Oasis Lodges Marrakech
A relaxed alcohol-free property with authentic décor, its indoor pool is open to women-only at set times.
- Air Condition
- All food in the Hotel is always Halal
- Cable TV
- Exchange office
- Free parking
- Free toiletries
- Halal food is available in restaurants within 1/2km of the property
- Indoor pool
- Indoor pool for ladies only
- Ladies only Wellness & Spa
- Outdoor pool
- Pets allowed
- Private bathroom
- Private entrance
- Safety deposit box
- Wake up service
- Wireless internet
Marrakech, also spelt Marrakesh, is one of the imperial cities of Morocco.
The name Marrakech originates from the Amazigh (Berber) words mur (n) wakush, which means "Land of God". It is the third largest city in Morocco after Casablanca and Rabat, and lies near the foothills of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains and a few hours away from the foot of the Sahara Desert. Its location and contrasting landscape has made it an enviable destination in Morocco.
The city is divided into two parts: the Medina, the historical city, and the new European modern district called Gueliz or Ville Nouvelle. The Medina is full of intertwining narrow passageways and local shops full of character; it also contains the large square Djemaa el Fna, where many hotels are located and tourists, locals and vendors congregate. In contrast, Gueliz plays host to modern restaurants, fast food chains and big brand stores.
Marrakech is the main tourism destination in Morocco and thus it is also a place where many Moroccans try to become rich fast by ripping off tourists. This mentality is so widespread that even Moroccans are now ripped off whenever possible so that they call the city "Marrakech, Arnakech" - which rhymes in Arabic and translates to "Marrakech, Mafia".
For further information, you may also visit the Marrakech Tourist Information (at a small square at the intersection of Avenue Mohammed V and Rue de Yugoslavie).
- Marrakech-Menara Airport, . The airport has two terminals housed in one complex. Both terminals have money exchange offices, and there is an ATM in the arrivals hall of Terminal 2. On ATMs, check for the Maestro, Cirrus or Plus logos to be sure that the machine accepts foreign credit cards. Beware as some of the ATMs work only in French. If your card is taken at the ATM, tell airport security and they can help you get it back. There are no potable water dispensers after the security check and the small shops only see overpriced 0.5L water bottles. However the tap water from the WC tastes slightly of chlorine and is drinkable for tourists.
For some airlines (e.g. Ryanair in 2018) can only use the smartphone or mobile app for check-in but have to arrive at the airport with a print-out of your ticket. You also need to queue at the check-in counter before entering the security check (even if you do not have drop-off luggage), to get your tickets stamped by the airline, so better arrive earlier than usual.
Marrakech has an international airport with direct scheduled flights from many major European centres, including flights operated by a number of low cost carriers. Connections via Casablanca (45-min flight) are also possible.
- Easyjet flies to Marrakech from Manchester, Stansted and Gatwick Airport (and also from Madrid, from Lyon, Amsterdam and from Basel)
- Ryanair - direct flights from Porto (Portugal), London Luton, and London Stansted to Marrakech. They also fly from Frankfurt-Hahn (Germany), Alicante (Spain), Girona (Spain), Eindhoven (the Netherlands), Milano Bergamo (Italy), Madrid and Reus (Spain), Dublin (Ireland) to Marrakech.
- Thomson Airways travels from London Gatwick and Manchester.
- British Airways flies from London Gatwick.
- TUIfly flies from Cologne and several other European destinations.
- Transavia a low-cost airline from Air France-KLM group coming to Marrakech from several cities in Europe, including Paris.
- Norwegian offers direct flights from Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm.
- Iberia offers two non stop flights from Madrid.
- TAP Portugal offers direct flights from Lisbon
- Domestic flights operated by Royal Air Morocco, with flights from Agadir, Casablanca (daily), Fez (daily), Ouarzazate, Al Hoceima, and Tangier.
The airport is about 9 km south-west of the city center (Medina), and 6.6 km from the Djemaa el Fna square.
The No 19 Airport express bus is 30 dirham for a single trip or 50 dirham for round trip (if the return trip is within 2 weeks of purchase). It serves all the major hotels and is a great way to go from the airport to the hotels. You can easily find its departure stop, to the left of the road immediately outside of the Arrivals Hall at Terminal 2, after the taxis. The bus leaves the airport every half an hour between 07:00 and 21:30. The bus has no particular stops except Jeema El Fna and can stop anywhere on the route. The driver has a small map to hand out and you can tell the driver your hotel you are heading to.
