Marrakesh Travel Tips: What to Know Not to Get Disappointed

Marrakesh is a place that travelers either love or hate. But it’s also one of these places where you need to adjust your expectations accordingly and be prepared that it’s a place like no other. I love Marrakesh. In fact, I’ve been back to Marrakesh already since my first visit and I still feel like I need to come back to experience even more of it.

Read my tips and things to do before heading to Marrakesh to avoid disappointments. I hope you’ll fall in love with the city as much as I did. Even if you just have a weekend in Marrakesh.

Marrakesh Travel Guide: What to Know Not to Get Disappointed

(UPDATED FOR 2018)marrakech


1. Don’t trust any weather forecasts

Be prepared for both extremely hot and quite cold weather conditions.

Before coming to Marrakesh I triple checked the weather forecast and it indicated 18-25 degrees all the time. I’m glad I took a coat before leaving home because it turned out it was freezing in Marrakesh – while funnily enough my phone still indicated 20 degrees. I swear it was no more than 7 Celsius.1238803_10203234923616339_1430918242_n


2. Prepare to get lost no matter what

In Marrakesh you have to forget about maps. They simply don’t work in here, especially in the Medina when streets reminded me a lot of Italian ones, however way busier and more complicated. Even Google Maps gets lost all the time, so try to remember your walk back to your riad or hotel.

3. Marrakesh is safe for female travelers if you take precautions

I read a lot of female blogs described how they were harassed by locals. I haven’t experienced such treatment, either on my first or second visit. In fact, I find Mexico being more annoying and since I’ve lived in Mexico one can assume that it isn’t so bad.

Locals in Morocco were all really friendly to me. Sure, one or two people were annoying vendors, but I quickly replied to them in French that they should behave and I’m not buying anything, and they stopped.marrakesh medina


4. Remember that a word means a lot in Marrakesh

Speaking of locals and their friendliness, there is one thing that changes a lot in Marrakesh – a meaning of the promise. On the main square – Djemaa El Fna, there are plenty of different stalls selling food, dried fruits, and nuts, souvenirs etc. When I went to get some of the dates and almonds with a girl from a hostel the guy lowered a price for us after we promised we’d come back the next day.

At first, I didn’t honestly believe that, but I went back there the next day. I literally got four times more for maybe 20% of the original price. The guy told me that many tourists lie in order to get a good price, but if he sees good in people who are honest he doesn’t mind giving them as much as he can.


READ MORE: How to Spend a Weekend in Marrakech


5. Prepare to argue with taxi drivers

Unfortunately, there are many taxi scams in Marrakesh. One of the most common places people are scammed is at the airport where is should cost you around 50-70 dirhams to get to the medina, but drivers won’t take you for less than 350. I’m honestly not surprised they do that as I’ve seen many tourists agreeing to that price.

Unless you argue, you won’t be able to pay a normal price. One time it didn’t work for me, another I lowered the price to 100 dirhams which was still too much, but at least I didn’t get totally scammed.


6. You can book luxurious accommodation for cheap

There are plenty of hostels & luxurious riads in Marrakesh and they’re all very cheap. During my first visit, I stayed in a hostel for $5 per night – Waka Waka, which turned out to be way more than I could have asked for this price. Upon arrival to my hotel, I was immediately served some local mint tea and a big plate of cookies.

On my second visit with my husband, I stayed in a gorgeous riad for just $100 per night – Riad Palais Sebban. I’m not much into hotels, but this one was one of a kind.

riad marrakesh

Riad Palais Sebban


7. Be prepared for craziness at Jamaa el Fna Square

Jamaa el Fna – main square in Marrakesh, is absolutely crazy. People are going to try to make you buy things and make you pay for taking photos of them. They might put snakes, monkeys and everything else they can find, on your shoulders.

But don’t let this discourage you from enjoying the square. I absolutely loved the food stalls there and would surely recommend them to any visitor.


8. There are two different Sahara trips – don’t be fooled by vendors

During my first visit to Morocco, I got totally screwed by a local tour operator. There was no much written about Morocco online back then, but these days you’re lucky that the research has been done for you. You might be told that you can pick a 2 or 3-day trip to the desert and they’re the same, just one is longer. They’re NOT THE SAME!

While both tours stop in Ouerzazate on the first day that’s the end of similarities. The 2-day tour goes to Zagora which I don’t really recommend. The 3-day tour goes to Merzouga, further away but worth it for the sand dune experience.

This is Merzouga, not Zagora


READ MORE: Zagora vs Merzouga – How to Choose a Desert Trip


9. Under ANY circumstances don’t bring traveler cheques

In Morocco, it’s impossible to exchange traveler cheque. In the whole Marrakesh, there is only ONE guy in a small exchange store that exchanges them. To avoid troubles simply don’t take any as the whole hostel had to help out some guy who didn’t bring any cash with him.

Unless you meet some amazing people that can lend you some cash you'd be screwed with travelers checks ;)

Unless you meet amazing people that can lend you some cash you’d be screwed with traveler’s checks.


