Marrakech 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 twice 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’re just traveling to Marrakech for a weekend.

Marrakesh Travel Tips: What to Know Not to Get Disappointedmarrakech

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.

Funnily enough, my phone still indicated 20 degrees. I swear it was no more than 7 Celsius (44 F).

morocco marrakesh

2. Prepare to Get Lost No Matter What

In Marrakesh, you have to forget about maps. They simply don’t work in there, 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.

My tip: If you want to stay inside the Medina you might want to book a riad close to one of the gates. That way, if you get lost, you can easily ask someone about the name of the gate. Plus, you won’t need to carry your luggage very far from the taxi, since no cars are allowed inside the Medina.

orange juice marrakesh

3. Marrakesh is Safe for Female Travelers, If You Take Precautions

I read a lot of female blogs that 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 Marrakech

Speaking of locals and their friendliness, there is one thing that changes a lot in Marrakesh – the 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 dates and nuts for about 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.

I must say that for every nice person in Marrakesh you can find one scam artist trying to fool tourists. If someone on the street is trying to talk to you in English and tell you out of the blue that some street is closed and drag you somewhere to buy something at their shop. 

Marrakesh Morocco

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 it 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 arguing 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.

That said, you might want to pre-book your taxi from the airport if you don’t feel like haggling after a long journey. This one is a reliable and affordable option.

6. You Can Book Luxurious Accommodation for Cheap

There are plenty of hostels & luxurious riads in Marrakesh and they’re all very cheap. There’s no need to spend a fortune on trendy spots like La Mamounia (unless you really want to stay there, but remember you can book their spa regardless).

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 at my hotel, I was immediately served some local mint tea and a big plate of cookies, every morning I got breakfast so big that I wasn’t able to finish it.

On my second visit with my husband, I stayed in a gorgeous riad for just $100 per night – Riad Palais Sebban. This place was definitely one of a kind – just take a look at this pool below. 

riad marrakesh
Riad Palais Sebban

7. Be Prepared for Craziness at Jamaa el Fna Square

Jamaa el Fna is the main square in Marrakesh and it’s 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. Yes, they do abuse these animals.

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. Sure, it’s touristy, but it’s not a tourist trap. 

Jamaa el Fna Square square

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 from Marrakesh and they’re the same, just one is longer. They’re NOT THE SAME trips and lead to different places!

You can read about my first-hand experience with Zagora and Merzouga in a separate post linked below. If you’re not a fan of organized tours you can also simply rent a car (that is totally safe and easy in Morocco!) and drive to the desert at your own pace and just book a spot at the desert camp. Last time I stayed at Merzouga Activities Camp

desert in morocco
This is Merzouga, not Zagora

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

9. If You Don’t Have Enough Time for a Desert Trip – Do a Balloon Tour 

If you don’t have enough time to enjoy a full multi-day desert experience and cross the Atlas Mountain, you can get a taste of the mountains from the hot air balloon.

Actually, even if you do have time you should do a balloon tour as it gives you a completely different experience.

Atlas Mountains Morocco

This was actually recommended to me by some of my readers who enjoyed the sunrise hot-air balloon ride and camel rides. You can book this tour via this link.

Where to Stay in Marrakesh?

Recommended Places to Stay:

Suggested Travel Insurance for Morocco:

  • Safety Wing – It’s a good and affordable insurance for travelers and expats. They’re easy to make claims with. 

Extra Tips for Marrakech:

  • Lonely Planet Pocket Marrakesh
  • Trick for saving on water:  If you want to save money on the water get this 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!

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


Marrakesh Travel Tips

Likes this post and got some useful Marrakesh travel tips from it? Find out more about visiting Morocco in my other articles below!

65 thoughts on “Marrakech Travel Tips: What to Know Not to Get Disappointed”

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

    • 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

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    • 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.

    • nice trip anna for me This was our first time visiting Morocco and we definitely made the right choice by choosing this tour. I picked this one specifically because I didn’t want a tour company that had seen so many tourists that they start to not care about taking people around their country. Where it’s more a money-making business, where you are part of a big group and you will not receive any sort of bespoke individual experience. We were so lucky to have ismail as our tour guide as he was a genuine and nice person, who loves his country.

