Visiting Marrakech? Know These Crucial Travel Tips

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Marrakech is the most popular city in Morocco for tourists to visit. There are some important things to know before visiting Marrakech that will help you have an amazing trip in the city.

A lot of people find Marrakech overwhelming at first. I sure did.

But as you understand the city more, you quickly fall in love. I sure did.

If you know the tips covered in this article before visiting Marrakech, you’ll be less overwhelmed and get to the falling in love part quicker.

I certainly wish I knew most of this stuff before visiting Marrakech. I would have felt more comfortable, confident, and it wouldn’t have taken me as long to get my feet under me and truly explore the city.

Is Marrakech safe for solo female travellers?

1. Arabic and French are Both Widely Spoken

Both Arabic and French are widely spoken in Marrakech. Most people will be able to understand you if you speak French even though Arabic is the primary language in Morocco.

This is very helpful to tourists who don’t know any Arabic but know French basics.

Knowing that French is widely spoken is something I really wish I knew before visiting Marrakech.

I spent four semesters in university studying French and really wish I had freshened up on my language skills before arriving in Marrakech.

English is often spoken in the most popular tourist destinations, but there is no guarantee that anybody will speak English. And they may not be able to help you if you need assistance.

And trust me, it is very easy to get lost in the souks and winding streets, so you may have to ask for directions.

Luckily, I was able to sneak by with the little French I had, but I would have been lost without it.

So, I highly recommend that you either know a little bit of Arabic or French before visiting Marrakech.

It’ll make your trip go much smoother.

Plus it’s always nice (and respectful) to know a little bit of the local language anywhere you travel.

Marrakech, Morocco

2. Currency Exchange is Tricky

If there is one thing you need to know before visiting Marrakech, it is that currency exchange is a little bit tricky.

You’re only able to exchange your money into Moroccan Dirham when you arrive in Morocco. You’re not supposed to be able to get any Dirham outside of Morocco.

I have heard a few stories of people being able to get a very small amount of Dirham from their local bank before arriving in Morocco, but I wouldn’t count on that.

You can exchange your money in lots of places in Marrakech, but I recommend doing the exchange at the airport.

They know most people who arrive in Marrakech will need to exchange their currency, and they’ve set up an efficient process.

There are lots of tellers to exchange the currency quickly, and you get a reasonable rate.

I know a lot of airport currency exchange locations don’t always give a fair rate, but that isn’t the case in Morocco.

So, leave some extra time when you land at the airport to exchange your currency, and you’ll be all set for your visit to Marrakech.

Additionally, you need to exchange your Dirham back to another currency before you leave Morocco. Again, I would just do this at the airport for convenience.

I’ve found that you tend to get the best rate when you’re exchanging your Dirham to USD, Euro, or GBP. But they have tons of different currency if you don’t want to exchange to any of those three currencies.

Anyways, the moral of the story is to have a plan for exchanging your currency inside Morocco, so you’re not left in a panic when you land in Morocco.

3. Haggling is a Way of Life

You’ll need to haggle for anything you buy at a local vendor/stall in Morocco. This is something I knew before visiting Marrakech.

But I wanted to warn you as well, so you can work on your haggling skills or work up the courage to haggle if you’re like me.

I hate haggling. Even though I know it’s common in many part of the world, I always feel awkward, uncomfortable, and rude whenever I haggle.

You won’t have to haggle at a restaurant, if you’re buying street food, or if you’re visiting a larger souvenir store.

You’ll have to haggle in souks and other street stalls.

Well, technically you don’t have to haggle, but you’ll be way overpaying if you don’t.

If you know you want to buy a specific souvenir in Morocco, be sure to research ahead of time a range of what you should expect to pay for it.

This will allow you to be prepared and understand whether or not you’re being offered a fair price for the item.

I’m a terrible haggler, so I’m not going to give you any haggling tips.

My only tip is to know what you’re comfortable paying and don’t pay more than that. I’ve just resigned myself to the fact that I overpay for everything I buy when I attempt to haggle.

But I never feel bad because I paid what I felt comfortable with, and the vendor made a little extra money that day.

Marrakech, Morocco

4. The Importance of Internet Safety

I will never stop telling you that you need to be more aware of your internet safety when travelling.

You rely on public wifi networks, and that puts you are serious risk of having your online data stolen.

Any time you use a hotel, restaurant, or transportation wifi network, you’re leaving your online information vulnerable and ready to be stolen.

And, yes, even wifi networks that have passwords aren’t safe. Anybody can access that password, and they’re only mildly more secure than a completely public wifi network.

Protecting your personal online information and data may not be on the top of your list of things to do before visiting Marrakech, but it should be.

You’ll deeply regret not taking your internet safety seriously if someone steals your banking information, and you’re left scrambling trying to cancel credit cards and bank accounts while on holiday.

That is never fun.