You can also catch No 11 city bus which runs from M'Hamid district to the long distance bus station at Bab Doukkala, stopping also at Jeema El Fna. It stops on Avenue Gnassa - main road near airport, 500 m from terminal. This is an option only for people without large, heavy luggage, but it is the cheapest one - the bus costs 3.50 dirham.
The airport is about a 10-15 min ride by petit taxi from the city center. Prices directly from the airport are fixed, insanely inflated and displayed prominently just outside the airport (just like at every airport in Morocco). Walking the 200 m across the parking lot to the road and hailing a taxi there will get you a much, much better price (about 20 dirham compared to the official 200 dirham).
Many hotels and riads offer a shuttle service for about €15. The advantage is that you avoid the hassle, pay slightly less than the official rate and they will lead you all the way to you lodging, even if the car cannot drive there. However, you might have to wait a while for all your fellow passengers to get out of the airport.
Several international rental car companies are based at the airport as well.
If you do not have too much luggage then it is possible to walk from the airport to the Medina even though it would take you from an hour and half to two hours. There is a footpath alongside the road all the way and the minaret of the Koutoubia mosque provides an excellent landmark to head towards. If you have enough time you can break the trip with a visit to the Menara gardens, which are between the airport and the city.
- Train station, Avenue Hassan II (Guéliz district).
Getting there: Some taxi drivers will offer their services in the train station or just in front of it. They usually don't use their meter and ask for at least 50 dirham to Djemaa el Fna. Ignore them and hail one on the main road. The metered fair to Djemaa el Fna is about 12 dirham, if you want to avoid any discussions just offer 20 dirham upfront and take the first taxi that accepts this offer.
Trains from Casablanca (2nd class 84 dirham, 1st class 150 dirham, 3 hr), Rabat and Tangier connect with most domestic rail destinations in the country, with Marrakech as the southernmost stop. Trains run regularly between Marrakech and Casablanca (including the International Airport). They arrive around every two hours and regularly from other destinations like Rabat. Every day there are 8 direct 7 hr trains to Fez via Casablanca Voyageurs station and another two direct connections to Tangier.
From Tangier it's about a 10-hr journey. You can travel either by day train or night train. During the daytime, you will need to change trains for a connection halfway through the journey creating a welcome break for about 30 min. The night trains which leaves for Marrakech from Tangier travels 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 350 dirham). If you're planning to go cheap and take the night train on the regular seats in second class (and planning to sleep), you'll be interrupted by movement of passengers and a few times by the ticket conductors throughout the night. It's a great way to travel but don't plan on sleeping on the train, especially if you are travelling alone.
There is no train line further south than Marrakech in Morocco; if you want to head south, to the desert, Atlas Mountains, Agadir or Essaouira on the coast, you'll have to get a bus, rental car or grand taxi.
Moroccan trains do not have restaurant cars. A snack trolley makes the rounds with sandwiches, soft drinks and coffee, but bringing some food for the journey isn't a bad idea. Stops in Casablanca and Rabat usually are long enough to grab a bite in the station en route.
There are many long distance bus companies operating within Morocco which serve Marrakech and other cities.
The recommended bus companies for tourists are CTM, Pullman du sud and Supratours. Other companies do exist, though these three companies are usually the safest options.
Most ALSA (local destination bus company) and private bus lines depart and arrive at the long distance bus station (gare routière) near Bab Doukkala, a 20-min walk (15-20 dirham by petit taxi) from Djemaa 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.
The long distance bus station, CTM and private bus companies travel to destinations such as Agadir, Safi, Casablanca, El Jadida, Essaouira, Fez, Meknes, Ouarzazate, Rabat, and Taroudannt. 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 on board.
For trips to Meknes (6 hr, ~120 dirham), while seemingly shorter on the map, the mountain route via Beni Mellal takes at least 2 hours more than on the highway via Rabat and Casablanca, going there by train (6½ hr, 174 dirham) is the most comfortable option, although buses might be slightly quicker.
CTM operates a bus station "Gare Voyageurs" one block south from the Supratour station next to the train station. 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 company. The office and station on Zerktouni street does not exist anymore. CTM has also an office at the long distance bus station (see above) if you just want to buy your tickets in advance or check the schedule.
