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[[Image:Morroco Djemaa el Fna Evening.jpg|thumb|
'''Marrakech''' (مراكش), also known as ''Marrakesh'', is one of the imperial cities of [[Morocco]].
The name Marrakech originates from the Amazigh (Berber) words '''mur (n) akush''', 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 distinct 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. In contrast, Gueliz plays host to modern restaurants, fast food chains and big brand stores.
Plenty of low cost companies now fly to Marrakech. Some companies fly to [[Casablanca]], where a plane change for the 45 min flight to Marrakech can be made.
From the UK, Easyjet [http://www.easyjet.com] flies to Marrakech from Manchester and Gatwick Airport (and also from [[Madrid]] and from [[Lyon]]). '''Ryanair''' has direct flights from [[Oporto]] (Portugal), [[London]] Luton, and [[London]] Stansted to Marrakech. They also fly from from Frankfurt-Hahn (Germany), Alicante (Spain), Girona (Spain), Madrid and Reus (Spain) to Marrakech. '''Thomson Airways''' travels from London Gatwick and [[Manchester]]. British Airways [http://www.ba.com]
From inside the country, you can take
==== Money exchange and ATMs in the airport ====
==== Getting to the airport====
The airport is located about
The No 19 Airport express bus is Dh 30 for a single trip or Dh 50 for round trip (if the return trip is within 2 weeks of initial 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 7Am and 9:30PM. 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're 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
Several international [[renting a car|rental car]] companies are based at the airport as well.
Once in the medina, everything can be seen '''on foot''', though you'll be doing a lot of walking. For exploring more of the city, '''buses''' and '''petits taxis''' are plentiful.
- They don't have change.<br>
- They will hustle you to charge for everything such as bags. But you don't need to pay for extras.<br>
- For petit taxi, the maximum number of passengers is three (plus the driver). Sometimes you need to share with other passengers. If you are a group of two or three people, you just pay the one price and share with others (example, 10Dh for three passengers).<br>
- The meter starts from 1.70Dh before 8pm and 2.40Dh after 8pm. No need to negotiate the price. Basically they have to use the meter even if it is midnight. Each 100m, the meter will up 1.20-1.40Dh.
- The minimum charge is Dh7 before 8pm and after will be 10Dh. <br>
- Dh 20 is a good price for a 10 min ride.<br>
- For Grand Taxis (Regular Mercedes Taxis) there are no meters. Typically the set rate from Marrakech Airport to the Medina or Jemaa el fna (Main square) is 150Dh. There also appears to be no limit to the amount 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.
Always ask to use the meter (''compteur'' in
However, Taxi drivers will in nearly 95% of the cases 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. Your only option to avoid this is using the buses which serve most destinations of interest (see above).
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.
The old, historic district of the city.
=== Hammams ===
* '''Les Bains de Marrakech''', 2 Derb Sedra, Bab Agnaou (same building as Riad Mehdi), +212 438 1428 [http://www.lesbainsdemarrakech.com]. Tourists-oriented in good sense: couples can have hammam together in a private room. Extensive list of massages and spa treatments from 30min to a full day. Reception and attendants are proficient in speaking English, however, the scrubbing and massage personnel speak only very basic vocabulary.
Along with the major souk adjacent to the Djemaa El-Fna, there are a plethora of smaller souks throughout the city where any number of products can be bargained for. Keep an eye out for a wide array of hand-crafted candle-holding lanterns, as well as spectacular displays of local spices.
* Curcuma 44,40 Dh/Kg
* Ground Cinnamon 39,95 Dh/kg
* Ground Ginger 54,50 Dh/Kg
Don't bid for a price that you are not willing to pay.
Each night in the Djemaa El-Fna rows of street stalls are set up under giant white tents. These huts serve similar fare and have menus printed in French, Arabic and usually English. Everyone has tajine, couscous, brochette and some variety of soups. Some have specialities like offal, egg sandwiches or special tajines. Be aware that most restaurants employ rather insistent "greeters," who are very aggressive in trying to customers for their stall. The line 'we already ate' seems to work well to get them to stop.
<!-- '''Cafe Argana'''. On the edge of Djemaa El-Fna. Try the pastilla - a sweet/savory pie (either chicken or, for the adventurous, pigeon) that melts in your mouth. The Kefta (ground beef and egg) tagine is superb and definitely worth a try.
