(مراكش) (also known as Marrakesh)
is a city in
The town of Marrakech is divided into two
distinct parts: the Medina, or the historical city,
and the new city with two principal districts that
are called Gueliz and Hivernage.
Gueliz is the European modern district of the
town of Marrakech. Its name comes from the French
word “église” some say, because the first monument
built there was the Catholic Church Saints Martyrs.
But some tend to affirm that the name is rather
Berber and comes from the hill of Gueliz.
Marrakech-Menara Airport (IATA:
RAK), Tel: +212 (0)4 444 7865. This international airport is located about
6km (4 mi) and 10-15 minutes away from the city by
taxi. Plenty of low cost companies now fly to
Marrakech. Some companies fly to
Casablanca additionally where a plane change for
the 45 minute flight to Marrakech can be made.
The best way, if you do not have too much
luggage, is to take a new bus (line 19) that
goes over the main points of the City (Place Djemaa
L'Fna, Bus station, Gueliz, hotels...). It costs DH
20 one way, DH 30 with return included. You avoid
one of a traveller's worst moments, i.e., the hassle
of taxi drivers that pester you when you arrive in a
If going from airport by petit taxi, make
sure to have the driver use his meter or, better
yet, agree on the price beforehand. As you exit the
airport terminal, there is a sign which actually
gives you an idea of how much the taxi ride should
cost. As to whether you can convince or bargain with
the driver to use these prices is another matter
however. It depends on the number of taxis and
potential passengers around. Essentially, you should
pay no more than DH 60 from the airport to the
centre of the city during the day and DH 90 at night
for a petit taxi. The petit taxi's are hatchbacks
and generally they take a lower price than the
larger grand taxi's. If you press the drivers, these
prices are easily obtainable. In this event, don't
pay more than DH 100 in the daytime and DH 150 at
If you are travelling from the airport to
somewhere further afield (e.g. Essaouria), your
hotel or guest house may be able to arrange a grand
taxi to pick you up at the airport and charge a
fixed price for the journey. Grands taxis are
generally more expensive than petits taxis, but more
comfortable especially when you have luggage. It
also avoids hassle, as it's not always easy to
haggle with a taxi driver after staggering off a
long plane ride half-asleep.
As a guide for using taxi services in
you should approach the taxi, tell the driver where
you want to go, and how much you will pay. If the
driver doesn't accept, just move on to the next
rental car companies are based at the airport as
You can fly from several European cities direct
which is an offshoot of
Royal Air Maroc.
no longer flies from London Heathrow and
London Gatwick to Marrakech. Easyjet began to fly to
Madrid and begin flying from Gatwick airport in
the UK in July 2006.
German airline TUI
flies to Marrakech from five cities in Germany. Ryanair announced in August 2006 that they
will begin direct flights from
London Luton to Marrakech. Ryanair also flys
from Frankfurt Hahn (sometimes for under £40 return)
and Girona (Barcelona) to Marrakech. Thomsonfly
Manchester for under £60.
Royal Air Morocco, 197 boulevard Mohamed
V, Tel: 43 62 05
Connects to other domestic destinations such
Al Hoceima, and
Money exchange in the
The Arrivals hall at Terminal 2 has a money
changing outlet and an ATM. Terminal 1 has two money
changing outlets in the Arrivals hall and one in
Departures. So if you find the money changing
outlets are closed when you arrive, it's worth
taking the short walk across the car park to the
other terminal. Beware as some of the ATM's work
only in French and may ask odd questions (i.e.
account type). If your card is taken at the ATM tell
airport security and they can help you get it back.
Train connections are available from the train
station, Avenue Hassan II, Tel: 02244 77 68 Casablanca and
Tangier connect with most domestic rail
destinations in the country. There is a train hourly
all day. First and second class differ in the
seating comfort and with the number of people. Seats
are not reserved in second class, but since
Marrakech is the first station, you'll find a place
if you arrive with time to the station.
Trains arrive from
Casablanca around every two hours and regularly
from other destinations like
Rabat. The train station is located in the
recently developed ville nouvelle. Frequent
local buses leave from just across the street
into the medina and modern tourist area. Petit
taxi drivers will also be quick to offer their
service, but pay no more than DH 10 - 15 for this
short ride during the daytime up until 8pm. After
this time, taxi drivers will charge the daytime rate
For those wishing to travel by train from
Tangier, the cost from Tangier to
currently DH 180 2nd class and DH 310 1st class. The
journey is definitely worthwhile as a way to see
Morocco, so try and do this journey by day. It's
about a 10 hour journey.
During the daytime, you will need to change
trains for a connection halfway through the journey
creating a welcome break for about 30 minutes. The
night trains which leave for Marrakech from Tangier
travel straight through to Marrakech without the
need for a connection.
The night trains do have sleeper cars on board,
though you will need to pay extra for these if you
want a bed (around DH 350).