The only way you can stay safe while using public wifi networks is by installing a VPN on your devices.

A VPN puts a forcefield around your devices that makes it impossible for any prying eyes to access your online information.

It makes using public wifi networks just as safe as using your home wifi network where you’re the only person who knows the password.

A tourist’s guide to wifi in Morocco

My Favourite VPN

I’ve used a lot of different VPNs over my years of travel. Frankly, most of them are terrible.

VPNs are notorious for slowing your internet connection to a snail’s pace and making the internet frustrating to use.

There have been many times where I’ve turned off my VPN and risked my online data being stolen because the VPN I was using at the time was so painfully slow, and I couldn’t even do a basic Google search.

My frustration ended when I discovered NordVPN.

NordVPN is the fastest VPN on the market, which is why I love it. I’ve been using it for years and years and recommend it to all my friends and family.

You need a fast internet connection when travelling, and that’s why I love NordVPN and feel comfortable recommending it to you my fellow travel lovers.

It is by far the best VPN I’ve used and feel confident it is protecting my online information, privacy, and data without slowing my internet connection down.

In fact, more of the times, I don’t notice I’ve using a VPN at all because there is so little slow down when using NordVPN.

The best part?

NordVPN is super affordable!

The cost per month of a two-year subscription is less than a single Starbuck’s latte. You get amazing protection and online privacy for a super low price.

My philosophy is that if you can afford to travel, you can afford to protect your personal online information with a VPN.

It’s a small price to pay for the security and peace of mind you get in return.

Don’t Forget to Install an Esim on Your Phone!

Esims are an amazing new technology that allows you to easily access the internet with phone data with just a few clicks.

All you have to do is purchase an esim either on the website or app and install it onto your phone. After the esim is installed on your phone, you use your phone data just like you would at home.

Esims are the easiest way to get phone data while you travel. You no longer have to rely on data roaming from your home phone company or purchase a local sim card when you arrive in a new country.

I personally use Airalo. It has the best coverage of any esim company, is extremely affordable, and has reliable data access, so you’ll never be stuck somewhere without access to data.

If you don’t use much data, you may want to consider using Drimsim. They charge you per MB used. You can get away with only spending a couple of dollars for data while in Morocco as long as you don’t use it often.

If you use Drimsim, be sure to turn off your data when you’re not using it. This ensures your data isn’t accidentally running in the background and helps keep your costs down.

But, since Airalo is so affordable, it’s still my esim of choice even when I don’t use a ton of data wherever I’m travelling.

5. The Food is Incredible

One thing I was not prepared for when visiting Marrakech was how incredible Moroccan food is.

It is legitimately one of my favourite cuisines now, and I even brought a tagine and spices home with me, so I could cook Moroccan food at home. And that tagine gets a workout let me tell you.

It is essential that you try traditional Moroccan food while visiting Marrakech.

You won’t be disappointed!

Tagine is my favourite. You can get a variety of types of tagines ranging from vegetable to chicken to beef.

The thing they all have in common is that they’re cooked in ceramic or clay cooking vessel. The cooking process takes a long time, and you’re left with the most tender, delicious, flavourful food.

Some tagines just have broth, and some have couscous in the bottom. My preference is just the broth, but I think most people enjoy the couscous version better.

But, not matter what, promise me you’ll try tagine in Marrakech.

In addition to tagine, you can try delicious kabobs, tips, and breads.

The only thing I tended to steer away from in Marrakech (and Morocco in general) was the street food on small streets.

There tended to be flies hanging around them, and I wasn’t sure how long the food had been sitting out for. I wasn’t prepared to take a risk.

Street food in high traffic areas are normally pretty safe. They get lots of customers, and the food doesn’t sit around for very long before it is sold.

If you want to be safe, I would stick to restaurants. You know food is going to be fresh.

Be sure to try some new foods in Marrakech even if you’ve never heard of them. One of the most beautiful parts of travel is trying new food, and you don’t want to leave Marrakech without trying Moroccan food!

Marrakech, Morocco

6. Beware of Scammers

Just like anywhere else in the world, there are scams you need to be aware of when visiting Marrakech.

I’m not going to go over all the common scams in Marrakech, but I’ll cover a few of the most common ones you need to be aware of.

Taxi Scam

Unsurprisingly, taxi scams are common in Marrakech. The scam works just like taxi scams all over the world.

You get into a taxi, and they say their meter is broken, and you end up paying an extremely high fare. The easiest way to avoid this scam is either by insisting the driver turn on the meter before you get in the car or by agreeing on a price before you get in the car.

Tea Scam

Another common scam happen when a seller in a souk invites you in and offers you a free tea- no strings attached.

You accept the tea, and then when you go to leave, the seller insists you purchase something because you accepted their free tea.

The issue with this scam is that you never know whether or not it is truly a scam or a seller being kind.

