Feel like the Sultan himself.
If you plan on visiting Marrakech during summer months, prepare for SUPER hot periods from June to September. The temperature will peak above 86°F. No joke!
Morocco goes by CET – Central European Time Zone, UTC/GMT +1 hour. So it’s an hour ahead of London.
You can stay up to 90 days if you hold a passport of a North American or European country. But check with Moroccan embassy’s website to verify if you need further details. Save one blank page in your passport for entry stamp at customs. Here are some basic documents you’ll need:
- A valid passport up to six months.
- A visa if you’re not from a country listed below.
- Ticketed documentation of your return flight.
- An International Certificate of Vaccination for Yellow Fever if you’re coming from an infected area within 5 days.
For most travelers, you can visit Morocco without applying for a visa if your trip isn’t longer than three months. Make sure your passport is valid for a minimum of six months from the time you enter Morocco. If you plan on staying longer than three months, then you can possibly extend it at a Moroccan police station within 15 days of your arrival.
If you’re not a citizen of the countries listed below, then you need to download a visa form from the Moroccan Consulate’s website. You can stay up to three months if you hold a passport from these countries: Algeria, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Bulgaria, Brazil, Chile, Congo (Rep), Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Guinea (Conakry), Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Kuwait, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Kuwait, Libya, Liechtenstein, Mali, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Norway, Oman, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela
If you’re transiting in Morocco and stopping by in less than 24 hours, then you need to provide a plane ticket documentation and you can’t leave the airport.
Most websites will say that Marrakech is safe for female solo travelers. Although from our personal experiences, it’s safe for solo travelers but not necessarily for females. Female travelers will also have vastly different travel experiences in Marrakech, some encounter sexual harassment on a daily basis, while others don’t experience any at all.
Try to avoid the Medina at night alone, and try not to stay in a riad if you’re a woman traveling alone. We highly recommend staying in the Hivernage area, where the neighborhood is more spread out and your hotel can probably easily get you a taxi. We adore the authenticity of a riad and highly recommend for couples or family travelers, however, traversing through zigzag alleys alone and late at night will invite cat calls and herds of local men following you to invite you to their shops.
The worst case of sexual harassment can involve men asking you for sex, commenting on your breasts (as we have encountered.) This is due to the fact that some (not all) Moroccan men do not understand Western culture’s code of conduct towards cultural and sexual innuendos. The best way to avoid this is by your dress code, which should be conservative. Also, do look confident, avoid eye contact, and keep walking. Know that Moroccan women would never tolerate being spoken to as such in public, so act like them. When speaking to locals, stay formal and be polite, since any physical contact between the opposite sex may be taken as a sexual invite. Not all local men are like this, but you should follow your gut and know when to put your guard up.
The best way is to keep the number of your hotel for emergency, in case anything happens the concierge usually is available throughout 24 hours.
Females should stick to wearing dresses or pants that cover your knees. Tight clothing or semi-see through is not recommended. Bring scarves for entering mosques. When going out at night at Comptoir Darna or nearby bars, you should still dress conservatively. Shiny and sparkly is absolutely ok, but mini dresses or skirts aren’t recommended.
The best time to visit Marrakech would be during spring time, from mid-March to May when the mountains are green so for the outdoor lovers, hiking is a fantastic activity. During autumn, the weather is also similarly lovely. Summertime is dry and very hot, though hotels are cheaper than usual. Winter months are ideal for those who aren’t eager for snow, the temperature can be chilly but not too cold.
There are two widely spoken languages in Marrakech: Classical Arabic and French. Most people also speak English due to a huge influx of tourists.
Hello = As-salam alaykom (Arabic), bonjour (French)
Good morning/Hello = Sabahu Al-khair (Arabic), bonjour (French)
Good afternoon/Good evening = Masa’ alkhayr (Arabic), bon soir (French)
Goodnight = Tusbih ealaa khayr (Arabic), bonne nuit (French)
Goodbye = Wadaeaan (Arabic), au revoir (French)
Yes = Nem fielaan (Arabic), oui (French)
No = La (Arabic), non (French)
Please = Raja-un (Arabic), s’il vous plaît (French)
Thank you = Shukraan (Arabic), merci (French)
You’re welcome = Ealaa alrahab w alsiea (Arabic), de rien (French)
I’m sorry = Ana asif (Arabic), désolé (French)
Excuse me/I’m sorry = Efu (Arabic), pardonez-moi (French)
Do you speak English? = Hal tatahadath al’iinjlizia(Arabic), parlez-vous français (French)
I don’t speak Arabic = Ana la ‘atahadath alearabia (Arabic), je parle pas Arabe (French)
Attire: Make sure to wear clothes that cover both legs and shoulders, especially for women. As these body parts are considered private. You may encounter sexual harassment if you wear short skirts and short-sleeved shirts.
