Marrakech – Complete city guide

Who I am
Carlos Laforet Coll
@carloslaforetcoll
Author and references

Morocco was without a doubt one of the most interesting destinations I've been to. And Marrakech is one of the cities that definitely cannot be missing from your itinerary across the country.

Marrakech Morocco is the fourth largest city in the country, and one of the most visited. It receives tourists from all over the world, all year round. The city is one of the four Moroccan imperial cities – in addition to Fez, Meknes e Rabat. The latter being the current capital of the country.



It doesn't take long in the city to understand why Marrakech is also known as the red city. The color is present everywhere, whether in the medina, in the houses or in the shops, most of the buildings and buildings are like that, red. ?

Marrakech is a city ​​full of life, of colors, aromas and flavors. An exotic place, within an exotic country and with a culture totally different from the Brazilian one. Even with the constant presence of other peoples, the Moroccan culture has not been lost and is still very much present.

Save money on travel insurance!
use the coupon FORTRAVELOVERS and pay in boleto to take off 10% discount.

  • How to spell Marrakech?
  • Where is the city in Morocco?
  • How do you get to Marrakech?
  • When to go to Marrakech?
  • Tips for what to do in Marrakech
    • Medina de Marrakech
    • Jemaa el-Fna square
    • Koutoubia Mosque
    • Handcrafted set
    • Madrassa Ben Youssef
    • Majorelle Garden, Berber Museum and Yves Saint Laurent
    • Palaces of Marrakech
    • Deserto do Sara
    • Camel ride in Marrakech 
  • How many days to stay in Marrakech
  • 3-day itinerary in the city
  • Where to stay in Marrakech


The city of Marrakech in Morocco

The streets of Marrakech with their aromas and colors

It says Marrakesh, Marrakech or Marrakech?

I confess that I was very lost at the beginning of my planning and I always asked myself “but how do you really write?”. After reading about the subject I understood that the word spelling changes depending on the language, so I read every hour in a way.


Marrakesh (in Portuguese) – According to our grammar, this is how it should be written, with “que” and “xis”. Not to mention that this is the form used by the Brazilian government, the national press and also recognized by the Academia Españaeira de Letras.

In English and French, the spelling of the word is different for both, the first being with “sh” – Marrakesh; and the second with “ch” – Marrakech.

But don't worry and don't go into a tailspin, in practice there's not much to worry about. In any way you write it will be possible to find information and arrive at the correct destination, the city of Marrakech.

Where is Marrakech

The city of Marrakech is just over 300 Km from the capital, Rabat. The well-known Casablanca, is 240 km. already the city of Fez is a little further away, in this case it's 500 km – may vary according to the route you take.


The city is at the foot of the Atlas Mountains. A mountain range that runs through much of the Moroccan territory, crossing Algeria and Tunisia. O Mount Jbel Toubkal, which is less than a 3-hour drive south, and is the mountain highest in North Africa.

How to get to Marrakech

Being one of the most visited places in the country, there is no shortage of options for how to get there. There are those who arrive by land – by car, bus and train; or by air, by plane.

Train

I went from train, I left the station Casa Voyageurs, in Casablanca. It was approximately 3 hours of travel and the ticket cost $220.00 Dirhams round trip (R$85,00). This was not the only time I used the ONCF train services in Morocco, and I had no problems with any of them. Smooth and punctual service.


Bus

I prefer to go from bus, the travel time on that same stretch is not so different. And the ticket price round trip ranges from $160 to $230 Dirhams (R$60 to R$90 respectively), depending on the category and comfort of the bus.

I recommend two bus companies, Supratours and CTM. Twice I used Supratours in the country. New buses, comfortable seats and air conditioning/heating. The only downside was not having a bathroom on the bus. Bathrooms only at stops and paid (generally charged from $1 to $5 Dirhams).


Car

Traveling by car was not my choice of transport in Morocco, but if you intend to rent a car, you will have no problem. My tip is, be aware of the country's traffic rules and try not to drive at night. Even though I feel safe in the country, it's better to travel during the day, when you can, in addition to enjoying the scenery, see exactly where you're going.

Another tip, for those who want to travel by car, it's just that it didn't seem so simple to park in the cities, especially if you intend to stay inside the Medinas (Fez and Marrakech). There are parking lots next to the entrance gates to the medinas, but it may be far from your accommodation.

