This past fall, we re-located to Tangier, Morocco which sits at the VERY top of North Africa and overlooks Spain. But we spent a good 10 years in Marrakech and receive many questions on life there: What is life like in Marrakech? What is it like to travel in Marrakech? What are the best places to visit? What are the best places to shop? Where are the best places to eat? And where are the best places to sleep...? We get asked these questions quite a bit and we hope to be able to answer them here as well point you in helpful directions. And as we learn Tangier, we'll be adding our favorite places and stories from here too!
Read our recommendations in links below:
Our guide in MiLK Magazine
Our guide on BozAround
Interview of Zid Zid co-founder Julie Klear discussing life as an American living in Marrakech
About our house in Marrakech
What is it like to live in Morocco?
Marrakech has never been known as a dull city and the best attitude to adapt is to embrace the daily colorful chaos that envelopes this city. We've been here close to 10 years and hope for 10 more! Our best advice is to dive in feet first to discover all the wonderful sights, smells, textures, patterns, tastes and surprises you can find! And the people of Morocco are warm, kind, friendly and always inviting. Most Moroccans speak French, some speak English, Spanish and German. We recommend learning a handful of Arabic words before coming; Moroccans love it when you speak their native language called Dareja.
Hello - Salaam
Beautiful - Zwine
Thank you - Choukran
No thank you - 'La, Choukran
Enough - Safi!
Goodbye - Maa Salama
Go on (or) more please - Zid Zid! ;-)
Is it a safe place?
We find in this day and age, no place is 100% safe, Marrakech is no exception. Overall, it is a very friendly and accommodating city. One must keep in mind however; this city has been a crossroads for centuries, a place that has welcomed all cultures no matter what road they travelled to arrive here. It is important to keep this dimension in mind, as street life in the Medina and in the New Town of Gueliz, can be very fast paced. Always keep an eye on your surroundings and those around you.
How do we shop? What kind of prices should we have to pay for things?
Learn the art of bargaining ahead of time, Moroccan vendors expect it. It is perfectly acceptable to haggle over prices in the Medina. It might seem weird at first, but you'll be excited when you've knocked a few dollars off of a piece your aunt back home will love. You'll get the hang of it quickly. Keep in mind, most modern restaurants and boutiques are priced equally if not more, in some cases, than in the US or Europe. We don't recommend haggling in places such as this! Go with the flow on pricing in these types of situations.
What is the weather like?
We were once told that Morocco is a cold country with a hot sun and this is very true. Extreme temperatures are the rule, especially during the winter and summer months. Days can be very hot, with nights very chilly/cold. Layered clothing works best and we like to keep on hand light, long scarves (both for men + women) which aid in sun, wind and cold protection, while at the same time, offer a quick cultural shield should you find yourself in a more conservative part of town or part of the country.
What is the best dress code to adapt when visiting? Can I wear shorts?
OK, this is an important question and we're glad you asked! This is our advice for the women travelling here. Read on: Marrakech is a very diverse, modern and cutting edge city. In the same breathe; it's a very ancient, traditional city as well. When we are out and about, especially places like the Medina or the countryside, we dress on the conservative side, no Britney or Rhianna style outfits! This means, jeans, long sleeve tee shirts and a long scarf just in case. Short are fine when hiking or trekking, or even walking in the Medina. But, as a general rule of thumb, we have found that the fewer clothes you have on, the more attention you run the risk of bringing to yourself. So, this means to pack smart. Save your gorgeous flowing Tunic for dinner and drinks at Hotel La Mamounia.
The important thing to remember when out and about in the city is to carry total and complete confidence at all times . We've had a handful of single female visitors travel Morocco on their own without encountering a single problem. We think it's because they were so calm, cool and always aware of their surroundings.