Top Tips For Visiting Marrakech

I’ve travelled to and blogged about a lot of places but I’ve never had as many messages about whether I felt safe as I have about Marrakech. And this really surprised me. I’ve been to Marrakech 3 times now – first time on a group press trip in 2013 and more recently solo – and it’s not a place I think of as particularly dangerous.

But I can see where people’s apprehensions are coming from. The narrow laneways of the medina (the old part of the city found within the original citadel walls) all look identical and can really throw off a first-time visitor to Marrakech.

The shops in the souks (Marrakech’s famous maze-like marketplaces) are largely run by men, so it’s one of those places in the world – like Dehli – where you feel quite visible as a female traveller.

There are also parts of the medina that are not very well lit so this can make navigating your way to dinner quite challenging, especially as the narrow streets make it impossible for a taxi to drop you door to door.

Bacha Coffee

Personally, I think that’s part of what makes Marrakech so thrilling. When you do work your way through the melee, ending up at a chic rooftop bar with rattan pendants swaying in the wind, it feels all the more worth it!

That being said, there are definitely a few things we did that made getting around Marrakech a bit easier, and made myself as a female traveller feel safer.

So, for anyone planning a trip to what is one of my favourite destinations, here are my top tips for visiting Marrakech for first-timers.

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Top tips for visiting Marrakech

Stay in a riad

Riad Nelia Boutique Hotel

I definitely feel like our experience of Marrakech was enhanced by staying in a riad.

A riad is a traditional Moroccan home built around an inner courtyard or garden. The riads in Marrakech were once the estates of the wealthy, but today many of them have been converted into guest houses that offer an authentic taste of Moroccan hospitality.

One of the benefits of staying in a riad (apart from the fact they tend to be independently run, have only a handful of rooms and come with the most beautiful architecture) is that you have welcoming hosts on hand to help you navigate the city.

At the point of booking, our first riad sent us information on activities, meals and transfers we could affordably book through them before we even arrived in Morocco.

I felt like our hosts were personally invested in helping us have a good stay and they went on to make themselves available to help us on Whatsapp throughout our time in Marrakech.

I’d confidently recommend both of the riads I stayed in – Riad Nelia and Riad Palais Calipau. They offer superb value for money considering double rooms are around £70-80 per night including breakfast.

Read more about Where to stay in Marrakech

Some of the best riads in Marrakech I’ve shortlisted for my next trip are:


Riad Yasmine

El Fenn

Riad Botanica

Riad Sakkan

Riad Be Marrakech

Riad Le Saadien

Pre-book airport transfers through your accommodation

In terms of arriving in Marrakech I definitely recommend you pre-book airport transfers through your accommodation. We were charged 15 EUR each way.

Marrakech Airport is only 15 mins from the medina so it’s a fast and affordable journey to do in a taxi, however, as there are so many riad hotels tucked away in the medina ( and new ones cropping up all the time) it’s best to pre-book a taxi through your accommodation so they know exactly where to take you.

If you are staying in a riad, be aware it’s likely that your taxi driver will not be able to take you to the door of the property as cars cannot fit down many of the narrow laneways. With both riads I stayed in, the driver messaged the riad when we arrived on the nearest main street and someone came out to help us with bags/escort us to the property. So, if you book a driver through your riad all that is taken care of for you.

It’s also helpful to book a taxi transfer through your riad as they will add the amount onto your room bill rather than you needing to pay cash to the driver. As Morocco has a closed currency (see below) you may not have local currency on you to pay a taxi on arrival.

Get your driver’s number

Place Des Epices
Place Des Epices

If you find a taxi driver you get on with, take his number. There is no Uber in Marrakech and we found that local taxis didn’t always know where we were staying.

The first riad we stayed in (the beautiful Riad Palais Calipau) was based in Kasbah so it was a fair walk from some of the tourist attractions and restaurants on our itinerary. We mainly used taxis to get around and booked them either through our riad or by messaging a driver directly on Whatsapp.

Of an evening, in particular, we found it easier (and reassuring) to book the same driver who dropped us off to come back and collect us. If we changed venues I’d send a live pin from our location and the driver would get as close as he could with the vehicle then send us directions to a meeting point.

