Riad Cinnamon, Riad Laksiba and Riad Papillon. 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 Dh 10-15 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.
- Dar Attajmil, Marrakech-Medina, 23 Rue Laksour, Bab Laksour (Once entered Bab Laksour, take the second alley right, keep on until nr. 23.), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 12:30AM. Centrally 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 . from 80 to 110 Eu/night in B&B.
- Dar Jaguar, 7-8 Derb El Mesfioui, Rahba Kedima, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Dar Jaguar is an ancient riad that has been lovingly restored as a beautiful private guesthouse. It is situated in the heart of the old medina in Marrakech, neighbouring the exotic Place des Epices (spice market) and less than five minutes walk from the world-renowned Jemaa el Fna Square.
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 Abaka, 21 Derb Roukni Laksour, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. A 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.
- Riad Amazigh, 80, Derb El Hammam Mouassine (Nearby Djemaa el-Fna), e-mail: email@example.com. A former luxury riad now a beautiful hostel. Doubles, singles, and dorms which house up to 6 people. Roof top terrace with nice views. All rooms have full bathrooms and good appointments. Restaurant serving Moroccan food. Open 24 hrs, can book activities and excursions.
- Riad Basma, Marrakech-Medina, 22 Derb Jamaa, Riad Basma (From square Jamaa el Fnaa walk up to derb Dabachi and count 3 small streets (derbs) on the right turn right and keep on until nr. 22.), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 12PM, check-out: 12 midday. 5 double rooms with bathroom.
- Riad Chennaoui, Riad Zitoune Jdid, Derb Sidi Fares N°01, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Simple 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 drm should do it, although they will ask for more). Dorm beds around 100 drm.
- Riad Cinnamon, 9 Derb El Hadjra (Will pick guests up at the airport, otherwise head for the Museum of Marrakech then, with the Kouba on your left and the medersa Ben Yousef on your right go straight ahead until you come to a sharp bend in the road to the right. Then take the first street on your left. Riad Cinnamon is nestled at the end of this street on the left.), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-out: checkout. Designed and rebuilt to a very high standard by Mike and Lucie Wood with amazing attention to detail and lots of unexpected extras such as the loan of a local mobile phone and ipad loan. Perfect for romantic escapes, hen parties, groups of women wanting to experience Marrakech's shopping, hammams and food. Amazing dinners served on roof terrace with incredible views. Dipping pools on patio and roof garden terrace. Most rooms can accommodate up to 4 people in single beds. All rooms can be either twin or doubles/ triples. Room prices range from £100-160 depending on the season. But prices per person can be cheaper than a hostel as rooms can be shared by up to 5 people. Ask about special offers and last minute discounts..
- Riad Dar Eliane, 39 Derb Maada,Azbezt,Medina, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Four 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 Elixir, Rue Bounouala - Touala Sidi Ghanem, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Riad Elixir is one of wonderful riad in Marrakech for vacation for short and long time. it is distinguished by its unique style and its spacious and beautiful Riad is a real authentic house of Morocco, restored in a contemporary minimalist style while respecting the traditional Arab-Andalusian Morocco and Marrakech in particular.
- Riad iaazane (riad Marrakech) (In a small alleyway less than 5 mins from the famous square Jamaa el Fna. See map on website), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. A 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 (8:30AM-11:30AM). The owners also operate a tour company that offers guided and structured tours of 1 day, 2 days or 3 days duration. Single €20, double €18, dorm €10 per person.
- Riad Dar Jaguar, 7-8 Derb El Mesfioui, Rahba Kedima, Medina, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Dar 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). From €82, breakfast included..
- Riad La Koutoubia, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. This (Riad/hostel) was opened as a guest house in 1997 in one of the main streets of the Medina. Good view from the rooftop is. Shower, internet, washing facilities and authentic breakfast available from 8AM-noon.
- Riad LakLak, Marrakech Medina, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Riad LakLak is a gorgeous Riad from the 17th century, which you can rent as a private rental home. It is located between the "Palais Bahia" and the "Palais Badii" in one of the most authentic area of the Medina of Marrakesh. The famous Jemaa El Fna Square is only few steps away and a guarded car park is close by, where you can easily get a taxi to discover Marrakesh and its surroundings. Riad LakLak has two suites and three bedrooms and can accommodate 12 persons. On the roof terrace, you can watch at least a dozen majestic storks nesting on the walls of the atmospheric and beautiful ruin of the Badii Palace and groups of storks will glide gently a few meters above your head to there nesting places. Storks are the harbingers of happiness and prosperity and have given Riad LakLak (Riad Stork in Arabic) its name. Riad LakLak Marrakech is a private rental home. Prices range from €120-200 per day depending on the season for the entire house (sleeps 12 persons).