A taxi ride from the CTM station to the main square is, if metered, about 12 dirham. The taxis waiting in front of the station are operated by a gang of dishonest drivers who will charge up to 100 dirham. One can just ignore their pushy boss and loudly offer 20 dirham - usually someone will accept or walk 50 m up or down the road and hail in taxi.
Once in the medina, everything can be seen on foot, though you'll be doing a lot of walking. Many tourism destinations are signposted by brown, red or green signs affixed to posts or to buildings. Bear in mind that many of these signs don't take the direct route, and some seem to deliberately send tourists via various markets or other places money may be spent.
For exploring more of the city, buses and petits taxis are plentiful.
Alsa run the city buses and have maps, fares and a frequency guide on their web page.
Almost all buses stop at Djemaa El-Fna (the bus stop for Djemaa El-Fna is called Terminus Arset El Bilk, and it is marked on Google Maps) and Place Youssef Ben Tachfine and fares range from 2–5 dirham depending on the distance. Important municipal bus lines are:
- No 1 - Towards Gueliz
- No 8 - Stops at the central train station, and bus station (Gare Routiere Voyageurs Marrakech)
- No 10 - Stops at the long distance bus station
- No 11 - Will drop you off at the gardens of Menara
- No 18 - Outside of Airport to Djemaa el-Fna.
- No 19 - Airport express to Djemaa el-Fna (one way 30 dirham/return for 50 dirham)
Bus No 19 leaves Djemaa el-Fna every half an hour, from 05:15 to 21:15. The trip to the airport takes about 25 minutes.
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 145 dirham each and are valid for 24 hours from the time of issue, no matter how many times you get on or off. You can get a 48-hour ticket for very little extra and as there are two distinct tours, this can be a good deal. Check the timetable carefully, as the buses can stop running earlier than you might think.
An alternative and romantic way to travel is by caleche, a small horse-drawn carriage. They can be hired at Square de Foucauld (the small park to the south of Djemaa El-Fna). It's wise to agree on a price before setting off. As a guide price, you should pay around 80 dirham per hour, per carriage.
You should always ask to use the meter (compteur in French); otherwise, you are just contributing to a culture of ripping off people. However, in the vast majority of cases, the drivers will refuse to take you if you insist on using the meter. Even locals often have troubles with drivers in Marrakesh, that's how it is. Even if you use the meter, the driver may try and charge extra for bags, or be lacking change in order to get a larger fare.
Your only option to completely avoid this is using the buses which serve most destinations of interest (see above). If you accept that you have to pay a small penalty fee for being a tourist, offer 50% more than the metered ride would cost upfront (see below).
For petit taxi, the maximum number of passengers is three (plus the driver), i.e. one fare applies to a single person, or a group two or three people.
- The meter starts from 1.70 dirham before 20:00 and 2.40 dirham after 20:00; there's no need to negotiate the price. Basically they have to use the meter even if it is midnight.
- The minimum charge is 7 dirham before 20:00 and after will be 10 dirham.
- 20 dirham is a good price for a 10-minute ride and if offered upfront will usually be accepted. If not, kindly refuse and simply take the next taxi.
For grand taxis (regular Mercedes taxis) there are no meters. Typically the set rate from Marrakech Airport to the Medina or Djemaa el Fna (Main square) is 150 dirham. There also appears to be no limit to the number of people they'll attempt to squeeze in! Outside of the airport if you are a group of more than three, the maximum for a petit taxi, then do negotiate you fee before you enter the grand taxi.
There is much to see and do in Marrakech. An entire day can be dedicated to wandering around all the different souks, seeking out the best bargains. The city also offers several historical and architectural sites as well as some interesting museums. In late 2018, the prices for most museums were raised from 10 dirham for foreigners to 70 dirham.
