In November I went to Marrakesh with some girlfriends to celebrate my 40th Birthday. We stayed in a traditional Riad in the old town just off of the Medina. I am sharing some tips for visiting Marrakesh as before we went our destination raised a few eyebrows. I think this is partly because of the unknown and perhaps a sigma attached around the safety of the city. Lets start by saying now that it’s perfectly safe if you are sensible and although we had great fun. I would not be taking the boys at their current ages.  There are some things that you can do before you make your journey to ensure the experience is as good as it can be..

Tips for Visiting Marrakesh

Accommodation

If you can I would recommend staying in a Riad.  Not only does this give you the authentic experience but many of them are located centrally. Meaning that they are within easy reach as many of the main tourist attractions. I have visited before with my husband and we stayed in a hotel just on the outskirts of the city. Many of the luxurious hotels are even further out. We met a couple when we did the cooking class on their honeymoon. They were having to get taxis everywhere and were not in the position to pop back to freshen up. Which in the hotter months you will probably want to do .

Clothing

It is a Muslim country and therefore we should respectful of this. Although there were some tourists that did not stick to the policy of nothing above the knee and, if you are a woman your shoulders covered at all time.  I did notice that many people were covered up.

Airport Transfers

I arranged our airport transfers with the Riad.  Many will offer them as will the hotels. If you are  staying in a Riad then  I would encourage you to arrange an airport transfer through them. As many of the Riads in the old town are down little alleyways. Therefore it is easy to get lost when you first arrive or abe taken to the wrong location. We also used the transfer service that our Riad offered when travelling around the city to go to restaurants. We preferred  to use this than the taxis. Although getting a taxi is not difficult as there are plenty around we just wanted to know how much it would be before we start the journey.

Currency

The Dihna is a closed currency which means that you cannot purchase it before you arrive in Morocco.  It is possible to get Dihna at the airport when you arrive.  Although there was quite long queues as the kiosk. As we didn’t need any cash initially we decided to use the cash points in the city itself. Many places will also take euro and certain bills (such as the Riad) were even quoted in euros. We also found a currency exchange just of the media where it is possible to change dollars, euros and gbp into Dihna. Although I am not sure if the interest rate was particularly good. Many places also take plastic, the only place we had any trouble with was actually the sight seeing bus which demanded we pay in cash.

Activities

I always like to book activities ahead of any short break. When we visited Marrakech we did the same booking  our activities prior to arrival. This included a private yoga instructor, a cooking class and a specific Michelln stared restaurant we went to visit. Most of it we managed to do online with minimal hassle. Our cooking class was with the clock café. I would highly recommend this if you’re looking to visit. Not only did it give us a chance to explore the flavours of Morocco. But we also met some like-minded travellers and got a chance to chat about travels over a wonderful meal.
Tips for visiting Marrakesh

Sight Seeing

If you plan to visit some of the tourist sights then it’s worth noting that they all cost 70 Dh per person. We visited the palace, the tombs and the YSL garden. Many other places don’t take card although the YSL Gardens did which means that you need to have the money ready available in cash. When we visited the palace as we didn’t have small notes we struggled to get in without the right change.
If you are limited on time or funds and only really want to see one of them,  I would recommend the gardens. As we found the other two are slightly disappointing. In comparison you get a lot more for your money in the YSL Gardens. If you do decide to visit then go early. We arrived late morning and the queue was really long! Thankfully around lunchtime it dissipated a lot so we decided to join the queue. It took us around fifteen minutes. You can book tickets in advance and I would do this if time is short.

Shopping

Our first port of call was the souks at the back of the Medina. We found that they were more expensive when compared to some of the smaller ones in the city.  I think this is because they attract the most tourists and are the most well know. For example a stuffed camel cost 150 Dh in the souk, this was the starting price without negotiation but would not consider dropping to 100Dh.  However we managed to find the same camel and purchase two with a little haggling for 140 Dh in one of the tourist shops.
We found that certain things had fixed prices,  such as fridge magnets and smaller items across all the outlets. Meaning that there was no negotiation. Our experience in the souks was a good one, we were early approached or hassled in anyway. When when we were we found a firm no was enough for them to leave us alone.  Be aware that many of the little shops to not allow photography. I’m sure this changes if you pay for something. When walking around the biggest issue with the souks was the mopeds. We found that even in the most crowded alleyways mopeds were used to move around. In a slightly wider roads there was a lot of them and they go quite fast. This is the reason why I do you not feel Marrakesh is a suitable destination for young family. Keeping an eye on a toddler would have  been a nightmare in that situation. Even as an adult you need to be aware as we saw several incidents doing a short stay.
Tips for visiting Marrakesh

Food and drink

We  food  to be well priced, a two course meal for four, including a sharing starter without wine cost around £80. However you will pay a premium for alcohol. We found that many of the restaurants will serve beer and wine with food.  Our Riad also had an alcohol license. Some of the larger hotels also had a bar however you will need to check to see if it is for hotel residents only. If you are looking for a more traditional bar they do exist but they tend to be higher up and will not be visible from the street.
Tips for visiting Marrakesh
We had a great time in Marrakech and I hope these tips will help with your trip. Please let me know if there is anything I have missed in the comments below.

