Top 11 tips when visiting Marrakech

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I recently took a 3 day trip over to Marrakech, to follow this up it seemed appropriate to tell you all what to expect before you visit. I hadn’t visited Marrakech before this trip so I didn’t really know what to expect and look out for but sometimes it’s quite nice arriving without expectations beyond a few basic tips. Marrakech and Morocco in general is becoming an even more popular destination this year so it seemed appropriate to share tips from one traveller to another. Here are our top 11 tips when visiting Marrakech!

1. The heat

Marrakech in the summer reaches desert-like temperatures, the heat is increased by the pink walled buildings and narrow alleyways. Definitely be prepared for this, keep hydrated, stay cool with thin loose clothing and in summer time (May-August) try to get all your exploring down in the morning or late afternoon!

Marrakech tips

2. You will be hassled

The best way to explain this is to say that you will essentially be walking dollar bills to many of the shop owners in the souks, all of them are keen to get you to purchase goods from their stores. Whether that be Moroccan shoes, carpets, spices, tea or foreign animals they’ll be keen to flog it all to you. After the first trip to the souks you’ll have got the hang of the polite ignore but sometimes it’s quite fun just to go along with it and learn about the products they’re selling, be careful though we spent a little time trying on Moroccan slippers and when we decided they didn’t look nearly as good on the shop owner got a little bit aggressive. Walk through the souks open to a little exploration, expect to be hassled but be firm with declining if you’re not interested. Don’t be put off by the locals from this however, the majority are incredibly friendly and willing to help wherever they can!

3. “I work for the hotel”

You may experience a man sidling up next to you as you leave your hotel and after you’ve dismissed his salesman advances of offering to show you a new market or good quality stall, he’ll do a little chuckle and say “don’t worry I work for the hotel!” We had a man claim he delivered the flowers to our hotel, me being incredibly gullible willingly followed him along whilst my boyfriend was a little more dubious, as the walk to this special market continued the validity of his claim to work for the hotel began to wane until we decided that it definitely wasn’t true and made a speedy getaway. Apparently this is quite a common tactic to get tourists to stalls so be careful and politely decline unless you really want to see what they’re offering!

Marrakech tips

4. Haggle

As aforementioned you will essentially be walking money so prices will most definitely be put up when you ask. Say no and go in with a very low price that you’re prepared to budge up a little if they say no and have a maximum that you will walk away from if they don’t agree to it. The walking away tactic works very well because often as soon as they see that you’re leaving they’ll often agree to your offer. The likelihood is that they’re getting a very large profit on the item or items anyway so don’t worry if you think you’re being rude, it’s all part of the experience and more than expected by the salesmen!

Marrakech tips

5. Taxi Fares

One tip that was invaluable to our stay here was to agree with your cab driver the amount you’ll be paying before the journey begins. Also if you’re staying in a hotel make sure you ask the amount they advise a cab journey to be and then pitch it to the cab driver when you get in, usually they happily agree to it after sometimes trying to haggle a little. Try not to get into taxis that are lined up outside tourist sights such as the Majorelle Gardens,

Marrakech tips

6. Stay at a Riad

There’s hundreds of riads throughout the Medina and they’re the best place to stay to have a true Marrakech experience, they range from basic to the luxurious. You can find many on Airbnb or luxury hotels such as La Sultana or El Fenn are hotel composed from a number of converted riads, maintaining an authentic feel whilst also providing a comfortable and luxurious stay. Whilst there are a number of more swanky hotels in the new city, if you want to be in the heart of the city with your own little sanctuary away from the craziness then a riad is definitely your best bet!

7. Clothing

Whilst Marrakech isn’t as conservative as visiting many Arabian countries, it is still a predominantly Muslim country and you should respect that culture. So whilst it’s very hot try to veer away from skimpy outfits, ladies that means no mini skirts and men try not to wear tank tops. Marrakech is full of tourists so locals are more  accustomed to the odd scantily clad visitor but if you don’t want to draw unwanted attention to yourself then dress appropriately. It’s just as easy to keep cool by dressing in floaty clothing that covers more than walking around in beach wear, it’s always important to respect and research the culture you’re visiting, you’re going to be in the minority so be aware and respect that! The streets are also often uneven or cobbled so bring sensible and comfortable shoes for all the walking you’ll be doing.

Marrakech tips

8. Useful phrases and words 

It’s always helpful to have a little knowledge of some key words when visiting a country, Marrakech has two predominant languages, Arabic and French, but many also speak a little English too. So here are 3 Arabic words that will be useful for your trip. If you know a little French using that goes a long way too!

Thank you = “Choukran” and “La Choukran” = “No Thank you”, pronounced “shokran”.

“Where is … ? “= “Feen … ?” Pronounced “fin”.

“Hello” = “Salam Alikome”, this also means ‘peace be with you’ and is used as a greeting.