Temporarily blinded Cafe Agrana listing: Closed due to damage sustained in an apparent bombing on thursday 28 april 2011
15 people - including five Moroccans, eight French citizens, one Briton, and an Israeli died in the blast that was initially attributed to exploding gas bottles. 23 were reported as injured. Witnesses said the explosion happened on the terrace of the Argana cafe, whose facade and first floor were severely damaged
* '''Cafe Alhamra''', Pl. Djemaa El-Fna, opposite Café de France. ☎+212 6504 7411. On the edge of the square, it serves up salads, pizza, and pasta as well as a tagine of the day. Their rooftop is a good place to have a late night coffee and pastry while watching the events in the square below.
* '''Earth Cafe''' situated in the Medina is vegetarian-friendly. It can be found at two locations quite close to each other: 1) Number 2, Derb Zawak, Riad Zitoun Kedim, ☎+212 6054 4992, +212 6128 9402. Vegetarian meals. 2) Derb Nakous, Riad Zitoun Jdid. Vegetarian and chicken meals. Also available are vegan alternatives and plenty of options for fruit and vegetable-based drinks.
*<eat name="Henna Cafe" alt="93 arset aouzal souikat" address="bab Doukala" directions="Go to the taxi rank at Dar El Basha and walk 100 yards up towards Bab Doukala. Henna Cafe is on the right hand side-a pretty little cafe on 3 floors with an unmissable orange sign on the berber hand carved wooden facade." phone="212 656566374" url="http://www.hennacafemarrakech.com" hours="10-late" price="" lat="" long="">If you want to travel ethically then this is your place! Henna Cafe opened in November 2011 and is a sweet little place run by the very lovely Mohammed who is very genuine and competent. You can have a cup of tea/coffee (80p)or a delicious simple lunch with dessert or just a sandwich (approximately£2). The Henna Cafe offers safe henna body adornment as well- Ranging from a 50 dhm (£3.50) small motif on your hand to a full arm complex design for a wedding from 500 dhms. Henna Cafe is a NOT FOR PROFIT cafe so ALL profits go to local causes. Henna cafe was set up by the owners of Riad Cinnamon and RIad Papillon and Vivid Trading in order to start to 'give back' to Marrakech and offer support to those who might want it. Currently the cafe offers free
* '''Le Marrakchi''' is opposite the market and adjacent to the newspaper stand. With two main courses and wine running at around Dh 300, this is one of the poshest restaurants in the square. The food is not necessarily better than elsewhere, but it is one of the few restaurants that serves alcohol. It also has a completely enclosed upstairs terrace, which is ideal for views of the square when the weather is bad.
For more upscale eateries (and especially for non-Moroccan cuisine) you generally must go outside the Medina to Ville Nouvelle. However, '''Diaffa''' (Rue Jbel El Akhdar just off Av. Mohammed V, across from Club Med), is an upscale restaurant in one of the oldest buildings in the Medina, and offers excellent Moroccan cuisine in an ambiance that recalls the Orient at the height of its magic and glory. The food, building (whether the tables around the central courtyard and fountain or the second-level balcony), and tactful and tasteful entertainment are all not to be missed.
*<eat name="Dar Najat's Kitchen" alt="" address="Douar Groua,derb lalla chacha,N.18" directions="Five mn walk from jemaa el fna" phone="00212524375085" url="http://www.dar-najat.com/marrakech/en/gastronomy.html" hours="20/23" price="23 euro/pax" lat="31.6238915" long="-7.9834583">Dar Najat's Kitchen,daily fresh food in a Boutique Riad with 5 mn walk from Jema el Fna with car access.Great menu for a reasonnable cost and great alternative to the touristic restaurants with a great atmosphere & staff.</eat>
If you want to eat well in Marrakech, do what the locals do and eat at the food stalls in the square. It is a common misconception that these stalls are here for the tourists. Actually, they have been in existence long before Marrakech became a tourist destination. All of the stalls can be regarded as perfectly safe to eat at. They are strictly licensed and controlled by the government, especially now as it is a popular destination for tourists.
* Prices tend to vary a little. Depending upon how hungry you are, you can pay anything from Dh 10 for a bread filled with freshly grilled sausages or perhaps a bowl of harira soup to Dh 100 for a full three course meal with salad, bread, starter, main course, and tea.
* Try harira (great soup, of lamb/beef, red lentils and vegetables) and the fried aubergines. Don't be afraid-try the lamb head: it's really tasty. The "bull stew" (beef stew) should also be given a chance in the same stalls.
