14 Facts You Should Know About Marrakech

Jemaa-el-Fna_Marrakech_mini

Image credit: Wikipedia

Marrakech is a vibrant North-African city in Morocco. Famed for it’s traditional sweet mint tea, ancient square and red sandstone buildings, it is a popular destination for tourists all year round. If you are thinking of travelling to Morocco here are 14 facts you might like to know about Marrakech:

  1. Marrakech is frequently known as the ‘Red City’ due to the colour of the walls surrounding its old district. It lies in Morocco’s south western regions within sight of the Atlas Mountains.
  2. Arabic is the main language of Morocco but French is used widely too.
  3. The currency used in Morocco is the Moroccan Dirham. Although the exchange rate fluctuates, at the time of writing, one pound is worth approximately 13 dirhams and one euro is closer to 10 dirhams.
  4. The water in Morocco is not safe to drink straight from the tap so you will need to drink bottled water only and check the ice in your drinks is also from bottled water.
  5. There is no time difference between the UK and Morocco.
  6. The national drink of Marrakech is sweet mint tea, while couscous is the national dish and is often served with fish, other meat or veggies, in a broth-like sauce.
  7. The climate in Marrakech is good most months of the year with comfortable temperatures in March, April, May and October, with the hot season beginning in June through to September. November tends to be the wettest month of the year and the coolest month is generally December.
  8. Although we sadly ran out of time to visit due to our busy schedule, one of the top places to visit in Marrakech is Jardin Majorelle. Owned by Yves Saint Laurent before he died in 2008 and his partner Pierre Bergé, the historic and beautiful garden, known for its vibrant blue walls is very popular with visitors due to its outstanding beauty. Early morning or late afternoon is the best time to visit to avoid the buses of tourists.
  9. Marrakech is split into two distinct parts: the old city, or medina and the modern city of which Gueliz is the heart of and offers an alternative vibe to the traditional, relaxed old medina atmosphere. Best for modern high street shops, cafes and bars.
  10. Don’t take photos of street performers, monkeys or snake charmers unless you are prepared to pay. If you take a photo and attempt to walk away, you will be hassled.
  11. Respect the culture. Although Marrakech is a very cosmopolitan city, it is still a male dominated, islamic culture. Although you can pretty much wear what you like in Marrakech, as a woman, if you do dress in skimpy clothes and show too much flesh, you are likely to get stared at a lot.
  12. Taxis are very cheap – around 15 to 30 dirhams will take you to the city centre from most hotel locations.
  13. Jemaa el Fna – the ancient market square I talked about earlier – is a focal point of Marrakech and is open day and night but it’s at night that it really comes alive with street performers, entertainers and musicians.
  14. When you are arriving in Marrakech airport you will need to complete an embarkation card before arriving at the front of the queue for passport control. Embarkation cards are found near to the entrance door or may be passed out on your flight. The airport is 15-20 minutes drive from the main city centre.

Click here for my travel post all about Marrakech: Exploring Marrakech – Travel Diary in Morroco

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