Marrakech Travel Tips: How to Make the Most of Your Trip

By now, I’m sure you’re enchanted by Marrakech and thinking of visiting. Before you go, I’d like to give you my top Marrakech travel tips to ensure your trip goes smoothly and you have the best experience.

Today’s post is not only based on my knowledge as a local but also on some of my general guidelines for safe traveling. 

Preparing for Your Trip

I’m sure you’re excited about your visit, but before you hop on a plane and dive head-first into Marrakech’s bustling charm, it’s best to be prepared. Here’s my advice for an unforgettable adventure when visiting Marrakech

Researching Marrakech

It doesn’t get stressed enough, but a little research does go a long way. Take the time to look up the best sightseeing destinations beforehand, so you don’t waste time planning your itinerary when you arrive. 

Also, getting to know the history and culture of Marrakech will enhance your experience significantly. Not only will you appreciate the places more, but understanding the culture will help bring out the traditions that make us Moroccans so warm and welcoming. 

Visa and Entry Requirements

As far as I know, most people who hold passports from Western countries (US, UK, Australia, Europe) get a visa upon arrival. Over 70 countries worldwide can enter Morocco without a visa. However, it’s best to check specific requirements for your nationality. 

My advice? Don’t depend on hearsay when it comes to this type of information. Look up your country from the official page of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Morocco for the most accurate information. You can also call the Moroccan embassy in your country. 

Packing Essentials for Marrakech

bag pack for Marrakech

I’ve said it time and time again: pack light, breathable clothes. It gets really hot here, especially during the summer months. Still, I think it’s a good idea to bring layers in case the weather gets chilly at night. My go-to is a scarf or a light jacket. 

Also, pack comfortable walking shoes, and a hat, and don’t forget the sunscreen! The Marrakech sun can be a scorcher. 

Health and Safety Considerations

Marrakech is generally a safe city, but it doesn’t hurt to take extra precautions. Here are a few tips I would consider to ensure your health and safety during your trip:

  • Pack Medications: It’s good to research whether you’re allowed to bring them into Morocco before you go through customs, and bring a doctor’s note just in case. But I advise packing your medications because you might not be able to get the same brand or drug you need. 
  • Get travel insurance: This is best practice for all your travels abroad for any unexpected medical situations. 
  • Basic Arabic Goes A Long Way: You’ll be able to navigate better and find your way back to the hotel if you get lost. 
  • Mind Your Munchies: While Moroccan cuisine is a delight, ease into it if you’re not used to the spices.

Getting Around Marrakech

Marrakech is a really old city that grew organically over time. Even us locals can get lost sometimes (especially in the souks!). Knowing how to navigate when traveling to Marrakech is an important factor to consider. Here are my tips:

Transportation Options

There are plenty of transportation options in Marrakech. If you ask me, each of them is suitable for different situations.

  • Taxis: We have two types, the petit (small) and grand (shared minivans). Use the petit taxis to zip around the new city, and agree on the fare beforehand. You’ll need to negotiate the fare for the grand taxis with the other passengers. 
  •  Hop-on Hop-off Bus: I only suggest this if you’re short on time and want a whistle-stop tour of the city, or you can take a ride on your first day to get your bearings. 
  • Horse-Drawn Carriage (Calèche): Our old-world charming transportation options are more of an experience than a way to get you where you need to go. 

Although these options are available, I do think that the best way to truly experience Marrakech is on foot. Many of the streets are crowded, and wandering around on foot will help immerse you into the enchanting labyrinths of the souks. 

Navigating the Medina

You hear it all the time—Marrakech is a maze of streets and hidden squares. But you won’t truly fathom how easy it is to get lost until you get here. Firstly, getting lost is half the fun. Secondly, the tips below will help make navigation easier:

  • Download an offline map on your phone. 
  • Keep an eye out for prominent landmarks to help orient yourself. (That’s also how we Morrocans will give you directions)
  • Don’t panic. If you get lost, embrace the adventure. 

Tips for Using Public Transportation

Marrakech’s public bus system, operated by ALSA, is a budget-friendly option for getting around the city.  Here are some insider tips:

  • Routes: Familiarize yourself with the routes before hopping on. They’re available at bus stops and online. 
  • Exact Change is Key: Buses often don’t provide change, so make sure you have the exact fare ready.
  • Validate Your Ticket: Once you board, validate your ticket in the machine near the entrance.
  • Be Patient: Marrakech buses can get crowded, especially during peak hours.

Accommodation Tips

When booking accommodations for your Marrakech vacation, you’ll notice that there are many options. We’ve got everything from luxurious riads and hotels to budget-friendly hostels. Here’s how to find the perfect place to rest your weary head:

Choosing the Right Accommodation

Consider your priorities before you search for accommodations. Set a budget and consider whether you want a central location or an oasis away from the city. You can narrow down your search by deciding on your preferences beforehand. 

