Situated at the foot of the Atlas mountains, the imperial city of Marrakesh is hectic, noisy and polluted. But it is also vibrant, fascinating and full of history, which makes it pretty magical.
Here are our top 10 tips for the first time visitor:
1. Be prepared to get lost, no matter what. Getting lost is actually the only way to truly explore the souks and the medina.
2. Dress appropriately. This applies to Marrakesh and to the rest of the country. Appropriate dress code in Morocco means having your knees and shoulders covered, for both women and men. This means that shorts and sleeveless tops are not recommended.
3. Haggling is part of the Moroccan culture. Do not be shy! If you want some tips on how to haggle, click here.
4. Always agree in advance the price of a taxi ride.
5. When looking at the weather forecast, pay attention to the highest and to the lowest temperature of the day. When we were there in March, it was warm during the day (around 25-26C). But soon after sunset the temperature dropped to 11-12C.
6. Visit Jamaa el Fna Square in the morning or early afternoon, when it is still relatively quiet, and then again in the evening, when it is full of acrobats, musicians, future tellers and more! Friday is the Muslim holy day, so expect the square to be even busier than usual on Friday evening.
7. The best place to enjoy the atmosphere of Jamaa el Fna Square is on the terrace of one of the many rooftop bars, sipping a mint tea. At sunset they get really busy, so if you want to get a good seat, make sure you arrive well in advance.
8. Be aware of anyone who offers advice without being asked, especially in the souks. Moroccans are extremely friendly and helpful people, that goes without saying! But one of the most common scams in the souks is to offer unsolicited help (especially to to those look lost and confused) and in the end, to ask for a tip (which, in most cases, it is quite a bit of money).
9. Take a day trip from Marrakesh to see a totally different side of Morocco. There are plenty of trips to choose from: the Agafay Desert, the Atlas Mountains, the Ouzoud waterfalls or the Ourika Valley, just to mention a few.
10. Leave your vehicle (be it a truck camper, a motorhome, a campervan) at the campsite! The traffic in Marrakesh is crazy and surely not ideal for travelling with a large vehicle.
Jamaa el Fna Square at sunset
Date of trip: March 2018