Inside mosques: For women, be sure to cover up from your wrists to your ankles. For men, cover your shoulders and knees. Although most mosques don’t allow non-Muslims to enter.
Greeting: Don’t eat or greet with your left hand as it is considered unclean.
In homes as guests: Make sure to bring a gift, but also to take your shoes off when you enter a local’s home.
Alcohol: Try not to drink alcohol in public, especially if you’re a woman. There are a few sophisticated bars and restaurants where it’s socially acceptable to drink in public.
Ramadan: During the month of Ramadan (Muslims’ month of fasting), try to eat, drink, and smoke indoors to show respect.
Morocco uses their own currency: Moroccan Dirham (MAD.) You can find many ATMs throughout Marrakech and other bigger cities. You can also use credit cards in most restaurants, but cash is preferred when you shop in local boutiques and smaller restaurants.
Tipping! There are no strict rules regarding tipping in Marrakech, in most restaurants an additional 10% will be added to the bill. In smaller places, you can leave a few dirhams. The same goes for taxi drivers, or $1 is considered adequate. For private drivers, $2 per day is great. $10-$20 per person per day for tour guides who will share the tip with the driver.
Morocco uses two plug types: C and E.
C is the one with two round pins that’s widely used throughout Europe. E is the plug that has two round pins and an additional hole. Morocco operates on a 220V supply voltage and 50Hz.
Type C looks like this:
Although most websites will say that tap water is filtered and safe to drink in Marrakech, we recommend sticking to bottled water just to be on the safe side. In case your stomach is sensitive. Stick to eating cooked meats or peeled fruits are also good ideas. If you want to be even more safe, then get a Hepatitis A vaccination before the trip.
In Marrakech, most hotels, riads, restaurants will have free Wi-Fi. If you’re someone who always needs Wi-Fi on-the-go, then it’s highly recommended that you get a portable or pocket Wi-Fi so that you can avoid data roaming. If you have America’s T-Mobile free international roaming data, it WILL NOT work in the Medina, so do not rely on Google Maps to get around the very confusing zigzag alleys. It’s better to get a portable pocket Wi-Fi if you’re in need of internet connection at all times to get around.
Unfortunately, Uber does not exist in Marrakech. It’s only available in Casablanca.
If you need a taxi, there are taxi stands near most major landmarks. But negotiate a price before getting in the car. A good price list to keep in mind: 3 miles = 40 MAD (USD $4), 4 miles = 52 MAD (USD $5.50), 5 miles = 60 MAD (USD $6.50).
It’s a good idea to befriend a taxi driver, keep his card and he’ll be more than willing to be your “driver of the day” at a cheaper price for the entire day. This is worth it when you feel like you can’t seem to find a taxi wherever you are.
Your hotel will also be able to order a taxi very quickly.
Under Moroccan law, homosexual acts are illegal and come with hefty punishment. It can even result in 6 months to 3 years in prison and a fine. Even if Marrakech is on the liberal side in Morocco, it still operates under traditional and religious values, thus homophobia definitely exists. If you see men being physical with each other, ie: embraces and holding hands, it’s their way of showing affection but it’s not considered romantic. In Morocco, PDA between heterosexual couples, let alone a gay couples, should be kept in discretion.
With that being said, the gay scene in Marrakech is growing due to its heavy European influence. Particularly when the city welcomed Yves Saint Laurent who decided to reside there and his gorgeous Jardin Majorelle grew to be one of Marrakech’s main attractions.
For LGBTQ travelers, Le Pacha and Le Comptoir Darna are gay-friendly. Also check out other bars on Avenue Mohammed V.
Most riads won’t frown upon two gay men asking for one bed, and stick to the neighborhood of Gueliz.