      From the very first email ismail was extremely polite and helpful, more than any other tour company I’d spoken to. We ended up travelling with just him, my husband and me. We went from Marrakech to Ait Ben Haddou, to the Todras, Atlas Mountains, several Oasis and obviously to the Sahara desert. It was still a whistle stop tour as we only had 3 days but it was definitely the way to go. Having stayed in Marrakech for 2 days I was very much ready to leave the hustle and bustle (and generally being harassed at the souks) to explore what Morocco was really about.

      Todras gorge was really lovely. There had been some rainfall so you could walk into some of the water. Really nice. It was quite busy though, but no more than the other big landmarks like Ait Ben Haddou.

      My favourite place was actually Skoura, one of the little Oasis on the first night. The place we stayed was run by a family business and you can really tell. It was remote, but stunning. Not at all touristy, and very authentic. The food was the best I’d had in Morocco, just divine! Just as an aside, although I love tagines, you do want some change, so this was the one that stood out as it felt a little more authentic. Most of the food you’ll get in Morocco (not just in the tour) is very similar – varying types of tagines, wraps or kebabs, with rice or salad. Not a huge amount of variety unless you really look for it. We loved Nomad in Marrakech, this restaurant has amazing food!

      The trip to the Sahara was amazing, albeit short. We set off on camel when the sun was quite low, maybe 6-7pm and then arrived at the camp by nightfall. We had dinner with a few other people on the tour, and the locals did a song and dance for half an hour or so. We then ventured out to the desert to see the stars, and although we went back to the camp around 1am, the moon was so bright you could have slept under it for sure. The temperature was perfect. However we had to leave at about 5am to catch the sunset, so thought we’d better sleep in the bed. The camp was extremely clean and nice given it’s in the middle of nowhere, so if you’re a clean freak like me, you’ll have no problems! There’s good toilets and running water. You sleep in a type of metal room, which is probably ventilated but still quite warm. The beds aren’t exactly comfy, quite hard really, but there’s electricity and sheets, what else do you need!

      You can see more of my adventures and what I experienced from my pictures.
      All in all, what you see is what you get. The tour speaks for itself. You visit all the places on the itinerary and you’re greeted with nice people and go to places that are really quite unique. On top of that, you’ll be with a guide who knows a good deal about Morocco and will work hard to make sure you have a good time. We were even privileged enough to see Said’s home, meet his family (they were very shy!) But an insight into how Moroccan people actually live? That is something you can’t buy.

      Really enjoyed my time in Morocco, so thanks to ismail and the team at recommend this tour company. see you next adventure!!

      • Hi guys, thank u for great review. How much ismail charge for his service? also do u mind to share his email or phone number please? as me and my wife traveling to marakesh on 1/03/2019. thank u

    • Family of 4, 3 adults and 1 teenager. What part of the World do you suggest? We don’t like long flights. It has to be stress free and completely relaxed. Everything organised from departure to arrival.

  3. 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;)

  4. 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!

  5. 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 |

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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! ❤

  10. 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

  11. 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.

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

  13. 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

    • 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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).

    • This was exactly the experience I had. Plus a million other worst things! Thanks for being like the only real comment here! Unless your with a tour guide the entire time, you’ll see exactly what your describing above. I’m planning on writing my blog post this upcoming week on my trip to Morocco and mentioning all of this even tho I collaborated with local hotels and restaurants.

      • Well, you’ve had a bad experience, but many others including myself have not. It happens everywhere in the world. I’ve had a terrible experience in Vietnam and so did many others, but a lot of people loved it. Our travel experiences depend on people we meet (and we might get unlucky) and our expectations. I knew that going to Morocco wasn’t going to be the same as going to Romania Germany as Cristina pointed out, so you need to keep this in mind. It’s similar in Egypt – you can’t go there and expect it to be like Europe.
        Few things I’ve learned over the years:
        – “most restaurants have one menu for locals and another one” – yep, that happens in MANY places in the world. Europe included.
        – “And it is very dirty” – have you been to like ekhm… NYC or London? It’s a similar level of dirtiness 😛
        – “Food is very bland” – After my first trip to Morocco I would have said the same thing. Why? Because I made a mistake of eating at tourists spots. Go to local restaurants and you’ll love the food.
        – “almost everyone there claims to receive tip after tip after tip only because they exist and approach you” – Absolutely, and it’s up to you to give them something or not. It’s customary in most African countries. However, ironically it’s the same in the US when everyone expects a tip at restaurants, hotels, bars, etc.
        – In regards to a guy wanting to take a photo of you for money. Sure, I experienced it in many places in the world and you just firmly say no.