When to go to Marrakech

A city to visit all year round, but if you can plan, run away from summer. I say this because Marrakech has a dry and hot climate, especially in summer. O winter is mild and humid – but don't expect too much rain.

the months of March to May, October and November are among the hottest temperatures. July is the hottest month, where the maximum can reach 40ºC and the minimum 18ºC. January is the coldest month, with a minimum of 6ºC and a maximum of 18ºC.


We visited Marrakech in December, winter there. For us it was nice weather, sunny days, but some days I had to wear a coat to go for a walk. Even in the Sahara, where I thought it would be very cold, it wasn't for that.

What to do in Marrakech

Are many tourist attractions in Marrakech, and most of them are possible do on your own. But if you prefer to hire a guide or agency, feel free. I believe that every form of tourism is valid, even more so when you are in a country so different from our culture.

We list 9 tips of what to do in Marrakech, enjoy:

1 – Medina of Marrakech

This is heart of Marrakech, where most of the city's tourist attractions are concentrated, as well as a lot of commerce. O Bab Agnaou it is the main gate of the medina, and will give you access to a world very different from what you see outside the walls.

Within the medina there is a certain division, as if they were the neighborhoods Brazilians. However, this is not so noticeable to us. But within these neighborhoods there are specific businesses (the souks) such as leather, dye and fabrics, ceramics, metals and others.; in addition to a mosque, a water fountain and a public oven. These are basically the items that define a neighborhood.

I walked more than a day through the Medina, I found it quieter than the one in Fez – because there I got lost in the streets… and no Google Maps to save me! In Marrakech I saw people with guides, and I think it's super valid, if that's going to make you safer and more relaxed to get to know them.

Walking through the streets of the Medina you will find many shops (souks) – it is colorful everywhere

Bab Agnaou – the main gate of the Medina

More and more shop (souk) through the streets of the Medina

Spend some time observing the customs and clothing of the locals – the culture is very different and you will have a lot of fun.

2 – Jemaa el-Fna Square

Jemaa el-Fna is the most famous square in Morocco and one of the best known in the world. The large outdoor patio is full of life, colors, aromas and activities. But in the past the story was quite different. Around the 19th century the site was the scene of beheadings and other tragedies.

Indian go during the day to see dancers, snake charmers, women who paint the famous hennas among others. Drink a natural juice at the fruit stalls. And then come back in the late afternoon – just before Sunset, which is when the square takes on a new lease of life and it fills with stalls with a wide variety of typical dishes.

Tip: Pay attention to what they serve you, any extra pleasure will not be free, everything will be charged at the end. They don't even ask if you want it, they just leave it on the table. another tip is to have a coffee or even dinner in the restaurants with terrace, so you will have a view from above.

One of the most famous squares in Morocco at Jemaa el-Fna during the day

A snake charmer in Jemaa el-Fna square. Fantastic!

The “barraquinhas” of Jemma el-Fna square in Marrakech Morocco

Once again, note the locals' attire and customs. You will be impressed, in addition to collecting beautiful photos

3 – Koutoubia Mosque

Go down Jemaa el-Fna square, walk towards the horse carts – they will be parked across the street – and look to your left. There will be the exuberant Koutoubia Mosque, with its tower of almost 70 meters, a postcard from marrakech.

It can be seen from various parts of the city, but from there I guarantee you a privileged view (entrance only for Muslims).

Us and the Koutoubia Mosque in the background

The Koutoubia Mosque – entry allowed for Muslims only

4 – Craft Set

I haven't visited the Ensemble Artisanal, but I know it's a great place for anyone who wants shopping more calmly and peacefully. It is a type of commercial gallery, with options for stores and a wide variety of handcrafted and self-made products.

Here there is no harassment from sellers and prices are fixed, it is not possible to negotiate. Prices can also be a little more expensive than in the Medina. Ensemble Artisanal is 10 minutes from Jemma el-Fna square.

5 – Madrassa Ben Youssef

A Madrassa Ben Youssef, is ancient Koranic school, focusing on the study of the Islamic religion. Located within the Medina of Marrakech, today it is a museum that can be visited by tourists. In the past, it hosted around 900 students.

The architecture is jaw-dropping, a beautiful building with all features of a Moroccan building. The details are impressive, and go from floor to ceiling; all done meticulously. It is well worth the visit and entry costs $20 Dirham per person.

