ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Marrakech Morocco tourist guide

Updated on January 1, 2012

Marrakech

Marrakech is a really interesting place to visit. Even in December, you can be lucky with the weather and have warm, sunny days and with the quality of light and the snow-capped Atlas mountains in the distance it can be very pleasant. (From the French) ...offering endless attractions that make light of joy and ecstasy of the senses...(?)

The central square Jemnaa-el-Fna has round the clock food stalls, snake charmers and musicians putting on a show. Just north of here is the souks area of covered markets - nothing I can describe will prepare you for this experience. It's wacky, in-your-face retail extravaganza, and, it has to be said, quite a lot of hassle. The bartering is endless, you may wish to take refuge in a nice cafe like Bouganvillea or the Cafe des Epices. You will probably give in and buy something you had no intention of buying - I certainly did! Morocco has been described as "A country collapsing under the weight of its own handicrafts". Once you have spent a day in the souks, you will understand why! My personal favourite are the Berber rugs or killims, which are all pretty much unique and works of art in their own way. I've seen some great examples of Islamic art in Spain (The Alhambra palace and the mosque at Cordoba are two highlights) but Marrakech seems to be full of outstanding art and architecture, from the older riads to the Dar Si Said pictured here, which is pretty amazing.

The constant begging and offers of guides can be a drag. Looking at it in a positive light, you can make a real difference to local poverty with a few dollars or euros, and you may return home wishing you'd done a bit more to help some of poorer Marrakechis. There is a lot of money in this town though - the property, riads and hotels make that obvious. Not least, the royal palaces. King Muhammed 6 is credited with an annual household expenditure 18 times greater (or more profligate) than our very own QE2 - now that's impressive! M6, you totally rock, dude!

Marrakech

Marrakech airport

In the interests of fairness, I'd like to warn you about the perils of Menara airport. It's all shiny and new - so why does everyone have to queue for 1.5 hours to have their passport looked at by some surly official? This was not a one-off. It's up to 1.25 hours when you get there, same when you leave. It is ridiculous. If they don't sort this out all the rest of the effort in attracting tourism is a total waste of time. Both times I've been through there it has been a nightmare.

Travel bargains are now available. Ryanair and Easyjet both offer budget fares to Marrakech from Bristol and Stansted.

Atlas mountains

Most hotels in Marrakech run trips out to the mountains, travelling in a minibus to places like Essaioura on the coast, which is really beautiful in a kind of Greek fishing village way. In fact, it's nice enough to spend your whole holiday there, watching the wild Atlantic surf. (From the French)... small white houses and its beautiful beaches and vast yourselves...???

One of the more famous visitors was one James Marshall Hendrix during the 1960s.It's the kind of strange holiday destination you don't forget.

Atlas mountains -The Ourika valley is terrific, and the cascades at Ouzoud are amazing, a huge waterfall system with a gorge and unforgettable views. You can also take longer excursions to the edge of the Sahara desert.

Hotels - I'd subtract a star if I were you, and also bear in mind that some hotel websites blantantly lie about their location! Mine claimed to be a few minutes from the city. Well, 30 minutes is what I made it! I think you have to accept that Marrakech is a strange and amazing place, but the lingua franca is not French or Moroccan, but bullshit!

Hotels -The food is OK, but nothing special. The French influence on patisseries was a good thing.

I think the Gueliz or new town area is a good base to book a hotel. Taxi fares are very cheap from there.

Marrakech - dar Si said

The sights

Museum of Marrakech - I didn't rate this much, though to be fair I didn't visit the Medersa. Cafe is overpriced. Very hard to find in the winding lanes, where you will be prey to all sorts of unwanted guides and advice. To be frank, it's pretty dull.

Dar Si Said - full of amazing tile work, wood carving. A fantastic mansion/museum that is one of the highlights of the city. A few dirhams will ensure you get to see all the best bits! And they are something else..a lot like the Alhambra in miniature.

Djemaa-el-fna - central square and strange festival experience. After dark it becomes very atmospheric - but it never seems dangerous in any way.