I’ve had experiences where a seller has genuinely offered me a tea without expecting me (or hassling me) to make a purchase.

However, there are also tons of cases where the seller isn’t being genuine and is trying to scam you.

Use you gut. And if you get in a situation where they’re demanding you buy an item, politely say no and then leave. You’re under no obligation to purchase anything from them.

If you want to be safe, simply refuse any offering of tea.

The Helper Scam

The last scam I want to talk about is the the gate is locked or I’ll take you the right way scam.

This is where a “kind” stranger spots you as a tourist and “helps” you find your way.

There are varying degrees of this. Some people are just looking for a small tip, and others are taking you in completely the wrong direction and will insist you pay them quite a bit of money or maybe arrange a taxi for you that charges you a very high fare.

To avoid this scam, politely tell people you don’t need their help.

Some people will follow you (and still expect a tip for showing you the way), but the biggest scammers will try to find someone else they can get more money out of.

Be sure to have your wits about you and always do what you’re comfortable with. If you’re lost and need help, go to the main square and ask either a police officer or tourist booth employer for help.

7. Make Time for a Day Trip

Marrakech is stunning, but you should make time in your schedule to take a day trip from Marrakech.

There are so many amazing places to see in Morocco that are near Marrakech.

The most popular day trips from Marrakech are an adventure out into the desert and a visit to Ouzoud Falls.

My preference is Ouzoud Falls.

It is one of the most beautiful waterfalls I’ve ever seen, and I recommend it to anybody I know who is visiting Marrakech.

Trust me. The pictures don’t do it justice!

Another great option is visiting Essaouira. I personally think you need multiple days in Essaouira to get the full experience, but if you only have one day, that’s better than nothing.

No matter where you choose to go, I think it is always worth it to take a day trip from Marrakech.

You get to see a different side of Morocco and get out of the hustle and bustle of the city.

Solo travel in Morocco

8. It’s Hot, and You Need to Dress Modestly

Morocco is a desert country, and it gets hot.

The good type of hot- dry hot. You won’t be sweating to death because of the humidity.

But, you will still be hot. And there are certain clothing expectations you should abide by.

For women, this means no shoulders showing, no cleavage, and long shorts/skirts/dresses or pants.

For men, you should cover your shoulders and avoid shorter shorts.

It’s pretty easy to find the right clothing to pack when visiting Marrakech, but it is something you should be aware of before you arrive in Morocco.

You don’t want to pack mostly tank tops and short skirts and then have nothing to wear while in Marrakech.

And bring a fan. And lots of sunscreen!

Marrakech, Morocco

9. You’ll Get Hassled

Unfortunately, there is no delicate way to word this point, you will get hassled when visiting Marrakech.

Especially if you’re a woman travelling alone or a group of women travelling alone.

Even if you’re a mixed group of men and women, you’ll still get hassled. Whether it is people trying to get your attention to shop in their store or someone trying to get you to fall for a local scam, be prepared to have lots of people yelling at you to get your attention or following you.

Most people are harmless and are just trying to make some money off you.

Say no thank you politely and keep walking. Even if someone starts following you, keep walking.

They’ll eventually give up or you’ll arrive at your destination.

I wouldn’t call the hasseling you’ll experience in Marrakech as a safety threat. I’ve never felt unsafe in Marrakech when people were trying to get my attention or get a tip out of me.

I would call it a bit annoying though. By the end of the week, I definitely had less patience for it than at the beginning of the week.

Kindness and politeness goes a long way. People aren’t trying to be rude or annoying. They’re trying to make enough money to support their lifestyle.

10. Riads are the Best Place to Stay

Riads are the very best place to stay in Morocco. They’re a traditional type of Moroccan architecture and absolutely beautiful.

They also tend to be run by locals and are more affordable than most hotels, which is a huge plus.

I had the most amazing time staying in a riad.

The staff were incredible kind, the building was beautiful, and the complimentary breakfast was made fresh for each person every morning no matter what time you got your day started.

It definitely gave my trip to Marrakech a more authentic feel, and it was extremely relaxing to come back to that environment after a busy day of exploring the city.

Recommended Activities in Marrakech

explore morocco

Conclusion

Marrakech is a fantastic city, but it can be an overwhelming city for tourists to navigate.

I hope these things to know before visiting Marrakech help you plan your trip and make your experience in Marrakech more enjoyable.

I know the first couple of days in Marrakech can be difficult for some tourists. It is worth feeling a bit uncomfortable at first and getting to explore and fall in love with Morocco and Marrakech.

It’s worth it. Trust me.

Marrakech has so much to offer. The sights are stunning, the food delicious, and the nature will take your breath away.

Visiting Marrakech?  Know These Crucial Travel TipsVisiting Marrakech?  Know These Crucial Travel TipsVisiting Marrakech?  Know These Crucial Travel Tips
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