There is currently no train line further south
than Marrakech in
Some advice for the train journey would be to
stock up on some bread, eggs, and cheese in advance
and remember to bring plenty to offer to share with
locals in your carriage - this is received well and
will result in a return offer and lots of
Additionally, there is a snack trolley which does
the rounds on the train about once per hour serving
coffee, cappucino, tea, sandwiches, and chocolate
snacks. Be aware you will pay tourist prices, though
in the end the difference is not much.
There are many long distance bus companies
operating within Morocco which serve
The recommended bus companies for tourists are
CTM and Supratours. Other companies do
exist, though these two companies are usually your
Most ALSA (local destination bus company) and
private bus lines arrive at the long distance bus
station near Bab Doukkala, a 20 minute walk (DH
15 - 20 by petit taxi) from Jema el-Fna.
Supratours and Eurolines buses operate from here.
It's the place to take the buses from the small
companies, that go directly to small destinations.
From the long distance bus station, CTM and
private bus companies service destinations such as
Taroudant. Taxi touts will often gather in the
bus station to convince you that a bus to your
destination is 'full' and to steer you into a grand
taxi, and will attempt to sell you goods as your
taxi is prepared. This can be difficult if there is
nobody manning the ticket desks, and the best option
is to walk out of the station to the coaches - a
ticket can usually be purchased from a conductor
CTM has another small station at the Gueliz on
Zerktouni street. It's better to take the buses
there, because you can buy the tickets in advance.
Besides, the CTM's offices there are better and
there's no people trying to push you to their bus
The best option if you want to save time or if
you want to go in private. The best way is the big
bus. You will find them throughout the city and the
airport, they make you discover the city. The taxis
are very good and regular, be careful walking
through the main square though, its full of them
drving about, beeping you out of the way.
Once in the medina, everything can be seen on
foot, though you'll be doing a lot of walking.
For exploring more of the city, buses and
petits taxis are plentiful. Almost all buses
stop at Jema El Fna and Place Youssef Ben Tachfine
and fares range from DH 2 - 5 depending on the
distance. Important municipal bus lines are:
- No 1 - Towards Gueliz
- No 8 - Stops at the central train station
- No 10 - Stops at the long distance bus
- No 11 - Will drop you off at the gardens of
An alternative and romantic way to travel is by
caleche - pronounced kalesh - a small
horse-drawn carriage. They can be hired at Square de
Foucauld (the small park at the bottom of Djemma El
Fna). It's wise to agree on a price before setting
off. As a guide price, you should pay around DH 80
per hour, per carriage.
There is an open-topped City Sightseeing bus
that will take you around the outskirts of the city,
with commentary provided via headphones (supplied
with your ticket) in any of 8 different languages.
The best place to catch it is from the coach stops
by Square de Foucauld. Tickets cost DH 130 each and
are valid for 24 hours from the time of issue, no
matter how many times you get on or off. However,
check the timetable carefully, as the buses can stop
running earlier than you might think.
While not considered as well preserved as other
Moroccan cities such as
Fez, Marrakech offers several historical and
architectural sites as well as some interesting
- Djemma El Fna is the highlight of any
Marrakech night. Musicians, dancers, and story
tellers pack this square at the heart of the
medina, filling it with a cacophony of drum
beats and excited shouts. Scores of stalls sell
a wide array of Moroccan fare (see the Eat
section) and you will almost certainly be
accosted by women wanting to give you a henna
tattoo. Enjoy the various shows, but be prepared
to give some Dirhams to watch. By day it is
largley filled with snake charmers and people
with monkeys, as well as some of the more common
- The souks (suuqs), or markets
of Marrakech, just adjacent to Place Jema El
Fna, are where you can buy most anything. From
spices to shoes, jalabas to kaftans, tea pots to
tagines and much, much more. Undoubtedly, being
a foreigner means you will end up paying higher
prices than a native would, but be sure to
bargain nonetheless. The sellers here are much
less aggressive than say, Egypt or Turkey, so
- Koutoubia mosque, adjacent to Djemma
El Fna is named after the booksellers market
that used to be located here. It is said that
the minaret of the Koutoubia mosque is to
Marrakech as the Eiffel Tower is to Paris. The
minaret is visible from Gueliz which is
connected to the Medina by Avenue Mohammed V. At
night, the mosque is beautifully lit.
- Saadian Tombs were not discovered
until the beginning of the 20th century. They
have been preserved just like they were during
the glory days of the Saadian rulers. Unlike the
El Badi Palace, they were not destroyed-probably
for superstitious reasons. The entrance was only
blocked so they remained untouched for hundreds
of years. Inside you will find an overload of
Zelij (Morrocan tiles) and some beautiful
decoration. It does not take a lot of time to
explore, but it is definitely worth the visit.
While here, look for the tombs of Jews and
Christians; they are noted by their different
markings and direction of the tomb.
Majorelle Gardens, in
Gueliz has an entrance fee of DH 30 and is
more expensive than other attractions. However,
it provides an excellent respite from the hustle
and bustle of the city streets. The park boasts
a collection of plants from across the globe,
including what seems like every cactus species
on the planet. Get here early to avoid the
crowds. Inside the gardens is also the Museum
of Islamic Art, for which an additional
entrance fee is charged.