* Don't miss the tea! There is a row of tea sellers along the front of the food stalls who each sell tea for Dh 1.5 each (Dh 3 seemed the going rate as of 7/2011). Most of the tea at these stalls is actually ginseng tea with cinnamon and ginger... most delicious and welcoming. They also have cake, made of basically the same spices, which can be a bit overpowering.
* All food stalls at Djemaa El Fna display the price on the menus, making it less likely you'll be overcharged, but many will bring starters to you without asking, then charge for them at the end.
* Drinks are rarely on the menu so it is better to ask the price of them before ordering, as they can often be comparatively high. On the other hand some stalls offer free mint tea to encourage you to choose them.
* Early mornings, look for people frying riifa in the covered part opposite the Koutoubia. Riifa is dough stretched and flattened and folded over, then cooked in a frying pan, and is best described as a Moroccan version of a pancake or crepe.
Street vendors offer '''fresh orange juice''' (''jus d'Orange'') by the glass for Dh 4. Try it with a dash of salt like the locals, but be wary of vendors who try and water the juice down with tap water. Also, pay attention when you buy as they offer 2 types of orange...the blood orange juice costs Dh 10 per glass and a misunderstanding on what you want to drink could occur.
Confirm the price of your orange juice and pay for it '''before''' you drink. Unscrupulous vendors will sometimes try to charge you Dh 10 for a Dh 4 glass of ''jus d'Orange'', so don't accept your drink until you've paid the correct amount.
Be wary also, that they do not always clean the glasses very well so it is possible to get an upset stomach from the juice.
There is a very limited selection of places selling alcohol in the medina.
The surroundings have all the huge tourist hotels, the ones that usually come with what the travel agencies offer. They can be further away from the medina and the rest of the city, but have big swimming pools, restaurants, and many services.
*<sleep name="Marrakech Rose" alt="" address="13 Derb Laadam, Kenaria, Place Djemaa el Fna" directions="In a small alleyway near the Cafe de France, directly to the east of the main square in Marrakech. A bit difficult to find. The hostel staff will email you a map with directions once you have made a booking." phone="+212 618444328" url="" checkin="12 PM" checkout="11 AM" price="Dorm beds from $10 USD" lat="" long="">Charming little hostel right in the center of town, with small dorms and super-friendly staff. Great place to meet other travelers and socialize - mostly a younger crowd. Not the best choice if you want an early night's sleep.</sleep>
==== Riads ====
[[Image:Laksiba_Courtyard.jpg|thumb|The Cooling effect of a Riad's courtyard is no accident. Design: A water feature at the base of a Riad courtyard serves two purposes. Firstly, the obvious focal point but more importantly, the courtyards
The Medina is packed with Riads and Dars (old grand houses converted into hotels and inns). '''Riads''' should have gardens; with smaller '''Dars''' having open courtyards. However the term Riad is used very loosly today to describe a house with an internal open-air center. These are wonderful places to stay to get a feel for life in Marrakech.
If you arrive by car, ask the hosts to help you find your way from the parking lot, especially if you never experienced orientation in a real medina before. Here are a sample of some of the riads (in alphabetical order) where you can experience Marrakech's unique style of living:
*<sleep name="Dar Habiba" alt="" address="18 Derb Jdid, riad zitoun k'did district" directions="5 minutes straightforward walk from the main square" phone="+44 20 7193 7357" url="www.marrakech-riad.co.uk" checkin="flexible" checkout="flexible" price="from £60" lat="" long="" email="[email protected]">Dar Habiba is a traditional secluded Riad with it’s own private Hamman- the ultimate Marrakech luxury. One suite and three rooms sharing a romantic courtyard minutes from the famous Jemma al Fnaa square..[[File:Magical Dar Habiba Marrakech.JPG|thumb|Marrakech Dar Habiba, traditional riad with private hammam]]</sleep>
* <sleep name="Riad Abaka" alt="" address="21 Derb Roukni Laksour" directions="" phone="+212 6 6697 8703" url="http://www.riadabaka.com" checkin="" checkout="" price="" lat="" long="" email="[email protected]">A spacious riad with seven beautifully furnished bedrooms and ensuite bathrooms. Located in the heart of the Medina, less than two minutes walk from Jemaa El Fna.</sleep>
*<sleep name="Riad Ariha" alt="" address="Derb Ahmed el Borj 90, Sidi ben Slimane" directions="just after Restaurant Dar Zellije" phone="+33 66 36 57 263" email="[email protected]" url="www.riadariha.com">Zen-chic with five beautifully decorated rooms each with heating, air conditioning and