- Riad Melhoun, 99 Derb Sidi Moussa, Quartier de la Bahia, 40007 Marrakech Médina www.riad-melhoun.com, ☎ . , (Mobile)Riad Melhoun is located 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 a view of the patio. All rooms have a private bathroom with a walk-in shower. Guests also have access to a traditional living room with a fireplace and a lounge area with books. Free Wi-Fi access is provided in common areas. Guests can enjoy the hammam and massages are available on request. Breakfast is served on the terrace, on the patio or in the rooms. Traditional Morrocan cuisine is also available on request for other meals. Riad 8 rooms.
- Riad Dar Mimouna, Sidi M'Barek n°151, Sidi Mimoun, ☎ , fax: +212 4438 4079. A few mins walk from the Koutoubia Mosque. Breakfast is included and is served at the terrace. There is also a hammam at the terrace, free for use by guests. You need to tell them in advance when you would like to use it. This riad also sells alcohol. It is kept in the fridge behind the counter.
- Riad Dar Najat, Douar Graoua, Derb Lalla Chacha, No.18 (Riad in the heart of Marrakech 5 min walk from Jemaa el Fna), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Jacuzzi on the roof terrace, wifi throughout the riad, 7 ensuite shower and A/C accommodation with great gastronomy. French owner, friendly team and atmosphere.
- Riad Laksiba, 16 (bis5)Derb Kadi, Kasbah, Medina, ☎ UK +44 7850 39 01 07; Morocco+212 524 38 37 04, e-mail: simon@Laksiba.com. From £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 Jemaa el Fna main square.
- Riad Lotus Perle, 54, Derb Zemrane,Bab Doukkala., ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Riad Lotus Perle is located in the Medina, in the heart of an old neighborhood near the lively souks and Jemaa El Fna square, this is a wonderful riad composed of rooms and suites combining authenticity and modernity.
- Riad Magellan, Derb El Hamman No.62, Mouassine, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. An elegant six bedroom riad which offers a restful and relaxing atmosphere, located in the heart of the Mouassine district. Traditional Moroccan meals are available as well as complementary wifi internet. Airport transfer service available on request.
- Riad Naila, Marrakech Medina, Mosquée Sidi Ben Slimane, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Riad Naila Marrakech is a gorgeous private rental home in the Medina of Marrakech built around a patio with a large roof terrace. It is located in the Medina of Marrakech in a calm area a fifteen-minute walk away from the Jemaa 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. Booking a private riad in Marrakech offers the same benefits as renting a holiday home anywhere else in the world – except you will be located in one of the world’s most famous ancient cities – the Medina of Marrakech. Riad Naila Marrakech is a private rental home. Prices range from €100-140 per day depending on the season for the entire house (sleeps 7 persons).
- Riad Papillon, 15, Derb Tizougarine, Dar El Basha (near taxi rank. Go to Dar El Basha then walk towards the centre, take the 2nd road on the left Derb Tizougarine, bear right and go to the end of the cul de sac, has a bright blue door and brass hand of fatima knocker), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Check-in: 3, check-out: 11. A 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 wifi internet are included. Very romantic and wonderful atmosphere with welcoming dipping pool and tent on rooof terrace. Airport pickups available. Rooms range from £50-100 according to the season. Ask about any special offers and last minute deals..
- Hotel Riad Primavera (Just off of Allal Fassi Avenue and near the Marjane department store), ☎ , e-mail: , , firstname.lastname@example.org. The 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.
- Riad Dar Zaman, 29, Derb Bouelilou, Sidi Ben Slimane (near taxi rank. Go to Sidi Ben Slimane then walk past the mosque towards the small square , take the 1st street on the right (just before the hammam), and turn immediately right into Derb Bouelilou, bear left and go to the end of the cul de sac, Dar Zaman has palm trees leading to the black studded door), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Check-in: 2, check-out: 11. A gorgeous old riad with four delightful en-suite rooms, located 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 wifi internet. Fantastic views of Atlas Mountains from roof terrace, deliciously refreshing dipping pool, wonderful dreamy atmosphere. Rooms range from £50-100 according to the season. Ask us for special offers and last minute deals..
- Riad Zara, 294 Derb Ben Salek, ☎ , e-mail: , (mobile)firstname.lastname@example.org. Run 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.
- Riad Zolah, 116 Derb El Hammam, Mouassine, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Chic 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).
- Riad Al Loune, 77 Derb el Kadi, Azbezt, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Charming Riad with pool and hammam. The Riad is located in Azbezt's area, Marrakech Medina's heart, a few steps from the Ben Yousseph Madrassa and from the Koubba El Badiyn, still existing from the Almoravids founders of Marrakech (Alì Ben Youssef 1107-1143) and a few minutes walking distance from Djemaa el Fna square.