Budget-Friendly Options

Marrakech caters to all budgets.  Hostels are a great option for social travelers, offering dorm beds and private rooms at affordable rates.  Many riads also have budget-friendly options, with shared courtyards and basic amenities.

Staying in a Riad: What to Expect

Riad no. 37 - Central Medina

A traditional riad is the best way to experience Marrakech. These historic mansions are often centered around a tranquil courtyard, and many of my foreign friends describe the experience as unique and intimate. There’s beautiful tilework, ornate decorations, and plenty of Moroccan hospitality. 

Safety and Security Measures

Marrakech is a generally safe city, but basic precautions are always wise.  Choose an accommodation with good security measures, like locked gates and reception staff at night. Let someone at the riad know if you’re heading out for the evening, and keep valuables locked up in the provided safe.

Exploring Marrakech

Must-See Attractions

This list was tough to narrow down because there was so much to see in the city.

  • Djemaa el Fna: This is the main square of the city and is the pumping heart that’s full of chaos. Expect everything from snake charmers to food stalls, souvenir shops, and much more. The vibrant energy will assault your senses in the best possible way. 
  • Koutoubia Mosque: Towering over the city skyline, the Koutoubia Mosque is a masterpiece of Almohad architecture. Marvel at its towering minaret, a city landmark visible for miles around.
  • Jardin Majorelle: Escape the city bustle at the enchanting Jardin Majorelle. This botanical garden bursts with vibrant cacti, cobalt blue buildings, and serene water features – a haven for peace and reflection.
  • Bahia Palace: Step back in time at the opulent Bahia Palace. Wander through intricate courtyards, admire the exquisite tilework and cedarwood ceilings, and get a glimpse into the grandeur of Moroccan architecture.

Cultural Etiquette and Customs

A little cultural sensitivity goes a long way in Marrakech.  Dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites.  When entering a shop or someone’s home, it’s customary to remove your shoes. 

Greetings are important – a simple “Assalamu alaykum” (peace be upon you) will be appreciated. Remember, bargaining is part of the shopping experience in the souks, so have fun and be respectful!

Tips for Bargaining in the Souks

The souks are a labyrinth of vibrant sights and smells, a treasure trove waiting to be explored. This is where you’ll get to hone your haggling skills the most! Start with an offer that’s about half the asking price, and work your way up. I do, however, want to remind you to be fair when haggling. 

Hidden Gems and Off-the-Beaten-Path Experiences

Beyond the main tourist attractions, you’ll want to venture out of the medina walls. Here are my suggestions for places to explore: 

  • Le Jardin Secret: This tranquil oasis tucked away in the medina offers a welcome respite from the bustling streets. Wander through lush gardens, sip mint tea on the rooftop terrace, and soak in the serenity.
  • Maison de la Photographie: Step into a world of captivating Moroccan photography at this hidden gem. Explore exhibits showcasing Morocco’s rich cultural heritage and diverse landscapes.
  • Ben Youssef Madrasa: This beautifully restored Koranic school boasts intricate stuccowork, cedarwood carvings, and a peaceful courtyard. Immerse yourself in the tranquility and architectural wonder.
  • Nomad Marrakech: For a taste of Marrakech’s contemporary art scene, head to Nomad Marrakech. This trendy rooftop restaurant doubles as an art gallery, showcasing works by local and international artists.

Dining and Food Tips

The Ochre City is a feast for your senses in every way possible, including your taste buds. Here’s a quick look at Moroccan cuisine and what to expect. 

Traditional Moroccan Cuisine

veggie Moroccan cuisine

Spicy, fragrant, and bursting with flavor, Moroccan cuisine is a delectable blend of Berber, Arab, and Andalusian influences.  Savor a steaming pot of tagine, a slow-cooked stew with meat, vegetables, and fragrant spices.

Sample pastilla, a flaky pastry filled with savory meats or seafood and sweet almonds. Don’t miss the national dish, couscous – fluffy semolina grains steamed and served with vegetables, meat, or a flavorful broth.

Popular Food Markets and Restaurants

food market in Marrakech

Djemaa el-Fna transforms into a food paradise at night. Sample sizzling skewers, steaming bowls of snail soup (a local delicacy!), and fresh-baked Moroccan bread.  

For a sit-down meal, venture into the medina or the new city and explore the countless restaurants.  Many roads offer traditional Moroccan meals in a charming setting as well. 

Dietary Restrictions and Allergies

Vegetarians will find plenty of options – flavorful salads, lentil stews, and vegetable tagines.  Vegans might face more challenges, but some restaurants can adapt dishes.  Be sure to communicate any allergies clearly – most restaurants will do their best to accommodate your needs.

