I’m not here to tell what you should or shouldn’t have to do in the Medina of Marrakech but I feel as if I should give you some tips which I’m sure could help you through your stay in this crazy beautiful pink city of Morocco. Based on the assumption that no trip to Morocco could be considered complete without visiting Marrakech, it is normal that it is on the list of all tourists headed to Morocco. This 1000-year-old pink city is home to the busiest medina of the country, (where menpower is still quite strong), relaxing hammam, amazing handicrafts and some of the most gorgeous architectures that you can’t find anywhere else. Marrakech is also famous for its beautiful riads, most of them converted today in guesthouses and shops.
In the last few years, not to mention of the year 2019, tourism in Marrakech (or Marrakesh) has started to blast off and they have a goal of doubling the number of tourists visiting Morocco by the year 2020. Marrakech has tons of pros and cons and here’s the ultimate Marrakech travel guide for you guys! Be smart! Read and surprise them!
- Getting lost in the medina is one of the most beautiful things to do in Marrakech but you should know that your number one enemies are scooters and mopeds. Moroccans obviously know their medina very well and they drive like crazy so while walking stay always on the right. Moreover, you must pay attention to your bags, because on two wheels it is easy to grab the pedestrians’ belongings. Stay always alert while in streets. Nothing happened to us but the art of stealing is common in the medina. Just know that the early morning hours until 10.30 are pretty quite. Life begins and ends up late here.
- Download Google offline maps! There is no other better map than that to navigate in the medina.
- Never show yourself disoriented or confused, otherwise, they’ll take the lead. Whoever is around becomes your guide and wants to take you somewhere in return for money! Just so you know that hardly ever they are satisfied with ten Dirham. If you need help or directions always ask someone who is working at the moment, someone who can’t leave the place. Pay attention because sometimes it also happened that they gave us wrong directions in such a way that we had to ask for their help then.
- There is no dress code required for Marrakech but come-on guys, be polite! I’m not taking anyone side; I just like to respect cultures and traditions, especially when I’m at others home. This is not also what we want in our country? So think seriously, do you really need to show your shoulders and thighs where people use to keep themselves coved from head to toes?
- If you ever eat in the street food stalls of Jemaa El Fna Square (it is a must of course), remember to keep the items you order well marked and the respective prices. They will for sure try to cheat you and will charge you more! We ate at stall number 5 and they asked us 460 Dirhams for unimaginable food that we have never ordered. The day after we tried a ristorant called Dar Belkabir in Jemaa El Fna Square where we eat delicious food and spent less than half.
- We noticed that prices were often displayed as clear as they may be in the majority of the side streets shops of the medina. At least that way they won’t be able to shoot you a random price!
- You should know that most of the men in Marrakech Medina, good or bad speak all of the European languages and this was really annoying because we never could discuss something (on prices, a place to eat, buying something or not) without them putting their two cents!
- Photography is a very sensitive subject in Marrakech! Few want it and someone just accepts in return of some money. When it comes to Jemaa El Fna Square, you pay from 5 to 10 Dirham for every single click, whether that is of a monkey or a person. It seems a bit too touristy for my liking, however, sometimes I couldn’t resist.
- Never go out of the hotel without coins. It is all about tips! You can’t avoid this because they are very good in intimidating people.
- Try to be at the Jemaa El Fna Square at least ten minutes before the sunset. If possible don’t miss the mint tea in one of those terraces. Not necessary at the Café de France, there are many more giving the same view up there! It is amazing seeing the people putting up their stalls when the sun sets down behind the Mosque.
- There are several tanneries in Marrakech, (have nothing to do with the Chouara Tannery in Fes). We suggest you the Association Sidi Yacoub. Chez Hassan Berbere leather shop allows the free terrace view to this tannery. When you are in the tannery area everyone tries to take you to their own one, obviously in return of money! We gave 20 Dirham each to the first guy who has approached. We should have taken our time to explore before paying him because his tannery was not really that much good compared to others around.
- If you want to be smart, learn some words and phrases in Moroccan! Believe me, they will appreciate it!
- One of the most shocking things we saw in Marrakech was certainly the way they kill the hens! Oh my gosh. Moroccans eat a lot of chicken and inside the medina, there are places where they keep the hens closed inside the cage. They kill it in right in front of the customer to prove it is fresh! There is also an area close to the Jeema El Fna Square where you can find one close to another.
- If you are in Marrakech then you should stay in a Riad. You have plenty of choices, of course, there are riads for everyone’s pocket and taste: modern styled ones or traditional ones for the price starting from € 25 to € 200 or even more. With more than 500 riads in the Medina, even if you are on a budget, you can still have a wonderful one.
Read also: What is a Riad in Morocco
- Probably Marrakech is one of the safest cities in Morocco. Now, if you ask me if it is safe for solo travellers or solo women, I can actually say yes but it is at your own risk. There aren’t any special restrictions but I think you need much more precautions! Going with a man is better! I tried them both and I have seen how things change.
These are just some practical and really useful tips for visiting Marrakech Medina. I hope I have covered the most important ones which will certainly make your “things to do in Marrakech” more enjoyable. I can recommend this article on The Best and Worst of Marrakesh to see things from another person’s perspective.
Is there a super important tip that we’ve completely forgotten? Let us know in the comment box! Plus, let us know when you tick off each activity by tagging #mewithmysuitcase or @mewithmysuitcase in your holiday snaps. Could be really interesting!