- Dar Si Saïd Museum, on Rue Riad
Zitoun Jdid, is a museum 5 minutes away from
Djemma El Fna. Set in an old palace, it houses
many different artifacts from
the ages, such as wood carvings, musical
instruments, and weapons. It is dedicated to the
Moroccan craft industry of wood, gathering a
very beautiful collection of popular art:
carpets, clothing, pottery and ceramics. All
these objects are regional, coming from
Marrakech and all the south, especially from Tensift,
High Atlas, Soussthe, Anti Atlas, Bani,
- Ben Youssef Madrassa is one of the
largest Madrassa's in the North Africa. It is a
school attached to the Ben Youssef Mosque and is
home to beautiful art and architecture.
- El Bahia palace is an ornate and
beautiful palace, popular with guided tours and
stray cats. The palace is well worth a visit and
gives a great impression of what it must have
been like to be a 19th century nobleman in
Morocco. There is a nice garden with banana
flowers, tranquil courtyards, and other lovely
plants. Admission is DH 10.
- El Badi palace is a palace now in
ruins and inhabited by storks and stray cats.
There are some underground passageways to
explore. Admission is DH 10. The view from the
terrace is majestic.
Marrakech can make a good base for exploring the
High Atlas or for organizing one to four day
- Berber Adventures
offers travelers the chance to visit
Berber villages and experience their life and
culture. Single or multi-day cultural excursions
in the High Atlas mountains are available.
higher-end accommodation in
excursions to the Atlas mountains, Land Rover
safaris, and balloon flights.
Take a relaxing flight up in the sky
in a hot air balloon. The views of
Marrakesh are breath taking. Fly over the wide
open tranquil deserts and the small local
villages while traveling through the sky in a
relaxed and peaceful manner. This fantastic
activity is available to any one with a sense of
adventure and an interest in the magnificent
culture that Morocco has to offer. An
opportunity not to be missed. Children-friendly.
- Many tours and excursions
departing from Marrakech. Included in the range
of tours available are day trips to Essouaira,
Imlil, the Ouzoud cascades and 2, 3 and 4 day
tours to the desert (including Zagora and
merzouga). Other options include: The impressive
110 meter waterfall, the Cascades d'Ouzoud,
are about 160km away and are well worth a day
- Sahara Tours, for
those seeking the comfort of an air-conditioned
4x4 and have money to spare, budget travelers
may want to check out this
There are two types of Hammam across
The first is the tourist hammam, where you
can go and be pampered and scrubbed by an
experienced staff member. These usually, as they are
promoted only to tourists, are the more expensive
option with pricing usually around DH 150 for a
hammam. They can not be technically referred to as a
proper hammam, but they are nonetheless enjoyable,
especially for the timid. Your hotel can recommend a
The second option is to visit a "popular"
Hammam. Popular hammams are the places where the
locals go. Ask the staff at your hotel where they
At the popular hammams, you do it all yourself.
To make the most of a popular hammam, you need to
take a scrubbing mitten (available cheap in the
Souks), a towel, and some extra underwear
(otherwise, you will be going home without any, as
it will be sopping wet). Popular hammams are often
only identified by tiles around a door and
entranceway. If you do not speak French or Arabic,
it could be a daunting, or at least a very
memorable, experience. Men & women have either
separate session times or separate hammams.
Nudity in a popular hammam is strictly
forbidden for men, so be prepared to wear your
underwear or a bathing suit. For women, you'll see
some wearing underwear and some going naked.
Whilst in a popular hammam, you may be offered
help and a massage from another person. It is
essential to remember that this massage is
nothing but a massage, with no other intentions.
Indeed sexual contact or presumption of sexual
contact does not occur in these places. If you
accept a massage, be prepared to return the favor.
Normal entrance prices for a popular hammam are
DH 7-15, a scrub will cost around DH 30, and a
massage another DH 30.
Les Bains de Marrakech, 2 Derb Sedra,
Bab Agnaou (same building as Riad Mehdi),
+212-24-38-14-28. Tourists-oriented in good sense:
couples can have Hammam together in a private
room. Extensive list of massages and spa
treatments from 30min to a full day. Reception
and attendants are proficient in speaking
English, however, the scrubbing and massage
personnel speak only very basic vocabulary.
Spices at a Marrakesh market.
Along with the major souk adjacent to the Djemaa
el Fna, there are a plethora of smaller souks
throughout the city where any number of products can
be bargained for. Keep an eye out for a wide array
of hand-crafted candle-holding lanterns, as well as
spectacular displays of local spices.
arrakech is home to a large tanning industry,
and leather goods of high quality can be bought here
cheaply. Check out camel leather items especially -
jackets, round poufs, and handbags.