Etiquette for Dining Out

We usually eat with our right hand, so keep that in mind when invited for a meal. If you’re invited to a local’s home, it’s customary to bring a small gift (pastries or flowers are a good option).  When dining out, tipping isn’t expected but appreciated. 

Managing Finances

For most Westerners, Marrakech is a budget-friendly destination. Still, these are my tips for managing your finances. 

Currency Exchange Tips

The Moroccan Dirham (MAD) is the local currency.  Avoid airport currency exchanges with their high fees.  Instead, head to a reputable exchange office (“bureau de change”) in the city for better rates.

Budgeting for Your Trip

Accommodation and food are generally affordable. Factor in transportation costs, entrance fees, and some shopping sprees in the souks.  A daily budget of 300-500 MAD (around $30-$50) can cover basic needs, with more allocated for splurges.

Avoiding Common Scams

While we’re a welcoming people, every country you’ll visit will have scammers so Marrakech isn’t an exception. Be wary of overly friendly “guides” offering unsolicited help. 

Negotiate taxi fares beforehand to avoid inflated prices.  When shopping, have fun with the bargaining, but be firm and polite.  Trust your gut instinct and avoid any offers that seem too good to be true.

Communication Tips

The key to navigating any city is communication, which is all the more important when you aren’t fluent in the local language. Here are my tips on bridging the language gap and staying connected:  

Language Basics

While French is widely spoken, Arabic is the official language. Learning a few basic Arabic phrases (“Shukran” for thank you, “Bish qadach?” for how much) goes a long way.  Many Moroccans appreciate the effort, even if your pronunciation isn’t perfect!  

I also suggest that you download a translation app for on-the-go help.

Useful Phrases for Travelers

Here are some essential phrases to get you started:

  • Hello: Bonjour (French) / Assalamu alaikum (Arabic)
  • Thank you: Shukran (Arabic)
  • Please: (Min fadlik – Arabic)
  • How much?: Bish qadach? (Moroccan Arabic)
  • No, thank you: La, shukran (Arabic)

Connectivity and Internet Access

Staying connected is easy. Most cafes, restaurants, and riads offer free Wi-Fi.  You can also purchase a local SIM card with data at the airport or authorized retailers. This is a convenient option for staying connected on the go.

Health and Wellness

Don’t get too caught up with our sunshine and vibrant culture. Here’s how you can stay healthy and enjoy your trip to the fullest extent. 

Staying Hydrated and Sun Safe

The Moroccan sun packs a punch, especially in summer. Stay hydrated throughout the day by carrying a reusable water bottle and sipping frequently.

Stick to bottled water, as tap water can sometimes cause upset stomachs. Sunscreen is your best friend – apply generously and reapply often. A hat, sunglasses, and light, breathable clothing are essential for beating the heat.

Dealing with Common Health Issues

Minor stomach upsets are a common travel woe.  Pack basic medication like anti-diarrheal tablets and pain relievers.  If symptoms persist, visit a local pharmacy for over-the-counter medication.

Finding Medical Assistance

For more serious medical needs, Marrakech has a network of private clinics and hospitals.  Consider travel insurance that covers medical emergencies abroad.  Knowing a few basic Arabic phrases like “Mohtāj li-tabīb” (Moh-tahj lee ta-beeeb – I need a doctor) can be helpful in such situations.  

Emergency HOTLINES: 

  • Police: 190 from a landline and 112 from mobile phones
  • Medical Assistance: 150

Environmental Considerations

Marrakech’s magic lies not just in its sights and sounds but also in its vibrant culture and natural beauty. Here’s how to be a responsible tourist and minimize your environmental impact:

Responsible Tourism Practices

Opt for eco-friendly riads that prioritize sustainable practices like water conservation and local sourcing. Support local artisans by buying handcrafted souvenirs and avoiding mass-produced trinkets.

Explore the city on foot or by bicycle – it’s a great way to experience the atmosphere and reduce your carbon footprint.

Waste Management and Recycling

Waste management is still developing in Morocco. Minimize your waste by carrying a reusable water bottle and shopping bag. If you do generate waste, dispose of it properly in designated bins.

Supporting Local Conservation Efforts

Many organizations are working to protect Morocco’s environment.  Consider participating in a cleanup project or visiting a nature reserve that supports local conservation efforts.  By making conscious choices, you can ensure that Marrakech’s magic thrives for generations to come.


From bustling souks to hidden palaces, Marrakech is a city that sizzles with life. My guide has equipped you with the knowledge to navigate its vibrant chaos, savor its cultural delights, and create unforgettable memories.

So pack your bags, embrace the adventure, and get ready to be enchanted by the magic of Marrakech!