- Djemaa El-Fna. 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 dirham to watch. By day it is largely filled with snake charmers and people with monkeys, as well as some of the more common stalls. (updated Aug 2020)
- The Souks (suuqs). Markets of Marrakech, just adjacent to Place Djemaa El-Fna, are where you can buy almost anything, from spices to shoes, jellabas to kaftans, and tea pots to tagines. Undoubtedly, being a foreigner means you will end up paying higher prices than a native would, but be sure to bargain nonetheless. If you happen to run out of dirham, you will also find plenty of people in the souks who will eagerly exchange your dollars or euros (though a fair rate here is less likely than at an official exchange). All that said, the sellers here are much less aggressive than, say, Egypt, so have fun! (updated Aug 2020)
- Koutoubia Mosque (right besides Djemaa El-Fna). 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. It was completed under the reign of the Berber Almohad Caliph Yaqub al-Mansur (1184 to 1199), and has inspired other buildings such as the Giralda of Seville and the Hassan Tower of Rabat. Non-Muslims are not allowed inside. (updated Aug 2020)
- Tanneries. Visiting the tanneries can be an interesting experience. Even if some people tell you the area is only for locals, it is possible to visit the Tanneries without paying a youngster. After finding a tannery, ask one of the workers if you can visit it and take pictures
- Saadian Tombs. The 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 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. 70 dirham. (updated Aug 2020)
- Majorelle Gardens (Jardin Majorelle), Rue Yves Saint Laurent (In Gueliz), . Oct-Apr: 08:00-17:30, May-Sep: 08:00-18:00, Ramadan: 09:00-17:00. It provides an excellent respite from the hustle and bustle of the city streets, if not crowded by tourists as it sometimes is. The park was designed by the artist Jacques Majorelle in the 1920s and 1930s. Since 1980 the garden has been owned by Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé. It boasts a collection of plants from around 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 Berber Museum, which shows a slightly bigger and more modern presentation than the Dar Si Saïd. 70 dirham, 30 dirham extra for the Berber Museum. (updated Aug 2020)
- Yves Saint Laurent Museum, Rue Yves St Laurent (next door to Majorelle Gardens), . Th-Tu 10:00 - 18:00. 100 dirham. (updated Aug 2020)
- Dar Si Saïd Museum (on Rue Riad Zitoun Jdid, is a museum 5 mins away from Djemaa El-Fna.). 09:00–16:30. Museum set in an old palace with beautiful gardens. While somewhat run-down, it is worth seeing and houses many different artifacts from Morocco through 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, and Tafilal. Locals: adults 10 dirham, children below 12 3 dirham; tourists: adults 70 dirham. (updated Aug 2020)
- Ben Youssef Madrasa (Closed for renovation until Jan 2020), Kaat Benahid. 09:00-18:00, closed for religious holidays. One of the largest madrassas in the North Africa. It is a school attached to the Ben Youssef Mosque and is home to beautiful art and architecture. Build ca 1570. 40 dirham. (updated Aug 2020)
- El Bahia Palace. 08:00–17:00. An ornate and beautiful palace, build at the end of the 19th century for grand viziers of the sultan. 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. Attention must be given in finding the entrance. Google maps will bring tourists nowhere near the entrance. The entrance is located on Riad Zitoun el Jdid, at Locals: adults 10 dirham, children below 12 3 dirham; tourists: adults 70 dirham. (updated Aug 2020)
- El Badi Palace, Ksibat Nhass. 08:30-11:45, 14:45-17:45. A palace now in ruins and inhabited by storks and stray cats. There are some underground passageways to explore. The view from the terrace is majestic. The palace was built by Sultan Ahmed al Mansour to celebrate the victory of the Portuguese army in 1578 in the Battle of the three kings. This minbar dates back to the 12th century and on display in a single room with some explanations<. A minbar is a preaching chair. Also hosts the Marrakech Museum for Photography and Visual Arts (abbreviated MMP+), a small museum which however showcases great pieces of visual art. Entrance fee for this museum is included in the Palace entrance fee, it is open from 09:00-17:00. 70 dirham admission to the palace, 10 dirham extra to see the old Kotoubia Mosque minbar. (updated Aug 2020)
- The Menara gardens (west of the city in walking distance). 09:00-17:00. A mixture of orchards and olive groves surrounding the water reservoir with the central pavilion which is a popular sight on tourist postcards. Not a decorative garden, and now quite run down. The pavilion was built during the 16th-century Saadi dynasty, and renovated in 1869. It has a small cafe, but it is not open all hours. There are no toilets open when the cafe is closed. Free admission. (updated Aug 2020)