The Ben Youssef Madrassa with its stunning architecture

Details of the Madrassa Ben Youssef

Details of the Madrassa Ben Youssef

6 – Majorelle Garden, Berber Museum and Yves Saint Laurent

A little further away from the turmoil of the Medina is the Majorelle Garden. A beautiful garden, with more than 3000 species of plants, arranged in Islamic style. It was created and styled by the French landscaper and painter Jacques Majorelle.

Years after his death, the stylist Yves Saint Laurent and his partner, Pierre Bergé, bought the space and decided to live in the same house that once belonged to Majorelle. They not only lived there, but also worked on the maintenance and restoration of the gardens and the house.

The garden was open to the public and the Majorelle blue color house (color created by Jacques himself) now houses the Berber Museum, which tells a little about the history of this Moroccan people. It's not a big museum, but it's very interesting and I highly recommend a visit.

I suggest visit in the morning, since it is one of the most visited places in the city, it tends to get very busy during the day.

Blue Majorelle details

The Marjorelle Garden in the background

Majorelle Garden

  • Opening hours: open all year 
    October to April: from 8 am to 17:30 pm and from May to September open until 18 pm. 
    In the Months of Ramadam: from 9 am to 17 pm – as this date is not fixed, remember to check if you are visiting the country in the month of Ramadan – the Muslim fasting season
  • Income value:  $70 Dirhams per person

Berber Museum

  • Opening hours: Open all year from 10 am to 18 pm
  • Entry Value: $30 Dirhams per person

7 – Palaces of Marrakech

The main palaces in the city, and also the most visited, are the Bahia Palace, or Palais Bahia, and the Palais el Badi or Palais el Badi. They are 10 minutes away from each other, and right next to the Bab Agnaou gate.

We just went to meet the Bahia Palace. We arrived early and we were able to enjoy and calmly see each environment of this magnificent house. You can spend hours looking at the details and imagining what life was like there in the old days. Imagining what it was like Ahmed ben Musa's harem, with their wives and concubines.

  • Business Hours: open Monday to Friday from 9 am to 17 pm
  • Entry Value: $70 Dirhams per person

The Bahia Palace or Palais Bahia in Marrakech Morocco

More details of the Bahia Palace

El Badi Palace – unfortunately we were unable to visit it – Photo: David Stanley via Flickr

8 – Deserto do Sara

Going to Morocco and not seeing the Sahara was something that didn't cross my mind. An opportunity I couldn't pass up.

Oh Sarah It's the biggest hot desert in the world! There are almost 10 million square kilometers that pass through 11 countries. In the desert live almost 3 million people. Incredible right! 

After researching a bit and defining the itinerary, we found the agency that met our criteria and dates, Morocco.com. I took the bus to Ouarzazate (200 km from Marrakech), base city of Morocco.com. The trip took about 4 hours with a stop of 15 minutes.

>> Want to know more about Ouarzazate read everything in the post: “What to do in Ouarzazate, the Hollywood of Morocco”

The city of Ouarzazate known as the Hollywood of the desert – Photo: Clarissa Moliterno

This was by far the hardest trip I've ever taken, we crossed the Atlas Mountains to get there, so imagine the curves. Get ready – not even my motion sickness medicine could stop the scolding.

Our days in the Sahara were amazing, a movie look that made the whole trip worthwhile. A breathtaking sunset and an even more beautiful sunrise. At two nights in the desert were very comfortable, being one on one hotel “foot in the sand” - literally; and another in a tent, in the middle of the dunes. Magnificent!

Part of the desert we ride with the guide in a 4×4 car. I had the chance to meet a berber family, people who still live in the outskirts of the desert. Fascinating! And of course, I couldn't miss the camel rides, that is, dromedaries. There are no camels in Morocco?

The incredible Sahara desert – A MUST-SEE tour

More information: 

  • Values: 385 euros per person – paid in cash. 
  • Not even value: 2 nights at Dar Rita (breakfast and dinner), private driver and guide (4×4 car with air conditioning)

9 – Camel ride in Marrakech 

Oops! Dromedary ride. It is worth mentioning that there are no camels in Morocco. If your itinerary does not include the desert, and you are interested in riding a dromedary, know that it is possible!

Book the tour with agencies in the city or go on your own. O tour takes place in Palmeiral, which is approximately 6 km from Jemaa el-Fna Square. It is a very beautiful, luxurious and pleasant area. The more than 150 thousand palm trees that help contribute to the scenery.

Dromedary ride in the Palmeral of Marrakech – Photo: getyourguide.com.com

How many days to stay in Marrakech

To get to know the main attractions from the city I suggest at least 3 full days. The more time you have, the more chances you have of experiencing a little more of Moroccan culture.

