General tips for getting around Marrakesh
The best way of getting around Marrakech is on foot, especially in the Medina and the souks, where it is the only sensible option. However you will need transport to visit more distant Marrakech sights and to shuttle between the Medina and the new part of town. The best options are normally taxis, many of which can be shared.
The medina (old city) is generally very safe. As the small alleyways can be confusing, we recommend that you ask our gardien to accompany you until you know the way yourself.
From the Place (main square Jemaa al Fna’) at night, we recommend that you get a taxi back and then you have just a short walk back to the riad.
Please also ask to use the cellphone available for clients (returnable deposit of 100 dirhams) so you can easily call us if necessary. If you cannot find the riad or if you are returning from an evening out and would like someone to accompany you please call the riad and a member of staff will come and collect you.
Marrakech taxis are plentiful, cheap and normally the most convenient way to visit Marrakech attractions outside the Medina. There are two types of Marrakech taxis. Grand taxis are usually old Mercedes cars carrying up to six people for a fixed fare on specific routes. Many grand taxis start from Marrakech bus station, Jemaa el Fna’ and the post office in the new town. Petit taxis can be hailed down, are smaller, more expensive, and go anywhere. Taxis can be hired for city tours and excursions. Limousines can be hired for longer tours.
Taxi drivers are supposed to put on their meters. Sometimes they don’t and just ask for a flat rate, 20 dirhams. Again, some have got lucky in the past, such that they sometimes increase this amount to 40 dirhams or even more. In general, taxis can charge 50% more at night.
If they have not put their meter on, then you can ask them to. Either they will do that (fares start at 1.70 dirhams during the day and 2.50 dirhams at night), or they will state simply that it does not work. At that point you have a choice to either agree on a fare or get another taxi—depends on if you’re in a hurry and if there are plenty of other empty taxis around and perhaps how hot you are!
Another tactic is to let the taxi driver take you to your destination, get out of the taxi and give him what you think is the correct fare. You need to have a fairly good idea of taxi fares to do this confidently. As a guideline, the taxi fare from the Medina to Guéliz is between 10 dirhams and 15 dirhams during the day. Add on 50% more at night. Compared to European taxi fares Moroccan taxis are really good value, so there is no need to haggle over 5 dirhams.
Around noon and late afternoon it is harder to find a taxi because either they are changing shift and are not interested in taking new fares, or because they are really busy. If you’re standing by the side of the road trying to flag down a taxi, they may stop and ask where you’re headed – if it’s in a direction they don’t want to go, they will say they can’t do it – especially if they already have a passenger in the car going somewhere else. So if they don’t stop, it’s not because they are being picky or don’t like tourists – in general they do, because they pay more! It’s because they are heading somewhere else or are going off shift.
Remember that, at the end of the day, a taxi driver may take home between 50 and 100 dirhams, as he has to pay the holder of the licence, and the owner of the taxi if he doesn’t own it, and most don’t seem to own their own taxis. In addition, he has to pay for gas and repairs.
It is not required to tip taxi drivers, but if you’re paying according to the meter, it is nice to round up the amount.
If you take a taxi for a day’s excursion, again it is not really required to pay a tip in addition to the rate for the day. It’s entirely up to you.
Moped & Bicycle
Mopeds are a popular way of getting around Marrakech but not for the faint-hearted. Bicycles are easy to hire and are allowed in the Medina.
Romantic calèches are a good way of getting around Marrakech. They have space for five people. The carriage should have a sign with the fare written on it. If there is no set fare you will have to agree the price before setting off. Expect to pay around Dh 80 per hour. Find Marrakech horse-drawn carriages at El Badi’a Palace, Koutoubia Mosque, Jemaa el Fna’ and the classier Marrakech hotels.
Marrakech buses are frequent and very cheap but not especially attractive for getting around Marrakech as they are often crowded. The number 1 links the Medina and the new town.
There is a red, double-decker bus that you can get on and off. You can buy tickets for 24 hours and cost 75 dh for children, 145 dh for adults. There is also a 48-hour option that costs 95 dh for children and 190 dh for adults. You can get to all the main sightseeing places, Menara Gardens, Saadian tombs, Bahia palace, Guèliz, the new town, Marjorelle Gardens, the Palmeraie and of course, the famous Place Jemaa el Fna’.
Walking around, crossing the road
You may find yourself standing at the side of the road wanting to get to the other side and wondering how you’re going to do it and arrive in one piece the other side. It’s a good idea to tag alongside Moroccans – but if you’re not comfortable with that because they seem to putting themselves in the path of a car, then here’s what to do.
Look for a gap in traffic, then start walking into the road. Keep going slowly. Motorcyles, mopeds, bikes will move around you. So be predictable and keep going rather than stepping back or suddenly standing still unless, of course, the situation requires it! You will find that the cars slow down and even stop, leaving you space to cross.
Kids are very keen to offer their services, particularly if they realise that you are lost. If you are happy for them to show you the way, then only pay them a few dirhams – max 10 dirhams, if they really did a good job.
If you don’t want them to show you the way, behave as if you know the way (even if you don’t) and walk on purposely. Remember that we are happy to provide you with a mobile phone in case you do get lost, so that you can ring the riad for someone to collect you.