Marrakech with kids, is very easy to do and a wonderful experience for families. From…
Tips for Marrakech, Morocco
If you are planning on traveling to Marrakech, Morocco than you want to make sure you have all the right tips for Marrakech including what to see in Marrakech as well as all the insider tips for making the most out of you visit. Marrakech is beautiful, lively and full of energy but it can be overwhelming.
As a family of four, we thoroughly enjoyed Marrakech city as well as our day trip to the Atlas Mountains. We also got some great tips along the way, and learned quite a bit during our visit.
We want to share with you some of the things we learned as well as tips from other travel bloggers who have visited Marrakech. You will find tips on what to wear in Marrakech, Marrakech guided tours, great things to see in Marrakech, tours from Marrakech and more.
Also known as Jemma al-Fnaa, the Medina is the beating heart of the city. It is where you will find the people, the shops, the bartering, donkey carts, motorbikes, snake charmers, monkey trainers, food, and just the hustle and bustle of the city.
It can be chaotic though. There are definitely some ways to prepare for going to the Medina, particularly if you are looking to shop.
Here are some quick tips:
- Barter. Whatever price they give you, tell them you will pay half of that. If you don’t feel comfortable going down that low, try to negotiate it down to at least ⅓ off the original price. NEGOTIATING is the game.
- Watch for stray cats, donkey carts and motorbikes. One or more of these will give you a close call. Don’t be surprised if you see a cat run over. It’s normal.
Haggling In The Medina
The Marrakech Medina is a UNESCO World Heritage listed market and the perfect place to take the pulse of the city. Made up of large and small alleyways and souks, filled with shops and stalls, the medina is where the extraordinary artisan expertise of Morocco is showcased. Whether you are a shopper or not, visiting the Marrakech medina is very much part of the Morocco experience.
Whatever you buy, you have to negotiate on the price. Whilst this may seem daunting at first, you can actually have a lot of fun with it. As a guide, the discount you want to achieve is a third of the price initially given. To get an idea of prices, it’s worth visiting fixed price shops outside of the medina, at the Ensemble Artisanal.
When negotiating prices, there are a few simple rules to observe. First, if you start negotiating, it means that you are serious about buying so only begin haggling for products you really want. Second, take your time. Haggling is a bit of a game and Moroccans love to make conversation around it. So have the time to ask questions about what you are buying, how and where it is made. In return, the sellers in the Medina will be very happy to ask questions about you, your trip to Morocco or your family.
Once price suggestions are exchanged, keep smiling and stay friendly. Moroccans have a great sense of humor and you are more likely to get a good deal if you don’t take the whole process too seriously! Finally, if you don’t get the price you want, feel free to walk away. Sellers in the medina don’t like to miss a sale so they may very well chase you down the street to agree on your final price!
Find out more haggling tips from Delphine Mignon of Lesterlost
Keeping Kids Safe: Carrying Your Kids In The Medina
With motorbikes whizzing and nipping around the narrow alleyways of Marrakech’s Medina, parents may find the experience rather stressful with little ones. Don’t bother with trying to negotiate a buggy. They’re too cumbersome and tricky to get through narrow doorways. Instead, put babies in a sling, and toddlers in a back carrier, to keep them safe. Indeed, little ones will be able to see more of what’s going on around them if they’re up high.
We most recently visited Marrakech in April 2019, at the end of a 2.5 week road trip around Morocco with kids. Our boys were 3 and 5 years old, and the youngest ended up on Dad’s shoulders around the medina of Marrakech and I held on tightly to the hand of my 5 year, putting myself between him and the motorbikes. If you need a break, dip into a souk or to a roof top restaurant.
When you need to allow the kids some freedom to run around, take them to one of the gardens (Jardin de Majorelle is beautiful) or outside Koutoubia Mosque, where you’ll also find some shady gardens. Another idea is to hire a horse and cart to take a tour around the city. There are set prices and you should not have to haggle, although they’ll try!
Contributed by Jenny from TraveLynn Family
For carrying our kids, we rely on the Lillebaby carrier as our favorite carrier for babies to about age 18 months/2 years. Annnnnd it is breastfeeding friendly 😉 Click on the image to see if it’s a good fit for you.
For toddlers and up, we love the Toddler Tula and have used it for years. It is the best conforming carrier for larger kids. Click here to look at all the awesome prints that are available.