A different experience we had from many tourists – I believe – is that we passed through the city at two different times – between the trip to and from the Sahara. Which gave us the chance to get to know another part of the city a little better, the modern part, outside the surroundings of the Medina.

3 days itinerary in Marrakech

Now you know a little about the main points of the city, take a look at this script. That's 3 full days of what to do in Marrakech, but the city has the potential for a few more days. Remember to also consider the day of your arrival and departure.

Day 1 – Discovering the Medina

During the morning dedicate to venture into Medina, and already know a little about the local commerce and already make some purchases. visit Madrassa Ben Youssef, and not far away is the Le Jardin Secret, a space with plants and water sources, in a beautiful organization.  

Have lunch by the Medina, the local restaurants are a great choice for a legitimate Moroccan meal.

In the afternoon I suggest continuing a tour of the Medina, this is a place that is worth a leisurely stroll. If you want, take the opportunity to visit specific souks, such as carpets and metals. If you are afraid to walk alone, it is possible to hire guides.

A little shop – souk in the Medina Marrakech

Day 2 – Getting to know the modern part

After your breakfast, head to the modern part of Marrakech, where are Majorelle Garden. Enjoy the place with calm and tranquility. Enjoy and discover the Berber Museum, tickets are sold separately, and you can't access the museum without paying for the garden, ok?

the way to the Bab Agnaou Gate (Madina main door) can be done by taxi or walking. Enjoy the afternoon to visit the palaces, El Badi e Bahia, that can be visited on the same day.

Your day can end with a dinner in the busy Jemaa el-Fna square. If you have time, take the opportunity to catch the sunset and see the square come to life.

The Majorelle Garden – take the opportunity to also visit the Berber Museum

Home Blue Majorelle

Day 3 – Shopping and Jemma el Fna square

If you haven't seen the square Jemma el Fna during the day, this is a good opportunity. Start your day there and walk towards Koutoubia Mosque (remembering that entry is allowed only for Muslims). But it is not forbidden to admire, so enjoy, because she is very beautiful.

go to the Craft Set, even if you are not interested in doing more shopping, it is worth the experience of getting to know another place in the city. Not to mention that here you can look at the pieces calmly, and without the harassment of sellers.

Practically next to the Ensemble is the Cyber ​​Park, a beautiful square, with a park face. You can sit there, rest and even have a snack.

Cyber ​​Park in Marrakech – Photo: George Rex via Flickr

At the end of the afternoon, you can do the dromedary ride (Remember that in Morocco there are no camels, right?). Another tip or suggestion is to make a traditional Arab bath, the Moroccan Hammam. A mixture of bath with exfoliation. Be sure to check with your accommodation about prices and timetables.

Where to stay in Marrakech

Want to have an experience unlike anywhere else? My sugestion - stay inside the Measure.

Staying inside the Medina made all the difference, it was interesting to see up close the movement of trade and local residents. At no time did I feel unsafe – but we tried to break through its streets only in daylight.

Riad of The Light

We stayed a few days at Riad of The Light (daily from 70 dollars per couple). A cozy and quiet accommodation, with a delicious lunch (small) or breakfast included. 

But we have also selected other hotels in the Medina for you to stay in Marrakech.

Riad Farhan

O Riad Farhan (daily from US$80 per couple) It has a pool and breakfast included. In addition to the super romantic style, with lots of Moroccan decor.

The Koutoubia Gardens

Now if you are looking for a 5 star luxury hotel. O
Les Jardins De La Koutoubia (daily from US$280 per couple)  it's your hotel. The hotel has several swimming pools, room with hydromassage, breakfast included, restaurant and spa.

But staying outside the Medina can also be a totally different and positive experience. THE tip is to stay in the new city area, with more modern neighborhoods, and with good hotel options. In addition to being close to squares, cafes, shopping, and restaurants.

Other good hotel options, in the Central region of Marrakech (or Cidade Nova), are the Hotel Alma (with rates starting at 60 dollars per couple) and also the 2Ciels Boutique Hotel (daily from 160 dollars a couple)

Hotel Les Trois Palmiers

We also stayed at Hotel Les Trois Palmiers, next to city ​​center and train and bus terminal. Also just a few minutes drive from the airport. The hotel is simple, but it met our needs well, with breakfast included.

