Morocco is the perfect winter destination. The weather is pleasant and there are plenty of things to see and experience! You can get cheap flights with RyanAir to Marrakech from most European cities. I would recommend staying at least 5 days (4 nights) total if you’re planning to see Marrakech and go on a tour to the Sahara Desert. If you’re on a tight schedule you can easily visit all of Marrakech’s main attractions in one day.
- Private excursions to the desert are cheaper than you think. Don’t overpay! Hire a reputable tour company (learn more).
- Keep in mind Marrakech is one of the safest cities in Morocco. The worst thing that will probably happen is you’ll overpay for your souvenirs. ;P
- Be sure to haggle in the markets—items are usually a third (or less) of the price the shopkeeper tells you.
- Most meals in Morocco will cost €7 or less (as long as you don’t order alcohol).
- Beware of shifty tour guides in the city—agree on the price and make it clear upfront you don’t want to go shopping.
- Moroccans don’t tip (they usually just leave change) but tourists are expected to. Bring cash in small bills to avoid being caught in an awkward situation. You can tip in Dollars, Euros, etc.
- You should plan to exchange money beforehand. We paid for most of our tours, tips, excursions, food etc. in Euros but some places only accepted cash (in Dirham).
- Get to the airport 2 – 3 hours before your flight out. It took us several hours to get in and out of the airport due to long lines and several security checkpoints.
Where to stay in Marrakech
I would definitely recommend the riads we stayed at in Marrakech. If you’re looking for another option just be sure to find someplace that is within walking distance of Jemaa el-Fnaa Square.
- Riad Dar Asdika ($): This place offers a budget-friendly accommodation option. There’s a cool rooftop terrace and the rooms are clean and comfortable. It’s within walking distance of the city’s attractions. The staff are also super friendly and helpful. If you stay here do not miss the breakfast!
- Riad Dar Justo ($$): This place is an Instagramer’s paradise. The rooftop sitting area and indoor patio are gorgeous. It’s a 5 minute walk to the square. Note this hotel is hard to find…so you may want to arrange airport pickup (we paid €20 for our entire group of 7) with the hotel ahead of time.
Where to eat in Marrakech
We only had one full day in the city but were lucky enough to eat at two great restaurants:
- Chez Chegrouni ($): We chose this restaurant based on a recommendation by another travel blogger. It’s a good spot to get a cheap, delicious meal and enjoy views of Jemaa el-Fnaa Square. We ordered a ton of food and payed less than $7 per person. Nice staff, speedy service.
- Nomad ($$): My family loved this restaurant. The food is delicious and rooftop dining area offers great views. This place is always packed so try to make a reservation ahead of time if possible.
Hiring local tour guides in Marrakech (BEWARE)
You can easily pick up a local tour guide in Marrakech (just like in Pompeii). You’ll notice men with red lanyards and ID cards at the city’s touristic spots. The rate is negotiable and usually costs around $10 per hour (for the entire group). But beware…a lot of these guys work for commission from shops and restaurants too. If you want to hire a local guide you may want to ask your your hotel for recommendations and make it clear upfront you’re not interested in shopping and do not want to see carpets or go to a Berber pharmacy. Another option is to book a guide online but this option is much more expensive based on what I saw (the guides I found online charge $30 per person).