- Marrakech Museum, . 09:00-18:30. It's housed in the Dar Menebhi Palace, constructed at the end of the 19th century. 50 dirham. (updated Aug 2020)
- Musée de la Palmeraie, Dar Tounsi, Route de Fès (in the south of the Palmeraie, it is quite off the main tourist paths, expect to travel at about an hour per direction; you must get a taxi or bus 17 towards Palmeraie (which does not run often); the route with the museum is off to the left side of the road, the crossroads just before the Atacadao supermarket; you have to head follow the road for about 500 m, there are also signs), . 09:00-18:00?. In old agricultural buildings in the Palmeraie, made out of rammed earth. The architecture itself is interesting if you haven't seen it. It offers a small collection of contemporary art, with a room dedicated to Morrocan artists (also famous ones), the international ones are rather not top-notch. The gardens are nicely made and are good place to relax in quit. 40 dirham. (updated Mar 2016)
- Musee Farid Belkahia, Dar Tounsi, Route de Fès (at the seat of the Fondation Farid Belkahia, which is off Route de Fès, Dar Tounsi, walking past Musée de la Palmeraie for further 500 m-1 km). M-Sa. A museum dedicated to the renowned contemporary artist Farid Belkahia, showcasing different periods of his work (updated Mar 2016)
- Tiskiwin Museum, Derb El Bahia 8 (between El Bahia and Museum Dar Si Said). 09:00-12:30 and 14:30-18:00. About the people in the Sahara. Created by Dutchman Bert Flint. 30 dirham. (updated Aug 2020)
- Maison de la Photographie, 46, Rue souk Ahal Fès (200 m behind Ben Youssef Medersa - Koranic School). A little photography museum, it has one of the highest roof terraces in the Medina. 40 dirham. (updated Aug 2020)
- Ali Ben Youssef Mosque. The first mosque in Marrakesh was erected at this place by the Almoravid emir Yusuf ibn Tashfin in the 1070s. However, it was almost completely rebuilt in early 19th century by the Alaouite sultan Suleiman, with hardly any trace left of its original Amoravid or Almohad design. Non-Muslims are not allowed to enter it. (updated Aug 2020)
- Agdal Gardens. It consists of groves of orange, lemon, fig, apricot and pomegranate trees in rectangular plots, linked by olive-lined walkways. Together with the medina of Marrakech and the Menara Gardens, the Agdal Gardens were listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1985. 70 dirham for foreign adults. (updated Aug 2020)
- Jbilets Geological Site. Explore the Berber village on a desert tour.
- Chez Ali Fantasia, La Palmeraie de Marrakech (10 km north of Marrakech), . Horse show, acrobats on Arabian horses firing rifles in the air, horseback acrobatics, belly dancing, etc. It takes place at night in a huge imitation of an old castle. €15.
The historic district of the city.
The main square in the Medina is Djemaa El-Fna. It is surrounded by endless labyrinths of souks (bazaars) and alley ways covering all of the Medina. Djemma El-Fna is a must as there is always something to see there day and night whether it be snake charmers, acrobats, sooth-sayers,or the musicians and food stalls. At night the square really comes to life as people navigate toward the exotic aromas and the entertaining sights. As the evening darkens, the hustle & bustle of activity rages on. The exotic music appears louder and more hypnotic.
The Medina is also the place to stay in a Riad, a Moroccan house with an internal courtyard. Most windows are inward facing towards the central atrium. This design of property suits Islamic tradition as there is no obvious wealth statement being made externally, no windows to peer through. Entering a Riad is like discovering an Aladdin's Cave in comparison to its non-descript exterior. They are great places to stay and offer an intimate and relaxing retreat.
Directly south of the Djemaa El-Fna is Rue Bab Agnaou. A five-min walk takes you straight to the famous Bab Agnaou entrance to the Kasbah district of the Medina. The Bab Agnaou entrance, through the ramparts, is by far the most impressive entrance of all medina rampart entrances.
The Kasbah, in comparison to the Derbs (streets) surrounding the Djemaa El-Fna, portrays a calmer, less abrasive atmosphere. It is home to the Royal Palace, also the former El - Badi Palace and the Saadian Tombs. This naturally creates better security, cleaner streets and a hint of being a special place within the medina. The Kasbah has its own little bazaars (Souikas), food stalls, restaurants, hotels and riads for travellers to enjoy.
Hammams are baths, often close to mosques to facilitate the performance of ablutions. In guidebooks and signs that call them "Moroccan Turkish Baths" the name "Turkish" is a misnomer, since Morocco (unlike Egypt or Syria) was never under Ottoman rule, but the historical role of the baths is authentic in Morocco.
