A city steeped in medieval allure, Marrakesh is a tapestry of myths, drama, and the enigma that entraps all who enter its ochre-hued embrace. Step inside, and you'll journey back through time into a world largely preserved in historical chronicles. With its maze-like Medina, the sensory overload of the bustling souks, the theatrical spectacle at Jemaa el-Fna square, and the towering Atlas Mountains serving as a dramatic backdrop, Marrakesh indisputably reigns as Morocco's most dazzling gem.
Moroccan dirham (MAD) 1 dirham = 100 centimes
Morocco World News (in English) — www.moroccoworldnews.com
The North Africa Post (in English) — northafricapost.com
Le Matin (in French) — lematin.ma
TelQuel (in French) — telquel.ma
Hespress (in Arabic and English) — en.hespress.com
Bank offices are open from Monday to Friday 8:30am–11:30am and 2:30pm–4:30pm. Most shops and consumer-facing businesses are open from Monday to Saturday 9am–1pm and 3pm–7pm.
Visit Marrakech Morocco
(Conseil Régional du Tourisme de Marrakech)
Rue Cadi Ayad, 42, apt 4, Imm Jnane Atlas Guéliz, Morocco
+212 5244 33407
Open Mon–Fri 8:30am–4:30pm, Sat & Sun closed
Maurizio De Mattei/Shutterstock.com
On 8th September 2023, Morocco experienced a catastrophic 6.8-magnitude earthquake. The quake's origin was a mere 70 km southwest of Marrakesh, within the towering peaks of the High Atlas Mountains. Marking the most potent seismic event in central Morocco in over a century, this earthquake stands as the country's most lethal since 1960. Such seismic events are rare occurrences in this part of the world.
Marrakesh, often rendered as Marrakech in French, served as the jewel of Morocco's four imperial cities and is the core of the Marrakesh-Safi administrative region. Populated by Berber agriculturalists since ancient times, Marrakesh came into its own in 1070, under the auspices of Emir Abu Bakr ibn Umar. He founded it as the primary city of the Almoravid Dynasty, which laid down the urban structure that would define Marrakesh for generations. Today, the city presents a tapestry of contrast: the millennia-old Medina juxtaposes sharply against the Ville Nouvelle, a product of French colonial modernism.
Jemaa el-Fna, the pulsing epicentre of daily life in Marrakesh, undergoes a captivating transformation each evening. As dusk falls, the square fills with an array of culinary vendors offering delectable local fares. The air is saturated with the sights and sounds of snake charmers, impassioned storytellers, and myriad entertainers that evoke an almost medieval atmosphere. North of this bustling square lies a cluster of religious edifices and bustling marketplaces, while the south is adorned with regal palaces and landmarks.
In stark contrast, the Ville Nouvelle offers a more structured and calm ambiance, divided into the Gueliz and Hivernage districts. This area houses modern civic structures, international lodgings, and a diverse range of eateries and bars akin to a contemporary European metropolis.
The city is split into two dramatically different areas, each a testament to a distinct period in Moroccan history. First, there's the ancient Medina, a labyrinthine quarter established almost a millennium ago by the Almoravids. Then, in stark contrast, is the Ville Nouvelle, born out of early 20th-century French colonial ambitions and modernist ideals. But it's the Medina — particularly its bustling central square, Jemaa el-Fna — that truly kindles the imagination.
Moroccan cuisine, in general, consists of the staples of meat ― mainly chicken and lamb ― a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, and couscous. The most renowned Moroccan dish is the tajine, a slowly cooked stew of meat, vegetables, fruit and nuts. Another famous dish is pastilla, which is composed of either chicken or pigeon between layers of pastry.
Enjoy the different sounds and views in Marrakesh at a nice café with a cup of strong Moroccan coffee in your hand. Moroccans also have a liking for sweet things, so be sure to try out their desserts and pastries, washed down with an aromatic glass of "thé à la menthe" or mint tea.
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Enjoying a tipple in Marrakesh is a subtle event, unfolding in carefully concealed locales. Yet, once you're on the inside, the atmosphere transforms — expect a lively scene pulsating to the beat of Gnawa music. Located mostly on the city's fringes, these nightspots offer a haven for both locals and tourists eager to embrace the city's vibrant energy. Brace yourself for an unforgettable night of Marrakshi revelry!
Marrakesh is a shopper’s paradise. It is a place where some of the finest hand crafted goods won’t cost you an arm and a leg and you’re actively expected to bargain. If this sounds like your idea of consumer heaven, then head directly to the souks in the north of the medina, where you will find artisans fashioning all manner of products.
There’s also the slipper market, for that most essential of Moroccan footwear: the babouche, which you can slip into after the night’s revelries. Other markets to look out for include the leather market and the carpet market where you can pick-up high quality hand-woven rugs. For sheer interest alone, and to watch real craftsmen at work, be sure to wander through the markets of blacksmiths, dyers and carpenters. If the bustle of the souk gets to be too much, and you’re all bartered out, then head over to the Ville Nouvelle where the shopping experience comes air conditioned-boutique style. Here you will find exclusive designer wear and one-off original items, artisan and antique shops and warehouse outlets. Happy shopping!
Marrakesh Menara Airport (RAK)
Menara Airport is located 6 km from Marrakesh. Bus number 19 runs to Djemaa el-Fna every 20 minutes during the week and less frequently during weekends and public holidays. The journey takes approximately 30 minutes. A taxi for maximum 5 people plus baggage from the airport to the city centre takes about 20 minutes. Agree on the price before taking off.
Address: Aéroport Marrakech Ménara, Marrakesh
Phone: +212 5 2444 7910
Passport / Visa
Citizens of the European Union, as well as the United States, Australia, and dozens of world countries can enter and remain in Morocco visa-free for up to 90 days. Look up individual prerequisites prior to travel in order to possibly apply for visa in time.
The primary hub for intercity and local buses in Marrakech is Bab Doukkala Station, with most routes stopping at Djemaa El-Fna and Place Youssef Ben Tachfine.
For train travel, head to the Marrakech Train Station. Established in 1923 during the French protectorate era, the original station was situated on Hasan II Avenue and functioned as the rail network's terminus. A new, larger station was unveiled in 2008, just adjacent to the old one and closer to the city centre. Designed to accommodate future rail extensions to Agadir and Laayoune, the modern station also offers shopping and dining options.
Direct trains run daily to Fez via Casablanca Voyageurs, with two more direct connections to Tangier. Transfers for Oujda and Mohammed V International Airport are also available, and additional routes to Tangier can be accessed with a change in Casablanca.
Taxi is the favoured method of transport around Marrakesh. There are small taxis (petits taxis) which can take up to three passengers. For destinations further afield, there are large taxis (grands taxis). Prices are reasonable but should be agreed in advance.
You can buy stamps in several shops around the medina and also in some of the most upscale hotels. The main Post Office in the city is located at Place du 16 Novembre.
Address: Poste Centrale, Place du 16 Novembre, Gueliz, Marrakesh
You don't have to go far to find a pharmacy since there are a lot of them in the city, particularly in the area of avenue Mohammed V between Place Abdelmoumen Ben Ali and Place de la Liberté. A sign in the window indicates which pharmacies are open after-hours.
Address: Pharmacie El Filali, Rue Khalid ben el-Oualid, Marrakesh
Phone: +212 5244 32700
Country code: +212
Area code: 052
In Morocco, you will encounter two types of electrical outlets: Type C and Type E, both with round prongs. The country's electrical system runs on a 220V supply voltage and a frequency of 50Hz. Make sure to bring appropriate adaptors if your devices are not compatible with these specifications.