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 Dh 50. 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 (Dh 10, 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 Dh 5.
Popular options with backpackers include:
- Hotel Ali. Rue Moulay Ismail. Beds in ensuite, dorms, and rooftop terrace mattresses for Dh 60 per person per night, including cooked breakfasts served with OJ and fresh coffee. Dorm guests can use the internet cafe for Dh 5 per hour. They have all the amenities a backpacker could ask for, including a laundry service and free internet access for private room guests, money exchange, a terrace restaurant with views of Djemaa El-Fna, and even a downstairs hammam. Private rooms are available with a maximum per person price of Dh 250 per night including breakfast, free internet, and a daily traditional Hammam.
- Hotel Atlas, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. 50 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 Dh 90, doubles from Dh 170, for 3 people Dh 250, for 4 people Dh 280, for 5 people Dh 320. There are some rooms with AC for an additional Dh 50. The hotel is charming and all arranged in the traditional way.
- Hotel Central Palace (59, Sidi Bouloukate) near Djemaa El-Fna. Rooms 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 Dh 150 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 Dh 350 per day for a small but fairly new car).
- Hotel el-Ward, 65 derb Sidi Bouloukat, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Clean, 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 for single/double/triple/quadruple.
- Hotel Essaouira, 3 Derb Sidi Bouloukat, ☎ . The hotel has singles with a shared bath from Dh 50 and doubles from Dh 90. 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.
- Hotel Imouzzer, 74 Derb Sidi Bouloukate, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. One of the cheapest and best-value hotels with rooms starting at Dh 65 for singles and Dh 120 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 Dh 20.
- Hotel Sindi, ☎ . Sud 109, Derb Sidi Bouloukat, Riad Zitoun El Kidim,
- Hotel Smara, 77 sidi Bouloukat. Near Djemaa El-Fna, ☎ . Very clean, friendly people, nice rooms. Dh 50 and doubles Dh 80.
- Hotel Cecil. at the Djemaa El-Fna, Bouloukate. Offers doorms, rooms with shared bathroom (from $13 per person), and ensuite rooms with AC (from $18 per person). Rooftop breakfast and wifi included.
- Palm Plaza Hotel and Spa Located in Agdal, a new residential district, 10 mins from the airport. 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.
- Riad Lyla, 4-5 Rue ouartani I Mouassani. In Laksour district, just two mins from the famous Djemaa El-Fna, Lyla Riad Marrakech opens its doors. Gérard is the riad's passionate owner.
- Riad Rahba. Offers private, en-suite rooms and is located 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 ensuite room per night.
In the little streets between rue Bab Agnaou and rue Riad Zitoune (where the Smara, the Essaouira, and the Imouzzer are) there are a lot of other small hostels. It is difficult to get lost as they are surrounded by these two big streets and Djemaa El-Fna. It could be a good idea to arrive during the day (best in the morning) and wander around comparing many hostels in a short time.
- Marrakech Rose, 13 Derb Laadam, Kenaria, Place Jemaa el Fna (In a small alleyway near the Cafe de France, directly to the east of the main square in Marrakech. A bit difficult to find. The hostel staff will email you a map with directions once you have made a booking.), ☎ . Check-in: 12PM, check-out: 11AM. Charming little hostel right in the center of town, with small dorms and super-friendly staff. Great place to meet other travelers and socialize - mostly a younger crowd. Not the best choice if you want an early night's sleep. Dorm beds from $10 USD.
- Massine II, 107 Derb Snan, Mouassine, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 2nd backpackers in Marrakech located 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.
- The Heart of the Medina backpackers hostel, 47 Derb Ben Aissa, Dabachi, e-mail: email@example.com. 1st backpackers hostel to be located in the Medina. 1 minute walk from Djemaa Place. Rooftop terrace, hot showers, comfortable surroundings. No more than 6 beds to a room. Breakfast included as are bed linens, towels, and free wifi. You can expect to pay €8 euro/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-Hansali (Near the train station), ☎ . A clean hostel with an 11:30PM curfew and obligatory wake up call at 8AM. Daily daytime lockout. It is a fair distance from the action in the heart of the Medina. A taxi can cost between Dh 15-20. Dorm beds from Dh 70.
Guéliz (also known as Ville Nouvelle)
- Hotel al Kabir, Corner of bd. Zerktouni and rue Loubnane, ☎ +212 2443 9540, +212 2443 4150. This 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. Prices: Dh 291 for a single; Dh 382 for a double.
- Hotel Ibis (Near the train station), ☎ . a 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.