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Tips for visiting Marrakesh
Tips for visiting Marrakesh

Tips for visiting Marrakesh Tips for visiting Marrakesh

40 Comments

  1. Wonderful blog post. I have never visited Morocco. I have always wanted to go, but never had a reason to visit. Now I kind of want to go. Props for adding food pictures to the post. Thank you for sharing.

  2. ALWAYS have I wanted to go here!!! And you’re getting me excited about it! I would love to do a cooking class over there because Marrakesh cuisine is some of my favorite!!

  3. What an incredible place to visit for your 40th birthday! I would love to go one day, after my Dad and brothers went and spoke highly of the culture to see over there 🙂

  4. Seems like you had fun with your 40th birthday trip in Marrakesh. Sounds like it’s worth the visit. What even makes me more excited is the food.

  5. I went to Marrakesh a while ago and would love to go back. These are really useful tips for first timers. We had a bit of an intense experience in the souk!

    • Andrea Fletcher Reply

      I have never visited Morocco, sounds like a great place to have celebrate your birthday.

  6. This looks like amazing experience. I have never been there, but I would love to visit one day x

  7. How fab to go here for your 40th! I’ve never been but family have before. It sounds pricey in parts but lots to do. Love the bright photos too!

  8. This is definitely a place I’d like to visit some day. I like that you brought up the point about it raising eyebrows when you told some people you were going to visit. I think a person should do a little research before visiting any place. Especially if it’s just women visiting. It’s good to know a little bit about the culture etc. Looks like you had a great time. The food looks amazing!

  9. Wow, your photos are beautiful. I also enjoyed Marrakech but do agree that the mopeds can be overwhelming. I always walked very close to the wall when going through alleys which seemed to help.

  10. Eileen M Loya Reply

    Wow. Marrakesh is so beautiful. I love the old world charm. The buildings are definitely a sight to see. Oh, and I love those shoes! If I ever get there, I’d get myself a few pairs in different colors!

  11. Lavern Moore Reply

    These are some great tips for visiting Marrakesh.
    I would consider celebrating my birthday there too!

  12. I have always wanted to travel there its been on my list for so long,

  13. Peter Watson Reply

    I’ve wanted to go back to Morocco for some time and you have whetted my appetite.

  14. We went to Marrakesh a few years ago and I really enjoyed our trip although I didn’t like the constant hassling from locals wanting to be our guide. There are some great tips here and looks like you had a lovely time.

  15. I would 100% agree with you about small children in the Medina’s. We found that incredibly stressful when we were in the Medina in Agadir.

  16. Michelle Lewis-Robertson Reply

    I’ve never been to Marrakesh but it is an area I’ve always wanted to explore. The tips you have provided are great for first time travellers like myself

  17. Sheena Batey Reply

    It looks like a very interesting place but perhaps a bit out of my comfort zone

  18. I’ve heard so many great things about Marrakesh, I love the colours and how vibrant everything is too. Great tips for people making the trip there

  19. This is not a place I have visited however is somewhere I would like to explore in the future. From the pictures you have shared it looks absolutely beautiful. The cooking class is such a good idea, I love to try new and local foods so what better way to do it than by learning how to make some traditional dishes.

  20. I’ve not been, but want to go. I saw a TV programme about the riads and wanted to stay in one. I would love to walk through the markets too

  21. Rose Ann Sales Reply

    Thanks for sharing some pics,such a great guide. Morocco is so wonderful,wish I could visit one day.

  22. Rinrainbow Reply

    Amazing article! I always want to visit there for my photography!! Thanks for sharing

  23. Fuzion Mag Reply

    Sounds like a great place to explore,thanks for the guide,I will add this to my bucket list.

  24. This is very informative! I’ve always wanted to Marrakesh but not sure how safe the place is. It sounds fabulous!!!

    xo,
    Jay

  25. The food looks really interesting so a cookery class is a great idea to get all the family involved!

  26. My parents visited Marrakesh a couple if years ago and absolutely loved it. It looks like an amazing place, so colourful.

  27. Bindu Thomas Reply

    You have shared really useful and practical tips for first time visitors to Marrakech. Belated Happy Birthday!

  28. Sounds a great visit. Thanks for sharing some pics,such a great guide. The tips you have provided are great for first time travelers like myself.

  29. Some really wonderful tips, I have never visited before but will definately consider doing so now.

  30. Carly Belsey Reply

    What a lovely place to visit for your 40th. That food looks totally amazing!!

  31. Jhentea De Guzman Reply

    What a lovely place to explore,thanks for sharing this guide. I hope to visit someday.

  32. I thoroughly enjoy all your posts but this is one of your best, absolutely full of incredibly useful info. Thank you for including shopping, too. Searching for local crafts is one of the pleasures I gain from visiting other countries.

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