Speaking from a female perspective, when I travelled with my girlfriends we definitely felt more confident getting into a car late at night in an unfamiliar city when we recognised the driver. It is dark and disorientating in the medina at night and our driver was also good enough to stand outside the vehicle and flash his lights when he saw us so we could find our way to the right taxi! (There were lots of other taxi drivers touting to get us into theirs!)

Buy an E-sim/bolt on data

Exploring Ben Youssef Madrassa solo

Of course, none of this Whatsapp-ing would have been possible without mobile data.

I’m with Three mobile who now charge for roaming so it worked out cheaper for me to download an E -sim through Airalo. (Get $3 credit with my referral code JAYNE8741).

1 GB of data for 7 days is approx. $9.50.

Take Euros

Bacha Coffee

Morocco has a closed currency which means you can’t convert your money to dirhams before you enter the country, nor take any dirham out of the country with you.

There are ATMs in the medina but I found they often had long lines or had run out of money. Instead, I found it much easier to change up cash in one of the many currency conversion shops around the city.

The rest of the time we paid for meals, spa treatments etc on card (some shops in the souk accept card payments too) and settled our bill at the riad in Euros because this was the cheapest option.

Pre-book restaurants

El Fenn Marrakech
El Fenn Marrakech

Marrakech has some buzzing dining spots and they get booked up quickly. It pays to be organised, therefore, and book restaurants before you arrive in the city. I pre-booked the places we visited through the reservation links found on their Instagram profiles.

Some restaurants I recommend are:

Dar Dar Rooftop

El Fenn

Le Jardin Royal Mansour

L’Mida Rooftop Marrakech

Le Jardin

Discover more of the best things to do in Marrakech here

Shop the souks

Tips for visiting Marrakech for first timers

I wanted to add a note about our experience of shopping in the souks as I found there was a noticeable difference between my first experience in 2013 and more recently in 2023.

As with any market that relies heavily on tourists spending money, there can be a lot of vendors battling for your attention in the souks of Marrakech. But I found it far less intense second time around. Whether that’s because I went in prepared for high stakes haggling or everyone has been sent a memo to go easy on tourists post-covid I do not know. All I can say is that us 3 women genuinely enjoyed our shopping experience. We went in with a fixed budget in mind and bartered with banter rather than frustration.

Apart from one seller intent on getting me to buy a hat I thought didn’t suit me, everyone backed off quickly if we said we weren’t interested. I also found sellers very open to me taking photos. I do recommend you always ask for permission to shoot market stalls (especially with people in them) but most vendors said ‘come in, taking photos is free!’

Beware common scams

The stunning Ben Youssef

I returned solo to Marrakech in December 2023 and had two encounters with men who tried to tell me places I was approaching were closed. It seems there is a common scam in Marrakech where tourists are told the road they are walking down or place they are trying to reach is closed by a ‘good samaritan’ will show you an alternative in exchange for money.

Twice it happened to me and twice the person who approached me was lying. I find when navigating the medina it’s best to keep your head down and trust Google maps instead!

Speaking of Google Maps, I do recommend you sense check their directions before setting off. Often Google will recommend the fastest route but it might be down dark, unnamed roads in the souk, which I personally did not find comfortable walking solo.

On my way to Ben Youssef Madrassa one day I found myself in a narrow, non-touristy section of the souk filled with leather merchants. I felt like I had stumbled into private property and rather than continue deeper decided to retrace my steps to the nearest main street and let Google recalculate another route. I picked up 2 other lost tourists along my way and we found a new way there together!

Enjoy the experience

So that’s it. My big braindump on everything we found helped us have an amazing time in Marrakech. I hope you found this helpful. Have a great trip!

Read next:

Where to stay in Marrakech – Riad hotels you need to know

Best of Marrakech – an affordable luxury 3 day itinerary

Best places to visit in Mallorca

Abu Dhabi versus Dubai – Which is better for a holiday?

About the author

I’m Jayne, a travel blogger, content creator and mum to a 4-year-old son. I’ve been blogging since 2010, travelled to 65 countries and share travel guides and tips to help you plan stylish, stress-free trips.

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