9. Photos

Two main points here, first, do not take photos of the locals without permission, second, do not take photos of monkeys/snake charmers in the main square. The first point is for cultural reasons, they believe that pictures capture their soul and so unless you have permission try to avoid taking pictures of local people in Marrakech.  Secondly, do not take photos of the monkeys on chains or the snakes being charmed in the main square unless you’re willing to pay a hefty sum for the privilege. On this note also be careful of taking obvious photos of the stores as they may try and make you pay or buy something for doing so.

Marrakech tips

10.  Money

It’s best to convert enough money in the airport and bring some extra of your currency (GBP, USD, AUD etc) to change at bureaus in the city centre. This is because we found it quite challenging to find cash points that actually worked without walking in the complete opposite direction. There’s a number of Exchange Bureaus when you arrive at Marrakech Menara airport or convert some before you head over there. Don’t carry all your money around with you for obvious safety reasons but you’ll get quite a lot for your money with the Moroccan Dirham’s and if you’re eating out at simple restuarants in the city the food is relatively cheap so don’t carry around more than you need!

Marrakech tips

11. Food and Water

It’s best to drink bottled water whilst you’re here to avoid any unwanted contamination. The food as long as it’s hot and freshly cooked is usually fine to eat anywhere. Definitely try and eat local cuisine as it’s always going to be better and is likely to be the most fresh items on the menu. Try the food at the night market and also at the cafes overlooking the main square, they’re all delicious and much cheaper than eating at the more upmarket restaurants that are predominantly located in the new town or at the luxury hotels. You must also try the mint tea here, it’s exquisite and deliciously sugary!



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    Said Marrakechi
    April 22, 2016 at 1:21 am

    This is really helpful tips. Thanks so much!

    March 26, 2016 at 10:14 pm

    hallo met peter; heb kennis genomen van marokko waar ik al 60 keer ben geweest vanaf 1970 in tanger hotel villa france in of bij de reu de angelterre daarna naar tetuan en chauen met de taxi en goedkoop..vanaf 1970 tot nu toe 1 keer zelfs 3 keer per jaar .het is fantastisch in marokko van noord naar zuid en van west naar oost..met het vliegtuig of met eigen auto en de bus duurt maar een paar uren of een paar dagen[auto].goed tot zover mijn verhaal..

    Said AIT EL CAID
    January 29, 2016 at 8:18 pm

    Marrakech is very pleasant place to visit and points you describe above are worth keeping in mind. Thank you very much for such valuable information.

    August 27, 2015 at 10:30 am

    […] Top 11 tips when visiting Marrakech   […]

    Daniela Frendo | Grumpy Camel
    July 17, 2015 at 11:16 pm

    Having been to Marrakech twice in the last two years, I fully agree with these tips. On both visits we stayed at Riad Omar – very close to Djema el Fna and plenty of ATMs and Exchange Bureaus on the same street.

    I highly recommend having dinner at the night market, but try going there for 7 before it gets too busy. We had some bizarre delicacies from the food stalls on New Year’s Eve (I’ve written about this on my blog).

    If you’re interested in exploring the the less-touristy parts of the medina, I suggest hiring a guide. Ours took us through the back streets of the medina where you can find old caravanserais and watch artisans in their workshops. It is also quiet and peaceful, with hardly any tourists in sight.

    Oh and I was Marrakech in December & January, and it was still quite warm during the day!

    July 16, 2015 at 10:22 am

    Really good tips! I made the mistake of not setting the taxi price ahead of time in India and paid for it. Sounds like an awesome trip!

    alfredo ciano
    July 15, 2015 at 10:24 am

    We Dream Marrakech…

    July 9, 2015 at 11:53 am

    I live in Morocco and your tips are realy corrects,Marrakech is an attractive city ,but did you know in winter you can go skiing in Marrakech mountains & then head to the nearest coast to swim!!!
    yes you can do both same day if you want,sound amazing no
    good trip to all who are going to visit Moroccco and good luck

    July 8, 2015 at 2:37 am

    Great tips! Morocco is on my bucket list so I will definitely be coming back here to re-read before I head off!


    July 4, 2015 at 1:30 am

    Awesome tips! I am headed to Morocco on assignment in just a few weeks. I’ll be flying into Marrakech and traveling around the country to Casablanca, Fes, Rabat and more. This article could not have been more perfect!


    July 1, 2015 at 7:20 pm

    All these tips also very much apply to Tunisia, the food, water, money, haggling,… We had a guy as well telling us that he was a cook from our hotel, a little naive, we followed him of course 😉

    I would never recommend travelling to Morocco or Tunisia as a single female or even with a female friend. We were harrassed all day long, even at the beach or by the waiter in the hotel restaurant. Trips to the Souks were especially exhausting. In the end, we voluntarily covered ourselves with light scarves (keeps the heat away as well) and gained some peace. Nonetheless, the trip was great and the culture really something to experience!
    Do not forget to have some mint tea, surprisingly good even during the heat of the day 😉

    July 1, 2015 at 3:18 am

    Great article. I have been to Marrakech and loved it. Had eaten right at the Jemaa el Fna square and it was delicious! Hope I´ll be back one day.