Also of interest would be items made of the local
cactus silk, which is really rayon a natural fiber
made of plant cellelose and produced in
Rayon holds the chemical dyes well which accounts
for the vibrant range of true colors (natural dyes
cannot produce a "true"color). On offer are scarves,
handbags, tablecloths, bedspreads and throws in
stunning colors. Some merchants try to charge a
premium price for this "cactus silk".
Be sure to wander round the potters' souk, and
look for brightly coloured platters and bowls, as
well as tagines in all sizes .
Lovely cashmire shawls can also be had for less
than a fiver with a little bargaining.
If you cannot stand the the bargaining, there's
two government run shops where you can buy
handicrafts at fixed prices. Look for boutique
d'artisans. One is located near Djemaa el Fna while
the other one is in the ville nouvelle.
An option to explore the souks in a more tranquil
way is to go during the Friday prayer. Although some
shops will be closed, most stay open and are
significantly less crowded than at other times.
bargaining in the souks is expected. It is not
really possible to give an accurate indication of
how much to start the bargaining at in relation to
the initial asking price, but a general idea would
be to aim for approximately 50% off. Prices are set
on a daily, even, hourly basis, depending on how
much has been sold on a given day (or period of
hours), while also reflecting the vendor's personal
estimation of the potential client. The souks are
often a good reflection of the basic economic
principles of supply and demand, particularly with
regard to the demand side. If a lot of products have
been sold by a particular merchant he/she will raise
the price, and may refuse to sell any more products
for the rest of that day (or for days) unless the
price is much higher than usual. If there are many
tourists around prices go higher and bargaining even
small amounts off the asking price becomes quite
difficult. In addition, the seller will generally
inspect the client, whose dress and possessions
(particularly if the potential client sports an
expensive Swiss watch, camera, tourist trinkets of
obvious poor quality etc) are usually the main
indication of how high the price may be set above
the usual. However, the potential client's attitude
is also taken into consideration.
Taking all this and other factors into account
(such as the time of day, day of the week, season,
etc.), initial prices may be up to 50 times or more
in excess of normal prices, especially for more
expensive items, such as carpets. Carpets,
however, are a very specialized item and it is
necessary to have at least a cursory understanding
of production techniques and qualities. If possible
an ability to distinguish between hand-made and
machine-made carpets, hand-dyes, and the like is
helpful to avoid being utterly duped. Western
visitors would be surprised, for instance, how
beautiful a carpet can be appropriated by a skillful
negotiator inside of 50 euros.
Bargaining is an enjoyable experience for most
vendors and they prefer clients that don't
appear hurried and are willing to take the time to
negotiate. It is most often actually necessary to
give reasons why you believe the price should be
lower. The reasons you might give are limited only
by your imagination and often lead to some very
entertaining discussions. Common reasons may
include: the price of the item elsewhere, the item
not being exactly what you are after, the fact that
you have purchased other items from the stall/store,
that you have built a rapport with the vendor after
discussing football and so forth. On the other hand,
if there is little movement in the price after
some time, the best advice is to begin leaving,
this often has the result of kick-starting the
bidding anew, and if not, it is likely that the
merchant is actually unwilling to go further below a
given price, however absurd. In fact, the best
general advice is simply to go to several merchants
selling similar products and weigh their collective
prices and attitudes. Revisiting a merchant at a
later time may or may not allow you to bargain a
given product more effectively. In one respect, to
return puts the ball back in the vendor's court, as
it is obvious that he/she has the product you want
at the closest price. In another respect, if some
time has passed between visits, business has been
slow in the interim, and your return to the store is
interpreted as a gesture of fidelity, the price may
miraculously plummet. Many of the vendors can be
very charming themselves and a little charm may also
go a long way. Nevertheless, this should not entail
conceding to a vendor at an unacceptable price.
That, of course, would defeat the point. Rather,
charm is just another tactic that may or may not be
effective in reducing the price of a given item.
It is also important to show a genuine
interest for the workmanship of the product for
sale, no matter disinterested you may actually be in
what you are buying. This does not, however, mean
that you should appear over-enthusiastic, as this
will encourage the vendor to hold his or her price.
Rather, it is important to project a critical
appreciation for each article/object. Any defects
are either unacceptable or a further opportunity to
bargain the price down.
You should take caution to never begin bidding
for unwanted items or to give the vendor a price you
are unwilling or unable (with cash on hand) to pay.
Try to avoid paying by credit card at all costs. In
the event you do pay by credit card, never let it
out of your sight and demand as many receipts as
possible. There is typically a credit card carbon
copy and an official shop receipt.
Never tell a vendor where you are staying
and 'never tell a vendor how much you paid for
any other purchases. Just say you got a good
price and you want a good price from him or her too.
And, above all, never be afraid to say 'No'.
It must also be said that, as for us buyers, not
all sellers are actually very good at what they do.
A vendor that is completely disinterested or even
aggressive is unlikely to give a good price. Move
All in all, a good negotiation can be a fun
experience. Also remember that
Marrakech is the only
place visited by such a large quantity of tourists,
so prices can be higher than elsewhere, although not
necessarily so. If at all possible, look first at
the prices and qualities of items in other cities by
way of comparison.