- Moroccan House Hotel, 3 rue Loubnane, ☎ . , A 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. 3-star rooms start at Dh 405 single, Dh 484 double; 4-star Pacha suites: Dh 455 single, Dh 624 double; 5-star Prince suites: Dh 527 single, Dh 764 double..
- Oudaya Hotel, 147 Rue Mohamed El Baqal, ☎ . Situated 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 somewhat mediocre and much better meals can be had just around the corner. The courtyard has a large pool (open 9:00-18:00) 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.
- Villa Dar El Kanoun, ☎ , fax: +212 2434 0635. Route 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 Dh 1,000 for a double room.
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
- Police ☎ 19
- Ambulance/ Fire ☎ 15
- Inb Tofail Hospital, Rue Abdelouahab Derraq, ☎ .
- Polyclinique du Sud, 2 Rue Yougoslavie, Gueliz, ☎ , , fax: +212 4443 2424. In 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.
If you look like a tourist, then it is common for people to offer to help with directions or even lead you to what you are looking for. Although not apparent at first, these people expect to be paid and will often lead you round in circles to increase the amount. Also, people may say that the place you are looking for is closed, but they will take you somewhere else that's better. This is almost always a lie. The best people to ask for directions are people behind a counter, as they cannot lead you because they don't want to leave their stall. If you are seriously lost, getting someone to lead you back is an option, but you should not give them more than Dh 10-20, no matter how much they complain.
Moroccans are not permitted to be guides for foreigners without a license. Usually Police officers (under cover) are patrolling to catch Moroccans who are bothering tourists or try to make some money.
There are often people in Djemaa El-Fna offering henna tattoos, which are popular with locals and tourists alike. But among the many genuine traders are one or two scam artists. They appear very charming and trustworthy while you choose a design, but will then cleverly divert your attention. Before you know it, you have the beginnings of a rather poor henna tattoo. Even if you do not want a design, be sure to keep your hands away from them as they will grab your hand and begin a design anyway. The scam artist later demands massive payments, in whatever currency you have (dirhams or not). After emptying your pockets, if they consider you can afford more, they will demand that you visit a nearby ATM. Always agree on a firm price before work starts. If you can't do this, insist that the operator stops immediately - then go to another (hopefully more reliable) operator to get your design completed. If they say it is free before they start or while they are doing it, they will always ask for a price later on. If this happens to you, you can walk away without paying; however, they will harass you for a little before giving up and moving on to another tourist. Also, there have been stories of these scam artists using henna mixed with dangerous chemicals, such as PPD (this is sometimes done to make the tattoos appear black), which can cause skin damage or severe allergic reactions.
Some tourists encounter an elderly lady offering henna in the main square - she welcomes you to her stall, and then fetches her friends (who arrive, usually, on motor bikes) and will provide you with very appealing tattoos - however, beware - they will not agree a price upfront and will ask for huge amounts - e.g. a 50Dh tattoo will be 450Dh - or they will promise you free tattoos and then charge equally large amounts. When you dispute the amount they will scream at you - so be calm, pay them what you think it is worth, and walk away. If they try to stop you then create attention - however, do not use physical violence as these artists work in gangs and before you know it you'll be surrounded by other con-artists.
Most Moroccans are tourist-friendly and are not aggressive, so sometimes making a fuss in public can generate unwanted attention for a scam artist and shame them into backing off.
Be sure to report any crime to both the local police and your embassy.
- British Honorary Consulate in Marrakech, Résidence Taib
55, Boulevard Zerktouni, Gueliz, ☎ , fax: +212 5 2443 5276. M-F 8AM-1PM.
Most other foreign embassies and consulates in Morocco are in Rabat, with a few more in Casablanca.
There are many dry cleaning shops inside and outside of the Medina. It takes only one day to clean and will cost from Dh10-30 per piece. If you stay at hotel, you can hand out your dirty clothes to a housekeeper. Usually they wash it by hand. They do not have a price list and usually say "up to you". You should not pay more than Dh 50-100 per plastic bag.
- Lost in Marrakech Laundry Service, 156 Derb Snane, Mouassine, Medina, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 09:00-16:00 Mon-Sat. Laundromat with used books, wifi, coffee and smoothies. Finish in same day or in next day. Dh20 for 2kg.
- Amizmiz. With 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 travelers 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.
- Asni. A lovely rural village in the Atlas mountains.
- Essaouira (2½ hours west by car.). Charming coastal city. You will pass the goats in the Argan trees on the way there. ca 250 Dh for transport only..
- Oukaimeden. Ski 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 Dh 250 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 Valley (in the Atlas Mountains.). Tours 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. tours ca 350 Dh.
- Setti Fatma (A village at the end of the proper motor road up the Ourika Valley.). The 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.
- Jbilets Geological Site.