- Les Bains de Marrakech, 2 Derb Sedra, Bab Agnaou (same building as Riad Mehdi) (inside Bab Agnaou), . 09:00-19:30. Tourists-oriented in good sense: couples can have hammam together in a private room. Extensive list of massages and spa treatments from 30 min to a full day. Reception and attendants are proficient in speaking English, however, the scrubbing and massage personnel speak only very basic vocabulary. You need to book two days in advance. 170–1,400 dirham.
- Hammam Dar el-Bacha, 20 Rue Fatima Zohra. men 12:00-13:00, women 13:00-21:00.
- Hammam Bab Doukkala, Rue Bab Doukkala (southeast corner Bab Doukkala Mosque). women 07:00-19:00, men 20:00.
- Thai marrakech, Résidence Les Jasmins Apt N° 13 4ème étage Angle Av. Mohamed v et Rue Oum Errabia Guéliz, . Bann Thai institute is a beauty center based in the heart of Marrakech. His team is a graduate of the famous school of Wat Po in Bangkok. The center offers several Thai massage relaxation with a traditional Moroccan hammam natural products
- Hamam Essalama (traditional Hamam), Rue Moulay Abdellah (walking on Rue Moulay Abdellah, coming from Rue Bata or Rue Khalid Ben El Qualid, head towards Boulevard de Safi, the hamam is in the last block (just before Bvd Safi) at the near corner). till 17:00. Friendly staff, however, no English or French (other locals helped without any problem) 12 dirham entrance, 50 dirham scrub. (updated Mar 2016)
- Spa O'bain de lina for men (massage and hamam), 84, avenue Hassan II Guéliz Res Faroukia n2 (in the centre of Marrakech Gueliz, behind Café de la Poste near Hôtel Farouk), . Until 01:00. Friendly staff, however, no English or French (other customers likely to help you out). (updated Aug 2020)
Marrakesh is not in the desert: you will spend several hours to get to the desert and that day tours are therefore pretty stressful. If you have the time, spend at least one night in the desert or in a town close to your desert trekking destination. Beware of tours that don't include meals and water as they will drop you at 100 dirham restaurants far from any other option, because of this and the kickback from shops you will visit multi-day trips to Merzouga can cost as little as 600 dirham if you play agencies against each other.
Along with the major souk (Arabic for 'market') adjacent to the Djemaa El-Fna, there are a plethora of smaller souks throughout the city where any number of products can be had. In any of them, you generally need to bargain. Keep an eye out for a wide array of hand-crafted candle-holding lanterns, as well as spectacular displays of local spices.
Most shops sell the same handful of items. But if you wander a little off from El Fna, you can find small workshops with real craftsmen making handmade goods. You then get to talk to craftsmen that the item you bought. If you buy shoes or clothes that can also make alterations for you, and there a few places that make unique products that you will not see anywhere else.
Argan oil, produced only in Morocco, is used in Moroccan cooking and beauty treatments. If you enjoy its unique nutty flavor, be sure to pick some up in the souks. It will cost you about 70 dirham per 100 ml at local supermarket for cooking oil or 200 dirham for genuine cosmetic oil.
Marrakech 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 (little ottomans), and handbags.
For the shoes, always check they have no paper inside sole because it is very common. Do not be fooled by demonstration of bending the shoe back and forth; try it yourself by feeling and hearing how the paper bends. For poor quality shoes you should not pay more than 40 dirham, and for a good pair no more than 90 dirham. Shop around and learn the difference in shoe quality.
Also of interest would be items made of the local cactus silk, which is really rayon, a natural fiber made of plant cellulose and produced in Morocco. 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". Check well because there are many fakes and sellers will usually tell you any lie to get you to pay a high price.
Be sure to wander around the potters' souk, and look for brightly colored platters and bowls, as well as tagines (large, lidded cookpots) in all sizes
Lovely cashmere shawls can also be had for less than a fiver with a little bargaining.
If you cannot stand the bargaining, there are two government-run shops where you can buy handicrafts at fixed prices. Look for boutique d'artisans. One is near Djemaa El-Fna while the other one is in the ville nouvelle.
- Les établissements Bouchaïb, 7, Derb Baïssi Kasbah Boutouil (on Rue de La Kasbah), . Huge two-story store with fixed prices. Carpets, spices, argon oil, jewelry, ceramics, furniture, wood handcrafts, etc. check out the prices on the webpage before you go to get and idea of the cost of the items you are interested in..