Otherwise, if you buy sweet cakes, avoid buying
them in the Magasins where the scale is hidden. In
one of the main streets of the Medina, there are two
that often take advantages from that.
The main Carlie at Djemma El Fna is definitely
worth a visit and the food is priced on menus. In
little back streets the ambiance is more quiet,
although the price is higher and the quality may
vary a lot. Touts for Djemma huts can be among the
most persistent in Marrakech. Don't make them any
promises you don't intend on keeping or they'll get
mean and call you a liar. The line 'we already ate'
seems to work well to get them to stop.
In the square itself there are some locals such
- Cafe Agrana. On the edge of Djemma El
Fna. Try the pastilla - a sweet/savory pie
(either chicken or, for the adventurous, pigeon)
that melts in your mouth.
- Cafe Alhamra, Pl. Djemâa el Fna,
opposite Café de France. 065/04-74-11. On the
edge of the square, it serves up salads, pizza,
and pasta as well as a tagine of the day. Their
rooftop is a good place to have a late night
coffee and pastry while watching the events in
the square below.
- Cafe Mabrouk (off Jma el-Fna) serves
the same standard fare as everywhere else in a
little courtyard or terrace. Bland, hard pizzas,
- Chez Chegrouni, Tagine DH 35, Harira
DH 15. Near the main entrance to the market.
Maybe the best cheap restaurant in the square.
Their vegetarian couscous (DH 30) is supposedly
the only true vegetarian couscous in town; it's
also bland but they give you plenty of it.
Prices go up if you sit on the terrace. Usually
packed full of good-time tourists.
- Chez El Bahia is 50m away from Djemma
El Fna on Rue Riad Zitoune (the street that
starts at Wafa Restaurant). It has excellent and
well priced food in a quiet place. Try the
chicken and olives tajine and prune, almonds,
and mutton tajine for about DH 45 each. Try also
the Moroccan salad while they cook the rest of
- Earth Cafe is vegetarian-friendly.
Number 2, Derb Zawak, Riad Zitoun Kedim - Medina
- Marrakech -Morocco,
21260544992/21261289402. "If you are in the main
square though stand with cafe france to your
left and the large mousque to your right side.
walk across the square keeping to the left and
past a mosque ahead of you is an archway to a
narrow street, walk down that street and keep
looking at the signs hanging above and after
about 5minutes you will see a sign hanging for
earth cafe, it is down a narrow alleyway of the
right of the street and i think it has a yellow
- La Makarechi is opposite the market
and adjacent to the newspaper stand. With two
main courses and wine running at around DH 300,
this is one of the poshest restaurants in the
square. The food is not necessarily better than
elsewhere, but it is one of the few restaurants
that serve alcohol. It also has a completely
enclosed upstairs terrace, which is ideal for
views of the square when the weather is bad.
Take care eating the offered food on the main
market place Djemma El Fna and the other cheap
restaurants. Many of the dishes, including goat
heads and bowls of local snails (hot and tasty) may
seem too adventurous for the Western palate, but the
main problems are salads, which can cause diarrhea.
Vegetarians will find that there are few options
outside the ubiquitous Tagine avec Legumes.
For more upscale eateries (and especially for
non-Moroccan cuisine) you generally must go outside
the Medina to Ville Nouvelle. However, Diaffa
(Rue Jbel El Akhdar just off Av. Mohammed V, across
from Club Med), is an upscale restaurant in one of
the oldest buildings in the Medina, and offers
excellent Moroccan cuisine in an ambiance that
recalls the Orient at the height of its magic and
glory. The food, building (whether the tables around
the central courtyard and fountain or the
second-level balcony), and tactful and tasteful
entertainment are all not to be missed.
How to eat (well) in the
Djemma El Fna:
If you want to eat well in
Marrakech, do what the
locals do and eat at the food stalls in the Place.
It is a common misconception that these stalls are
here for the tourists. Actually, they have been in
existence long before Marrakech became a tourist
destination. All of the stalls can be regarded as
perfectly safe to eat at. They are strictly licensed
and controlled by the government, especially now as
it is a popular destination for tourists.
- There is no such thing as a "touristy food
stall" in the Djemaa.
- Prices tend to vary a little. Depending upon
how hungry you are, you can pay anything from DH
10 for a Bread filled with freshly grilled
sausages or perhaps a bowl of Harira soup to DH
100 for a full three course meal with salad,
bread, starter, main course, and tea.
- Try harira (great soup, good for veggies)
and the fried aubergines. Don't be afraid! Try
the lamb head: it's really tasty. Also, give a
chance to the "bull stew" (beef stew) on the
- Don't miss the tea! There is a row of tea
sellers along the front of the food stalls who
each sell tea for DH 1.5 each. Most of the tea
at these stalls is actually Ginseng tea with
cinnamon and ginger... most delicious and
- All food stalls at Djemma El Fna display the
price on the menus making it less likely you'll
be overcharged, but many will bring starters to
you without asking, then charge for them at the
- Drinks are rarely on the menu so it is
better to ask the price of them before ordering,
as they can often be comparatively high.