See more places to stay in Marrakech in our posts:

  • Where to stay in the Medina of Marrakech – La Sultana Marrakech
  • Where to stay in Marrakech – Mandarin Oriental Marrakech

Click here to find more hotels
Where to stay in Marrakech

Important Tips

  • A great tip is go, enjoy and haggle a lot! You just can't negotiate the price of food – restaurants, market and hotel.
  • Prices are not fixed at fruit stalls, grocery stores and, of course, at the shops in the Medina. If you are a tourist, and you don't have much to hide, your price will be higher, so deal.
  • About him or such “fabric scam”, which take you to see the fabric dyeing and which is the biggest hole. Well, at no time were we offered this “tour”. But if it happens to you, be suspicious and in doubt, get out.
  • Female security: Some women asked me about it. Well, I didn't feel insecure at any time, I think the fact of being accompanied by a man, my husband, helped. But I saw many girls together and even alone across the country and around Marrakech.
  • As in any city and very busy places, be careful whether you are male or female. In Marrakech, when you're in Jemaa El-Fna square, especially at night, keep your belongings safe. This is the busiest time.
  • Something I felt, not only in Marrakech, but in Morocco in general, is that nobody is going to come to you and rob you, but they are going to try to get some money. He understands? Whether for a tour, for tips, a taxi ride, for products, and of course, for any information on the street. Stay tuned! 
  • Finally, the most important tip: be sure to visit Morocco and get to know Marrakech! We spent just over 30 days in the country and it is really a wonderful experience! 

Did you like our tips? Leave your comment or question here…

What you NEED to know BEFORE going to Morocco

Are you full of things to think about and still have to plan your entire trip? Or you've seen it all, but you're feeling that familiar "maybe I've forgotten something?" So calm down, we'll help you with some items you can't forget before boarding. Come on? 

1) Have you already purchased your airline ticket? 

Where to buy: PROMO TICKETS

Looking for a good deal and flight prices? When buying tickets to Morocco, it is worth taking a look at the website Promo Tickets. It is quite common to find cheaper and better flight options than on other sites. We always use and is it worth it?

2) Have you booked your hosting?

Where to buy: BOOKING.COM

If you haven't booked your stay, the tip is to compare hotels, hostels and inns through Booking.com. This is the largest hotel booking platform in the world, ensuring a safe experience and great accommodation deals.

#StayHip: Keep an eye out for 'Smart Deals', which only last for one day. Some amazing hotels offer great discounts using this badge on the platform. If you find a good deal, is it worth closing?

Travel Insurance for Morocco

Where to buy: INSURANCE PROMO

Buying travel insurance for Morocco is an excellent way to ensure a smooth trip and avoid worries. Having the assistance of insurance gives you the peace you need to enjoy your destination and know that you have support if you need it. Also enjoy our Insurance Promo discount coupon. - SEE PRICES

How to have unlimited internet while traveling

Where to buy: AMERICA CHIP

Did you know that it's getting easier – and cheaper – to have unlimited internet throughout your trip? 

Just ask for an international cell phone chip at America Chip. We always use and love it! They send a SIM card to your address in España, you insert it in your cell phone when you arrive at your destination and you have unlimited internet throughout the trip.

#StayHip: Save on car GPS rental and use GoogleMaps and Waze with your unlimited internet?

5) Rent cars at the best prices

Where to Rent: RENTCARS

We really like RentCars to find the cars we use on our travels. It is the only one in Spain that compares the best rental companies in the world, but lets you pay in reais, without IOF. In addition, it is also the only one that lets you pay in 12 interest-free installments. It is worth it!

#Here's a tip: Try to find cars with full car and third party insurance coverage. Thus, you avoid inopportune surprises when picking up the car.

Also, be very smart when closing with other car rental comparisons. That's because prices are usually charged in dollars and close with your card. If the dollar goes up, the price of your car rental goes up too.

Read More

  • Where to Stay in Marrakech – Mandarin Oriental Marrakech
  • Morocco Tour – 6 Places to Visit
  • Things to do in Ouarzazate – Discover the Hollywood of Morocco!
  • Rabat Tour – What to do and where to stay
  • Where to Stay in Medina, Marrakech – La Sultana Marrakech
  • Casablanca Tour – Everything you need to know
  • What it's like to fly Royal Air Maroc
  • International Travel Insurance – Is it worth it?
  • How and Where to Buy Travel Insurance – Learn Step by Step
add a comment of Marrakech – Complete city guide
Comment sent successfully! We will review it in the next few hours.