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.
The Apple and Samsung smartphones being sold on Djemaa El-Fna are Chinese-built fakes; they work fine but employ less storage and cheaper components than the originals. Bargain accordingly.
- Chez Monseur Michelin, 83 Riad Zitoun. Handmade bags and fashion items made from recycled tires and inner tubes. (updated Mar 2015)
- Bennouna Faissal Traditional Weaving (next to Maison la Photographie). Tiny workshop making beautiful and very elegant scarves in wool, cotton, and linen. (updated Mar 2015)
As a guide for prices, maximum and generous prices you should pay.
- Djellaba, long coat with hood for men, made of cotton/wool. Low quality: 90 dirham. Good (thick) quality: 300 dirham.
- Paintings, depends on the quality and size but no more than 50 dirham for a 70x50cm.
- Shisha, 150 dirham for the smallest ones. Prices then vary with size and quality.
- Tobacco for shisha, 20 dirham. There are many flavours and decent prices at the duty-free store at the airport in Marrakech.
- Shoes, for home, no more than 50 dirham for a good one, for the street no more than 90 dirham for a good quality one.
- Lamp, no more than 60 dirham for a medium size lamp.
- Woven beanie, 15 dirham.
- T-shirt, no more than 50 dirham for a large.
- Small wooden snake toys, 5 dirham.
- Small teapot (2-3 cups), 90-100 dirham.
- Medium size cooking tagine 40 dirham. (Choose carefully, glazed tagines have a risk of releasing unsafe levels of lead.)
- Dress for women, poor quality, not wool, 30 dirham.
- Carpets: 1,000 dirham for a white wool carpet that is 8 ft x 12 ft
- Dates, almonds, nuts: 80-120 dirham per kg, depending on the quality.
- Henna tattoo: medium-sized design should cost no more than 50 dirham (Ask for brown henna if you are allergic to PPP black henna, the brown henna is natural and safe)
- You can order special gold jewellery items like a chain with your name on it or using a customised design but ensure you have agreed on the price beforehand.
- Bananas, 8 dirham per kilogram, in season.
- 250 g of gunpowder tea, 30 dirham. Although best bought at a supermarket.
- Round piece of bread, 1.5 dirham.
- Spice mixes, 80 dirham/kg. Cumin, Curcuma, Cinnamon, Ground Ginger etc. 40-60 dirham/kg
Do not offer a price that you are not willing to pay.
Even hostel prices can be haggled.
Remember, sellers are just the middle man, they do not produce it, except maybe for some kinds of lamps, and they pay very little to the people who actually make it. Please also never pay in advance. And never let anyone write you an invoice. It is a bad idea and in most of the cases you will never see your goods or money back.
Most major banks and a slew of cash exchange shops can be found in a cluster around Arset el bilk (next to the main square). Most banks don't accept Unionpay and many ATMs displaying the Unionpay logo actually don't support the cards regardless of what Unionpay or the bank's website will tell you. Apparently the Socite Generale banks can do withdrawals from 16:00-21:00.
Be aware that if you are shopping at western stores like Zara, that the return policies are different. Contrary to many other countries, purchases by credit card can only be exchanged, not returned. Cash purchases at these stores can be returned for a refund however.
Marrakech is a generally safe city, with a solid police presence. However, staying alert about your surroundings and taking general safety precautions is always a good idea like everywhere. Here are some tips:
- Violent crime is normally not a major problem, but thefts are known to happen. Keep your money close and hidden, and avoid poorly lit streets or alleys at night.
- Guides offering their services should display an official badge from the local tourist authorities.
- Morocco is under an increased threat from international terrorism. Be vigilant when you're out and contact authorities if you notice anything suspicious.
- 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 7 hours, so if you are attacked, take action immediately.
- Be careful ordering room service if you are a solo traveller, as even older women can be targets for robbery. Don't ask the waiter to enter your room.
- Get one of the shopkeepers to dress you up with a berber style scarf, for men and women, it will cover your face (leaving only space for your eyes) and you can remain undetected and will definitely not be harassed by the shopkeepers, one or two beggars may catch on that you are still a tourist from the way you are dressed though, so bear that in mind.
Emergency phone numbers
- Police ☎ 19
- Ambulance/ Fire ☎ 15
- Inb Tofail Hospital, Rue Abdelouahab Derraq, .