Hot mint tea with large amounts of sugar
is delicious and served in all restaurants and
Street vendors offer fresh orange juice (jus
d'Orange) by the glass for DH 3. Try it with a
dash of salt like the locals, but be wary of vendors
who try and water the juice down with tap water.
Also, pay attention when you buy as they offer 2
types of orange...the blood orange juice costs DH 10
per glass and a misunderstanding on what you want to
drink could occur.
Wine and beer will rarely be found outside
of restaurants catering to tourists.
However, Hotel Tazi in the Medina of
does have a public bar, serving beer and wine at not
too expensive prices. For a slightly unusual
experience, you could visit the Chesterfield Pub in
Hotel Nassil, 115 Avenue Mohammed V. Apparently an
'English pub' it serves Moroccan lager and has an
outside pool in a courtyard with palm trees (not an
entirely English experience!) Much less touristy
than it sounds (with a mainly local clientele) it
serves a decent pint.
There are three main zones to sleep: Medina,
Guéliz (also known as Ville Nouvelle), and the
surroundings of the city. The Medina has the highest
concentration of very cheap hotels and
ryads (small palaces).
Guéliz is much more quiet and most of the hotels
are mid price (including showers in the room,
Going to the medina from the Guéliz by taxi costs
about DH 10-15 and can take a long time at busy
periods (evenings and weekends).
The surroundings have all the huge tourist
hotels, the ones that usually come with what the
travel agencies offer. They can be far, but have big
swimming pools, restaurants, and many services.
Equity Point Marrakech - Riad Amazigh,
80, Derb El Hammam Mouassine
Marrakech Medina. This is a former luxury riad and it
has been turned into one of the most beautiful
traveller hostels. There are doubles, singles,
and dorms which house up to six people. It also
has an amazing roof top with nice views. It's
located in the best part of the medina, two
steps from Djemaa el-Fna. All rooms have full
bathrooms, incredible furniture, mezzanines,
cushions, etc. It's open 24 hours and you can
book all kinds of activities and excursions
(desert, mountains, etc.)
The Heart of the Medina backpackers
hostel, 47 Derb Ben Aissa, Dabachi . This
hostel recently opened on 1st March 2007 and is
the first backpackers hostel to be
located in the Marrakech Medina. A one minute
walk from the Djemaa place will get you there
and it offers guest kitchens, rooftop terrace,
free hot showers, and comfortable surroundings
in rooms with no more than six beds to a room.
Breakfast is included in the price as are bed
linens, towels, and free wifi. You can expect to
pay eight euro per person, per night during the
low season. During the high season, expect to
pay 13 euro per person, per night if booked in
advance via email or website. The Heart of the
Medina Backpackers Hostel has no lockouts, no
curfews, and is open 24/7 365 days each year.
- There is also a clean youth hostel (Rue
Mohammed el-Hansali, Tel: (0)44 7713) near the
train station with dorm beds from DH 70, it has
an 11:30PM curfew, an obligatory wake up call at
8A, and a daily daytime lockout. It is a fair
distance from the action in the heart of the
medina. A taxi can cost between DH 15-20.
The Medina is packed with Riads (old grand houses
converted into hotels and inns). While more
expensive, these are wonderful places to stay to get
a feel for life in Marrakech.
Hotel Riad Primavera,
kosher hotel in all of Morocco. The kosher
certification is located in the lobby and is
issued by the Beth Din of
Marrakech. There are
22 rooms at this property located outside of the
old city, just off of Allal Fassi Avenue and
near the Marjane department store. All the rooms
have personal air conditioning units,
televisions, bathrooms with showers, and are
decorated in typical Moroccan style. Prices tend
to rise during major Jewish holidays and
festivals. There are three Moroccan police
officers on duty outside the hotel as well as
116 Derb El Hammam, Mouassine,
As the web site puts
it, surely this is among the very best located
of Marrakech's new boutique hotels! On the very
doorstep of the souks, and less than three
minutes' walk from the attractions of Jemaa El
Fnaa square lies this chic and cosy riad
offering an oasis of quiet calm from the chaos
outside. Ismail and his team seem to have
achieved the perfect balance between making a
relaxed and informal atmosphere, yet providing a
slick and professional service with great
attention to detail. And as for Fadila's cooking
- and the fabulous fresh baked breads at
breakfast - why would you want to eat anywhere
else? Gorgeous roof terrace and not one, but two
candle-lit/petal-strewn courtyard patios (one
with plunge pool). €95 to €230.