  16. 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.

  17. I just newly done my trip in Morocco and composed a blog about it. I had a great time and touched much safer in Marrakesh, yet, all your recommendation totally applies to my time in Fez

  18. it feels really good to see people come and go to my homeland (merzouga) .
    going alone is good and maybe cheaper but it makes you lose many places and experiences that only an experienced travel agency guide can show you
    next time we want you to be our costumer in Berber way company .to go in authentic and traditional way not only visit Morocco but be one .

  19. Marrakech is a place where you need to adjust your expectations accordingly and be prepared that it’s a place like no other. Read these tips and things to do before heading to Marrakech to avoid disappointments. Many travelers start their trip in Marrakech and travel from there southwards to the Sahara. Depending on the total amount of days and nights that you would like to spend on this tour we can make a personalized tour for you. Plan for a trip to Sahara desert with the help of a locally-run travel agency Sahara Bliss. I hope you’ll fall in love with the city. Even if you just have a weekend in Marrakech. Thanks for sharing.

  20. Great travel tips! I haven’t been to Marrakesh but after reading your post, I have added Marrakesh to my bucket list and I will absolutely travel to Marrakesh someday! I wanna try one of those Sahara trips.

  21. Anna, your blog was really helpful. We visited Marrakech last week with another couple and had a great time and lovely weather.
    Thanks for sharing.

    • Anna- all your advice is SO helpful! We are attending a wedding in Marrakech and invite says to wear formal Moroccan attire. We are staying at Selma’s Marrakech- will there be a place close by hotel where we can pick up something soon after arriving? I hate to order something online without seeing it. Any advice is very appreciated. Cathy

  22. After reading this article, I’m considering to make a trip to Morocco and visit Marrakesh.
    thanks for the information you gave us.

  23. Huh? We found Bahia Palace super easily on the first try… Tbh didn’t get lost once and we walked everywhere! Medina to Gueliz, to Kasbah, to Hivernage… Only took a cab to la Palmeraie (10km) and the rate is 100 dirhams (fixed).
    I very much agree on the friendly locals (it helps when you are French speaking of course) we didn’t get harassed at all.

  24. Hi, I’m travelling to Marrakech and I expect the day to be very hot but I never considered the evenings, would you recommend bringing a sweater?

  25. Hello Anna, you mentioned vendors being more annoying in Mexico. After traveling to many places throughout Mexico, I have to strongly disagree with you. Whereas Mexico might not be the perfect country, I find that there is a lot and way more respect for the tourist in Mexico, than in Morocco and several other countries. As persistent as vendors might be in Mexico, they will refrain from getting aggressive.

  26. Very helpful article ! I like the fact that you recommended Merzouga over Zagora desert . The sand dunes in Merzouga are so much bigger and wide comparing to Zagora ! Thanks for sharing your experience .

  27. Hi Anna,
    Your blog is really helpful thank you.
    I have a question about payment methods.
    Is it better to have cash, or card payments are as popular as more advanced cities.
    I am going to Marroco in March and normally I am using my Revolute card.

    Thank you.

    • Your Revolut card will work just fine in hotels and restaurants, but smaller cafes or markets won’t take it. I’d say have both. You can always withdraw some cash from the ATM 🙂

  28. Hi Anna,

    Great info and blog. I am going to Marrakech to celebrate my 50th birthday; I fly out on 4th October and will arrive on 5th October (b-day is the 6th). We have booked a hot air balloon ride for the morning of my b-day, and wondered if you might have a recommendation for a great birthday dinner?

    I found a restaurant Dar Moha, and I do like fine dining, but being a foodie, having enjoyed a few Michelin starred restaurants, I am more interested in the best gastronomy available. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.



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