This 1000-year-old city is home to a thriving medina, amazing shopping, and some of the most gorgeous architecture you’ll find anywhere in the world. Marrakech is also famous for its beautiful riads (guesthouses often converted from family homes) and you’ll find amazing little boutique riads dotting winding streets all over the city. Ready to fall in love with Morocco? Here’s the ultimate Marrakech travel guide.
What to expect in Marrakech
Language spoken in Marrakech
In Marrakech, you’ll hear a flurry of languages including French, Spanish, Arabic, and Berber. English is common anywhere touristy, but it’s handy to know a few words of French.
Morocco uses dirhams, and 1 Euro will get you about 11 of them. When it comes to spending money, carry cash and expect to bargin in the markets.
Climate in Marrakech
Marrakech is warm all year. Average temps are around 55 degrees Fahrenheit in the coldest months and 85 in the summer. It can get super hot (100+) on summer afternoons so plan for some steamy days.
What to wear in Marrakech?
Morocco is a Muslim country, so you’ll quickly notice some cultural differences. I’d recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that covers your shoulders and knees (think maxi skirts and scarves).
When you’re interacting with people, remember that the left hand is considered unclean so people always use their right hands for interactions and eating. Also, if you’re there on a weekend, it’s good to know that Fridays are holy days so some things are closed.
Getting around Marrakech
It’s pretty easy to get around the city of Marrakech on foot and by taxi. I mostly walked, but I recommend having a map or using a phone with data to use google maps as some of the directions can be tricky! You can also download offline maps in advance if you know where you will be headed or book a private guide so he/she can show you where to go if you are there for a couple of days.
Look out for locals on the street trying to direct you one way or another. They will offer directions and then ask for money in return, so simply politely decline and move along.
City hopping in Morocco is easy and cheap. If you’re traveling between Tangier, Fes, Rabat, Casablanca, Marrakech, or any other major area in Morocco, train travel is the way to go.
For spots farther afield, Supratours buses are a great option. It takes a little bit longer but it’s comfy and will take you anywhere you want to go.
Let us be honest, rarely somebody wants to spend 200+ Euros per night in a hotel if they can have a similar luxury in another more affordable place. Here comes Riad Matham, the building is historic, dating back to the 16th century when it belonged to a rich Berber family, it has everything that you are looking for in a Riad, a pool in the middle and amazing decorated walls. Check out Riad Matham.
Riad la Parenthèse
Riad Adika is a wonderful place to relax and unwind when traveling and walking gets too much. Designed in a minimalistic way, with white walls, intricately detailed wooden doors and details, leather and wood accents, it has something special. Check out Riad Adika.
Located in the center of Jemaa El-Fna L’Adresse is almost always crowded mostly because it has an amazing view of the Jemaa El-Fna that you will not easily forget.
A cozy spot for a light lunch or just a quick drink, I loved the cool throwback but still modern style of Le Jardin.
For a quick lunch, this is the spot. Located around 3 minutes walk from Jemaa El-Fna this spot has one of the best local kebabs that I have tried. Ingredients are fresh and they also have a vegetarian menu if you would like to try.
With one of the tastiest food in Marrakech that I have tried, this cozy café has everything from food to coffee to tea.
Jemaa El Fna (City market)
Jemaa El Fna is one of the most famous attractions in not only Marrakech but even the whole of Morocco, everybody knows that if you are visiting Marrakech you have to go to Jemma el Fna or more commonly known Marrakech City Market.
It is always crowded and you can always see something interesting. Alongside experiencing this amazing culture you will see juice stands where people are selling freshly squeezed orange juice (Morocco is known to have one of the best oranges in the world) so be sure to try.
Jardin Majorelle is home to one of the most famous designers of all time – Yves Saint Lauren. It is a must-see because the garden is stunning and there is a lot of beautiful pictures that can be taken. The garden was designed by French Orientalist artist, Jacques Majorelle, and the Cuban style villa was designed by French architect, Paul Sinoir in the 1930s.
Palacio da Bahia
Bahia Palace is considered one of the grand palaces of Marrakech. Created by Minister Ahmed bin Musa, in the 19th century, to commemorate the name of his wife, “Bahia”, today it is an artistic masterpiece dating from the splendor of Moroccan architecture of Andalusian character which overflows with its civilizational manifestations. You just have to view it to believe how beautiful and magnificent the structure is.
Museum Yves Saint Lauren
Next to Jardin Majorelle where Yves Saint Laurent lived, is his Museum. There you will see one of his earliest creations and the most famous ones also. At the end of the museum, of course, you can buy souvenirs that are related to Yves. I have bought tickets at the Entrance to Mousem Yves Saint Laurent for both the museum and Jardin Majorelle, I would recommend the same since there are amazing lines just to visit Jardin Majorelle, but if you buy a combined ticket at Mouseum you will just skip the whole line and go straight to the Jardin Majorelle.
Located right alongside the City Market, there is the Koutoubia Mosque. Known to be the largest mosque in whole Morocco it captivates the experience of how beautiful this city is.
Book a tour to the Sahara desert
Since Morocco is close to the desert you can easily book a tour there. Just keep in mind that you will probably lose about 2 to 4 days of not exploring Marrakech because of the desert tour. You can check out the desert tour that I went on. If you do not have 2 days to spare, but you still wish to check desert out, this tour is amazing and you will see everything really fast.
Besides juicy oranges, Marrakech is also known for its Mint Tea. If you sit in a local cafe that most tourists don’t visit you will get the perfect experience on how the Tea should be made. When serving the tea, the first glass is typically poured three times to ensure the tea is perfectly blended and sweetened. Also keep in mind that without sugar, mint tea is rather bitter, so if it is still bitter when it is served don’t mind putting in more sugar. And the locals in Morocco like their mint tea sweet.
Shopping streets in Marrakech are located all over Medina (City Center). You will find streets that have everything from souvenirs to even raw meat being served to locals. Also, the prices are cheap and you can easily bargain and lower them even more if you can.