61, rue Sidi El Yamani - Mouassin - 44000
+00 33 (0)6 23 92 40
bathed in sun all the year round is souks,
palaces, colours, sounds and the square Djema El
Fna...In our search for this lodging address in
Morocco, albeit it long-awaited, we hunted
throughout the passages of the
to locate this perfect setting. Riad
l'Orangeraie, restored to its previous grandeur
by a passionate team, is an ancient
residence which has been transformed into a Riad
with a delightful ambiance, harmoniously
combining ancient traditions with comforts of
the contemporary world. More than a beautiful
hotel, the Riad is a guest house with seven
spicy bedrooms, warm and colourful like their
name, opening on to two patios... The garden
patio is where you can enjoy the flowers and
aromatic plants while the birds sing and the
fountain trickles in the background. The pool
patio is an invitation to the art of relaxation,
beside the sky blue mosaic pool or in the
vapours of the steam room. On the dazzling roof
terrace you rest above the treasures of
Marrakech with views of the snow capped Atlas
Mountains in the distance. Enjoy
the heart of the Medina!
€130 to €140..
The budget conscious will have more luck in the
streets and alleyways south of Jema El Fna, which
are packed with discount hotels offering singles
from DH 50. Popular options with backpackers include:
- Hotel Smara, 77 sidi Bouloukat, Tel:
+212 24 44 55 68. Near Jema El Efna. Very clean,
friendly people, nice rooms. DH 50 and doubles
- Hotel Essaouira , 3 Derb Sidi Bouloukat, Tel: +212 24
443805. The hotel has singles with shared bath
from DH 50 and doubles from DH 90. It's more or
less like the others, but it's all painted in
the traditional way which gives some charm to
it. Toilets and showers typically unappealing -
a norm at this price range. Hot water doesn't
stay hot for long. Overall very good value and
comfortable place from which to explore the old
- Hotel Imouzzer, 74 Derb Sidi
Bouloukate, Tel: +212 24 445366. Near Hotel
Essaouira; very friendly and clean and has a
pleasant rooftop terrace cafe. Singles / doubles
with shared bath are DH 50 / 100 and
cash-strapped travellers can sleep on the
terrace for just DH 25.
- In the little streets between rue Bab Agnaou
and rue Riad Zitoune (where the Smara, the
Essaouira, and the Imouzzer are) there are a lot
of other small hostels and it is difficult to
get lost as they are surrounded by these two big
streets and place Djemma El Fna. It could be a
good idea to get there with enough sunlight
(best in the morning) and wander around
comparing many hostels in a short time.
- Hotel Central Palace (59, Sidi
Bouloukate) near Jma el-Fna. Rooms are around a
noisy and echoey central courtyard. Rooms are
clean, but the shared toilets are another story
- filthy and stinking. Indifferent staff and
bitter housekeepers. Nice terrace with great
view, rooms starting at DH 150 for a double room
with shared showers/toilet. You get what you pay
for; but all in all it's a good value
considering the fact that
Marrakech is more
expensive that most other places in
rentals can be arranged (around DH 350 per day
for a small but fairly new car).
- Hotel Ali, Rue Moulay Ismail. Offer beds in
ensuite, dorms, and rooftop terrace mattresses
for DH 60 per person, per night (about six euro)
including cooked breakfasts served with OJ and
fresh coffee. Dorm guests can use the internet
cafe for five Dirhams per hour. They have all
the amenities a traveller could ask for,
including a laundry service and free internet
access for private room guests, money exchange,
a terrace restaurant with views of Jema El Efna
and even a downstairs hammam. Private
rooms are available with a maximum per person
price of DH 250 per night including breakfast,
free internet, and a daily traditional Hammam.
- Riad Dar Mimouna, Sidi M'Barek n°151, Sidi Mimoun, tel:
+212 44 38 40 78, fax: +212 44 38 40 79. A few
minutes walk from Place Jemâa El Fna and the
Koutoubia Mosque. Breakfast is included and is
served at the terrace. There is also a hammam at
the terrace, free for use by guests and you
would just need to tell them in advance when you
would like to use it. Also, this riad sells
alcohol. It is kept in the fridge behind the
counter. Just ask for the alcohol menu!
- Riad Kalila, Derb Snane n° 65-66, Tel: +212 24 39
16 82. Beautifully renovated Riad in the heart
of the Medina. Chill in the coolness of the
inner patio or soak in the morrocan sun on the
upper terrace's lounge chairs. Enjoy views of
the snow covered Atlas peaks from the tastefully
furnished rooftop terrace. Riad Kalila is
located just a short walk from Place Jemâa El
Fna, La Koutoubia, and many other must-see
- Riad Rahba. Offers private, ensuite rooms and is
located 1 minute from the Djemaa place, at the
entrance to the Souks. The Riad combines the
traditional Moroccan atmosphere with the
comforts of a modern hostel and hotel. The rates
include breakfast and it is fast becoming a
favorite with backpackers and independent
travellers alike. The private ensuite rooms are
available from 18 euro per single ensuite room
- Résidance Goumassine, 71 Blvd
Mohammed Zerktouni, Tel: (0)44 433086, Fax:
(0)44 4333012. Residence with different kinds of
rooms for about DH 300 the double room with
either kitchen or Moroccan saloon. Don't
expect to reduce the price if you stay there
many days. It has a small swimming pool and a
bar that can serve (quite expensive) breakfasts.
