When is the best time to visit?
Marrakech is, in many ways, a year-round destination. The buzzing atmosphere and cultural grandeur can be experienced at almost any time of year, but arriving into perfect, not-too-hot sunshine can really make a difference to your enjoyment of the city. This dictates to a lot of travellers when to book their flights.
In the spring and autumn, Marrakech’s temperatures are warm in the day and cool in the evening: the perfect combination for city exploration, very popular with tourists flying to the city from March to May and September to November.
If you want to avoid the crowds, the calmer winter streets make a refreshing change. Even in the colder months - November to March - the daytime temperature stays around the 21°C mark. However, it does dip considerably after dark. Despite the chilly nights, Marrakech still qualifies as a warm city destination, even in the winter.
Summer days, especially in July and August can regularly reach highs of almost 40°C. Some find the summer months too hot to explore the city properly – but if it’s a sunny glow you’re after, this is your time.
It’s also worth considering that many shops and restaurants close in August and during Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Tourists are still welcome, but eating in public over Ramadan is viewed as offensive – avoid doing this at all costs. The dates of Ramadan change on Western calendars from year to year, so do check before booking your flights.
On the 21st of August, the King's birthday is celebrated country-wide. This is a public holiday so normal business patterns may be disturbed. This should be taken into consideration if you are flying to Marrakech during this time.
During the month of March, Marrakech hosts the largest magic festival in the world, the International Magic Festival. The event takes over the streets and square of Marrakech for four days, where you can expect to see a variety of magic tricks. If you're impressed by disappearing bodies and death defying stunts, then this is a great time to visit, especially as these street performances are free. Bear in mind that you may have to pay to see performances at the Royal Theatre.
Year round there are many visitors seeking cheap flights to Marrakech making it a popular destination.
The popular Moroccan city of Marrakech, set against a backdrop of mountains and filled with the sights and sounds of centuries past, is full of drama, excitement and a little mystery.
Often referred to as the “The Rose City,” or “The Jewel of the South,” Marrakech is a city built on symbolism. The jewel symbolizes the city’s importance as Morocco’s trading place. The rose references the city’s pink-painted buildings and landscape. With Berber, Arab, and African influences present in Marrakech, it’s no wonder it is known as the heartbeat of Morocco.
Start your sightseeing in the old city and let your nose guide you. The scents and aromas that fill the air will lead you through open shops and markets throughout the city. Watch the human spectacle take place at the famous Djemaa el-Fna square, perhaps the greatest open-air market in the world, where businessmen walk alongside magicians and snake charmers perform. Tour the historic monuments and mosques before resting while watching the colourful Moroccan sunset.
Getting from the Airport to the CityOnce the flight arrives, Marrakech Menara airport (RAK) is only 4 miles away from the city centre, and without traffic or bus stops, the journey should take around 12 minutes. Marrakech streets can get quite busy, however: budget some extra time to get around, particularly if you’re on a tight schedule.A number of guesthouses within the city offer door-to-door transfers, which can often be a cheap, convenient way of getting directly to your accommodation. Of course, price, quality and reliability vary from provider to provider; check with your guesthouse upon booking. If provided, this can be a hassle-free way to get your break off to a great start.Taxis are also available from just outside the arrivals hall. Be prepared to see Morocco’s haggling culture in action here – for those unused to it, haggling can be stressful, but there’s really nothing to worry about. To limit any problems, agree on a price before you set off (a necessity) and act as though you have other options available when negotiating – even if you don’t. There are plenty more cabs in the city - don’t feel pressured to go with a driver you don’t trust.Choose a ‘petit’ taxi over a grand taxi if you’re looking to save money, and remember that daytime journeys will be around a third cheaper than night-time ones.Alternatively, a shuttle bus runs between the city and airport hourly between early morning and midnight.
Getting around Marrakech
There are two kinds of taxis in Marrakech: Grands and Petits. Grands taxis use set fares based on the route. Petit taxis have metered rates and are all beige-coloured. They can accommodate up to three people, plus luggage. At night, make sure you negotiate your fare before departing, as rates tend to shoot up.
If you’re walking through the city, an easy way to keep your bearings is by noting the names and sizes of the streets. Streets in the Medina are narrow and Arabic-named, while Gueliz streets are French and wide enough for two cars. The nearby parks are easily navigated with available maps, though you can hire a guide if you’d prefer.
For longer travels, the public bus system is a great way to get around. It’s safe, inexpensive and runs on a regular schedule from dawn to dusk. Night buses continue to run after dark on the most popular routes. Buses will be very crowded during rush hour, so keep calm and go with the flow. The City Sightseeing Bus also offers multilingual tours in English, French, Italian and Japanese on red, double-decker buses. Embrace the tourist in you and hop on or off at the designated spots to explore many of the city’s sites. If you prefer to be your own tour guide, you can rent a bike to enjoy the Marrakech scenery.
Avoid renting a car though, as many of the streets are unmarked, one-way and difficult to get around.