10. Take a cab if you want to see Bahia Palace

You’re going to laugh at me, but after visiting Marrakesh twice I still haven’t been to Bahia Palace as I can never find it. The streets around it are confused and empty, so it’s not a nice place to walk around. Take a taxi there and don’t trust Google Maps in my experience.


P.S. Trick for saving on water:  If you want to save money on water get a LifeStraw Water Bottle. It’s a water bottle with a special filter that will allow you to drink tap water (or even some from the pond, puddle or waterfall) everywhere!orange juice marrakesh


WATCH MY VIDEO FROM MOROCCO:


Where to Stay in Marrakesh?

Recommended Places to Stay:

Suggested Travel Guide for Marrakesh:

Any questions about Marrakesh or traveling to Morocco in general? Don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below!


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41 Comments

  1. Angie BARRIOS
    Apr 1, 2014 / 12:08 am

    Thank you Anna!, thanks for your advices, me and one friend are going to Marrakech the next april 9th 😛 😀

    • Malika Maholtra
      Jul 8, 2018 / 3:58 pm

      love the tips, thanks, never come across my mind to travel to Morocco, but after reading this article, I am thinking, I am the European kind of a traveler – been to many cities in Europe

  2. hotel in Marrakech
    Apr 8, 2014 / 5:42 am

    Mоrocco is saaɗi dyոasty a stable country. You need to take effect to
    saadi dynasty make it more appeɑling and instructive, than even the best promotional materials like brochures.
    Οn the other hand, cannot be sold with mold, and the amouոt boгrowed.

    First ߋff, chanсes are that tɦe development will make their lives easier and better too.

    • Robert Bogard
      Feb 1, 2018 / 4:02 pm

      Whaaat?

  3. Apr 26, 2015 / 12:05 pm

    Comment number seven is really surprising.

    • Apr 26, 2015 / 2:29 pm

      Hmm… I could consider this option if I was there alone, but I was hanging out with French native speakers and we all came to this conclusion. For example one guy wanted to introduce us to the special menu and told us: ‘aujourd’hui poulet special’, we said ‘bon, mais porquois? porquios non tagine?’, the guy looked at us puzzled and kept repeating ‘bonjour, aujourd’hui poulet special’. I had a discussion about it with my Moroccan colleague later and he said that if he hasn’t learned French in a private school he’d probably never speak proper French.

  4. Apr 26, 2015 / 12:12 pm

    Morocco is on my “places to visit list” and Your post is really interesting for those who are planning to go there. If it’s about weather forecasts – I don’t trust them even in Poland;)

    • Apr 26, 2015 / 2:25 pm

      Haha, foreigners would say in Poland is always cold anyway 😛

  5. Apr 26, 2015 / 3:11 pm

    You should add another point: “Be prepared to eat a goat’s head on Jamaa el Fna” 😀

    • Apr 26, 2015 / 3:28 pm

      Haha true! But after so many Jewish feasts with lamb heads I’m so used to it! 😀

  6. KasiaN
    Apr 26, 2015 / 5:22 pm

    Dla kolorów, straganów i jedzenia, może kiedyś się wybiorę.

    • Apr 26, 2015 / 10:59 pm

      Koniecznie!

  7. Apr 27, 2015 / 7:36 pm

    Nr. 5 naprawdę niezły! Rady się przydadzą jeśli się w te rejony wybiorę. Nie było mnie od lat… 🙂

  8. Jun 23, 2015 / 7:45 am

    Great tips Anna! I’m heading to Morocco early next year, so all this information will definitely come in handy 🙂 I also liked your post about trekking to the Sahara from Tunisia instead – I’ll be sure to keep that in mind!

    • Jun 23, 2015 / 10:07 pm

      Glad I could help 🙂

  9. May 8, 2017 / 1:42 am

    We head there on Friday and cannot wait, this post was VERY helpful. Looking into buying the water filter!

  10. May 22, 2017 / 10:30 pm

    I have been wanting to visit Marrakesh for a very long time and though it is a trending destination , all you see is pretty pictures of riads but with little to no info about the places so thanks for sharing great inside tips!

    Claudia |zeebalife.com

  11. Brenda
    Jul 28, 2017 / 11:26 pm

    Awesome job, love it. I am living thro your eyes.!

  12. Laura
    Oct 3, 2017 / 11:16 am

    Awesome article & lovely video Anna,
    Very informative list of things you should know about Marrakech. Really found them so true and i’m glad to know you enjoyed your Morocco Tour.
    Love your blog so much. Keep up the great work!
    Happy travel

  13. Jerry
    Oct 10, 2017 / 8:47 pm

    Thank you for the article, I was able to book a day tour with Casablanca Tours and they provided us with a vehicle and guide for the day. We were able to see most of these landmarks.
    Thank you for the article, it was very helpful.

  14. Lena
    Nov 21, 2017 / 12:00 pm

    The article is really helpfulI! Thanks! I’d like to add something….You can have the all Paradise of Marakesh in some special place. I’ve never seen before such attention to details. It’s in everything, starting from the chairs and ending with the doors… hope you’ll find yourself here, you will admire Sirocco Damour… It’s unique botique hotel.