* <sleep name="Riad Basma" alt="" address="Marrakech-Medina, 22 Derb Jamaa, Riad Basma" directions="From square Jamaa el Fnaa walk up to derb Dabachi and count 3 small streets (derbs) on the right turn right and keep on until nr. 22." phone="+212 6 5051 7223" url="" checkin="12PM" checkout="12 midday" price="" lat="31.625691" long="-7.984995" email="[email protected]">5 double rooms with bathroom.</sleep>
*<sleep name="Riad Elixir" adress="Rue Bounouala - Touala Sidi Ghanem" phone="+212 6 61 23 88 45"
email="[email protected]" url="http://www.riadelixir.com/">Riad Elixir is one of wonderful riad in Marrakech for vacation for short and long time. it is distinguished by its unique style and its spacious and beautiful Riad is a real authentic house of Morocco, restored in a contemporary minimalist style while respecting the traditional Arab-Andalusian Morocco and Marrakech in particular.</sleep>
====Discount hotels ====
The budget conscious will have more luck in the streets and alleyways south of Djemaa El-Fna, which are packed with discount hotels offering singles from Dh 50. Derb Sidi Bouloukat is a good place to look, a quiet but safe alleyway packed with traditional-style hotels just a min from Djemaa El-Fna. Its entrance is easy to find, just a few steps away from Djemaa El-Fna. Take Riad Zatoune (unmarked) which starts right of the Moroccan Red Crescent (with your back towards the Koutoubia) and it's the first alley on the right (marked in Arabic only). On your way in Riad Zitoune you will also come across the public hammam (Dh 10, left entrance for women, right entrance for men, the soap, glove and small bucket can be bought at many shops across the street) and a small restaurant serving bissara and mint tea for less than Dh 5.
In the little streets between rue Bab Agnaou and rue Riad Zitoune (where the Smara, the Essaouira, and the Imouzzer are) there are a lot of other small hostels. It is difficult to get lost as they are surrounded by these two big streets and Djemaa El-Fna. It could be a good idea to arrive during the day (best in the morning) and wander around comparing many hostels in a short time.
===Guéliz (also known as Ville Nouvelle)===
* '''Hotel al Kabir''', Corner of bd. Zerktouni and rue Loubnane, ☎ +212 2443 9540, +212 2443 4150. This modern, airy hotel is one of a group of similar standard hotels in this area of Guéliz. Mainly used by tour groups and reservation agencies, the Hotel al Kabir's rooms, accessible from three elevators, are all clean, modern, and well appointed, if a tad sterile, and the bathrooms are a reasonable size with shower/tub combos. Prices: Dh 291 for a single; Dh 382 for a double.
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:
===Emergency phone numbers===
*Police ☎ 19
*Ambulance/ Fire ☎ 15
* <listing name="Inb Tofail Hospital" alt="" directions="" address="Rue Abdelouahab Derraq" phone="+212 4444 8011" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price=""></listing>
The tap water in Marrakech is OK 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 Moroccan vendors have been known to save money by refilling plastic bottles from the tap. At restaurants, ask for your drinks without ice cubes, which are usually made with tap water.
If you look like a tourist, then it is common for people to offer to help with directions or even lead you to what you are looking for. Although not apparent at first, these people expect to be paid and will often lead you round in circles to increase the amount. Also, people may say that the place you are looking for is closed, but they will take you somewhere else that's better. This is almost always a lie. The best people to ask for directions are people behind a counter, as they cannot lead you because they don't want to leave their stall. If you are seriously lost, getting someone to lead you back is an option, but you should not give them more than Dh 10-20, no matter how much they complain.
By registering in person or online, citizens can make it easier for their country's embassy to contact them in case of emergency. Be sure to report any crime to both the local police and your embassy.
There are many dry cleaning shops inside and outside of the Medina. It takes only one day to clean and will cost from Dh10-30 per piece. If you stay at hotel, you can hand out your dirty clothes to a housekeeper. Usually they wash it by hand. They do not have a price list and usually say "up to you". You should not pay more than Dh 50-100 per plastic bag.
Marrakech can make a good base for exploring the [[High Atlas]] or for organizing one to four day '''Sahara treks'''. The following are towns in the [[High Atlas]] that can be seen as part of a day trip:
*[[Setti Fatma]]. A village at the end of the proper motor road up the Ourika Valley. The residential part is situated above the road and is not visited too much. The attractions are the lovely valley scenery and a walk to seven waterfalls - or for most day visitors one waterfall from which others can be seen.