Koutoubia Mosque - a great building, probably fascinating, but off-limits to non- Muslims. The gardens are stunning, with the Atlas mountains as a backdrop.Once you recognise this building, visible from most of the city, it will really help in finding your way around. Another mecca for hustlers of all descriptions!


Jemnaa-el-fna at night, obviously

Dar Si Said interior, tile patterns in Musee Marrakech

Tile patterns, interior
Tile patterns, interior
Dar Si Said chamber
Dar Si Said chamber

Getting there

Marrakech is easy to get to, with budget direct flights from Stansted and Bristol. I flew with Ryanair, and found a return for about £50, which was a tremendous bargain. Travel deals are easy to find, and book a hotel on the net. As usual, check the hotel location carefully, or you might end up miles from anywhere! As I did.

Other places to see in Morocco include Meknes, Fes, and Volubilis, which is an abandoned Roman town. I haven't been to any of these locations yet, but they look fascinating, and Fes is one of the best preserved medieval cities in the world. Maybe you could leave a comment if you've been there.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Jon Green profile imageAUTHOR

      Jon Green 

      6 years ago from Frome, Somerset, UK

      It's a unique place - but watch out for self-appointed guides, and the airport is a right hassle! November will be a great time to go. Carpets /rugs are very good value if you shop around.

    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 

      6 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Nice hub, I'm off to Marrakech for a few days this November and really looking forward to the sights, sounds and smells. I've spent the day there before but want to see more. Great inspiration

    • Jon Green profile imageAUTHOR

      Jon Green 

      6 years ago from Frome, Somerset, UK

      Thanks - it's a cheap trip from the UK, and a real one -off destination.

    • Faceless39 profile image

      Kate P 

      6 years ago from The North Woods, USA

      Rated up, useful, beautiful, and interesting. What an amazing place; I've always wanted to go there. Great images and tips!

    • marrakech-loisirs profile image

      marrakech-loisirs 

      6 years ago from Marrakech, Morocco

      Yes, it certainly is...

    • Jon Green profile imageAUTHOR

      Jon Green 

      6 years ago from Frome, Somerset, UK

      Thanks a lot, it's an amazing place.

    • marrakech-loisirs profile image

      marrakech-loisirs 

      6 years ago from Marrakech, Morocco

      Great Stuff Jon!

    • Jon Green profile imageAUTHOR

      Jon Green 

      7 years ago from Frome, Somerset, UK

      Hi. The Atlas is amazing - though I haven't seen that much of it.Try to see the waterfalls at Ouriba if you can.

    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 

      7 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Nice info, I'm off to Marrakech and climbing Toubkal in the High Atlas shortly so this hub will come in handy for me. Thank You

    • profile image

      Jaynie2000 

      7 years ago

      Great info and pictures. I'm interesting in visiting Morocco in 2012. Will definitely refer back to your hub.

    • Jon Green profile imageAUTHOR

      Jon Green 

      8 years ago from Frome, Somerset, UK

      Hi Clare - Ryanair from Bristol normally has some good deals this time of year.Go shopping!

    • profile image

      Clare 

      8 years ago

      It looks great ! - quite similar to oMAN

    • Jon Green profile imageAUTHOR

      Jon Green 

      8 years ago from Frome, Somerset, UK

      Hi rosescottw. That's the thing about Morocco, it is interesting and I'm always thinking about going back.Fez and Volubilis Roman ruins are high on the list. Cheers, Jon

    • rosescottw profile image

      Rose Scott 

      8 years ago from Los Angeles, California

      Hi Jon

      I really like the photos. I was in Morocco in December 2008. I visited the Fez. Very interesting place.

    • Jon Green profile imageAUTHOR

      Jon Green 

      9 years ago from Frome, Somerset, UK

      You're welcome prasetio. Another great place is Venice if you've not been there already.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 

      9 years ago from malang-indonesia

      I think it nice to visit. And great picture. thanks for share

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)