  15. Dec 5, 2017 / 5:00 pm

    Thanks for sharing, Anna! I’m considering heading to Marrakech next year, but I’ve been a bit nervous going at it alone! Your article made me feel less apprehensive! ❤

  16. Jan 18, 2018 / 12:28 pm

    It is interesting you’ve mentioned that travelers should take a taxi to Bahia Palace. Google maps actually pinpoints this destination without any issues. It’s a straight walk from Jema El Fna. There is absolutely no chance of getting lost.

    Few good points

    • Anna
      Author
      Jan 19, 2018 / 3:28 pm

      It pinpoints the place yep, but not the entrance (trust me, I’ve tried).

  17. Sarah Marri
    Feb 7, 2018 / 12:48 pm

    I have a friend who went to Morocco for a year as a discussion student. She is truly captivated by the culture and land there. I consider Morocco will be a place I want to go as well.

  18. Symelia
    Feb 19, 2018 / 8:34 am

    Hello
    Thanks for the nice tips
    Me and my husband are travelling there in 2 weeks
    Wiuld you recommend any day trips?

    • Anna
      Author
      Feb 19, 2018 / 6:01 pm

      2-day trips to Merzouga for sure. Otherwise, a good day trip is to Essaouira.

  19. Anu
    Feb 23, 2018 / 11:55 am

    Anna, i found this very helpful thank you. I look forward to visiting Casablanca and Marrakech from Lagos on my way to the US. I hope to have a blast. cheers

  20. Icho
    Feb 28, 2018 / 4:37 pm

    very nice post and beautiful photography, thank you so much Anna for sharing your amazing experience in Morocco.

  21. Joan Brooks
    Apr 4, 2018 / 11:28 pm

    Am interested in the area that Winston Churchill loved so much. He lived and painted there.

    • Anna
      Author
      Apr 5, 2018 / 2:45 am

      Winston Churchill loved La Mamounia Hotel – it’s the most famous 5* hotel in Marrakesh. He also lived in a villa close to Jardin Majorelle.

  22. ann
    May 23, 2018 / 1:48 pm

    The info was great I so don’t like going somewhere and not knowing if they like the haggling, I can’t wait till 9th June

  23. Cristina
    Jun 24, 2018 / 4:32 pm

    People are extremely pushy and disrespectful in the tourist areas and it feels like a scammers’ nation. Very aggressive and harassing you all the time (I’ve just visited with my husband, for 2 weeks). They will swear at you if you are not interested into their unsolicited offers (even if you ignore them or politely refuse). And they will lie to tourists, telling them things like “you are so lucky, today is the last day of the festival of colors” bla bla bla , of course this is every day… (you can read more about this scam and others on the internet) And it is very dirty. Food is very bland, not what I expected. Some people we travelled with in a trip got sick (we did not eat as the great service providers that they are chose not to give us the vegetarian meal that we had paid for…). As a tourist, you will be overcharged in most places, even for a coke (even when the drink has the recommended price on it); most restaurants have one menu for locals and another one (with bigger prices, of course), for tourists. Morocco is not as cheap as internet makes you believe. And almost everyone there claims to receive tip after tip after tip only because they exist and approach you. I did not feel the kindness of locals without them expecting something back… it is very sad. They’d mostly see you as walking bags of cash. Merchandise is the same pretty much everywhere. Lots of poverty and lack of education (of course you don’t see this in the pics on the internet; kids begging and pestering tourists instead of going to school), how can one “love” that? Once, some local approached us on the street asking “Where are you from? Poland?” Tired of all the harassment we just did not say anything and let him believe that yes (we’re actually Romanians living in Germany), he said “Poland, fucked up country!”. Not nice, eh? At Majorelle gardens there was a guy from the staff (who is supposed to clean, and take care of the plants) but sits there and wants to take your picture only to ask for money afterwards. I don’t think this is normal, for an “attraction” where you already pay an entry fee (approx. 7 Eur) This guy literally blocked our way and did not leave us pass until we paid him. This shows the lack of dignity that is representative of some people there. You will never see this in Romania, Germany, or other countries, were people will happily take your pic for free, and will give you directions without even thinking to ask for money in return. Please do your research on the internet and see some other opinions too before spending your money and time… We found Morocco to be grossly overrated, and honestly the main reason why I have no intention of visiting again was locals’ kindness, which is overrated (of course not all Moroccans are the same, but in other countries you do not see this type of behavior).

  24. Nouhad
    Jun 24, 2018 / 11:56 pm

    Thanks Anna

    Great read

    Heading to Morocco in October and prefer self guided touring, so your articles are gold!

  25. Jul 8, 2018 / 10:57 pm

    Thank you very much for the tips, I myself visit marrakech for business and those info are very helpful, will share the article

  26. Ulrich
    Jul 24, 2018 / 5:16 am

    I’m wowed at that #4, do they really do that in Marrakesh? That’s so kind of them.

    • Anna
      Author
      Jul 25, 2018 / 1:35 am

      I was surprised too!

  27. Miranda
    Jul 25, 2018 / 8:16 am

    Nice article! Have you tried using GPS tracker on your travels? And if yes do you have any tips on using it? Anyways,Thanks for posting this.

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