    June 30, 2015 at 11:56 pm

    Great tips! I visited earlier this year and loved staying at riads and the culture and energy of the place!

    Departures With Aimee
    June 30, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    I had a really bad experience with the Macaques (apes) in the square also. I’m from Gibraltar home of these apes and therefore I’m accustomed to seeing them roam around freely all the time especially as I live up the rock, closer to their den. Seeing them chained and being beaten to entertain the tourists was definitely something hard to see through my eyes. If you do visit Marrakech I urge you to stay away from these people in the hopes that one day they will realise that their attempts at entertaining visitors is not enough to earn them a living and they will hopefully move on to some other work.

    Departures With Aimee
    June 30, 2015 at 9:30 pm

    These tips are definitely ones I wish I would have read before my trip haha! In terms of clothing I recommend maxi dresses/skirts that are still cool enough without having to wear anything short or revealing. I wish I would have known about the photos too.. A woman at a stall chased me down the street for taking a picture of her stall!

    Claire @ TallGirlBigWorld
    June 30, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    I’d love to visit Morocco one day! Thanks so much for the travel tips, especially about the haggling. I’m quite bad at it, so it’s always nice to have a heads-up for when to expect it.

    Ivy Kriste
    June 30, 2015 at 8:09 pm

    Nicely described and loved this place

    June 30, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    Morocco is one of my dream destinatios and I’d love to visit Marrakech. Thank you for these great tips, it’s very important to research where you are going, especially when the culture is so different.

    June 30, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    If you travel as a single female you will be harassed by the men. Most of them are harmless but it is quite daunting to be chased down the street by an admirer. Travelling with a guy solves that problem, they will stare at you but not approach you.

    June 30, 2015 at 2:40 am

    This was really honest and comprehensive. It also made me think about a lot of posts I’ve read in the past abut Marrakech and how those people definitely weren’t adhering to a lot of your recommendations. If I ever get to visit I’ll make sure that I follow these tips.


    Eunice Musuamba
    June 30, 2015 at 2:31 am

    They also speak French btw in case it is easier for you guys 🙂

    Jennifer @ This Off Script Life
    June 30, 2015 at 2:12 am

    I was in Marrakech earlier this month and can attest to most of these tips, especially with regard to the heat (wow, it’s hot), not taking photos of the monkeys and snake charmers, and negotiating the taxi rate before disclosing the name of your hotel. I stayed at the Sofitel, and the rate skyrocketed if the driver knew we were staying there.

    June 30, 2015 at 1:16 am

    Awesome tips, I wouldn’t have known about Riads and the photo taking, It’s so easy to get into a ‘snap-happy’ mode, but I would never want to cause offense, so thanks for sharing! 🙂

    June 29, 2015 at 11:13 pm

    It all sounds so exhilaratingly different and wonderful. I have always dreamed of visiting Morocco. This is great advice that I’ll certainly keep in mind.

    June 29, 2015 at 10:55 pm

    I have such a hard time with the feeling that everybody is trying to sell me something, I hate it! That being said though you just have to be street smart and keep your head high, so it would never stop me from visiting. I want to go to Marrakech so badly!!


    June 29, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    I didn’t find Marrakech street vendors to be nearly as bad, when it comes to hassling tourists, as they are in Turkey or Egypt. My boyfriend and I actually felt relieved and comfortable by how nice the people were, and how easily they left you alone if you said “no”!

    June 29, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    Marrakech is so very high on my list! I have bookmarked so many medinas and wonderful hotels. I cannot wait to pack and get going.


    Ása Steinarsdóttir
    June 29, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    Hey Emma!
    That’s a great post…Really informative.
    I’ve been dreaming of going to Marrakech for some time now, I’m just wondering if it has become to touristy? I think it’s always takes a bit the charm of the place when people are trying to rip you off at every corner. But maybe there are also some unspoilt areas 🙂

    Karen Farber
    June 29, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    These are great tips! I can’t wait to visit Marrakech at some point, although, I don’t think I would go in the Summer

    Kiara King
    June 29, 2015 at 10:02 am

    I thoroughly enjoyed these points. Whenever I travel I try to make myself aware of the local customs, as well as basic language, all of which to embrace the experience and culture, so this is so helpful!

    Daisy @ Simplicity Relished
    June 29, 2015 at 8:39 am

    This is really helpful, Emma. We’re heading to Morocco for the first time this winter and I was wondering what to expect and what to bring. Thanks so much!

    Michelle | Lights Camera Travel
    June 29, 2015 at 8:23 am

    Thank you Emma! I’d love to visit Morrocco, but no immediate plans so I haven’t done any research on it yet! Nice tips 🙂

    June 29, 2015 at 8:17 am

    Sounds like such an interesting place, I´ve been to Morocco before and I was blown away by the cultural diversity. But it seems very beautiful nonetheless (:

    June 29, 2015 at 8:13 am

    I enjoyed my time in Marrakech last Autumn. Hope you got to the gardens whilst you were there, well worth it. See photos in my earlier blog “thereadrovers”