Marrakech Travel Tips and Tricks
Marrakech is a tricky place to navigate through without researching beforehand. Luckily my guide was very knowledgable and gave me some great Marrakech travel tips and tricks to pass along.
Marrakech was nothing like I had expected; it was better. You can get lost in the city and find the most unique places that couldn’t even be described in a blog. The people are extremely friendly and their livelihood is dependent on tourism which makes it very safe.
Marrakech Travel Tips
- Most of the people in Marrakech speak several different languages: English, French, Spanish, and German (oh, and Arabic of course)
- There are two main areas in Marrakech: The Medina (old town) and the New Town
- Do not take photos of monkeys or snakes unless you are willing to pay
- It is very safe in Marrakech and the people are super friendly. Tourism in Marrakech is what keeps the city alive therefore the metal detectors in the hotels are just precautionary.
- Do not get a taxi in front of your hotel; walk up the road and you will get a cheaper price. Always negotiate the price before you get going.
Marrakech Travel Costs
- Marrakech Airport to New Town costs 100 Dirham
- Marrakech Airport to the Medina costs 150 Dirham
- It costs 20-30 Dirham to get between the Medina and New Town
Marrakech Travel Tricks
- Bargaining is a pain in the ass and you need to know the process beforehand (see below). Items do not have prices so it is difficult to gauge how much things should cost.
- Do not ask locals for directions. They will take you on the longest route opposite of where you need to go and then will ask you for money. Instead ask staff at a Marrakech Riad (there are hundreds of Riads in Marrakech) to show you where you need to go.
- Sometimes your taxi driver will try and get you to stop at their friends business to shop or take a photo (at a cost) before reaching your destination; just say no
Bargaining in Marrakech
When you go to the Souks or to a wholesale store you will notice there is no price on anything and everything must be bargained. This is the process; The store owner will ask you to pick out several items and place them on a foam pad. You will probably be thinking, “I want to see how much everything costs and based on that I will make my buying decision”. Their thinking, “I will get them to buy everything that they have picked out”.
They will tell you to take your time and offer you mint tea of course. The friendliness will definitely make you feel bad about being firm about what you want and do not want. Hold strong and do not feel bad about saying no.
When you finally pick all of your items then it is time to bargain. On a notepad they create 3 horizontal lines and strike them through with 2 vertical lines. The idea is to have 6 boxes; their price and then your price written down 3 times. Obviously they start with the first offer which is a very high price. You need to counter with a VERY low price (this is the price below what you realistically want to pay; the price you believe of what the item really costs). They will then counter with a price very similar to their first price. The next price should be the same price you had given the first time or a tiny bit higher. Their goal is to price you for every item that you picked out rather than for individual items. If you realize the price was too high for the items you want then do not feel bad to ask for only a few items that you picked out and to start the bargaining process all over again.
Tour Guide Marrakech
You can get a tour guide in Marrakech for about 35 Dirhams for 3 hours. They will take you to the main sites in the Medina like the Marrakech Palace and to the Souks (or wherever else you want to go). One thing your Marrakech Tour Guide will make sure to do is take you to their friends businesses to get you to buy rugs, spices, and wholesale items. They will try to make you believe that they know the city best therefore taking you to the cheapest places; do not fall for it.
Things to do in Marrakech
To be honest, I think three days is plenty for travel to Marrakech unless you want to include a trip to the Sahara desert; then add on another three days. You definitely need a day in the Medina to check out the Souks, another day to spend relaxing by a pool, and then a day to spend in Palmeraie on quads and/or riding camels. A trip to the Sahara desert is at least three days since the commute from Marrakech is 6 hours.
Bahia Palace is located in the Medina in the Jewish quarter. It consists of a few small Riads for each of the 4 wives, a larger Riad, and two courtyards. This is definitely a spot not to miss and there are great opportunities for photos.
The Jardin Majorelle is a nice garden that was purchased by Yves Saint Laurent. It costs 70 Dirham to get in and you will probably only need 45 minutes here. There are great photo opportunities here but expect to wait in line for them as this is a popular place. It is just ok, really. The popularity comes from the name of the designer and there are just cactus and bamboo trees here. When you leave, make sure to walk up the road for a taxi as you will be overcharged.
Quad bike in Marrakech Palmeraie
I reserved this excursion through Morocco Dunes and Desert Tours and it was an amazing experience! The guide was extremely friendly and accommodating. I only did the quad bike excursion, but you can reserve a whole day to ride camels as well. To be honest, the camels are a little slow for me and it is quite hot.
The total trip was around 2.5 hours and the bikes are easy to use. We spent most of the trip riding around and for an hour we stopped at a house in the middle of the desert. It was an interesting experience to see how people live in this part of Marrakech. We got a tour of the desert house and were able to watch the wives make crepes for us. Afterwards, we sat under the tent pictured above and hung out with other travelers while drinking tea and eating crepes.
Tour the Souks
There are several different Souks in Marrakech which are scattered all throughout the Medina. Remember this Marrakech travel tip: nothing has a price and you are starting from zero. There are prominent areas to find each of the below, so make sure to get a map to find these areas. Spend some time walking around the Souks getting an idea of prices before you make a final purchase. To get the famous photo of the spice Souks, go to the Mellah. If you want my honest opinion here, the Souks seem so “magical” when reading about them during trip planning. I found shopping in the Souks to be the most stressful part of the trip as you are constantly haggled by everyone that walks past you for money.
- Carpet Souks
- Spice Souks
- Slipper Souks
- Metalworking Souk
Tour the Marrakech 5 Star Hotels
Most of the Marrakech travel tip sites and pinterest pins show the Marrakech 5 star hotels which give the perception that these fabulous places portray what the city really looks like. In reality, these are the 5 star hotels which are scattered throughout the city. My favorites were the following:
The Royal Mansour is probably my favorite hotel in the world. The grounds are incredible and the spa is one of a kind. I am also a huge fan of Japanese food and the restaurant by the pool had a great selection of Nigiri and Ceviche that was excellent.
La Mamounia Marrakech
I came to La Mamounia one night to have a few champagne cocktails and snacks by the piano bar. It is a little pricey, but how often do you get the opportunity to hang out at the number one hotel in Africa? The picture below is the La Mamounia spa, which I was lucky enough to get a sneak peak of.
Marrakech Travel Photos
You really need to spend some time exploring the Medina to find unique travel photos. Below are some of my favorites:
Food in Marrakech
Honestly, I hate writing about food in less modernized areas. It is difficult enough to find your Riad in the Medina, so do you really want to know how to find the best Tagine in a hole in the wall shop in the old town? I suggest asking the Riad owners or concierge of your hotel on where to go for this.
I hope you all enjoyed my Marrakech Travel Tips and Tricks post. If you have any questions feel free to comment below!