It’s no secret why Marrakesh (or Marrakech) is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Morocco. If you’re short on time and want to experience what makes the country so special and unforgettable, it’s hard to think of another city that does a better job. Marrakech is a thrill, whether you’re interested in history, food or photography.destination.
Best time to visit Marrakesh
The time of year should be an important consideration when planning your trip. That’s because the weather and tourist numbers can vary greatly depending on when you go. After all, Morocco is located in North Africa, a region known for its extreme summer heat.
Generally speaking, the best time to visit Marrakech is at the end of the summer, either from March to May or in October and November. During these shoulder seasons, the weather is still warm, but much more pleasant to be out and about all day. If you’re at all worried about the heat, this is the time to visit. You should also find that accommodation prices aren’t quite as high during these periods.
So what is summer like in Marrakech? As you might expect, the days are pretty brutal and you’ll need to be well prepared if you’re going outdoors. Make sure you carry and drink plenty of water, apply sunscreen and find shade wherever you can. The heat during the day also means that summer evenings are busier than usual, especially in places like Jemaa el-Fna.
How to get around Marrakesh
One look at a map will tell you that Marrakesh is a fairly large city. The thing about visiting Marrakesh, however, is that most of the city’s attractions are conveniently located within the city’s medina, so you can walk from one to the next – not that you’ll have much choice, as cars and public transport rarely penetrate the organic maze of the medina’s streets and alleys.
There are, however, a few sights that lie outside the historic centre. In these cases, you will have to rely on local taxis. Known as petit taxis, they’re beige-yellow in colour and a cheap way to get around, although drivers rarely agree to use the meter.
There is now a local bus network in the city, which is quite cheap, but the buses are generally overcrowded and not very comfortable in the summer heat. As for the city’s horse-drawn carriages (called calèche), you’ll have to make your own judgement based on how healthy the horses appear to be.
Marrakech Menara Airport is one of the main airports in the country, so whether you’re spending just 3 days in Marrakech or want to see more of Morocco, you’ll want to know how to get into the city from Marrakech airport. Your cheapest option is to take the #19 bus to Jemaa el-Fnaa for just 30 MAD one way. Otherwise, take a taxi, which isn’t much more expensive (50-100 MAD), or book a private transfer from the airport.
Where to stay in Marrakesh
The first question on most travellers’ minds when planning their trip is where to stay in Marrakesh. The next question is usually whether they can stay in a riad, a traditional and characterful type of accommodation in Morocco that’s like a guesthouse with an interior garden or courtyard. The answer to this second question is a definite and resounding yes, as there are plenty of riads to choose from around the city.
As for where to stay, the answer isn’t quite so clear-cut. Many people think that all the best places to stay in Marrakech are in the historic medina, but this simply isn’t true. The medina is great in terms of character and proximity to the sights. But there are also neighbourhoods like the equally historic Kasbah or the more modern Gueliz that have everything you need for a pleasant visit.
For an experience you won’t soon forget, stay at the luxurious Four Seasons Resort Marrakech in the west of the city. Just minutes from the Menara Gardens, this five-star resort offers spacious rooms with private terraces and access to an outdoor swimming pool, rooftop terrace and wellness centre.
If you’re looking for a balance between cost and comfort, Riad Le Rihani is an excellent mid-range option for your visit. This light and airy riad in the medina is fantastic value for money, with an outdoor pool, hammam and rooftop terrace that will make it hard to leave for sightseeing.
Don’t forget that Airbnb is another option for interesting and affordable accommodation. For recommendations, check out our list of the best Airbnbs in Marrakesh.
Even if you’re on a budget, places like Riad les 2 Portes allow backpackers to experience what it’s like to stay in a riad. Just a five-minute walk from the heart of the medina, this riad offers private rooms with comforts like air conditioning and a delicious breakfast that’s included in the price.