Marrakech

Medina:

The Medina is an experience in itself. Keep your wits about you, look out for recognisable landmarks and treat the locals with respect. The souks can be a rewarding shopping/ cultural experience. Do not forget sensible shoes or trainers if you feel you need them, many people spend their whole holiday in sandals in the hotter months. The streets in the Medina are cobbled and some may find it hard on the feet.  When it rains it can get muddy also.

Be aware of local boys and men suggesting that you are very lucky because today only they have merchants/ Berbers etc who can sell you cheap wares (mostly leather) also these people may offer to be your guide or tell you that you are going the wrong way, they will tell you that they want no money just thanks because they like to practice their English/ French/ German etc. These guys are generally not threatening, will leave if ignored or told no (eventually) just keep your wits about you and be focused on your environment.

Accommodation:

There are plenty of places to stay from hostels, hotels and Riads in the Medina to large bed and breakfasts, hotels and apartments which radiate out from the centre stretching out to the resort style hotels in Palmeraie.

Consider staying in the Medina, the many and varied riads will keep you close to the major souks and the main square. Riads come in all types, from the small locally run houses to very upmarket and expensive luxury boutique hotels owned by Europeans . Do plenty of research on TripAdvisor to help you choose. The Palmeraie has many internationally branded hotels which can offer a welcome break to the busy city.

Transport:

If you choose to stay either in the Medina or in one of the closer hotels you have various options for getting around. If you are physically fit walking is relatively easy and not too arduous although of course be wary of the heat and make sure you have a map, change (for a petit taxi if needed) and water.

For those choosing to be further afield a taxi or organised trips are available and some hotels will run shuttles to the main square. Be aware that you will be dropped off at a central point where all of the "guides' will be waiting to avail you of their services. These false guides are illegal and should not be entertained. Badged official guides can be arranged through your hotel or Riad.

Another way to see the city is to get a horse and buggy. They all have official price lists but be clear on the price you agree to pay and where you want to be taken. Another option is to get the tourist bus though the route mainly covers the modern new town. There are 2 options at 111 mad for a 24 hour and 165 mad for a 48 hour pass. There is audio commentary and the hop on hop off allows you to visit various areas.

Getting a transfer from the airport may be cheaper to organise before arriving or you can arrange with your riad or hotel but whatever you do bear in mind they can't drive right to the door of many riads so a transfer organised by the riad will include a porter to take you there from the nearest drop off point.

Basically there are two types of taxis. The big Mercedes and the small petit taxis. Mercedes don't have meters, they all have a price list on the windshield and you should agree the price before setting off. Petit taxis have meters and you should get in as if you expect them to be used. If the driver quotes a price or refuses to switch the meter on get out and wait for the next taxi to come along.

Shopping:

This is split into 2 elements, the souks and the European style. The former are for bartering and you will be told to start at 45% below the initial price, the guys in the souks are aware you are told this, so start at 75% below. Bartering can be fun and they will never sell you anything and make a loss but do be prepared to settle on a price that you believe the items are worth and walk away if you are not getting the deal you want. There are plenty of guys selling the same stuff. Don't assume that you are getting any genuine brands even if you are told so. The European shops are not for bartering and are generally named brands, these can still be a source for reasonably priced items.

Sites:

Jemaa El Fna is the main square and lots goes on here, a few tips though. When taking pictures of snakes/ monkeys/ dancers/watersellers you are expected to pay; that is why they are in the square after all so of course you should offer a small amount (5-10 Dirhams).

 If you like orange juice then buy from a seller here, make sure the glass is clean and ensure that the straw is clean and not been previously used. If you have the time use one of the many rooftop restaurants to watch the square from a distance.

The Koutobia which is located outside the Jemaa El Fna square is the premier mosque of the city, it stands at over 250 feet (77m) and can be seen from most places in the city. There are other examples Ben Youssef, Bab Doukklala and Mouassine mosques, the Ben Youssef mosque, in particular, is worth a visit though non muslims are not allowed inside any of them. There are also several synagogues in the city, such as Beth-El, Salat el Azama, and Salat Rbai Pinhasse.

The royal palace of Marrakech, Dar el Makhzen, is located on the Place de la Kasbah and is not open to the public as it is now owned by a French businessman. There is another palace, the El Bahia, which displays the tastes of the 18th-century nouveau riche.

The Museum of Dar si Said on Raid Zitoun Jdid Street is a palace from the 19th century. Inside, the museum displays artifacts from the private collections of former sultans and viziers. The Tiskiwine Museum, located between the Dar Si Said and El Bahia, exhibits clothing, jewellery and artisan crafts from the different regions of Morocco. The Museum of Marrakech features oriental and contemporary art along with displays of old jewels, coins and books.