If you don’t want to purchase two different carriers, you can always go with the FTG Tula. It its from newborn through 45 pounds, so about ages 4/5. Click on the image to see what prints they have available.
For hiking, we rely on the Osprey hiking pack. This hiking pack is a beast. It will literally save you on long hikes. And one pack will last you through multiple children. Check it out by clicking the Osprey pack you see right here 😉
How To Stop Locals From Acting Like Tour Guides
The maze like alleyways of Marrakech’s Medina will delight you with its treasures, but will also completely mess with your sense of direction.
Mark my words, you will get lost, happily lost, but lost nonetheless and as you stop with your Google Maps and a questioning look on your face, you’ll inevitably have a local stop to offer assistance. Yes, they can show you the way. No problem!
Seems harmless right? It could be, but beware!
The Moroccan people are incredibly friendly and helpful and most are legitimately good Samaritans, but many are just on the lookout to make a quick buck. You could be taken to see a friend’s carpet shop or what they call a co-operative.
At the co-operatives you will be told all about the product, the tradition behind it and they will show you how it is made, but essentially, these are just shops. Despite their protests of “just look look, no buy” they will want you to buy. The “helpful guide” will get a commission for bringing you to the shop so that’s their incentive.
The problem arises when you get to your destination and your helpful guide suddenly demands payment. These situations have been known to turn nasty, so you want to avoid this at all costs.
My top tip for dealing with this is to be very firm and clear right from the start. If someone offers to assist, don’t take a single step without telling them that you do not need a guide and secondly, you will not be paying them a single cent.
You can make a joke of it by saying you want to video the agreement that you will not be paying them. They will generally walk a little way with you, to save face and pretend it wasn’t money they were after and then they will say goodbye.
Contributed by Jeanna Malherbe of Learning to Breathe Abroad
What To Wear In Marrakech
Morocco, and Marrakech especially is not too strict on the dress code. But there are a few rules that, when followed, will turn you into a respectful traveler.
Women shouldn’t expose their shoulders, cleavage and knees. It’s quite easy to do, though. Go for airy clothing from natural fabric that’ll help you stay cool in Moroccan heat while respecting the local customs. Airy doesn’t mean see-through, though! Lighter colors are better because the strong Moroccan sun rays can burn.
Covering your hair is not needed, unless you enter a Mosque. When it gets too hot though, it’s often quite natural to put a light scarf on the head to provide some protection from possible sunstroke.
Men should also keep their shoulders covered and it’s better if they wear longer pants, but it’s not required. If wearing shorts, it should be the longer type, definitely not those that don’t even cover the thighs!
Little kids don’t need to follow any rules, perhaps except from being naked. Carry your little ones around dressed any way you like.
In Marrakech, you’re most likely going to see plenty of tourists who won’t pay any attention at all to following some basic rules for what’s appropriate to wear in Morocco. Don’t be one of them!
Contributed by Veronika Primm of Travel Geekery
Places To Visit In Marrakech
There are a variety of places to see in Marrakech and for some visitors who are there for a short period of time, it isn’t possible to see it all. But here are a few places that come recommended.
When the hectic streets and alleyways of Marrakech get a bit overwhelming, it’s nice to find an oasis of calm. Bahia Palace is a perfect place to slow down and see some stunning Moroccan architecture.
The palace was first built in the late 1800s as a private residence for the grand vizier of the Sultan of Morocco. His son later expanded it. Now it’s open to the public to look around.
It’s a beautiful complex that feels a bit like a maze, wandering through the haphazard layout of courtyards, gardens, passageways, and large elegant rooms. What makes Marrakech’s Bahia Palace so special is the design details throughout – some of the best Moroccan artisans worked on it. So make sure to look closely at the columns, the windows, the lanterns, and the mosaic floors.
The whole palace is about eight hectares in size and has about 150 rooms. You can’t go into all of them, but you’ll see enough to get a sense of the best art and architecture here. You may even like to spend some time just sitting in one of the courtyards or underneath the fruit trees, enjoying the peace and quiet away from the mayhem outside.
Contributed by Michael Turtle from Time Travel Turtle
Cyber Park/Souk De Espices
Marrakech is an intense place. When we were in Marrakech with Kids, we were always looking for ways to balance the excitement with some nearby space to draw a breath.
Marrakech’s two most crazy spots are the Souq Semmarine and the adjacent Jemaa el-Fnaa Square. Right in the heart of the Souq is the relative calm of the little Spice Square (La Place Des Epices). Here a few of the stallholders keep chameleons as pets.
Unusually for Marrakech, they are happy to share them and let you photograph them without pestering you to buy or to pay. We enjoyed this soft sell of spices because our girls love all kinds of animals. Making friends with chameleons was a real treat for both them and for us.
Find your way out of the Souq and the Jemaa el-Fnaa Square can be even more intimidating. But press on through, and out along the avenue where the carriages stand. Turn right in front of the Koutoubia Mosque and a short walk will bring you to the Cyber Park, just inside the Medina wall.
This park is the perfect place to let your kids run free and burn off some extra energy while you collapse on a shady bench. It is easy to navigate because the planted areas are not generally accessible, so everyone stays on the broad paths. Cyber Park is ideal for regrouping each day after visiting Marrakech Medina, and it has another advantage – it’s free.
Find out more Morocco tips from Ania of The Travelling Twins
Looking for a tour around Marrakech including the Medina? Click on the tours to find out more information and how to book a tour:<
Who doesn’t want to try some Moroccan cuisine? One of the best things about traveling to other places is trying the food. And Marrakech doesn’t disappoint. Here are some tips on what you can do food-wise in Marrakech. And if you are so keen, food tours are always the best anywhere you go. Here are a few killer food tours in Marrakech.
Order The “Moroccan Salads”
“Moroccan salads” is something you will see on restaurant menus everywhere you go in Marrakech. While a salad might not sound that exciting, don’t make the mistake of passing this up! It’s a wonderful way to experience traditional Moroccan cuisine and taste lots of different dishes at once.
Notice the plural “s” at the end of “salads.” This is not just one salad, but many different types of salads served in small portions as a starter course at the beginning of the meal. Most commonly, each salad will be served in its own individual dish, although you might see them presented together on a large platter.
Each salad will feature a different vegetable, seasoned with herbs and spices such as parsley, cilantro, cumin and turmeric. The dressing is typically a simple vinaigrette of Argan oil, or sometimes orange blossom oil.
Moroccan salads are almost always suitable for vegetarian and vegan visitors to Morocco as well as gluten-free diners, although they will be accompanied by fresh bread, which of course is not gluten-free.
Two great places to try Moroccan salads in Marrakesh are La Table Du Riad at 72 Riad Living, which serves 6 different salads in delicate glass globes, and Libzar, where you can try as many as 12 different Moroccan salads.
Contributed by Wendy Werneth of The Nomadic Vegan
Take A Food Tour
My tip for visiting Marrakech is to take a food tour. It is easy enough to find a great tagine in one of the many restaurants of Marrakech, but to really gain a deep insight into the cuisine and discover new foods that you wouldn’t know to try otherwise, a food tour is the way to go.
The food tour started with tangia – a lamb stew slow cooked in ovens deep underground. These traditional ovens are slowly disappearing as Marrakech modernizes, but there are still a few in which sheep and lambs are roasted.
The adventurous can even try eating a sheep’s eyeball (gelatinous and gooey, but surprisingly delicious!). Another highlight is babouche, a strongly spiced soup in which the main ingredients are snails.
Don’t miss tiny “hamburgers” made at the table with sardine patties and hot sauce; piles of plump olives in the souk; and mssemen flatbread – a kind of savory crepe filled with layers of spicy paste that is a common street food.
Of course, you also have to sit down to a plate of handmade couscous and vegetables – typically eaten as a special treat on Fridays with family.
It’s not all savory, however. Sweet treats include freshly-fried donuts, served on a palm leaf string and dipped in orange blossom syrup; tiny almond cookies; and a date or avocado smoothie to top off the evening.
I wouldn’t have tried any of these things if I hadn’t done a food tour, so I highly recommend it as a great introduction into the cuisine of the country.
Contributed by James Ian at Travel Collecting
Take A Day Trip From Marrakech
The city has so much to offer, no doubt. But even if you go to Marrakech, you have to at least consider doing a day trip or an overnight to another part of Morocco. Morocco is beautiful and there is so much to see beyond Marrakech.
From the Atlas Mountain villages of Imlil, to Ourika Valley and the Sahara, there are numerous options to spend at least one day outside of the city soaking in the Moroccan countryside.
Day trips are available for booking at various places throughout the city. There are individual tour stores where day trips are advertised, you can find these in the Medina and near large hotels.
Some hotels have pamphlets for organized day trips, and others organize the trips themselves. We do recommend booking a day trip beforehand. If you know where you are going and what you will be doing beforehand, it is much easier to plan your trip, even though you can also do it on a whim.
Here are some great day and overnight trips you can take including our Atlas Mountain tour.
Atlas Mountain Tour
During our time in Marrakech with our kids, we knew we wanted to see the Atlas Mountains. Before we left, we decided to scour various websites and find the best tour that would work for our family, 2 adults and 2 young kiddos (including a baby). After a lot of research we found this great Atlas Mountain Tour that took us to a variety of places and had great things to do including:
-a traditional Argan shop (***we did not feel pressured to buy anything which is unusual for a lot of tours)
-riding a camel alongside a river
-waterfalls at Imlil
-hiking the Atlas Mountains
-a stopover at a traditional Moroccoan house
-a late lunch at a restaurant at the base of the mountains
Doing a day trip to the Atlas Mountains is a must when you visit Marrakech. The change in scenery as well as the distinct difference in people as well as the quick temperature changes makes the trip unique. It is still one of our favorite day trips, ever.
Here are some great options for doing day trips to the Atlas Mountains. If you are especially wild you can try the hot air balloon ride. We didn’t. Kids would think its funny to try and jump overboard:
Day Trip To Ourika Valley
We found Marrakech to be a very intense city, so it was a welcome change to get out and explore the surrounding area on a day trip to the Ourika Valley below the High Atlas Mountains. Our day trip was a fascinating opportunity to see another side of the country. We visited several artisans, including a pottery maker, an argan oil co-op – both were interesting, though beware the usual high-pressure sales tactics! We were also fortunate to join a local family for bread and tea in their home.
The highlight for us was hiking the famous waterfalls of Ourika behind the village of Setti Fatma with our excellent guide, Mohammed. He deftly guided us up the levels of the hike (including climbing a treacherous ladder) and showed us some of his country’s stunning scenery while we candidly discussed life for Moroccans outside the big city. It was a beautiful, welcoming and eye-opening day unlike anything you can experience if you never leave the Medina!
It is possible to visit Setti Fatma on your own, but we recommend visiting with a guide. You’ll visit the right restaurant in town (your stomach will thank you!) and see interesting places along the way that you would miss if you relied on buses to get there.
Find out more on the best things to do in Morocco with kids from Melissa at The Family Voyage
Sahara Desert Tours
Marrakech is an exciting tourist destination with much to offer and you can easily spend days wandering through the tiny streets and hectic markets and bazaars of the Medina. However, you should also take the opportunity to leave the city, since Marrakech is the perfect base to explore Morocco.
You will find lots of tour agencies and companies all around Marrakech and booking a trip is easy and affordable. One of the best adventures you can do starting in Marrakech is a tour into the Sahara Desert!
Keep in mind that you will need 3 full days for this trip, since the drive to get there takes some time. However, it’s very much worth it.
Most tours follow the same itinerary and you will spend the first two days making your way towards the desert with several stops and breaks at viewpoints, gorges, canyons and (big highlight!) Ait Benhaddou, which was used as a filming location for e.g. Game of Thrones and Gladiator.
In the afternoon on the second day, you will get the chance to ride a camel into the Sahara Desert and you will sleep in a desert camp directly in the sand dunes. It’s a unique and incredible experience you shouldn’t miss.
You can find these 3-day tours for less than €100 directly in Marrakech, though make sure to negotiate prices and compare your offers!
I spent a full week in Marrakech, taking the opportunity to explore the city as well as to do a 3-day desert tour and day trips to Essaouira and the Cascades d’Ouzoud Waterfalls.
Contributed by Patrick Muntzinger of German Backpacker
Here are some Sahara Desert Tours that are recommended:
That’s it for now folks! We will be updating out tips as we learn more about the best ones to help you plan your best visit to Marrakech! Have you been to Marrakech and have a tip? Are you going and want to see more tips? Leave a comment below!