- Polyclinique du Sud, 2 Rue Yougoslavie, Gueliz, , fax: . In case of a medical emergency due to the Coronavirus, it's always a good idea to know where to find the local physicians who speak your language. According to the U.S. Consulate website, Dr. Taarji Bel Abbass at the Polyclinique du Sud speaks "fair to good English".
The tap water in Marrakech is suitable for bathing. While locals drink it with no problems, visitors often find it hard to digest. To be safe, opt for bottled mineral water, available at the numerous marketplace kiosks and food stalls. Make sure that the cap seal has not been broken, since vendors have been known to save money by refilling plastic bottles from the tap. At restaurants, ask for your drinks without ice, which are usually made with tap water.
Touts and scams
A Moroccan idiom is "Marrakech, Arnakech" ("Marrakech is Mafia"): Marrakech is the city with the most inflated prices, the most persistent touts and the most cunning scammers. Even Moroccans who visit Marrakech complain. So all the warnings listed on main page about Morocco should be taken extra seriously. On the plus side, at least since September 2016 (and still valid in April 2017), police has been cleaning up a lot; so take these items with a grain of salt and keep an open mind:
- "It's closed": This is a common technique by scammers pretending to be tourist guides. Some will even have printed badges with photos and documents pretending to be from the Ministry of Tourism. They will ask you or guess where you are going and say that it's closed. Immediately after or later in the conversation, they will lure you to the location they want you to go, usually some sort of commerce with inflated prices. If a random stranger approaches you and claims a location of interest is closed, it is very likely a scam.
- "Only every 15 days": Another technique is to say a group of Berber only comes every 15 days to do commerce. Buy now, or miss the opportunity!
- Directions then pay: If strangers are showing you the way and following you, they may ask you for money at the end of showing directions.
- Snake charmers: Stay at a distance unless willing to pay 20 dirham. They will put a snake around your neck for picture and expect payment.
- Taxi drivers in the "tourist hot spots" (train station, gare routiere, agence CTM, Djeema el Fna), by default, do not use the meter, though they have to by law, and they overcharge a lot: Either insist on the meter (good luck with that) or agree on a flat price up front. By meter, the trip from the train station to Djeema el Fna is 13 dirham during daytime, a flat price of 20 dirham is a good deal for a tourist, regular asking price is 50 to 70 dirham! If your luggage permits, just walking 100 m down the street, away from the "tourist hot spot", and hailing a taxi will get you a much saner deal (or even a metered fare).
- Djeema el Fna is now heavily patrolled by tourist police and one can actually walk there pretty much hassle free, except for: At night time, the food stalls can be pretty "aggressive" when trying to convince you to eat there. "Aggressive" as in shoving the menu into your face, while blocking your path or grabbing your hand because they are sure you are an "old friend", starting a lengthy, friendly conversation. And they still try the "complimentary XY" trick where they'll serve you spoonfuls of fries, salads or other items while you are already eating - each tiny plate shows up as 5 dirham on the bill. The latter can be easily avoided by insisting on paying immediately when your food arrives and then just walking away after you finished your meal. On the plus side: With all the tourist police present (April 2017) simply raising your voice when telling the same guy "la, shokran!" (no, thank you!) for the 3rd time or when debating a bill that lists items you did not order will probably make them stop for fear of police intervention.
- When ignoring touts, you might get dismissive remarks shouted after you, usually tailored to your (guessed) nationality: Unless you know at least French really well, just keep on ignoring them.
- When you get lost in the medina, you should never have to pay more than 20 dirham to a random person to get you at least out of the medina to a taxi that can drop you of someplace from which you can navigate. Again, agree on a price upfront and have the exact amount ready (or change en route in some shop).
- Henna tattoos are popular with locals and tourists alike. But among the many genuine traders are some scam artists who offer a free henna tattoo only to charge ridiculous prices afterwards (up to 10 times as much as locals would have to pay). Simply refuse any "free" henna tattoos. And, in Marrakech more than in other places, be wary of overly good henna: It is probably regular, cheap henna, mixed with chemicals like PPD to make it appear darker (i.e. of higher quality). This is not only questionable from an overall health perspective but it can lead to serious allergic reactions.
Always remember: Most Moroccans are incredibly friendly, honest people, so sometimes making a fuss in public can generate unwanted attention for a scam artist and shame them into backing off.
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