- Villa Dar El Kanoun, Route de Targa, Tel: +212(0)24 492010,
Fax: +212(0)24 340635. Luxury B&B villa with
swimming pool and garden. It offers five
comfortable double rooms in a quiet residential
area nearby Marrakech downtown. The team there
will do everything to make your stay in
Marrakech unforgettable. Breakfast is included.
Rates begin at 89 €/night (for a double room).
- Hotel Ibis (Near the train station)
is a really clean and peaceful hotel which is
within a short taxi ride to all the action. If
you want to be able to escape the hustle and
bustle during the heat of the day and chill out
by a pool this place is perfect. Decent value
for money as well. Lovely rooms and shower.
Can't quite work out how the pool remained that
cold though under the heat of the sun all day!
Aside from the usual scams listed on the
Morocco page, watch out for tourist touts that
offer to take you to the medieval dye pits which,
unlike the popular dye pits in
Fez, are not worth the visit. Note that the
touts work in pairs. The first takes you to the dye
pit, saying he is just "going to work" or something
similar. He will try to convince you it's only open
"One day for one week." He then introduces you to
his friend to guide you round the pits. After that
you will be taken to a shop where you will be
expected to buy some leather. Both of them expect to
be paid (and probably get a commission out of any
purchase you make in the shop). If you refuse to
pay, they will get very annoyed, start shouting, and
follow you incessantly for a long time. However,
they are unlikely to become violent.
If you are obviously lost in the Medina, then it
is common for people to offer to help with
directions or even lead you to what you are looking
for. Although not apparent at first, these people
expect to be paid and will often lead you round in
circles to increase the amount. Also, people may say
that the place you are looking for is closed, but
they will take you somewhere else that's better.
This is almost always a lie. The best people to ask
for directions are people behind a counter, as they
cannot lead you because they don't want to leave
their stall. If you are seriously lost, getting
someone to lead you back is an option, but you
should not give them more than DH 10-20, no matter
how much they complain.
There are often people in Djemma El Fna offering
henna tattoos, which are popular with locals
and tourists alike. But among the many genuine
traders are one or two scam artists. They appear
very charming and trustworthy while you choose a
design, but will then cleverly divert your
attention. Before you know it, you have the
beginnings of a rather poor henna tattoo. The scam
artist later demands massive payments, in whatever
currency you have (Dirhams or not). After emptying
your pockets, if they consider you can afford more,
they will demand that you visit a nearby ATM. Always
agree on a firm price before work starts. If you
can't do this, insist that the operator stops
immediately - then go to another (hopefully more
reliable) operator to get your design completed.
Most Moroccans are tourist-friendly and are not
aggressive, so sometimes making a fuss in public can
generate unwanted attention for a scam artist and
shame them into backing off.
However, be especially careful about being
drugged, especially as a solo traveller. The
common and easy-to-make drug GHB only lasts three
hours and is undetectable in the body after seven
hours, so if you are attacked take action
immediately. Do not trust room service if you are a
solo traveller -- even older women are targets for
robbery, if not rape.
In addition to all that the city itself offers,
Marrakech can also be used as a base station for
various day trips into the High Atlas mountains. The
following are a few possible day trip destinations.
- Amizmiz - With one of the largest Berber
souks in the
High Atlas Mountains every Tuesday, Amizmiz
is well-worth a trip. This is especially true
for those travellers wishing to experience the
less urban, less touristy mountain towns of the
Asni - A lovely rural village in the
Atlas mountains. Hostel Marrakech provides day
trips to this beautiful location.
Oukaimeden - Oukaïmeden. Ski lift at
3268 m. The snow falls in the mountains just
south of Marrakech every winter. And it stays.
Wealthy people from all over southern
have since long learned to enjoy skiing in their
own country. This has given the ski resort, Oukaïmeden, a distinct Moroccan touch, too. You
don't need to bring your ski equipment all the
way from home, all you need can be rented. You
should only pay around 250 dh for a full day
here (including a lift pass). Standing on the
top of the ski lift, 3,273 metres above sea
level, look out on sparkling snow that ends in
the fairy tale valley below. Remember to stop
for a minute or two. You're in subtropical
Africa, you know! Oukaïmeden and the areas
around are some of the greatest in
four seasons, and ever changing nature. In
summer, few people enter this area — it is
probably too well known for winter sports. But
staying here a day or two is a real treat.
Enjoying the luscious nature around you by
setting out hiking in the mountains.
Setti Fatma A village at the end of the
proper motor road up the Ourika Valley. The
residential part is situated above the road and
is not much visited, interesting rather than
delightful. The attractions are the lovely
valley scenery and a walk to seven waterfalls -
or for most day visitors one waterfall from
which others can be seen.
|To go on up
into the mountains, Ourika Asni
Toubkal Amzmiz Oukaymden.. or if you
are interested to trek sahara.. you can use the
form on contact us
page to help light up
your trip.. also you can send us Email: